Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Long Game: The Iron Tower Part 1

Hello role-players out there! It occurred to us recently here at D4sign that we neglected to post our last adventure which we played last December. With some opportunities coming up to play more of The Long Game (which you can read about by clicking the link on the right side of the page), we thought it a good idea to bring you, and us, up to date!
Dallas Kasaboski

When last we met, the party, consisting mainly of Kalgar, (the dragonborn paladin of Kord), Alvyn (the gnome wizard-turned-warlord working for the Doomguard), and Tong (human monk of Ioun), had recently discovered the rules of The Long Game, see rules here, and were trying to decide what to do.

Tension had risen among the party lately. Kalgar and Alvyn debated how to proceed, and Tong felt he had nothing left in this material world. The world was being secretly controlled by dragons, who were readying the world for war. The rules of the game prohibited too many people from knowing, and the three were sworn to secrecy by Mercury, silver dragon acting as mediator to the game.

Both Alvyn and Kalgar wanted to take the fight to the dragons, but Alvyn warned against it. The three had grown in power and were definitely very skilled, and lucky, adventurers, but that did not mean they could take on entire nations. They needed more information.

Settling on a neutral target, the party decided to set out for Ferrum, purportedly the home of the Iron Dragon, according to Mercury. World travel had become much easier lately now that they had an airship. During one intense sea-combat, the three had fought off a kraken and taken control of a barely functioning sea vessel. Alvyn, and some of his Doomguard agents, had outfitted the ship and, thanks to Kalgar's faith in Kord (god of battle and storms), the ship made good time over the world continent.
A map of the world, Cyfandir, for reference
Tong was unusually quiet during the trip. Meditating on the prow, ingesting the medicine Kalgar had provided him for sea-sickness, he remained cross-legged for days at a time. For such a long time, his only conscious thought has been in the elimination of the devil who cursed him and ridding himself of his cursed sword. His training with the monks of Canitia had taught him discipline and had helped him complete his quest, but now he felt complete, without purpose. His mentor and his monk brothers and sisters had been killed, murdered by the very devil who had betrayed him, and other than one other who accompanied him, Tong was all that was left of his order. Rather than feeling inspired, Tong felt empty.

As the airship soared over the foothills of Ferrum, the party noted that it was a bleak land, with nothing but low-laying grass and rolling plains. Finally, after a short while, they spotted the Iron Tower. Standing in the Giants' Barrows, it was surrounded by perfectly regular and identically-shaped hills. Legend had it that this was the burial ground of ancient hill giant lords which ruled this land.

Standing by the wheel, Kalgar had given control of the wheel to Dwight, one of his disciples. Kalgar was flexing his newly formed wings, giving instruction to Dwight, and keeping an eye on the power generators of the ship. How the ship flew, Kalgar did not exactly know, but he knew that it was powered by storms, and that was slowly becoming his specialty.

Looking behind them, Kalgar noticed a bird following them. It was hard to tell how big or how far it was, with nothing in the sky to act as a scale, but it seemed to have a branching crest on its head. Kalgar watched it for a time, but while the bird followed, it did not approach. Calling Alvyn to the surface deck, he pointed it out to Alvyn.

Alvyn called Tong over, but after much thought, no one had a clue as to what it was, or what it wanted. As the Shockrosia entered the foothills, Kalgar felt uneasy. Sniffing the air, he looked around. The crew was moving a little more apprehensively. Kalgar could not understand it; the weather was the same, why had the morale dropped? Alvyn and Tong mentioned it, but they could not determine what it was, only that it was getting stronger.

Tong, recalling his days of hunting in Canitia, recalled an animal similar to the bird following them. Known as a peryton, its horns were antlers, and that it was a great predator. Alvyn wasn't happy to be followed, but since it was keeping its distance, there wasn't much to be done. Kalgar took the wheel as they approached the tower.

The Iron Tower was hundreds of feet tall, with a 100 foot radius. Cylindrically-constructed, it was smooth with no windows, parapets, or exterior markings of any kind. As the Shockrosia banked around the tower, they noticed nearby camps. Several teams of archaeologists had studied the tower for years, trying to learn more about it. There was no activity, things looked bleak and abandoned. Kalgar dramatically brought his ship down hard but landed smoothly. As he did, he noticed the bird landed on top of the tower and was watching them.

The three disembarked and studied the tower. It seemed entirely protected; tools could not mark it and magic would not affect it. As they investigated, they heard a groan of metal coming from the other side. The nearby camps, at closer inspection, appeared less abandoned and more destroyed, as if something violent had happened here, years ago. Scouting through the remains, the party discovered an ancient journal and a few bodies. The bodies appeared humanoid, but were twisted and monstrous. Other corpses looked to have died in crippling pain, with mutations like tusks, extra limbs, and protruding teeth.

Approaching the other side of the tower, the party discovered the source of the metallic groaning. There, standing over a nearby camp, was a giant mechanical man-like construct. It had large features and was covered in rust.

"Is that...?" Tong whispered.

As if in answer to his question, the construct picked up a body, looked at it, and slapped it onto its back, covered in spikes and hundreds of corpses. It was a cadaver-collector, not only that, but it appeared to be the exact same collector the party had seen in the plains of Aurum. Made long ago, these collectors cleaned the battlefields, but this one in particular was old, and obviously malfunctioning, as they had seen it "collect" living specimens before.

The peryton on the tower let out a squawk. The collector looked up to the tower, then to the base of it where it saw a human, a dragonborn, and a gnome, standing with jaws open. It turned its massive body and began lumbering over to the party.

Spreading apart, the three knew that reasoning would not work with the creature. The best thing to do would be to end this, and quickly. Just as Tong ran up to the collector and smashed into it with flying kicks and palm strikes, the peryton dove from the tower and went for Kalgar.

Lifting him into the air, the bird's beak went straight for Kalgar's heart. Alvyn flipped his weapon over his shoulder and fired a bolt at the collector. The shot hit and began seizing its left arm, the metal groaning as it tried to fend off Tong's unrelenting attacks.

Meanwhile, Kalgar had climbed on top of the creature and had seized its wings. Kicking his foot onto the face of the peryton, he brought it down, crashing into the collector just as Tong backflipped away, not before placing 4 rods into the creature's sides. Kalgar leapt off just as the two creatures collided in metal and feather, following into a large hole the party had not noticed before. Suddenly the hole was lit with bright light and smoke. Kalgar and Tong looked at each other, then at Alvyn who smiled. At that moment, the Shockrosia soared overhead and fired its cannons into the hole, obliterating the two creatures.

As the dust settled, Alvyn took a look down the hole. It appeared to be a quite large piece of excavation, likely the results of archaeologists trying to work their way under the tower. The creatures were clearly dead, finished, sitting in a pile at the bottom of the hole. Tong dug around some of the nearby camps and found some journals, some still intact. The documents revealed that the expeditions had been sent from the nearby countries (Aurum, Ruber, and Argentum) for centuries, to determine the origin and identity of the tower.  

Curious to see where the hole may take them, Kalgar signaled to the ship to circle the skies, and the three set their minds on the next adventure!

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