Friday, 25 January 2013

Ormid et Al, Session Report, January 22nd, 2013

15/5/51 – 22:40 – 23:00: Tssel's body lies horribly still in the middle of the shadow haunted vault, her eyes empty, her skin not only ashen, but filled with writhing layers of ambulant darkness. The air in this place, despite the destruction of the potent undead guarding the chamber, is still thick with toxic whorls and strands of shadowstuff, both the artificer and rogue wheezing, their own skin carrying a hint of its taint. The Veteran strides over to the mage's body, and attempts to lift it, ready to carry it away from here so she can be brought back or at least given a decent burial. However, as his metal fingers close on her, she splinters like balsa wood, her form rapidly disintegrating into a mass of dust, shards and sighing shadows. As this happens, so the air grows colder still, and the tiny particles are swept towards a darkened area of the chamber, where they gather, forming, briefly, the indistinct outline of the slain mage – or at least, a shifting, shadowy facsimile of her. A breath of a voice briefly whispers through the chamber, its words too soft to be heard, but they are accompanied by a palpable pressure of hatred, directed towards those still living.

And so Tssel Agthyr leaves the mortal realm, and becomes a shade.

Shaken, and sick from the touch of the toxic shadows that thicken the air of this foul place, Ormid tries to focus, and calls the rest of the group to attention. They are currently sealed into a tiny stone chamber by fields of shifting, purplish energy, which block the only tunnel out. Three ancient stone levers, dusky in the smoky, tenebrous gloom of this place, stand ready to be manipulated behind other screens of force; a legacy of the parties earlier attempts to get out of here – abruptly interrupted by the arrival of the undead that slew Tssel, and almost killed them too.

He considers their situation and his first thoughts are to try and open a gate back to the House of Granite, so they can rest and come up with the plan for progressing. However, to his horror, as soon as he tries to enact the ritual, he realises that the tenebrous energies that suffuse this place, as well as some other power, are blocking such magics, and that he, and the rest of the party, must find another way out.

Realising that any hope of using his own magic or the mechanisms within the chamber to leave have been squashed, Ormid turns his attention to the field of force blocking their escape; as thin as paper and as resilient as durium. Closing his eyes, he allows the arcane spectrum to fill his minds eye, and soon can see the delicate threads of magic and energy that form the wall, and hold it in existence. With careful skill, he begins to channel his own power into the matrix, weakening it, or more specifically, the magics that keep it stable.

To his colleagues, Ormid is simply standing before the dully glinting sheet of energy, mumbling and frowning, his hands moving in front of him as if he is playing an invisible harp. However, they can feel the unseen energies he is manipulating roiling around him, as if the air is growing continually more and then less dense. Ormid gives a little smile, and with a sound like shattering ice, the field of force collapses, the air in the chamber rushing out to meet the lowering darkness of the corridor beyond.

Any hopes that the breathless, suffocating darkness that thickens the air of this room like poisoned incense would fade with its opening are immediately crushed however, as the corridor beyond is found to be equally choked by the tainted dimensional energies.

Some kind of breach from a deep shadow plane or doldrum dimension?” Muses the artificer out loud.

The others shrug, grimly limping into the gloom ahead.

23:01 – 23:12: Ancient stonework, corroded by age and exposure to the shadow energies form the corridor, though all can see that it is close to collapse. Drifts of fine sand continually weep from the bowing ceiling, and form a whispering layer of smoky dusts on the floor. Up ahead, the stone has given way, and most of the corridor is blocked by a collapse, a great space, filled with even deeper darkness, looming beyond it, visible through a small gap in the fallen rocks.

Ever curious, the vyrleen volunteers to squeeze through the space that remains, and to scout ahead. The group agree to this, though in truth, all sense that this may be a bad idea. Ormid spends a moment trying to sense whether there are magics ahead, and at once, is filled with fear...

There is indeed a great space beyond, clouded by strands of coiling shadow energy. However, ahead, lower than their current level, are two sources of potent magic. One is an area of concentrated shadow magic; malevolent and he fears, sentient. The other is hard to discern, as it is massively unstable; flashing briefly into existence with a burst of eldritch static, before vanishing as suddenly. With each burst however, the substance of the aether shudders as if being struck, and Ormid fears that they may be tied to whatever has allowed such concentrated shadow energy to remain bottled up in this plane for so long.

Llewellyn, never one to wait, has already squeezed through, and is standing just beyond the collapse, looking down into the terrible dark.

I'm on a stone step or something. Like, in a, oh you know, an arena. There are more, all heading down ahead of me. I really don't like it in here, it feels even worse than in there. The air is...alive with darkness...I. ERGH!”

Llewellyn's voice suddenly goes quiet, as something barely visible, but definitely tangible, passes by those gathered in the corridor, on through the collapse as if it were not there, and then past the rogue and down into the gloom. As it goes, so a feeling of despair and hopelessness briefly fills each adventurer, and all know that Tssel has just passed them by on her way towards...what?

Llewellyn, stay where you are.” Growls the Veteran, as he awakens the power within his belt, his hands shifting into potent digging tools, “I'm making a way through for us”.

Everyone gives him some room, and soon the warforged is cutting through the collapse like butter. Alas, in his haste, he does not give much thought to the risks, and within moments, he is fighting to breathe beneath the pile of rubble that smashes down from above, pinning him. Coughing in the billowing clouds of dust that belch forth from the collapse, the others help him free, each more than aware that any element of stealth they (almost certainly didn't) have is now lost.

23:13 – 23:23: The shadows hang like a physical fog here, swallowing the cold alchemical glow of the group's lightrods, and they can all feel a powerful presence at its centre; pulsing with malevolence like some diseased, unnatural heart. Cautiously, they pick their way down the crumbled stepped seats that form the outside of this chamber – clearly some kind of auditorium – down towards the central area where Ormid sensed the powerful energies. As they go, they call out into the thickening darkness, their voices muffled, their heads filling with whispers and gasps that are nothing to do with their own thoughts.

And then they are there, their eyes beholding a terrible sight.

Firstly they see Tssel's shade, wreathed in small flickers of elemental energy, standing to the side, her eyes dimly luminous in the billowing shadows. She stands next to what was clearly once a portal; a hoop of rune carved stone set upon a raised dais of black marble. However, the hoop is now smashed and scattered, the remaining chunks of it floating in their former positions, held aloft by arcing “sparks” of magical energy. As each spark leaps across between the levitating chunks, so there is a brief shimmering, like static, within the portal's hoop – the source of the dimensional pulses sensed by the artificer.

However, even this spectacular portal, a device of clearly advanced magic, is not the most prominent things before the group, for another stands before it. They are humanoid, but their features are hard to discern, for they are shrouded in a mantle of ever-shifting darkness, which hugs and billows around them like ink in water. Power emanates from them, both the power of shadow, and the power of magic, and Ormid knows instinctively that they are connected to everything in this place.

You shall die here.”

It is not the figure that says this, but Tssel; her voice a soft hiss like a blade sinking into flesh.

Tssel, please! We are not responsible for your death! We'll...”

The shade suddenly speaks, its own voice like ice cracking under water, its sheer presence causing the others to fall silent. It speaks in a language none of the party understand – almost certainly an ancient form of the local language, and this is confirmed when Tssel's shade bows and speaks back, gaining at least some apparent understanding from it.

Tssel, please. If you help us to communicate with this being, and to get out of here, we can try to return you to life. Please, you have to believe that we want you back as much as you hate us.”

Ormid laces his words with magic, giving them a weight beyond purely their meaning, and the shade of their former ally seems to take note, though hatred still clearly burns in her empty, black eyes.

Tssel agrees to act as translator, and it is learned that the being is named Maelphazan, and that he was once a “Gate Master”; a mage who specialised in the crafting and maintenance of interdimensional portals. He served a great school of magic that flourished here in Tammatuli long ago, until a dark day when what should have been his crowning achievement became both his own, and the rest of his peer's doom.

They learn that the portal before them was to be the hub of a great network of gates, that would allow instantaneous travel for everyone across the world (this was before the dawn of the 3rd Age, the reunification of Arbel and Verdaniss, and, or course, the chaos of both the Belief Wars and the Age of Loss), and even between worlds. It was a keystone of sorts, which would thread strands of a deep shadow dimension into the weave of this plan's harmonics. These could then be bound to columns of Harmonite, and used to craft artifice gates that could be activated and used with the touch of a glyph. Mass transport for everyone...that was the dream.

The opening of the hub gate was to be a grand affair. All the mages of the school, from the lowest initiate to the greatest Magi were invited to watch its opening, and gathered here in the auditorium to witness its magics being awoken.

Maelphazan seems to shrink a little, and the darkness that infuses the air thickens, making the mortals shiver in its icy heart.

He then continues with his tale, his voice even softer than before, resonating with sorrow and horror. He explains that the portal ruptured, and a burst of concentrated shadow energy was unleashed. It slew everyone within it, either obliterating them, or turning the more powerful of them into the shades the group had battled. Maelphazan for some reason was changed, not into an undead, but into something both alive and made of shadow; a Shadai, a Shade.

The shadow breach would have spread beyond the school were it not for the potent epic wards worked into its boundaries, which raised powerful planar barriers, sealing this place from the physical plane, and keeping the poisonous energies contained within its bounds. This then was why Ormid could no longer open a portal to the House of Granite (the portal to the hold from the House of Granite was channeled through their powerful rune circle, which allowed it to pierce the dimensional veil around the school, and let the group in).

It is fortunate in a way that the portal ruptured, for had it remained active, even the school's wards would have failed, and the region might now be a place of shadows and death.

Silence fills the heavy air of the chamber, the choking shadows closing in around the group. After a moment however, his own voice hushed, Ormid speaks to Tssel.

Please explain to him that we need to fix the portal so we can leave. We will die if we stay here much longer, and we simply cannot allow that.”

Tssel translates, though her tone is somewhat sarcastic, and the reply is immediate and clear.

No. If you open that portal the energies within this place will rush out. Not only will that slay anything nearby, but my own lifeforce will be cut off, and I will perish. I will not allow you to do this.”

Magic prickles the air as twin spheres of purplish flame suddenly manifest around the shadai's slender fingers.

Ormid shakes his head sadly, and it seems is about to say something more. However, quicker than even Maelphazan expects, he makes a signal to his allies “Attack”, and suddenly the shadai is being rushed.

Veteran and Ferrous, keep him off our backs whilst we stabilise, re-forge and then open this portal. Llewellyn, give me a hand. Tssel. Tssel?”

The slain mage has gone.

In retrospect, the group realise that had they solely tried to kill Maelphazan, they would have been slain to a man. Potent in life, his power is magnified tenfold as a shadai, and his deadly magics are complimented and supplemented by the shadow powers his strange state has gifted him. It is a close thing as well, with the Veteran and Ferrous struggling to lock him down, as he teleports freely around the vast chamber, launching bolts of deadly shadow, summoning black tentacles of necrotic power, and wreathing folks in corrosive mantles of living darkness, which blind, weaken and feed on their souls. The portal is wrecked, and it takes a near deific effort from the artificer, aided by the vyrleen, to stabilise its arcing magics, and to reprogramme it, on the fly, to point towards a rune circle of their choice.

At one point, the rogue tries to manage part of the process himself, and misaligns the physical attributes of the glyphs Ormid is trying to re-code. This leads to a partial link to the deep shadow plane that originally slew all those gathered here to be forged, the portal radiating waves of rotting energy, which corrode the flesh and sanity of all the adventurer's, making the near impossible task harder still.

And yet, despite numerous periods of momentary unconsciousness, and the relentless barrage of deadly magics being unleashed by Maelphazan, the portal is repaired. In truth, by the time the final rune is reforged and energised, the group have nothing left. Another second or two, and it would be over, for everyone is spent utterly; physically, mentally and magically. However, with a scream of insane triumph, Ormid manages, somehow, to focus the magics of the plane into the newly aligned glyphs of the portal hoop, pulling it together, and forging a link with a rune circle far from habitation, and in a safe place for them to rest.

As the gate opens, so a powerful scream, raw and filled with fear, issues from Maelphazan. During the battle, the shadows that whirled protectively around him have been hacked and blasted away, and he is revealed now to be a slender being with long arms and sharp, annoyed features. As he dies, the energies keeping him alive screaming through the opened gate, stealing his life with them, he fills the air with a terrible keening wail, and everyone finds not joy but sorrow filling their hearts. Tragic, they realise that he was not evil, just lost and afraid, and none feel happiness at having slain him.

Maelphazan explodes into inky smoke, which rushes with a shriek towards the portal. The air shimmers as the shadow energy is drawn out, and suddenly, there is only natural darkness and dust, as several areas of the complex, held aloft by shadowstuff collapse without their support. Rigid with the energies racing through him, Ormid lets them go, and the portal goes dark, his ear popping as the dimensional tensions immediately release.

Gasping, he crawls over to the panting, prone form of Llewellyn, without a word passing him a steaming cup of hot chocolate, whilst around them the rumbling of settling rocks and collapsing corridors continues. The Veteran stumbles over, his armour plating rusted and bubbling with taints' touch, whilst Ferrous gives a whirring whine, and flops, exhausted to the ground where he stands.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

D&D .pdf's are available again!

Finally, after all this time, you can legally buy D&D pdf's at RPGNow.com

Hopefully, I'll be able to pick up some of the later 4e stuff really soon. 

Yay!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Foedread - 4e Legacy Weapon

I always liked Legacy Weapons, and have been trying to think of a nice, simple way to bring something like them into 4th Edition. I hope this is good enough!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Way Things Are Going In My 4e Games [Contains Spoilers]

WARNINGS: This piece A) May just be a bit of a ramble by me...I apologies in advance, B) Contains spoilers for my players of things to come in their games, and of events in the Shnecke's Wolves games not yet described here. You have been warned!!!!

*     *     *

You may have noticed that I have been working to bring back some of the better rules, brutality and grittiness of 3.5 in my 4e games, and may been wondering how it's been going. (If not, may I recommend you look HERE, HERE, HERE and a few other places too) to see my suggestions (there are more hidden away, pre-index page on here...have a look for them).

Just to show you an example of how my 4e games have been changed to feel more like older editions, all the while retaining the gorgeous mechanics that make it, for me and mine, the best edition we have played, here is a power from a monster that will be making an appearance in one of my games soon...

"[M] Final Banishment (standard; encounter ) • psychic, radiant, weapon;

+28 vs AC; Hit: 6d12+38 slashing, psychic and radiant damage and target must make an immediate saving throw, modified for each point of charisma modifier difference between their own score and the warriors. Failed Saving Throw: The target dies, and is reincarnated as an aenochian somewhere in the same plane. The reincarnated form has no conscious memory of its past life, though this may emerge as it matures.
Special: If the reincarnated soul can be found and slain, the spirit may, with a Raise Dead ritual - though this would have to be heavily modified, costing more (+100% more per tier], and involving a hard skill challenge to complete - be returned to its former form and awareness. This would almost certainly involve a long and difficult quest to complete of course."


Yep, that's right - a save or die effect in 4e, one that could, given the monster's incredible charisma score, easily slay its target.

Am I really using this? 

You betcha!

And why?

Because it fits with the monster, fits with the style of the game, and if worse comes to worse, sets a whole new adventure hook loose in the game - getting the reincarnated soul back. 

Will my players appreciate this? 

I suspect, they might...though they will also probably find some clever way to undo the harm done, and to carry on, using skills, smarts and calling in favours - which considering the role playing this would involve, is also cool...

...Though all this is assuming the attack hits in the first place of course...

In the  Shnecke game, the last session ended (they are halfway through their battle with the Swordmage trying to steal their naughtily named ship) with poor Varracuda getting turned to stone...not (save ends) petrified, but (no save) petrified...and he only failed one save. If Grigori gets petrified too (he is definitely in the firing line), then things could get very nasty, as their foe is proving to have some very unpleasant attacks, and to be upsettingly resilient to the normal attacks. The sense of genuine fear at that last game was electric, with the usually unstoppable group feeling suddenly very mortal, and the players reacting as was to be expected; with a loudly bellowed "HOLY SHIT!" 

It made for an amazing cliff hanger, especially as the group have not had time to regain even encounter powers after their tussle with Deezel - a fight in which many dailies got used, and which left them quite battered - and are going to have to use their remaining resources with a little more cunning and out of the box thinking, if they are to survive. 

It's gonna' be rough in both games, but not unfairly so. And that, for me, is where 3.5 and earlier additions got it wrong.

I still don't miss straight up Save or Die (SoD - how appropriate) effects (and I should point out that the Sefotron from 5 years past would be kicking my teeth in if he read that sentence, 'cos I used to LOVE those things), though I do think 4e, as written, panders to the players a bit too much, and so, needs some modification to ensure the players have a healthy sense of dread when adventuring. 

The sudden loss of a character, mid adventure, to a SoD, could seriously screw a game over, and although I loved the harshness of it ("adventuring is not an easy way of life. The bards always seem to miss these moments out of their heroic songs eh?") I always, inwardly, kinda' dreaded it happening...after all, it could mean the end of an adventure I was thoroughly enjoying running.

Having said that, without real and in some cases, imminent danger, the players either get over confident, bored or simply bulldoze everything, which after a while, stops being fun for everyone. Even with the modern damage expressions, monsters rarely lower characters to negative bloodied hit points, and so, 4e needs more dangerous effects that can take life without it. The rules I have been using have brought this back to the game, and at the time of writing, whilst I wouldn't say my players "like" it per se, they do keep playing with gusto, and the heroes keep managing to survive - though now it feels, truly, like they have overcome incredible odds to win their prizes. 

......

....................Yep, a rambling entry, hope it didn't bore you too much, or seem too unfocused....just wanted to get that off my chesticles...

Zerrakiel's Distillate - Level 1 Rare Consumable



Friday, 18 January 2013

Gothic Plate Armour

For those willing to spend the extra feat, there is a type of mundane armour that provides incredible protection even without the benefits of an enchantment. Finding some may be the tricky part of course, though it is more than worth it. 

Here are the 4th Edition stats for an old lost armour type  - Gothic Plate Armour.

Friday, 11 January 2013

State of Play - Shnecke's Wolves - January 3rd, 2013

3/8/1472: 20:56 – 21:00: Despite their wounds, the group's instinctive skills kick in, and they rise to face the oncoming monstrosity. The Golem is berserk, its stony body cracked, blasted, and shrouded in brilliantly coloured, ghostly flames of discharging arcane power. Sparks leap over its form as it charges, throwing itself with wild, chaotic abandon towards the nearest foe.

Despite its power, the golem is a doomed thing, for it has suffered structurally in the recent upheavals, and its magics have become chaotic and wild. Drawing on their expertise, the group are able to swiftly take it apart, hacking its stony form until the energies raging within it can be contained no longer. There is an explosion, and everyone is thrown back as a shockwave of fire and sizzling stone shards blasts outwards.

All are knocked off their feet, though Varracuda catches the worst of it, a large piece of shrapnel burying itself in his chest, pinning him to the wall of the chamber.

21:01 – 21:08: Grigori tends to the genasai whilst the assassin and warlock examine the reinforced door that guards the drug room. No traps are detected, and so, with the swordmage released and his wounds healed, the group carefully open it up...

...A wave of white smoke belches out as soon as the door is opened, washing over the party. It is acrid and everyone (save the undead) immediately begins to cough and sputter, their lungs burning from the noxious cloud. Tears streaming from their eyes, the group - except for Jaeger - stumble away from the room. The assassin remains, his face turned upwards, his empty eyes following things only he can see, and with a groan, the group realise that he is hallucinating.

The smoke it is quickly realised, has come from the drugs, many of which have roasted in the pressure cooker of the basement, and everyone holds their breath whilst the noxious gasses dissipate. This takes a little while, but soon the chamber beyond is safe to enter.

21:09 – 21:25: The group spend some time going through the various packages of intoxicating substances Deezel has stored in the chamber. Although many have been too badly damaged by the heat to be of any use, many packages are found that are intact, and soon they are thrown in the priest's Bag of Holding.
During the group's search, a well hidden tunnel is found at the back of the chamber. The door is unwarded, and it is decided that the group will explore further, though Varracuda warns that he can sense “unusual energies” that radiate wildly from beyond. Further analysis of these energies leaves the genasai to worry that there may be large source of some kind of tainted material beyond – sickstone, taintstone or something similar. He warns that such energies can be deleterious to both physical and mental health, and that exposure to them is not recommended.

However, with the assassin in a drug induced dream, and the rest of the group only too happy to ignore the swordmages' warning, the door is opened, revealing a natural stone tunnel filled with a distant, eerie green light. A strong smell, like burning metal hangs on the air, and the group feel a strange itching behind their eyes as they enter.

21:26 – 21:50: The group carefully move along the tunnel, noting with some concern the growing stench of alchemical residue, the increasing green glow that reflects off the roughly carved walls, and the distant sound of seething liquids.

The tunnel curves round in a large C descending about 15'. The group begin to feel a vice like pressure within their heads as they move closer to its end, and taste metal. As they move around the curve of the tunnel, they suddenly hear a mangled human scream from ahead, and a sharp crack . Then a strange shrieking sound, like gasses escaping under pressure, and a return to the slurping pop and hisses that sounded before. The tunnel ends at the entrance to a vast cavern, brightly illuminated by four massive pools of brilliantly glowing, green fluid. Clouds of luminous green smoke scud over the floor, and the air resonates with painful, chiming power.

On the left wall, at the far end of the chamber, the group can see strange markings worked into the wall and floor. On the opposite wall to them, some 120' away, they can see that an area of stone has been melted, and a faintly shining tunnel now leads from the chamber to the upper world. Just in front of the tunnel, several small pieces of something metallic burn with nearly colourless, frantically spurting flames.

Reluctant to enter the chamber, the group use Grigori's spyglass to check out both the symbols and the burning items.
The symbols, it is quickly deduced, are part of a portal leading to an alternate physical plane. Several other symbols – curious inverse triangles, who's points overlap - however are unrelated to its magics, and Thatari feels they represent the God of an alien species of rat-like humanoids, that have, on occasion, been seen on Arbel'Verdaniss; a race recorded in ancient records as being called Skaven...

The burning fragments appear to be delicate metal components of some shattered device, the flames apparently the product of whatever explosion destroyed it.

Having seen enough, and fearful that the portal may still be active, the group, dogged by burgeoning migraines, leave the chambers, and head back to the surface.

21:51 – 21:56: Rain lashes down as the group re-enter the ravaged former basement, the skies alive with lightning and a strange shimmering. Hauling themselves up to the surface, the group can see three armed men charging towards them – eyes bobbling, frothing, their skin livid, their necks distended and veined – ahead of two other foes. One is one of the one-eyed Orgon'Gigorim from the harbour; a lumbering, neckless behemoth that bellows a roared warning as it spies the party.

The other is.....Deezel?

He has changed - is still changing!

His body is three times its former mass, and is a frothing maelstrom of out of control mutation; boiling and seething with tumorous activity, his flesh luminous with the same green light that shone so foully from the pools beneath. His face is horribly intact, and upon spotting the group his mouth – now big enough to bite a man in two - opens wide, issuing a choked, bubbling scream that spurs the drugged up pirates and dim-witted gigorim on into battle.

The two groups meet in an explosive battle – literally, for Deezel leaks a combustible gas that surrounds anyone calling fire or lightning into existence in a personal mantle of agonising flame. This proves problematic for the swordmage, who relies heavily on both elements in his offensive sword spells, at least, until he awakens his talents, and converts such energies to pure force. Thatari simply opens his black soul to the spirits of hell-fire, and allows his mortal form to become consumed by it, transforming into a whipping whirlwind of shadowy flame, immune to the touch of mortal fires.

The first to fall is the gigorim. Dim witted and painfully slow, its blows can snap a back with ease. However, against the nimble group with their disembowelling blades and seeking spells, it is as helpless as a calf brought to the slaughter, and soon, with a despairing wail, it slams to the floor, its blood surging around the ankles of the other combatants, sizzling where it cooks on the scalding stones. The warriors are deadlier foes, their already considerable skills enhanced by whatever drug Deezel gave them before leading them here. Despite their skin reddening in the still pretty awesome heat of the ruins, they chop and parry with manic strength and inhuman reflexes. More than a few times do they manage to score serious wounds on the party, and when combined with Deezel – who keeps back and unleashes searing beams of corrosive green energy, or mordant bursts of sticky mucus into the melee – they are a dangerous foe.

Two of the three are hacked down, the assassin (now coming down from his drugged euphoria) adding his lethal quarrels of shadowstuff to the battle, and soon only Deezel and one of them remain. It is at this point that, over the roar and crash of battle, the group hear Lia's voice, raised in panic, coming towards them from the harbour.

“stEALING THE SHIP”

Lia slams into the remaining warrior, her pearlescent greatsword chiming with psychic power, sending him sprawling, a spurting wound in his chest.

“YOU LOT, HE'S ON THERE NOW, KILLING OUR CREW AND TRYING TO STEAL OUR BLOODY SHIP!”

A burst of luminous, corrosive gas erupts from Deezel (who towers almost three times as high as Shnecke now, his whole form merely a writhing blob of tentacles, dripping slime and pulsing orifices – though his face, his screaming, weeping face - remains untouched, splayed across a bulb of bleeding mucus that waves on a wagging stem of the same horrible material), filling a huge area with its opaque, choking presence, and those within it, enemy and ally, are tormented by its deadly touch.

“What” Screams Thatari, as he stumbles, heaving from the cloud, “are you screaming about woman?”

Lia slashes out at the warrior, surprised that her first blow failed to kill him, a series of tiny thuds telling her that the assassin has him in his sights too. For his part, the warrior makes an annoyed sound, and sweeps his own blade out towards the argent, her weapon's guard just managing to deflect a blow what would have removed her fingers.

Shit. I, errr...A swordmage, that sleazy one from the Fighter's Gift, he's on deck with a bunch of other rogues and his bloody pet. Some kind of giant...”

She dodges to the side as a corrosive ray of mutating power bursts from the blinding cloud (within which she can hear continued screams of pain and battle from her allies, and can see vague, muted bursts of light as Grigori and Varracuda no doubt go about their work), and sweeps her blade towards the drug crazed warrior, a burst of psionic power radiating from her in a wave of colourless distortion. For his part, the warrior gives a scream, seeming to suddenly notice the serious trouble he's in, before his face is sliced from his skull by the argent's scalpel sharp sword.

Deezel gives a scream that could almost indicate gratitude when he is finally taken down, his tortured form deflating like a giant puffball, exhaling even more toxic, mutating fumes into the air. Everyone is wounded and tired, though Grigori's magic manages to remove the worst of the damage they have sustained.

Alas, there is no rest for them, for Lia quickly reiterates her news to the rest of the party, and within seconds of their battle with Deezel and his servants, they are running, full pelt towards the SC, which is slowly pulling out of the harbour, and heading for open waters...