Hand of Fate (and Foot of Balrom)

After Darkness

So at some point in the dim and distant past, a great wall was built over a tiny little crack between 2 planes on the Western boundary of a Kingdom. Not many people knew why it was built and those who did soon forgot and/or died. It was just a big wall, probably some sort of antiquated defensive structure against ‘Marauding Scots’ (a phrase which emerged spontaneously into being without any definition of ‘Scot’; it was later assumed that it was some sort of pale freckly extraplanar monster).
And after many thousands of years, Lord Darkness came to power and invaded the now fallen Kingdom. But somethng went wrong somewhere (possibly someone misusing a plane shattering sword) and during that time the crack between the 2 planes tore open and all sorts of nasties started to crawl through. A group of brave adventurers, armed with the Sword of Asnegar which they were seeking to slay Lord Darkness with, found themselves in a position to seal the chasm by poking the epicentre with said Sword.
And then the chasm closed and the slimy creatures from the depths were sucked back in or slain, and Lord Darkness went AWOL and his leaderless armies disbanded and all was merriment (the vacuum of evil Lord Darkness left being swiftly filled with by the sudden emergence of Personal Injury Solicitors).
But then things started disappearing…

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Previously in Hand of Fate

The party discovered that the city of Vangelis had disappeared. They were able to learn from a learned dwarf that the Western Wall had been built to protect a Chasm between planes from closing. This had been formed in ancient times when a Trickster God named Balrom had stolen a ‘Wheel of Fate’ that kept the land in balance (from falling into different planes and stuff). Balrom had been defeated, broken to pieces and imprisoned thoughout the land and a Dimensional Stability Device (the Diestad) installed within the wall in order to connect it with another stable plane and prevent the Old Kingdom from falling apart. The party travelled into the dungeon below the wall and found that the Diestad had been broken and an angry free Eye of Balrom, which they captured in a mirror.
To find out more about the legend, the party travelled to Belisaere, where they came into conflict with a Secret Sect of Dwarves (the Amateur Architectural Appreciation Association or A4) who, once their allegiances had been sorted out, told them about a prophecy:

The Steadfast Traveller, the One-Armed Bandit, the Death-defying Yo-yo Man, the Steel Speaker and the Obscurer. Brought together in ignorance that they would one day save not only this world but the worlds beyond or herald the end of the old Kingdom. They shall come forth from darkness and bear in their reflection the truth of the oncoming peril. For their coming for tells that the Diestad is broken and the Trickster has broken free from his bonds, and will surely seek to reclaim the wheel and use it for his fowl purposes. It is fortold that their journey shall be one of both victory and suffering and that soon after their first test, their ways shall split in two as the voice of the Steel Speaker draws them apart. Comrades shall be found in unexpected places: heed the Deafening Shot, and beware the Hand.

Also, A4 said they could fix the Diestad (at least temporarily) if the Dwarven Fortress at Mount Fiador were liberated from the Fire Giants. This was done, and the Diestad was mended and installed in a lesser Pit down in the Deeps under Mount Fiador.

The party then turned their attention to collecting other bits of Balrom (which could not be destroyed whilst other parts survived).
The Current Tally is:

  • Right Hand
  • Foot
  • Eye
  • Nose
  • Entrails
  • Heart

In the midst of this, they enraged Officials in Belisaere when they slayed a Sphinx monument which held the Nose of Balrom and are now outlawed from the city.

They have been able to learn that the left Hand of Balrom has also been collecting pieces while acting as the harmless companion of a wannabe wizard. It broke into the Dwarven Fortress and broke and stole half the Diestad. Again, the world begins to vanish and the only thing that can save it is the Wheel of Fate…

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Aqueducts, lava and Dinosaurs

After much consideration,the team set out to Belisaere, a city in which 3/4 of them are Wanted Criminals. They found it pretty empty due to a drought. Oremi decided to be ‘Nice’ and magicked them a new aqueduct in return for consideration of exoneration of threatening to destroy the city.
They investigated the mystery of the wheels of fate and discovered that they are probably (if not metaphorically) somewhere underground.
They decided to chase a lead provided by Zanthia the alchemist, who said she had seen a sign to the Wheels of Fate when she was on a fool’s errand for an anchor stone at the ‘Centre of the Wrold’.
They found their way there by means of an air vent on the Island of Volcania. It was hot down there, with trees that grew crystals, lake of lava and dinosaurs. They opened a door with a stegasaurus and found a giant anchor made out of a mysterious metal.
In another place, they also found a suspicious female who said she was busy acquiring the precious minerals of the caves.
They found their way to a lava pool which appeared to breath in and out of an air vent. Blocking the air with stone, they located a passage ‘to the Wheels of Fate’. Then they found a dragon snake inside (with lots of cute dragon snake babies), which tried to eat them. This was its lair, not a passaway to the wheels :( They took one of the little snakes as a pet.
Upon re-investigating the sign, it appeared to haved been recently cut. Oremi went down to investigate the elemental in the lava pool and came against an Elemental Fire Construct that had been placed there…

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Picnics, Loose change and Associated Dragons

Upon returning from the ‘Centre of the World’, the team came across a ‘Sunday School Outing’ just setting out from Belisaere upon a wreck of a fishing boat owned by a gnarly old man. Having taken an interest (seeing the head cleric’s insignia), they forged their names onto the list and joined the trip. Oremi it transpired gets nervous on boats, so made it fly ever so slightly. (Clearly an ill omen, according to Gnraly old Man).
The made it to the beach at Terms, Oremi made a full-size sandcastle and shut himself inside (winning the admiration of many of the kiddies on the trip) and the others joined in the activities. They were surprised to find that one of the children on the trip was in fact a halfling with the unnerving habit of teleporting between shadows, but she did not appear to be a threat. They also learnt in a roundabout way that the group were followers (not worshippers) of the Fate (for Fate does not care for the prayers of the common people – what happens happens, without prejudice or favour).
Then they played rounders.
Then some kiddies wandered off to look in a cave and were attaked by a Drake (the dragon, not the goose). The halfing proved herself to be deadly in battle, so the team adopted her.
After some discussion, Jo’an revealed that she had seen the symbol before around the neck of a dragon in caves under the Troll Toll Bridge.
They rested up in Belisaere and set out on horseback for a change. Some chance encounters ensued (ambush by gnolls etc.) and they eventually made it to Max-by-Lyx, and thence to the Bridges (the Copper Bridge had vanished).
They snuck into the caves and underground they found many hundreds of goblins, many tens of Tough Draconic goblins and an awful lot of money. It appeared to be being sorted into gols, silver and copper, the gold being taken further on for processing. They set off alarms, so abandoned their stealth attempts in favour of Cloudkill. This led to an appeal for Truce from the gonblins, and they were lead to the Boss.
The Boss was a large Green (not colour-coded for your convenience) dragon called Micorakiv aka Uncle Mic. He was the Boss around here and was brewing ‘Hot Gold’, and addictive Orc Liquor and excellent crop fertiliser.
He was happy to tell the team what he knew about the Wheels of Fate – they were below the Under Kingdom, but could not be reached except maybe by the clerics of the order of the pendant he wore (terminally relieved from it’s previous owner). The Orcs knew things and any of his kind that the party came upon might aid them in delving further.

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Spectral Monks and Betrayal

Having been told that the Orcs in the vicinity of the ‘Wee Hills’ (Giant Mountains) would be able to help the team find out more about the places in the Under Kingdom in their quest for the Wheels of Fate, the team tracked Orcs. The trail led to an old Monastery. They entered to find unnatural darkness blanketing everything, dead Zombie orcs and a creepy wailing that seemed to follow the new cleric about, unnerving him.
They went into the Monastery and found some Wraith-wight-monks processing round the cloister. Having ascertained that their attacks had a nasty sting, they fought them carefully and effectively, befriending the last one and getting him to tell them that the ‘Bishop’ would be holding ‘Matins’ when the bell tolled 3 times. And that there were 27 other Monks. And that they didn’t want to be un-undeadified.
After resting up, the team entered the church to await the appearance of the Bishop. Ignoring the rest of the Monks, they targetted him with all their force and succeeded in destroying him. Then, Oremi called them together and they escaped…
…to the Cavern of Betrayal.
Where he apologised, told them all he was joining forces with Balrom, activated the curses in the things he had made for them and gave them an ‘One-use-item-of-teleportation’.

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Heart of Wood

Zanril collapsed sideways, crashing to the ground with a thud. His heart stuttered for a second, then stopped. Yet before his blood had completely stopped in his veins, a strange sound was heard.

thud…thud…thud…

With a hiss, a section of Zanril’s construct arm became transparent, revealing a small, wooden heart inside.

thud thud…thud thud…

The noise slowly grew louder as the arm began to smoke from the heat being generated inside. Suddenly, fire leapt across Zanril’s prone form, obscuring his form in a column of fire. Within a matter of moments, all that was left was ash.

And then…

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Really not Azkaban

The team spent some time trying to escape from the Chamber of Betrayal. Jo’an refused to use the teleportation device, so got left behind to her fate. The rest of the team found themselves in a prison cell. It was sickly and scary, but they had all their stuff and the window was unbarred. Unfortunately, anything that moved outside the window instantly got paralyzed.
They found that the prison was guarded by both Axiomites – elf-like creatures of law – and their Inevitable constructs. The asked for appeal papers, then went and fought all the Inevitables they could find, releasing some insane criminals and picking up a useful companion TM on the way.
Having acquired a communicator from an Inevitable and ascertained that the Axiomites had rings to stop them getting paralyzed and a way of getting out of the spiraling corridor of cells, they returned to their cell to ambush the next Axiomite that dropped by. They did this and acquired Loot TM.
Now how to use it to escape…

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Rafts, Holes and Orc Hotels

This week a new ally, a rogue tiefling introduced herself to the team, swearing vengence against Oremi for his part in the death of Jo’an.
Having looted a teleportation ring off an Axiomite (who would take some time to get over that headache), the team investigated where it led to. They found the Axiomite seminar rooms/offices/boiler room. Swift diplomacy, fast shooting and daggering enabled them to disable the Clerk before he pressed the ‘Red Button’, while disguise and bluff allowed them to evade the attention of the rest. They wandered around for a while, guessed the code for the boiler room and randomly twiddled some taps. Then it got cold and the teleport rings didn’t work. Then they twiddled them again and they returned to their cell to attempt to fly out the window. Unfortunately they couldn’t get far without the paralysis field overwhelming what little protection they had. So eventually the erstwhile Barbarian and ranger returned to the boiler room, summoned apes, taught them how to turn a tap, sped back to the raft the others were on and began to paddle to safety once the correct tap had been aped.
Once out, they popped back to Belisaere to find many peasants mysteriously digging holes for entirely justifiable reasons. This seemed to be the consequence of a solar eclipse that had occurred at midday the previous day.
Having told their entire story to a bard, the team set off to get back on the trail of orcs they had been following before they were so rudely betrayed. They found an entrance to their tunnels in a tomb by the old monastery and a locked door at the end of the tunnel. Although they didn’t know the password, they were given a link to click on, and when they claimed the link was broken, they were let in. In order to prove themselves in orc society, the rogue offered to fight the captain of the guard in single combat.
With much of daggering, she achieved this in the gladitorial arena of the Orcs, to high acclaim. Then a weedy orc with a hidden ‘Wheels of Fate’ pendant was thrown into the arena against 2 enraged feral trolls. The sorceress(transmogrified Barbarian) sneakily summoned monsters for him when he seemed to frightened to cast any spells.
Then the cleric decided he wanted to fight something, and killed a giant slavering beetle.
The weedy-looking orc (called Kokol) transpired to be the apprentice of one of the Masters of the Portals of the Wheels, the 4 preists with the secret knowledge with which to open the portals to the Wheels, but they were all missing/gone into hiding.
So the team booked a room at an orc hotel, ready for a new day of Questing!

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