Play-By-Post Session Backup
This wiki page will be used for the play-by-post session, intended to encompass two or three months of in-game time. Regular sessions are planned to resume in mid-September.
Post your character’s responses to dialog, attempts to use skills (ie., “I want to Sense Motive on him, and I roll a 24”), and other actions here. Please separate posts with lines and identify yourself at the beginning of each post. Be sure to preview the page first, to ensure that you’re not overwriting someone else who is trying to post at the same time. DM posts will be in bold.
[ When we last left our heroes, they had successfully interrupted the Jesh ritual and taken possession of the immense diamond in which the few hundred surviving souls were imprisoned. Though a partially-formed Inza’reth larva had emerged from the Rift, the party was able to destroy it with the aid of the enigmatic Paragon, which psychically melded with Rosalind and briefly gifted the party with transcendent psionic power. The larva’s death throes had disintegrated the surrounding area in a one-mile radius, severed the link with Paragon, and somehow transported our heroes to the location of the former Highwater Rift. Imperial agents Xaila and Lianna, teleporting to the scene, informed the party that Empress Karris’tine had perished in battle against the Samikijesh, though her efforts had prevented the Samikijesh from defending the larva. The agents had just finished casting a pair of Greater Teleport spells to transport the party to Kalystra, where Sondris’s six Potentates were conferring. ]
Once more, you appear in the nondescript stone chamber within the dungeon of Karris’tine’s tower, the one area of the building not warded against teleportation. Xaila and Lianna lead you up the central flight shaft, where you immediately notice signs of panic. Just around the central shaft, you see dozens of well-armed guards and virtually none of the civilian advisers who normally walk about the tower. You do not know if news of the Empress’s death has spread, but if so, things look bleak for Sondris. At the top of the flight shaft, six Alessierra (thrice the usual number assigned to guard the throne room, all looking slightly shaken) greet you: “These are the ones Khensel spoke of? Go through the door – the meeting has already started.”
Though the crystal dome overhead, the enormous mirror, and the floating throne are as imposing as ever, the observation chamber/throne room feels strangely empty without the Empress. Gathered around the mirror are the six Potentates, all of whom those of you with Knowledge (local) immediately recognize: an old albino elven man with waist-length hair (Khensel, Karris’tine’s former lover), a young-looking woman with blond hair and golden wings (the half-celestial sage Sophilia), an old woman with sparkling silver hair (the human form of the silver dragon Messothamaen), an ancient suit of black armor with wispy white ectoplasm visible around the joints and visor (the ghost Tulpus Xarro), a bald old man with a chest-length fu manchu and one eye replaced with a carved ruby (the archmage Rrumanja), and a gnomish woman with a clockwork left arm (Thoggle Nacka). “-have been unable to scry on her soul. We have to accept the possibility that she is beyond recovery.” As Rrumanja finishes his sentence, the Potentates notice you entering the room and turn to face you. With little more than a nod from Khensel, Xaila and Lianna withdraw from the room, leaving you with the Potentates.
“You have been informed of the Empress’s death?” asks Khensel, his voice not betraying any emotion. He doesn’t wait for a response – “Yours was the only team to survive the Verran mission. We need to know exactly what occurred at the Rift – if we must prepare for the end, and if Karris’tine’s sacrifice was made in vain.”
Valentine- “Well, I don’t believe that the end is as near as it was an hour ago. We managed to interrupt the Jesh’s summoning of their unholy demon god, and kill the pretty slimy larval form that emerged. On a side note, who or what in the hells is Paragon?”
“Unholy demon god? Odd choice of words…” mutters Rrumanja. “Karris’tine was of the opinion that their object of worship was something quite distinct from the known gods. How did you interrupt the ritual? Did they give you any clues as to what exactly this larva was?”
A low voice sounding like a distant echo rumbles out of Tulpus’s armor. “And you say you were able to defeat the larval form of their master? What form did the entity take, what abilities did it have? Before her death, Karris’tine shared what she knew about the Rifts and the Jesh, but you have firsthand experience – and we cannot hope to fight what we know so little about. I am afraid that our only knowledge of Paragon comes thirdhand – you are the only ones to have interacted with the entity. Why do you ask about it? Was it working with the Jesh?”
Lirael via mind link: hey…. anyone else thinking we should have THEM tell US what it is that they Think they Know first? that way we can all try to come to the best conclusion? I do NOT think we should just tell them everything right away so that they can just choose to dump us when we’re done doing what they want… plus, i somewhat doubt they would attempt killing/harming us before they get details from us anyway…. though, we prolly should aim to appear diplomatic, we should also stay firm to our own convictions. we don’t wanna be pushed over… plus our ultimate resort to getting out on our own would be to say that the empress gave us a couple other missions for our future and that we were to carry them out “discreetly” ..so, if she didnt tell others bout them y should we???
Valentine, via mindlink: Well, I just wanted to get something out there, so we don’t stand here looking like idiots…and inviting them to probe our minds, since that would be rather terrible. Especially with some opinions I might just have of their types, as well… I do think we should explain the details of the Jesh and the rifts, but try to see what they know about Paragon, though we might just hold all of the knowledge. If we can get a chance, you had received those books from the library, Rosalind, which we should probably sort through and start piecing together what we know, at least after this lovely interrogation is done. I believe we should at least give them some idea what they are facing, and might face again soon, since this is the current ruling body here. I do like this country, right now, especially given that our ship is here…
Felosial, via mindlink: Valentine makes a good point, we shouldn’t LIE to them. I’ve always been fond of giving just enough information if we don’t want to be completely transparent. Remember, we don’t know much about Paragon either. I think Rosalind should be the one to explain, as she is the most familiar (as it were) with this Paragon type. Besides, don’t you think their goals are at least somewhat similar to those of the Empress? They Did say they were preparing for The End. Hobbling their efforts, (should their motives be just,) could have devastating effects. But really, I just want some rest… can’t we get through with this interrogation?
Some time passes while you communicate these thoughts – suddenly, Valentine notices (Sense Motive 20) that Messothamaen has closed her eyes and seems to be focusing, perhaps casting a stilled and silent spell. You mentally hear: “How rude of you not to invite us into your conversation. Now, would you answer our questions?”
Lirael prods Rosalind…
Valetine: “Ah, well, you will have to excuse us, we just wanted to get our thoughts together, as well as gauge your intentions in this matter. The late empress had always reinforced the need for secrecy with matters involving the Jesh and rifts.” (Rolls 19+5=24 on diplomacy to ease over ruffled feathers, since we did just want to get our story straight) “Paragon was not working for the Jesh, it helped us to defeat the nasty larva…somehow…”
Rosalind: Paragon did indeed do something unexpected. I believe it somehow merged with me. My powers increased…exponentially. I felt as if I held the entire universe in my palm, I was so powerful. It helped my friends, too; they could see multiple dimensions. It was that gift from Paragon that allowed us to defeat the larva, though the effect vanished after our victory.
Valentine: “Yes, it was useful, as well as rather sudden. It definitely was able to help us, since we were able to clearly see, or at least envision, the large Inza-slug. As far as I could tell, Paragon helped us release trapped souls that the Jesh were using to bring form to their master, since it was consuming them, using the obelisk that was in their town center as a way to collect them.” To DM: How similar was that obelisk to the one in the city beneath the Stormheart? “As figured, the duchess was behind it all, being the main Jesh power in the area and leading the ritual to summon Inza’reth, their god, to a physical form. It was apparent that he was not fully formed, or at least not fully within our material plane at the time. We may have sent him back, we may have slain him, I am no expert on these matters, though I am sure that you potentates can look into this.”
The potentates’ gazes turn to one another, and it is evident that they are conferring mentally. After almost three minutes, Khensel speaks: “What you have said confirms Karris’tine’s theories regarding the Rifts… almost too perfectly. If we are to act on this knowledge and prevent the Jesh from repeating the ritual at another Rift – harvesting enough souls will be a trivial task now that they control Verra – we must first confirm that it is true.” He subtly nods at Rrumanja, who steps forward from the circle.
“Your minds will need to be probed,” says the archmage. “I would appreciate it if you lowered any defenses you possess. Once your story has been verified, we can discuss the terms under which you may leave this chamber alive.”
(Valentine: The obelisks had no resemblance)
Valentine pulls out a grenade: “Well, I don’t think we’ve outlived our…’usefulness’...yet, and I would really not like to resort to more drastic options. I would like to think we have the most experience with both the Yson and the Jesh, and not letting us live would be a terrible waste, since Karris’tine seemed to have enough faith in us and our abilities as an entity separate from the government. But if you don’t think so, and deem us to be expendable, may the Jesh feed on your souls.” Valentine sits down, cross legged, and pulls the pin out in a deadman-switch style on the grenade. “Don’t think I’m being rash, potentates, I’ve just been through enough where I don’t want to be cast aside by some change in political power.”
- Sophilia (26)
- Messothamaen (23)
- Rrumanja (20)
- Thoggle Nacka (20)
- Beej (19)
- Khensel (18)
- Tulpus (13)
- Rosalind (12)
- Lirael (11)
- Rauun (11)
- Ferrika (6)
- Felosial (3)
- Sophilia casts Flesh to Stone on Valentine, who rolls an 18 on his Fortitude save and is petrified. (The grenade is also turned to stone – “The subject, along with all its carried gear, turns into a mindless, inert statue.”)
- Messothamaen casts Mass Hold Person on the rest of the party. Beej (18), Lirael (25), Rauun (14), Ferrika (20), and Felosial (26) are held, while Rosalind (30) successfully resists.
- Rrumanja readies to counterspell.
- Thoggle Nacka shapes her clockwork arm into what appears to be a drill crackling with electricity and closes to melee range with Rosalind. “I urge your party to reconsider its approach.”
Beej, it’s your turn. You may attempt another Will save against Hold Person as a full-round action, or you may just sit there and “surrender.”
Beej has not posted in twelve hours and automatically delays.
- Khensel draws two iridescent shortswords and gets into a flanking position behind Rosalind.
- Tulpus draws a gleaming black halberd and closes to melee range with much of the party.
Rosalind, it’s your turn.
Rosalind: Stop this madness! Our rogue tends to overreact to any hint that our lives are in danger, whether it comes from a known enemy or potential allies. We had no intention of fighting; Valentine wanted to express his desire to live and the fact that we would be more useful alive than dead. If you will agree to a cease fire, potentates, I personally will agree to a mind-probe, though I cannot offer the minds of my friends as well.
Nacka and Khensel lower their weapons, and so does Tulpus, albeit more slowly. “And I as well,” says Ferrika over the mental link. The Potentates are silent for what seems like an eternity, until Khensel glances at Messothamaen, who speaks a few words, after which the party regains control over its limbs. “Two will be… sufficient,” says Rrumanja, looking you over. “Follow me, please.” He strides over to the enormous mirror in the floor and loudly intones “Zjumakalais!” In a flash of light, the mirror has become a swirling blue vortex – “Please step into my private demiplane. The interrogation will require utmost privacy.” Ferrika, with a brief glance back at the party, cautiously walks towards the portal.
“As for the rest of you, please leave the room. We will call you back in when we are ready.” Khensel gestures to the door, which two Alessierra are holding open. “And take the rogue with you.” With a Listen check of ?? (she rolled a natural 20, but her skills aren’t yet on the wiki – I’m assuming she made it, but please post your skill mods when you get the chance), Lirael hears “was just elected Emperor – but who are these?” whispered between two of the other Alessierra.
(You may choose to follow orders and leave the chamber/walk through the portal, or not – I’ll try to post responses sometime tomorrow before I make the next story post if you, for instance, protest the new condition on probing. Characters who have not posted by 5:00 central time tomorrow will be assumed to have followed orders)
Lirael shares a look of uncertainty about the new conditions with Felosial, Ferrika, and Beej…
Valentine continues being a statue. Its very exciting and adds to the plot development.
As Ferrika steps towards the portal, Lirael speaks out. “Wait, what? Rosalind, you’re smarter than that – you’re just going to step through that random portal?” Rrumanja turns to glare at her – “I will be following them, and you may watch if you must – after which you will leave the chamber immediately. We have already wasted enough time tonight.” (Lirael gets a 17 on her Will save against a stilled, silent Suggestion and is compelled to follow this course of action)
The party watches as Ferrika steps through the portal, seeming to melt into the vortex. Rrumanja then steps in, followed by Rosalind. As our heroes leave the throne room and the potentates face one another to confer, Rauun protests – “One more thing, your Excellencies – our deservedly-petrified companion was carrying a Portable Hole filled with innocent cats that will soon suffocate if it remains closed. Couldn’t you return him, or at least his equipment, to its original form?” (Diplomacy 28) Without even turning around, Messothamaen speaks a few words and twists her fingers, at which point Valentine (who survives thanks to a Fortitude roll of 24) is once again flesh. As the party escorts him out of the chamber, Rauun whispers “That was your freebie – next time, you owe me some gold” to Valentine… and Lirael almost thinks she hears Messothamaen let out a subtle meow.
You have returned to the antechamber where the six Alessierra guards stand at attention. All of them appear to be experienced warriors wielding magical equipment. When the door closes, you no longer feel Messothamaen’s presence in your mind. Converse and carry out other acts as desired – you have roughly twenty minutes before you’ll be called back in.
Valentine looks around, a little confused, but can only guess something has happened and he’s blacked out for some reason. First order of business, put away the grenade, then sit down and chill with the kitties. “So guys, what happened while I was out?”
Presumably, it takes me 30 seconds to get filled in.
The next twenty minutes pass in relative silence under the watchful eyes of the Alessierra. Finally, the door to the throne room swings open of its own accord, revealing Rosalind and Ferrika along with the circle of Potentates. Khensel beckons you back in. Rosalind and Ferrika remember absolutely nothing after stepping through the portal; it’s almost as though the past twenty minutes simply didn’t happen.
The rest of the party takes its place next to the two women. The Potentates share one last glance, then Khensel steps forward. “All is as we feared. What the Jesh told you about the origin of magic – that their master consumes souls and excretes magical potential – confirms the late Empress’s research.” He looks into each of your eyes in turn. “This information is, by itself, explosive. It would undermine the gods’ claim to have created the cosmos and invalidate every fundamental magical theory in existence. It is, to put it bluntly, a dangerous truth, and were it to become known in these already troubled times, the consequences would be catastrophic.” He pauses for a moment to let the thought sink in. Already, the effects of the Planar Seal have caused the people of Ascenar to think that the gods had abandoned them – if they now learned that the gods had always been charlatans, riots and suicides could collapse civilization. “The reason that I am telling you this is that, as Emperor, I have overruled the votes of the Potentates. I believe that, even aside from the great debt we owe you for destroying the larva, you are too valuable an asset to discard, regardless of the danger your knowledge poses. Do not make me regret my decision.”
Khensel floats gracefully into the air and sits on the throne floating above the mirror. “Now, as for your future. Already, news of the late Empress’s death has begun to spread. Simply keeping Sondris from disintegrating will be difficult enough – we cannot take action against the Jesh at this time. Though they control Verra and can easily gather enough souls to repeat the ritual, they do not have access to a Rift. To my eternal regret, Verra will have to remain in the grip of tyranny while we protect Sondris – but there will come a time when we need you again. As you are no doubt aware, the seven of you are curiously immune to the life-draining effects of the Rifts, possibly as a result of having survived the Highwater cataclysm.” He casts a spell which Rosalind and Lirael (Spellcraft 30 and 32 respectively) identify as Telekinesis, modified by Transdimensional Spell – and the immense diamond floats out of the Portable Hole. “I have three requests to make of you – otherwise you may live your lives as you desire until I contact you again. Firstly, we will be taking possession of this diamond, in order to determine a way to safely free the imprisoned souls. Second, you may never speak of your experiences with the Rifts to any but I, the Potentates, or our direct agents. Third, if captured by the Yson, you must kill yourselves before they have an opportunity to probe your minds – were they to learn that Sondris had been involved in the recent events, regardless of our opposition to the Jesh, the consequences could be dire.”
He nods, and the doors open. “If you have nothing else to say, you may depart. Your actions tonight have lost you some of our trust, but we still owe you a great debt for your service at the Rift. When you are called to return, we will hopefully have answers – and plans for action – regarding the mysteries of the Jesh, the Yson, and Paragon.”
Ferrika and Rauun hesitate to leave, waiting for you to possibly say something.
Valentine pauses and gropes around in his backpack and pouches. “Here,” he says, tossing an Yson communicator to the nearest Alessierra, “as a token of more trust in the near future, an Yson communicator. It might prove useful to you and the Potentates, either with Yson knowledge, or some advance warning of their plans. Also, I am sorry if I got off on the wrong foot with you, I really wasn’t in the mood to be disposable. You have my word that I will keep this to myself, and you should be able to find me around the city, or aboard our ship.”
He takes a step to leave, then turns back on his heel. “Oh, and Ferrika was not with us for the Highwater Incident, so that doesn’t have anything to do with our resistance to the Rift’s effects. Don’t know if that’s helpful, but you might be able to do something with it.” Shoving a cat back down the hole, “And now I should be going, unless you want a cat…”
Valentine bows slightly, and silently turns and walks out, as tails start poking out of the portable hole in one of his belt pouches.
“You have our thanks,” says Khensel, telekinetically retrieving the communicator. “As always, if you are willing to sell Yson technology, seek out Ramakesh in the market district. Perhaps we will use this to contact you when the time comes.”
The party walks out of the throne room, where Xaila and Lianna are waiting. Without a word, they lead you down the tower’s flight shaft and into the now-familiar archway on the fifteenth floor. An instant later, you emerge from the door of an ordinary-looking peasant’s hovel in the city’s goblinoid district. The streets seem unusually calm tonight – particularly considering what the Potentates said about news of Karris’tine’s death leaking – but the reason becomes readily apparent when you read the curfew notice pinned to the “Rat Onna Stik” cart nearby. You can see what appear to be city guardsmen carrying polearms to the west, but they’re far enough away that they probably haven’t noticed you yet. “We’d best avoid antagonizing them,” says Rauun. “Say, you don’t have a place to stay in the city by any chance?”
“I’m sure we could all sleep at Korwyn’s place, or maybe on our ship,” says Ferrika. (Based on your experience with the city, Korwyn’s villa and the docks are roughly the same distance away) “But whatever we decide, we’d better do it quickly.”
Valentine: “Personally, I’m going to vote for the ship, only because it’ll be easier for us to get back there, versus going into the nicer area of town where there might just be more guards, or at least more open space. The docks would probably just be easier to sneak around in.” Valentine looks over Ferrika and Bij in their respective armors, “Well, it’ll be easier for some of us to sneak. Unless somebody objects and would rather pester Korwyn some more? You are welcomed to go to his villa, Ferrika, since you would definitely be more welcomed than the rest of us. At least, more welcomed when being woken up.”
“Here they come,” says Rauun, and the party takes Valentine’s suggestion, moving eastward to the docks. You manage to evade the first group of guards, who turn left down an alley before reaching you, but the city is just swarming with them, and before you even leave the goblinoid district you run into a patrol attracted by Bij’s Move Silently check of -1. There seem to be four of them, with one clearly in charge – fortune is clearly on your side tonight, because the leader takes one look at the Crimson Soul insignia on Ferrika’s shield, salutes, and continues on his way.
You reach the ship without further complications, still moored where you left it – though it now has a nice new coating of seagull waste. You unlock the door with the Imadrethan Orb and head below decks – though the ship is still unfurnished, your Instant Tent and bedrolls provide a relatively comfortable sleep.
By the time you wake up, it’s almost noon. You can hear the usual hustle and bustle of the docks outside your ship, but the townspeoples’ voices seem quieter, more uncertain. The party assembles in the ship’s bridge to discuss future activities. “Did everyone sleep well last night?” asks Ferrika. “Me neither. But this is probably a good time to figure out what our group’s future is. We don’t know when or how the Potentates are going to call us back into their service, and I know we all have our own goals to pursue. I guess what I’m asking is, to what extent are we going to stick together?”
Valentine: “I’m going to stick around the boat and with whoever wants to remain, we do make a pretty good team, but I will not hold anybody back if they have other goals in mind, need to catch up with family, want to retire from adventuring, or generally do something else. My first order of business now is to get some of this damned bird shit off of this boat before we get anymore looks and since I’m sure it smells. So walk with me, talk with me.”
Valentine rummages around to find the bottle of endless water to start hosing off the decks with varying intensity, undoubtedly splashing some people.
“I don’t have anything to go back to, since I’ve never had a family and my home town is long since gone. The closet thing to a family I have is you guys, but normally families-” closes bottle “-don’t risk their lives or save the universe this often.”
“I don’t know what you would like to do Ferrika, but you can return to your Order whenever you would like, you shouldn’t feel obligated to stay with us anymore. You do have the possibility of a promotion in your future, after all. As for me, I’m pretty darn happy here.”
Valentine continues spraying the decks, making it clear he’s going to be around the boat, and adventuring, for a while still.