Game log of a ToEE adventure that somehow turned into an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. You can find the original google doc here.
Rogues Gallery – “General Puggin’s Moribund of Mercenaries”*
- The Rogue – Giselle der Gauner the Soulknife due to a mutation granting her telekinetic powers (character #2, previous character was Mirka the Rogue – Deceased)
- The Monk – Augusta “Tof” Bamberger and her henchmen Elmo the Ranger and pet pug General Puggins.
- The Druid – Lilie the Elf and her henchmen Wolfram and animal companion Fuyuko the white wolf.
- The Knight – Lintelfaden Toshcobble, squire of Rufus the Bold.
- The Fighter – Fencil the Android (brain tape swap) (Character #2, previous character was a cleric – Deceased) and his (henchmen Zof the Jarhead Wizard – Deceased).
- The Ranger – Bustov Daman and his animal companion The Mou-Mou Bird (bloodthirsty sparrow).
- The Cleric – Lorenz Brandt (character #2), the scribe.
The Wizard – Boris the Jaws-Dodger (Deceased Session 25, retired from the game).
*Due to transcription error by the Verbobonc mercenary company registrar, “Merry” become “Moribund”
Session 28 Recap
“Do we even have a plan?” Gisella asked as they headed towards Riverguard keep.
“Of course,” Bustov assured. “Plan A, girl scout cookies, Lilie can do that pretty well.”
“No way,” Lintelfaden denied. “We’re going to pretend we want to join their cult so we can go straight to the temple without dealing with the keep. We find this Jolliver guy, take Drown, and call it a day.”
Bustov shrugged and nudged Lilie. “I don’t know, girl scout cookies seem like a much more reliable plan.”
“I’m running if the plans don’t work,” she reminded.
Riverguard keep, half built into the water, had two entrances, one on land and one on sea. Deciding against fighting the water cult in their favoured terrain, the party wrapped around the keep and headed for the land entrance and to what seemed like the main door. There was no big entrance, no portcullis to defend them, just a small wooden door in the side of the corner towers.
Augusta was the first to knock on the door, running ahead of the others. She cleared her throat, stood up straight, and knocked exactly thrice. “Ahem. Housekeeping!”
“Huh?” one of the guards muttered, opening the peephole.
“It’s not going to work!” Lintelfaden hissed.
“About time we got some cleaning, been waiting ages, you know?!” the guard snapped. He eyed them up and down, realising ‘housekeeping’ consisted of a mercenary band. “Oho! I see what you did there, sly little buggers! Tried to trick me, eh?! I’m smarter than you think!”
Augusta clicked her fingers. “So close…”
Lintelfaden pushed her out of the way and took the reins. “Let’s start from scratch, we want to join the water cult.”
“Uh, why? It’s not that simple,” he said.
“Our village was bombed by air cult guys and we heard you dislike the air cult.”
“Why didn’t we use this plan on the earth cult exactly?” Lorenz whispered.
Fensal shrugged. “Not sure…”
Mumbling to himself, the guard flicked through some papers, looked back at the party, then whispered to another guard. Turning back to the party, he clearly didn’t believe a single word but gave them a chance. “You’d probably be better talking to Jolliver than me, I don’t handle the specifics of becoming a cult member. Either one of you comes or all of you without weapons.”
“Sure!” Augusta volunteered.
“Anyone except the monk. I’m a smart guy, I know you’re tricks.”
Lintelfaden was the one who could fight best alone and so he was the one who was brought to Jolliver within the fortress. Down a muddy path, breathing in a strong smell of salt hanging in the air, it wasn’t a very nice keep to live in but he guessed it was the whole ‘one with the element’ sort of thing. He knew for certain that a good scrubbing off the space marine armour was in order, going anywhere without style was unacceptable.
Guiding him one of the many buildings, assuming it was the captain’s room, a large blue-skinned man slouched in his chair, wielding a large trident. As big as the space marine suit, he doubled the other cultists’ size in muscle, barnacles over his body outwardly proving his devotion to the Elemental Princess Olhydra.
“Well, what do you want?” Jolliver snapped.
That’s not Drown… Lintelfaden thought, eyeing his trident. Isn’t Jolliver the cult leader? “My friends and I want to join your cult after being attacked by the wind cult.”
“Wind cult? Why would they attack you?”
“We don’t know but they bombed the middle of our town-”
“Why would they attack you after they were defeated?” he interrupted.
“We don’t know that! But we heard you don’t like the other cults so-”
Jolliver flipped through pages on his desk. “Right, so you were attacked after the wind cult was defeated by a band of mercenaries, something a backwater town like yours would never even know about. The mercenary band consisted of a silver-haired cleric, a halfling in a machine suit, an elf druid, two rangers, one with a strange ice bow and another like autumn leaves; do I have to go on.”
“I see, I see,” Lintelfaden muttered. “Coincidence I assure you.”
“Right, we’re next on your list to take out?”
The last thing any cultist expected was for their enemy, trapped and isolated, to throw a golden apple at their leader’s face. Hurled at full force, it knocked into Jolliver, bounced off, and glowed enticingly, begging anyone to claim it. The enemy forgot about Lintelfaden completely and rushed over to the apple, pulled by its magical nature; a very strange magic item courtesy of Shen.
Back at the front gate, Lorenz cleaned his rifle, teaching Aki the importance of weapon maintenance. It was quiet save the breeze and the waves against the shore.
“Do you think the plan will work?” she asked.
He shrugged and continued working. “Nope, but hey, what’s the worst that could happen?”
The back of the keep exploded, a laser flew through the air and killed one of the cultists, and their fighter was flying away with his rocket boots.
“Huh, the plan’s out the window now,” Fensal chuckled. Black tendrils burst from his bow and wrapped around his arm. “This is the same deal as with the wind cult then.”
“Did we alert the entire fort again?” Gisella sighed. The archers on the walls aimed their crossbows, receiving their new orders. “Yes, yes we did.”
Lilie excitedly channeled her magic, eager to show off her new trick. Creating a portal of vines, eight snakes slithered out, sliding to the ground awaiting their orders. “Oh. My. Goodness, they are so cute!” She pulled out a tiny fedora Lintelfaden had made and placed it on the boss snake. “Alright, you’re gonna be Jeffery, you’ll be bartholomew…” She went one by one and named all eight.
Jeffery nodded in understanding and led the team, flying up to the cultists who thought they were safe on the walls.
“What’s a few snakes going to do?” Lorenz asked, completely doubting the summoning choice.
The explanation was unnecessary, words were weak, the snakes proved themselves through action and killed every cultist on the wall. Not only were they fast, they were small and slippery, catching them was impossible with crossbows at close range. Their blood curdling screams were answered by the hiss of the snakes.
Elmo kicked down the door to the keep and the party rushed in, easily defeating any who stood in their way. After that, it was an all-out battle and the entire keep was alerted, alarms going off, cultists rushing to get their weapons, donning their armour, loading their bows; this mercenary band was the one they had all heard about who took out the Howling Hatred in a single day.
General Puggin’s Morbid Band of Mercenaries had arrived.
“And why are we called that?!” Lorenz snapped, healing Elmo before he pushed on ahead.
“It’s General Puggin’s Merry Band of Mercenaries!” Augusta complained. “I can’t believe we didn’t notice that mistake!”
“They’re coming!” the cultist cried, retreating towards the captain’s room. “It’s General Puggin’s Morbid Band of Mercenaries!”
Bustov readied the Lenz, creating an icy arrow, aiming for the retreating enemy. “Now is not the time for talking, now is the time for blasting-!”
He didn’t know what did it but something broke inside the Lenz and its power was greatly diminished as smoke began to rise from one of the limbs. It still fired but he could hardly draw any power out of it; its ability to create arrows of frost energy was damaged.
Aki was able to quickly make up for the sudden power loss and fired another arrow at the escaping cultist, killing him before he regrouped with the reinforcements. “I hit him? Haha, I hit him!”
To the party’s surprise she was a really good shot when her skills weren’t being completely overshadowed by Bustov or Fensal. With the former struggling to fix his Lenz, she was able to take out cultist after cultists who tried to shoot them from behind or through murder holes along the keep’s walls.
Until the flying snakes caught up, of course. Once they arrived the commotion on the walls was silenced immediately.
Unstoppable, the cultists struggled to even stay in the fight, morale shattering as lasers, lightning bolts, poison clouds, and flying snakes greeted them if they even peeked their heads out from hiding. A few guards took pot shots from the safety of murder holes in the towers, heavily guarding the stairs leading up to them, the only way that any of the party could reach them. They were completely safe until they landed a single hit on Lilie, even if it was a nick that barely cut through her magical defense.
“Ow!” she complained. “Jeffery, sick ‘em!”
The last thing the guards saw were eight flying snakes slithering through a murder hole.
“Sheesh,” Fensal shivered. “Those things are vicious…”
He nocked a regular arrow and the black tendrils corrupted it, coating it in deadly poison and necrotic energy. He loosed it at a group of bugbears who began to leave the barracks and instantly killed one. The arrow burst on impact creating a cloud of venomous spores, powerful poison that kept the enemy trapped within the barracks until it cleared out.
But luck wasn’t on his side. Thunder rumbled and the heavens opened, pouring down on the keep, bringing wild winds that soon picked up the spores and dispersed them. The heavy rain beat on their armour, echoed in their helmets, turned the muddy ground into sludge yet the water cultists reveled in the blessing. This was Olhydra’s blessing and their morale was bolstered at the wondrous gift of their princess and they rallied together, calling out for Jolliver to join them.
“Where is Jolliver?!” Lorenz called.
Lintelfaden, flying above the battlefield, pointed at the keep she had just escaped from. “He’s in there fighting his own men for the golden apple! Their weapons bounce off his skin; they can’t even hurt him!”
“I can see into the room thanks to the murder hole.” He raised his hand and a golden gear surrounded the captain’s room. “UNITY, crush them.”
The battle inside was silenced as hundreds of machines were transmitted in, surrounding every corner of the room. Whirling like drills, everything inside from Jolliver Grimmjaw down to the golden apple he chased was crushed into paste, nothing was left intact. The lights in the room were snuffed out, only a final flash as the machines welded themselves together into a skymetal ball.
Lorenz winced in pain, feeling the strain of the powerful chant that invoked his Goddess. The spell was powerful but it was not without a cost. But much of the time the reward outweighed the risk tenfold. He quickly shot a light heal at Lintelfaden still in the sky, currently the attention of the cultists and archers.
Augusta followed the party as they blasted their enemies left and right. “I want to fight too!”
“What’s stopping you?” Bustov asked.
“You guys keep shooting them down, I can’t punch any!”
“True, first come first served!”
There wasn’t anyone who could stand against them, not even from the safety of walls or murder holes. Their main concern was dealing with the flying snakes going from cultist to cultist, too slippery and evasive to strike down. Lilie cheered from behind, very proud of Jeffrey and co. and felt a little brave herself, feeling like she could take out the next group of cultists that charged at them. She didn’t even need to tell the party to get out of her way, once her arms started sparking with electricity, it wasn’t her fault if you got caught in the bolt.
Sending the lightning streaking down an alley where the cultists funneled through, chaining between the two… it wasn’t quite as impactful as she thought it would be. Something went wrong with the chant but it didn’t hold enough power, only shocking the enemy for a moment and making her a clear target.
“Aaah! That didn’t work!” Lilie screamed, freaking out and running from the mob. “Sic them, Jeffrey!”
Before her trustworthy snakes could save her, they were blasted and killed instantly, sent back to whence they came. Ghostly wights stumbled through the walls of the barracks, releasing necrotic energy from their decrepit hands. They didn’t have to aim directly for the snakes but rather hit a wide area, easily catching the vulnerable creatures.
Joining the fray, multiple cultists transformed into water snakes accompanied by a cleric of Olhydra protected by a personal water elemental. With a roar, bugbears began to charge out from the far tower, lining the walls and ready to provide cover fire. At the back of the keep built into the sea, a boat rocked in the turbulent waves and a wizard released a barrage of magic missiles at Lintelfaden flying above the battlefield. The main force of the keep and they would not be defeated so easily.
“Augusta! Lintelfaden!” Lilie called. “The cultists are chasing me and I don’t have Jeffrey and co.!”
“You’re a druid!” Augusta snapped, barely avoiding another ray from the wight. “Turn into something and tank for yourself, I can’t help you now!”
“That’s a great idea, I forgot I could do that!”
Out of everything, she turned into a giant spider… and still ran. Now she could escape over the buildings rather than around and regroup with everyone else.
Aki was quick to take down the pursuing cultists along with the one and only Moi Moi Bird, swooping down from above, flying by for a swift strike and escaping far out of reach only to dive back in again. The two of them easily cleared out the pincer attack while the rest of the party could focus on the opponents ahead.
Lintelfaden trusted his party and changed targets to the mage on the boat, calling out spells and rallying the troops. He continued to fire lasers at him but a magical shield protected him so his casting could not be easily interrupted. Again another swarm of missiles was cast and homed in on LIntelfaden.
Gisella lifted Fensal onto the roof of one of the buildings, giving him a vantage point over the battle. “Aim for the wizard, we’ve got the cleric covered!”
“On it!” Fensal assured, sliding an arrow along the edge of the corrupted bow. “Give it another shot!”
The crimson sightline appeared for Lintelfaden and empowered the ray, funneling the energy into a controlled shot that cracked the enemy’s energy shield. A swift follow-up shot from Fensal pierced the defense and the mage in one go, the serrated arrow slicing through and infecting the lethal wound with dark energy. The corpse bubbled as it was infested, mushrooms sprouting and releasing toxic spores before the whole thing detonated. A cloud of toxins covered the entire boat and forced the bowmen off, diving into the ocean in a desperate attempt to escape.
And that was where Moi Moi bird came in. Like a mighty eagle, golden wings spread in full flight, he hunted the escaping prey. As ordered by the only one that he deferred to, none other than Bustov himself, he struck at the helpless cultists swimming away, sitting ducks to his lethal talons.
Aki was shrouded in a veil of mist as she teleported and joined Fensal on the roof, taking the high ground and sniping at the bugbears. Even in the dark night lit up only by a flash of lightning or the violent winds that threw off her aim, she could see a faint outline of her enemy glowing, thanks to her infrared vision.
“Well, isn’t everyone else having fun,” Bustov sighed, taking cover from the rain and trying to fix the Lenz. “They’re blasting cultists while I’m here with a busted bow that shoots sparkles instead of ice lasers. I can’t even flick back my hair ‘cus I’m drenched!”
“We can get it fixed back at the Manufactorum,” Lorenz assured. “Don’t you have a backup bow?”
“Aki’s using that.”
“I’ve got it! Fensal gives his bow to Aki then Aki gives her bow to you!”
“A capital idea!” Bustov agreed and, someway somehow, his hair suddenly dried just so he could flick it. “Pencil! Give your bow to Aki!”
The fighter didn’t even turn around. “Huh? Why?”
“She’s the better archer, trust me, then she’ll chuck her bow to me!”
“I’m really not all that!” Aki dismissed.
Being slighted, the tendrils around the corrupted bow tensed and hundreds of voices whispered in Fensal’s mind. They overlapped with each other, completely unintelligible, but there was a hint bloodlust and hate, furious that it was being insulted.
“Pay attention!” Gisella interrupted and struck down a hidden cultist with her flying daggers. Hiding in the shadows, the darkness and the storms only helped her conceal herself, she didn’t need to get close to the enemy to strike them down.
Augusta and Elmo held the frontline against the remaining enemies; the cleric’s group. While the bugbears were being kept in check it was time to close the gap and fight up close and personal against the water snakes, planning to push through to the wraiths. They were the deadliest enemy so far and they refused to engage in melee, opting to constantly fire negative energy at the party.
“Elmo!” Augusta called. “I’ve got an amazing idea-!”
He shoved back one of the water snakes and stuck it down with his axe. “We are not doing ‘teamwork’ right now!”
“No, no, I’m not going to jump off of you!” Augusta deflected another ray and conjured a water whip. “I’m going to pull the cleric towards us then you pile on the damage!”
“That-! Is actually rather reasonable coming from you.”
“My plans are always reasonable!”
Sidestepping the snake and kicking it away, she tried to pull the cleric towards them but her whip was intercepted by the water elemental, the servant and bodyguard. It absorbed the whip into its body then rushed towards her like a crashing wave, throwing aside the other cultists and sweeping them off their feet. It slammed into Augusta, knocking the breath out of her and quickly trying to drown her in its body; if any of the party tried to attack it, their ally was used as a shield.
As the final water snake was killed, the wight’s unsheathed unholy swords and glided towards their nearest target, not a thought in their mind. Their movements were unorthodox, twisting erratically to strike and at random angles, a flurry of blades and necrotic energy. Joining with his comrades the cleric dual wielded tridents while another one made of water floated around him, ready to run his opponents through three different ways.
“Gisella!” Lorenz cried, firing a bullet into the air. It burst and a faint mist surrounded the party, healing their wounds while damaging the wights. “Can you save Augusta?!”
“I’m already on it!” she assured him. Her daggers sheathed themselves as she focused her telekinesis on forcing back the water elemental.
It took much more energy that she thought it would, the elemental fought back with all its strength, but its grip slipped and was forced away from the monk. She coughed up water and was quickly shoved back by Elmo until she caught her breath.
Arriving in style, Lintelfaden dropped from the sky and aimed for the cleric, cutting through the trident of water with ease. The elemental dutifully leapt in the way but was split in half by the Katana of the Lich Shogun’s Eternal Shogunate, dispersed and returning to the sea.
In a panic, the cleric glanced over his shoulder only to see his reinforcements on the wall all shot down, Aki and Fensal doing their job from the rooftops. The wight’s were quickly handled with ease, beams of light worked wonders against undead creatures, and there was no more backup coming to help him. Glancing at the party, trapped in a hopeless situation, he dispelled his buffs and surrendered.
“Sheesh, that was scary!” Aki sighed in relief. “When Bustov broke his awesome bow I freaked out.”
“Is that everyone?” Gisella asked. “We don’t want any survivors like with the wind cult, they could start blowing up towns again out of revenge.”
Bustov clicked his fingers and posed. “Hah, you don’t need to worry in the slightest, Moi Moi Bird has it covered!”
As the storm abated, they could make out a small yellow bird harassing the cultists that tried to escape, permanently becoming a being of terror to haunt their nightmares. Not a single one escaped, all sent to meet their princess at the bottom of the sea.
Questioning the cleric Cannon Belsornig, they got all the information they needed as he was surprisingly cooperative. He disclosed the location of the temple, not far from the keep via the boat by the dock, and the leader of the Crushing Wave, Gar Shatterkeel. It got to the point where they didn’t even have to question him, willingly handed over his allies’ information including how and where the ritual to summon an elemental prince.
“But why?” Augusta asked. “Why are you telling us everything?”
“It isn’t my fault, the prophets have themselves to blame,” the cleric chuckled. “It used to be us clerics who were given the honour of wielding the artifacts of the Elemental Princes. But suddenly the prophets wielded the weapons and became the one who performs the ritual.”
“So you want revenge?” Gisella guessed.
He smiled slyly and shrugged. “Not revenge per se, but if something were to happen it would be… very unfortunate.”
Though the party wanted to continue and take the temple, Bustov had to find a way to fix his Lenz back at the Manufactorum. So there was only one option: split the party. Half went to take the bubble car back to the space station while the other half decided to guard the fort, making sure no more reinforcements could retake it.
“What’s the worst that could happen?” Bustov laughed, cleaning Moi Moi in the car.
“It’ll be fine,” Fensal replied. “They’ve got Gisella and Lintelfaden and… wait, who else is there?”
“Just those two,” Lorenz confirmed. “Elmo and Augusta are getting reinforcements from Lareth to help them.”
Lilie, Lorenz, Aki, Fensal and Bustov continued on their way, realising they miscalculated when ‘splitting’ the party quite unevenly.
“They’ll be ‘aight,” Lorenz assured. “Probably.”