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The Architects of Betrayal (TAB) 36: The Bigger They Are . . .

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

There are no words . . .
Me, every minute of my campaign. But especially today . . .

Welcome back everyone. If you'll recall, last week on Who's Line Is It Anyway (Pathfinder Edition) the group had been thrust directly into the middle of a plot to do . . . something. And they'd been paid about four times from four different groups to check on it. Convenient since they were going that way anyways.

Not much happened as they penetrated deeper and deeper into the Plaguewrought Lands themselves. They did run into Blood Maize. Actually they ran into a lot of Blood Maize. Apparently its the Plaguewrought Lands' version of weeds. Now, had it been me, I totally would have used Create Food And Water to make the biggest ear of corn you've ever seen, and eaten it directly in front of these fields . . . because I'm an asshole. But its okay because I'm a funny asshole.

One night they were approached by a curious Dragon Horse. It inquired (telepathically) as to their purpose and warned them of the Blue Flamers (as they shall hence be called) up ahead. Before anyone could attempt a diplomacy to get it to be their mount Zornesk went all Luis about their adventure on it. It ran. After it left, he turned to Quagrim and said 'Why didn't you stop me?" And then I told them about how they could have easily convinced it to act as a mount. With their charisma scores it was a given.

The next night they camped within sight of an Earth Mote. (For those of you playing the home game, that's floating ground) All throughout the night they could see flashes and flickering lights, suggesting many characters and much activity.

The next day, as they attempted to make it to their destination, they were turned back by a roving patrol of Blue Flamers. When asked, they told them that they were just trying to get Oraclees her scar. The Blue Flamers kindly directed them towards the next nearest earth mote.

So they headed that way until out of sight and sent Quagrim darting over the line. Suffice it to say he made it without issue. Once to the earth mote he was truly able to see how huge it was. He could see ruins on top and unearthed tunnels beneath.

Casting fly on himself, he took a quick peek above, noting that the Blue Flamers were pouring a silvery substance that was either a fine powder or liquid into carved trenches, forming a massive rune. Using his obsession log, he sketched the rune and headed below.

Once in the tunnels it became obvious that the Order had been using it as storage. There were several large rooms with imprints in the dirt for large heavy crates, but most were empty. He did find one crate he was able to (carefully) obtain a sample of.

Further wanderings revealed a foot wide crevice that led to a hidden room. The room itself was blocked by a stone door. Quagrim was able to lift the door (quite a feat for the Strength 8 gnome) with a DC 15 strength check, and prop it open with one of the steal bars he's been carrying around for what seems like forever now.

There he found the next marker in their quest. It read:

Below Fardelver’s triumph shall ye witness the pride of Azhaq.

Quagrim was unable to remove the steel bar, and quickly returned to the group, who headed straight back the way they'd come. Along the way Oracles decided that if she was going to stand up to the rogue elements of the order she'd need a spellscar. So she found the nearest earth mote she could and began casting. It wasn't long before she hooked herself a winner.

{DM's Note: Being that Oracles was currently player-less I'd planned on just killing her off here, leaving the group with only a pseudo-healer. For some reason I cannot at this point explain I decided to roll the damage. This turned out to be a mistake as the stubborn bitch just took everything I threw at her. Even after I realized I was rolling 1 too few dice per level she survived. Even when I decided to just call that first roll (which was a 10 on 10d3) a warm up, she still survived. So, fine; she has a spellscar. I'll work her out later.}

Not much later the group ran into a Thunder Behemoth. At first they decided this wasn't a fight worth their trouble. They tried to diplomacy it, and failed. Which left the time honored strategy of run away. And they would have escaped, being that horses have a run speed ten feet higher than the behemoth.

But then Minerva got an idea; a dangerous situation, that. So she hopped off her horse, raged, increased her size and attempted an intimidate check. Being that she'd just added some theatric effects I gave her a +4 on the check. Which she passed. Of course she could have used this to force it to be nice to them for a few hours. But really, where's the fun in that?

So she chose to give it the shaken condition. By this point the rest of the group had hopped off of their horses (Quagrim landing a perfect quadruple axle while pulling his pistol; damn his acrobatics) about 30 feet beyond, since she hadn't warned them of this attempted suicide.

Fine, roll initiatives. To be fair, the group could probably have taken this thing normally. But for some reason Quagrim decided to cast Hold Monster on the colossal creature. Fine, make your caster level check against its SR 29. What? You rolled an 18? Dammit. Fine, now I get a will check to ignore. 10?!!! That's with a -2 for shaken. And I failed. So now the damned thing is helpless.

And with an almost arrogant calm Minerva (Whom it had just happened to stop next to) coup de graced the poor thing for over a 100 damage! So, in two combat turns (not rounds, three didn't even get to do anything at all) they killed a CR 18 creature.

Why is this relevant? Just wait. You'll see . . .

A few miles further they run into the three archers (sounds kind of like the 3 musketeers doesn't it?) who had apparently been waiting for them. They showed them the sample Quagrim had taken and his sketch, at which point all three of them paled. The leader of the three (let's just call him Athos) told them that this was a processed skymetal. He refused to tell them which one or how to process it, but he did say that some had long suspected that it could be used to expand the Plaguewrought Lands. The rune was the same rune used in the ritual that formed its original borders.

At this point, the three step away for a brief argument. Few comments are heard by the group, but the get the distinct impression that their job isn't done.

After a few heated minutes the three return and ask them to take a BOH type 2 to a man (we'll call him Earl) and tell him that Athos needs that thing he hoped he'd never need. When asked he just said 'he'll understand,'. They also said that the group can keep the bag after Earl has been payed. They then asked them to take the 'item' to the center most room under the ruins on that particular earth mote and 'set it off'. Of course, those words perked the gnome right up.

{DM's Note: Had they asked, the three bowateers would have told them they couldn't run this errand themselves because they knew they were being watched by the Order. But they never ask.


There was just one snag here; it turned out that Earl lived in Pants-Topia (I said don't let me name things). You know it as 'The Place Zubat Died a Horrible Yet Ironic Death'. Sucking it up, the group agreed.

They were in for a shock when they arrived. Apparently Zubat's death had affected the villagers quite drastically. The town's sign now sported an addendum, changing it to No-Pants-Topia. And there was not a pair of pants in sight. Everyone was wearing either a kilt or shorts.

The group was apologized to profusely for the unfortunate incident by the constable. As it turned out the constable, Tanic, and Vex had been resurrected. Tanic and Vex were currently working off the cost of the resurrections at an undisclosed prison.

They quickly got to Earl, who immediately demanded "Whatch u want?!" They passed on the message, and a BOH2's capacity of gems. Earl then gave them a Necklace of Fireball. But this was no ordinary necklace. It had 20 beads, each a Maximized, Intensified, Empowered, Fireball, Heightened to level 9. Quagrim immediately summoned Bob, said 'hold this' and dismissed him. Damn; I'd totally planned on having it blow up if the holder took damage! I gave him an int point. And cursed him. Not necessarily in that order.

On their way back they encountered only one creature: a Bloodbrush. A single bloodbrush. It's basically a hungry tumble weed. And what do they decide to do? Zornesk kicks it! This causes him to take 4 damage and 1 bleed. Oracles declares that she's not healing that. Quagrim is laughing too hard to help. It takes a full round of combat to kill this CR 2 creature!

That's right! They killed a CR 18 creature in two turns, and no one took damage! They fight a CR2, take twice as long to kill it, and have to heal the Kobold! How is this possible?! Perhaps we've found Zornesk's weakness?

Anyway, aside from that misadventure they made it to the earth mote. The group decided, that since they're basically killing them a whole bunch of cultists anyways, one roving patrol is no big deal. So they all cross the boundary . . . right between patrols. I sense the sticky fingers of lady luck in this.

They then flew up to the earth mote, only to find that a) there seems to be some sort of rally going on, and b) there are two guards patrolling the tunnels. The guards put up a pretty good fight, but were eventually dispatched. I almost killed Minerva (I guess she's the new Tanic) like three times, but that damned Oracles kept subverting me. But that's okay. She'll get hers.

As the group entered the final room Quagrim summoned Bob. Just as he'd done so, two people teleported into the room. They were in fact Kara Chermosk and her lover Sergai (you know them as the Baneites lady luck helped the group make a fool of in the battle for the dwarven hold) but with some changes. First they both were sporting brands on their faces for their previous failure. Second, they both seemed more powerful. Third, Sergai was now sporting a revolver. And they looked pissed. I mean really pissed. Way past the point of only pissing them off a little more and then stopping.

{DM's Note: I'd managed to secure the right to take over Zornesk from Alex at this point with the promise that I'd return him in the same condition I borrowed him (except more heroic) and fill his hero points. The negotiation went something like this. Minus the Hupyrian Beetle Snuff. And no, I was not Sisko. . .}

Zornesk took one look at them, snatched the neckace of nuclear destruction from Bob's hands, and pushed the other back out of the room. They'd barely made it past the threshold when Sergai shot the steel bar, sending it tumbling from under the door.

Zornesk yelled 'run!'. Realizing there was nothing they could do, Quagrim cast Dimension Door and teleported the others to safety. We're going to stop them right their in mid teleport.

Back in the room, just as Zornesk was about to throw the necklace on the floor in an act of heroic defiance, a figure appeared in a blinding flash of light. When the afterimage faded Zornesk saw a blue skinned humanoid standing in front of him. The humanoid cast Mage Hand on the necklace and held a hand out saying 'come with me if you want to live'! As Zornesk took his hand the newcomer cast teleport, appearing next to Quagrim and co, just seconds after they'd arrived via their dimension door.

Then the demolition site was consumed in a blue fire that quickly turned into a mushroom cloud. The blast knocked most of them down, but they were otherwise alright.

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