Game log of a ToEE adventure that somehow turned into an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. You can find the original google doc here. Silver Mount didn’t really work for a space station, so the PCs started calling it The Sky Fortress.
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 a transcription error by the Verbobonc mercenary company registrar, “Merry” become “Moribund.”
Session 36 Recap
Bustov and Lorenz left Verbabonc with Aki, thanking the cleric for his services. Instilling the Aki Protection Program, they were ready to explain exactly what had to be done to the party once they regrouped. Using KIT, they were able to quickly reach Nulb and pick up Augusta, Lilie and their bodyguards from their shopping trip then head over to Hommlet. The tank was extremely efficient and saved them days worth of time whenever they needed to travel, even able to teleport them directly to Kwalish’s lab and meet up with the rest of the party.
“Haha, yes!” they heard Lintelfaden laugh as they entered Kwalish’s lab. “There he is in all his chrome glory! The Great Murphy!”
“Are you kidding?” Kwalish sighed, sifting through a keg filled to the brim with hologram beads of different sizes. “I built you a one-of-a-kind immaculate creation and you call it Murphy?”
The excited fighter hopped onto the unicorn and started to blast music through the speakers, amping it up to eleven. He wasn’t sure why the dial skipped the number ten and straight to eleven but it was loud and that’s all that mattered.
“Finally got it built,” Fensal laughed. “You’ve been wanting that for way too long.”
“A- A- A Unicorn!” Paladin Mike screamed. He was like a kid at a toy store. “O! M! Goodness! I am blinded by its stunning radiance and its chrome glory!”
“We ride at dawn!” Lintelfaden declared.
Where they were riding too they hadn’t agreed on. Gisella still wanted to go to Avernus to save the unicorn but was vastly outvoted; no one wanted to risk going there knowing that it was impossible to revivify the fallen. The party ended up splitting their votes 50-50 between the earth and the water temples. With KIT’s new upgrades and Lorenz’s increased magic repertoire, they wanted to tackle the cult again, refusing to admit defeat; as they say fourth time’s the charm.
“Do they say that?” Lorenz asked, intrigued by the saying. “I’ve heard of third time’s but not fourth.”
“They don’t say that,” Bustov corrected. “Let’s go to the earth temple instead, it’s on land which already means its leagues better than the water place.”
Lilie shuffled through her bag. “No need to argue, we can do this fair and square.” She revealed a gold coin, proudly showing the party her new possession. “This is Shen’s infamous die 2.”
“Die 2…” Lintelfaden echoed. “Wait, you mean a coin?”
“Hush!” Lilie snapped. She flipped the die 2 high in the air. “Heads is the water temple.”
It came spiraling down and she caught it, slapping it onto the back of her hand. Slowly revealing the result, the die 2 had landed on tails. Just like that, the vote had been cast and the tie was broken.
Riding to the temple on KIT, the party found ways to entertain themselves during the ride. The first half of the trip was going over the lengthy steps and actions that needed to be performed for the ‘Aki Protection Program’ much to her embarrassment. The second half was discovering what Lilie and Augusta did on their shopping trip.
“I didn’t buy that much,” Augusta said. “I think I got two things?”
“You already forgot about me!” a voice complained. Everyone looked at Elmo and he couldn’t be bothered to explain himself.
“Oh, right, the talking cloak!”
“The talking what?” Lintelfaden repeated.
“Marvin, the talking cloak. It’s super fire resistant which helps since Elmo is a tree.”
“It’s so hot in this metal thing!” Marvin screamed.
“He’s fire resistant but complains about the heat a lot,” Elmo sighed.
Augusta shifted through her backpack and presented them a ring. “I also bought this. It creates a shield for me which is super useful if I can’t dodge the attack.”
“That’s… actually useful,” Fensal admitted. “But it’s from Shen, right? What’s the downside?”
“There is none. It’s the Ring of Defenestration… I don’t know what that means…”
Gisella spun her pencil between her fingers, too distracted to divide the loot for the moment. “Is that all you bought?”
“Yep… No, wait, I got one more thing.” Elmo shook his head as she pulled out a creepy smiling doll with orange frizzy hair and a knife in its hand. “I bought Chucky.”
Lilie hid behind Wolfram as soon as she saw the doll. “I didn’t know you bought that!”
Even Bustov had to admit the doll was creepy. “Why exactly did you buy the murder doll?” he asked.
“If you die it will sacrifice itself for you,” she explained. “That’s what Shen said anyway. He hasn’t tested it since someone has to die.”
Lintelfaden hid in his suit, nothing she bought surprised him at this point. “Well, if that creepy thing attacks us at night then I’ll rip the stuffing out of it. Are we anywhere near Verbabonc soon?”
Bustov and Aki left the tank as they arrived at the town, finding out a way to bring back Moi Moi. The death of his familiar physically pained him and it was clear that magic wasn’t going to heal the wound. He said he knew someone that could help him out and that person was here at Verbabonc. How long he would take, he wasn’t sure, so he let the party go ahead for him. They could scout the earth temple and learn a few things, especially about the Guardians at the front gates.
The temple itself was a few days away from town but the speed of KIT made the travel a cinch, the problem was actually getting back to the temple. They were sure they were in the right place but the entire area was now a massive forest, titanic trees stretching out as far as they could see. This was around where the bullettes attacked KIT the first time but there was no longer a road to use as a landmark.
Lorenz hopped out of the tank and onto the thick brush. “I guess it’s in the centre of the forest?”
That was their best shot but their ranger, Bustov, had unfortunately left at the worst time. Parking and locking the tank, they told themselves that they needed to go ‘straight’ and continued in that direction. Straight was in the direction of the sun, if they followed that then the earth temple would show up sooner or later.
Following the sun during the day wasn’t the best idea and, as soon as it went overhead, they got turned around immediately.
“Aren’t you a druid?” Lintelfaden reminded Lilie. “Do your nature mojo and track a path.”
“I don’t like nature!” she complained. “It’s all icky and leafy, there’s always bugs and spiders hiding in the trees.”
“You turn into spiders!”
“It’s fine when I’m the spider!”
“Why are we still in this forest?!” Marvin complained again. “A branch keeps hitting my face because this tree oaf stumbles around like a clod!”
Elmo ignored the slights from Augusta’s gift and tried to discern the party’s current location. “I can probably track us through this place. I have a pretty good idea of where we are now…”
It took nearly the whole day and the sun was starting to set but they finally found a proper landmark to use. None other than a massive stone with a sword in it would serve as a very clear and easy to remember location. The Guardian lay asleep, waiting for an intruder to walk down the road to the temple but the party had come from the side. There were sure to be at least two more just on this side of the road and dealing with one was tough enough.
“We can head back to KIT if need be,” Elmo suggested.
“No, it’s almost night, this is the best time if we want to sneak past,” Gisella explained. “If we can get by without disturbing it, I can scout out the monastery while invisible.”
“A capital idea,” Lorenz agreed. “We get past easily and-”
He immediately tripped and fell face first in the mud.
“Hahaha!” Marvin cackled. “You donkey! You’re worse than the tree muppet that wears me!”
The earth shook as the Guardian awoke, drawing in hidden stones that flew out from the forest and formed its arms and legs. Drawing the scimitar out from its back, it slammed, crushed and uprooted the massive trees as it charged the party.
“Why can we not pull off a successful stealth mission?!” Gisella complained, unsheathing her crystal daggers. Faint pink circuitry lined her body, a small modification from UNITY after being revived.
A rumbling in the distance warned them of the awakening of the other Guardians preparing to join the battle. They had to destroy them fast to avoid being overwhelmed but it shrugged off their attacks, unbothered by neither lasers nor razor edges of legendary blades. Wolfram’s greatsword barely put a crack into it before he was knocked off his feet, barely able to block the wild scimitar slash.
Fensal lifted a hand cannon that he found in the Enginseer’s room, struggling to figure out how it worked. “Skill with a bow does not translate to… whatever this is, at all.”
“Wand of bullets +1,” Lorenz reminded. “Or you could call it a hand cannon but that’s boring.”
Accidentally pulling the trigger, the android was knocked off his feet from the recoil as thick bullets of energy rocketed out, piercing the elemental with ease and tearing through. Its defenses meant nothing to the armour-piercing shot, even the black sheen that had stopped Lintelfaden’s katana was cracked.
Lilie counted on her fingers the animals she could summon, looked back at the Guardian, then ran away, climbing up a tree and cheering Wolfram on. She would heal him and only him unless the others were on the floor bleeding out.
“Go get ‘em!” she laughed, casting a healing spell as her knight pulled himself off the ground.
“Are you going to help?” Augusta asked.
She flung her scimitar at the Guardian and it pinged off him, blunting the sharp edge. “I’d rather cheer from behind against this guy.”
Augusta shrugged and punched the elemental, hurting her fist but the ki coalesced around the impact, morphing into wind and blasting the Guardian off its feet. It was just for a moment and it landed on its back with a crash that shook the earth and crushed the trees, stunning it for a bit as it tried to pick itself off the ground.
“Blow him up, Pencil!” Lorenz ordered and fired a bolt of electricity out from his hand
The sensation was like nothing Fensal had ever felt before. Electricity coursed around him and his circuitry lines glowed a bright blue as his system was on overdrive. He suddenly gained the strength to carry the wand of bullets with a single hand and the energy from his body flowed into it, supercharging it to extreme levels. He slammed the barrel of the cannon against the Guardian and pulled the trigger.
And the party watched in shock as the elemental exploded into crystals from a single shot.
“What the-?!” Lintelfaden stuttered. “What did you do to him?!”
Lorenz cheered and smacked Fensal’s back. “Now you’re useful, hahaha, I just gave you a little tweak and you can blast these guys into next week!”
“Why is Pencil glowing?” Augusta wondered, poking him and feeling a sudden shock.
“Well, my dear friends, this blessing of UNITY is only for the chosen!” Lorenz explained. “The chosen one of course being yours truly and I can grant such power to robots.” He knocked Fensal’s head. “Android falls into that category too-”
From out of the ground a second Guardian burst forth beneath Fensal, grabbing him and throwing him across the forest. Roaring, it unsheathed its blade and swung wildly for Lintelfaden, barely missing Murphy the Unicorn by inches.
“Hey, don’t attack my unicorn!” Lintelfaden snapped. The thick vines and thicket completely held back the mount from charging forth. “I finally get Murphy and we go to this forest where I can’t ride him!”
Gisella held the Guardian but it broke free within seconds, slamming the ground and creating a minor earthquake. It aimed for those knocked to their feet, deciding that they were the easy targets and deserved to be crushed first. But Elmo and Wolfram were there to defend the casters and rangers while Lintelfaden was able to strike with his Katana of the Lich Shogun’s Eternal Shogunate and cut through the stone. It was amazing how much Wolfram could actually contribute to the team when Lilie let him fight.
“Hey, stop hurting him!” she snapped and healed him back to a prime condition.
“What about me?” Elmo asked.
“Nyeh, heal yourself.”
“I shouldn’t have asked.”
Lorenz stretched and relaxed against a tree, pointing at the Guardian. “Friendship ended with Bustov, Pencil is now my new friend. Go get ‘em.”
Everything about Fensal was enhanced and that included his physical abilities. Returning quickly to the battle leaving a streak of lightning in his wake, and charging the Wand of Bullets to the max. He suddenly pulsed with energy again and he grew faster and strength surged through him stronger than before. He couldn’t even communicate, all of his senses were honed to the maximum.
The blast of the cannon’s half a dozen shots blew a hole through the Guardian and shredded through the massive trees. It blasted Fensal off his feet and knocked him to the ground, barely able to withstand the amplified force along with Lorenz’s extreme buff. The elemental barely held together after the attack, crumbling but still standing, fighting until it crumbled into dust.
It started to flex and the entire party knew exactly what was coming. Augusta and Gisella were able to avoid the dozens of shards and stones that went flying like bullets in all directions but the rest of the party weren’t so lucky. Aside from Lilie and Lorenz who were making themselves tea while the rest fought, they were either cut by the sharp edges that pierced their armour or crushed by the massive stones.
“Not good,” Lintelfaden realised as sparks started to fly within the armour. “That almost broke through the plating and the forcefield-”
The timing couldn’t be worse as another Guardian burst from the ground, eyes on Fensal. The android made himself an obvious threat and target that had to be eliminated immediately.
“Heal the others,” Gisella ordered Lorenz. “Just leave the elementals to us.”
The faint pink circuitry lines glowed as she channeled her telekinesis and crushed the weakened Guardian. She couldn’t help but smile as gems burst from it as it crumbled into dust, excited to count each and every crystal during the haul at the end.
Lorenz fired a healing grenade into the party, releasing a powerful wave magic that closed their wounds. “Pencil! You know what to do!”
Fensal was slammed into the ground by the Guardian and knocked out. The infusion from the spell gave him strength and protected him from most of their attacks but the third one finally broke through, dispelling the buff and grounding the electricity.
The strategy was the same as it always had been; Augusta blasted it with wind and knocked it to the ground as best she could, using all her ki just to perform the great feat. Lintelfaden, Wolfram, and Elmo were the ones who had to close in and deal the damage to break through its stalwart defenses despite the onyx plating that formed around its exterior.
Lilie put down her tea cup and muttered the healing words to stabilise Fensal’s condition. “Don’t be weak, get up!”
And it somehow worked. He shook his head and was barely able to pull himself out of the ground but he wasn’t in a dangerous condition anymore. He didn’t have the strength to pick up the Wand of Bullets but his bow still retained its magical prowess, albeit much weaker than when it trapped the typhons.
“Ouch, thanks,” he coughed. “I’ll hold back on the cannon for now, I’m going to break it if it’s supercharged like that the whole time.”
The Guardian slammed the ground just to get up, triggering minor quakes over and over again to disrupt the party. Pushing past the fighters, its eyes went to the healers at the back and it uprooted one of the trees, hurling it towards the tea party.
Gisella just managed to catch it before it hit them but she had to let go of her hold on the enemy. It flexed again and burst into stones, severely damaging the frontline and breaking key components of Lintelfaden’s suit, shutting down its technological aspects; it was no different from regular armour now.
Thankfully, its attacks were slow and obvious and it struggled to swing again the more the party were able to bypass its defense. Surely enough, the massive blade was easily avoided and Wolfram dealt the final blow, crushing the stones with the Nine-Lives Stealer. And Gisella excitedly caught as many gems as she could as they fell.
“Hahaha, this is wonderful,” she laughed. “There are so many crystals!”
“Heal me!” Lintelfaden ordered Lorenz, hopping out of the suit. “Fix the armour!”
“We’ve gotten a lot stronger,” Fensal cheered. “One of them used to be difficult but we just took out three-”
To the party’s surprise, his eyes blacked out and he shut down, falling to his knees. Fortunately, their panic was soon dismissed when Lorenz explained that this was the drawback of his new spell. It would greatly enhance any robots abilities at the cost of shutting them down for an extended period of time.
They all unanimously agreed to take a rest as night fell, drained from the extensive fight against the Guardians. Gisella cleaned every gem and added them to the ‘party funds’ list, going over who would get what once there was time to divide the loot. Getting back to KIT was easy enough thanks to Elmo’s guidance and would act as their gem stash for the time being. Everyone was able to get healed thanks to Lilie’s magic and Lintelfaden’s unorthodox needle. But they trusted him, he did, after all, have a medical certificate.
The sun rose high in the sky and they were ready to move out again along with Fensal who recovered his senses. Everything of the battle was a blur in his mind but he wouldn’t forget the sensation and power that flowed through him during that time.
“It was crazy,” he admitted. “It felt like my whole body was on fire. In a good way, though, I could use the cannon much more effectively than my bow!” He flexed his arm and punched and kicked the air. “It felt like I could take them out without my bare fist alone and-”
He wasn’t paying attention and kicked a rabbit, sending it flying into a tree.
“You monster!” Lilie cried and ran over to the hurt animal.
“What? I’m sorry!” he aplogised profusely. “I didn’t mean to-”
He stopped himself as the rabbit turned to dust in Lilie’s hand and seeped through her fingers. It soon reformed back and hopped on its way as if nothing ever happened; it didn’t run from them either like a normal animal.
“It’s dirt?” Gisella muttered. She sent one of her daggers to strike a bird out of a tree and it burst into sand, reforming again after a bit. “It’s no wonder I guess, this forest couldn’t be natural since this place was a wasteland when we first arrived. The earth cult is definitely gaining power, the area around the water and fire cults must have changed too…”
“Maybe we spent too long in the space station…” Augusta wondered. “Naaaah, we’re fine.”
Getting back to where they fought the Guardians hardly took an hour, knowing where to go and the destruction at the battlefield made for an obvious landmark. As they had suspected, the monastery was not far from there, completely overgrown with trees growing out of the walls. The dust animals tended to roam around here, perhaps drawn in by something about the cult and its gradual expansion.
According to their knowledge, the Temple of Black Earth was directly below the monastery similar to how Riverguard Keep was above the Temple of the Crushing Wave. Surveying the area, it seemed to have three entrances, the main doors, a back entrance where supplies were being dropped off, and another one into what seemed like a garden. Lorenz wanted to hide into the crates and sneak in with the supplies but the plan was soon dismissed when the next step of the plan was ‘rocket launcher’.
“I want to use it so bad,” he complained. “You guys take so much damage I have to heal instead of attacking.”
“You’ll get your chance,” Gisella assured. “Let me scout out the place first then we’ll see where it’s best to attack. Just wait out here.”
“We can come with you,” Fensal suggested. “If we can sneak past then-”
“Nope, not happening,” she interrupted. “I want, for once, a single stealth mission to succeed.”
Putting on the Ring of Invisibility, she climbed over the walls and infiltrated the place with ease. The garden itself was rather unmanned, only a gardener and crystal minotaur statues but it wasn’t a stretch to assume they could animate if they attacked from that entrance. Pushing on towards the storage entrance she realised that it was a kitchen of sorts and a mess hall was not far from there. Unfortunately this place was filled with cultists as they unloaded the goods or relaxed at the table and made conversation; without invisibility, sneaking by would be nearly impossible. Of the two options, the garden would be the best option to infiltrate from.
One thing caught her eye and it was what looked like a ritual room, a red symbol of the Black Earth inscribed on the ground with dim candles lining the rim. Ignoring that, stairs lead down deeper into the monastery to what she hoped was the temple itself; they could probably sneak through the garden and straight to the temple without any conflict.
Mapping out a clear path with a low likelihood of being spotted, she returned to the party and explained what she had seen. She didn’t spot a cleric or the boss of the monastery but that would be irrelevant if they could bypass the cultists altogether.
“The only thing in our way is the garden, that’s it,” she explained. “I can distract the gardener just enough for everyone to sneak by. They don’t have any magical sensors or they would have detected me so if we need to cast spells we should be fine.”
“Ooh, a stealth attempt that might actually work?” Augusta wondered, confident in her abilities to go unseen.
“I hope so. Lintelfaden is the only one I’m worried about and we can’t take the unicorn with us.”
“What?!” he snapped, petting his chrome mount. “I didn’t bring him all this way to then be stopped at the entrance!”
“Fine, I’ll think of something,” Gisella assured. She pointed at Fensal, Lilie, and Augusta. “We can go in three groups, we’ll go first.”
Getting into the garden was easy thanks to the lack of cultists and Gisella played her part in distracting the gardener. It wasn’t anything big, she just knocked over a pot but it was enough to preoccupy him for the first group to infiltrate and get past. None of the crystal minotaurs reacted to their movements which was a good sign, it boded well for the next group that would have to go past them.
And Augusta’s new ring glowed brightly as she was thrown off her feet and went flying through the nearest window.
The party watched in shock as every alarm in the monastery was triggered; no stealth plan had ever worked and this wouldn’t be the first. Four of the crystal minotaurs animated and glared at the party, brandishing their weapons and slamming their chests. The entire monastery knew they were here and was rushing to take up their weapons and kill the infiltrators.
“Whoops,” Augusta laughed. “I didn’t know the ring did that!” She brushed the glass off of her and knocked out the two monks in the room with ease before they had a chance to strike. “Well, I guess we’re fighting now.”
Gisella didn’t even have the strength to sigh, simply lifting one of the crystal golems off its feet and hurling it at the gardener. To her surprise, he protected himself with a wall of magic and retaliated with a small missile that barely missed his target.
It didn’t take a genius to know the stealth mission had gone up in flames and the rest of the party burst through the garden door. Lintelfaden led the charge guided by Fensal’s crimson thread and she pierced one of the golems with her lance and it exploded into shards.
“Where did you get a lance?” Lorenz asked.
“From the suit,” Lintelfaden explained as if that was an obvious fact. “It’s a compact lance, and it can split up into sections for easy storage. It’s much more effective on Murphy the Unicorn than my katana.”
Lorenz held out his hand and hundreds of small robots were transmatted in, spinning like drills as they swept through the entire garden. Crushing the gardener, his golems, the vegetables and trees into a single ball, they fused themselves together and trapped the enemies within.
Elmo joined the fray but his one thought on where his mistress was. “Where’s Augusta?”
Fensal pointed at the window. “She went flying through as soon as she got close.”
“I’m fine!” Augusta called out, waving to the party and rejoining them. “I took care of the monks in there and-”
She was flung through another window nearby and crashed back into the monastery.
But this room was different, it was a living quarters of sorts and the inhabitant was in the middle of meditation. Frustrated he was interrupted, he pulled himself up and cracked his knuckles, tightening the blindfold over his eyes. He was a monk for sure, the leader of the Black Earth, and he challenged Augusta to single combat.
“I am Grandmaster Tobias,” he greeted, bowing respectfully before striking a stance. “State your name.”
“Uh, Augusta?” she replied, picking herself up off the ground.
“Ah, you are Augusta of General Puggins’ Morbid Band of Mercenaries, I hear you had bested my other monk back at Riverguard Keep.”
“Riverguard? Oh, Mudcake! You should tell him not to challenge me to ‘single combat’ when I’m fighting bullywugs and a wereshark!”
“You have come flying through my window just to fight me, know that I will not fall as easily as my comrade.” He flowed his ki into his fists and prepared for a powerful strike. “Have at thee!”