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And so, the hunt begins again...
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Gabriel Wood
Artist | Student | Literature
United Kingdom


[Currently studying Creative Writing BA degree at the University of Gloucestershire - Second Year]

"I'm a grown-ass man and a grown ass man, I can do whatever the frig I want. As long as I pay my taxes."
- Me, 27/01/2017

I write stories of all sorts, yet not including sorts I don't write. I find those boring.
I mostly write flash fiction, but I do have a couple of more long-running works that update semi-frequently, along with the odd fan-fiction when I'm in the mood for it. I mostly write for my own amusement but you're all welcome to have a read if you like. Only if you want to. It's your life. I can't force you to do anything. It's a free world. Sort of.

I also upload journals of my various D&D campaigns that I DM. I play roughly once a week and upload a detailed account pretty much as soon as I'm done. I also occasionally upload journals of sessions where I'm a player, but that's only when it's part of a campaign that I also DM for. People who participate in sessions that I DM are not allowed to read the journals because I usually take the opportunity to talk about things that are coming up i.e. things I would consider spoilers for them.

I have done some art but I don't claim to be a very good artist. I got a C in GCSE Art, if that helps you prepare for the horror. If I draw something and it looks like it was drawn by someone older than six, I might upload it. I will also be uploading some truly terrible poetry now and again. Trust me, it will be godawful and/or far too cryptic for anyone but me to understand. And that's not even a statement about my intelligence, it's just that the poetry will be completely incoherent and unreadable. But it might be good. Maybe.

On the rare occasion I receive some insight on a game/book/film, I might write a review or an analysis on it. These will probably go into my journal instead of being submitted as deviations.

In any case, I hope you enjoy the content I put out here. I'm sure those of you who like things like Bloodborne and pretentious "La Moustache" stuff will find something enjoyable. Not that I'll ever write anything that isn't incredibly edgy, of course.

Thanks \o/

Links:

YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCstOH…

Wattpad: www.wattpad.com/user/Existenti…

Twitter: twitter.com/ooccttoo

The Bible: katfeete.net/writing/suestart.…

Sausages: www.thebest404pageever.com/swf…
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As you're about to see, that title really fits this session.

Joining us we had:
  • Nadine of the Flame, a holy warrior of a self-proclaimed purpose - Daria's Aasimar, Paladin 7 (Oath of Vengeance)
  • X-05, the Chosen of Saint Traft, a wayward robot now training his first apprentice: the young Rowan of Silburn - James' Warforged, Monk 7 (Way of Shadow)
  • Ace, a haunted young man who seeks the destruction of a shadowy cult - Alice's Half-Elf, Warlock 7 (The Ashen Wolf)
  • Siessa, a druid following a vision on a path to destroy evil and bring about balance to the world - Helen's Kessiger Human, Druid 4 (Circle of the Moon)/Ranger 3 (Beastmaster)
  • And, for the first time! Blaine, a retired soldier bearing a curse and searching for redemption - Bailey's new Stensian Human, Blood Hunter 7 (Order of the Lycan)
We began with me catching Helen up on what happened last time, going into how Ace and Nova broke up and the party moved on to Corsovia where Ace got into trouble by tailing a mysterious man through the street. Helen said she was glad she wasn't there because it sounded too emotional and we all agreed it was pretty intense (in a very good way). Also before the session I gave Helen a little thing telling her what happened to Siessa while she stayed behind in Silburn. Long story short, the new cleric turned up, pulled the cap off of that pen that Ace forgot about and it exploded, revealing itself to be a JoJo reference- uh I mean, a terrorist attack by the Cult of the Black Cat (anti-Avacyn warlock cult). The new cleric died (revealing himself to actually be the doppleganger who disguised itself as Rao before, but I don't think Helen really clocked that) and so did a bunch of monks, but Gremia and Siessa survived. Gremia warned her to destroy the cult if she ever encountered them, and Siessa went on her way. 

Fast forward to the present, Siessa and Rodor arrive in Corsovia and enter the tavern. They meet Sarah Zheng and get some water.

Sarah gives you a skeptical look when you ask for water, then sees Rodor and you being all in-sync with each other. Then you see realisation flicker across her face, like she's thinking "ah, of course, vegans."

Helen: "Oooh I already hate her but love her at the same time."

After Levi and Blaine introduced themselves, I switched perspective to Ace, who was being attacked by the ghoul. After he said "if you're not gonna help me get food, maybe I should just take a bite out of you!" we rolled initiative. We both rolled 15, so we re-rolled and the ghoul went first. With a bite, claw and knife attack, he did something like 25 damage, maybe more.

Helen: *seeing Alice have to make Con saves* "I swear to god if we end up with a ghoul and an ashen beast in the party..."

Understandably, Ace grabbed Sooty and yeeted out of there with a dimension door spell. Appearing in the courtyard near the crucified Uta Falkenrath, two guards approached him and demanded an explanation for why he was teleporting around like a madman. Ace explained and one of the guards went to check out the situation. In the meantime, the remaining guard told Ace to come with him to the church for healing.

Switching back to the others, they were chilling in the tavern when two guards dragged in the man in leathers. With his mask taken away, he was obviously a ghoul with his grey skin, black gums and pointy teeth (also Nadine used her divine sense to confirm it). The players were all quite confused as to why he was being brought into the tavern, especially after Sarah confirmed it was probably for an execution. They pushed the protesting man down on his knees in the centre of the tavern and one of the guards went to the other side of the room and unveiled a mirror. One of them then said something along the lines of "this man is accused of conspiracy to murder, murder, theft and collusion with demons." Then, to the mirror: "Your majesty! Please, help us find the truth. Help us to acheive justice for this man's crimes. We beg of you, Katrina!"

At this point, Nadine tried to intervene, saying that this execution was a travesty and that the man wasn't getting a fair trial. A guard moved in front of her and told her not to be a nuisance. She actually cast Zone of Truth, which really annoyed the guard, causing him to apprehend her and drag her away from the scene. She didn't resist, and then-

The mirror then begins to glow with bright, vicious light like what Sarah described appearing when Katrina first appeared with Uta's corpse. Then, a half-formed reflection begins to appear on the surface of the mirror and a figure steps out. A woman wearing black, not overly regal but formal attire with a high, white collar. Long red hair and piercing orange eyes. As she steps into the Zone of Truth, she uses a Legendary Resistance to ignore that shit.

Helen: *short pause* "Wait. Is that the actual Katrina?"

Yup.

Helen: "Ohh shit."

X-05: "Hey! Katrina, I have a message for you. Your granddad's a ghost and he says that the only thing stopping him from moving on is that he hasn't seen you safe and sound after you got kidnapped."

We all then lost our shit.

I CANNOT BELIEVE you remember that, James. You guys literally just watched THE Katrina Falkenrath step out of a mirror in a flash of light to end some guy's life and you bring up something from session four. 

James: *shrug* "I'm just the messenger."

Ok, well... Katrina does take notice of you, but only a little. She looks your way for a moment and you can see that she recognises you and Nadine. There is no verbal acknowledgement and she turns back to Garl. He tries to object, magically unable to lie, saying he is innocent. Katrina shakes her head, saying that she can see the demons' influence on him.

Siessa: "To be fair, you are a ghoul."

Garl: "No! I'm not a ghoul, I'm human! Human as the day I was born, I swear!"

Katrina: "I'm sorry. The demons have already corrupted you."

Blaine: *stepping forward* "Hold on a second, this isn't a fair trial! You don't have evidence that this man has done anything wrong. We demand an explanation."

Guard: "On what grounds do you demand?"

Blaine: "Well, I think we have a right to know."

Guard: "Sir, you are not entitled to anything. Now please, stop making a scene and obstructing government business."

Blaine: "Your government business is bullshit!"

OOOOOOO-KAY, roll for initiative. You guys are really doing this when Katrina is still in the room, huh.

Everyone: *PANIC*

The guards then pulled out their muskets and shot Blaine, hitting him twice and dealing something like 22 damage. They yelled for him to back off and get on his knees. Siessa, trying to avoid conflict, knelt and said "it is an honour, your majesty" and had Rodor bow as well. Nadine got dragged out of the tavern but then pushed the guard off her and drew her weapons.

Nadine: "Everybody stand down! I just want to heal my friend, but my oath compels me to fight if I have to!"

Katrina: *her turn begins* 

There is a silence, and Katrina just regards you. Then, after hearing your words, she actually laughs, genuinely laughs out loud. "My, you really are the perfect paladin, aren't you?"

Daria: "oh god that sounds like something a villain says right before they kill someone."

She then reaches into her jacket and pulls out what looks like a thin, white conductor's wand. 

Daria: *sweating*

Katrina: *waves wand authoritatively, points it to the party* She's right, there's no need for such theatrics. Garl, come with me. Guards, take them to the church and question them." 

Daria: "Phew..."

She then took Garl's hand and pulled him through the mirror.

At the last moment, he looks like he's happy, like he's about to get justice done for him.

It was then Levi's turn, who jumped to Blaine's defence.

Levi: "If you're going to take him away, take me with you. My brother's an idiot, but he's not a criminal."

Bailey: *laughing* "Blaine flips him off."

Levi gives you a look, like "you know I'm right though". 

Four more guards came in (making 8 total) and announced they would be escorting the party to the church for questioning ("why did you interfere", "why are you here in town" etc). The party complied and they got put in manacles.

Blaine: *getting manacled* "D'you think you could make these tighter?" *wink*

Guard: *angry squint*

Siessa: *blush*

Bailey: "Can we say that the bullets, like, pulled his shirt open?"

Absolutely, the bullets blasted off the buttons holding your clothes together and your (bloodied) chest is partially revealed.

Daria: "The best kind of chest."

Helen: "Man, I wish I was still playing as Perren because he'd totally flirt with Blaine. Siessa's too shy to make a move, but she is very flustered by the sight of Levi and Blaine in handcuffs."

Gotta say, I'm really enjoying Blaine's antics. He's so different from Nova it's hilarious.
________________

Anyway, the party (including Rowan and Rodor, the latter of whom was put on a leash) then got taken up to the church, bumping into Ace who was also being taken up there.

Ace: "What the hell did you guys do?"

Nadine: "What did you do?"

Ace's Guard: "You lot are together, huh?"

Ace: "Yeah, but I have no idea what they did!"

Guard (with the others): "You better come with us, then."

And so, 8 guards became 9. I could practically smell the TPK coming. I must confess I had a small (joking) meltdown when I bumped into my sister in the hall when I went for a quick toilet break. "They're so fucked, Lydia. They're so fucked." She just laughed and wished me good luck.

After passing the long line in, they saw what all the people were waiting for: a woman in acid green robes and a blindfold (similar to what the man in the carriage from last session was wearing but in a different colour) was giving each person a medical examination of some sort. She merely nodded to the guards. 

They then went into a back room, where they met someone Nadine recognised: Caspar, the local priest. I asked Daria what Nadine's relationship would have been with him when she was growing up and she said something to the effect of "Well, Nadine was a bit of a loner as a child and was always quite scared and confused with her innate powers. Since she turned to religion for most of her explanations of life, she would have treated Caspar as a close friend and confidant."

Caspar was then ordered to open up the dungeon (everyone: *eyebrow wiggle*) so that the party could be interrogated. Caspar pocketed a small book as he did that (none of the guards noticed but Ace and Nadine did), and then opened up a trap door. He was shocked to recognise Nadine as the strapping paladin she'd become, but didn't make a fuss. He seemed to be biding his time to talk to her. He also slipped the small book into Ace's pocket when he went to heal the latter's wounds from Garl.

After the guards put Rodor in a cage, they asked a few questions before the captain of the guard showed up: another person Nadine recognised, Tanya the local upstart. The two of them had been in school together, and Tanya was always known for being a rebel, causing trouble and committing petty crimes all through her childhood and teenage years up until Nadine left home at 15. I asked Daria what Nadine's relationship was likely with her and how she felt now that the guards all seemed to be treating her with all the respect that a guard captain is due. Daria said something like "Nadine was already having enough difficulty in understanding herself, so she mostly avoided getting involved with Tanya's antics. She's very shocked and worried to see Tanya in a position of power, though."

Tanya: *small nod* "Nadine."

Nadine: *unnerved* "Tanya."

What followed was a very tense interrogation session. Tanya radiated a relaxed yet powerful presence, needling the players for info. Siessa tried speaking both Abyssal and Infernal to spook the guards (which she nearly got shot for) but Tanya merely noted the fact that she could do so and moved on. The party tried to argue that the trial was unfair, but Tanya dismissed them.

Tanya: "Do you know of Katrina's philosophy? She wants everyone to know that she is a powerful leader, someone that humans will trust but their enemies will fear. To that end, a criminal of Garl's sort is commonly executed in public places. Did you not know that he had committed five murders already? A fair trial's usefulness was in the past."

Eventually, Tanya decided that she had had enough of talking with the party. She'd discerned that they were just troublemakers, and to be kept under a watchful gaze from now on while they were in town. So she let them go.

Tanya: "But before you go, a quick search. It's standard procedure."

Alice: "Ah-ha! I put the prayerbook in my jacket, not my bag, so she won't find it."

Oke, she takes the bag. But what about the other book?

Alice: *realising she left the Tome of Demonology in Ace's bag* OH NO-

TOO LATE!

Tanya rummaged through everyone's stuff, commenting on X-05's attire and weaponry.

Tanya: "I find it strange that someone wearing a Cloak of the Goldfire and carrying what seems to be a genuine Moonsilver Spear also carries a homonculus with them."

X-05: "Well, Oglor needed a place to stay and I figured he could tag along."

Tanya: "And where did the cloak and spear come from?"

X-05: "Oh, Saint Traft gave 'em to me."

Tanya: "Really."

She was skeptical, but let it slide. It wasn't like he was carrying anything illegal. Speaking of, one my of my favourite things I did in this conversation is say "Tanya rummages in Ace's bag, and" without actually moving on to her finding the book. I just kept building the tension, making them believe I was going to have her find it and then not. Then, eventually-

Tanya: "Alright, I think you can all leave now- wait, what's this?" 

She then casually flicked through it and calmly asked why Ace happened to have a book with a comprehensive knowledge of demons in it. Nadine (and most of the rest of the party just now learning of this) pulled a Yellow Diamond face but were quickly allowed to leave by Tanya who was now only interested in Ace and, thanks to her speaking fiendish languages, Siessa.

Tanya: "So, care to tell me a bit about why you have a demon-summoning item on you? Maybe it has something to do with that strange familiar you have."

Sooty: *whine*

Ace: "Ok, so the book, you'll notice that the instructions say that you need to burn pages in order to use it, right? And you'll also notice that all the pages are there if you read through it. I'm not using it for summoning, just for research to help me better protect myself from demons."

Tanya: *clearly playing with him* "I see. So you're saving all the pages for something, then? You must be, if you fight demons and other evil creatures so often but never use this thing. What sort of activity might you be saving all these pages for, and might it have anything to do with why you're here?"

Ace really felt the pressure then, but Siessa jumped in by saying it was her book.

Tanya: "Yours? So you're the author, are you?"

Siessa: "No. If you look at my notes you'll see I am a traveller. Recently, I met a necromancer in Shadowgrange who I got that book from."

Tanya: "Who?"

Siessa: "Siegfried."

Tanya: "So he gave it to you?"

Siessa: "No, he sold it to me."

Tanya: "Really? What, did he just have it on his shelf for anyone to buy?"

Siessa: "No, I found it in his shop and he let me buy it. He seemed very eager to get rid of it."

Tanya: "Really. He had it lying around and you found it. When was this?"

Siessa: "About a year ago."

Tanya: "So, long before anyone realised he was insane. In fact, long before he apparently went into necromancy. Why did he have such an item at that time?"

Siessa: "I don't know, he didn't say much about it."

Tanya: "So you didn't think to ask? Or better yet, tell the authorities that he had such a thing? You kept that secret, did you? Sounds less like you were an innocent passerby and more of a compatriot in his later acts of evil. Why did you buy it?"

Siessa: "Just to clue myself up on how to fight demons."

Tanya: "Well. Honestly I-"

Ace: "Wait, Siessa, you don't need to cover for me."

Siessa: *nervous* "Ace, what do you mean-"

Tanya: "Go on, Ace. Maybe you can tell me more about this creature while you're at it."

Ace: "We were in the swamp near Dansk, but one of our friends got cursed. The only way to save them was to take them up to the Ashmouth to be cured by one of the angels. While there, we got in an altercation with some demons. At that time, one of them dropped the book and I picked it up. Just for research, of course. And if you must know, I am a warlock and this is an elemental comprised of ash and fire."

Tanya: "I've heard of its like. There are apparently a group of elven warlocks (as you clearly are) called Embersworn out in Kessig who regularly skirmish with the other cults of demon worshippers out there. Each clan fighting to prove the supremacy of their dark gods and demonic masters. Is that accurate to what you are?

Ace: "I might have some of their powers, but I'm not one of them. And for your information, the Embersworn turn into these familiars when they die. In fact, this one is the soul of my dead best friend given form, so thanks for bringing that up."

Tanya: "...honestly, the first story was more believable." 

We had a quick break and I thought of what to do next. This session was really testing my ability to keep cool and improvise good dialogue. Just to brag, I think I did a pretty good job. There was a line where Ace tried to pretend Sooty was nothing to be concerned about and Tanya quipped "oh, let me guess, you bought him too and have nothing to do with his creation" which got a nice "oooooh" from the players.

After a little thinking, Tanya said: "I have enough evidence between the two of you to accuse you both of being demon cultists. The book alone is enough to warrant arrest at the very least. But tell you what, I've realised something. Ace, you are clearly entirely incapable of lying. Miss Hamilton, you're free to go."

Siessa gave Ace a worried look and tried to stay and defend him more, but Ace insisted she leave. As she did, Tanya sat back in her chair and smiled.

Tanya: "So, Ace. This must be a success for you. All your friends are in the clear and you're the only one left."

Ace: *grimly* "Yep..."

Tanya: "I think Her Majesty will want to meet you. Let us go to her so you may tell her more about yourself. Worst case, you are found to be a cultist and executed. Best case, you are a demon hunter as you say and she offers you a job."

Ace: *under his breath* "Fucking religious types..."

Tanya: "Excuse you?"

Ace: "You're clearly forcing me to do this because of your religion. We're in the basement of a church."

Tanya: "Do you see an Avacyn talisman on my chest? I'm loyal to Her Majesty first and some absent angel second."

At this, Ace was lead away through the church and out the door by four guards and Tanya. No one from the party followed except Siessa and Rodor, who didn't want to leave him behind. Tanya intially told Siessa to go away, as she was now a free woman. When she insisted on following, Tanya shrugged and said whatever. Approaching the mirror in the tavern again, Tanya bowed and said "Your Majesty, I apologise for contacting you again so soon."

A vague form appeared on the surface of the mirror. "Why are you contacting me directly?"

"There is a young warlock I think you will be interested to speak to," Tanya said, ushering Ace forward. "He has ties to the demons, and a curious artefact in his possession."

A small amount of light appeared on the surface of the mirror and a hand came out of it, beckoning. "Bring him forward," said the voice.

Daria: "So, is she dtf?"

Huh? Dtf? Down to fuck?

Daria: "I don't know what it is Gabe, all your characters are just very fuckable."

Oh, well that probably has something to do with the fact that they come from MY imagination.

Daria: "Heh, you just have good taste then."

Anyway, Ace willingly took Katrina's hand and was pulled through the mirror, despite Siessa's protesting.

Siessa: "Please, you don't have to do this!"

Tanya: "Be quiet. He is having the great privilege of a meeting with Her Majesty. Maybe you should play your cards right next time if you want one."

Both the hand and the mirror were like ice to the touch. As Ace went through, Siessa could not stand still any longer. Rolling Athletics against the guards, she beat them with a 14 against their measly 7 (they even had advantage!) and grabbed onto Ace just before he fully went through. Tanya yelled for her to stop, but it was too late. Both PCs entered the mirror, taking Sooty but not Rodor with them.

And they were never seen again. Hahah, just kidding. But maybe not. 
____________


At the same time, Levi and Blaine had a short, whispered convo about how they were all probably in enemy territory after all. Then Caspar approached Nadine.

Caspar: "Hello again, Nadine. It's been a while. I was wondering if you had a minute to talk."

Nadine: *nods*

Caspar: "It's about your parents. I'm sorry, but the rumours are true, they're both dead. Would you like to come with me to the cemetery? We can do this more privately."

Nadine: *crestfallen* "Sure."

Caspar then led Nadine to a pair of graves that read Nora Miller and Jonah Miller. But before Nadine could speak-

Caspar: *suddenly speaking quickly* "Nadine, your parents are alive. I don't have much time, there are spies everywhere-"

Daria: "WHAT"

Caspar: "I tried to slip you a note in that prayerbook earlier but it didn't work, your parents are trapped in the catacombs and they likely don't have much time left, you need to go save them right now or their chance at survival is going to drop to zero."

And I think we'll end the session there.

Everyone: *screaming*
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

So yeah, that was our fourth or fifth "pizza GIF" session in a row. A lot happened, including the loss(?) of two PCs. I think I'll have Helen and Alice play as Levi and Caspar for the next few sessions until the party move on from Corsovia. It was a really fantastic session with great RP from everyone. Bailey says that this was the first time she was scared both in-character and out, which pleases me. This is the part of the story where I want shit to feel like it's getting serious. 

Anyway, next time: catacombs and probably more death! I wanna make this next bit a real challenge heheheheh

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Today we had a very ostentatious encounter that Jack thought would be deadly for the four players who turned up, but turned out to be better balanced than he thought.

Joining us we had:
  • Aisa, the first cleric of Ariadne seeking her fate - Charlotte's Eladrin Cleric (Trickery Domain)/Rogue (soon-to-be Inquisitive)
  • Mordecai, an unpredictable thief chasing excitement - Robert's Half-Elf Rogue (Assassin)
  • Blair, a headstrong warrior yearning for purpose - my Human Slayer (Dragonheart)
  • Ky'ri, a tall elf boy who thinks he's a goliath trying to keep his home safe - Mitch's Snow Elf Ranger (Horizon Walker)/Rogue (Scout)
After doing a little admin, we went to the throne room of Oghma's Eye and found Oghma there sitting on the throne.

Rob: "I'm not there though."

Me: "Blair runs out, yelling "MORD?!" like she's lost her son."

Blair: *to passing rando* "Please, I've lost my thief!"

Rando: "What does he look like?"

Blair: "He's of average height, got one bloodshot eye, wears leathers with a hood-"

Rando: "Oh yeah, I saw someone like that at the cupcake factory."

Blair then marched over there to find Mord stealing/eating cupcakes on a conveyor belt.

Blair: *grabbing Mord's wrist and speaking through gritted teeth* "Mord I swear to the gods you put that cupcake down right now and come with me."

Mord: *mouth full of cake* "MfMFmhMf?!"

Blair: *grabbing all her disaster rogue children's wrists* "I swear to the gods I will turn this adventure around, we are going on a road trip right now and you will have fun so help me-!"

Blair sighed. "I miss my wife."

____

Anyway, Oghma then gave us our task in return for the info on Garish we needed. "Go to the House of Chester and have fun."

Alright... a little vague but we were happy to go to this place and do... something? If Oghma was sending us there, there must have been a reason.

The House of Chester was apparently a mansion belonging to a Mister Chester, a human merchant with lots of money who ran an auction every month with rare and bizarre items, often purchased or acquired illegally, that he would sell to the highest bidder (usually unscrupulous merchants or warlords). Knowing we'd need an invitation to get in, we decided to wait on the road leading to the mansion and ambush the first group of rich-looking people to pass by. Best case scenario, we get the invitations we needed. Worst case, we beat up some rich people for no reason. So it was win-win really.

After Mord and Ky'ri hid in the trees, Aisa tied herself up and Blair hid in the shrubbery, a couple came walking down the road. Ky'ri shot the man in the leg, Blair rocketed out on her horse accusing them of being scumbags (holding her lawyer's badge as proof? She really is an Ace Attorney) and Mord stole what we needed and what he wanted. 

After fixing the man's leg, we divvied up the roles:
  • Blair cast Alter Self to look like Idris Elba to pass herself as "Harold Perkins", also stealing the latter's coat and tails and invitation.
  • Aisa cast Disguise Self to look like a less basement-y elf to pass as "Elizabeth Perkins".
  • Ky'ri took on the role of our... entertainment? He looks a bit too weird to be a normal guard.
  • Mord used a disguise kit to became Wilfred Brimley (???), our other guard.
We entered the manor no problem. We chatted with some of the guests, a hobgoblin warlord and his goblin entourage, some humans, and a guy who Mord said he recognised as "James Lockwood". I wonder who that could be........................................................................................................................?

Me: "How long until Alter Self wears off?"

Another half an hour.

Me: "Hmm, not sure how I'm going to recast in front of all these people."

Aisa: "It's ok darling, you can just discreetly leave and take your medicine."

Blair: "Ah, what would I do without my lovely wife to remind me? Die of tuberculosis, probably." 

We got into the manor proper and, after a failed attempt by Ky'ri to sneak upstairs (Mord slipping in champagne wasn't enough to distract the guards), Chester appeared, struck a pose and introduced the theme of tonight's auction: "mythical beasts". With that, he pulled a lever and the floor descended to a large theatre with a (apparently magical) curtain at the back. We all took our seats (next to James from earlier) and the show began. 

The lights dim and-

Blair: "Oh god, my tuberculosis is taking hold! I can feel it in my veeeeeiiiiiiiins-

The lights dim and-

Blair: "EaHahagh I'm going to need my medicine in about... 29 minutes...!"

Sorry Jack, it was just a really good goof.

I'll be brief: first was a real fuck-off manticore in a magic box that I think the hobgoblin bought for 700 platinum. Then there was a beast of ill omen (basically a fey-ish fox that causes humanoids to have bad luck i.e. disadvantage on rolls). I think we bought that one? I don't remember. Jack told us up front that we didn't need to worry about paying which kind of tipped us off that the auction wasn't going to be completed so we just went wild with bidding. Then, most interestingly, a death dog that was very obviously infected with the goo got brought out. We bought it for some ridiculous amount (3102 platinum and 1 copper? I guess these nobles and merchants were so rich that they used platinum for their standard currency instead of gold) after a really hilarious round of competitive bidding.

Blair: "700 platinum!"

Aisa: "Hey, I just bid, you idiot!"

Me: "Oh sorry, I thought the hobgoblin bid just now."

Blair: "I'm sorry, my darling wife, it must be the tuberculosis plugging my ears..."

Chester: "Sold, to that man over there!"

Blair: *jumping up so that everyone can see "her" face* "YES! I, HAROLD PERKINS, BOUGHT THAT THING WITH MY OWN MONEY. THE WORLD BELONGS TO THE YOUNG, BAY-BEE!"

Hobgoblin: "Ugh, humans..."

Or maybe we spent that money on the t-rex that they wheeled out next (also in a magic container)? I don't remember, we were all very excitable. Just as the t-rex was declared sold to us, Chester froze as the enchantment disappeared.

Blair: "Ky'ri, my bow!"

The t-rex then smashed through the glass.

Roll for initiative!

The following encounter was probably one of the most fun we've had so far, simply because it felt like we all had a special role to play. Blair got bitten and grappled, taking off more than half her health in one go, but then-

Aisa: "Don't bite my husband, that's my job!"

Aisa used Polymorph to transform Blair into a t-rex to match our opponent which felt goddamn amazing. I think Jack expected us to really struggle against the t-rex, not just whip out a pokeball and send one of our own into the fray.

While Blair tussled with the beast and Aisa played support, Mord ran backstage. He did this both because the t-rex inflicted the Frightened condition on him and because we were all getting disadvantage on our rolls. Jack told us it was the beast of ill omen, and although it was obvious it would have been nice to have been allowed to figure it out ourselves. Mord found the beast inside a (nonmagical) glass box and would have smashed it then and there... had a "Greater Fire Guard Drake" (basically a wingless dragon) not been guarding the merchandise. Mord would have been roasted if he didn't have his evasion feature...

After a few rounds of whittling down our enemies, Blair roared at the t-rex to get it to back off and went to help Mord and Ky-ri who were desperately trying to kill the beast before the drake killed them. Thankfully, the drake kept rolling 1s for its recharge, so it never got us with its fire breath again. After Mord finally hacked the beast to death with his saw spear, Blair and the drake started to fight each other.

Rob: "Wait, Mordecai doesn't know Blair's that t-rex, he's just shit scared of the two massive beasts at each end of the corridor now."

Me: *winks*

Mitch: "Was that Blair winking at Mord as a t-rex?"

Me: "Yep."

Mitch: "Ok, just to make sure I say 'hi, Blair!' as I run past her."

At the same time, Aisa almost got pounced on by the t-rex but did a fantastic finisher with a 3rd-level Guiding Bolt that blasted right through its mouth and to the back of its neck. Too bad no one saw it...

A few rounds later, Mord's musket misfired and he finished the drake off with his hand crossbow that pierced the creature's uvula and caused it to choke to death on its own vomit. Mord's got a thing for finishing in the throat, doesn't he? Wait, that sounded even worse than I intended. That sounds positively awful. Almost like in ten years someone will find this journal and I'll be embarrassed I even went there. But that would never happen, right?

Anyway, after that Blair snacked on the drake's corpse (delicious) and turned back into a human (in retrospect, maybe eating the drake was cannibalism). We stuffed a bunch of drake scales in our pockets after harvesting them (that seems to be Blair's thing now that she's done it three times) and then I left a cheque for three million, three hundred and two thousand and one copper signed by "Harold Perkins" and said to deliver my new dog to Oghma's Eye. Turning into Wilfred Brimley, Blair and the others scarpered.

Outside we bumped into James Lockwood, who Mord identified as Salthazar for us. What a suPRIse. 

Mord: "This is the guy who brought me back to life. I saw him fish a thing out of the ground and fire a laser beam, it was awesome."

Me: "Out-of-character for a sec, it makes me so happy you remember that detail, you've made my day."

Then Salthazar explained that he was the one who dispelled the magic on the t-rex's box. Apparently he needed a distraction so that he could get what he really came for: behind him in a bunch of magically-sealed boxes were about a dozen of the auction's bidders.

Slathazar: "Slavers, warlords and miscreants. No one will miss these people after I've performed my soul-bending experiments on them..."

Charlotte: "Aisa casts Entangle!"

Blair: "I don't think you need to do that..."

Aisa: *pout* "I never get to tie people up anymore!"

Blair: "You can tie me up later."

Aisa: *dies*

In any case, Blair offered Salthazar the position of their new villaintern with the task of re-opening the rift, turning Tobi back into a human, and then closing the rift again. As payment, he'd get access to all of the tower's research and he'd get to use the tower as a base long-term. Salthazar agreed to go there and hear more when we were ready, although Aisa objected. Now that I think about it, this is probably a bad idea. The last psychopathic wizard we kept as a pet didn't turn out so good.

But here's the thing! What if we go to Brasskeep along the way and tell the Lord Protector, Bundro Rockfucker, that the infamous criminal Salthazar is in our tower? We go with him and a small contingent of soldiers armed with longbows and set up around the tower. Salthazar is arrested and Bundro owes us not just for stopping the tower from falling on his city, not only for saving his port, but ALSO for helping catch Salthazar the serial killer. We can also throw in Salthazar's intended victims, as they're all scumbags too. The only small snag might be Harold and Elizabeth truthfully telling Bundro that we mugged them, but I'm sure we can just pay off a fine or have it hand-waved in light of our deeds. If someone has to serve time or perform a task to make up for it, I'm sure Blair will volunteer. In any case, I think we have an air-tight plan to deal with Salthazar and secure more help from powerful political figures than we already have. Maybe Bundro can reward us materially or put us in contact with a powerful wizard who isn't a psychopath who can help us. Between Oghma, Laurence and Bundro we're going to be so popular~

Or maybe something will go horribly wrong, idk.

Then, from the trees, a "clopclopclop"... it's Roach, he's back!

All: woop!

He has fists instead of front hooves now and says "NEIGH." 

Me: "He's been hardened by his experiences in the wild..."

Now we shall go to see what Oghma wanted... in the next session.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

So yeah, I think that session was pretty goooooood. Everyone had a neat role to play in what turned out to be a fairly complex encounter. Although it was not fun to roll with disadvantage for most of the encounter (for everyone other than me lol) the beast of ill omen did add an interesting layer to the encounter. Weaker enemies that nevertheless cause problems and accentuate their larger allies are always an interesting element to throw into a fight. It was a little weird to not be given a goal at all by Oghma at the start, but by the time the dinosaurs came out we didn't really mind that we didn't have a goal as such. I hope we did what Oghma wanted. Well, I know we had fun so...

Next time, we'll find out what Oghma wanted, maybe arrest Salthazar and maybe find a squire who can maintain the party's guns.

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This week... was a trip. Literally and figuratively. Many highs and lows, I tell ya what. We said goodbye and hello. I'm being very vague, could you tell?

Joining us we had:
  • Nadine of the Flame, a holy warrior of a self-proclaimed purpose - Daria's Aasimar, Paladin 7 (Oath of Vengeance)
  • X-05, the Chosen of Saint Traft, a wayward robot now training his first apprentice: the young Rowan of Silburn - James' Warforged, Monk 7 (Way of Shadow)
  • Ace, a haunted young man who seeks the destruction of a shadowy cult - Alice's Half-Elf, Warlock 7 (The Ashen Wolf)
  • Nova, a young fey sorcerer with a desire to show the world her true colours - Bailey's Fawn, Sorcerer 7 (Divine Soul)
(Helen couldn't make it, so I said Siessa was attending to Gremia's need of a druid's advice on an issue)

We began with the party (Nadine, Rowan, X-05 sitting somewhat uncomfortably in the tavern. The Civil War was still fresh in their minds, having literally just occurred a few hours ago. Nova took her food upstairs without a word, and Ace deduced he should probably follow her. He knocked on the door a few times and she let him in. She questioned why the hell he had betrayed the troll like that, and subsequently alienated the one person she'd met who could help her re-connect with her lost culture and past. Ace retorted that his pact means he couldn't have done anything differently. While a cleric gets their power from faith and a paladin from conviction, the warlock gains power by a pact: an unbreakable pact, in Ace's opinion. He said he was just too scared to go against his patron's wishes, to which Nova replied that she would have defended him if the patron attacked, and that he'd already proven himself a hero to the people of Silburn. Ace refused to hear it, saying he was no hero at all, just a coward and a monster, even that she had forced him into accepting the River King which upset his patron, going on to say that he had no one, and that he had always been alone and should be alone. He said that destroying the cult that had messed him up as a child was his only priority.

Nova replied that she was there for him and, if he chose to let them in, the rest of the party would take him in as their family.

"Ace... I was falling for you."

But Ace just wouldn't let up, he just kept calling himself a monster and irredeemable after all the bad choices he'd made. Eventually Nova got tired of it and told him to leave. She couldn't forgive him for responding to her putting all her trust in him by betraying her. So Ace returned down to the tavern, and got a load of drinks on the house (Inkeep who heard there was an argument upstairs and wanted to cheer Ace up: "Sure, it's on the house for a hero like you!" Ace: *GLARE*).

A little later, Nova invited Nadine and X-05 to her room. There, she apologised for lying to the party for so long and finally revealed her true form as a fawn. Nadine dropped her shield in shock (the floor was sturdy enough to not leave a dent, heh) but her Divine Sense quickly revealed that Nova was no demon. Nova explained that the troll was the first link back to her people she'd ever found and that she was tired of disguising herself for the sake of humans and their fragile sense of what is holy and unholy. She said that she had been trying to fight alongside human heroes to become a hero herself, only to reveal her true nature later so that she could be accepted, but Ace had made that task too difficult and emotionally taxing for her. So she requested that Nadine take her Hat of Disguise away and give her the Cauldron of Flying so that she could return home to Kessig and find a non-human community to join, where perhaps she would be more accepted. She had them buy her a fancy silver cloak to hide her face and she began to prepare to leave. 
___

Not wanting to forget, Nadine went to see Gremia one last time before she left. She went to the General's Seat and found Gremia in a meeting with Perren, Siessa and some soldiers. 

Gremia: "Ah, Nadine! I was hoping to speak with you. Perren, take over."

Perren: *scrambling to make sense of her meeting notes*

The two of them adjourned to a more private room (Daria: "What if Nadine completely misreads this and starts stripping down?" I mean... Gremia would definitely consider going along with it.) to talk about Nadine's "condition". Gremia made it clear that if Nadine ever came back to Silburn after her departure, she'd be obligated to tell the people of Silburn about her lycanthropy so that the people could stay safe around her. Nadine agreed that that would be fair. In lighter news, Gremia told Nadine that she had done some research and had found something that might make Nadine's condition more manageable. She told Nadine of a cleric called Henryk the Elder, a man who lived 900-ish years ago who was the first of the then-newly-established clergy of Avacyn who ever contracted lycanthropy. His ferocity as a beast was only matched by his serenity as a human. They attempted to lock him inside a maximum security prison near a Gavony town not too far from the Stensia border called Braildorn, but even that could not hold him. So they commissioned a dwarf called Azan to forge a magic chain that would magically bind him while he transformed. Thanks to this chain, Henryk could function as a member of society again and fight in the early Blood Wars. Nadine made a note and thanked Gremia for her help.

Gremia: "It's my pleasure to help you. I'll miss having you around. I feel like your decisions have the wisdom of Avacyn behind them, it's just a feeling I get from you." 

She was referring to her sensing that Nadine was an Aasimar, but Daria-

Nadine: *drunk on praise* "Oh yeah baby, tell me how holy I am!"

That last line was out-of-character, btw. She didn't actually say that. It'd have been awesome if she did though, ngl.
___

That night, Ace climbed to the top of the tavern to be alone with Sooty. The two of them sadly uwu'd at the moon for a bit, and Nova hovered up there on the cauldron. She climbed out, kissed him on the cheek and gave him a piece of paper.

Nova: "I can't find it in my heart to forgive you, but you're not a monster."

With that, she climbed back into her cauldron and began to fly away.

Ace: "Wait!"

She ignored him, turning into a speck in the dark night sky.

Ace: "...I love you..."

He opened the paper, finding a sketch of himself that Nova had drawn of him when they were on their way to Silburn from the Ashmouth. Beneath, she had written her own name and "don't forget the choice you made". 
___

Next morning, the three who were left made their way to leave on their horses (leaving Dopey, Perren's old horse, behind for Siessa to catch up on). 

James: "Rowan's staying behind though."

Rowan: "Wait, what?!"

James: "We're fighting a vampire army here, he'll die."

Rowan: "You can't be serious!"

X-05: "I just, uh, don't want to leave Silburn without a protector."

WOW. Is that meant to be a lie to get Rowan to stay?

James: "I just! Don't want him to die!"

Rowan: "Come on, I know that Silburn will be fine without me if Gremia and Perren are here, I know I'm no use here. That's why I want to come with you, so I can learn to protect people like you do. I want to be a hero like you!"

X-05: "Gaaaah fine, you can come."

Rowan: *relieved* "Thank you, master... that was a test of my conviction, wasn't it? I swear, I won't let you down!"

Daria: "He's so sweet..."
___

The party then made their way to Corsovia. Because we'd already spent enough sessions dithering in Silburn and there was a straight road to Corsovia, I didn't make the party make an Extended Travel Check to get there. Instead, I had them all suggest interesting things that they'd seen or done along the way.
  • My contribution: Rowan found a stone under a tree that natural weathering had caused to look like a human face.
  • Alice's contribution: Ace saw a cloud in the shape of a rabbit.
  • Bailey's contribution: Ace saw a herd of deer, among which was a single albino.
  • Daria's contribution: the night before they reached Corsovia, Nadine handed the Hat of Disguise to Ace as they changed shifts. 
They also stopped in a small town called Beurig, but beyond it being a bit of a shithole and full of bandits, there wasn't much for the party there and, after Ace was almost recruited by a strange woman for something and a little RP (in which we found Rowan could speak thieves' cant), the party headed on.

A few days later, just a few hours from Corsovia, the party came to a cliffside path and saw a carriage coming up the path towards them. They recognised the carriage as being that of the Falkenraths, and Nadine recognised that one of the guards was carrying a state-of-the-art musket. Intimidated and with little info to go on, the party did not engage with them in any way. As they passed, they saw that there were two humanoids in the back: one in a black cloak and the other in black and gold fine clothes with a strange cap and blindfold. Although he seemed blind, he somehow made eye contact with Rowan and did a little salute with a grin, giving him the creeps and making his heart beat like he'd seen a deadly predator. 
___

Finally, the party arrived in Corsovia on the rainy night of the 11th of January (just 6 more days until the full moon!)

As you approach from the north road, you hear and smell Corsovia before you see it. The smell of burning coals and sawdust is thick in the air. As the town comes into view, that little place overshadowed by the mountains, you see smoke rising from the chimneys.

A few hundred metres north of the town, where you are entering from, you can see the forest has been dramatically cut back. You see that, over a hill, many thousands of trees have been felled and are continuing to be cut down by multitudinous workers. There are far more people working here than possibly live in Corsovia.

There are temporary structures all over the surrounding farmlands that stretch about 50 miles around Corsovia proper. It seems that many people of all persuasions have arrived for the chance

As you go in, you see that the town is unnaturally busy in the centre. Nadine, you recognise the blacksmith’s, but also see that it has been greatly expanded. Whereas before it was just one building, it is now a small complex of sorts with dozens of people seemingly working there. In the courtyard outside, there is a cross erected, with the body of a large man nailed to it with bloody wounds all over his body. Around his neck is a sign that simply reads “The Crow”. Nadine, you recognise him as Uta Falkenrath, the former ruler of Corsovia. This man was the subject of nearly every horror story you heard growing up, he was the one who was whispered amongst humans to be a devil wearing the skin of a man, he was the one who took so many dozens, no, hundreds of humans from the lands of Stensia to feed his and his brood’s thirst for blood.

And now he’s here, in front of you for the first time, stone cold dead. 

Daria: *getting chills* "Fuuuck!"

The players cautiously probed their new surroundings, first approaching two guards who were by the crucifix.

Guard: "Woah there, no closer, citizen! We've been having issue with weirdos stealing blood from the corpse. I don't get it, but her majesty stationed us here to make sure it doesn't happen anymore."

X-05: "Fair enough. By 'her majesty', you mean Katrina, right?"

Guard: "That is correct."

At this distance, you notice that this guard's skin is not the pale white of undeath nor do you get a sinister, predatory vibe. This guard is no vampire.

The party realised that most of the guards were just humans who had signed up for military service under Katrina. 

At this moment, two men in hooded rain jackets on horseback came down the road. One of them looked over at the party and threw off his hood.

Levi: "Nadine!"

Daria: *delighted*

Levi rode over and jumped off his horse, giving Nadine one of those hand-shake hug things, and after a few exchanged words Daria was saying how pleased she is that Levi is still the absolute best.

Levi: "Oh, I almost forgot, this is my brother-in-law."

???: *Bailey speaking* "Hey. These the ones you were talking about, Levi?"

Levi: *gesturing at Nadine* "Couldn't you tell?"

This was Blaine, Bailey's surly Blood Hunter. Devised as a replacement for Nova, he's basically her exact opposite in every way. After making cursory glance at the party, he took a swig from a hip flask. More will be revealed about him to the party as we go, but I'll give you the run-down:

  1. He's a human who lived in Shadowgrange.
  2. He and Levi trained in the military together.
  3. Blaine got together with Levi's sister, Elaine.
  4. They got married and had a daughter, Willow.
  5. The captain of the guard in Lamas had a bounty put on his head by the Falkenraths and skipped town, so Blaine was called in to replace him and help deal with the local wererat thieves' guild, the Greyfangs. He brought his family with him, as he was probably going to be staying there for at least another 20 or 30 years.
  6. Willow contracted wererat lycanthropy from one of the Greyfangs.
  7. Blaine took Willow to a nearby monastery where it was rumoured a heretical order of monks had found a cure for lycanthropy. 
  8. The monks, actually the fabled Order of the Lycan, did not have a cure. Instead, they offered a ritual called "The Taming" that infected a person with the curse only partially, and gave them the tools to control it (mostly). 
  9. Blaine agreed to undergo the induction to the Order to keep himself safe from the curse. 
  10. When Blaine tried to return to Lamas to bring his wife as well, Willow transformed en route due to a full moon.
  11. Blaine was forced to kill Willow to stop her from killing some innocent people. 
  12. Elaine blamed Blaine and the two separated. 
  13. Blaine joined the Order of the Lycan permanently and became dedicated to sniffing out evil in Stensia to prove to his wife (and himself) that he was capable of good. 
The party then went into the tavern, the Two Horses. There, they found the place had a sign on the door:

Humans only

Do not come in if you can read this but have more than two legs, a tail, hooves, horns, or weird ears. Magic is strictly banned indoors

Offenders will be given the boot

Ace and Sooty stayed outside.

The place was run by a human that Nadine recognised as Sarah Zheng (although 10 years older than Nadine remembered and surlier than ever). 

Sarah: "Nadine! I don't believe it, the stories were true! Come here, right now. Tell me everything you've been up to."

After a little interaction, Daria declared that she loved Sarah. And why not? She's a rough-but-loving mother figure, everyone loves those. Nadine told Sarah a skimmed-down version of her adventures, and Sarah told Nadine about the day that Katrina and her new spawn floated down from the sky declaring their rule.

Sarah: *unusually reticent* "She said that things would be different with her, as she flung Uta's corpse to the ground."

Meanwhile, Alice told me that Ace would wander around until "something happened". Well, when a PC tells me they go looking for trouble that makes it very easy for me.

After chatting with someone who was lining up to go into the local church so that they could get a medical exam and sign up to join Katrina's Knights of the Red, Ace spotted a mysterious figure clad in leathers sneaking across a rooftop. Ace followed and saw them trying to open the back door of someone's house. They noticed and locked eyes with Ace (their eyes were a hungry, deep orange) and then began running away. Ace followed, saying he just wanted to talk. A chase was intiated and the mysterious figure was unlucky, bumping into a beggar and a pair of brawlers along the way. Eventually Ace cornered him behind the blacksmith and persuaded him to slow down.

???: "What do you want with me? Are you one of those spies?"

Ace: "Calm it, I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to know what's up."

??? then explained vaguely that he'd tried to join the Knights, but had some sort of issue with being really hungry. He said he was trying to break into a house for food, but refused Ace's dried rations. Smelling so bad that he triggered a Con save, Ace tried to back away, realising that this guy was probably a ghoul or some kind of undead. The guy grabbed Ace's shoulder and-

It's getting kind of late here, so we'll call this session now and next time, we'll roll initiative. 

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Not much to say, just that I checked with Alice and Bailey to see if they're alright with everything that went down and if they thought I handled it alright. Bailey said she was quite emotionally drained and so did Alice, but they were both very satisfied with how things turned out. Bailey said she was glad Nova got away from Ace because he was a "toxic character", which I agree with personally. Not that he's not compelling, he's just not a good person. He's not willing to change at all, not even for someone he thinks he loves and who loves him back. Alice was also satisfied, saying she felt that all her decisions were made of her free will even if Ace kept complaining that he had no choice.

Next time, we'll be delving deeper into the heart of darkness...

K N I G H T  O W L



Full Name: Owyn Fournival 
Nickname(s): Springheel Jack
Title(s): none
Alias(s): Knight Owl

Pronouns: He/Him
Age: 132 (physically 18)
Birthday: 4D/3B/Ton/3922

Stature: 6'1", very skinny

____________________________________________________________________

D E S C R I P T I O N:

Knight Owl usually dresses in a dark cape, flight cap and goggles. On his person are many utility belts holding his tools of the trade. Once his goggles are off, you can see his features: a strong chin, a fluffy moustache, wide eyes that always look surprised and surprisingly neat blond hair.

____________________________________________________________________

B I O: 


Knight Owl is impulsive and idealistic. He leaps into action over the smallest things, which make him both a quick and staunch defender of the weak and a rather rash idiot at the same time. Even after over a hundred years of unlife, he has not outgrown his youthful exuberance for life's wonders.

Likes:

>> Flying
>> Dishing out justice
>> A good pun
>> Musicals
>> People who can take a joke

Dislikes:

>>
The fact that sunlight is so uncomfortable to be in
>> The greedy and corrupt
>> Blindly religious types
>> The slow deterioration of his body due to his waning immortality 

____________________________________________________________________

W E A P O N S / E Q U I P M E N T: 


Shortsword and Hand Crossbow:  A potent combination in the hands of an expert.

Bite: By killing a humanoid in the act of draining their blood, Knight Owl can bind the husk to his service as a zombie.

Magic: Knight has been working on unlocking the latent power of his bloodline for many years. Even though it is diluted to hell, there's potential there.

____________________________________________________________________

P E R S O N A L : 


Love Interest(s): none
Married to: none
Father to: none
Realm of Origin: Rouvria

Languages: Common, Elvish, Undercommon
Race: Vampire (previously human)
Background: Noble 
Class: Slayer (Haunted)/Rogue (TBC)
Alignment: Chaotic Good

Father: Jamerson Fournival
Mother: Yvelda Fournival
Sibling(s): Jon Fournival (brother)

____________________________________________________________________

B A C K G R O U N D : 


I was born in Rouvria to the wealthy Fournival family. We are a merchant family and have been very rich and well-connected for hundreds of years. They trace their lineage back to the first humanoids who made contact with the legendary planeswalker who granted our world with vampirism and then mysteriously disappeared. For a while, the few individuals who were given this gift were terrible tyrants with amazing power, but after a few generations the blood weakened from being spread between too many people. Eventually it became a bit of a craze, as the wealthy spent fortunes on attempting to acquire immortality and the ordinary folk dreamt of having the power of the vampire. By the time I became one in (DATE), the blood had thinned so much that just being a vampire didn't confer much more than a half-arsed immortality and the potential (rather than the privilege) of developing some minor magical abilities. Nowadays you need to be born into a family with a store of vampire blood or artefacts or have the money and means to purchase genuine blood if you want to become a true vampire.

I became a vampire because my family has a small amount of that ancient blood hidden away in their vaults. If you want to become a vampire with it however, you need a compelling reason, a dream or goal if you will. If you do take the blood, then you must swear to devote yourself to this pursuit. 

I chose to take up the mantle of a masked vigilante, much to many in my family's confusion. Most of the other vampires of my generation took the blood for selfish reasons, but I wanted to make a positive difference in the world. I knew I was not strong, but I looked up to those heroes of legend and song, those "adventurers" who went from town to town solving people's problems. I wanted to be like them, and I wanted to get away from the mind-numbing environment of home. I underwent the transfusion and became a vampire. I left my family for good and took up a few fake names as I travelled east. I did some solo adventures, and a few in a team although I never really stuck around in any of them. They were all too money-driven. I eventually earned the nickname "Springheel Jack" for my speed and tenacity, and others still called me "The Knight Owl" for my aristocratic demeanour and penchant for working at night. I liked both names and adopted them permanently. 

When I was about eighty years old (so like fifty-odd years?) the barrier around Falkinthor broke down. I was as shocked as everyone else, I'd never expected there to be a race of evil-ass dragons just chilling behind a Wall of Force. But that was a good decade or so for me, I got a lot done. I helped lots of people stay safe in the initial chaos, which is when I gained my first bits of local fame. I'm not exactly a household name or anything, but here and there there's an old couple who remember me saving them from a burning building when they were kids, y'know stuff like that. Without a team, my abilities are limited but I'm always glad to help!

By the time I was a hundred years old, I was very well-travelled and had made many friends and enemies across the land. But unlike those heroes of legend and song I was not getting stronger. I was actually getting weaker, for my "immortal" body was starting to give up on me. I decided that I'd need to develop my vampiric powers further, but I wasn't sure how. When I found a Potion of Gaseous Form and drank it, I felt something unlock inside me. Like an ancestral memory, I realised "vampires can turn into mist, can't they?" Since then, I have been researching ways to tease out my locked powers, and I have made a little progress. I unlocked the ability to create undead by drinking the blood of the living recently, which is a power not seen for 3 generations of vampire.

Now at 132 years of age, I find myself in Luburyev chasing the scent of my next great exploit.

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F U N  F A C T S :


- Knight can't eat normal food anymore, but he does still like the taste of cheese and even sometimes forgets not to swallow.

- In chess, Knight deploys many archaic and clever strategies, but he is often beaten in a long game that tests his will.

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L I N K S:


Theme: [link]

Visual References: sta.sh/2y1piuwi95d?edit=1

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Today's session was mostly set-up for later chapters, and I'm rather interested to see where they'll go. I'll be critiquing as I go along and providing info on things I think the DM should know. 

We had joining us:
  • Kel, a plucky paladin of Selune following her heart - Ellie's Blue Dragonborn Paladin (Oath of the Ancients)
  • Aisa, the first cleric of Ariadne seeking her fate - Charlotte's Eladrin Cleric (Trickery Domain)
  • Mordecai, an unpredictable thief chasing excitement - Robert's Half-Elf Rogue (Assassin)
  • Blair, a headstrong warrior yearning for purpose - my Human Slayer (Dragonheart)
We began with Nimu (Mitch's character) leaving, because he wanted to get out of the adventuring life before things got too real so he could spend time with his daughter. Somewhat annoyingly, Jack (DM) kind of skipped over our reactions to this event, and only asked how we felt about it after we prodded him to let us. I am not a fan of how he starts each session with his own narration. Sure, it's good to have a catch-up but it feels like our own characters don't matter, they're just being swept up in what Jack wants. It's a minor thing, but I'd like to have fewer moments where it is said what the party does for us. Anyway, Blair sympathised with Nimu's want to be with his daughter, and so did the rest of us. We all bid him farewell and thanked him for the help he'd given us thus far. 

Blair and Kel then went to check on Tobi, who was predictably dead. The elemental gate that was keeping him from dying was even broken, as Garish had sabotaged it to stop him coming back. Blair checked through the notes that Tobi left and found that it'd be possible to get the tower up and running again (I know, the tower got broken before we even got to use it much) if Tobi came back to life or if someone else became the elemental guardian instead. That could be tricky, but Blair was determined to fix the mess she'd made. We reconvened at the bottom of the tower (Julius was back to normal all of a sudden, Garish seemed to have fixed him on a whim) and Aisa cast Zone of Truth. Annoyingly, Garish made his save. We questioned him, and he seemed to flip out, ranting about how he was indeed the legendary healer of olde times, but was shunned by the gods and not allowed into the afterlife because they didn't want the sickness that he'd saved them all from. He even said he wanted to spread it again and destroy the world(?) which we obviously panicked at. We all threw our magic at him at once, attemping to entangle or burn him. Mord shot him with his pistol and Blair tried to stab him with Winter's Bane. Annoyingly, none of these attacks had any effect at all. Somewhat irksome, as we'd been able to damage him before, and the situation smelled strongly of railroad. It might have been more satisfying if he used Legendary Resistance or just shrugged off the attacks by having lots of hit points. Same outcome ("wow he's strong") but less "the DM doesn't want you to do this". Maybe it's just a case of us needing to find his special weakness, idk. He then, obviously, Dimension Door'd away and we lost him. 

Blair: *kicking furniture* "All right, here's what we're gonna do. We're going to bring Tobi back, get this tower running, enter the Astral Sea, go to Mount Celestia and get Bahamut's help. Then we're going to find Garish and drag him to a celestial court so we can prosecute the bastard for conspiracy to initiate the apocalypse."

All quite angry, we formulated our next step: we'd go to Oghma's Eye and ask for the help of The High Vicar, Laurence (Julius' sort-of brother). This suggestion was given by Benedict, who was of course still about. So we travelled down to Ravendale, the closest town, and bought horses. Since we all got 500pp in the last session, we thought "hey, why not buy warhorses with full plate armour at 2000gp a pop?" For... some reason... Mord bought three (he had about 6300gp to spend in total) and gave one to Blair and gave one to Dmitri and Benedict, riding on the last with Julius. (We actually realised that full plate would be too expensive, so we retconned it to chainmail).

Blair: "Wow, thanks Mord! That's really generous of you!"

Mord: *silence*

Blair: "H-heh..." 

He called his "Roach", stating that all horses are just animals that there's no reason to even give names to. I wasn't sure what to call mine at the time, so I just said it was an unloaded character model until I figured it out. Now that the session is over, I've decided to call her Buttercup, after my favourite horse in my Breath of the Wild save file.

One very quick and rather hilarious travel montage later where we killed, roasted with Dragon's Breath and fed a duck to Mord, we arrived at Oghma's Eye. Just to note, we made Monty Python-style coconut/hoof sounds with our hands (as you do). We went in and the place was a bit of a creep-show, with creepy chanting and creepy people with creepy books all over the shop. We went and had tea in an oddly anime tea shop ("tastefully elegant") and Mord tried his Thieves' Cant on the gnome woman who ran the shop. Her goliath husband burst in and replied that there would be no thievery in Oghma's Eye in a typically bizarre and funny scene. We had tea and cake and then went on to meet with Laurence. 

There, a bard sang a song of Laurence's greatness while the genuine article sat bemused on his throne. He was a tiefling, which was a cool surprise. We told him of the situation and he was quite alarmed by the prospect of this ancient evil being unleashed upon the world once again. He said he'd speak with his father, Gothmog of the Pale Fire, a pit fiend, for help. We were quite alarmed and suggested some alternatives, such as petitioning Oghma or Ariadne for help. Blair even suggested that Salthazar, the infamous alchemist, might help them restart the tower if he was given a pardon for his crimes. jack, I was planning to have his crimes be illegal human experimentation that created the Philosopher's Stone from the souls of his victims (hey, that'd make him a prime candidate for helping put Tobi's soul back together if he knows his way around a soul, eh?), but I never got to show it. Or did I? Aroo?

Anyway, we all went downstairs to a secret ritual site to establish contact with Gothmog, the bard strumming an ominous tune all the while. We went down and Laurence order some researchers to prepare a summoning circle. The room suddenly grew extremely hot, and Jack made us all make Wisdom saves to not take our clothes off due to heat. I think we were projecting out desire to strip off due to the IRL heat into the game. Everyone aside from Benedict, Dmitri and Kel stripped. The gender euphoria was real for me, I gotta say. We all did our usual "roll to see if you're into it", although honestly I think we were all a bit lukewarm aside from Aisa who got a nat20 to develop a crush on Julius (we like to have fun here). The bard made no save, so Mord grabbed the guy accusing him of being a devil too. He and Blair tried to punch him (the later using Alter Self to make a dragon fist) in a display of restlessness, and we somehow got out of him that he was Oghma himself in disguise.

Gothmog was a little confused. We proceeded to talk to him for a bit, and he was actually very helpful. He confirmed a lot of our fears about Garish and gave us some information. He told us that the original meteor that spread the sickness was north of us, in a giant wasteland. Hey, I just realised that Garish went north too. Hmm. Anyway, we also discussed Ariadne's involvment, saying that her ability to manipulate fate might be what caused all this. Only she, the one who could manipulate the threads of destiny, could manipulate Garish without touching him. Like a gust of wind blowing a piece of paper, she'd propel events to have him destroyed (or saved?) by us when no other god would touch him from fear. 

Oh yeah, and apparently Darvish also has Garish's power to absorb the sickness (according to Gothmog). He's the chosen one, I guess? I was really flabbergasted at this development. Jack said it was to give Darvish more to do, and while I am a little wary of using the Chosen One trope, Santiago has always pulled through with his role-playing skills so I'll say no more. 

After the meeting was over, we went and bought some noodles from a struggling merchant named Dominic who was being ruined by Goodberry. We gave him some platinum pieces (despite Mord's efforts, we managed to give him 1). 

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I really enjoyed this session, even if there was a lot of exposition. There's nothing I love more than a warm (emotionally-speaking) game of D&D with friends who are invested in the game like I am with a DM who allows some light-hearted fun.

We had a lot of fun and many hijinks/jokes, especially with Mord for some reason. He actually tried to speak to Laurence in tap-dance thieves' cant and nearly got skewered by the guards when he grabbed Laurence.

If I had to really critique the game atm, it'd be that it feels video-gamey still. Mord should have been attacked by the guards for daring lay hands on Laurence and Jack, you should stop calling Garish "the final boss". If you must use a gamey term, call him "the big bad". We should be considering him a real threat, he's not a final boss he's a real person to our characters who poses them real, tangible harm.

Speaking of harm, we haven't had anyone drop to 0 hit points in something like 3 or 4 sessions! That's wild. I know you don't want to kill us, but you gotta remember that the bad guys very much do. Make us feel the heat! Make me regret saying that!*

*without making it impossible to win, of course.
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Next time, we're either hunting down Salthazar or the meteor. Either way, I'm buying Blair a motherhecking half-plate battle dress. It'll be great.

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:iconesgallagh:
EsGallagh Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much for the fave! And may the good blood guide your way!
Huntress portrait by EsGallagh  
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:iconexistentialocto:
ExistentialOcto Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2017  Student Writer
no problem, my dude
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:iconmetalshadowinsanity:
metalshadowinsanity Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2016
Happy Holidays!
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:iconexistentialocto:
ExistentialOcto Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2016  Student Writer
Thanks, it looks great!
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:iconribsjr:
RibsJr Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2016  Professional Writer
Thanks for the fave!
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:icontyrannuss555:
Tyrannuss555 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
There's this guy on YouTube he's called VaatiVidya he does great lore videos on Bloodborne and dark souls.
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:iconexistentialocto:
ExistentialOcto Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016  Student Writer
You mean that guy who's the most subscribed Soulsborne Youtuber and partially responsible for the widespread popularity of lorehunting in Soulsborne games to begin with?
I'll have to check him out :D
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:icontyrannuss555:
Tyrannuss555 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2016  Hobbyist Artist
Yes. His theories do make you wonder
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