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 Allerzoi Outed

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Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: Allerzoi Outed   Mon 6 Jan - 12:51:16

Allerzoi Outed

Having completed my training we visited the Mage of Krim and were unexpectedly involved in a vote on whether to consult the Mage of the Great Plains about the Allerzoi threat. The Council was evenly divided and we almost unanimously voted to visit the Mage for his counsel, despite the misgivings of some.

The Mage of Krim took me to one side and warned me that I should not necessarily trust my eyes or ears when we called on the Mage. I noticed Eli giving some advice to Zionestes and he seemed somewhat preoccupied after that discussion.

We travelled with Lord Vellyn via transmat to the Fortress of the Great Plains, the great defence citadel that has protected the eastern flank of the United Provinces from many an invader for centuries. We appeared in a room deep within the main keep. Like the transmat at Krim it was located in the base of a huge chamber overlooked by galleries from where ranks of defenders could pour magical attacks, missile weaponry and no doubt much else onto unwanted guests.

We travelled up through the vast keep, a building of twelve interlocked towers set at the northern end of a vast compound whose hollow curtain walls were topped by enclosed crenellated battlements. Lord Vellyn explained that there were over five miles of walls in the fortress and in the past armies of up to 100,000 had withstood siege here.

The bailey was split by more walls creating three huge compounds, the gates between compounds protected by gatehouses that would dwarf many keeps. Several large tunnel entrances, heavily protected by redoubts and approached through deadly kill zones were evident. From one an entire company of cavalry was emerging as we passed through and we could only guess at the extent of underground stores and facilities this hinted at.

The fortress was high on a dizzying cliff looking east over the plains, the eastern walls rising from the sheer cliff drop. The Mirath road ran past the fortress to the south, the only point the great escarpment could be crossed for a thousand miles. The southern compound seemed deserted, guards conspicuous elsewhere nowhere to be seen. In the centre of the southern area a featureless tower within its own circular curtain wall rose a couple of hundred feet tall.

The area between the walls and the tower was topped by a glass roof that dropped like a shroud from close to the top of the tower. No entrances were visible anywhere but Lord Vellyn seemed unconcerned, saying all we had to do was knock. He left us assuring us that whilst he and other council members would be unwelcome, we should be in no danger from the Mage.

After a few half hearted attempts Ripven,* did I mention Ripven? New guy, Elf cleric, early days but seems ok. Anyway, Ripven hits the wall with one of his hammers and in response part of the wall shimmered and formed itself into a stairway as if cut into the wall. I led the way up, here was obviously a powerful Mage at work and I was anxious to meet him.

*Reports of his winkle are confused and have been officially denied.

The wind was getting up as we climbed progressively higher, but reaching the top we were somewhat unprepared for the view:* Up close, the glasslike material making up the roof seemed to be about a foot thick. It sloped up to the tower at an angle of perhaps thirty degrees. As I watched it formed itself into a similar stairwell leading to the tower where a doorway seemed to form from nowhere.

*Although unbelievably Barakor and I joked that a dragon would probably be involved

However, we were all somewhat distracted by the view through the glass, perhaps seventy to a hundred feet below was a huge red dragon just staring straight back up at us. The area below was clear around the dragon, but it appeared that the area under the roof was portioned into at least three zones, with dense jungle like growth visible distantly on either side of the ‘dragon zone’.

We assumed we were not to become dragon dinner but some of my colleagues showed some dismay nonetheless. We pushed on and found ourselves at the door unscorched and unsinged, tracked by reptilian eyes every step of the way. We entered the tower to find a somewhat confusing and disturbing discrepancy in that the interior of the tower was vastly greater in size than the exterior.

Although we were close to the top of the tower we were led upstairs by an invisible servant or possibly an animated set of clothing. The surroundings were grand and sumptuous, armoured guards equipped with massive halberds stood every few paces along corridor walls and at every doorway. The area positively oozed magic, even without casting a spell I could feel the heavy weight of a powerful magic field close to the surface.

There were frequent imposing portraits that could only be of our host, and Barakor confided that he felt sure that we were being watched already. I remembered the Mage of Krim’s words to me and wondered how much of what we could see was real and what was illusion. Zionestes looked uneasy; he had told me that Eli had warned him that the Mage was a noted practitioner of the necromantic arts, something that would sit very badly with the priesthood of Death. We speculated just what kind of spirits were animating the invisible servants.

And then as we entered another chamber, there he was: Far less remarkable than his grand portraits but with an air of authority and power nonetheless. He addressed Eldras for some reason as our leader, ignoring initial attempts by others to speak to him. He nodded graciously enough to me when Eldras went through introductions and seemed to apologise to Zionestes. He snapped at Roscoe when introduced, saying that he was only there on sufferance.

When Grom was introduced as an orc he seemed somewhat puzzled, Eldras passed off the delusions of Saladin as best he could and proceeded to explain our history of trailing possible Allerzoi activity. At first he seemed unconcerned. The Allerzoi were ‘of the past’ as he put it. But the Mage of Krim had sent the book we had found in Hells Portal with us and when he looked at this he became more thoughtful. Grom tried to get the Mage to assist him in his quest for true orcishness, which is interesting because it must mean that he really knows he isn’t one, but he didn’t get anywhere.

The Mage then left us to eat a very good meal whilst he performed some augury type magic, when he returned his demeanour was more serious. He told us that his augury had revealed that the figure named as Urush in the book was still alive, a puzzle as he had previously performed the same magic with negative results. He said he would be aware if he was undead which we suggested, leaving other options including resurrection. I suggested time travel and he seemed to ponder this suggestion as if it was perfectly plausible for one of Urush’s (and perhaps his) power.

He went on to explain some more about the history of the Allerzoi. There had been several factions within the Allerzoi, he confirmed that the Allerzoi are no more good or evil than men or elves, although their great abilities had led them down a number of unwise paths including Necromancy, genetic experimentation (in passing he appeared to indicate that orcs were the result of such an experiment. I notice that he did not say ‘failed experiment’ either), inter planar travel and summoning that resulted in the arrival of large numbers of powerful creatures from the lower planes being released here.

He described in some detail the building tensions between the factions as each in their arrogance pushed the boundaries of their seemingly limitless powers. Abendor was clearly not big enough for the three of them and whilst the Allerzoi had allied with what they regarded as the more advanced races, the dwarves and elves, they treated the humans as a distracting nuisance at best, or slaves and guinea pigs at worst.

Faffleen and Urush, leaders of two factions had united to destroy the third and greatest Allerzoi faction, led by Aranobias before he was ready to destroy them. The realm of Aranobias had been completely destroyed in the first seconds of the war, an area in the centre of the United Provinces still known today as the Devastation. The fact that the war could continue for months after such a devastating first strike hints at the extent of the power of Aranobias.

The elves and dwarves, allied to the Allerzoi had been drawn in to the war and it had dragged on inflicting terrible losses. Once Aranobias was destroyed, Faffleen and Urush had turned on each other, bringing a new level of destruction as the former allies struggled for supremacy. At the critical moment the humans had rebelled and destroyed the weakened Allerzoi, leaving few survivors to flee. The elves and dwarves retreated to isolation in their homelands for many years having suffered terribly too, the deep enmity between these two races dating from their opposition in the Great War.

The end of the war opened the age of humanity. They had learned magic from the Allerzoi though they never mastered it to the same degree; the few great cities built by the Allerzoi such as Mirath and Krim became the centre of new human states, the Allerzoi were banished to a hated memory.

During this account it became clear that the Mage had himself fought in the war and eventually he admitted that he was in fact none other than Faffleen. Grom asked several potentially dangerous questions at this point: He asked why Faffleen had attacked Aranobias in what he admitted was an unprovoked surprise attack, why he had turned on his ally Urush and how come he had a red dragon parked outside?

All reasonable questions, but I was glad I didn’t ask. For what it was worth the mage claimed that Aranobias, undoubtedly the most powerful Allerzoi had been carrying the Allerzoi tendency to experiment on mutations, daemon summoning and so forth, to extremes and was sure to attack and destroy his rivals very soon.

Urush, according to him was only marginally preferable, and it was inevitable that only one Allerzoi leader would emerge. The miscalculation was that the war would weaken them so much that they would be vulnerable to the humans. The Allerzoi who had escaped had mostly fled to another dimension; the Mage had remained here, conducting his research in this secure fortress and aiding by his presence the defence of the new human states.

He had been chastened and humbled by his failure to defeat his rivals and had come to realise that he too had been guilty of mistakes and misjudgements. The old saying absolute power corrupts absolutely was not in the Allerzoi dictionary it seemed, but the Mage had leaned that lesson, too late. Despite his assistance to humanity since the war, often combating threats and creatures brought here or created by the Allerzoi, the reason for his uneasy relationship with world leaders was now a little clearer to us.

He also revealed that he could no longer leave the fortress as it sustained his life force in some way. This hardly seemed surprising as the details of his account put his age at well over ten centuries. He suggested that we could follow his augury results that had given him a possible location for our irritating friend Trinner or Devro, somewhere in the distant south east, or we could seek further information and guidance from another powerful Allerzoi who had retreated to his own pocket dimension with his family: Stephan D’ Amberville, author of the book we had brought.

He also talked at some length with Eldras privately. On his return I couldn’t help Eldras looked a little pale, but he was tight lipped about his conversation. We decided to go on to consult Stephan. Faffleen armed us with a ring to show to Stephan and gave us two warnings: Over the hundreds of years in exile it was likely that his family would have sanity issues and secondly, stay out of the grey mist. He then teleported us to Stephan’s dimension with no further explanation.

We found ourselves outside a great mansion which loomed out of thick grey fog. The doors to the mansion swung open as we approached and we entered a finely appointed hallway. Although there were windows, outside was only the grey mist. We followed a red carpet onward as our search for the owner began.

Entering the first room we found the first of the D’Amberville family. Jean Louis, a gambler who was running a boxing contest. He invited our champion to fight his, under the slightly disconcerting gaze of many disembodied sets of red eyes that floated over chairs scattered around the room.

We selected Holly as our unarmed combat specialist to fight the slightly unnatural looking boxer who waited motionless in the ring, and we placed our wagers. Jean Lois gave good odds, no doubt expecting our slight female monk to be a pushover for his experienced fighter. But he had reckoned without her agility and expertise in open hand techniques, and the fight lasted all of sixteen seconds including the ten seconds required to count out Jean Louis’ man.

He paid up graciously and we left, but not before Grom had again wasted some time trying to get some sort of magical assistance from him to help in his quest to become an orc and or to enhance his weaponry. Seems that our orc/prince wants a talking sword like Gut Wrencher. Anyway, no joy there and we continued into an impressively grand hallway with lots of exits.

We scouted ahead quite a way but with no end in site we tried a few doors starting with a set of three off a short narrow corridor to the North West. The first door proved to be a storage area which Eldras and Roscoe spent some time searching with little result. Meanwhile Barakor opening the second door found three giant spider-like creatures.

I say spider-like because they were clearly something more. Two cast spells, and whilst one had no effect, the other charmed Barakor, causing him to attack his own comrades. Two spiders were fighting from the ceiling and one from the ground. We all got involved except Roscoe who could not find room with the restricted space.*

* Yes the great big hobbit was just too big to fit in any where.

The poisonous bites of the spiders could have been deadly, but fortunately though bitten Grom and Ripven were unaffected. Barakor meanwhile was busy demonstrating his battle axe to Zionestes, which he did by inserting it into the cleric’s back several ties until he fell over. He then moved on to attack Grom. Holly engaged initially with her crossbow but then switched to dagger, frustrated by its slow fire rate.

Eldras and the others eventually managed to kill the spiders, I fired off a couple of magic missiles to help, it was then a healing session, fortunately Zionestes had only played dead, making two futile attempts to hold the charmed Barakor, now thankfully himself again. We later theorised that these spiders were aranea, a fabled magic using race of giant spiders thought to be extinct.

In the spiders web filled lair we found some gems, jewellery and a spellbook which I took of course. In the last room we came upon a slimy green floor with a tempting chest shaped object on the far side of the room. The ceiling was a startling black. It was clear that the floor was a couple of feet deep in slimy stuff and testing it showed it to be highly acidic. A spider body we shoved in quickly melted away as did the door that Eldras took off its hinges.

We destroyed the slime easily enough with fire and whilst we waited for that to burn out we returned for another boxing bout. This time Grom was our champion. Without his armour he was a much easier target than Holly and his punches were less effective than her open hand technique. But Grom had bet everything he owned against Jean Louis’s magic rapier and was well motivated.

Grom won late in the second round, but he looked almost as beaten up as his opponent, a very near thing, would have been interesting seeing how he got on with absolutely no weapons armour or equipment of any kind. Apart from Grom with his shiny new sword many of us were somewhat richer despite the stingy odds offered by Jean Louis this time. We returned to the green slime room to find it de-slimed by the cleansing flames.

Still cautious of the black ceiling Holly suggested tying a rope round Eldras as he entered the room. This was just as well as a huge black pudding dropped from the ceiling when he reached the middle and we pulled him clear. Barakor discovered quickly that striking the pudding had no effect and his armour hissed alarmingly as it resisted an acid attack. We resorted to fire again, but Eldras Ripven and Holly all seemed to think that oiling every part of the room except where the pudding was the required technique.*

*I can only assume they were holding the instructions upside down or something.

Barakor eventually got it right and it was roast black pudding all round. Barakor went in to examine the chest that had been our goal for so long. He realised that it was not stone, a fact confirmed when the grey ooze moulded to it attacked him. Fortunately the ooze was the least of the room’s defenders and was quickly despatched by Grom.

It took three of us to lift the lid clear revealing another substantial cache within. This included a staff which we gave to Ripven and another talking sword, named Vitrix. It had the same distinctive accent that the Mage of Krim had told us marked out the Allerzoi so long ago.* I took it into my custody if only to stop the unsightliness of Barakor dribbling over it. I must say it seems a lot better mannered than Gut Wrencher, it claims to be able to detect magic traps and slopes and it can certainly do the former as we tested it.

* Though the Mage of the Great Plains lacked it, perhaps just another indication of his power.

Time to rest now, but as we settled down in the main hallway, something unexpected happened: The ring worn by Eldras suddenly erupted throwing out an Amber light that spread around us, encapsulating the party, we all suddenly felt overwhelmed by a sense of tiredness and blacked out…

Mapping 20
Characterisation & Roleplay 30
Suggesting Time Travel at work 50
Use of Aranea bodies to test slime 50
Aranea 750
Room 8 treasure 2000
Black Pudding 200
Grey Ooze 35
Spellbook 250

Total 3385

Characterisation & Roleplay 30
Testing black ceiling with coin 100
Aranea 750
Room 8 treasure 2000
Black Pudding 200
Grey Ooze 35
Reserved award 100

Total 3215

Characterisation & Roleplay 30
Suspecting The Mage is himself an Allerzoi 50
Healing 20
Room 8 treasure 2000
Black Pudding 200
Grey Ooze 35
Realising grey ooze not stone 50

Total 2385

Characterisation & Roleplay 30
Use of rope room 8 75
Instant KO in Boxing Contest 75
Aranea 750
Room 8 treasure 2000
Black Pudding 200
Grey Ooze 35

Total 3165

Saladin/ Grom
Characterisation & Roleplay 50
Questioning of the Mage 50
Suggesting use of Fire against slime 700
Suggesting use of fire against Pudding 500
Winning Boxing Contest 50
Aranea 750
Winning the sword wager 800
Room 8 treasure 2000
Black Pudding 200
Grey Ooze 35

Total 5135
Characterisation & Roleplay 30
Room 8 treasure 2000
Black Pudding 200
Grey Ooze 35

Total 2265

Healing 20
Aranea 750
Attempted hold person on Barakor 50
Room 8 treasure 2000
Black Pudding 200
Grey Ooze 35

Total 3055

Characterisation & Roleplay 30
Activating Mage’s stairway 10
Spiritual Hammer V Spiders 50
Aranea 750
Room 8 treasure 2000
Black Pudding 200
Grey Ooze 35

Total 3075

Name Class 2nd Class B/F Cumulative Target Current Level
Kravaine MU*
3,724 14,115 17,839 22,500
(5) 4
Eldras T*
3,537 11,641 15,178 20,000
(6) 5
Barakor F*
1,312 C*
1,312 8,788/
8,788 10,100/
10,100 18,000/
(5/5) 4/4
Holly M
3,165 12,195 15,360 22,500
(5) 4
Grom F*
5,649 11,534 17,183 18,000
(5) 4
Roscoe T*
2,492 9,103 11,595 20,000
(6) 5
Zionestes C*
3361 9,315 12,676 13,000
(5) 4
Ripven C*
3,383 6,000 9,383 13,000
(5) 4
*EP Bonus applied

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