October 4

Against the Giants: Session 176

After a brief rest while dwarf-Calibos gets used to his new body and realises his old suit of armour no longer fits him, the Heroes continue to explore the interior of the mirror.

They transverse corridors, and find themselves in a room dominated by a six-sided contraption with panels of dials and glyphs, most damaged, surrounding a central column of dimly lit glass that disappears into a series of concentric circles in the ceiling. Debris litters the floor and a mirror-like window sits hanging off the wall. At the opposite end a pair of tall, narrow doors stand closed, small windows at the top, dark and glazed.

No sooner have they entered, four wraith-like apparitions materialise and attack!

Calibos, no longer a mere paladin but now a dwarven Defender of the Faith* , blesses the party as they move into combat, Ungrid landing the first blow with his magic hammer. Halmary tries and fails to turn undead, meaning that these are no ordinary ghosts or wraiths. He, and Calibos, both get caught by warm grasping hands of the monsters, but instead of wounding them, both find themselves ageing several years. Sidni slices away one of the creature’s arms, opening it up for Xellos to dispatch it. Ungrid pulverises another, then joins forces with Halmary to send a third back from wherever it came from. Sidni and Xellos combine their prowess to take out the fourth.

The doors, which could well be an exit, are locked and seem immune to the strength of the mighty. There are levers to pull on the panels, but for the moment they are reluctant to mess about with the console, so instead they backtrack and soon find themselves leaving a corridor and stepping into a garden growing wild in a square chamber, the ceiling a pale blue sky with light from an unseen sun beaming down. They cautiously enter, and as they do ten glimmering balls of light erupt from the foliage; two manage to shock Calibos with arcs of lightning as they touch him; but all ten are swiftly dispatched as Calibos, Xellos, Ungrid and Sidni cleave them apart; their innards turn to glitter as they fall to the ground.

Back to the library, where Xellos pockets some of the intact vials of different coloured liquids, where they push the broken shelves over the chasm to cross it; a short corridor leads to a murky pool, algae covering much of the surface. Another tunnel leads off, but they leave it alone and head back to the cloisters, then on to a room that is a disused workshop: here, more ghostly figures emerge, quickly dispatched without anyone ageing. They loot the workshop, finding a few items of potential use (a small yellow ceramic sphere, a glass jar of green slime, and a crystal nodule that looks like it can fit onto the hilt of a weapon), pass along a corridor and through an empty and crude kitchen- which shows signs of recent use, warm ashes, bones in the fire pit- through a strange workshop of metal and glass-panelled desks, and there they hear the sound of people smashing furniture: down another corridor and into a now smashed laboratory, five wild men, long of beard and nail, obviously insane, sharpened teeth, drooling at the sight of fresh meat.

These savages charge the party, as Halmary quickly blesses them. Sidni cuts one down, as does Xellos, while Halmary wades in swinging his mace, taking out one, two, three of the savages before Sidni steps up and skewers the last.

They catch their breath and survey the ruins of the lab.

End of Session

Kills: 7 Time-Ghosts, 10 Glimmerings, 6 Savages.

*new custom-built class.

September 27

Against the Giants: Session 175

map of the cloister room (version 1)
Cloister Room
map of library

While Calibos is trapped inside the mirror, the others wait to see what happens. Xellos shoves the paladin’s weapons, armour and equipment through the mirror. Calibos does a quick reconnaissance and finds a short bell tower, a stagnant fountains, a horrific statue of a snarling angel staring in terror at a cracked mirror leaning against the wall, and three archways: two lead down short corridors to doors, the third to a long corridor. The others, leaving Medmyr in command, eventually pass through the mirror, Xellos last, all now trapped. No sooner has everyone joined Calibos, he spots a figure moving down the corridor: a man half encased in metal, the other half burned by acid and fire. He staggers down the corridor, metal hand outstretched and ending in needles. He utters a hoarse cry when he sees them, and his charred lips form words: “Help me!” He reaches out to give Calibos a hug, but the paladin shoves him away with his giant strength, allowing Halmary time to attempt and fail at a hold person spell. Ungrid then angers the half-man as he takes a wild swing at him, and then the others pile in: Sidni stabs the half-man, Halmary tries and fails to knock him out, and Ungrid wastes his time activating his ring of haste as Calibos badly wounds him, enough for Sidni to step in and finish the creature off.

They leave the corpse behind and carry on down the corridor, entering a dark library, with passages leading off, and a chasm fracturing the floor and blocking the way to one of the exits. The library itself seems to have no books, just vials of different coloured liquids. Many are smashed, their oily residue coating patches of the floor. The shelves are mostly empty, but the room is not: gliding out of the darkness a mechanical creature approaches. A domed conical creature made of metal, battered and weathered, a pair of stick-like arms protruding from its middle, an eye-stalk from its domed head. Its voice is scratchy and staccato, and with a cry of “Exterminate!” the creature lets loose a blast of negative energy from one of its arms: Calibos is struck and for an instant he is bathed in negative energy, his skeleton visible through his armour. He is flung back, dead in an instant!

In shock, the others retaliate while Halmary drags Calibos’ corpse out of the way and Sidni levitates out of reach, using her bow instead to rain arrows on the creature. Halmary, Sidni and Xellos manage to destroy it, smashing through its casing to the squishy insides.

Halmary prays to his goddess, but his prayers are not answered and calibos is not restored to life & limb. Instead, they are forced to rely on Xellos’ magic: the Ruinguard reincarnates Calibos, who is bathed in a golden light and as it fades he has become a dwarf!

End of Session

Kills: 1 Half-Man, 1 Metaltron.

KO’d: Calibos (dead, actually dead, but reincarnated as a dwarf).

September 20

Against the Giants: Session 174

3rd Reaping, 594, close to midnight

As the rest of the party start making their way back to Pest’s Crossing, carrying their mirror, Xellos and Sidni turn invisible and fly over to the camp to see what chaos the army is in. While the soldiers are mustering or abandoning the camp, Xellos creates several illusions around the camp, banners and notices declaring the Duke a traitor to his country, a madman who enslaved his own people to build a great wall, and other propaganda (albeit true). In the morning, this spread of the truth, aided by Sidni whispering it into the ears of soldiers, helps decide a few more units: altogether, two thirds of the army disband and leave. The rest, loyal and commanded by lieutenants who believe the Duke to have been either assassinated or kidnapped by magical means, hold the rest together as they send messengers to the remaining lords of the land. Warrants for the Heroes arrest, for treason, and execution quickly circulate over the next few days.

Meanwhile, slowed down by the mirror, Halmary turned himself into a large dragon using a potion of polymorph and flew Calibos and Ungrid back to Pest’s Crossing, where they quickly secured the mirror in the paladin’s secret vault. Xellos and Sidni fly home, spotting a band of thirty guards tracking the party. These make camp a couple of miles away. Xellos and Sidni report to the others, and all head out, on horseback with accompanying guards, under torchlight and a banner of peace. The guards hear them coming, and assemble for an ambush, but Calibos calls out to them and– with the aid of a gift of a potion of ESP– convince the guards of the truth: that they are not traitors, that the Duke and his men were duplicates created by a magic mirror, and that many of the other lords are also Mirror Men. The guards are convinced enough to desert the Duke’s army and return home, which they do at first light.

The next day, 5th Reaping, while the remains of the Duke’s army muster under new orders and new commanders, the Heroes gather in the secret vault and discuss what to do with the mirror they stole. Halmary casts an augury and asks if it will be woeful for Calibos to look into the mirror; the reply is that it is safe to do so, and a divination backs that up. Calibos strips down to his clothes, leaves his weapons and other items with the others, and steps in front of the mirror. Nothing comes out. He touches the surface and finds it warm and wet, the surface rippling out from where he touches it. They tie a rope around his waist, and he pokes his sword through, than waggles his hand, then uses Halmary’s telescope to peer through it: beyond is a tree- and vine-choked cloister, dimly lit, three passages leading off from beneath the cloisters. He dons the helm of teleportation and takes a deep breath, and steps through into the cloisters. He turns to see what the mirror looks like on this side, only to find there is no portal: the rope tied to his waist just disappears into thin air. He tugs on it, but when the others yank at it, it snaps! Calibos attempts to escape by teleporting, but that too fails.

Now trapped on the other side of the mirror, the paladin communicates by talking to Halmary, who uses the telescope and his lip-reading skill to translate, and pass pieces of scribbled on parchment through to talk back…

End of Session

Kills: none, but managed to cause two-thirds of the enemy army to desert.

September 12

Against the Giants: Session 173

map of army command tent
The Command Tent

Under cover of invisibility the Heroes creep into the camp, taking advantage of the hustle and bustle as the camp settles down for the night. They make their way unseen to the command tent where Xellos spotted the Duke, and clamber over the stockade surrounding it. Sticking to the shadows, they spy the tent, surrounded on all sides by tents of soldiers, other soldiers on guard around it, and sneak up to it. Halmary activates his Shield of Giant Strength and Ungrid activates his Ring of Haste. Then Sidni, also invisible, lines up several of the guards and triggers the attack by using her shield to send out a lightning bolt, burning several guards and acting as a signal to Xellos. The flying Ruinguard lobs a fireball at the tent, burning the canvas away and several people inside: Marquis’, Counts, Malachi and the Duke himself: Count Carlyle, High Priest, explodes into mirror shards.

In the few seconds of stunned silence that follow, Calibos charges into the nearest group of soldiers and cuts them down, with Ungrid running up behind and hurling his hammer, smashing the skulls of several more. Halmary quickly follows their attack with a flame strike in the middle of the commanders, incinerating Malachi and wounding a couple of the others. Sidni also charges in, aiming for one of the two mirrors that are standing in the tent; she knocks one down and manages to dive out of the way as Marquis Godwin tries to strike her with a deadly finger of death. Before the commanders can do much more than draw their weapons, and as the alarm sounds throughout the stockade and begins to echo along the camp, Xellos lobs down another fireball and Halmary lays down another flame strike, killing Marquis Cendric and Godwin, and obliterating Marquis Ida as well; all three of the division commanders slain within a matter of seconds.

Ungrid destroys the other mirror, then heads for the Duke, taking him out with a series of blows from his hammer: the Duke shatters!

Calibos, meanwhile, takes on Baron Harold and his dire wolf pet, making short work of them as dozens of soldiers– the Duke’s own personal, elite guard– arrive to protect their commanders, albeit a bit late. Xellos delays some of them by conjuring up a wall of fog and confuses several more, while the others take on the swarming soldiers, who seem to believe a mix of assassinations and abduction by magic. Calibos uses his giant strength to hurl some soldiers away, and makes his way over to Halmary, while Ungrid quaffs a potion of flying and Sidni uses her spear to fly, taking the other mirror– that seems immune to their weapons– with her, taking care not to catch her reflection in it. As the soldiers try vainly to stop them, they are disrupted by illusions from Xellos and hold person magic from Halmary, hammers throws from Ungrid, and the sight of an armed woman struggling to fly off with a ornate mirror.

As more soldiers arrive, surrounding Calibos and Halmary– the rest now having flown away– the paladin grabs the cleric, and uses the helmet of teleportation to teleport them both back to their camp, where they are soon joined by the others; leaving behind them an army thrown into chaos by the sudden loss and assassination of their commanders.

They try to destroy the mirror, which they believe is the master Mirror of Opposition, but nothing seems to destroy it, not even a scroll of cancellation. Taking care to avoid looking at the mirrored glass, the cover it up and secure it, and pack up the camp.

End of Session

Kills: 4 guards, 1 dire wolf; Marquis Ida, Cendric and Godwin; Count Carlyle; Baron Harold; Duke Owen; Malachi.

September 5

Against the Giants: Session 172

camp001 camp002 camp003

After the battle with their duplicates and the would-be assassins, Ungrid turns out to be merely knocked out. They then spend a few days checking out the rest of the guards, soldiers and employees to make sure there are no more duplicates or assassins; turns out there isn’t. Word reaches them that the various conscripts, militia and mercenaries from the various counties have all been gathered at Gorna to muster a sizeable army, and it does appear that their intent is to march on Pest’s Crossing. The Heroes of the Liberation, now rebels once again, decide to take the fight to the army, but by themselves rather than with their small army of a few hundred soldiers.

On the 1st Reaping, Halmary communes with his goddess and poses three questions: will the rest of Sidni’s spies return before the Duke’s army reaches Pest’s Crossing? (Answer: No); Is the Duke a mirror-duplicate? (Answer: Yes); and finally, Is the Duke or Malachi behind the mirror duplicates? (Answer: Yes). Now that they have confirmation that the Duke is indeed their enemy, they head off the next day on horseback accompanied by several of Calibos’ cavalry, making good time across the road in the direction of Gorna. Xellos flies on ahead, spying on the army of the Duke as it begins to march along the road, slowly but surely. Sidni also goes ahead to scout, and together they gather information: the Duke’s army is roughly 6,000 strong, with 3 battalions of 52 companies, largely infantry, but with some longbowmen and cavalry and heavy infantry; they also have several siege weapons, dozens of ladders and a sizeable baggage train. The next day they make cold-camp and send Calibos’ cavalry back home, to warn them. Ungrid sets the guard rota, and Xellos heads off to scout out the enemy as it makes camp a mere 9 miles away. He locates the command tents, spots several Mirror Duplicate Lords, including (he thinks) the Duke himself.

They decide to move in immediately and attempt to slay the leaders, in the hope that that will disband the army. Plans are made, and they set off towards the camp…

End of Session