Reign of Winter

Treasure Listing

 
Type
Item
Identified ?
Value
Armor Scale mail+1 Yes 1200
Coin Gold N/A 7300
Potion 6 Cure Serious Wounds Yes 4500
Potion 4 Elixirs of Hiding Yes 1000
Potion 4 Good Hopes Yes 3000
Scroll Iron Body Yes 3000
Scroll Mage's Sword Yes 2275
Scroll Mass Hold Person Yes 2275
Scroll Reincarnate Yes 700
Scroll Wall of Stone Yes 1125
Weapon Flame Tongue Yes 20715
Weapon Sword of the Planes Yes 22315
Wondrous Blessed Book Yes 12500
Wondrous Tan Bag of Tricks Yes 16000
Wondrous Cauldron of plenty Yes 15000
Wondrous Greater Book of Extended Summoning Yes 6126
Wondrous
IMP's Whistle
Yes
-
Wondrous Javelin of Lightning Yes 1500
Wondrous Manacles of Cooperation Yes 2000
View
Summary 26: Clueless
Chapter Five: Rasputin Must Die
CHALLENGE
XP
2 Stone Golems
6400
4 Romanov Souls; Advanced Animate Dreams
6400-Lv14
Advanced Meladaemon
4800
3 Baykok Riflists
4800
Advanced Interlocutor Kyton
6400
Trench Zombie
600
Session total
34200
Campaign total
441920
View
Summary 25: Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin
Chapter Five: Rasputin Must Die
SHANG-TSUNG assumed the man had appeared to avenge his fallen troops, but alas, twas not the case.  In fact, the Mad Monk labeled the soldiers as mere insects, nothing more than cannon fodder to help him achieve his goal.  The man known as Grigori Yefimovich RASPUTIN thought it courteous to inform the Horde that their grueling mission had finally come to an end.  The search for his mother, BABA YAGA, no longer served any purpose as the Queen of Witches’ had officially expired after fourteen overdue centuries.  Having acquired knowledge on the Horde’s personnel, RASPUTIN called out to all by name and suggested that they return home via the Dancing Hut and cherish whatever life that remained.  When asked to elaborate BABA YAGA further, RASPUTIN refused to comply and insisted that they not intervene in family affairs.  The Mad Monk however, did confirm ELVANNA to be his half-sister, but the man had little interest in her ambitions; a distant planet slowly freezing over was of no concern to him.  Simply put, things change and people are forced to adapt, a reality the Horde had faced and a reality Golarion was to embrace.  RASPUTIN’s rant fell upon deaf ears however and the Samurai tried to shut him up with an arrow.
 
RASPUTIN stood his ground, smiled and let the missile pass through his Astral Projection.  The man calmly asked the Horde to stop and both OTAK and KRUSH agreed that violence was not the answer.  UPANIX however did not like the mention of his broken Warchief’s evident demise, ignored the Monk’s compulsion, entered a frenzy and charged, his greatsword unphasing the laughing illusion.  RASPUTIN waved his hand and warned the Horde that Earth, this god forsaken land, would be their final resting place if they persisted.  The Mad Monk vanished into thin air, but not before arming a dozen or so Fragment Grenades within the pile of spoils via Telekinesis.  Suddenly, the spoils erupted in a grand explosion of fire and metal harming all but the Specimen.  To make matters worse, the burning pile of soldiers animated and the Fiery Corpse Orgy unleashed a painful shriek, sundering brain matter to all those within earshot.  Finally, the Horde’s Detached Shadow’s came into play and pounced upon their real selves, their cold claws and fangs causing discomfort.  Forbidden from attacking, both OTAK and KRUSH took up a defensive posture as the others focused on their shades.  All shadows within reach clawed once and the injured yet whole Shadow Horde retreated into the ground below.  Meanwhile, the Corpse Orgy slammed the Half-Giant hard three times and ignited the Specimen aflame, the smell of burning living tissue and hair for all to relish.  UPANIX countered with three sword swipes of his own and that coupled with half a dozen precise missiles, the flaming aberration was silenced for good.  UPANIX rolled on the ground to put out the flames and MIYUKI made certain that all felt comfortable.  The Horde watched the soldiers burn to ashes and only then did they pursue their journey eastwardly, neglecting RASPUTIN’s counsel.
 
After a few hours’ march, daylight began diminishing but the Horde opted to stay their course without stopping.  Suddenly, OTAK heard a loud noise to the north, the sound of trampling trees.  The Horde deviated and soon noticed the Dancing Hut crashing through the forest excitingly at high speed, the thing squawking at every mile.  Unable to catch up with the construct, the Horde opted to follow its path of destruction, also leading east.  Darkness fell by the time both parties reunited, the Hut at a standstill near the forest limits.  A short walk further from there revealed a vast open area and a fortified structure a thousand yards away.  Obscured by darkness, glimpses of the structure were lit by several spot lights rotating atop towers.  With fatigue creeping in, getting rest was a good enough excuse to delay pondering the Horde’s next move.  The Dancing Hut keeled before BABA YAGA’s favored and granted the Horde sanctuary for the night.  Before retiring however, SHANG-STUNG knocked upon the mantle within the coffin chamber and offered the House Spirit ZORKA an olive branch in hopes to acquire her insight on the Horde’s current predicament.  Sadly, the bridge between her and the Fey Killers had burned long ago back in Whitethrone as the call went unanswered.

Morning came and SHANG-TSUNG awoke next to the skeletal remains of a small cat.  Fearing the worst, the Elder searched high and low for FATALITY and breathed a sigh of relief after finding the Migrus inside a coffin feasting on the remains of a bird.  Rather than charge the fireplace, the Elder disregarded ZORKA’s gift and walked outside.  The Hut had in fact stopped at the edge of a nightmarish landscape.  The forest ended abruptly at a muddy field riddled with snow rimmed craters and punctuated by gnarled trees.  Twisted coils of barbed wire, and deep trenches surrounded a ruined yet fortified keep in the distance.  Beyond a high stone fence, cracked and blackened onion domes hinted of a ruined temple reaching for the stormy sky.  Eerie gray shadows danced and writhed across the dusky landscape, giving it the appearance of a maggot-riddled corpse.  The Samurai reached for his spyglass to observe the mess from a different perspective.  Three pairs of strange metallic caterpillar-like constructs made their rounds defending the complex.  Flanking each were a pair of headless horseman.  The six trenches within view were all occupied by two dozen soldiers each.  Eleven towers housing four or five soldiers each were spotted, all equipped with a spotlight and a massive double crossbow.  A huge metal coil stood atop the towers in the keep’s four corners, strange purple arcane energies surrounding them.  The situation was grim at best and the Horde began brainstorming.  OTAK voted against him playing a prisoner outright and many scenarios involving OBEY-MI and a single Invisibility Potion were rejected as well.  Having done wonders impersonating the Winter Guard back home, the Horde opted to make use of their salvaged Russian uniforms.

With tailored adjustments to make, the Horde returned to the Hut but was halted by a familiar voice.  RASPUTIN stood sinisterly before all, flanked by SHANG-TSUNG and MIYUKI’s Detached Shadows.  Unimpressed with the Horde’s lack of compliance, the Mad Monk offered to join in their silly game of hot and cold.  RASPUTIN decreed that the Horde was very cold, so cold that they’d need to warm up.  Suddenly, a controlled Firestorm came into existence and immolated all those who defied the Oracle.  The Archers fired their barbs but the Shadows anticipated their counterpart’s maneuvers and sank into the ground to safety and like before, the arrows fired at RASPUTIN had no effect.  The Mad Monk mocked his adversaries a final time, claiming the Horde would never find him, and vanished to the hole he came from.  With tensions slightly elevated within the Horde ranks.  UPANIX reentered the Dancing Hut and politely requested an audience with ZORKA.  With both SHANG-TSUNG and OTAK not present within the room and the soothing sound of the Half-Giant’s silver tongue, the House Spirit finally left the sanctuary of her hidey-hole.  Having been in hiding for weeks, the cleanliness of the coffin room in which she appeared was not at all to her standards and felt compelled to sweep.  Peeking outside, ZORKA spotted the Fey Killers and was quick to lock the door and close the shutters.  The house maid however offered very little in the information department.  She confirmed that BABA YAGA had a son but the child was abandoned long ago.  As for the Hut’s current configuration, twas one the Fey had never seen.  Finally, when asked about the Hut’s sudden urge to flee, ZORKA had two logical explanations; either the Hut was attacked or the thing heeded its master’s call.  With nothing else to provide, nor tidy, the Fey tipped over a jar to keep busy and asked that UPANIX perform a secret knock the next time he visits, a Fey Killer warning of sorts.

Fearing they’ve missed something, the Horde returned to the ruined village in hopes to make a gold marker appear on the Karta.  The path of destruction was followed to the point of origin and all was as before, save an inch or two of new powder.  The area where the Hut appeared was relatively undisturbed; no evidence leaning towards an attack was found and thus bolstered the theory that BABA YAGA was near.  Disguised and without Ankylosaurus, the Horde followed a path to the south and entered the village.  Devastated by war, all that remained was a handful of peasant home carcasses.  The two buildings facing the Hut however housed four dozen Russian soldiers.  One of them standing guard took a puff of his smoke stick and saluted his fellow troops in disguise.  The Horde returned the gesture and noticed the man staring and smiling at MIYUKI.  The man approached the maiden and launched a lousy pick-up line.  Offended, the Specimen stepped between them and readied Pain and Misery.  The man, his eyes glazed over, took a step back and both parties engaged in small talk.  Impressed with the Horde’s excellent American accent, the man revealed that RASPUTIN had given strict orders to watch over the Hut on Chicken legs that appeared several days ago.  The man boasted that they were successful at halting a small task force from within, but the Hut ran off soon after nearly two days ago.  Now they await new orders, but until then, they are to stay put.  The man returned to his post after blowing the maiden a kiss and the Horde left the troops to deal with Siberia’s winter chill.  The Horde reunited with KRUSH and returned to the Dancing Hut.

With the Akuvskaya Prison Camp in their sights, the Horde left KRUSH behind and made their advance.  Timing their march just right to avoid the surrounding patrols, the Horde arrived at the keep’s southern entrance unmolested.  Faced with twenty or so soldiers at the gate, both parties saluted and the Horde was given access to the grounds no questions asked.  As they crossed the threshold, the soldiers began hooting and whistling when the beautiful MIYUKI walked by.  Though some existed, women soldiers were at a premium, but twas clear that the maiden was the main attraction, or distraction.  The two buildings to the west, one whole, the other in cinders and the four buildings to the east were all ignored, the Horde favoring passing through another gate to the north.  A lot was happening in the area beyond.  The corpse of a religious temple of sorts dominated the scene, is charred bricks still smoldering like dying embers, fresh flames still flickered eerily across its crumbled surface.  Six buildings lines the western wall, the first reeking of fuel, the next three in utter ruin and the two to the north east in good repair.  Directly to the east, beyond a barbed wire fence, a dozen tents had been erected.  Staked to the ground and standing guard within the settlement was a foul looking Goat with an eerie lantern around its neck.  Several decapitated horsemen, their heads hanging from ropes, made their rounds within the area as well.  Four other buildings, two of them still serviceable, lined the eastern wall.  Wanting nothing to do with the Undead encampment, the Horde circled the fallen temple to the left and spotted something to the north.  A tall fence surrounded a prison yard filled with a brownish-yellow fog, ill-defined shapes shuffling slowly within the murk.  SHANG-TSUNG approached the home-like structure to the north-west first when suddenly; a soldier atop a nearby tower had fired a warning shot at the Elder’s feet.  After inhaling smoke from his cancer stick, the man pointed to the next building.  Surrounded by three-hundred plus men, the Horde complied and found themselves with the barracks.  Now amongst four dozen or so soldiers, some of them half-dressed, others eating, resting and playing games; many heads turned to the sole woman.  The Horde left the small ruckus that ensued and traveled to the west.  An old stone building sat buried in snow on the other side of the complex, its wooden door hanging ajar.  An old tree, lightning-scarred and twisted, jutted through the roof, its drooping branches hanging like a curtain over the entrance.  As the Horde approached it, the soldiers above jeered and laughed quietly.  Suddenly, the tree branches rose to the air, attracted the arcane energies surrounding the coil installed atop the north-eastern tower, and Called Lighting upon the Paladin.  Amused and impressed the woman survived, the soldiers pointed the way to the barracks.

The Horde assembled outside the garrison and agreed to let SHANG-TSUNG enter the forbidden house unseen.  Invisible, the Samurai melted the lock with acid and entered the residence unnoticed.  The Elder traversed the kitchen and entered the library.  Sitting on the couch near the far wall, a strange looking toy in hand, was RASPUTIN himself.  The Mad Monk looked to the Invisible SHANG-TSUNG and cursed him for violating his home.  The Samurai fired a cluster shot but the Mad Monk was yet again not real.  BABA YAGA had chosen her allies well, their no-nonsense way about them, driven by hate and rage.  RASPUTIN penetrated the Samurai’s resolve and gave the Elder an opportunity to prove his superior marksmanship.  Dominated, SHANG-TSUNG was ordered to step outside and to shoot one of the snipers above.  RASPUTIN’s Astral Project vanished and SHANG-TSUNG’s missile struck the soldier square in the shoulder.  The family man had survived the blow at first but the thirty foot drop broke his spine and shattered his skull.  Noticed by many, a soldier in the norther guard tower began cranking a strange construct filling the air with an alarming sound, only then had SHANG-TSUNG gained control of his mind.  Surrounded by utter chaos, the Elder called out to the Horde, jumped over a barbed wire fence and into mustard gas.  The corrosive fumes began searing flesh, replacing burnt tissue with necrotic boils, the Elders innards turning to paste, a stunt he should have passed on.  Now sensing more or less faint life signs, the Trench Zombies within honed in on the Samurai’s position but watched the Tian make an expeditious retreat.  Covered in mustard and pustules, SHANG-TSUNG darted to a nearby hot spring.  Ancient stone arches enshrining weatherworn statues of veiled women and saintly men framed the steaming natural spring, but the three floating bodies within rose a red flag.  Though the sight was disturbing, more so was the fact that the Horde hadn’t assembled to make a stand.  With hostiles in all directions, both OTAK and MIYUKI came to the conclusion that doing so would have resulted in a Total Party Kill.  The Samurai mounted OBEY-MI and made a daring escape.  Meanwhile, MIYUKI made certain to erect a shield around her Elder from a distance and asked the Half-Orc to hold her tightly.  Hundreds of bullets filled the sky, many of them finding wrinkled flesh.  Down below, the maiden held back her screams as holes began opening all over her body.  Luckily, the troops didn’t give chase and the Animated Tank within range failed to lock on its target with a thundering six pound shell.  SHANG-TSUNG returned to the Dancing Hut in more or less one piece, entered without knocking forcing ZORKA back to her hidey hole and reached for his healing wand.

After having fully regenerated, MIYUKI noticed several soldiers carrying the deceased to the cemetery to the north-west.  A small and strange creature took possession of the corpse and begun digging a grave with an oversized shovel.  The remaining Horde members paid a visit and made their acquaintance with the evil Tombstone Fairy know as POLINA.  Both parties got along great the moment OTAK spoke to the thing in her native Sylvain language.  In the process of unearthing bones to make certain they were still in their rightful place, the Fey was questioned about BABA YAGAPOLINA was overjoyed to learn that the Horde and Little Grandmother were friends and wished that they free her from the one who wished to take her throne.  Clearly talking about RASPUTIN, POLINA believed the man to be in the church-but-not-a-church, far, far away, between here and the land she came from, the Thrice-Tenth Kingdom.  The Fey pointed to the corner towers and ranted about the one who built the Anchors of the World.  Both RASPUTIN and a hunchback man with a mustache and an artificial leg had overseen their construction.  Once completed, the man was taken to one of the buildings to the south, flanked by a pair of Headless Cossacks and a lantern Goat.  All save the man left the building before it burnt down several weeks ago.  When asked if Little Grandmother was a bad person, the evil Fey had nothing but good things to say about the Horde’s employer.  Having acquired some useful tidbits, the former Fey Fillers left the Fairy in peace and rejoined with the fugitive.

Back at the Dancing Hut, SHANG-TSUNG summoned the library in hopes to find answers.  Two hours passed and the Elder deemed the book collection useless.  The records mentioned nothing of Earth, nor did they detail BABA YAGA’s family line.  The Samurai did however learn a thing or two about RASPUTIN’s potent Astral Projection spell.  Virtually unsolvable, the Horde would need to locate his true self in suspended animation.  Once reunited with the Horde, a second attempt to infiltrate the compound garnered the most votes.  Having blown his cover however, it was suggested that SHANG-TSUNG get a haircut and a close shave.  Forty-four year in the making, both his hair and beard had been toned way down, the same magically falling off of FATALITY.  Now rocking a new look, the Horde returned to prison with two things in mind; first and foremost, kill RASPUTIN, BABA YAGA’s rescue coming in second.

Breaching the walls went as smooth as the first albeit the extra ground forces.  The Horde traveled to the building POLINA pointed at when suddenly, MIYUKI was suffering from massive headache.  Looking through what appeared to be a window, a vile Jackal Demon was spotted feasting upon the remains of a charred corpse.  Wishing to avoid attracting unnecessary attention at that very moment, the Horde opted to peruse the temple grounds.  Many watched in fear, curious to see what would come to pass, as the Horde entered the wreckage through the eastern wing.  The smoldering embers instantly intensified the moment they stepped in, causing extreme heat and heavy smoke.  All but SHANG-TSUNG endured the discomfort as the Elder entered some sort of trance.  As the others attempted to snap him out of it, the Ochki had granted the Samurai a special vision.  An old crone found herself within the restored monastery, face to face with the Mad Monk surrounded by strange and unstable machines.  Suddenly, the machinery pulsing with mythic energies converged upon RASPUTIN and struck the woman, entangling her with purple lightning.  From behind, a White Witch entered the fray and channeled magicks of her own, the crone’s shadowy form crouching helplessly in the darkness.  The piercing blue eyes of a hundred RASPUTINS filled the air, and the woman’s tortured screams echoed and faded as the crone found herself confined within strange nesting dolls.  As the vision faded, a smile parted the lips of RASPUTIN’s many images.  SHANG-STUNG collapsed but only for a moment as the heat and smoke lessoned.  The Elder shared his pivotal find with his allies, the Matryoshka Doll being the toy held by RASPUTIN within his home the day prior.  Hoping to learn more, the Horde traveled to the west wing.  Two marble statues of shrouded women, their forms wrapped in rusted barbed wire, flanked a dry baptismal font in the next room.  Suddenly, after filling the font with water, stigmata wounds appeared on the stone statues; fresh blood streamed from their eyes and the wounds where prongs of barbed wire rested upon their bodies.  Blood began streaming out of all those within the room, their bodies suffering Horrid Wilting.  To make matters worse, as the Horde watched their flesh flake away, they noticed the barbed Stone Golems spring to life, both expressing malicious intent.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
Fiery Corpse Orgy
9600
Russian Soldier
400
Hazard: Mustard Gas
2400
Hazard: Electrified Barbed Wire Fence 1600
Polina: Tombstone Fairy; befriended
1600
Haunt: Lady of Sorrows
4800
Session total 20400
Campaign total
407720
View
Summary 24: Mother Russia
Chapter Five: Rasputin Must Die

SESSION THEME

Having been separated from its mother for months, the childish OTESANEK became upset when the Horde denied it knowledge about her whereabouts.  What the aberration really wanted however was to be fed, right now.  OTESANEK pointed to KRUSH and demanded that he be surrendered and de-shelled.  SHANG-STUNG warned the Mandragora that the Dinosaur was poisonous and would more than likely leave a bad aftertaste.  Immune to toxins, the plant was willing to take the chance and told the Elder not to concern himself.  Unwilling to part with the beast, the Horde offered to fetch the thing a snack.  Losing patience, Little OTIK made a counterproposal and was willing to settle for OTAK on a spit instead.  When the Elder refused for a second time, OTESANEK let out a terrible shriek potent enough to shatter stone.  Nauseated by the blast, SHANG-TSUNG took a moment to compose himself.  Suddenly, the ground became alive and the vegetation managed to wrap itself around the Gom tribesmen.  Meanwhile, OTESANEK tenderized the Half-Orc with a bite and two vines.  The first nearly sheared him in twine but the vine was redirected thanks to MIYUKI’s divine interference.  UPANIX sprung in and out danger and cut a gaping hole in the shambling mound.  Grappled in its maw, OTAK reached for his whip and gave the child a lashing.  KRUSH moved into position, got slapped for his efforts, and clubbed the thing in the midsection.  Wanting to suffer with the Half-Orc, MIYUKI shielding OTAK from harm.  Four holy arrows found their mark soon after and nearly returned the mass to the earth.  The Mandragora released his meal and sent the Elder flying into wall and to the ground with an awesome blow.  Both UPANIX and OTAK took offense and pummeled the thing until it stopped moving.  The room’s plant life slowly released their hold and withered away moments after Little OTIK’s defeat.  The Samurai picked himself up, called out to the medic and MIYUKI restored life to those beaten.

A thorough search of the room unraveled another Javelin of Lightning, a hidden door to the east and a cupboard filled with soiled clothing.  SHANG-TSUNG dug through the cloths and found a distortion leading to another chamber.  The Horde watched their Elder walk into the closet and others followed his lead.  The bedchamber beyond was dark and dimly lit by a candle on a nearby table.  The Horde began their search when suddenly, MIYUKI was complaining about a sudden headache.  Everyone readied their weapons and both UPANIX and SHANG-TSUNG noticed that no one was casting a shadow.  The Elder however was able to pinpoint several shades floating about.  The Horde’s detached shadows pounced upon their real selves and touched them with their frigid claws.  The Horde retaliated but their incorporeal selves proved elusive, weaving in and out of view.  Having survived their master’s wrath, the Shadow Demons withdrew through the floorboards and did not return.  The Horde let the dust settle and approached the Candle of Shadowcalling in hopes to produce a shadow, but alas, none appeared.  The search continued and several potions found in a locked chest had been claimed as a consolation prize.  The heavy curtains blocking the room’s window were pulled open revealing a sunlit pasture outside.  Blinding bright light flooded the room from end to end and still, no shadows.  Having found nothing else of interest, the Horde climbed up the fireplace to the south.

A dozen or so coffins dominated the chamber beyond.  Loud music filled the air, coming from a strange looking construct in the south-western corner.  The view outside the eastern windows was that of a devastated snow covered village flanked by a frozen river, trees and a colossal construct on wheels.  Sitting in front of the door leading out was a vile looking Demon donning a fur cloak and hat.  A scythe in one hand, a deck of cards in the other and a white smoking stick in his mouth.  Suddenly, MIYUKI dropped to her knees and cried out in excruciating pain, like the time the Horde faced off with Witchdaughter’s Nightmare.  The Coffin Man greeted the Horde but SHANG-TSUNG took offense and readied his arrows.  UPANIX however gave the outsider an ultimatum; silence the music or die.  The Thanadaemon pointed to the wooden flower music box and the sound stopped.  A small lever attached the construct lifted freeing a rotating black disk.  The thing labeled “God Save the Tsar” hovered to the side and another disk labeled “Mother Russia” took its place.  The disk began to rotate and the lever made contact filling the room with a new spirited sound.  A big admirer of music, the Coffin Man asked the Horde if the mood had improved.  All looked to the screaming Paladin and decreed that the evil be purged.  The Coffin Man was met by three holy arrows, a club, a ram and greatsword.  Surprisingly enough, BABA YAGA’s alleged cousin survived the attack, barely, and Teleported away to safety.  SHANG-STUNG silenced the anthem with an adamantine arrow and the Horde helped themselves to the Coffin Man’s powerful treasures.  A barrel in the north-eastern corner was pried open revealing a portal, the fireplace to the south, bearing ZORKA’s insignia, too revealed another way out.  In dire need of fresh air, MIYUKI suggested the Horde exit through the door to the east.

The door led outside the Dancing Hut, the carcass of a small village in the distance.  The smog-like air reeked of something similar to Alchemist Fire, only stronger.  With no yellow markers on the Karta, the Horde headed towards the village in hopes to find answers and signs of life.  As they traveled the snow covered surface, KRUSH felt something below his paw.  Suddenly, the ground underneath him erupted in flame and shards of metal, the latter piercing through everyone’s skin.  The snow rose some twenty feet in the air alarming two Russian Mortar Troops hiding behind collapsed buildings.  Fifty unarmored men prepared for battle and the Horde charged.  OTAK stepped on another devastating land mine, heard a loud noise and noticed two metallic balls in the air headed towards them.  The mortar shells touched down and created two new craters within the Horde’s proximity.  A dozen or so men with exotic looking crossbows fired repeatedly in all directions, the miniature bolts piecing through armor and skin.  Another dozen men behind them launched metallic projectiles by hand, the things destroying everything within thirty feet.  To make matters worse, several soldiers were spotted mounting the colossal construct, barking out orders in BABA YAGA’s language.  By the time the smoke cleared, the Horde was suffering from third degree burns and their bodies, infused with all kinds of metal.  Having suffered half of OTAK’s damage, MIYUKI’s broken body was scooped up by OBEY-MI and the Horde retreated to the Dancing Hut to rethink their strategy.  MAIN wanted to stick around but followed suite when the Troops began to give chase.  Fearful of the Dancing Hut, the Troops returned to their sanctuary after successfully driving off the enemy Horde forces.

Wanting nothing to do with… THAT, the Horde preferred to explore the hut further.  First things first, the music box playing “God Save the Tsar” was disabled yet again.  Secondly, MIYUKI expended all she could muster to close wounds and extracted all metal staving off infection.  Finally, the doctor ordered eight hours of bed rest and the Horde complied.  The sun began setting by the time the Horde woke up and all felt refreshed and unhampered by the Mantle’s reprimand.  The Horde stepped into the fireplace and found themselves within the shadow room.  Someone or something had shut the curtain and the rag was moved aside to reveal a sunset.  OTAK stood before the candle and demanded the thing to return his shadow.  As the light flickered mockingly, the Half-Orc smashed the wax to pulp only to watch it reform moments later.  The cupboard portal was ignored and the Horde walked through the door to the east.  The chamber beyond was littered with a hundred or so skulls, a flame burning within each.  Crucified on a table to the east was a tattered doll similar to the one found in the Border Wood back in Taldor.  Suddenly, the skulls began clacking their jaws menacingly.  Those who listened carefully detected a constant refrain amongst the chittering skulls :

Vasilisa… Vasilisa… Vasilisa…

A search revealed two new portals, again within a cold fireplace and the other at the bottom of a whisky barrel.  The creepy doll was not equipped with a mirror but one of the eyes had been replaced with a valuable gem.  Playing it safe, everything was left in its place and the Horde climbed up the chimney.

Gingerbread and candy formed the walls within the next chamber.  The room featured stick candy furniture, a ribbon candy cabinet, licorice curtains, a cupcake table and glazed sugar brittle windows.  Sleeping on the floor near the eastern door was a Domovoi, the one SHANG-STUNG threw through a portal the day prior.  Tossing and turning, the Fey Gnome was clearly experiencing the effects of a Nightmare.  All those who stepped inside were given a Suggestion, to help themselves to a treat, an offer the Gom Tribe couldn’t refuse.  The other members resisted the urge and watched in horror as both OTAK and KRUSH consumed the rotten maggot-ridden filth beneath the sugary glaze.  On par with the tribe menu back in Garund, OTAK and KRUSH continued filling their bellies whilst suppressing the potent sleeping agent within the bonbons.  Meanwhile, MIYUKI began getting a headache; twas not due to the Half-Orc’s foul appetite, but thanks to a pair of Invisible Bogeymen with cruel intentions.  BRONISLAV and MITYA sent chills within the room but were deflected by the Paladin’s Aura of Courage.  The Bogeymen sent a pair of Phantasmal Killers in the Samurai’s direction and attempted to pincer the Specimen; their efforts squandered.  Unable to sneak attack the Half-Giant and incapable of spooking the Elder’s resolve, the Fey fell quickly to arrows and a whirlwind attack.  As for the Barbarians from the south, their banquet ceased after five or six servings; well after the battle had ended. A search of the room revealed three portal exit points and a very useful Cauldron of plenty.  The Horde stepped into the cabinet and found themselves in a new room.

The Horde now found themselves within an unkempt wooden cottage consumed by the forest surrounding it.  Trees jutted up through the dirt floor and bursted through the thatch ceiling above, their dead leaves scattered all about.  Bright sunlight, filtered by a forest canopy, streamed through a single window to the west.  One by one, the Mirror of Life Trapping in disguise absorbed and imprisoned all those who gazed upon the window; the only one to resist the charm was the maiden MIYUKI.  Alone and surrounded by the Horde’s gear left behind, the Paladin frantically sought out her missing friends.  Looking through the window, she noticed her confused and naked allies scattered throughout the forest.  Unable to get their attention by banging on the window, the Paladin was forced to doubled her efforts when she spotted a huge spider-like creature stalking them.  The Paladin slammed into the mirror and cracked it on her third attempt.  Doing so unleashed a sudden gust of force sending the Paladin to the floor, her head in absolute agony due to an overwhelming evil close by.  One by one, the Barbarians were freed from imprisonment, as was the captured Derghodaemon and his summoned Creeping Doom.  Within seconds, the cabin was filled with millions of tiny centipedes, the swarm overwhelming every surface.  As the Horde fought the swarm’s distraction and scrambled to find a weapon and the Swarm Bane Clasp, the Derghodaemon ripped and rended at the Specimen’s exposed and unprotected flesh.  Meanwhile, the swarm climbed in every nook and cranny and injected their paralyzing venom with their tiny mandibles; luckily the toxins lacked potency.  MIYUKI entered a divine rage and pelted the foul spider with three arrows, all bathed in radiant light, the attack’s effectiveness on par with that of a Hygashiyamian cluster shot.  Having found the Clasp, UPANIX endured another assault and was stripped down to the bone.  The Horde counterstriked and it was SHANG-TSUNG’s one and only arrow that fell the vulnerable beast.  MIYUKI felt much better soon after but the Swarm forced her to channel energy to keep her allies afloat.  With the only means to exterminate the Swarm, UPANIX spent an entire minute swatting at the bugs and coated the ground with empty shells.  Having survived the painful and embarrassing ordeal, the Horde dug out their belongings and reequipped themselves.  Meanwhile, MIYUKI had touched the Specimen half a dozen times, as did MAIN, to regrow his skin and restore his lost vitality.  The Horde left the mess via the fireplace only to reenter a room they’ve already visited.  The hour that followed was spent mapping out the Hut’s current configuration and no new rooms were found.  With nowhere else to go, the Horde quickly came to the conclusion that their destiny would lead them back to their version of Hell, Mother Russia.  After a short rest, the Horde awaited morning and reluctantly went back outside.

The once peaceful and now ruined village of Akuvskaya stood before them, a dozen gaping craters from infernal weapons separating it from them.  The air still reeked of death, disease and despair but all appeared calm and quiet as before.  SHANG-TSUNG summoned OBEY-MI and took to the air to scout out his surroundings.  Trees were seen as far as the eye could see in nearly all directions.  To the east, another village fallen from grace was spotted roughly a full day’s march from their current position.  Wanting nothing to do with the village before them, the Horde left the Dancing Hut behind, entered the forest and headed east.  The air within the wood was clean and fresh, but in the far off distance, for hours on end, the sound of hundreds of Thunderstones and an occasional explosion could be heard.  Two more hours passed and the smell of tainted air came into play.  Within seconds, seventy-five men strong were spotted approaching the Horde’s position and both sides, aware of each other, prepared for battle.  Using the trees as heavy cover, the Russian forces mobilized into three separate man swarms, fired their infernal crossbows and launched their dirty bombs.  The metal storm slammed hard upon the Horde albeit the trees providing some protection.  SHANG-TSUNG retaliated with a Chain Lightning Scroll, the primary bolt hitting its target to the right, the after shock searing the Troop in the center.  The Paladin fired her primitive missiles and managed to down a soldier or two.  UPANIX however, charged the nearest Troop, a daring maneuver to say the least, one the Russians have never witnessed before.  With the Clasp around his neck, the Half-Giant swung his blade dealing heavy casualties.  OTAK and KRUSH followed suit and charged another Troop, metal pellets bouncing off Dinosaur hide and penetrating sweet soft Orc flesh.  Unable to fully benefit from advanced weaponry, two of the Troops retaliated with the blades at the end of their repeating crossbows, a strategy far less effective.  The third Troop however continued to shower the battlefield with mass destruction.  Enraged, UPANIX laid waste to his Troop with one swift stroke and charged the other.  Both the Gom tribe and the Horde’s arrows continued having little effect but both Troops were forced into melee.  Face to face against the Horde resulted the eventual demise of the Russian forces, a handful of soldiers running for their lives.

After a soothing bath of positive energy, the dead soldiers and their gear were gathered into two piles, the former set ablaze to avoid a Zombie apocalypse.  Rummaging through the spoils, nothing appeared magical in nature, save for one of the gas masks.  The weapons were indeed strange…, and complicated.  Fashioned metal bolts stacked together, dirty bombs the size of one’s fist, bladed crossbows without the springing mechanism, smaller versions similar to hand crossbows, small boxes of weed sticks wrapped in paper, tiny fire boxes, all of it, alien.  The only thing protecting the soldiers from harm was a thin layer of cloth, nothing a sword slash couldn’t handle.  Their trail rations were very different but on par with those found in various markets back home on Golarion.  Several items stood out more than the others however, fourteen Ryukzaks, eleven Ochkis, two Kartas and half a dozen Kepkas.  All visually identical to the Rider’s treasures in every way, only far less wondrous and non-magical.  As the Horde tried to make sense of everything, MIYUKI began complaining of a headache, an frequent ailment as of late.  She turned to the fire and spotted a bearded middle-aged man donning a black Monk’s robe, his arms crossed and his gaze, stern.  The man smiled sinisterly and demanded that the Horde explain their presence in broken common.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
Otesanek; Immense Mandragora
12800
Trap: Candle of Shadowcalling; triggered
3200
The Coffin Man; Thanadaemon; bypassed
6400
Trap: Land Mines; triggered 6400
2 Russian Mortar Troops; bypassed
9600
Trap: Captivating Confections; triggered
4800
Bronislav & Mitya; Bogeymen
4800
Trap: Mirror of Lifetrapping 4800
Derghodaemon 4800
3 Russian Machine Gun Troops 12800
Session total 70400
Campaign total
387320
View
Summary 23: A New Hope
Chapter Four: The Frozen Stars
SHANG-TSUNG fired a cluster shot and his arrows remained in suspended animation five feet within the Freezing Fog.  When YRAX entered the mist and became a blur, the Samurai reached for IMP’s Whistle but opted to validate the Dragon’s existence instead.  After confirming the Mirrored Image in Displacement to be real after being bathed in arctic winds, SHANG-STUNG unsheathed his blade and joined KRUSH, OTAK and UPANIX in melee combat.  The Elder swung with all his might cutting through thick Freezing Fog, tagging mirrors, Ghosts and impenetrable armor.  When he finally pierced the Dragon’s flesh, YRAX unleashed his full fury upon the Samurai.  Two bites, three claws, a tail slap and three wings later, SHANG-TSUNG was about to fall for the first time in years, but the diehard warrior tapped into forgotten reserves and remained conscious.  Staggered, the Elder retreated and partook in several rounds of first aid.  When the Freezing Fog disappeared and YRAX became whole soon after, SHANG-TSUNG found himself in fog yet again.  Feeling more or less whole, the Elder pulled out a Dimension Door Scroll in hopes to take YRAX but surprise, but IvoryglassDimensional Anchor would have none of it.  The Samurai charged through fog, rejoined his ailing Horde and fired his barbs at the clear target.   A second round of Displacement came too little to late as two to four arrows met their mark, the last one stopping the Dragon’s heart.

YRAX’ downfall played out as follows.  Having mirrored his image after the Horde triggered the Alarm, The Dragon erected a Freezing Fog to impede his foes.  When UPANIX opened the doors and SHANG-TSUNG foolishly fired arrows, YRAX entered his freezing sanctuary and Displaced his form to increase his chances of survival.  As the Horde positioned themselves, YRAX unleashed his frightful presence and his mighty breath weapon upon all intruders.  Melee combat followed and with his superior reach, the Dragon landed four blows to the Horde’s one.  The White Dragon had its sights on the troublesome Healer, but the Horde did well to shield the maiden from harm.  YRAX forced both OTAK and SHANG-TSUNG to retreat and began ripping the Half-Giant apart.  When the fog disappeared, YRAX retreated to his chamber, became whole, enveloped the Horde in another Freezing Fog and made vital flyby attacks.  The Dragon managed two more devastating passes whilst avoiding the oversized Half-Orc and unleashed another howling storm.  Frustrated, YRAX continued making destructive passes but twas not enough to fell his foes.  Now under heavy fire, YRAX Displaced his form yet again but the Horde had become immune to the illusion.  When the Dragon failed to swallow the Samurai whole, a holy arrow pierced his black heart and ended YRAX’ reign of tyranny.

The Specimen wasted little time, followed the Samurai’s directions, raged and charged the Freezing Fog.  Once within the Dragons freezing aura and standing before the blurred mass, UPANIX’ greatsword went to work.  Both he and OTAK took turns suffering the Dragon’s wrath and breath whilst the Specimen struck at air more times than not.   Little Dragon blood was shed by his hand but YRAX’ duplicates did not fare as well.  Within seconds, the Dragon was one and the Horde began leaving their mark soon after.  YRAX took to the air when his magical defenses dwindle forcing the Half-Giant to fire arrows.  UPANIX fired eighteen barbs, one of them clipping his own ear when pulling back the bowstring, rendering him deaf until treated.  Though all arrows bounced off Dragon hide, the Specimen endured YRAX’ flyby attacks and kept the beast busy until the cavalry arrived.

The Gom Tribe followed the Half-Giant’s lead into the fog and sniffed their way towards their hated foe.  After a cold snow shower, the Garundi took heavy damage getting into position only to strike at shadows.  Both flanked he beast and supported UPANIX and SHANG-TSUNG in melee.  Shaken, KRUSH landed a lucky blow and OTAK connected hard but suffered critical wounds in the process.  The Half-Orc was ordered to retreat and sought the Paladin’s aid.  Having closed several lacerations and forming a bond with MIYUKI, OTAK charged through a second fog only to join a battle that had been taken to the air.  The Half-Orc fired a Javelin of Lightning, but the bolt was absorbed by some form of resistance.  As YRAX bit hard into Orc flesh, both he and MIYUKI cried out in pain.  Angry, OTAK quaffed a potion, grew to Giant size and stood next to the Samurai Archer to deter Dragon flyby attacks in his Elder’s direction.  Both Giants did their part and gave SHANG-TSUNG the opportunity to end the battle with an arrow.

MIYUKI meanwhile, spent the entire behind the fog, out of harm’s way.  The Paladin followed SHANG-TSUNG’s directions and channeled her positive energy.  If it wasn’t for her efforts, the Horde would have fallen three times over.  When OTAK and SHANG-TSUNG saved themselves from death, each were touched with Healing Hand.  Before reengaging the beast, OTAK was shielded from harm, his future wounds to be shared with the Paladin.  By the time the second fog cloud dissipated YRAX laid lifeless on the ground, the Horde in a victory pose.  Fatigued, in excruciating pain and deaf in some cases, the Horde had been in placed in MIYUKI’s care and all found peace in holding hands.

After taking a breather, YRAX’ room was searched and a small chest containing all sorts of restorative oils had been found.  Once pillaged, the Horde directed their attention to the large metal door set into the rear wall upon a raised platform.  OBEY-MI made the climb a breeze and the Chime of Opening picked the lock.  Beyond the door stood a mountain of coin, gems and exotic wears, all ripe for the picking.  The Ryukzak was called upon and the Dragon’s treasures were stored in its bottomless pit.  Two artifacts stood out more that the others however.  The first was an orb, silver in color, within a clear cubed case, both magical yet unidentifiable.  The second was a Bearskin Rug, glowing yellow through the Ochki, the second breadcrumb left by BABA YAGA.  Having found what they came for, the Horde agreed to locate SARNOK’s tomb before departing Triaxus.

Having explored most of Ivoryglass’ eastern wing, the Horde headed west.  The first chamber they came by was very small, a heavy circular stone plugging a hole in its center.  With the aid of an X-Ray Vision Ring acquired from the treasure trove, SHANG-TSUNG looked through the stone and noticed a strange think liquid churning about in tight quarters.  The discovery was ignored, a wise course of action as the Horde would soon learn that a White Pudding dwelled within, tasked in disposing of Ivoryglass’ waste.  The next chamber, hexagonal in shape, contained a variety of magical and alchemical crafting gear.  Several bodies, preserved by in the complex’ cold air, laid upon a stone table in the room’s center.  Three of the bodies were Triaxian cadavers, whilst the others appeared to be corpses of alien creatures, the building blocks required to create a Carrion Golem.  Still in the early stages of construction, the heap posed no threat and the Horde escaped the room unmolested with a few scrolls and oils in hand.

Three empty and unremarkable prison cells were located further down the hall and the Horde entered the room across from them.  The training hall filled with dummies, ropes, weights and other martial exercise equipment was occupied by a female Triaxian Monk.  CESSEER greeted the alien visitors and ask that the Horde to recount their tale leading them to Ivoryglass.  The Monk was most impressed and overjoyed to learn of YRAX’ defeat as his death meant her freedom.  As she packed her things, CESSEER revealed Ivoyglass’ secrets and dangers.  When asked about SARNOK’s tomb, the Monk had nothing to offer but admitted that no such place existed within the palace.  No longer bound to Ivoryglass and standing before beings with the power to thwart her, CESSEER departed on friendly terms and returned to a home she hadn't seen in decades.

After rummaging through several empty bedrooms, the Horde traveled to the kitchen to grab a bite to eat.  Once there, they stumbled upon the fascinating and partially nude Nereid named VIVEKA, the palace cook.  Unaware the Horde had been invited; the startled Fey began preparing a meal to avoid another lashing.  As OTAK grinded his fangs loathingly, the other Horde members explained the nudist’s new situation.  Upon learning of YRAX’ demise, the Fey jumped into the Specimen’s arms and nearly planted him with a drowning kiss, needless to say, she was thrilled.  Having been enslaved nearly a century, VIVEKA was in dire need of a change in scenery, all she required was her shawl.  Surprisingly enough, the Fey Killers spared the woman and returned the scarf they had found within the vault.  After wrapping herself with the cloth, VIVEKA bid her rescuers farewell, leaving enough foodstuffs to prepare a heroes feast.  After a late night snack, the pool housing YRAX’s pet Akhlut in the eastern wing was wisely avoided and the Horde reentered the Rimekeening Crevasse.

Having ignored three left paths within the glacier leading to Ivoryglass, the Horde opted to explore what they’ve missed.  The first led to a dark cavern.  Sharp icicles hung from the uneven ceiling and thick ice covered much of the walls, the frozen remains of several creatures entombed in one of them.  Amongst those ensnared, a Copper Dragonkin, an Elf four Triaxians and the Adlet warrior SARNOK.  With the Orb of Dragonkind in hand, the Samurai entered the cave and approached the icy prison.  Suddenly, a sticky strand tapped the Elder on the shoulder.  SHANG-TSUNG looked up and his Glowing Hand revealed a Roper beast hanging from the ceiling twenty feet above him.  SHANG-TSUNG, UPANIX and MIYUKI fired their arrows at the aberration and bloodied the thing.  Wanting to protect and bolster its collection, the Roper lunged with six strength draining strands.  Luckily, the Samurai was immune to the toxins and the one-eyed land squid was shot down moments later.  SHANG-TSUNG approached the wall with the Orb but nothing happened.  MIYUKI setup camp and the Horde used fire to melt SARNOK’s grave.  The Canine and his magical gear were extracted and the Horde resumed their raid.

After crossing the Frostworm’s lair unmolested, the second path was followed but turned out to be a dead end.  The third path led the Horde to another cavern rich in glistening crystal and mineral deposits.  Two nearby Carnivorous Crystals honed in on the highly nourishing minerals within the Horde’s gear and approached them slowly.  The crystalline forms were pelted with arrows as they continued their advance.  Once in melee, in minerals had their way with the OTAK, their razor sharp edges tearing him a new one, luckily the wounds did not crystallize.  Both OTAK and KRUSH made quick work of the Crystal to the left whilst the others disabled the other rock.  The Horde chiseled at the natural resources and amassed a small fortune within a few hours work.  With little else to do, the Horde climbed out of the crevasse and out into the howling storm.

A small snow mound was found just outside the Vahara Glacier, a wet black nose protruding from it.  As the Horde approached it, BAKNARLA emerged from the snow, anxious to learn of their findings.  SARNOK’s body was presented and the Adlet was starry eyed.  The Shaman performed a lengthy prayer and acquired SARNOK’s Prophet’s Pectoral, a holy relic worshiped by her people.  The artifact was to be presented to her tribe in hopes to inspire courage and aid them in their upcoming battle against the tyrant White Dragon.  When BAKNARLA was made aware of YRAX’ downfall, the Shaman was elated.  Heroes from beyond the frozen stars had indeed arrived and thwarted YRAX’ reign of terror as foretold.  BAKNARLA insisted that the Horde keep the remainder of SARNOK’s gear as thanks but all agreed to bury the warrior with all his possessions, his Thawing Dragon Bane Longspear as his tombstone.  After giving the Horde a final blessing, BAKNARLA began her journey back home bearing good news and new hope for her people.

Before embarking on the three day expedition back to the Dancing Hut, IMP’ Whistle had been played and a beautiful melody echoed through the wind, but nothing happened.  SHANG-TSUNG blew the thing again, no music and…, no IMP.  Disappointed,  the Horde began their march though severe conditions.  Several hours passed when suddenly, a portal formed before the Horde.  Expecting a foul Demon from the Abyss to step through, all prepared for battle.  The creature beyond unleashed a familiar hearty laugh, twas the mythic Dwarf IMP.  Still deep within a snowstorm, IMP erected a Tiny Hut to shield all from the elements as both parties reacquainted themselves.  After pleasantries, business.  The orb was pulled out of the Ryukzak and IMP smiled.  The artifact couldn't be authenticated at first but was deemed genuine once removed from its protective shell.  Suddenly, the howl of Dragons from miles away were heard, all attracted to the relic’s presence in the hands of non Dragons.  The Silver Orb of Dragonkind was quickly placed within the Chamber of Non Detection and the flying menaces were silenced.  Both parties engaged in negotiation and came to an agreement, the orb and found treasure in exchange for a new arsenal in gear.  IMP traveled the planes with the loot and returned to Triaxus by the time the Horde reached the Dancing Hut.  The Dwarf emptied his sac, made a toast and both parties parted ways until the next whistle blow. As the Horde adjusted to their new arms, wears and trinkets, SHANG-TSUNG traveled to Spurhorn to deliver news of YRAX’ defeat.  The courtesy was not unanimous within the Horde ranks, nor was it approved by the BLACK RIDERS Mantle of Responsibility, but the Elder was as stubborn as a mule.  By the time the Samurai returned from his tree day trip, the mantle had issued the Horde a slap on the wrist, sapping their power a tad to remind them of their responsibilities.  KRUSH had fallen unconscious as a result and both OTAK and SHANG-TSUNG had a spat over the Elder’s shilly-shallying albeit the Samurai’s good intentions.  Like a first-class leader, SHANG-TSUNG surrendered his Headband of Vast Intelligence to awake the beast, a gesture that calmed the storm.  Putting their differences aside, the Horde traveled back to the hut’s garden, entered the gazebo and threw the Bearskin Rug within the Master Cauldron.  Upon opening the birdcage on the table, the Two-Headed Eagle took flight and plunged within the brew.  Suddenly, all went black.

The Horde’s journey within the void was especially long this time around, their bodies stretched out to their limits.  By the time the Horde arrived at their new destination, the Half-Orc had already emptied his belly upon the floor.  The Master Cauldron bubbled and smoked in the center of a cluttered log cabin.  Golden birdcages filled the chamber from floor to ceiling, from every beam, upon every shelf.  Most prisons held the mummified remains of Domovoi, a Gnome-like creature.  A thorough search revealed a pair of magical manacles and a handful of Domovoi still alive within their cages.  The things sat placidly, chewing slowly on tiny bird bones.  The Fey did not respond to questioning but on occasion, they would mutter out a word of two in BABA YAGA’s native language.  SHANG-TSUNG, with the aid of the Kepka, made out the following :

From distant world to distant world, at last now we come home.

Many huts for many tales, but all begin here.  Vasilisa and her little doll.  Little Otik, the forsaken son, come to claim his birthright.  Mmmm…, I want candy.

Grandmother’s breadcrumbs, all snatched up.  What little birds pecked them up?

The sole window to the south displayed a curious sight: that of a bone fence fallen into disrepair and overgrown with thorny vines.  Beyond the grim scene stood tall dark trees and the carcass of a rusted metal wagon stood in a heap off to the side.  The sun however, was shining.  The Karta was consulted revealing a new landmass, the Rider’s markers concentrated in the center of the largest continent.  Using the window as an exit proved impossible and the Horde used the rickety ladder to reach the hut’s loft.  Now looking down upon the Domovoi’s room, the heavily cluttered walkway was navigated in hopes to locate a way out.  With no exits leading outside in sight, the Horde returned down below and opened the door to the east.  The view beyond was distorted, almost portal-like.  SHANG-TSUNG had the Specimen throw one of the Domovoi through the door.  The Fey, offering no resistance, passed through with ease, landed with a thud and then, silence.  Another Domovoi was fetched, tied to a rope and tossed into the void.  The Elder waited a second, yanked and the Fey returned unharmed, still chewing on his bones.  The cold fireplace, without ZORKA’s hidey-hole insignia, was searched revealing yet another portal.  With the option to go left or right, the Horde traveled…, left, and up the chimney.  One by one, the Horde members crossed the threshold and found themselves within a tangled mess.   Suddenly, the thick vines and tendrils of ivy twisting and writhing over every surface of the room amassed into a vast tumor.  The Immense Mandragora looked to the Horde and called out to his mother.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
Yrax; Very Old White Dragon
9600
Bonus: Recovered a Bear Skin Rug
9600
Bonus: Recovered Imp's Silver Orb of Dragonkind
9600
White Pudding; bypassed 4800
Cesseer of Ning; Triaxian Monk; rescued
4800
Viveka; Nereid; rescued
2400
4 Bone Golems
4800
Zavackuul; Roper 4800
Bonus: Recovered Sarnok's remains 4800
2 Carnivorous Crystals 6400-Lv13
Session total 61600
Campaign total
316920
View
Summary 22: Behind Enemy Lines
Chapter Four: The Frozen Stars
OTAK’s remains were recovered and his body thawed.  All suffering from critical wounds, the Paladin was hard at work to undo the Frostworm’s outburst.  Whilst MIYUKI applied her warm healing hands, SHANG-TSUNG pulled out his brand new Cure Moderate Wounds Wand and…, turned it off, rendering it useless for twenty-four hours.  To conserve resourced, a wand pillaged from an Ice Seer was handed over to the Healer and was drained of all charges, the smoking rod tossed aside.  Feeling more or less whole, the Horde continued down the path to another open cavern.  The path continued to the left and right but the grotto before them was eerily similar to the last.  Unwilling to step foot on the grounds and springing forth yet another calamity, OBEY-MI was summoned and the Horde flew to the other side.  Nearly a metric ton above the Broom’s capacity, KRUSH was left behind.  Impervious to physical attack, the Dinosaur braved the ice and snow by paw.  Aside from slipping on a patch of ice, the ground below him did not collapse, nor did a vile Stormghost arise to feed upon his flesh.  The Horde continued to the right, followed the path several minutes and found themselves one-hundred yards away from an imposing palace made of solid ice, YRAXIvoryglass.

The walls surrounding Ivoryglass rose some two-hundred feet , an open starry sky shining through the gaping hole.  Arial patrols made their rounds several miles above and posed little threat, the ground patrols on the other hand, spotted the visitors and unsheathed their blades.  The two armored Barbarians stood their ground, next to their respective stone guardhouse, whilst another pair defended the palace gate.  SHANG-TSUNG initiated pleasantries by placing a Glowing Hand upon an arrow and firing the missile at their feet.  The Barbarians misunderstood the Samurai’s olive branch, took cover and summoned reinforcements.  SHANG-TSUNG mounted OBEY-MI and approached one of the guard towers whilst the hidden Ice Seer Blessed his fellow Drakeland allies.  UPANIX ran into danger and MIYUKI followed but stopped short.  The Barbarians entered a rage, awaited OTAK and KRUSH to enter the fray, and breathed corrosive acid upon the Horde.  As the Barbarians and the Horde traded blows, the Ice Seer Oracle managed to detain both SHANG-STUNG and OTAK within an Icy Prison, the latter helplessly entrapped.  As the two began freezing to death, UPANIX whirlwinded whilst the Archers fired their missiles.   KRUSH disengaged his foes, deflected several bastard swords and broke his master free.  Meanwhile, a loud hissing sound filled the air as the battle raged on.  OTAK found himself imprisoned in ice yet again but managed to retain some movement.  Suddenly, a large Dragon freak broke through the place gate, exposing a frozen indoor garden.  Hovering a few feet off the ground, the thing hissed and blew cold air on friend and foe.  Two Barbarians fell and MIYUKI touched the Specimen so that he would not follow suit.  IANTOR, the Half-Dragon heir, filled his surroundings with destructive harmonics, the sonic energies ravaging those within earshot.  OTAK and KRUSH focused on their hated foe as UPANIX continued his assault on the ground troops.  SHANG-TSUNG fired at OTAK’s prison whilst hacking at his own prison with his bladed boot.  The Ice Seer cured the masses as did MIYUKI with positive energy.  As the Barbarians rose from the dead IANTOR’s sound wave negated the healer’s efforts and more.  As the healers countered the Dragon’s bursts, both OTAK and the Samurai escaped the ice clung to their bodies.  The Horde then focused on the hovering mass of flesh and dropped the thing after a final blast of ear-piercing noise.  The Ice Seer fell to a single cluster shot and the remaining Barbarians, dazed, were blown away via whirlwind.  After salvaging all of value, stretched, frozen and lacerated flesh had been sufficiently treated before progressing further.

With the gate reduced to rubble, the Horde entered the atrium and followed the wide flagstone path.  The large chamber contained all variety of Triaxian plant life, most of it dormant in winter’s chill.  The roof, supported by slender ice pillars, was set with several translucent crystal blocks providing dim lighting.  Also of note, six grand Draconic statues, three on each side, lined the path towards Ivoryglass’ inner sanctum.  The gardens were searched and nothing, save IANTOR’s empty nest, was found.  The Dragon monuments remained still the entire time and the Horde made it to the pentagonal passage unmolested.  With tree paths to choose, the Horde traveled to the right, ignoring the path straight ahead leading to a dark chamber and the one to the left.  Three new options presented themselves a short stroll later, the path continued on, a door to the right and a path to the left leading to the dark room.  The door to the right was opened revealing a modest library; OTAK was unimpressed.  The foreign texts without pictograms revealed knowledge on military tactics and historical battles, nothing really worth the Horde’s time.  The path leading to darkness was ignored yet again and the Horde stayed their course straight ahead, the path splitting again in thrice moments later.  To the right, a shrine dedicated to DAKAH, the god of Chromatic Dragons and endless destruction was been found.  The irregularly shaped room had a high ridged ceiling that sloped smoothly down the side.  Huge skeletal designs were carved on the floor walls and ceiling conveying the sense of being inside a massive winged beast.  OTAK offered to lay waste to the temple but MIYUKI frowned upon desecrating holy places, no matter how disturbing.  The path to the left leading to an immense hall was ignored and the Horde continued straight.  As SHANG-STUNG rounded the bend, a huge Fossil Golem patrolling the halls was spotted.  The two-headed T-Rex skeletal remain honed in on the Samurai’s position and gave chase.  Wanting none of it, the Horde retreated to the atrium to reassess their situation.

Bearing arms, the Horde awaited their aggressor, but the thing delayed its charge.  Several minutes passed and the Golem appeared in the dark room ahead.  SHANG-STUNG fired an arrow and the Dinosaur moved out of sight as a result.  Both OTAK and UPANIX charged down the central corridor and sprung the trap.  A second and third Golem had posted themselves in the left and right passages and lashed out at both warriors, twice, each. Their jaws locked, crushed bone and peeled flesh.  The pain was substantial but their paralyzing venom proved far less effective.  The Horde retaliated but met heavy resistance.  Both fossils had another taste whilst the third Golem supported his counterpart against the Specimen.  MIYUKI made certain to counter affect the Golem’s progress with positive energy whilst the Horde continued to wear down the constructs.  With two fossils in his midst, the Half-Giant was wavering and cried out to his combat medic.  Wanting to keep ZAPADA safe, MIYUKI put herself in harm’s way, touched the Specimen and mended his forearm before receiving two massive bites.  The fossils continued to apply pressure but none succumbed to petrifaction.  Without access to a mechanic, the Fossil Golems were outlasted and the Horde quickly reached for their med kits after the grueling contest.  To conserve energy, another healing wand had been consumed to restore skin tissue and torn muscle.

Having patched themselves up, the Horde resumed their course down the right path, round the bend and to a pair of doors midway through the corridor.  Both were locked and the one to their right was opened via a roundhouse kick.  The door however met heavy resistance and fell to the ground slowly, cushioned by a Solid Fog within the chamber.  The mist obscured all sight but SHANG-TSUNG’s Habit of the Winter Explorer pierced the smog with ease.  The room appeared to be guest quarters of sorts, its furnishing all pushed aside in a heap.  The giant Polar Bear standing on ten legs however, drew the most attention.  The Samurai described the peculiar scene and ordered his troops to fall back and ready their weapons.  Suddenly, the beast charged, but the Major Image didn't fool anyone and the Horde found themselves in a standoff with the figment.  UPANIX ignored the thing to pursue the door to the left.  The Half-Giant charged but the portal endured.  From across the hall, the Kokogiak emerged from the fog and bit the Specimen on the shoulder with its long reach.  Annoyed, the Horde backtracked to the bend and took the path on the left.
 
The corridor led the Horde to an audience chamber.  Intricate mosaics of draconic forms spiraled up the hall's thick stone buttresses and flowed across the tall arched ceiling, giving the place an air of grandeur.  To their right, two sets of steps ascended to a raised dais with a grand throne in the center.  To the left, a path led to darkness whilst the path in front of them was sure to lead them to the complex’s western wing.  Lacking YRAX’s Arcane Mark, the Horde was attacked by four crystalline statues posted in the room’s corners the moment they stepped in.  But alas, the Glass Golems, all portraying the form of mighty Drakeland warriors, shattered within seconds as the Horde had countless experiences with mirrors.  A thorough search revealed nothing of value but their keen eyes spotted a disruption behind the throne above.  SHANG-TSUNG’s hand passed right through the Illusionary Wall and revealed a staircase leading down, the next path they’d decide to follow.
 
The short descent led the Horde to a circular chamber, a layer of gleaming ice covering every surface.  Aside from two exits to the left and right, a frosty obelisk of murky ice stood in the room’s center, its faceted sides incised with runes and symbols.  Beyond the pillar showcased an imposing set of double iron doors depicting a powerful and ancient Dragon.  T’was clear that YRAX was near but the room’s guardians would test the Horde’s mettle before the final battle.  Suddenly, the obelisk cracked in two, parted and formed two huge Elder Ice Elementals the moment the Horde set foot in the room.  Like the battle against NAZHENA and her two ice columns, the Elementals slammed into the Horde with overwhelming force.  Unable to distance himself from his foes, the Samurai felt firsthand what his allies had endured in past battles.  A traditional adventuring party wouldn't have stood a chance but the Horde’s skin proved much tougher than most, their bite more vicious and their resolve, infallible.  With precise strikes, shear power, the Horde pierced the Elemental’s defenses and scattered their icy husks all over the floor.  MIYUKI did her very best to remove the frostbite and repair dislocated joints whilst MAIN mopped up the blood-stained floor.  Now deep behind enemy lines, rest was not an option, a fact that prompted the Horde to bear arms and approach the doors.  Rather that warn the Lord of the Howling Storm of their presence, the Horde opted to open the doors via their Chime of Opening.  As the low pitched sound echoed throughout the complex, the doors parted and freezing mist escaped through the crack.  UPANIX struggled to push the doors through the obscuring Freezing Fog and SHANG-STUNG got a glimpse of the Horde’s next challenge.  Five very old White Dragons danced about beyond the haze, their piercing blue eyes staring right back at the Samurai.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
6 Drakeland Barbarians
4800
Drakeland Ice Seer
1600
Iantor
4800
3 Fossil Golems
12800
Kokogiak; bypassed
4800
4 Glass Golems
4800
Session total 33600
Campaign total
255320
View
Summary 21: Into the Howling Storm
Chapter Four: The Frozen Stars
SHANG-TSUNG and PHARAMOL engaged in another round of banter whilst the other Horde members’ futility watched on.  The Commander sent one of his soldiers within the keep and the man returned with several potions, Snapleaves, and a hand-full of trinkets.  Before flying off into battle, PHARAMOL blessed the Samurai with a prayer so that he may tolerate the extreme cold.  Both UPANIX and MIYUKI helped themselves to a potion providing similar protections against chills.  Four Dragonkin, eager to join the fray, patiently awaited the Horde’s command.  OTAK shooed his hated foes away and was dead serious about hitching a ride via catapult.  The Horde reunited with IMP atop a south-eastern tower and made the Dwarf aware of their intentions.  By the time the Firedrake was moved into position, a burning hand was spotted on the battlefield down below.  T’was a perfect depiction of SHANG-TSUNG’s Glowing Hand, thought to be the Horde’s insignia by the Skyfire Mandate.  Assuming the pyrotechnic display was their target; IMP made the necessary adjustments and fired the Golarion torpedo.
 
The Horde found themselves Feather Falling several meters away from the burning hand.  YRAX’ forces were in utter disarray, the Dragon Legion picking them off one by one.  Suddenly, a Drakeland Barbarian was spotted sprinting toward a nearby cave.  Flanking the opening were a pair of burning enemy banners.  SHANG-TSUNG fired a shot and hit the rock face to the left.  After the blunder, no, warning shot, the Samurai fired a volley and put two in the woman’s chest.  As she screamed in pain, a Wall of Fire was placed to block access to the cave.  Enraged, UPANIX charged the Barbarian and pierced her fullplate with a well-placed greasword strike.  By the time OTAK, KRUSH and MIYUKI arrived on scene, a bead had been tossed over the wall and the thing erupted in a Fireball near everyone save SHANG-TSUNG.  After patting down the flames, The Horde disposed of the Barbarian and charged through the blazing wall.  OTAK found himself surrounded by three Barbarians wielding readied javelins and rammed one of them as they unsheathed their bastard swords.  Meanwhile, an Ice Seer imprisoned KRUSH in ten inches of ice but the Animal was able to retain some of his mobility.  MIYUKI targeted the Triaxian Oracle in retaliation and put a missile in his shoulder.  General MALESINDER, a Silver Dragonkin, took a step and hastily unleashed her Rimeblade upon the Half-Giant who ventured a tad too far within the cave.  She cut UPANIX five times but the frozen blade had little effect against the Specimen’s natural and magical defenses.  The Samurai was the last to penetrate the potent wall and tagged the Dragonkin with a Dragon Bane Arrow.  The Sorcerer hovering on the left-hand side of the cave lined up the Horde and channeled a lacklustered Lightning Bolt.  As KRUSH slowly froze to death, he, OTAK and UPANIX traded blows with the Barbarian forces.  MIYUKI perused the Ice Seer whilst SHANG-TSUNG sent his barbs at the General.   MALESINDER hovered to the cave’s center and breathed cold upon the Horde.  Entangled, KRUSH still managed to jump out of the way as the others Resisted the Energy.  Meanwhile, the Sorcerer passed through the wall after launching another futile Lightning Bolt whilst the Oracle closed some of her allies’ wounds.  The Horde continued to wear down their foes, victory was imminent.  MALESINDER switched to her glaive and dealt a significant blow but t’was too little too late.  The Drakeland soldiers fell one by one, no thanks to their Sorcerer ally’s inconsiderate Cone of Cold and Fireball placements.  The magic user found himself  singled out and was shot down to officially end the siege at Spurhorn.

By the time the Wall of Fire dissipated, the Horde had mounted MALESINDER’s head upon her glaive and raised the thing to the stars for all to see.  Having laid waste to YRAX’ armies, the Skyfire Mandate had already begun celebrating and joined with their new Horde allies.  Wanting to return to Spurhorn on their own accord, both OTAK and KRUSH began ascending the mountain path by foot, the parade followed.  Two hours passed and the carnival made their way straight to the grand dining hall to partake in a heroes’ feast.  Still wounded and using adrenaline as a pain suppressant, the Legionaries stood before a wide variety of Triaxian delicacies dominated by a severed War Hydra head.  Though strange and alien to the Horde, the meats and legumes proved to be far more pleasant than the slop serve to them the day prior.  Invigorated, IMP joined the festivities and shared a glass with his rescuers and congratulated them on yet another impressive display of power.  The room erupted the moment PHARAMOL entered the hall, but the Horde had their sights on something od more importance.  SHANG-TSUNG had his gaze locked upon a golden birdcage in the far corner, the Two-Headed Eagle glowing gold through the Ochki.  After exchanging pleasantries, both the Samurai and the Commander began negotiations for the bird’s acquisition.  The exotic thing had been presented to PHARAMOL as a gift several months ago by an Elven diplomat from Castrovel; another creature and palace alien to TriaxusPHARAMOL had grown fond of the bird of prey but quickly came to the realization that the animal was a small price to pay for the Horde’s services.  Having acquired BABA YAGA’s first breadcrumb, the Horde turned to the Drinking Glass and Elephant Tusk, clues to their next destination.  When the Horde confirmed the tusk was made of ivory, PHARAMOL made a connection, Ivory-Glass.  Ivoryglass was rumored to be YRAX’s stronghold deep within the Vahara Glacier to the west.  Juxtaposing the Karta’s yellow marker with a Triaxian map, the Horde confirmed Ivoryglass to be their nest target.  After filling their bellies with all sorts of gastronomic marvels and potent ails, The Horde was granted proper resting chambers and retired for the night…, or day.
 
After sufficient rest, MIYUKI made sure to close the Horde’s wounds before venturing forth.  Before leaving, SHANG-TSUNG had requested extra supplies but none were available, the next shipment to arrive in two weeks’ time.  The Horde pondered taking a long and merited vacation to pass the time, but to do so would give YRAX more than enough time to fortify his forces if word of his defeat reached his ears.  Little did they know, the Black Rider’s Mantle of Responsibility would have punished the Horde if they had slacked off.  Having regained some of his power, IMP Plane Shifted away to run a few neglected errands and looked forward to his next meeting with the Horde via WhistlePHARAMOL offered yet again several of his Dragonkin to double their speed but OTAK wanted none of it.  When confronted by SHANG-TSUNG, the stubborn Half-Orc insisted that his allies act like men (and woman) and use the muscles God gave them.  After a brief farewell, the Horde left Spurhorn’s walls, made the tedious climb down the mountain and entered the howling storm.

Three days of cold, wind, snow and discomfort passed before reuniting with the Dancing Hut.  As the hovel walked around aimlessly, the thing was commanded to take the Horde westward.  The Hut kneeled down and opened the door but would go no further.  The caged Two-Headed Eagle was placed upon the table next to the pair illusionary Eagles to be kept safe.  SHANG-TSUNG issued a warning to the Kikimora ZORKA not to harm the bird lest the loathsome Fey wished a swift death.  Opting to remain in her hidey-hole, the House Spirit had no intentions to rebel.  And with no way to operate the BABA YAGA’s construct, the Horde continued westward.
 
Midway through day five, a canine-like creature in distress was heard from afar.  The Horde readied their weapons and gazed upon the wall of snow before them.  Suddenly, a wounded Wolf with piercing blue eyes came into view and began picking up speed.  The animal ran though the Horde’s ranks unmolested, her attackers however had just found themselves a new meal.  Two huge insect-like creatures covered in white fur and armed with glossy black claws slowed to engage the Horde, their three-part mouths dripping with vicious fluids.  UPANIX charged and cut one of the things legs off and boy did that make the Ursikkas mad.  The pair sliced into the Specimen twice and bit hit hard, sending gore and freezing viscosity in all directions.  Severely lacerated and one lash away from Valhalla’s gates, the Half-Giant cried out MEDIC.  Though their razor sharp claws and their paralyzing viscosity were potent, their exoskeleton and protective tissue was soft and unremarkable.  The remaining Horde members entered the fray, overwhelmed the insects within twenty seconds and salvaged what was left of UPANIX
 
Whilst MAIN was “keeping a wound from bleeding out”, MIYUKI administered several healing hands to sooth the Specimen’s punctures.  Meanwhile, the injured Wolf, now standing on two legs, cautiously approached her saviors.  With the power of Tongues, the Adlet Shaman known as BAKNARLA bowed before the Horde and expressed her thanks.  As she looked upon the Golarions, she was in awe and addressed the apparent aliens as “The Destined Ones”.  The canine claimed that the stars spoke of ones from beyond the sky who would give her people back their lands.  The mention of the White Dragon YRAX only confirmed her theory and pleaded that the Horde fulfill the fated prophesy.  She went on to explain that the her people inhabited the frozen wasteland near the Vahara Glacier, but the tyrannical Dragon Warlord YRAX has harshly oppressed her kind and driven them out of their tribal grounds nearly three centuries ago.  Sadly, BAKNARLA's tribe did not share her beliefs and has shunned her as a result, that was two decades ago.  Yet the Shaman persevered and now sees hope on the horizon.  BAKNARLA promised to guide the Horde to the glacier and to the Rimekeening Crevasse, a path leading straight to YRAXIvoryglass.  The offer had been accepted and the Horde was led to a great fissure within the glacier within a day’s time.  The entrance t’would as far as BAKNARLA would take them however as the crevasse was taboo to her people.  Before parting ways, the Shaman recounted the tale of the Adlet warrior SARNOK, rumored to have entered the Rimekeening Crevasse to battle YRAX some years ago.  BAKNARLA had hoped that, if the Horde were to come across SARNOK’s grave, one of the hero’s holy relics may be recovered.  If she could return to her people with such a treasure, t’would restore their resolve and her position within the tribe.  As an incentive, she made reference to SARNOK’s spear, a potent weapon against Dragons.

Freezing winds whistled through the crevasse producing an eerie wailing.  Starlight pierced though the ice covered ceilings in several areas and thus negated total darkness.  The Horde took great care to navigate the narrow, cluttered and jagged pathway dropping down nearly two-hundred feet.  Once on level ground, Glowing Hands had been summoned and the Horde followed the path leading west.  Off in the distance, a family of Frostcrawlers had made their home on a plateau several feet off the ground.  The parent monstrosities took offense to the Horde’s close proximity to their eggs and made a stand.  After breathing lighting upon the trespassers, the Frostcrawlers were slaughtered.  Now destined to die alone, the eggs were destroyed and the hatchlings killed to ease their eventual suffering.  The Horde patched their burns and continued westward.  Suddenly, a great pillar of ice stood before them and the Horde circumvented it to the right.  The ensuing path led to a wall of shear ice, the path continuing to the left and right.  Without hesitation, the Horde followed the latter deeming it the right way to go.

The passageway led the Horde to an open cavern, another path leading west in the distance.  Suddenly, the ground began to shake violently.  As everyone steadied themselves, an immense White Worm busted though the ground and blocked the path beyond.  Wisps of icy fog danced around its mandibles, its single circular eye gazing upon the Horde.  The Frost Worm unleashed a polar cone of intense cold with enough power to freeze muscle solid.  The Horde launched a counter assault but the vermin endured.  The Worm managed to close its crush jaws upon both OTAK and MIYUKI before unleashing its most devastating attack, triggered by SHANG-TSUNG's seventh arrow.  The barb caused the Worm to shatter like a broken mirror and the thing detonated in a massive blast of cold and razor sharp shards extending one-hundred feet in all directions.  T’was similar to the Frost Skeleton’s death throw experienced back in Taldor’s Border Wood, only this time, the pain was tenfold.  Once the ice and ringing ears settled, the Horde slowly picked themselves up off the now snow cleared stone to assess the damage.  A first wave of healing had been channeled blindly but offered little relief.  Suddenly, the ground began to shake again and the Horde looking to each other in dismay.  MIYUKI managed to channel another blast of positive energy before facing yet another Frost Worm.  Like the one prior, The Frost Worm bathed the Horde with its breath weapon and sent OTAK to the brink of death.  SHANG-TSUNG wanted none of it and ordered the retreat.  The remaining Horde members scurried over to the path leading west and watched the Worm break off pursuit.  The Elder summoned OBEY-MI and his Rope of Climbing and had them engineer a solution to retrieve OTAK’s frozen body.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
4 Drakeland Barbarians
3200
General Malesinder; Silver Dragonkin
4800
Drakeland Ice Seer
1600
Drakeland Sorcerer
1600
Bonus: Recovered a Two-Headed Eagle
9600
2 Ursikkas
4800
Baknarla; Adlet Shaman; rescued
4800
2 Frostcrawlers
3200
2 Frost Worms
9600-Lv12
Session total 43200
Campaign total
221720
View
Summary 20: Under Siege
Chapter Four: The Frozen Stars

SESSION THEME

IMP looked to the Samurai and deemed the Elder insane.  The Two-hundred yard plus stunt was suicide but SHANG-TSUNG ignored the Dwarf’s unmistakable logic.  IMP compiled and shouted a few words in Triaxian and within seconds, twenty Rangers strong began rotating the Firedrake Catapult one-hundred-eighty degrees.  IMP was deep in calculation and one of the Rangers handed SHANG-TSUNG a wooden leaf.  The thing glowed blue though the Ochki and was Identified as a Snapleaf.  When broken, a falling victim would be granted a soft landing and a brief episode of Invisibility.  All Horde members were given a Snapleaf as they mounted the construct.  After a final adjustment, IMP wished his rescuers luck and ordered the launch.  The Horde took to the air, cleared Spurhorn’s northwestern wall and Feather Falled to safety.

With the siege tower within their sights, the Horde approached unseen.  A huge War Hydra was spotted pushing the tower and SHANG-TSUNG targeted three of seven heads.  Using the tower as heavy cover, the three barbs thudded into the wooden contraption.  Two Frost Drakes intercepted the now visible Samurai and bathed him in their freezing mist.  UPANIX, OTAK and KRUSH charged the tower whilst both MIYUKI and SHANG-TSUNG severely crippled one of the birds of prey.  Smelling KRUSH’s fowl stench, the War Hydra’s ceased their advance; futility breathed cold air and failed to bite the nimble and Invisible Dinosaur.  Meanwhile, the Drakes flew by the Samurai and bit into thin air.  The Archers retaliated, downed the injured Drake and crippled the second.  OTAK popped into view and both he and KRUSH dazed the War Hydra to the right whilst the one to the left was cleaved into by the Half-Giant.  The remaining war bird was shot down after it failed to snatch the Samurai.  Whilst one Hydra was seeing stars, the other blew cold air from three heads and two of four heads bit into Half-Giant flesh.  But alas, t’would be all the enemy could muster.  The Hydra’s were overwhelmed and the siege tower halted nearly a quarter mile short from its target.

Fearing the mobile device was littered with Drakeland Barbarians, OTAK began ascending the rickety ladder in hopes to lay waste to all those within.  Sadly, the thing was far too unstable and the Half-Orc opted to hack at the massive rear wheels.  Several minutes pass and a regiment of Dragon Legionnaires mounted on gold Dragonkin flew overhead and rained their fire upon the tower, reducing it to ashes.  The squadron leader broke formation and made contact with Horde.  The wounded man praised the Horde’s efforts and asked that they meet with General PHARAMOL in Spurhorn’s conference room.  The Horde left the chaos of battle and was led to a secret tunnel leading back to the keep.  MIYUKI channeled her healing energies and mended wounds to all nearby, including the Legionaries and Dragonkin posted at the tunnel’s entrance, a gesture greatly appreciated.  The corridors deep below Spurhorn were flooded with allied forces, many of them injured but none wavered; their resolve strengthened by news of the ballistae’s effectiveness and the enemy siege tower’s downfall.

By the time the Horde reached the upper levels, the enemy had left their mark within Spurhorn’s private garden.  SHANG-TSUNG was the first to step foot on the plot and witnessed an unsettling sight. Surrounding two black Dragonoids with piercing green eyes were and handful of Legionary Rangers, all turned to stone.  Upon the parapet high above, half a dozen Crossbowmen were also found frozen in various battle stances.  The Samurai fired his arrows at one of the Dracolisks causing dark crimson blood to secrete from the wounds.  OTAK and KRUSH made their advance and met the other Dracolisk’s petrifying gaze, but alas, the transmutation lacked potency.  Hidden from view, a Copper Dragonkin flew from one tower to another and spit out a line of corrosive acid upon the Gom tribesmen searing scale and flesh.  The Dracolisks lined themselves up and followed up with acid jets of their own.  Luckily, KRUSH was able to evade some of the toxin, the Triaxian statue next to him however, did not.  MIYUKI fired her barbs at the injured Lizard and put it down.  Meanwhile, both SHANG-TSUNG and UPANIX fired arrows at the Dragonkin above.  KRUSH was about to maul the Dracolisk before him but succumbed to the thing’s gaze and became one with the earth.  Furious, The Half-Orc fought off the affliction and tenderized the Dragon Basilisk.  The Dragonkin spit another line of acid and retreated, the Dracolisk did the same but fell before making his escape.

OTAK mourned the loss of his companion, more so when MIYUKI’s touch failed to restore the Dinosaur to life.  OBEY-MI was summoned and SHANG-TSUNG flew over to the ballistae to conscript IMP’s aid.  Sadly, the Dwarf’s skill in stonecutting did not include the transmutation of such material into flesh nor scale.  Knowledge about the Dracolisk’s blood however, provided the Horde with an out.  With the Samurai’s help, both he and IMP shooed MAIN away and concocted a restorative ointment using the Basilisk blood.  MIYUKI got a victims headcount and inquired about the number applications available.  OTAK looked to a partially damaged statue, smashed it to bits and insisted the Paladin readjust her count.  Within two hours, there was enough paste to coat everyone with two applications to spare.  OTAK put the balm on and the stone encasing KRUSH began flaking away.  Two minutes and several healing waves later, the Horde was whole and the party approached the doors leading to the conference room.

Commander PHARAMOL was no longer at his post, instead, the Horde met with sub-commander ZUSKSHANG-TSUNG laughed but was wrong to assume PHARAMOL had fallen in battle, he simply felt the need to fight alongside his kin.  After a brief status report, the Horde found it a waste to engage in small talk and insisted to be given another piece of the action.  Even though Spurhorn’s defense was nearly guaranteed thanks to the Horde’s heroics, it was suggested that the keep’s inner grounds be fortified.

The Horde traveled the keep’s lower levels and ascended to the inner courtyard through the northern blockhouse.  The grounds were littered with fallen Triaxian and Dragonkin from both sides.  Meanwhile, the storm of arcane energies continued to ravage the skies above.  The battle had begun infiltrating within Spurhorn’s walls but YRAX’ numbers were negligible at best.  More of concern however, was the band Drakeland Barbarians storming the western blockhouse, killing all in their path.  One of the five sheathed his bastard sword and grasped a mighty adamantine warhammer, his gaze fixated on the stone door leading to Spurhorn’s innards.  UPANIX, OTAK and KRUSH engaged in a full out run whilst both Archers impaled the hammer wielder with half a dozen arrows.  The assault team’s leader, a Sorcerer in disguise, instructed his men to stay true and offered the Horde an opportunity to test their resolve.  The hammer wielder was clubbed down but another assumed the burden and reached the portal with Haste, alongside his brothers who had survived.  The Sorcerer took to the air, hovered above his kin and shielded their efforts with a circular Wall of FireUPANIX, OTAK and KRUSH, charged through the blazing wall and swung at anything in sight.  SHANG-TSUNG mounted OBEY-MI and began an ascent in hopes to acquire a visual target.  MIYUKI approached the flames and sent ZAPADA over the flames to treat third-degree burns via Cure Moderate Wounds.  Three Barbarians surrounded the Half-Giant and were met by unexpected strikes, but t’was not enough to defect two vital power attacks.  The hammer struck stone three times and sent boulders to the ground.  UPANIX unleashed a whirlwind attack and weakened his girthy foes a tad.  The Gom tribesman took up flanking positions but the Barbarian’s defenses proved to be uncanny.  The Sorcerer pointed to the Horde and sent forth waves terror.  Having acquired a target, SHANG-TSUNG downed the hammer wielder whilst MIYUKI braved the flames and placed a healing hand upon the Half-Giant.  The lead Barbarian stomached two crippling blows, picked up the hammer and continued mining.  Meanwhile, the two other others opted to trade power for accuracy and struck the Specimen four times.  UPANIX retaliated with another circular motion and watched the spooked OTAK run through the flames and out of sight.  KRUSH followed suit leaving the Half-Giant and Paladin to fend for themselves.  The Sorcerer hovered above and unleashed a Cone of Cold on as many foes as possible, but the Horde endured.  SHANG-TSUNG dropped the hammer yet again with an arrow and MIYUKI continued closing UPANIX’ wounds.  Having abandoned the door, the Barbarians failed to outlast the Specimen and his faithful Paladin, the bead from their ally’s Necklace of Fireballs didn’t help their cause either.  Meanwhile, the Samurai survived two Fireballs and a Lightning Bolt of his own before ending the battle with a cluster shot.  By the time the Horde reassembled and recovered from their wounds and a yellow belly, a Legionary Ice Seer had arrived on sight to Stone Shape the door to full health.  The Oracle bowed to Spurhorn’s custodians and flew off to other duties.

The hour that followed was spent dealing with whatever rabble who dared to oppose the Skyfire Mandate within their home turf.  It was clear that YRAX’ howling storm was deteriorating and was in desperate need of a miracle to turn the tide.  Hoping to acquire a boost in moral, four Drakeland Dragonkin had their sights on one of Spurhorn’s elite, the Silver Dragonkin SHATHA.  The foursome overwhelmed the Dragon and sent her plummeting down to the ground.  Unconscious and set up for a coup de grace, SHATHA was lucky enough to land near the Horde.  Ignoring the fact SHATHA was the very Dragon who had condemned MIYUKI the day prior, the Horde intervened.  The Blue, Copper, Gold and White Dragonkin unleashed an aerial assault as a result, consisting of flyby attacks and a wide variety of breath weapons.  SHANG-TSUNG and UPANIX fired arrows whilst MIYUKI channeled positive energy to counter Dragon breath.  Meanwhile, OTAK and KRUSH made certain to terminate fallen foes as the Paladin’s uncontrollable power was potent enough to raise the enemy forces.   SHATHA regained consciousness amidst the altercation but couldn’t help but remain stunned.  She had passed judgment on the girl but couldn’t decipher MIYUKI’s potential motives.  SHATHA froze and simply watched as her wounds closed with every prayer of ERASTIL.  By the time the final Dragonkin fell, MIYUKI was depleted of all channeling power, but all including the bigot SHATHA were nearly whole.  UPANIX kneeled before the console member and asked that he meet and bond with her Green Dragon friend.  SHATHA simply nodded and placed a claw upon the Half-Giant’s shoulder.  The Silver Dragonkin put her differences aside, thanked the Horde and reached for the skies to avoid the awkward silence.

Moments later, the allied forces cried out victory, the battle was over and Spurhorn survived yet another clash against the Drakelands.  Commander PHARAMOL and BESCAYLIE returned and reunited with their people.  Injured yet intact, the Commander sought out the Horde to thank them for their assistance.  The pleasantries were short lived however as PHARAMOL was in the process of assembling a counteroffensive.  YRAX’ General MALESINDER’s defeat would send a shockwave throughout the lands and deal a crippling blow the very old White Dragon.  T’was not the Horde’s battle to fight however, but they accepted the Mandate’s invitation to join in their glory.  Depleted in resources, the time to strike was now and several Dragonkin had been made available to fly the Horde, save the massive KRUSH, down to the encampments below.  Having developed a hatred for dragons, OTAK rudely declined their inadequate offer.  Requiring a mode of transport, the Half-Orc turned to the Elder and then to the catapult.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
2 Frost Drakes
1600
2 War Hydras
1600
2 Dracolisks
1600-Lv11
Copper Drakeland Dragonkin
1600
4 Drakeland Barbarians
3200
Drakeland Sorcerer
1600
4 Drakeland Dragonkins; Blue, Copper, Gold & White
6400
Bonus: Defended Spurhorn; total victory
9600
Session total
27200
Campaign total
178520
View
Summary 19: The Dragon Legion
Chapter Four: The Frozen Stars
 
IMP made a mental note to inscribe the Horde upon his Honorary Wall of Heroes, alongside the likes of the reputable Mercenaries of Korvosa, and bid his rescuers adieu.  The Dwarf performed the gestures to Plane Shift, but nothing happened.  Puzzled, IMP took a moment to assess the situation and came to the realization that he had lost his divine abilities.  Having neglected his Quest for who knows how long, progress had to be made in order to alleviate the Geas’ shackles.  Rather than waste away within the Dancing Hut, IMP took up the Horde’s offer to accompany them on their journey.  One would hope that their travels would lead them to Triaxus and the rumored Orb of Dragonkind hidden therein.  Seeking a way out, a secret passage had been found in the cabin’s fireplace.  The fire was warm but did not burn when touched and handholds were scattered about in the chimney’s interior.  ZAPADA was ordered to investigate and confirmed the presence of yet another room.  Covered in soot, the Horde found themselves in a cozy log cabin, the windows half-covered in snow.  The cauldron in the room’s center was barren and unremarkable but dancing shadows began swirling above it.  Suddenly, the figments took the form of BABA YAGA’s three awakened Raven Oracles encountered in the Hut’s Iobarian configuration.  The Ravens three cried out:

BABA YAGA has gone on, off to see her only son.  But a trail she left behind, if the breadcrumbs you can find!

The birds broke formation and began rummaging through the room’s clutter.  A drinking horn and an iron spur had been place on a nearby table showcasing a birdcage with two Eagles within.  As for the bearskin rug on the floor, an Elephant’s tusk and a drinking glass were placed upon it.  The Ravens resumed formation and disappeared after repeating their cryptic riddle a final time.  Baffled, the Horde called out to the Ravens but their summon fell upon deaf ears.  ZORKA’s hidey-hole crest had been noticed upon the mantle, but the thing refused to entertain the swine Fey Killers.  Pondering whether or not to eat or free the caged Eagles, the Horde opted for the latter.  But alas, the Programmed Illusions had orders to stand there and look pretty.  The empty nest in the south west corner had nothing of interest and a trip to the Hut’s library revealed nothing about Triaxus.  The Karta was consulted and something strange was noticed right away.  The landmass depicted on it was different, very different.  The Rider markers were all clustered in the center of the map, flanked by two yellow markers without captions, one to the west and one to the east.  With two apparent breadcrumbs on the map, the Horde exited the Dancing Hut after gathering the clutter clues and four jars of Flying Ointment.

It was nighttime amidst a blizzard and the moon was nowhere in sight.  The violet hued snow-filled landscape was dimly illuminated by one of the stars, shining brightly.  Miles to west stood a great glacier and to the east, an imposing mountain range.  Running between the two marvels was a frozen river, acting as a path to both locations.  Hung up next to the front door was a useful Habit of the Winter Explorer.  The Samurai donned the thing granting him the ability to pierce the storm’s near zero visibility.  When the Horde jumped off the porch, they noticed that IMP had sunk two feet in the snow.  Without a pair of Boots of the Winterlands to spare, SHANG-TSUNG’s broom, OBEY-MI, was conscripted to the mythic Dwarf’s service.  Staying true to the motto of “right always being right”, the Horde traveled eastward to the unknown.
 
After a two hour march and both OTAK and ZAPADA spotted a calamity in the sky in the form of a…, Red Dragon.  The beast slowed and circled its prey like a vulture.  Well out of range, the Horde prepared for the worst.  Suddenly, the thing descended and landed two hundred yards away.  A Humanoid rider was spotted and the armored figure dismounted.  The women raised her lance in the air and placed it on the ground next to her mount.  She did the same with her spear and cautiously approached the Horde.  Her body covered in fur, the Dragoon BESCAYLIE was quite alien to the Horde, and the Horde to BESCAYLIE.  Equipped with the Kepka, SHANG-TSUNG made first contact, acknowledge the Dragoon’s complex syntax.  BESCAYLIE was made aware of the Horde’s quest to seek out BABA YAGA, Triaxus, an orb and a trinket to the east.  The Dragoon confirmed that she was indeed a Triaxian but had no knowledge on the Queen of Witches, nor the items they spoke of.  Triaxus, a land dominated by Dragons, was rarely used in conversation, BESCAYLIE making reference to two provinces, the Drakelands and the Skyfire Mandate.  Proud member of Spurhorn’s Dragon Legion, BESCAYLIE has been tasked in scouting out Drakeland enemy forces.  The two provinces have been at war for centuries and the Spurhorn Fortress, a mile or two within the Skyfire Mandate frontier, has been in dispute just as long.  Just recently, the Drakeland warlord YRAX, Lord of the Howling Storm, had sent forth his armies to claim the keep in his name.  After consulting the Karta and making an uneducated guess, it was assumed the eastern marker would lead the Horde to Spurhorn.  Needing a valid excuse to be there, the Samurai offered the Horde’s services to perhaps aid in the keep’s defense.  Desperate for aid, BESCAYLIE accepted the Elder’s generous offer.  Though climbing the mountains would take days, if not weeks, the Triaxian made arrangements to meet at the river’s end.  Once there, in a day’s time, she’d have an armed escort to fly the Horde to Spurhorn.  Though they could manage, the Horde opted to take the Dragoon’s offer.  After showing off the Dragon Legion’s emblem and briefly describing YRAX’s mark, both BESCAYLIE and Horde parted ways.

Several hours pass trekking through the harsh elements.  Suddenly, three birds of prey, coming from the west, came into view high above.  They too slowed, circled and b-lined towards the Horde.  As they descended, two hidden Frost Drakes joined the assault, all bearing the mark of the White Dragon YRAXSHANG-TSUNG fired a volley critically injuring the lead war bird.  Three of the Drakes flew by reaching in with their jaws but failed to get a taste.  The two that remained however launched a small freezing orb of liquid and both erupted in a cloud of freezing mist.   All, save OTAK and KRUSH were caked in ice but braved through the pain.  UPANIX rushed over to OTAK to acquire the Giant Bane Longspear whilst the Half-Orc faked a convincing injury to lure the enemy.  In obvious pain, MIYUKI rushed over to OTAK but was turned away.  IMP meanwhile hovered over to an enemy and broke his arm via Lucerne hammer.  The Samurai downed his primary target, challenged another and tore through both its wings with a pair of missiles.  Three Drakes flew by SHANG-TSUNG, but the Elder was far too quick.  The final drake engulfed the battlefield in freezing mist but the Paladin countered with positive energy.  UPANIX, OTAK and KRUSH surrounded the Samurai with their weapon raised.  IMP brought the hammer down twice more whilst SHANG-TSUNG dropped another.  By the time a third fell, the two remaining Drakes chose life over death and retreated at surging speeds.

By the time the Horde reached the river’s fork, it became dark, real dark, and the temperature dropped dramatically.  A tent was pitched and the Horde enjoyed several hours of uninterrupted sleep.  When they awoke, it was still night, and the storm hadn’t lessened in intensity.  Having spent nearly a day on Triaxian soil, the Horde has yet to see the sun or a blue sky.  They followed the northern river bank and reached the rendezvous point within hours.  A lone brass Dragonkin and rider had been posted on site.  Behind them, slain, were a blue Dragonkin and a Legionary.  The Horde engaged the Drakeland Sorcerer and his bonded mount, both bearing YRAX’ badge of honor.  The Wizard was suspicious of the extra-terrestrials at first and rightfully so.  SHANG-TSUNG praised the Lord of the Howling Storm and offered to join the Dragon’s efforts to overthrow Spurhorn.  The Sorcerer played along and asked the Horde to follow his lead in hopes of luring them into an ambush.  Little did he know, his foe had a Holy bow and quick hands; the Elder fired and pierced the Dragonkin’s scales.  The Dragon and rider moved into position, their evil intentions pounding at MIYUKI’s head, and whistled loudly.  He then pointed to the Horde and unleashed a Cone of Cold whilst his mount spit out a line of searing lava upon the Paladin and both Gom tribesman.  OTAK, KURSH and UPANIX shielded the Archer but knocked over the Elder’s quiver.  Suddenly, three Dimension Doors opened around the Horde, a Ceustodaemon stepping through each one; there mere presence sending waves of malevolence upon the Paladin.  Infuriated, MIYUKI lost track of the Horde’s wounds and sent two radiant arrows at the horned beast in front of her causing Samurai-like wounds.   IMP hovered in front of the Dragon and watched his hammer bounce off tough hide.  The Sorcerer sent forth an aura of Fear in hopes to reduce the Horde’s numbers.  Even though within MIYUKI’s Aura of Courage, the Half-Orc was spooked and ran for the hills.  UPANIX and KRUSH maintained combat readiness whilst SHANG-TSUNG tagged the magic user with a barb.   The Ceustodaemons looked at one another and combined to unleash a fire storm.  By the time the smoke cleared, KRUSH was charred.  Feeling responsible for the Dinosaur’s demise, MIYUKI rushed over to give the animal a Breath Life using her First Aid Gloves.  Without the use of their breath weapons, the enemy forces had to resort to lesser methods.  The Dragonkin flew by SHANG-TSUNG but received a dazing blow to the head in the attempt.  Vulnerable, the Sorcerer hovered to a safe distance and failed to down the Healer with a pair of Scorching Rays.  The Dragonkin fell first by hammer, spear, club and arrow.  A wave of positive energy followed and the dispirited Sorcerer fell via cluster shot.  One by one, the devils fell, unable to breathe hell upon their foes.

By the time OTAK returned from his panic attack, BESCAYLIE and two of her kin arrived on scene, landed near their fallen ally and thanked the Horde for their timely intervention.   SHANG-TSUNG however, accused the Dragon Legionaries of treachery, having led his Horde to an obvious trap or perhaps twas a devious way to test them in combat.  Piecing together the heated exchange that ensued, both IMP and MAIN sided with the Elder.  Insulted, BESCAYLIE found the Samurai’s claims appalling.  The Dragon Legion believed to be people of honor and loyalty, not deceit.  SHANG-TSUNG upheld his judgment and the Dragoon responded in kind.  BESCAYLIE, beside herself, ordered her Legionaries to withdraw and left the Humans “to manage” the ascent on their own.  Unable to comprehend the rant, MIYUKI did however question the Samurai’s rude behavior.  The Elder’s stern gaze was all OTAK needed to intervene, insisting the Paladin zip-it.  Flying Ointment paste was applied to all save the Healer and IMPOTAK held MIYUKI in his arms and the Horde took to the skies.  Though the view was breathtaking, the amassed armies below bearing YRAX’ took center stage.

The Horde found themselves at Spurhorn’s doorstep in no time, their presence attracting the attention of two dozen heavy crossbowmen upon the parapet walls.  The Dragoons acknowledged the Horde’s intentions to aid in the keep’s defense and made them wait.  Meanwhile, SHANG-TSUNG poked the bear and warned their hosts not to cross the Horde lest the wished to sustain heavy casualties.  The Legionaries laughed and tested the Humans patience further.  Twenty minutes pass when suddenly, a Ranger mounted upon gold Dragonkin flew over the wall to engage the Horde, BESCAYLIE as his wingwoman.  Commander PHARAMOL demanded to know what gave the Horde the right to insult and threaten his men on home turf.  SHANG-TSUNG took the battle of egos that ensued to another level by threatening and demeaning the Legion’s chief and commander himself in front of his troops.  Within minutes, Golarion’s ambassador had tarnished the Human race in the Dragoon’s eyes.  Viewed as hostile, pompous and arrogant, PHARAMOL considered the Horde to be an unstable element despite their impressive battle acumen.  But alas, the Legion was in desperate need of allies and the commander made arrangements for the Horde to face the high council.  The Elder agreed and demanded that his men and women be given proper accommodations.  The Horde was escorted to prison cells, each with a stone cold slab to sleep on.  Triaxian slop was their main course, filled with nutrients but harsh on the pallet, the food of war.

Four hours of sleep later, the Horde was summoned to the conference room beyond Spurhorn’s private garden.   Commander PHARAMOL and SHANG-TSUNG engaged in a stare down as a green, blue, gold and silver Dragonkin gazed upon the Horde.  Sensing nothing within the Samurai and the Half-Giant, the Dragons saw promise within the Half-Orc and more so within the Dwarf.  MIYUKI however garnered the most attention.  The sliver Dragonkin appeared to disapprove of the paladin and turned to her green comrade.  Puzzled, the latter appeared to blatantly disagree with her kin’s assessment.  The two motioned the others and commander PHARAMOL to consort behind closed doors, the remaining Legionaries in the room holding their spears firmly.  After a lengthy deliberation, it was decided that the Horde be sworn in, despite a slight blemish and their unclear motives.  Just then, a Ranger bearing unsettling news entered the room, the enemy had begun their advance.  The commander sounded the alarm and ordered his troops to battle stations.  Putting his differences aside, PHARAMOL suggested that the Horde fortify the south-eastern tower where the ballistae were stationed; if he were the enemy, twould be his first target.  As the Horde maneuvered through the keep’s lower levels, they crossed dozens of soldiers ready to bleed for the Skyfire Mandate.

The Horde ascended the tower and found themselves outside amongst a storm of chaos.  Looking down the steep decline, five dozen Drakeland Dragonkin were in flight, the same number assembling within the courtyard to oppose them.  Four unmanned ballistae came into view, two light, one heavy and the last, a firedrake catapult.  Perched upon the firedrake was a Frost Drake, four allied Rangers frozen solid before him.  Four heavily armored Drakeland Barbarian had been assigned each a ballista with orders to hack at the siege weapons.  The Frost Drake took to the skies and greeted the Horde with its freezing bad breath.  MIYUKI countered with two barbs whilst the others charged the Barbarians.  KRUSH head-butted a foe and bull rushed the brute clear off the tower.  IMP, OTAK and UPANIX slammed hard into their opponents whilst SHANG-TSUNG slipped on some ice.  Wanting blood, the berserkers were compelled to follow orders, leaving the Horde unmolested.  The constructs however, took heavy damage.  Unable to land a flyby attack, the enemy task force’s fate was sealed, and only one disabled light ballista to show for it.  IMP, an expert engineer, looked over the damage and began repairs whilst two dozen Rangers entered the fray to man the remaining ballistae.

As YARX’ barbarians stormed the keep, Legionaries countering with their heavy crossbows.  A rainbow of Dragons blanketed the sky, all clipping at each other’s wings sending their riders plummeting down to their deaths.  The Horde supported IMP and the Ranger’s efforts in the hour that followed.  Suddenly, to the north west, an enemy siege tower was on the move.  With about two minutes before contact and a two-hundred yard dash before them, SHANG-TSUNG turned and looked to the catapult.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
Bescaylie; Triaxian Dragoon; befriended
1280
Efrixes; Red Dragonkin; befriended
1280
5 Frost Drakes
3200
Brass Drakeland Dragonkin
1280
Drakeland Sorcerer
1280
3 Greater Ceustodaemons
1920
4 Drakeland Barbarians
2560
Frost Drake
640
Session total
13440
Campaign total
151320
View
Summary 18: The White Witch Strikes Back
Chapter Four: The Frozen Stars

SESSION THEME

Still hindered by Waves of Exhaustion, the Horde retreated to the Maiden’s resting chambers to recover.  Before traveling back to the Dancing Hut, SHANG-TSUNG wished to experiment with the Crone’s cauldron one last time.  Suddenly, MAIN sprung to life the moment he entered the Crone’s wintery corridors; CAIGREAL was near.  Intrigued, the Horde allowed the thing to lead them to Artrosa’s devious warden.  MAIN began roaming the croning ritual tunnel and was ordered to stop.  Wanting nothing to do with the trap, the Horde took the scenic route towards the Eon PitMAIN pointed to the massive iron doors, SHANG-TSUNG opened the door via a key and all prepared for a preempted strike.  Studying one of the basalt menhirs, the crone Annis Hag was taken by surprise.  The Samurai pierced her skin with a barb whilst both OTAK and UPANIX charged and brought their weapons to bear.  When CAIGREAL lock her gaze upon the sensor MAIN, OTAK ordered KRUSH to drag the appendage out of harm’s way.  Completely caught off guard, the Horde managed to unleash their full wrath before she could lift a finger.  Four missiles, a rams and a blade had severely crippled the Hag but still, she endured.  Infuriated, CAIGREAL looked to her ring for salvation but failed to notice KRUSH’s advance.  The Dinosaur’s mighty club struck CAIGREAL square in the face leaving the Hag dazed and confused.  Unable to Teleport away, the warden was terminated.

Several distasteful trophies and a handful of trinkets were confiscated, but more importantly, the Artrosa Ring had been claimed.  Whilst the powers to Teleport, Scry and Veil would be surrendered the moment the ring leaves Artrosa, its protective and regenerative properties would remain.  Depicting the three-fold aspect of womanhood, maiden, mother and crone, the ring was assigned to the Paladin as the artifact was far more effective in the hands of a woman.  MIYUKI accepted the jewelry and instantly aged seventy years.  Wanting none of it, the ring was put in her pocket to be donned at a later date.  The Horde returned to the cauldron and SHANG-TSUNG identified the ingredients upon the table.  Being nothing more that popular spell components, the Samurai mixed the alicorn root within the multi-colored stew, producing a liquid with healing properties.  Again, the effects lasted but a minute and SHANG-TSUNG simply pocketed the remaining jars.  The Horde exited Artrosa via the Maiden, a mile off the ground.  SHANG-TSUNG ran to the edge and jumped, his allies, taken aback.  Standing proud, with his arms crossed, the Elder Feather Falled to the ground.  MIYUKI sent forth her Owl to retrieve the Samurai’s ring.  Refusing to don a ring with feathers on it, both OTAK and KRUSH opted to make the dangerous climb down.  Four hours passed and the two day trek towards the Dancing Hut began soon after.

With ZAPADA as their guide, the Horde found themselves within a mile from the Hut.  Suddenly, just before entering a forested area, a familiar voice echoed in the wind.  The woman called out to her familiar spy ZAPADA, commanding him to NAZHENA’s side.  Having developed a special bond with MIYUKI, ZAPADA elected to remain by the Paladin’s side.  Annoyed, the White Witch decreed that he and the Horde would fall, her ensuing victory to be dedicated to her fallen lover RADOSEK.  The ground began to tremble as a great Sleet Storm came into existence blocking the way to the Dancing Hut.

SHANG-TSUNG was the first to react.  With no enemies in sight, the Elder readied an arrow to put through the bitch’s heart.  When two Greater Ice Elementals bursted though the ice and snow and nearly ripped MIYUKI asunder, the Samurai’s target was clear.  He let loose his arrow but the missile met heavy resistance.  Suddenly, after firing a few volleys, the ground erupted around the Elder and encased him in a foot of freezing ice.  Luckily the Icy Prison did not immobilize him outright.  Entangled and freezing to death, SHANG-TSUNG continued firing at the ice columns.  Suddenly, the Samurai was enveloped in a vile poisonous cloud, its vapors eating away at his innards.  The Elder braved the Cloudkill and attacked in all directions via an Elixir of Firebreath and arrow.  SHANG-TSUNG opted to exit the fog after breathing in far too many fumes and suffering the effects of a Cone of Cold.  Doing so prompted the surprised NAZHENA to sap the Elder’s strength with a potent Ray of Enfeeblement.  Seeing nothing but carnage upon the battlefield and unable to pull his bowstring, SHANG-TSUNG flew in a rage, gathered his inner strength and unleashed a devastating cluster shot upon the Witch hovering above.  Just before delivering the final blow, SHANG-TSUNG found himself within a hemispherical Wall of Ice.  Unable to free himself from the deadly Icy Prison, the Samurai breached the wall, survived an Ice Spear and fell the Witch with an arrow.

NAZHENA’s Elements were the next ones to act.  Burrowing through the snow into position, two huge columns of ice and snow erupted from the ground.  Both flanked the Paladin, mustered all their strength and slammed vitally into the maiden.  With their quick reflexes, the Elementals lashed out at all those foolish enough to come to MIYUKI’s aid.  When the Healer was dragged away to safety, the cannon fodder traded haymakers with OTAK, KRUSH and UPANIX.  The one to the east fell first, but not before dealing a great amount of damage.  With the aid of a controlled battlefield, the remaining Elemental grinded down the Horde and took both MIYUKI and OTAK out of the fight before shattering into pieces via thrown weapons.

Having witnessed the Paladin’s initial demise, OTAK ordered KRUSH to drag MIYUKI out of the Elemental’s threat range.  Meanwhile, the Half-Orc summoned the power of his Boots and grew to Giant size to level the playing field.  When KRUSH returned to his post, both he and OTAK teamed up against the Elementals, a daunting and painful task.  As a vile Cloudkill crept towards them, the Gom tribesmen made sure to stay one step front of the fog.  Having dropped an Elemental, the Giant was Enervated for his efforts.  The duo continued their tactical assault albeit suffering the effects from a Cone of Cold.  When an Ice Spear toppled the Half-Orc into the Cloudkill, OTAK was forced to attack while prone.  Critically wounded, sapped of energy, defenseless and poisonous vapors infiltrating his vitals, OTAK was easy prey to a final Elemental slam.  OTAK was dead.  Confused and seeking guidance, KRUSH was forced to withdraw.

Invisible, NAZHENA erected a Sleet Storm to hide her movements whilst using her blizzard sight to target her foes.  After commanding her Elementals to kill the Paladin, NAZHENA sent forth her Spectral Hand to siphon whatever life remained within the maiden.  The Vampirc Touch failed to down her primary target but forced MIYUKI to withdraw.  With the Healer out of the picture, the Witch focused on the Archer.  When her Icy Prison failed to immobilize SHANG-TSUNG, NAZHENA enveloped the battlefield in a Cloudkill, targeting as many foes as possible.  Impress with the fog’s effectiveness, the Witch sent forth a ray of negative energy towards OTAK and sapped his life-force to support her remaining Elemental.  When MIYUKI foolishly entered the cloud, NAZHENA exited her sanctuary and unleashed a Cone of Cold upon all Horde members.  Having fired her most potent arsenal to date, the Witch failed to understand how anyone survived.  Desperate, NAZHENA erected three Ice Spears below all foes in sight.  Having witnessed two of her foes drop and the demise of her Elementals, both she and UPANIX engaged in a futile fire fight.  When SHANG-TSUNG exited the fog, NAZHENA was dumbfounded.  She sent forth a Ray of Enfeeblement in hopes to neutralize his attacks, but alas, twas not enough.  After staving off death following an overwhelming cluster shot, the Witch surrounded the Samurai in a Wall of Ice in hopes to give her enough time to down the Half-Giant.  So close to victory, NAZHENA screamed to the heavens and fired an Ice Spear from her wand in hopes to terminate the Elder who had breached the wall.  The Witch paused and gazed upon the hemisphere in wonder, had SHANG-TSUNG fallen?  The igloo retaliated with an arrow sending the Witch to oblivion.

MIYUKI was the first to experience the Horde’s dire situation.  Flanked and nearly torn apart by a pair of Greater Ice Elemental, the snow was stained in blood within a twenty foot radius.  Critically wounded, MIYUKI called out to OTAK in sheer terror.  Luckily, KRUSH braved the brute’s claws and dragged the Paladin to safety.  Now bordering the Sleet Storm, MIYUKI swiftly laid a healing hand upon herself and closed more of her wounds with a prayer to ERASTIL.  Something else had touched the Paladin inappropriately, but the Vampiric Touch lacked potency.  MIYUKI continued touching herself went suddenly, she found herself in cloud of deadly fumes.  Having inhaled a substantial amount of poison, the Healer exited the cloud and applied another round of first aid.  Taking a moment to assess her ally’s situation, MIYUKI entered the cloud’s center and unleash two waves of positive energy, benefiting all those in range.  By the time she exited the fog, the Paladin had suffered a Cone of Cold and severe poisoning. With the primary target within reach, the surviving Elemental put the crippled maiden down.

UPANIX was the last to react.  After the initial shock getting into position, the Specimen supported his fellow half-breed dishing out pain and misery.  Though his blade met heavy resistance, UPANIX chiseled away at the ice sculptures piece by piece.  With his superior mobility, the Half-Giant kept the Cloudkill at bay, effectively reducing the Cone of Cold’s potency.  After dodging an Ice Spear, UPANIX witnessed MIYUKI and OTAK’s downfall.  Now ganged up on and hanging on a thread, UPANIX threw his greatsword and battleaxe with all his might, producing a sleet storm of his own.  A showdown against NAZHENA ensued, his arrows bouncing off her protective barrier, her wand’s Ice Spears having little effect.  UPANIX was successful at buying the Samurai enough time to seal the Witch’s fate.

At last, the epic battle was over.

NAZHENA’s lifeless body fell upon a sea of red and SHANG-TSUNG desperately called out to anyone left alive to free him from the ice lest he join the Witch in death.  By the time UPANIX shattered the Icy Prison, the Samurai was nothing more than a piece of frozen meat, but still conscious.  Meanwhile, MIYUKI’s eyes fluttered open, her mutilated body in a slow state of regeneration.  Unable to stand, the Paladin sent forth a much needed wave of positive energy; OTAK’s wounds were not closing.  KRUSH, SHANG-TSUNG and UPANIX were silent; their heads looking down to the ground, MIYUKI was devastated.  Like a young daughter losing her father, the Paladin rush over to the Half-Orc to grieve.  Suddenly, the love MIYUKI had for her family coursed through OTAK’s body granting him new life.  The transfer of life-force was strenuous, leaving a scar on both their souls.  MIYUKI had awoken the OTAK’s arms moments later after collapsing, both relieved that one another had survived.  Having suffered death on two occasions, it was clear the road ahead would not be for the faint of heart.  Suddenly, a Raven circled above seeking carrion and made an expeditious retreat once it realized that its master had been slain; an explosion of feathers followed via cluster shot.  Having acquired the Witch’s treasures and her head, the Horde reunited with the Dancing Hut.

Scratching at the ground with its massive talons, the Dancing Hut was pleased to have reunited with BABA YAGA’s favored.  Bypassing the fallen RATIBOR the Bold and the knotted corridor, the Horde returned to the Master Cauldron.  In dire need of a warm comfortable bed, a warm and hardy meal and the company of fellow Man, the Hut was commanded to take the Horde to the nearest outpost.  Nothing happened.  SHANG-TSUNG called out to ZORKA, the Kikimora encountered back in Whitethrone.  Suddenly, the hidden rune etched upon the fireplace gleamed with arcane energies.  A loud popping sound was heard as the Fey crone made her entrance, but alas, the reunion was short-lived.  Her mere presence brought OTAK’s blood to a boil; the stink of Fey was intolerable.  The Half-Orc nudged the Samurai and SHANG-TSUNG, unable to deny the fact, pin-cushioned the hideous thing.  ZORKA let out a distress squawk and retreated back to her hidey-hole.  Unable to see the magical rune, OTAK flew in a rage and pummeled the fireplace with all his might, but failed to significantly dent the nearly impenetrable HutMIYUKI scolded the Half-Orc but retracted her comments as all Fey encountered thus far had indeed been vexatious.  The Elder summoned the Hut’s library to study the Crone’s jarred spell component but failed to find a use for them.  With little else to do, the Gold Nugget and Dragon Scale were mixed within the Master Cauldron, the Hut let out an ear-piercing squawk, and all went black.

Once everyone’s stomach had settled after the effects of Teleportation, the Hut’s wooden walls had been replaced by large windows, looking out in all directions over a wide and gloomy garden.  Thick clouds hung unnaturally low atop overgrown stands of trees, barren flowerbeds and white pebbled paths.  The sky and distant landscape seemed artificial, faded and blurry, almost like a water color painting.  The Horde left the Master Cauldron behind, exited the gazebo through its stained-glassed doors and began their search for BABA YAGA.  To the east, countless greenhouses, a tool shed and a dead plot had been found.  The Horde faced off with several aggressive plant species within the structures but twas nothing they couldn’t handle.  After stocking up on rare herbs, Goodberry Oil and plant killer, the Horde traveled south to a tangled mass of overflowing weed.  Deep within the briar patch, the Ochki had detected signs of magic and SHANG-TSUNG jumped into the mess to get a closer look.  Suddenly, two huge Giant Flytraps, looking for a meal, tried their luck against the Samurai and his mighty Horde.  The things were quite clumsy however, blowing countless opportunities, perhaps under the stress of battling opponents far superior to themselves.  Both SHANG-TSUNG and UPANIX found themselves swallowed whole, but only for a moment as the Horde overpowered the foliage within seconds.  After recovering from digestive juices, the Elder located the magic source.  Twas gear from a poor soul who thought it’d be wise to venture into a jungle alone.

Continuing west, the path led the Horde to a blighted area within a forest.  Limp upon a tree stump, SYVET the Cat awoke and meowed relentlessly at the Horde.  Unable to attract their attention, the animal used her Dancing Light to lure them.  Happy to have guests, the talking Cat asked how the Horde came to be here and if they’d seen her master. When BABA YAGA’s name was mentioned, the Cat was taken aback and revealed that it was the Queen of Witches herself who had taken her master away so long ago.  SYVET tried to follow the Witches but was shooed away and found herself trapped in this place.  The link between Cat and master had been severed ever since.  Still able to sense her master’s soul, SYVET remains hopeful they will meet again.  Until then, the Cat had hoped that one amongst the Horde would remain to keep her company.  Unwilling to sacrifice a member of their crew, it was suggested that the Cat join the Horde’s ranks instead, perhaps with UPANIX, the only one without a pet.  SYVET kindly declined, warned the Horde not to meddle with diseased Treant to the north and both parties went about their own business.

The path to the west suddenly veered to the north and into another forested area.  With another option to continue going north or go west, the Horde opted for the latter as they noticed a wood cabin in the distance.  Their advance attracted the attention of two huge Moonflowers, eager to spawn more of their kind.  They allowed the Horde to advance and lashed out at the last in line.  Within seconds, MIYUKI had found herself inside a cocooned prison pod, the acids eating way at flesh.  When the other weed failed to blind the others with its light pulse, all hands were at battle stations.  A well-coordinated attack had been applied and MIYUKI was rescued with no casualties.

The battle also attracted to attention of another however.  The man heavily cloaked in red robes claimed that he had been expecting the Horde and had orders to escort them to his master.  The man denied being involved with BABA YAGA and insisted that he and his master were not Fey.  Able to meet without surrendering their weapons, the Horde saw no harm in entertaining the fellow’s request.  The Denizen of Leng led the Horde inside the cabin and too his abductor, a vile Moon-Beast.  The Denizen had hoped to watch the ensuing battle from the shadows, but the alien regained control of his puppet with ease.  Suddenly, the battlefield was overwhelmed with waves of Confusion, turning OTAK into a vegetable.  UPANIX charged the alien and somehow cut into its amorphous form.  The dominated Denizen flanked the Half-Giant but failed to locate an unprotected vital spot.  The Denizen was fired upon and collapsed following a mighty whirlwind attack.  Meanwhile, the extraterrestrial attempted to Dominate another into service, but the Samurai’s resolve was impenetrable.  Using space-time to dodge oncoming attacks, the Moon-Beast continued his mental assaults, but against sheer muscle and determination, the thing stood little chance.

An Eye of the Void was recovered from the Moon-Beast corpse and the Denizen was in possession of several exotic gems.  One of them, a silver translucent orb, looked extremely valuable.  Like the gem pried from the THORA Guardian Doll back in the Border Wood, a thick fog brewed inside the globe.  Much larger in size, movement had also been noticed beyond the mist.  Upon closer inspection, the Ochki noticed magical writing engraved on the orb’s surface, it read IMP.  As the Horde studied the thing further, the movement within intensified.  After careful consideration and believing someone may be within, the Horde reluctantly smashed the priceless jewel to the ground.  Suddenly, the Trap the Soul focus erupted in a cloud of arcane smoke, a Dwarven Warrior standing in its wake.  IMP was his name and he came here looking for Triaxus.  He was told, by BABA YAGA herself, that an Orb of Dragonkind could be found there, a powerful artifact he required to fulfill his quest.  He had arranged a meeting with the Queen of Witches through her daughter ELVANNA some time ago.  In exchange for a favor, the Dwarf was granted two ingredients and access to the Dancing Hut to reach a place called Triaxus.  When IMP found himself in a beautiful garden, the Dwarf took the path to this very cabin and found was he had been looking for, so he thought.  When he picked up the fake orb, his soul had been trapped within.  Embarrassed yet grateful, the Dwarf thanked the Horde for their assistance.  As a reward, he offered his crafting skills and all material he had on his person.  Able to craft magical gear in hours rather than days using the Master Cauldron, IMP spent two days cooking up a storm and going through the Horde’s spoils.   Being a merchant at heart and having countless contacts, IMP offered to trade resources via Plane Shift.  The Horde took up on his generous offer and fortified their defenses.  Unaware how much time had passed since his little hiccup, IMP had to play a game of catch-up.  IMP gave the horde a whistle, usable twice, to summon the Dwarf to their side.  Also, if ever the Horde were to come into contact with an Orb of Dragonkind, IMP would be willing to pay a handsome reward for its acquisition.  Before leaving, the Dwarf inquired about the Horde’s party name, having been in the presence of others as worthy as they.
 
CHALLENGE
XP
2 Greater Ice Elementals
3200
Nazhena; Human Winter Witch
3200
Assassin Vine
200
Basidirond
400
Shambling Mound
600
2 Giant Flytraps
4800
2 Moonflowers
2400
Denizen of Leng
1200
Moon-Beast
3200
Bonus: Rescued Imp's soul from a gem
3200
Session total
22400
Campaign total
137880
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