Kingmaker – Cloudarc revealed

24 May, 2012

Wish I could draw. Oh well – Zack Jackson can.

2012-05-18

Watchtower.

(“cloudarc watchtower 1, figs 1-4”)

Watchtower proved uninhabited. Assume it was abandoned during the fey war. Archway/portcullis originally enchanted (fig 3) – I believe would fire lightning at anything flying over it. Only residual magic remaining.

Contents: some weapons, a Journal. Unable to read Journal without damage. Replaced in nook must remember to pick it up on the way back.

Doghouse-sized outbuilding with humanoid figure – possibly a construct. We decided to take it with us (I have no idea why). It seems to move back to its assigned location by making small teleports if left unattended.

Cloudarc gate.

Large building – main section and two wings forming a courtyard (C/A gate, figs 1-5) with outbuildings. Large elm (?) tree (fig 4). Tree and buildings overgrown with a vine (C/A gate, vine, figs 1,2). On later inspection, we concluded that the tree was original, and the vine a hostile probably associated with the fey army.

Tree inhabited with very odd creatures – invisible in sunlight. We attacked and drove them off. In retrospect, probably the wrong thing to do – they were repairing damage to the tree, which we had done believing that the tree was a result go the fey incursion.

Investigated right-hand wing. Fight.

Sorry guys, I forget what was inside

Kitchen. Library (?). Large number of documents – too many to catalogue.

Downstairs.

Monk cells. Water fountains (C/A gate interior fig 2).

Large open space around the root of the elm tree. Pile of bodies – peasants, some warriors in armour. Attacked by undead (obviously) and myconids. Rainen confused. Dimension Door out, but Rainen remained. Rainor back down stairs to deal with hostiles (hate that word) at range.

(at about this time, became convinced that this was not cloudarc monastery itself)

Roof.

Forget which direction was which. Sorry

Four large prayer wheels on the roof. (C/A gate, prayer wheel figs 1-11) at cardinal points of the compass. Reliefs of figures in various poses relating to the four seasons and/or elements. Used Grease to lubricate the W wheel (spring/air). On turning, it seemed to cause eddies in the clouds around the plateau (part of the mythal – large scale magic).

N wheel (summer/fire) unserviceable. His Grace repaired it (with the aid of an Enlarge) within a few hours.

S wheel (winter/earth) good with Grease spell.

E wheel (spring/water) badly overgrown and building damaged. Klael and I cleared it.

Rainor discovered that the wheels could be set in motion with his Ki, at which they would turn by themselves. We decided to experiment with them and then on deciding that we had done something cool, Rainor could then use his Ki to keep them turning.

We prepared to turn all four wheels (used Dancing Lights to coordinate our efforts.)

When all were turned clockwise, within minutes the plateau became surrounded by a wall of storm. A very impressive scale of magic. (probably visible from beyond the mountains – His Grace may need to quash some rumours: people can be superstitious and overreact)

When all were turned counter clockwise, within minutes storms began streaming towards the gatehouse itself.

When they were turned N and W clockwise, S and E counterclockwise, a strong wind blew through the centre of the building complex and parted the cloud behind the buildings, revealing a solid transparent bridge (quartz?). Clearly, this was the “arc” of cloudarc, linking the two peaks (Plateau topography – fig 1). The vine that had been overgrowing the gatehouse was also making its way along this bridge. (C/A bridge, south view)

We were all much cheered by this, and set out to cross it.


Kingmaker. Cold, or what?

29 April, 2012

2012-0427 Cloudarc expedition

We follow the pilgrim’s trail up the spine of the ranges. The trail is old but usable. Rainor appears to be skilled with the terrain – I belive our maps are accurate. We rely on a Wand of Endure Elements.

TODO – what pilgrims? What gods/practises? What time/era? Connected to Lake Silverstep itself? Legendary origin of the lake – a literal footprint from one of the dragons that made the world. Connected to the frozen dragon above Giacomo’s Rest? Must see that for myself, take notes.


Major interruption of the trail. A chasm crosses it – appears to have been deliberately done by godlike power. Est 3 miles wide, steep cliffs on the far side. Nearly impassible without flight.

The ranger’s companion (Intelligent 1/2 celestial wolf – “Rainen”) and I strapped to his back investigate. attempt to find passage, climbing route, also attempt to confirm that the path continues. Above a given altitude, winds become hurricane force. Detect Magic confirms the effect is magical – conjuration, abjuration. Flying is impossible.


We follow the floor of the chasm – it cuts the entire mountain range in two. (Possible route for road from nomen pains to the south). We then follow the ridges. We sight a pair of taller peaks in the target area, but every path leading towards the site veers away from it. The winds encircle the entire set of peaks. His Grace believes this place is built deliberately as a fortress – the main compound will be between the peaks. Rainor, from my description of the magics, suspects a Mythal. None of us is skilled at the more academic aspects of spellcasting, and so confirmation is impossible.

I might dispute Dave on this one. Knowledge (Arcana) is knowing about it, Spellcraft is being able to do it. Bard has no worries knowing about it.

Possible ascension path located. A chimney which appears to extend through the altitude at which the (presumed) Mythal conjures the worst of the winds. We climb across the face of the cliff to the chimney.

I didn’t take any climb for ZJ, relying on a ninja trick that gives him a climb speed. But having a climb speed doesn’t automatically mean you succeed in difficult checks, it just gives you a flat +8. Oops. It took a bit of fiddling, but ZJ was able to free climb without risk of failure to put the pitons and ropes in. Everyone else managed the check at the last part of the ascent, which was in the high-wind zone.

The ascension of the chimney was successful. The magical winds do not extend inland. We proceed. We are attacked by odd beasts – snow leopards with tentacles growing out of their shoulders and a Displacement effect. Lacking copyright lawyers, we fight them the old fashioned way.

There appears to be a watchtower visible in the distance.


Kingmaker. Frogs. And Cloudarc Monastery.

23 April, 2012

Field Notes – 2012-1904

Travelling north, the woodsman’s companion wolf flew overhead to find the location of the boggard village. (I should mention that his companion seems to be a half-celestial). Having located it, he and I went to investigate.

The village was at the shores of the hooktongue, surrounded by copses in which sentries were stationed. We approached and infiltrated one of the copses and proceeded to knock out the two guards that were present. I had a Dimension Door spell ready, but the recipient must be willing. Or at least – not un-willing. Rainor seems to know one or two martial art tricks and kept the two guards in the copse silent by way of knocking them a blow that kept them busy for a few seconds. Eventually one of them fell, but not before the other managed to sound an alarm call. But no matter, for I teleported the three of us out.

Prior to waking up our captive, I performed a Share Language spell on it. That done, we woke him and began to interrogate.

The tribe is named M’Butu, which translates as “They who swim in blood”. Their leader – one “Sepputu” – appeared to be a shaman of Gogunta, a frog demon of sloth and (I belive) poison. I rather felt that interrogating this captive was pointless – what would he tell us that we basically didn’t know? But I had figured without His Grace’s notions of warrior-like honour. Duke Jope told the captive that he would fight Sepputu, which our captive seemed to accept, actually using the words “trial by combat”. We announced that we would be there dawn the next day, and released him.

Next morning the entire tribe had turned out. A mass of a score or so ordinary tribesmen who I judged were there to observe, four warriors which were distinctly larger, and the shaman himself. I stepped forward to herald our challenge. It seemed that I had judged quite wrongly. As I stepped forward, the entire tribe simply rushed our position.

From which we can observe a number of salient facts.

The warriors and their chief led from the rear. That is, they control their society by fear – by punishment rather than by reward or by example. Their tactics were calculated to save the lives of their elites: they were prepared to use their commons to wear us down, at whatever price. And they acted without honor toward us – unconcerned by any possibility that by defeating us in such a fashion their commons might think less of them.

In short: although the notion of “alignment” is subject to cultural misinterpretation, without a doubt the culture of the boggards is what we would generally call “evil”. Not that this is in any way inconsistent with their veneration of a frog demon.

It’s is also worth noting that Share Language is all very well, but it doesn’t bypass the need for cultural understanding. The words “trial by combat” might have been the closest approximation to what the boggard meant, but it was a mistake to suppose that it implied chivalry or honour or varuous such things. I suspect he said “trial by combat” rather than “find out who is strongest by fighting” because our language offers a short phrase that was close enough.

To return to the narrative: at the charge of the entire tribe towards us, I managed to get off a Haste spell before nipping back into position.

His “position” was well behind everyone else. This guy is definitely turning into Professor Lockhart.

At this juncture I should mention a certain item owned by His Grace. It seems that during his liberation of the kobolds under the mountains (an amazing story), they gave to him the skull of a certain red dragon whom they venerated as their protector. This skull is mounted on a pole, and His Lordship bears it as his standard. It is quite magical, and I had a chance to see it in action.

A wave of dragon-fear came out of the standard, and almost all of the common tribesmen turned to flee. In response to his Grace’s war-cry “Faciat me ad magnus”, I cast Enlarge Person on him, and he proceeded to carve a path through them to get to the shaman. Bloody, but better to kill three of them than twenty.

In the next moment, the four warriors rushed forward to engage us. But again, the standard of Fredonia spoke, this time bellowing a gout of fire, neatly incinerating (or nearly so) three of them. His Grace ignored the warriors and the tribesmen, and accompanied by the knight ran for the shaman at the rear.

It was rather more bloody than that. As the regular boggards fled, Andrew took all of his attacks of opportunity. Jope was enlarged, with 10′ reach and wielding a great flail. Rainen and Klael also took their attacks.

On another note, it was nice to see Andrew’s quest item get some use, and in the precise situation that the item was conceived as being for: a mass attack by mooks. It worked perfectly and in-game mercifully saved the lives of 20 or so dudes who would have been killed if they hadn’t been frightened off.

In a moment, it was over. The shaman dead, three of the four warriors dead, and a mass of commons hiding below the surface of the hooktongue. I cast Share Language on the (now) biggest boggard about four times, he shaking the effect off each time, before asking Rainor to kindly knock him out for me. Rainor did so, I cast my spell, and our Knight revived him.

His Grace said simply “You are chief now. Stay and live here. If you attack pink skins on the road again, we will come back and kill you all.” Harsh, but a correct reading of the culture, I fear. Our Knight was concerned about their veneration of Gogunta. He insisted that they no longer worship her, which I think might be a trifle tricky to enforce. Nevertheless, we took down their idol. A pity we could not transport it to the museum, but circumstances were not favourable.

But, speaking of which, I took a moment to examine one of the dead ones, to settle a question that has caused some controversy – amphibian or humanoid? I required a little help to actually locate the heart of one of them (medicine is not my strong point, I am afraid), but I can verify that it was indeed three-chambered. Expect a paper soon.

Having trouble finding Zack’s “voice” here – is he making personal notes? Writing a letter?

The people of Fort Drellev were pleased to hear that the boggards of the south hooktongue had been pacified, although how long they stay passive for remains to be seen. While His Lordship and the knight engaged in politics, the woodsman and I fell to discussing Cloudarc Monastery.


Cloudarc Monastery! Lost for – ooh, who knows how long. A myth? A ruin? If there were such a place, it’s entirely possible that is is still going, although only if there were a few females. Rainor possesses a map indicating direction from the island in the middle of the mere. Somewhat helpful. But more interestingly, it seems there is a ruin above Giacomo’s Rest with a panorama also indicating the monastery. More than enough to triangulate, and only a few day’s travel away as the crow flies. Rather more than that as the mountaineers mountaineer.

Still. I’m keen to go, as swamp really doesn’t suit me. Winter is coming on. If we go, we should go now. His Grace is agreeable. It seems Rainor is a mystic as well as being a very fine archer, and an old comrade. We are preparing a small expedition – one or two items will be necessary. A wand of Endure Elements most notably, but easy to procure in Freedonia. There was discussion of the problems of dealing with mountains. I have not yet had occasion to demonstrate an old Ninjitsu trick I learned a few years ago, and it slipped my mind.

Bard with “Archaeologist” template. Means you get rogue tricks. One rogue trick is to get a Ninja trick. Most Ninja tricks require a Ki point. One of the ones that does not is “Wall Climber”. Not quite as good as having Spider Climb – doesn’t work on overhangs or on perfectly smooth surfaces. But mountains? Piece of cake. A halfling’s climb skill sucks, on account of their low strength. With this hack, I deal with it.

In any case, we set out as soon as we may.

Yay! Finally doing Cloudarc, which Brett has been waiting patiently to do for yonks. Sorry we made you wait so long dude – hope it’s mega cool.