Saturday, July 6, 2013

Falling Ishtar ep03 : Dungeon World

06/24/2013
Falling Ishtar
Episode Three

"There be Dragons"

Dungeon World

With the new session, I had the players update their Bonds to both get glimpses of what scenes or opportunities they sought to tackle, as well as to throw them some additional experience points.

Gil WIllowisp, played by ERICH, was an Elven Ranger.
His bonds:
Guided Melisande before, and owes me for it.
Cairre does not understand the wild, I will teach him.
Doom will befall the world, so I must convince Bridgette of the danger.
Work with Hob to resolve the plague crisis.
Protect Melisande from herself.
Guide the group to resolve city problems to leave.
I wish to get to know Cedric.
Make sure Cedric does not end up as Melisande’s pet.
Find Bjorn’s worth or willingness in impending doom to come.
Maybe tell group of impending group.

Hob, played by URIM, was a Human Fighter.
His bonds:
Melisande is soft but I will make her hard.
I worry about the ability of Cairre to survive.
Convince group to return to Dragon’s Lair.
Convert Cedric to the ways of Bob.
Find a worthy weapon for Bob.
Find a cure for the plague with Gil.
Test the fighting prowess of the elves in the dungeon.

Bjorn, played by ROCKY, was a Dwarven Cleric of Bob.  
His bonds:
Cairre is good and a faithful person.  I trust him explicitly.
Melisande is in constant danger. I will keep her safe.
Gil has insulted my deity. I don’t trust him.
Demonstrate the strength of Bob to Gil.
Find a worthy weapon of Bob for Hob.
Purge cave of the Dragon with the group.
Forge Hob’s divine symbol when he’s worthy.
Instill Melisande with the strength of Bob.
Inspire Cedric to an act of generosity.
Welcome Bob into the tower of Cairre.

Cairre, played by Rachel, was a Human Wizard (Magus of Chaos)
His bonds:
Gil will play important role in events to come.
Melisande is keeping an important secret from me.
Hob is always getting into trouble, so will have to protect him.
Gain Adon’s respect by becoming the Magus of the City of Towers.
Bjorn seems like a strong warrior, but I don’t trust his magic.
Cairre trusts Melisande and Gil for advice. They’ve seen more of the world.
Melisande’s magic is strange.  Teach her the right magic.
Cedric has spent more time with me.  Keep him in the party.
Gain control of the tower.

Melisande, played by MAHAR, was the Elven Bard.
Her bonds: 
Cairre is often the butt of my jokes.
I am writing a ballad about the adventures of the Adventure Five.
Bjorn trusted me with a secret:  The dead creep me out.
I sang stories of Bob long before I met him. 
Cedric is more trouble than he is worth.  Get him out of trouble.
Learn magic more formally from Cairre.
Prove to self I deserve Dragon Singer title.
Show Hob and Bjorn I am more capable than they think I am.
I will repay Gil for saving my life.
Girl power shall be respected by this party of men.
Show Bridgette the joys of being a woman.

The scene opens with Cedric and a few others still down the Portable Hole which the late Magus Roderick seemingly has used to store all his treasures.  Hills of golden coins and mounds of treasure almost filled the room to capacity.   As the others debate on whether or not to try exploring the area, Cairre demands that everyone step out of the hole and leave the treasures alone.  Deep down, he still worries that Roderick may have hidden or stored some powerful artifacts in there, and these may be dangerous or fall into the wrong hands.  At first the others complained, but when they noticed the four large shadows not too distant, the idea of having to face four known guardians was enough a reason to step out for the nonce.

Cedric snagged a small blue green stone however.  And Melisande recognizes it to be an Ioun Stone.  Though she is not certain what kind it is, she does tell him that once attuned to a person, the stone can give magical benefits.  But as they argue over whether or not the place should be explored again, Illuire notices something outside and alerts Gil to it. The Ranger peers out and sees the gathering at the tower's base, of twelve soldiers and what looked like two officials in formal garb.    As Cairre heads down to check what that was about and learns that the Duke has sent Julius, his Righthand, to call for the "Soon to be Magus".  Details were not shared, but there was mention that Adon would be there as well.  Cairre agrees to go, with Bjorn and Melisande accompanying him.  Cairre tells Gil and Hob to watch the boy.  Melisande shows Cairre the spellbook she has been studying, a tome which the elf admits she had taken from the Tower given her interest in learning magic.   Cairre feels frustrated everyone seems to be grabbing stuff from the Tower indiscriminately, but for now the city seemingly needs her.

As the others follow suit, the two groups notice the lines of fire that have been ignited to segregate pathways from the gates to one of the Accountancy offices.  The bodies of those affected by the "plague" have been carried to the office for inspection, and the lines of fire seem intended to "contain" any possible infection from spreading.

Cairre's group meets with Adon and is asked to prepare to use his ability to speak to the dead to learn more of the plague.   Cairre realizes the way the people talk to him, it almost seems as if they have all met him before, which is impossible given his being locked in the Tower all these years.  Has Roderick been using Mimic to assume his likeness in the past?  Cairre learns that the Magus also has two other properties in the documents, the Dungeons and the Watch Tower.   Cairre finds it a shock to learn there have actually been four apprentices before him as welll.  Where are they now?  Bjorn takes the opportunity to Commune as well with Bob.

Hob's group arrives and the guards question them before letting them pass.  It takes Cedric offering to stay outside to convince the guard to let them through.   Hob and Gil see Melisande outside and learn the elf is "composing in her head" while the others prepare.  Gil decides to look for the Paladin, while Hob makes the mistake of touching one of the stretchers used to carry the plague victims, which forces the guards to segregate him as well to one of the upper floors.

An hour later, Cairre and Bjorn head upstairs, intent to learn what they can of the plague and see Hob among the victims.  Hob tells them to do what they can and considers waiting it out, confident that the others will find a way to get him out.  Melisande leaves the others to do their thing and heads down to look for Julius.  She does not realize her curiosity was about to uncover something larger.

Gil  visits the tomb to look for Bridgette, and finds her still praying over her father's grave.  As a member of the Silver Lance, she  has devoted her life to purification and the destruction of evil.  Gil learns that the Silver Lance actually once embraced the duty of cleansing the world of Dragons, and were said to have wiped them all out.  Gil asks her to accompany him and she agrees to.

Cairre and Bjorn are at the top most floor where the body of the furthest victim was found.  According to the guards, the body was that of a Priest of the Coin who was found dead in the outskirts of the Cit of Flags.  Cairre silently casts the Necromantic Spell to speak to the dead and at first it seems like nothing had happened.  But then a dark shadow begins to expand from where the body is lain and a presence nearby starts to be manifest.  Bjorn senses something is wrong and starts to dig through Cairre's things for something that may help once he drops to the ground in a state that is almost akin to being dead.

Death itself emerges and questions Cairre for being in its realm.  Cairre focuses on the priest and asks his questions, learning about how the Priest was killed by something in the sky.  The green mists that descended upon him were the cause of his death.  But even as these precious notes of information are gained, Cairre realizes that Death has not come for just the Priest!   Bjorn senses something is wrong, and starts praying to Bob for guidance.  Bob realizes something is definitely wrong, and finds a small "Almond" from Cairre's things.  Deeming it important to Cairre, Bjorn sacrifices it and calls to Bob for guidance.  He starts seeing images of the Green Dragon, of the ruins, and starts to find meaning behind the images.  The ruins of Gonol once held a massive temple to Bob.  The Magus.  The Green Dragon once more prominently was in the visions.  Bob wanted the dragon slain!  And then Bob mentions the presence of an Artifact beneath the Temple called the Foundation Hammer.  Bjorn realizes this must be retrieved as well.

As Gil and Bridgette make their way back, Gil opts to head to the Questing Tent and posts an invitation for those who might want to help out or have information on the plagues.  Though many seem interested, none quite grab Gil's discerning eye.  That until a Druid approaches him and offers a very intriguing viewpoint regarding the plague.  The Druid suggests that it is an attack by a darker force, that perhaps a Dragon gently releasing its horrible gas breath in small does might be able to simulate a plague.  And how spreading fear would work in its favor.  The Druid talks about his last party being decimated by a Green Dragon, and that the only other survivor was a Halfling thief who was swallowed by a Tyrant Lizard.  Gil wonders if that would mean Adon (and suggested Adon multi-classed) and asks for the Druid's name but he explains he would rather not give it.  "Names hold power," the Druid admitted.  The Druid easily pegs Gil an Elf, a fact which ironically slips past Bridgette who's racism is expressed when she remarks, "Other than being an Elf, he shows promise."  Gil isn't sure what race the Druid is nor what gender, but does note the scales that hint of its Tell in the area around the eyes.

A soldier slowly inches towards the segregated Hob, and accuses him and his deity, Bob, for having brought the plague upon them.  To the soldier, the plague is Bob throwing out its long gathered anger for having been unable to gain respect in the city.  The old temple of Bob existed in the city of Towers, but the Magus had it destroyed.  Hob sees the soldier draw his sword.  Hob plants his hand on his sword handle, ready to draw it if it seems necessary.

Cairre feels the coldness of Death wrapping around him.  He leaps into his own body to escape Death's grasp.  Cairre does not realize that the hands of Bob catch him as he spiritually leaps, and pulls him back through to the land of the Living.

“Price is a natural consequence in order," the soldier growls.  Hob draws his blade, and etches the ground with the symbol of Bob.  He warns the soldier NOT to cross the symbol.

Melisande had returned downstairs to ask Julius some questions, but instead overhears him talking to someone thorough a magical window in the air.  They discuss plans and Julius worries the group might be getting too close.  Melisande steps in, hoping to sound open and sincere, and tries to ask Julius about his allegiances.  Julius answers her, but not in the way she had hoped.  The body of the man distorts as he suddenly gains an impossible amount of mass as he transmutes into something else...

Gil, Bridgette and the Druid hear an explosive boom.  A sudden dark rush of smoke rises form somewhere in the city.  The roar of a  bestial monstrosity can be heard.  Gil and Bridgette realize they have to rush there.  And to accommodate them, the Druid transforms into a Warhorse.  They bolt towards the scene to see the beast itself.

A massive Green Dragon emerges from the falling tower, and its glistening green body shines against the dust and smoke.    The dragon's movement to grow larger from human form tore through most of the tower's lower floors.   The soldier closing in on Hob was crushed to a pulp as the dragon's wing ripped through the very ground he was standing on.  Hob does not hesitate.  He rushed towards the green blur and leaps upon it grab a hold on whatever he can.  Though his hand is secure and he maintains his hold on his signature weapon, the force of the rise and crashing through the debris pounds Hob through a wall of pain. The tower's highest floor, the very room where Cairre and Bjorn were investigating the dead priest's body shifts to its side as it rips away from the shattered foundation.  And Melisande is flung through the debris as the Dragon effortlessly flicks its tail at her.  She awakens among the ruined temple's rubble, with her left arm severed from her body.

Gil and Bridgette draw their weapons as the Druid breaking into a full charge.  Bjorn realizes there's no way to safely stay in the tower.  He quickly runs to Cairre, picks him up, and drags him with him to the opposite side of the falling tower.  They clamber out the window, and slide down the shifting side to safety even as th debris cloud erupts outwards.  Melisande knows she can heal her wound, but with her arm torn off, the healing song would seal the wound and leave her limbless.  She closes her eyes and petitions to Bob for help.  As debris crash all around her, she opens her eyes and watches in amazement as the clouds part to reveal her severed arm literally just on the ground in front of her.  She gazes upwards and sees that a massive chunk of the debris from the upper floors had crashed a few feet from where she knelt.  The mark of Bob is on the chunk, etched upon the very stone (Yes, the same one which Hob earlier made).    Melisande grabs the arm and presses it against the torn arm and sings to heal herself.

The song catches the Dragon's notice.   It turns towards her, and its mouth seethes with the green mist of chlorinated death.  Hob realizes he has to act and quickly he plunges his blade between the cracks of the scales.  The metal penetrates, but the wound is just not enough.  Worse, from the wound, thick vile blood sprays outwards burning Hob's skin upon contact.  He defies the pain and shoves the blade deeper.

Cairre and Bjorn land safely, and Cairre sees Hob's attempt to wound the Dragon.  Knowing there isn't much time, Cairre quickly weaves a spell to help his friend.  A fireball launches out of Cairre's hands and traverses through the sky with an orange trail.  The ball strikes the dragon at its very maw and all hear the dragon howl in pain.   Bjorn and Cairre feel the debris they landed on shift again as the Dragon's pained motions accidentally strikes where they are.  Bjorn allows himself to act as a cushion to help Cairre, but the Dragon takes that opportunity to rake at them and tear Cairre's stomach open.  Though Bjorn could cast a healing spell that Bob had granted him, he realizes it may prove better to call upon Bob to Bless them all in this battle against evil.  Melisande sees the Dragon attacking someone else beyond her line of sight, however, and knowing any enemies of the dragon would be her friend, she began singing her healing songs to affect all allies that could hear it.   She fails to notice that her songs, unfortunately, heal the Dragon as well.

Bridgette charges into the Dragon's stomach and tears into its scales.  As the Dragon moves to retaliate, Gil's arrow flies true and blinds it in one eye!  The Dragon howls and its tail causes a second distant tower to begin crashing down.  The group can hear the screams as people fall to their deaths.  Gil ignites a second prepared arrow and launches the burning arrow into the Dragon's side.  Bob Blesses Hob and Bridgette, and the two quickly make short work of the Dragon; Bridgette calls upon Exterminatus before striking as she remembers her vows to slay the Evil of the world while Hob tears the blade deep inside and twists it.  And as the Dragon writhes in its death throes, Cairre launches a second Fireball to immolate the dying thing's head.

The victory was not without its price.  Or rather, with its many prices.

Bridgette drops to her knees, with the killing blow having placed her face in the path of the bloody explosion of acid.  Though horribly disfigured, the Paladin remains silent and calm.   The City of Towers struggles to find survivors in the rubble of the second tower, while many of its people cry out in despair for the desecrated remains of their loved ones that were in the first one.    And finally, Melisande realizes the young boy Cedric is missing.  Having taken him under her wing, she feels extremely guilty for having possibly brought him into a world that has lead him to die such a death.  Cairre casts Detect Magic, hoping to find the Ioun Stone Cedric has with him as a means to find him.  The others search manually as best as they can.

Gil sends Illuire to the sky and the Hawk's superior senses find signs of what possibly can be life under the rubble of the first tower.  As Gil alters the others of this, the Druid changes into a rat, crawls underneath and returns to confirm the chid's presence within.   Hob uses his superior strength to grab hold of the rubble and lift a massive wall of debris up.  The others quickly help Cedric out of the pocket he had been trapped in and feel thankful that he had survived.

Cairre sees Adon approach and at first Cairre feels angry that Adon did not help in the fight.  Adon reminds him that he is in charge of this region and it would have been wrong for a different Magus to interfere.  "You could have simply used a Dispel Magic spell to force the wyrm back into its human truth,"  Adon tells Cairre as Cairre's detect magic leads him to the dead corpse of Julius.  The body sparks and immolates, leaving merely an outline of ash on the ground.  Cairre admits he was not aware the dragon was just someone  who had been magically altered.  Adon reminds him, "The true power of a wizard is in seeing."    Cairre realizes the magic he detected is coming from a Dragon Scale that is still within the ash.  Adon leaves to help the soldiers rescue more survivors.

The Druid watches one half of the group seems just overjoyed that Cedric is safe.  The other half is digging into ashes and rubble for something they don't quite grasp.  The druid comments to himself, “This is a body without a head.”

Cairre grabs hold of the scale and sees an intense vision of the Green Dragon.  The wyrm taunts him, telling him that they were wrong to interfere.  Cairre asks it many questions on the recent events and the dragon admits that there is no plague, and that he only sought his vengeance.  The dragon mentions having had four of his children stolen away.  And mutters that now Roderick is gone, there is no one to stay his anger.  As the dragon withdraws its influence, the scale cracks into tiny shards.  The magical connection is broken.  Cairre decides he needs to ask Adon more questions.   The others opt to return to Roderick's tower, hoping to get a moment to rest.

Adon's talk with Cairre explores a lot of confusing concepts, but then again what else can one expect of Wizards and their musings.  Cairre asks about the Lady Unisa, and her interest in Starmetal, which Adon admits it indeed an interesting thing, given she was the one who asked for Dragon Wards.  Adon muses more on what he calls "the Epic Theory" and how for some people in the world, they happen to become the center of Chaos.  They become silent avatars of Change.  "The world around them seems to understand that their very presence is a catalyst for greatness.  But greatness can only come with terror, with anguish, and with pain."  Cairre is not certain what the halfling Magus is talking about, but he does realize that if he truly wishes to make a difference, he may have to truly embrace the role of the Magus.  Adon reminds him that as evil as Roderick was, he was the Magus of Chaos.  What if Roderick was intentionally grooming Cairre for that very reason?  After all, there has never been a Magus of Evil.  Just before Cairre could leave, however, Adon does tell him to "Send Kirin my regards."

Cairre is not sure who this Kirin is.

Back at the Tower, the group recovers from the attack.  Bjorn heals the injured and members of the party reconsider their plans for the days to come.  Clearly, the Green Dragon in the Ruins of Gonol somehow has agents within the city.  Whether they were dragons pretending to be human or vice-versa remains unclear.  But there was no denying it is a true threat.

Another visitor.  Bjorn and Gil head to the door to answer it.  They open the metal slit and find another entourage outside the tower, only grander than the one accompanying Julius.  The guards ask for the Magus, and Bjorn starts responding with the tower being referred to as a Temple of Bob.   Gil tries to reason with the guards in a clearer fashion.  And they learn the entourage is here because the Lady Unisa wished to ask some questions.  Hob and the Druid observe a bit in the rear.  Melisande strums the lute to add some musical mood.  Hob starts translating any discussions to the Common tongue when necessary.  Bjorn and Gil see her, the beautiful Lady Unisa whose smile can make men's knees weak, and whose winter white hair that spilled out like water currents down to her knees perfectly framed her dark olive skin.  Gil gasps.  Bjorn smiles.  They allow her to come inside.

Lady Unisa asks them about the Magus, and Bjorn and Gil's conflicting answers amuses her rather than angers her.  When Cairre arrives, he apologises to her for the events and admits she had come to ask for an oracle.  The Magus, she admits, would divine the stars for answers to her questions.  Cairre unfortunately admits the Magus Roderick is dead.  Then adds, "I am the Magus now."

Lady Unisa surprises the others when he speaks fluent Elven, and addresses Melisande that she is curious how they do not seem to both proudly show their heritage.  Lady Unisa happens to be a Dark Elf, and even Gil is taken a bit aback by this revelation.  She tells them that her love, the Duke Thomin has been suffering from nightmares.  And she had hoped they could help.  The Dark Elf seems to recognize the Druid, but does not offer any information how.

Cairre, Melisande and Gil head to the Duke's tower to check on the Duke.  The Lady Unisa admits he has been having the nightmares nightly since some time ago, which the group realize was the same time they emerged from the Green Dragon's lair in the ruins of Gonol.  The group find themselves blocked by a Paladin of the Church of the Coin and four other knights.    The Paladin asks them to swear that they will use neither their weapons nor powers while within the chamber.  Lady Unisa vouches for them.  They are allowed to step inside.

The Duke is strapped to the bed, shifting and moaning as more disturbing images assault his mind.  He struggles against his bonds and mumbles incoherently.  Melisande asks Lady Unisa if the Duke ever was given a present of some sort.  Perhaps an item of import.  Cairre inspects the room and asks if Unisa ever saw a "scale".  Lady Unisa admits the Duke has one.  When the knights left to retrieve the fallen star as a present, they were killed by the Green Dragon in the Ruins of Gonol, only a single survivor returned, carrying with him a tiny green scale.  Cairre looks at Melisande with a worried glance.   Melisande ponders on whether or not she can use the scale to play the lute, to sort of live up to the title of Dragon Singer.

Cedric, on the other hand, leads Bjorn and Hob to a secret door that he had found in the Grandfather Clock room.  Opening the door, the three stared at the Guardian that appeared as a disembodied head upon a pillar.  It's most certainly a guardian watching over a second door.  Hob steps before the pillar and decides to take a gamble at it, asking the Guardian to tell him the riddle.'

"The safe door be broken
By word sung or spoken."

Hob sees three wheels come into view.  Each wheel has eight spokes, and each spoke contains a letter:  B, Y, G, X, H, N, K, M.   Hob takes some time to think, and finally he spins each wheel until the word HYMN is formed.  The door emerges as the Guardian congratulated Hob.  Hob looks back, sees no sign of either Cedric nor Bjorn.  Hob decides to step through.

Cedric and Bjorn ponder on what they can do.  Hob stepped through the clock door and vanished from their view.  Bjorn called for Bob to guidance and found himself seeing glimpses of the map of the four elves once again.  He could not detect any evil in the clock either.  The Druid joined them in the room and was about to ask what was going on, when suddenly Hob emerges and motions them to go inside.  Bjorn looks at Cedric and the Druid, and asks them to wait.  Cedric and Bjorn step through the second door and what they see is something impossible.  The City of Towers.  They find themselves floating a hundred feet up in the air, above the City of Towers.

Cairre takes the scale, and once again finds herself telepathically connecting with the Green Dragon.  The Green Dragon growls a guttural laugh and congratulates Cairre for finding the second scale.  The dragon boasts there are far more of his agents than they realize in the entire city.  "My name is Voarex.  And I will have my revenge!"

What Cairre does not realize, however, is that to Melisande and Gil he is on his knees bleeding out blood from his eyes.  As Cairre falls towards the ground, Melisande catches him.   Gil breaks the scale and shatters the connection.  But its too late.  The enemy knows where they are.  And Cairre realizes they might have just endangers the Duke. The Paladin slams the door open and rushes inside, demanding that Cairre and Gil and Melisande raise their hands in surrender.  But before the others can explain what is going on, a clean blade emerges through his chest.  As the Paladin drops, the others realize the other knights turned out be already "turned."   Weapons are drawn, but the knights instead begin to fuse together, and their bodies engorge into some horrifying shape.  Melisande realizes she recognizes what is happening, and she tries to warn everyone to pull away.

She warns them too late.  The top most floor explodes, as the Dragon spreads its mighty wings.  Cairre, Melisande, Gil, Lady Unisa and the others are flung outside by the impact, and Melisande sees the poor Duke, now awake from his turmoil, screaming as he and the bed he is strapped on, tumbles away.  The tower itself, heavily damaged by the Dragon, is damaged enough that the Ward against Dragons on its peak fails.

Hob and Bjorn, watch as the tower begins to fall.  Both instinctively try to look elsewhere, calling out names on who to focus on.  The room behind the clock, as it turns out, is the Looking Room.  The same room which Cairre heard about before which allowed the Magus to view potentially anyone in the City.  As they see their friends falling to their deaths, both feel tremendously helpless on how they can help.  The Green Dragon repeatedly tries to fly off, but the remnants of the fading ward burn it each time it touches it.

Lady Unisa, however, is not so helpless.

"Kirin," she mutters, "I call upon the debt today."

Hob and Bjorn rush out of the room, hoping to find some way to help.  Stepping outside, they find a long, winding silver dragon staring at them.  Their minds are assaulted with words as the dragon tells them he has to go fulfill a bargain.  And suggests to them to stand back, and use the Flying Carpet he left outside.

Kirin, the Silver Dragon Druid, takes to the air to fly to the others.  He rips through the wall to make haste and get to the others in time.    The two leap onto the carpet, and find a way to navigate it towards the falling tower.   Cedric slowly steps back into the Looking Room to watch what happens.

Cairre casts another fireball, striking the Green Dragon even as he falls.  The Green Dragon is definitely unhappy with that strike, and begins to inhale to prepare another blast of gas.  Melisande gets snatched by Kirin.  Cairre, however, maneuvers herself to land upon the bed where the Duke is strapped on to, and starts cutting away what he can of his bonds.   Gil digs through his pack and finds a grappling hook.  Throwing it, he succeeds in snagging part of the tower to stop his fall.  And as Lady Unisa sees the Green Dragon unleash a blast of chlorinated gas, the dragon Kirin arrives and catches her.    Gil is then snatched by the Silver Dragon, and the three watch as Kirin blasts at the Green Dragon with its own breath weapon of lightning.   None of them see the bed with the Duke and Cairre slam into the streets below.  Cairre has hoped to use a spell as a Spell Defense, but upon realizing there was no spell he could use in that way, casted instead an Unseen Servant in hopes of catching them from getting too hurt.  The idea, sadly, did not work.

As the Green Dragon collapses towards the streets, Kirin and the others descent towards where the bed and Melisande had fallen.  Though all of them seem to have survived, sadly the Duke Thomin did not get through the events alive.   And Cairre finds himself worried that he has become a Magus of a city without a ruler.


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