Iron Gods

There's Trouble in Torch!
Session 1

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Inside the town of Torch two adventures, Ezrik Londo the Warpriest (played by Jason McDonald) and Trelane Gothos the Barbarian (played by Chris Beemer), meet up in the local tavern and strike up a conversation. Both seem to have a lot of similar interests, a love for battle and deep hatred of the Technic League. Trelane was quite distressed, as his friend and mentor Khonnir Baine recently went missing trying to reignite the flame. Ezrik, who is always up for battle and the chance to destroy infernal mindless machines, decides to join up with Trelane to look for his missing mentor.

Dolga-Freddert-Left.jpgThe two heroes head over to meet with the town council, but all they find is the old dwarf Dolga Freddert; the rest of Torch’s council is busy dealing with a town in chaos, as the town’s sole means of income has been extinguished. Dolga is encouraged to see another group attempting to help the town, but she informs Ezrik and Trelane that since the flame went out eight days ago, four groups have gone into the new tunnels that Khonnir discovered below the town but only one — Khonnir’s — had returned.

When Khonnir first returned, he spoke at length with the council, telling bizarre stories: a cavern filled with enormous vermin and other scavengers, strange humanoids who had the ability to blend into the shadows of the cave walls, and a nest of gremlins. Yet of more immediate interest was his discovery of a wall of solid metal deep in the caves. A wall made of skymetal alloy called glaucite. He said it was like the kind mined from the hills and surrounding plains, but formed into a structure with doors. It was near one of these doors that Khonnir found a broken automaton that he brought back after his first expedition.

Two groups had gone into the underground labyrinth before Khonnir — a group of halfling adventurers, and a group of local thugs. After Khonnir’s first trip, a small adventuring party devoted to the worship of Brigh from out of town. Khonnir then launched a fifth expedition under Black Hill, and it was on the fifth expedition that he went missing.

Dolga informs the heroes they will receive a reward of 4,000 gp plus the town’s scroll of resurrection if Khonnir can be brought back alive; otherwise, the gold would still be awarded, but the scroll will be used to bring him back. There is another reward of 4,000 gp awaiting those who can reignite the torch atop Black Hill, but for the moment, the council is more interested in getting Khonnir back home safe and sound.

Finally Dolga suggests that the heroes visit Khonnir’s home to find any notes or hints as to what he might have found under the Hill. Khonnir’s daughter Val Baine will help them as well in any way possible to bring back her father.

After visiting Dolga, the heroes head over to Khonnir’s home where they immediately hear a terrifying scream of help. Bursting into the home they find Khonnir’s daughter Val Baine hiding from a malfunctioning automaton in the process of destroying the house. Ezrik easily obliterates the Drone with one mighty swing when a strange tube drops from the wreckage. Cautiously they touch the tube, and they are suddenly transported to a new time and place. From their mind’s eye, a naked human appears to be born on the spot and calls himself Nim (played by Bob Markee) … and calls both Ezrik and Trelane “father”. Ezrik and Trelane were unsure of Nim’s intentions or background, but he appeared to be completely harmless, and had some useful skills. He joins the team, but whether he will be an equal contributor, a mascot, a problem to be solved remains to be seen.

Val_Baine.pngVal informs the heroes that the automaton was inert when Khonnir brought it back from the caves a few days ago, but it suddenly came to life and started to trash the house. Val has no further insight as to why it reactivated, but thanks the heroes for saving her and gives the heroes Khonnir’s notes as well as a place to stay during their downtime. The notes are a bit cryptic and confirm the earlier stories they heard from the council. Lacking any other solid leads, the heroes decide to finally descend into the caves and see what’s going on for themselves.

The heroes work their way down the edge of the Weeping Pond, which carries the bitter stink of sulfur and other chemicals, enough to make the eyes water after spending too much time on the shore. Steeling themselves against the polluted water, the three plunge into the lake to search for the recently discovered caves.

After fumbling around, and Nim becoming sick by drinking some of the tainted water, they manage to find the cave. Immediately the heroes are slammed with the pungent air within the caves—bitter with the stink of mold and vinegar. After getting their bearings, they view a cavern filled with stony, soot-scarred sand, and an unnatural glow coming from cracks within the cavern walls. Suddenly the party is attacked by Fire Beetles pouring from cracks within the walls.

However the heroes are unfazed and quickly disposed the beetles. Looking around the cavern they notice ledge sporting several stalagmites and climb the bank and wander through the stalagmite forest and soon discover the fate of the second expedition. Within the forest they find a local female half-orc named Parda, a popular brawler in town who fell in with the wrong crowd. Almost everyone in Torch called her a friend, and many felt that her falling in with the thugs was going to be her end — and it turned out they were right. The heroes decide to return her body to town when they head out later; in the meantime, they continue with their exploration of the cave.

At the end of the forest of stalagmites, the heroes find a placid pool and stream. Suddenly a frog-like creature with glowing white eyes emerges from the water and flashes the heroes with an explosion of light from its enormous eyes. Luckily the party manages to keep their vision intact, only to be torn with the creature’s claws and enormous maw. Somehow the party manages to dispatch the creature … but just barely.

Stumbling around the pool they manage to find a man’s body … mostly eaten. Just minutes after entering the caves the heroes look ragged and beaten … perhaps they too have bitten off more than they can chew!

< Prelude | Session 2 >

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Nothing Burns Like the Cold
Session 2

Beaten and bloody, the heroes decide to explore the caves a bit more before returning to town. They explore a nearby creek and find a thick carpet of foul-smelling green mold and fungus, as well a trio of young slime molds. The slimes are quickly slain and the heroes discover the fate of the first expedition, the mounds themselves! However not all is lost as they find a single agate hidden within the central body’s vest.

Having had enough of the cave, the heroes grab Parda’s body and head back into town. Realizing that they’ll need more firepower to complete their mission, they explore the town and look for any magic or technological items that would help even the odds. Although they find several interesting devices, all are a well outside of their price range. However they did manage to equip Nim with some basic equipment and a new crossbow, and return to Val’s for some rest.

Bright and early the next day, the heroes plunge back into the polluted pond to head back to the tunnels. Exploring a new junction in the cave system, they find a body of someone covered in what appears to be rust. Ezrik approached the body and is overcome with bone-numbing cold, so cold that it nearly kills the mighty Ezrik.

Deciding to leave the body for another day, the heroes quickly save Ezrik from certain death. Giving Ezrik a few moments to recovery from his ordeal, they take yet another branch into a vast chamber. Within the chamber are four ramshackle huts made of what appear to be strips of meal, hides, and some sort of fibrous plant matter. But before they can explore the chamber the party is confronted by humanoid creatures that seem to appear out of the walls themselves.

sef3.jpgTrelane recognizes them as skulks and decides to parley with the creatures. The skulks appear to want no trouble and ask the party to speak with their leader, a female named Sef. She meets with them and presents them with an interesting proposition. She’ll allow them free passage through her caves and a reward of a strange device she’s recovered so long as they agree to two things — they need to leave the skulks unharmed and clear out the annoying nest of jinkin gremlins to the north.

The heroes agree, and Sef reveals some interesting information about recent visitors to the caves; of particular interest were a purple-haired woman and a group of humans, orcs, and ratfolk were, in fact, the first visitors to the caves. The purple-haired woman negotiated with Sef’s predecessor and arranged a significant payment in return for an agreement — the skulks would attack and kill any and all others who passed through the caves. The purple-haired woman and her followers then went north through the gremlin caves and the skulks did what they could to prevent others from intruding. However after suffering significant losses, and with no further sign of the purple-haired woman, they have reconsidered the deal and just want peace and quiet for their much-diminished tribe.

The heroes know nothing about these gremlins but know that they are up to no good…

< Session 1 | Session 3 >

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Pesky Gremlins
Session 3

gremlin.jpgThe heroes start hunting the gremlins within the narrow tunnels and find them in abundance … as well a load of spring-loaded spike traps. The gremlins pose no real trouble for the heroes, but are annoying nonetheless. They don’t hit very hard, but their small size and speed make them annoying adversaries. After finally dispatching the gremlin leader, the remaining gremlins teleport away, hopefully to never return.

As promised, Sef presents the heroes with a pouch containing 49 silverdisks and five strange cards made of a flexible, smooth material. Looking over the cards, the party notice that each of the cards bears a brown stripe. Sef confesses that she doesn’t know what they are, but the purple-haired lady asked them for any such cards when she first passed through. At the time the skulks had none, but the fact that she was looking for some was enough to convince her that the cards have value.

With the gremlins dispatched and Sef appeased, the heroes decide to investigate the metal wall. Smooth and dark gray the metal wall appears to bisect the cavern. Its expanse is pitted and scorched but quite solid looking. A strange circular opening pierces the wall five feet off the ground, allowing access to some sort of hallway on the other side.

However before venturing further the team decides to head back into town to restock — and restock they do! Significantly lacking in magical healing, the party purchase a half-dozen cure light wounds potions and rest for the night.

Returning to the skulk lair, the heroes enter the hole in the metal wall and discover a truly alien sight — a slightly curved hallway where the walls, floor and ceiling are made of a smooth dark grey metal, with panels of lighter material running along the ceiling eight feet above. Cautiously the heroes travel down the metal hallway.

At the end of the hall they encounter a door, brown in color. Putting two and two together, the party press the brown striped card against and door and, sure enough, the door slides open.

robot.jpgCautiously they continue past the doorway and find a robot blocking their path. It is similar to one they destroyed earlier, only this one appears to be fully intact. However the automaton doesn’t appear to be moving; it’s either inactive or “sleeping”. Either way the heroes decide to carefully maneuver past the drone and into the next room.

Continuing through several rubble-filled rooms they open a door that curves into a vast sand-filled cavern. A strange and disconcerting vista — that of a desert valley under a starless, night sky — the heroes aren’t sure what to make of this strange environment. Along the sand are bit of strange, spiky shells and contorted, dead fronds that look like branches.

Before they gave a chance to better survey the surroundings, one of the coral-like rock formations sprouts purple tentacles and attacks the party. The trio barely has time to deal with this bizarre creature when they are advanced upon by a small legion of skeletons rising from the sands — skeletons with four arms … and very sharp claws.

< Session 2 | Session 4 >

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Run Away! Run Away!
Session 4

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The heroes easily dispatch a first skeleton, and then another, and then another. But soon they are overwhelmed by more and more skeletons, and the attacks are furious. Through luck and guile, the trio manages to shatter the last of the undead, but not without going through a hefty amount of their healing potions.

With all of the horrors killed, the heroes start to explore this strange desert, looking for a vantage point to better survey their surroundings. They also notice a trail leading to the east, presumably one of the prior groups. The group follows the trail which winds through the desert, eventually leading directly into a wall of solid stone.

Before investigating the trail further the heroes decide to explore the remainder of the desert and better understand their circumstances. After wandering around for quite some time they manage to find a large chamber, littered with strange shell fragments and bits of bone. Along the walls they notice ancient cave paintings of four-armed humanoids and strange animals — but they notice a particularly unusual depiction that looks like an oblong shape burning into the sky above several kneeling four-armed figures dominating the prehistoric décor.

purple-tentacle-creature.jpgExploring deeper into the cavern, looking for treasures, the ground suddenly erupts, sprouting a huge purple tentacle creature. A confident Trelane steps up to attack the creature and hits with a solid swing … that does no damage. The heroes quickly realize they are way out of their league and swiftly turn to escape their certain doom. In the confusion of the retreat, Nim is hit by a tentacle and goes down from a single blow.

Franticly retreating through the caverns, with Nim being dragged like a rag doll, the tentacle monster gives chase, continuously swiping and narrowly missing the party. Only after what seems like an eternity, the creature gives up the chase, and the heroes finally get a chance to attend poor Nim, who appears to be barely clinging to life.

Quickly the heroes administer their healing potions and bring Nim back to consciousness. Nim is confused by the whole ordeal and suggests they camp out in the ruins and continue their search in the morning. Finding a suitable locale near the entrance, they lock themselves in, hoping for the best.

Luckily the night proves uneventful, and they manage a well-deserved rest. Stepping back into the desert, the trio decides to find the end of the trail once and for all. The follow the trail and after a closer examination of the cavern wall they notice a dull light shining from the wall, although no obvious source of light is apparent. After interacting with the wall, they manage to pass through the false wall and observe a familiar metal door.

Opening the door they are greeted by a metal room brightly lit by glowing panels in the ceiling above. To the left and right complex machine consisting of spiral tubes and nozzles twitch and hum. Either bravely or stupidly, Ezrik takes a bold step into the bright room … and instantly gets hit with massive electrical discharge. The party is using up their healing potions as quickly and they can purchase them…

< Session 3 | Session 5 >

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Oh So Many Arms
Session 5

Ezrik’s initial encounter with the electrical charges is not totally wasted, as a pattern quickly becomes apparent. After timing the electrical shocks, the rest of the party pass through the passageway unharmed and discover a room filled with a large metal table surrounded by odd-looking chairs. A transparent wall looks out over a strange desert valley while dozens of crude images of a pickaxe made of skull and bones have been painted onto the walls with some sort of ivory pigment along with several phrases in an unrecognizable language.

Heutrath.jpgHowever it turns out the heroes aren’t alone and are facing a four-armed alien, carrying two vicious-looking swords. Confident of his growing magical abilities Nim casts Magic Missile at the alien … which promptly does nothing. Once again the heroes are to face a powerful foe.

The battle is long and bloody, and after barely surviving the alien’s many attacks (oh so many arms), the heroes survive and explore the rest of the rooms. Nim can understand the strange writing and after pressing a reset panel, a holographic projection of the habitat module flares to life. The desert now has a night sky and a gentle wind passes through the dunes. Whatever was affecting the dome appears to have been fixed by Nim.

Searching the nearby rooms, the heroes discover a few technological items including a new access card, a black card. And low and behold there is a nearby black door to use this card upon!

Opening the door, the group discovers a brightly lit room with a large metal desk with blinking lights and strange glowing panels. Splatters of dried blood stain the floor and walls near a pair of doors to the north, while here and there are patches of rust-red mold and fungus cling to the southern wall. Examining the panels they see garbled lines of scrambled Androffan text as well as flashes of strange creatures. Unsure what to make of the panels, they pillage the upright lockers nearby and find silverdisks, glowing silverdisks and a black tube that emits a bright light! They also find a small but heavy white box that doesn’t appear to have a means to open.

Sanvill_Trett.jpgWishing to identify their new loot, they head back to town and meet up the wandering merchant Sanvil Trett — a collector of relics and ores, and a well-known fence who deals in technological items. Excited to hear about the heroes’ discoveries, he helps identify the newly discovered technological items and offers to do so with any other items they might find. Sanvil also invites the heroes to dinner that night to hear all about their adventure, which they accept. Oh yes, and the heroes buy another ten cure light wounds potions.

After a night of rest, the party returns to the bright room and continue their search. Deciding between exploring the blood stains or the fungus the heroes decide for a change of pace and open the door with the bloodstains. Stretching before the heroes they see a curved hallway, marred with bloodstains along the floor and walls, while scorch marks and smears of ash cover the walls. Four tangled mounts of metal lie further up the hall, surrounded by strangely colored stains.

Whatever happened was obviously intense and bloody … good thing the heroes missed the action!

< Session 4 | Session 6 >

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Gamling, A Tax on People Who Are Bad at Math
Session 6

After carefully venturing through the bloody hallway, they find a room filled with a long table covered with unusual stones and dirt samples. Dust covers the room, save for a strangely clean swatch between the doors. In addition there is a swollen, brainlike bulb encrusted with fungal shelves squatting atop several ropy legs, with a wide mouth bisecting the bulb’s crown.

Seeing the party the strange fungus telepathically contacts them and bombards them with questions. “Who are you?” “Where am I?” “What is this place?” The creature is ravenous for information, which the party tentatively provides. However the questions go from inquisitive to weird when it asks if they have any more of the delicious red food that it licked up from the floor. Angry that they didn’t have more it lashed out at the party like an angry schoolchild … but in the end the fungus is the one who got schooled!

Garmen_Ulreth.jpgDeciding they had seen enough the heroes decide to head back to town where they find an invitation to Silverdisk Hall and vouchers for 100gp each. Eager to take their mind off the seemingly endless near-death experiences of the past few days, they head to the Hall, where they are greeted by the owner Garmen Ulreth. A garrulous man with a full beard and sparkling eyes, he wishes the heroes luck before disappearing into the back rooms.

With a twinkle in his eye Trelane plays a seemingly simple dice game — roll three dice and total the results. Whoever rolls the higher total, wins (with the house wining all ties). Confident in his gambling ability Trelane starts off small, and loses small. But soon Trelane is betting more … and then the house limit … and then above the limit. But yet he is always missing that high roll by one, and soon he Trelane has lost his bankroll.

Ezrik decides to try his luck and has a slightly better time than Trelane, but in the end he too loses his bankroll.

Supremely confident that Trelane can win back all of their lost gold, he commandeers Nim’s money … and promptly loses all of his money as well! Ezrik and Nim have to practically drag Trelane away from the tables before he starts to gamble their gear away.

Before they retire for the night the heroes once again meet up with Sanvil Trett to discuss their various technical finds over a free meal, which they solely need after their day at the tables. After an informative dinner, Sanvil asks to join the party, both to help them out as a formable magus and to add new technological finds to his wares. The party asks for a night to sleep on it and will inform him of their decision in the morning….

< Session 5 | Session 7 >

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Beware of Flower
Session 7

After waking up the next morning, the party was still undecided on bringing Sanvil. Sure he would be a powerful asset, but Trelane was concerned about the “full party share” he would command. In the end it all came down to a dice roll, much like the night before, and the dice went against Sanvil. The party informed Sanvil of their decision and he seemed legitimately disappointed by their decision.

weedwhip.jpgReturning back to the brightly lit metal rooms, the heroes decided to explore the fungus growths. Soon the heroes found a room filled with a thick blanket of fungal matter coating everything. Rather running in blindly like they had so many times in the past, they actually took their time to scan the room for trouble. Sure enough within the growth they found a strange flower that didn’t look quite right. It almost appeared to be moving, like it was “checking out” the party somehow. Trelane supremely confident that a flower couldn’t possibly be much of a threat stepped through the door … and promptly gets nearly decapitated with the flower’s 15-foot reach!

After “tactically retreating” from the flower, which started to follow them, they regroup. Through a series of feints and attacks, they manage to kill the terrifying flower! All hail the mighty heroes!

Confident the room is clear of any other killer flowers they decide to explore the smaller rooms within lab. Within each room they find the remains of the group of Brigh worshipers who attempted to explore the ruins. The bodies, all human, appeared to have been arranged in sitting positions against the wall. The bodies themselves were riddled with fungus and split open from neck to belly.

Not wanting their possessions going to waste the party loot the bodies and move to the next room. Here the room has air which is unusually warm and moist, with a thick, pale vapor of mist clinging to the ceiling. Moist, thick-stemmed plants and vines grow out of long earth-filled troughs along the wall, while a tall column of plant matter extends like a tree trunk from a circular planter in the middle of the room to spread a network of vines across the mist-shrouded ceiling.

Vegepygmy.jpgCutting through the vines, the heroes are unexpectedly attacked by Vegepygmies! The heroes finally find creatures they can easily dispatch and promptly proceed to mow them down. After taking significant losses, the remaining Vegepygmies run into the hall to escape. The heroes quickly run after them and manage to surround the remaining Vegepygmies … but there is a door open to a new room and something is moving in there…

< Session 6 | Session 8 >

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Funny Meeting You Here!
Session 8

Vegepygmy_Commander.pngThe moving “something” turns out to be an additional group of Vegepygmies, but this group has a new wrinkle, in the form of a Vegepygmy “Commander”. This one looks stronger, much stronger, than the others and wields a glowing hammer. Quickly the heroes change tactics and begin slaughtering the Vegepygmies and maneuver to take on the Commander.

The Commander poses a tougher challenge to the heroes, smashing into them with his glowing hammer, but they soon get the upper hand and force the Commander to retreat back to the entrance. Trelane gives chase to the Commander as Ezrik and Nim finish off the remaining “normal” Vegepygmies. Only to be met by….

Sanvil Trett (played in a guest appearance by Adrian Pommier), accompanied by a pair of armed guards. The Commander, outnumbered by the new arrivals, immediately drops to his knees as an indication of surrender (even as Trelane takes one more sword-swipe at him), but the real intrigue is just beginning. Why is Sanvil here? Is he here to help the heroes, or is he a rival?

As Ezrik arrives and takes charge of the group’s Vegepygmy prisoner, Sanvil explains that the lure of the technology treasures was too much; since the heroes rejected his request to join the party, he decided to hire his own party of mercenaries and explore the caverns himself. However, he re-extends an offer to join the group but with new (and less cordial) terms — the players can have all monetary and non-magical treasure as long as he is allowed first refusal on any of the technology treasure.

The party is faced with a difficult choice. Trelane is still leery of the newcomer and of sharing treasure (any treasure really). Ezrik, on the other hand, is more motivated by battle and prefers good steel to technological “toys” and sees the value of an additional ally, given the difficult battles they have faced so far. Nim is not so much caught in the middle as he is disinterested — the discussion of material wealth is of little interest to him, and relies on his “parents” to tell him what he should do.

The stalemate is broken not by the team coming to a decision, but by the Vegepygmy Commander, who attracts the party’s attention — pointing to the southeast and making gestures that indicate someone, or something, hurt and in distress. The team follows the Vegepygmy to a door — a white door — which effectively ends the negotiation as Sanvil produces a white keycard (as well as a third bodyguard who had been hiding). A final agreement is formed by giving Trelane assurances — that Sanvil would not take ALL the technology, and that Trett would be willing to offer Trelane services as a broker and sell them some technology items at a later time.

Medical-Drone.jpgThe bargain finally forged Sanvil uses his card to open the white door, and the newly formed larger team encounters yet another remarkable sight. The party is greeted by creepily friendly automatons, who speak with a metallic voice asking the party to “remain clam; you are to undergo a medical procedure.” The party is slightly unnerved by automatons issuing soothing words while at the same time trying to kill the party. Between attacks they notice a series of beds, one of which contains an injured humanoid….

The good news is that the newly formed team works well together — Sanvil and his guards work well with Ezrik and Nim to deal with the medical automatons. However in the rear all is not well with Trelane and the Vegepygmy Commander.

Rather than dealing with the threat of the automatons Trelane holds back, choosing to instead containing the Vegepygmy Commander. As the fight continues, the Vegepygmy begins to get agitated, and makes movements indicating that it wants to join the battle on the side of the heroes. Trelane releases his hold on the Vegepygmy, but shoves him roughly in the direction of the fight. Quickly the Vegepygmy proves his worth and deals many might blows on the automatons. But rather than being impressed Trelane simply shoves the Vegepygmy further into the battle.

Between Trelane’s earlier attack after it had tried to surrender and the rough handling, the Commander snaps and renews its attack against Trelane, this time with a vicious vigor. Suddenly those who weren’t dealing with the automatons (of which new machines have arrived upon the scene to join the battle) now have to deal with a raging Vegepygmy Commander. The battle has spawned all over the medical lab and with multiple parties.

Quickly the Vegepygmy Commander deals several blows to Trelane and Ezrik … and infects them with its deadly spores. Trelane and Ezrik stagger back to heal their wounds, while the Vegepygmy Commander renews its retreat from earlier, damaging a few of Sanvil’s guards while trying to escape the chaos.

Enraged, Trelane refuses to allow the creature to escape and decides to throw an alchemical flask at the creature – and promptly misses, instead directly hitting one of Sanvil’s already injured guards nearly killing him.

The Vegepygmy Commander escapes the battle and Trelane gives chase! Meanwhile the rest of the party wraps up the fight in the medical lab taking out the last of the automatons. The group investigates the patient in the bed … and it’s Khonnir Baine! Alive, but disoriented and in serious pain. However, their discovery of the missing explorer is interrupted by Trelane’s call from a few rooms away — he’s caught up to the Vegepygmy, and it may be more than he can handle on his own.

< Session 7

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