Tantron

Session 23
Peter Jackson ain’t got nothing on this

The Final Session

The last session of the campaign starts with the Rift Warriors having at last defeated Lord Quin and retrieved the Ankh Dagger. Having been lead to believe that the location of She’s prison is somewhere in the room, the party searches it; they eventually find a series of paintings, apparently created by Rick Mountain. The first shows a stick figure holding up a much more exquisitely drawn dagger (the Ankh dagger); the second shows a great vortex of energy, imprisoned in a cage, the stick figure looking at the vortex with a heart drawn in its chest; the third has the vortex being freed from its cage, and last shows an elephant imprisoned in a cage with twice as many bars as the previous one. Underneath the paintings is series of runes, which the party recognises as those denoting the co-ordinates of a plane. Finally equipped with She’s location, the party uses a statue of Tantron that has suddenly appeared in the room to teleport back to Tantron proper.

The party heads back to Æshan’s ‘office’ and open a portal to She’s prison. Before they depart, however, the collect Tharabis and Lenith, as well as the prisoners the Warriors liberated from Bloodkiss, to help with the final fight. Somewhat surprisingly, Rick the Sphinx also agrees to fight, and even consents to giving Brandis a ride. Sespanar wishes them luck, declining to come along, saying that he still has a lot of letters (written by Æshan) to send from out. The makeshift army then departs through the portal, and arrives in …

A strange land; the ground is composed of some black substance, and balls of lightning illuminate the land. From where the army has arrived, they can see bridges of black wood crossing chasms, filled with strands of light, that seem to have no bottom. Further off in the distance, two platforms rise up from the ground, holding a series of portals at their apexes. Dominating the end of the area, however, is an enormous castle, currently cut-off by a raised wall of shimmering red energy that functions as a drawbridge.

The Rift Warriors and co. split off into 5 groups:

  • Brandis, Rick the Sphinx and Werner
  • Valaya, and two spellcasting drow
  • Eli and a group of 18 or so archers
  • Gorgon and the rest of the army
  • … and Æshan with Horatio
    Scattered throughout the approach to the castle are groups of Berenyengi, apparently lead by a woman wearing robes like Valaya; she has, fastened to her belt, a hammer composed of the same red energy as the drawbridge. The two armies converge, but no sooner has the battle begun when a mighty thunderclap shatters the sky, and the storm giant that Æshan befriended appears (having received letters from Æshan) and joins him.

The five groups soon vanquish the Berenyengi army, and the giant floats the Rift Warriors over to the drawbridge. Æshan takes the woman’s hammer and slams it against the bridge; it disappears and reforms in its horizontal position, allowing passage to the castle. However, more Berenyengi start pouring out of the portals; the giant says that he, along with rest of the army, will hold them off.

The party heads into the castle, eventually coming across an enormous, oval shaped stadium. The stadium is open to the sky, which is filled with a thunderstorm, preventing the party from hearing each other. Black pillars, about 10 feet high, are arranged in a grid, and two sets of portal are located at each end of the stadium. The party starts to cross, only to be stopped by She’s most devoted servant, Rick Mountain, who is finally revealed to be a draco-lich, with eight crystals orbiting his head! The Rift Warriors join one of their toughest fights yet, which is compounded by the arrival of Geoff, in the form of a giant insect! Despite the odds, the party slays Rick, whose body crumbles to dust (except for a knuckle, to be kept by Gorgon of course); the crystals fly off into a portal, and Geoff tunnels underground, never to be seen again.

After the battle, Valaya relates to the party that when she was struck by Rick she suddenly saw the vortex in front of her. Exiting the stadium, the Warriors come into a nearly featureless room; featureless, except for a giant statue of Valaya. In the room, Valaya flashes several times to the vortex; investigating, both Eli and Brandis both sense the vortex inside Valaya, and the party realises that Valaya holds the pathway to She! Brandis stabs Valaya with the Ankh Dagger, and the party (minus Valaya) finds themselves in a nearly featureless grey realm; the warriors now have ethereal forms, with silvery cords attached to them, and leading back along a pathway. Looking forward, they see two more silvery forms standing against a giant vortex; the first, which does not have a silvery cord, is revealed to be Lavok; the second is Valaya, who is struggling under the might of She. The Warriors bolster Valya, and unite to face She; an unknown amount of time passes, but together they make ground towards She, forcing the vortex to contract and shrink. Eventually it is no larger than the size of a small stone, and the party is able to encircle it and contain it.

The party wake up in their bodies back in the room; the statue has changed however, now consisting of the six most recent incarnations of the Rift Warriors, being supported by their immediate past lives and many others. Outside, the war has evidently turned in the party’s favour; the army enters a portal back to Tantron, the remains of the Berenyengi having fled. In the room, a statue of Tantron has appeared, its trunk raised in victory. The party heads back to Tantron …

and this story has ended; Tantron, however, is eternal, and its story will continue past the end of time itself …

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Session 22
Well here we are again/ It's always such a pleasure ...

NB: Ais is absent.

The adventure resumes with the party appearing in a very familiar room, with a very familiar stone gargoyle sitting in one corner. The (also familiar) voice of Rick Mountain booms out, welcoming the party and explaining that in the next ‘test chamber’, the party will have the task of arranging 8 very hungry zombies on a 8-by-8 grid such that none of the zombies are in a straight line (as they will eat each other). Moving through a portal to that room, the party attempts to solve the puzzle but fails miserably; the zombies then move to attack the Rift Warriors, but not before an eyestalk that appears to be lying on the ground zaps Valaya and teleports her away.

Moving into the next ‘waiting room’, Rick explains that the next test chamber has a series of turrets which shoot beams that can ‘destroy anything’ (Rick then goes on a tangent about a floating ball that wanted to create rooms with ridiculous amounts of turrets, and has to seek solace from Geoff). All the turrets will have to be destroyed in order for the party to progress to the next room.

In the test chamber, the party finds five extremely reflective shields, as well as three sets of red and blue eye-stalks; the blue eye-stalks shoot beams of cold energy, while the red one shoot out extreme heat. The room is arranged such that the party have to cautiously explore the corridors to encounter the turrets, and none of the turrets have LoE to each other. The Warriors soon realise however that they can use the shields provided to redirect the energy of turrets such that a red turret shoots a blue turret and vice-versa; doing so destroys both turrets. With only one slight hitch (where a portal is opened before all the turrets are destroyed; thinking that they have found a way out, Æshan walks through the portal only to be deposited right next to a red eye-stalk!) the PCs are soon victorious!

In the next antechamber, Rick informs the RWs that in the next test room, they will have to use their minds to marshall the power of the planes! Moving through, the party finds themselves in a room with pairs of small holes in the walls, a chute in the roof, and a painting of a portal on the far wall. No sooner has the party entered however, does blood start pouring in from the holes, and a pair of zombies drop into the room! The party eventually figures out that they can open an actual portal at the painting, but they have to contend with zombies dropping in, and the rising tide of blood that makes they zombies stronger!

Eventually however the Rift Warriors make it through to the next room, where they come face to eye-stalk with Quin himself! He and Valaya are in what appears to be a library; Quin is zapping Valaya with various beams (with her just managing to fend them off with her spells) to get her to reveal the location of a scroll in the library which holds She’s current location. The Rift Warriors then proceed to have their long-awaited fight with Quin! The fight ends with the party standing triumphantly over Quin (with all of them alive even!), who warns them that they still have no chance of succeeding against She; the great Quin is then no more, and Brandis retrieves the renewed Ankh Dagger, to take the fight to She …

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Session 21
You know, he may be a bastard, but that Quin guy sure knows how to make an entrance.

The session begins with the party facing Rick the Sphinx, who is sitting on a dais in front of a door. The RWs learn that after Rick departed from the temple, a robed and skeletal figure (read Lavok) tasked Rick with guarding the tomb (a fact that Rick is not very happy with; he’d much rather be hosting pirate parties). As sphinxes are wont to do, he poses three questions to the PCs, which are readily answered, and a door opens behind the sphinx. He then poses three additional questions (which he doesn’t know the answer to) that he says Lavok gave to him, and will give hints to the party. The first is supposed to put the other two in context, and reads:
“I’m always in front of you, but never seen.”
The party comes up with the answer of the future, indicating the next two questions relate to the party’s future. Rick then poses:
“I have 10 eyes, 10 arms, 10 legs, 5 heads, and a short lifespan.”
Brandis very morbidly replies: the five Rift Warriors standing before Rick.
Rick then gives a long and complicated riddle, that the party thinks relates to castle they saw when they confronted the giant in the clouds. Seeing that Rick is very depressed about having to keep guarding things, they offer to let Rick accompany them back to Tantron; evidently someone is listening, as a portal opens up behind Rick, who steps through.

Moving on, the party comes to a room with no apparent exit (apart from the one they entered through); what it does have is a collection of runes on the far side. There are about thirty runes, but they appear to some in sets where those in the set have a minor differences. The PCs approach the runs, only to be teleported into some other place; the only thing they can sense or see is one of the runes on the wall. The Rift Warriors are not able to contact each other, with the exception of Brandis, who still has a connection to Werner. Recalling his own days as Rowan, sharing Idaho’s senses, Brandis is able to share the senses of not only Werner, but the rest of the party as well – this includes the runes that everyone is seeing. Brandis instructs Werner to touch each of the runes they see, and a door appears in the wall with the PCs popping back in.

Entering the room beyond, the Warriors see that they have arrived at their own tomb (kind of): five sarcophagi are placed around the room, and atop each of them is a small statue of one of the Rift Warrior’s past incarnations. There is a collection of webbing on the far side of the room however, and the party has barely gotten their bearings when a creature composed entirely of web emerges and attacks them! The party is in for a tough fight, with the creature being able to posses them on a regular basis, but with a few lucky hits in from Brandis, the Rift Warriors triumph! Æshan, Valaya and Eli go to open their respective tombs:

  • Æshan finds the bones of Jonathan Fivestrings, along with a very pitted lute
  • Valaya finds the body of her past self, wearing the robes similar to that of a Berenyengi High Priestess, with the difference of an elephant being embroidered on the robes!
  • Eli find a skeletal figure wrapped in orange robes; lying on top of Belreign is the scabbard the party has been looking for!

Before the party can claim the prize however, a beholder in the form of Lord Quinaximillion appears! Effortlessly stunning Eli and Brandis, Quin causes the scabbard and dagger to fly into two of his eyestalks; he sheathes the dagger, and when he draws it out again the dagger appears as if it had been newly forged, with red runes glowing along its length. Quin thanks the party for getting through all the puzzles, defeating the guardian and retrieving the scabbard, and proceeds to use the dagger to open a portal. He pauses momentarily to taunt the party, saying that if they really want the dagger, they can find him after they pass through ‘The Gambit’, before passing through the portal. The party is about to follow him through, when the shadowy figure of their past lives emerge from their tombs, and enter the bodies of their respective Rift Warrior! They feel a surge of power, and gain some of the abilities and powers of their past lives; thus empowered, they step through into a familiar-looking with rooms. A gargoyle is standing in one corner of the room, and the voice of Rick Mountain booms from it, welcoming their team to … the Gambit!

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Session 20
And that, children, is why you don’t piss off goliaths.

The session begins with the Rift Warriors appearing in a small room opening out into a huge cavern, with green floating lights providing illumination. In the room are some books and scrolls, along with the familar Tantron statue … as well as Gregor! Confused as to where he is, he tries to run away, but Gorgon catches up with him and beheads him in one fell swoop! Suspecting that they are on some unseen part of Tantron, Brandis calls out to Sespanar, but gets no reply; opening his arcane senses, Brandis finds out that only the statue is radiating Tantron’s aura.

Examining the scrolls and scrolls in the room, the find that they are all written by Lavok; one in particular details all the Lavok has learned of She: at one point in time, She and Lavok were part of one entity, but they plane they inhabited was destroyed with only Tantron and Lavok surviving. Since then, She has worked tirelessly to collapse all the other planes in existence, while Tantron has tried its best to keep them intact. Ages ago, Tantron recruited eight adventurers, and together they were able to wield a set of mystical daggers that were able to trap She in a demi-plane. Lavok searched throughout his long life for one of these daggers, but was unable to track them down.

By asking the statue nicely, the PCs are able to travel back to Tantron where they rest. Upon waking, Brandis reads the book again, and learns that Lavok had a special place on one of the planes where he buried the rest on the party (in their former lives of course). He learns that Belreign had a scabbard which had some connection to the daggers. Eli goes to meditate, and uses his special sight to see a set of runes in the book; Æshan (with lots of help from Sespanar) is able to open a portal to the plane using ‘controls’ on Tantron’s ‘bridge’, and the party steps through.

Arriving at their destination, the party finds themselves in room with:

  • an altar, upon which is a newly presented tribute of food;
  • gems embedded into the walls of the room, laid out to depict the PCs in past life form; and
  • a group of green-skinned people worshipping the altar, who immediately prostrate themselves on the floor when they see Valaya

Eli points to the depictions of Belreign, and one of the aliens silently leads the party out of the room. They are lead through a maze of corridors, and find out that the settlement they are at is build around a canyon. They are led to the base of the canyon, where they find a large set of doors with a curiously shaped hole in it. Eli gets a flash of recollection, and tries to commune with his past self. Incredibly, he is able to rise up in the air, just as Belreign did, and bends the air to blow through the hole. This produces a loud sound; the doors open, and the party heads through. They follow a twisting corridor until they come to a broken bridge; however Valaya is able to reach into her past life and use her former powers of entropy to reverse the damage to the bridge. The pathway widens out, and soon the party finds their path blocked by a tree-like structure; Gorgon is able to use Artemis’ ability to command to force the structure to part.

Moving on, the party finds themselves being menaced by … something … moving underneath the sand; suddenly a giant maw appears appears and engulfs the PCs; a flock of Berenyengi soldiers also appears. They are soon defeated however, and the party marches on, only to find their way blocked by a wall of soft wood-like material. Upon the wall is engraved a set of five lines with circles inscribed on them; getting the hint, Æshan imagines that he is playing a lute as Jonathan Fivestrings once did; as he plays, bits of the wall seem to implode, and soon the way is clear … with the exception of a certain sphinx lying in their path!

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Session 19
Adventures in Flat-ish-land

NB: everyone is actually present for a change!

After the Riftwarriors have dealt with the … vomit monster … Valaya rejoins the party and they head out for the last rift. Arriving at their destination, they look through the rift and see something akin to a throne-room: two lines of abstract shapes leading up a larger one, atop of which is Gregor! The PCs immediately pass through the rift to fight him, only to have these abstract shapes change into monsters, and a gas that pushes the PCs around, preventing them from striking directly at Gregor. The party kill Gregor before he can escape, but in vain as Gregor is able to open a rift and escape; the space around the party dissolves, and they find themselves in a strangely familiar library …

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Session 18
10 square insubstantial, phasing shifts: one of the many benefits of selling your soul

NB: Ais absent

  • Brandis rejoins the party; he and all but Valaya jump off the carpet to seal a rift right below them, while Valaya flies on ahead to seal another one
  • at the rift, the party faces a huge monster with the unfortunate tendency to vomit a lot; to make matters worse, the rift is surrounded by sections of red sand that are capable of making the party lash out at their allies
  • though the vomit monster puts up a long and protracted battle, the party is eventually able to defeat it and seal the rift
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Session 17
Well, you don't know what/We can see/Why don't you tell your dreams to me/Fantasy will set you free

NB: Alex is absent

  • Valaya returns from monitoring things on Tantron, and switches places with Brandis
  • party goes to old temple (the one they were originally at during their first visit to Silvergrale), and again seals a rift there; during the fight the obtain a flying carpet of the Berenyengi
  • they find another rift, and swoop into it to seal all the rifts from the other side
  • during their fights in this plane, they encounter Gregor, who recognises them the party for who they truly are; Gregor warns them that they cannot succeed against She; Gregor escapes before the party can deal with him though
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Session 16
Dammit, I hate when a scene begins in medias res

NB: Ais is absent (and Tash is no longer in the campaign)

  • the campaign resumes quite a while after the last session; after everyone in the party was revived, the Riftwarriors continued on their mission of opposing the forces of She; they have managed to close 14 rifts, and stopped a demon queen who was in the process of collapsing three planes into one
  • during this escapade, they learned that the Berenyengi were in process of … something … on the old familiar plane of Silvergrale; they learn where the Berenyengi operative is and go to question him
  • they soon spot a mysterious cloaked figure, and immediately give chase; during the pursuit, they note that the stranger has too many legs to be a humanoid
  • eventually the party catches up to the stranger, which is revealed to be some sort of half spider/half human monster; after a fierce fight, the PCs are eventually able to subdue it
  • the party tries to question the monster, but thinking that their investigation is not producing any results, they decide to let the monster go and follow it; unfortunately they forget that it can turn itself invisible, and during the ensuing fight they are forced to kill it; with its dying words, the monster suggests that the party ‘go to the hills’
  • the party does indeed go to the hills, and unsurprisingly is ambushed by three Berenyengi, though they are eventually defeated
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Session 15
This was a triumph. I’m writing a note here, HUGE SUCCESS. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction.

Note: Ais is absent.

  • the campaign resumes with Æshan and Werner, dragging the bodies of Gorgon and Brandis and the goop of Horatio, meeting with the rest of the party near the portal to Tantron; Valaya is able to (very gruesomely) bring Gorgon back to life, but is unable to do anything for Brandis
  • back in Tantron, Sespanar suggests that the party contacts Malak, a djin that has aided the party before, in order to help the dead party members
  • the party summons Malak, and attempts to bargain for two Scrolls of Resurrection; Malak drives a hard bargain however, and relieves Æshan of nearly all of his magic items, including his hammer (Æshan is able to procure a non-magical version from a dwarf in the RW’s private army however)
  • while healers tend to Gorgon, Valaya starts to study the scrolls; the rest of the party heads off to their respective bedrooms, where they start to dream …
  • … and wake up in their past lives again, in the middle of an attempt to infiltrate a Berenyengi training facility
  • the party is greeted by the bombastic voice of Rick Mountain, the manager of the facility, coming from the statue of a stone gargoyle
  • Rick reveals that the facility is used to train acolytes in the use of the ‘Portal Knife’ (i.e. the Ankh Dagger) which is being held by Cerama; the first challenge the party faces is to travel through a series of rooms with portals on the walls, using the dagger, while never going through the same room twice (the penalty for this is shocking!). Rick also mentions that if the party doesn’t solve the challenge within 5 minutes, he will release a green dragon on them
  • despite a couple of shocks, the party eventually gets through the challenge and through to the next one
  • in this room, Rick says that the party will face its worse fears; Rick also expresses his frustration with a ‘floating ball’
  • in the room, the party faces … THE BARON! However, the Rift Warriors are soon triumphant.
  • in the final room, Rick says that the party will face a former ally that has been charmed against them; so naturally they face the storm giant that Æshan charmed into fighting with them on the hunt for Nana
  • in a bloody fight that nearly kills the party, the storm giant is eventually defeated
  • Rick says that they will face a written exam, sans dragons (to Rick’s disappointment) however the party blacks out …
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Session 14
Never split the party

aka: So I think the real take-away here is that this was all Æshan’s fault. All of it. Also, Werner is awesome and is going to be getting steak and tuna as soon as his master has a heartbeat again.

Note: Ais, Chris and Tash absent.

  • the adventure resumes with the party having faced off a zombie horde and saving the halfling family; family is justifiably worried about staying in the house, so Eli, Natalia and Valaya offer to escort the family back to the portal through to Tantron
  • the wife mentions that there might be some Blue Cloaks left in guardhouses around the city; other POIs are the Temple to Brighid, and a wizard’s abode
  • after a brief discussion, Æshan, Brandis, Gorgon, Horatio and Werner head to the city and the streets; hearing the ghouls and zombies around them, they try to use Horatio as a distraction by having him carry a light on a string and fly above the rooftops; unfortunately this plan backfires drastically as Horatio is pulled down and ripped apart by the undead.
  • Æshan refuses abandon his companion, and rushes into to save him (i.e. get enough body mass for a resurrection) defying Gorgon’s attempts to restrain him
  • in a tense and vicious battle with the undead, Æshan manages to get some … remains … of Horatio, and the heroes nearly make their escape … however Gorgon is overpowered by a mob of zombies; Brandis and Æshan are forced to run for their lives (you’d think that Æshan would have learned his lesson, but Brandis is forced to convince him that sometimes discretion is the better part of valour)
  • after spending a sleepless night holed up in an abandoned house, the heroes (that are still alive) return to where Gorgon fell; they come across a group of undead licking a big blood stain that smells of Gorgon, though there are no remains
  • Werner tracks Gorgon’s scent, and soon the party comes to the Temple of Brighid, which is ominously in a very dilapidated state; they also come across a group of undead … and ZOMBIE GORGON!!!!!!!
  • though the heroes fight valiantly, Brandis also falls to the zombie horde, and Æshan makes a ‘strategic retreat’; against all odds however, Werner is able to ‘single-tentacledly’ defeat the undead (including Gorgon)
  • with no options left, Werner, carrying the body of his master; and Æshan, carrying Gorgon’s body and the remains of his imp; head back to the portal to Tantron, knowing that the forces have She have consumed the plane of Bessen …
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