Mike B's second game

Aereth - Mostly Harmless!
Anything that's not nailed down is mine - anything I can pry up isn't nailed down.

Space the final frontier! With the acquisition of a new spelljamming ship out intrepid adventures make for the skies!

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Beholder Deathstar!
-or- Death in 360 degrees!

So the intrepid adventures went forth in to space to save the world on the word of Ford – a local bard who had been trying to get a spelljamming ship so he cold get off the planet – as he was trying to escape a floating beholder death factory. So they set forth in their mighty floating planetarium. A Tyrant ship of beholders was already fighting the defenses of the Beholder Deathstar trying to claim it for their own. A small group of five beholders came to talk to the adventures and see if the hated beholder mage they knew as a betrayer of the perfection that is their nation, was on board. Scared his fellow beholders would cripple him and trying to stay out of the range of their antimagic rays before his plan could take shape Ford ran below decks. The plan such as it was; using the players and their ship to get by the defenses of the mighty Beholder Deathstar, defenses set, for the most part, against the beholder race. The embraceries began negations in typical beholder fashion; by demanding the surrender of the PC’s. This was, for the most part, refused. The second phase of negations involved fighting the beholders. Not interested in chatting the PC’s won the negations – for the most part. Once in to the gigantic ship they were faced with challenges all involving ego systems (of a sort) built around the eyes stalks of a traditional beholder. And a story was learned:

Long ago a mighty beholder nation commissioned a ship to be built after their mighty Hive Mother passed away. Her eyes were used in creation of the huge ship that went on to wreak havoc among the stars. After a time among the crystal spears the beholder nation began a ritual to turn the Ravager – as they called it – to an artifact and a ship to rival the mighty Spelljammer itself. For an unknown reason this ritual failed and destroyed the nation. For an eon the Beholder Deathstar drifted in to one crystal sphere and out the other stopping to destroy any planets in its way. That is, till a beholder mage learned of its existence and began to develop a plan to wreak vengeance on those of its nation who had cast it out.

Breaking in to the Deathstar and going past an Arcane (interplanetary merchants) warning the investigation of the ship commenced leaving behind a hole in the door, just a small one, no bigger then a womprat. Sleep, Charm, Disintegrate and Stoning eyes/avatars were all faced as the PC wandered from room to room. Some of the old Queens eyes were kept by the party. Eventually the eyes were summoned to the center chamber. Ford, the beholder mage, had made his way through the breach made by the PCs and obtained one of the beholder suits used by the old mysterious nation. The huge beholder had started his attack on the newly arrived beholder nation that once cast him out. In the middle of his attack the PCs attacked. An epic battle ensued between the weakened would be heroes and Ford, weakened as he was by his attempts to get to the captains chamber. Ford died, some heroes died and the queen’s eye fell to the ground. The ravager stopped moving and the eyes of the beholder nation outside the Deathstar turned to the mighty ship.

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Must stop the Spellplague!

The race to save the world begins. The Spellplague is on its way to Areath and it must be stopped. (Or we have to trash a lot of games as I’m not playing 4th edition.) There’s a book that needs to be rebuilt, an ancient cult that needs to be stopped and more excuses to fly around in a building.

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Lyric of the Eternal Lotus
Book

Lyric of the Eternal Lotus

Study of the peace peaceful mind relaxing techniques in this book, requiring 1 week, allows it’s user to add +2 to all wisdom based skills. In addition as long as the user practices its meditative stances for one hour every morning he acts as if under the effects of a Calm Emotions spell. The extraordinary ability may be restarted as a standard action if dispelled.

Also this book allows the user to take any of the “Vow of…” feats from the Book of Exalted Deeds if they meet the other requirements.

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So Long and Thanks for All the Power Gaming
The story of the refugees from Toril

They left in the year 1384 DR from Toril. The Spellplague had just begun, and many of them saw with their own eyes as spell casters were burnt from the inside out by a azure fire. No one knew why it was happening, just that the Weave was unraveling and killing anyone or anything that used it.

A man by the name of Joshua, who lived in Daggerdale, owned one of the few spell jamming ships in Faerun that didn’t run on anything involving the Weave. He gathered up as many people as could fit in his ship and left Toril behind. They got out of the crystal sphere only a few hours before the blockade started and wondered the phlogiston looking for a new home.

They found their way into Aerth and the party kindly offered them a place to stay in their little town.

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Iggwilv Saves the World with the Demonomicon
You read that title right, Baba Tasha saved the world

The Spellplague quickly spread from Toril to many other crystal spheres. Each of the Crystal Spheres that caught the plague would have a azure fire burn on the outside of the Crystal Sphere for between six and twelve months before the interior began to be affected. It seemed to spread along the rivers in the phlogiston, and it initially only affected small spheres with little magic. The Spellplague did not affect every sphere like it did Toril with massive upheavals of the earth and countless dead. Others just had their magic fundamentally change and life went on normally.

It was like that on Eberron, the first of the heavily populated spheres to succomb. The Spellplague swept over it and few died. Though the fundamental changes were apparent, the world seemed to go on as if nothing had happened.

The next crystal sphere to become infected was Athas. Life there has always been hard and the mass die-off of mages that resulted from the Spellplague was seen as a triumph for the blasted land.

Krynn was the first major Crystal Sphere to catch the Spellplague that was connected by trade to Toril. The damage and changes wrought by the plague were devastating, but nearly so as on Toril. Thousands died because of it, but the Spellplague wasn’t the world shaking cataclysm that it was on Toril.

Oerth should have been one of the first crystal spheres to be infected. It was a major caravan stop on the river between Toril and Krynn and the azure burned on the outside for four months before it miraculously disappeared. Something happened that stopped the horrible plague from infecting Oerth. Whatever was done must have been a monumental task for a group of selfless adventurers. A task on this scale would have had no reward other than the thought that the world was saved. Truly, it was a quest fit for great heroes.

It was in fact done by Iggwilv, evil wizard, adopted daughter of Baba Yaga, beau of Graz’zt, mother of Iuz, and now savior of the world. Her notes on the ritual that she performed to inoculate Oerth were included in various sections of the Demonomicon.

Once all the pieces of the Demonomicon are collected by the party, the same ritual can be done on Aerth, stopping the Spellplague from ravaging the land.

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The Demonomicon
A book scattered across Aerth and Trevyrn

Iggwilv wrote the Demonomicon as a reference work on the Lower Planes and included a great deal of her own research. Over the years it has been stolen and copied several times. One of the more useful copies found itself in Aerth. It was not copied directly from the original, but has a very powerful enchantment on it that instantly copies anything written into any book called the Demonomicon. Everything from highlighting to footnotes to actual sections written by Iggwilv or anyone else is instantly copied into the book. Because of the nature of the book, it is incredibly long and more or less incomprehensible. A quarter of the book is not the actual writing copied, but another book called the Praxus that explains which of the sections and scribblings are gibberish and which are good.

This particular Demonomicon found its way into a dwarven hammer ship where it was divided into four sections and those pieces were scattered across Aerth so that no one could wield its profane power.

One of the pieces was owned by an evil gnome wizard named Skullshank, and came into the possession of the party along with his observatory. A second piece still resided in the dwarven hammer ship and was being held by a group of fiendish formians until the party liberated it. The third was in a far away crystal sphere called Trevyrn on an abandoned colony, and the party traveled to Trevyrn and braved the wild magic their to get it.

The last piece is currently being held by the evil cult of He Who is Divine and Righteous Might. Once the party gains that final piece, the ritual can be done and Aerth can be saved from a horrible fate.

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There's a Whole World of People Here
And not all of them want the world saved

The World of Aerth has hundreds upon thousands of people who will be affected by the Spellplague. Knowledge of the Spellplague, and its potentially devastating effects, is limited mostly to people living out in the Spelljammer hubs and powerful adventuring types. The average farmer or shopkeeper has no idea about the impending catastrophe, and the average king thinks it’s just a silly story told by people who have spent too much time out in wildspace.

There are a few organizations and people who do know about it and take the threat seriously.

The party was approached by a man who didn’t wish to give his name, but said that his master is powerful and had many interests across most of the Crystal Spheres. He confirmed that it was Iggwilv who stopped the Spellplague from spreading to Oerth and the same ritual would work on Aerth. He went on to say that Iggwilv put some protections into her book and the knowledge contained that would stop her enemies and people she didn’t like from benefiting from her research. The man said that his master had gotten into some sort of argument with Iggwilv and she made it so that he and all his minions could not read the book. His master wishes that the Spellplague be stopped on Aerth, and believes the party is the best chance. He gave the party a ring that would summon one of his master’s most powerful minions a total of three times.

There is also the Cult of the Green Hand. They are a group of goblin rogues who worship a god called the Green Hand. They believe that when the Spellplague kills all of the spell casters, the power structure will be destroyed and the goblins will be able to take over in its place. Their God has informed them that the party is trying to stop the Spellplague and they have attacked the party several times. Most notably they boarded the party’s ship while it was traveling the phlogiston.

Another group is the Crimson Order. They are a group of Red Dragons from Toril who fled the Spellplague and came to Aerth. They firmly believe that humanoids are worthless and cannot be trusted with the responsibility of saving the world. They wish to kill the party, take the Demonomicon, take all of their treasure, and save the world.

The last is the Cult of He Who is Divine and Righteous Might. They are an evil organization who believe that only the worthy deserve knowledge and that only worshipers of He Who is Divine and Righteous Might are worthy. They were very strong in Aerth a few thousand years ago until they were destroyed by people who they believed were unworthy. There has recently been a resurgence in the cult and they have been scheming to literacy of the masses. Learning from their previous failures, the cult has taken very serious steps to avoid detection by magic. It is believed that they’re lair is not on the planet, somewhere in the wildspace only accessible by Spelljamming ships. They have assaulted many libraries and schools of learning, killing or taking prisoner everyone and stealing the books. One of the libraries contained the Praxus that party seeks. They may not know about the Spellplague, but it is doubtful if they would willing help the party stop it.

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The Ritual
The best way to save the world

The Ritual was created by Iggwilv and written down into her Demonomicon.

It is a long and strenuous Ritual. It must be done by a single arcane spellcaster, and takes six hours to perform. The Ritual it must be started at sunset and must be done on a night of power. This could be an important astral conjunction, the anniversary of some important arcane event, or simply a solstice or equinox. During the course of the six hours, the spellcaster performing the ritual must cast the wish spell three times, whether that be from a scroll or by preparing it.

The Ritual requires a massive amount of mundane material components. The list of material components and when exactly they are used is the most extensive portion of the Ritual text. These material components are everything from a live spider to a thirty foot diameter plate of pure silver. The mundane material components cost a grand total of 2.5 million gold pieces and could stock ten magic shops.

The Ritual also requires thirteen hard to obtain components that represent different parts of the magical world. They are all vague and require either a significant portion of a creature strongly aligned with the component or a powerful magic item. A powerful monster is something on the order of a great wyrm dragon or a powerful outsider. A powerful magic item is an artifact or some worth at least 200,000gp.

The thirteen components are:

Fire
Water
Earth
Air
Electricity
Cold
Acid
Magic

Good
Evil
Law
Chaos

Mortality

The first eight represent the material plane and arcane magic. These each must be a large portion of powerful mortal creature that is strongly aligned with the element or a powerful magic item. This portion could be an arm or a leg, but is preferably a soul. The creature doesn’t necessarily have to die for the component to be taken, but most would object to a leg being taken. For the magic component, it has to be from something that drains magic, such as something that can dispel magic as a spell-like ability. These requirements can also be fulfilled by a powerful magic item that is associated with the element. Iggwilv fulfilled obtained these components by killing great wyrm dragons and trapping their souls.

The next four components represent the outer planes and divine magic. They each must either be the soul of an outsider with the subtype, or a powerful magic item associated with the alignment. There must be a total of four components and something with two subtypes can only apply to one of the components. Iggwilv used two pit fiends, a balor, and a holy avenger for these components.

The last component represents the mortal who bridges the gap between the material and the spiritual. This component can only be filled by the body and soul of a powerful, mortal spellcaster. The spellcaster does not need to be willing or alive, but both the body and soul must be present at the time of ritual. Iggwilv killed the high priest of Graz’zt in Oerth and then trapped his soul.

All material components are completely used up over the course of the ritual. If Ritual is interrupted, a portion of the mundane material components is used equal to the amount of time left.

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Stay Awhile and Listen
Zuriel tells about the linnorms

I was born in the great oceans. I lived a long and happy life there. When I was 1201 years old, and I was coming to the end of my days, I decided to retire somewhere peaceful rather than be killed by angry kraken or sahuagin raiding party. I swam up river and eventually came to this lake that has since taken my name. I thought it to be a wonderful place to retire in peace. It’s big, had fish to eat, no fearful humanoids to deal with, and most importantly, nothing that could threaten my life.

I was attacked by the linnorm a few days after I arrived. I was resting at the bottom of the lake when it bit me. It was a long fight and it was probably tougher of the two of us, but he made a few mistakes and had some bad luck and I killed it, though I was mortally wounded. Facing my own death, I ate the linnorms body; because I thought that dying hungry would be a bad thing. After that satisfying meal, I said my prayers to Tiamat, and went to sleep.

I awoke what seemed like days later, still hurt, but my wounds healing. That was over two-thousand years ago, quite a bit longer than the lifespan of my kind. I have outlived all of my young, anything else that I knew in the oceans, and a great many civilizations. I barely eat anymore, and I feel younger now than when I went up river years ago. I believe that because of my draconic nature, I gained some of the linnorms qualities, making me more than just a common dragon turtle.

In my years here I have taken an interest in the linnorms, and have studied them for some time.

Linnorms are similar to dragons, but seem to be more primeval, as if they were made by a god who didn’t understand the mortal world and left a few things out. They fly, but have no wings. They like the taste of meat, but they don’t need to ever eat. Their strong and powerful but have no ambition to do anything other than endlessly circle their territory looking for things to kill. They’re rather intelligent, but they kill most things before there’s a chance for conversation. They grow and get more powerful with time, but they don’t die of old age so they’re always seen at the peak of their power. They don’t value material things, but they hate when people take things from their territory, even a rock, and deal with it in the same way they deal with everything else. They are insane in a very special way and I’m pretty sure it was intentionally done by whoever put them here.

There were hundreds of them in these mountains, put here in eons past by an unknown god or maybe even a pantheon to guard something important. My best guess is that they guarded a treasury of some sort and that it was located in a large cave up in the mountains. The gods have long ago faded away from death or lack of worship, and the linnorms eventually broke free of the treasury. Most dispersed across the world and planes, most likely taking parts of the treasury with them, but fourteen linnorms stayed.

The linnorms here are spread out across the country side. One lived in the lake, two more are the forest, another lives in the swamp, and the rest live in the mountains. They all seem to be a bit different when it comes to their different abilities, but their all about as strong as each other.

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