Monday, December 9, 2013

Beheld Saga ep02 : Dungeon World

by Reine Brand
Beheld Saga
Episode 02

Dungeon World

The town of Codcliffe needed heroes.
And The Order of the Elven Song  arrived.

In the days following their arrival, the heroes had begun doing what they could to win back the town from the clutches of the Illithids.  Astrafel and Enkirash had each  slain one of the mind flayers.  Aegor had slew five with the use of his shape-shifting gifts.  Halek and Fenris on the other hand had killed six.    Slowly the "safe zone" in the town grew larger and expanded, as more rescued townsfolk gathered those they could and kept them safe.  With hit-and-run strikes and tactical assaults followed by strategic retreats, the four were well on their way to liberating the town.

But the group had many things that complicated the matter:
The townsfolk would fall unconscious and be unable to help them during battles due to some ritual which Enkirash had yet to break.  The Illithids did not seem to suffer the need of sleep either, forcing the heroes to cycle their activities in order for some to still regain some semblance of rest.  And worse yet, the group had started to notice an Illithid whose robes were of a different color.  A leader, perhaps? 

Enkirash suggests Aegor sneak in to deal wtih the leader. "I know you can do this. I have foreseen it."  Kurd admits to having sworn to uphold peace and detest violence.  The others convince Kurd to at least go with them and bear "witness" to the events.  To just observe and write songs of it soon.  Kurd agrees and admits maybe even someday they can visit his own homeland.  The group admittedly is just happy to have an anti-magic ray on their side.

Fires.  The heroes rush outside to find many buildings have been set ablaze.  The mind flayers, hovering in the air, have thrown fireballs at them and flown away.  The others can still hear the screaming of those inside the buildings who have awoken due to the pain of the heat.  The many others, however, remain trapped inside and asleep and unaware of the coming flames!  As they quickly spread out to try and help, Enkirash notices a dazed man walking up to them with a scroll in his hand.  Aegor leaps at Enkirash as a leopard to pull from away from falling debris, then snatches the letter to check what it contains. Astrafel sings songs about helping people and tries to empower everyone to act better together in killing the flames.  His songs guide the people to bring water and try douse the flames.  Enkirash checks the scroll and finds no magic upon it.  The scroll is a warning.  To leave or for more people to be burned slowly to death.  The group realizes there is no time to delay.  They have to strike.  They know the mind flayers have gathered by the tower to try to exhume their deity.  It was the best place to strike.

The Paladin, Gillean, is overcome with anguish of hearing the dying screams.  She rushes to the nearest building and embraces the flames away from it.  She is too late however, and far too many people have still died a fiery death.  Angered, she runs towards the tower as the flames dance around her.  She has grown tired of protecting and now seeks to fight.

The others realize it is time.  Kurd offers his ship.  To fly to the tower from above.  To take down the Illithids before it was too late.  The group agrees.  They head to the port to bring the ship.


Angered, Halek rushes off to track the mind flayers, and at one point even drops his carried rations to keep chase.    As he gets closer, to the tower he begins to hear the frustrations within as the other mind flayers have begun to question if the payment is enough for their sympathies.   As he peeks from his hiding place, he discovers the one in the different robes speaks in Elven.  And more interestingly, has feet that touch the ground.  Halek was certain: the man was no Mind flayer like the rest.

"Send the Nautaloids. We must bring the tomb to another place."

The three mind flayers take to the sky and Halek realized they were headed back towards the direction of the tavern.  As Gillean arrives, Halek informs her that the leader seems to be inside.  The Ranger opts to rush back, fearful that the townsfolk and the others would need his help against the trio.

He does not see Gillean enter the tower, ready to fight.
Or the robed figure addressing her, and revealing his non-Illithid face.


A giant falcon soars to the sky.  Aegor and the others are on their way to the docks to get the ship.  The others were unaware of the mind flayers already enroute back to the tavern where the group had set base.  Aegor, however, felt something was wrong and opted to trust his animal instincts.

As he soars on his journey back, he notices the tavern is already under assault by the things.  He dives to strike!   Halek had been launching arrows at the three, with Fenris striking in coordinated moments from the nearby rooftops.  But the mind flayers use their Telekinesis to lift the roof of the tavern off it like an opened can. They squeeze the debris into a boulder, then engulf the boulder of wood in flames.  The townsfolk, asleep from seeing the three, are unable to run.  And the boulder, burning with flames, is then dropped upon them!

As an arrow stuns one mind flayer, Halek attempts a second called shot with his bow and misses.  Aegor angles his dive to crash into the remaining two mind flayers, and sheds away the massive form before the impact hurts him as well.    The air around them begins to shift though, as smaller debris begin to get flung towards the tower's direction.  Something has happened and everything is starting to get sucked towards that direction.  As Aegor assumes a new flying form, Halek and Fenris leap on and the three charge forth, believing that the others would eventually join them at the tower.


The winds get worse.  Rooftops and tiles begin to tear away. Carriages are dragged in the same direction.  Where the tower once stood, a gaping hole in the realm now stands.  A portal into somewhere else.

The Portal Hungers:   Roll +Con
10 : You've only suffered 1d6 damage
7-9 : You've suffered 1d6 damage plus, choose one:
    You are out of spells/ammo
    You are dangerously separated from the rest
6 : You are down to 1d6 hitpoints

Most of the group resists the terrible winds, but are separated from each other.  The biggest victim of the winds is Astrafel who not only get separated from the rest, but loses his Lute in his fall.    Aegor opts to find the bard while the rest rush into the tower.

Inside, the other realm is truly a sight to see.  Four Nautalis ships close in, with long grappling hooks descending from their sides.  Enkirash and Halek see Gillean in a battle against the robed figure at the edge.  His Drow features are now plain for all to see.  Gillean is caught in the Drow's polymorph spell and is transmuted into something tiny!  Halek commands Fenris to rush and snatch Gillean while the two close in to fight. But the Drow uses an item to summon a winged monstrosity into the scene to fight them while he connects the grappling hooks to the tomb and gives them the signal to leave.  Enkirash realizes Fenris had been overwhelmed by its animal Instincts and had swallowed Gillean whole! The Drow laughs as he leaves, clearly believing himself to have succeeded in his diabolical plot.    Halek and Enkirash wish to fight, but they realize they have to save Gillean first before it is too late.  As they hurry out of the collapsing tower, Halek sees a bag from one of the Illithid bodies and snatches it before they go.


Outside, Aegor finds the lute and searches for Astrafel.  When Astrafel notices the massive animal, he sings to be noticed! The Druid, seeing his leader, drops the lute to snatch the bard before he fell from the collapsing roof he was on.  Astrafel bemoans the loss of his lute and Aegor opts not to admit he had dropped it.  The two search for any signs of the Lute.  The bard mumbles a sad lonely song as they realize there cannot find the instrument.  When it crashes to the ground in front of them, Astrafel is heart-broken as it was "a gift from the Elven King himself."

The two are picked up by Kurd's flying vessel and return to the tower to see Halek and Enkirash struggling to get Fenris to throw up.  The animal, however, has no understanding of the word.  Aegor comes close and using his Druidic ability to speak to animals easily coaxes the Savage Fenris to allow him to draw the monkey out of its stomach.  Gillean, it seems had been polymorphed into a monkey.

The enemy had escaped.

There seemed no choice left in the matter than to try and take chase.  

"I know where he would go," Kurd admitted, "There is only one place.  But I will not force you to come with me unless you want to."

The place Kurd had in mind, was Sigil, the City of Doors.


The group travels through the Phlogiston, the substance that separates the spheres, and stops at what seems to be a dock in the middle of rainbow gases.  Kurd explains no spelljammer vessel can enter Sigil.  "For Sigil, you will need to use something else."

The group steps inside and Kurd talks to the man in charge, easily swaying him to allow the others passage through what looks like an ordinary door.  Enkirash's sharp eyes catch the detail that the key the man uses to open the door oddly bites into the man's skin and draws blood before it opens the door.  The groups steps through and discover the wondrous and odd world of Sigil.

Kurd tells them of the six districts and suggests that he knows a man who might be able to offer information.  The man is based in the Clerk's Ward and so it will take some walking to get there.  He was called "The Teacher" and for Kurd, he was the closest thing to a true friend.   Along the way, the group tries to absorb the sights as beholders argue with trolls over payment, humans talk to blue-skinned figures that speak with images and letters, and odd triangle-shaped creatures with arms and legs march down the road in perfect synch.

Halek digs into the bag which he had taken from the Illithid and realizes it is a Bag of Holding.  He pulls out bottle after bottle of picked things and opts to sell it to a seller by the bridge.  The seller goes crazy, offering large sums of coin for the jar containing what seems to be a pickled bat.  Another man offers instead two Keys and tells him he would be foolish to trade that for merely coins.  Halek agrees to the offer and watches as the man throws away the bat and holds the container up and smiles at having acquired something he calls "A souljar."  Halek starts to wonder how valuable these odd things really are in his new Bag of Holding.

The group quickly learns that in Sigil, the currency generally accepted is any coin from the realms.  But proper exchanges are done with pain as the currency.  Kurd explains that the sole power in Sigil is the Lady of Pain, and she has actually locked Sigil from being infiltrated or visited by any Divine power.  Halek realizes that explains the faint presence of Myshakal in his senses.  The group continues through the districts, with the members of the Order soon splitting up due to finding curiosities int he marketplace.  Halek purchases an arrow of shadow that supposedly can hit its target regardless of where it is.  Aegor and Astrafel discover that a woman selling musical instruments can repair his damaged Lute, but then has heard of the Eleven King supposedly having shared a popular anecdote of a man he fooled into thinking he was gifted a precious lute, when all it was was just an ordinary instrument.  Astrafel tries not to get further depressed while Aegor realizes, "You're a medusa!"  She takes offense at the monster label and admits she is still hoping to gain better acceptance for her kind in time.  She relates her story of having come to Sigil due to love, but the man who promised her a key never gave her one.  The keys Halek presented turn out to be the keys she speaks of.  Each Cager (people of Sigil) are given a Key to freely travel through any door in Sigil to another realm.  She had hoped to have one but never did.  When they offer the key Halek had gained (one had a snake pattern and the other a dragon), she is overwhelmed with joy and agrees to give Astrafel anything in her shop for it.  

Enkirash finds a shop of curious items and learns the man helming the place was a halfling.  The bald figure admits to having once been an adventurer, but laments how in time "saving the world loses its charm."  He offers Enkirash some advice, telling him it is best they choose their adventures and stay away from the larger stuff until they have no choice.  He then mumbles something about once having been an Archmage and is just happy to simply manage a shop now in Sigil.


The drow.

Halek spots the drow in the market place and quickly moves to take chase.  As they run, Aegor and Astrafel hear the commotion and follow suit, with Astrafel telling the medusa to take care of the lute.  Enkirash rushes off as well after them, and the four close in on the Drow whose attempt to escape has ended with him wrongly running into a cul-de-sac.

The group gets violent and the drow takes some blows.  With this happening in public, many start worrying about the violence in the streets.  Enkirash notices the Lady of Pain's people observing them as the others start screaming at the Drow to undo the magic done to the Paladin.  The monkey screeches in agreement.

"I can't," the Drow admits, "Not after I lost all my magic."

The Drow had opened the tomb, and what he had hoped would be his rise to greater power was instead an ancient power slapping him for being disturbed from his slumber.  The Drow had been stripped of all his Wizard powers.  Enkirash realizes this oddly meant the Polymorph, which was to unravel once the caster casted a new spell, could not be undone.  Not unless the Drow gained magic abilities again.

"Baccalaureus?" Kurd's voice rang out and the group watched as the beholder approached the downed drow.  The drow, it seemed, was the same man called The Teacher.    They learn that Baccalaureus had played Kurd for a fool all this time, twisting him and using him for his own ends.  Kurd wasn't even a bard.  Or a ranger.  The ghost bird, Archon, was just an illusion one of Kurd's own eyestalks had cast.  Angered, the group pulled Baccalaureus to his feet, and knowing the Lady of Pain herself was watching them, excused themselves to head to the Teacher's home to continue the interrogations there.


It was true.  He had lost any semblance of magical ability.  And worse, Kurd was indeed just a beholder that had dreams of being something better.  The Teacher had stolen the young beholder from the Underdark and regaled him with wild stories of heroism and adventure.  The Teacher was even the one who devised the hook-clothing for Kurd to have a "body."

The group realized they would have to take Baccalaureus back to the Realms with them, to eventually teach him Arcane magic back and release the Paladin from her polymorphed imprisonment.    All that remained was to use the Key to head home.  The group debates long on how to trust the Teacher and who would travel through the door that opened first.. or last, fearing the Teacher had created a portal to sudden death.  With a Charm Person spell, Enkirash suceeds in learning that the portal is a safe journey.  However he also realizes that the drow does care not if he died now, having lost everything he had struggled to gain. If there was one thing he desired over everything and anything else, it was to be granted a chance to start over.  Reincarnation.  Or perhaps just relearning.

Aegor, impatient, transforms into a serpent that coils around The Teacher, ready to crush him if he tried anything.    The Dragon Key is used and the group find themselves back in the Realms, standing in what seems to be an ancient altar.  Happy to have a way home, the group invites Kurd to still join them for their adventures.  "While the rise of that tentacled God may have been foiled, there's no reason you cannot stay with us and LEARN to actually become a Bard?"  In a show of faith, Astrafel even hands the Beholder a makeshift "shaker" instrument to start with.

Kurd smiles, excited to truly be an adventurer.

And the group turns in surprise as the monkey suddenly speaks.

"There is evil here."

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