Haven: On the Wandering Steppe

On June 20th, Year 6, Monday, around noon, the great flying island that adventurers have longed to visit in the past, passes directly over the Vale coming from the west. Rocks and pebbles fall from it, falling thousands of feet to strike with enough energy to damage buildings. No one is harmed, but adventurers travel ahead of the island to Rovert’s tower, where it seems to be headed:

  • Rovert (TrS): Level 17 Human Necromancer
  • Verdis (HuS): Level 13 Human Fighter
    • Phineas, Talking Rock
  • Stephen (EnS): Level 9 Human Thief

A Rovert’s Tower, they discuss how to deal with the island and this opportunity they have. They look to Rovert to devise some magic to carry them there, but he presents his undead dragon as capable of carrying four people to the island. There is some discussion about attempting to approach the dragon diplomatically, Milo in particular arguing that since it was singing as it passed and liked music he may be able to please it. Rovert refuses to consider bringing Milo, let alone his band, and the halfling departs, travelling back to Citadel by night.

The following day, as noon approaches in Rovert’s clouded land, the island drifts past in the south. They set out upon the dragon to intercept it, the stealthy dragon flying low to keep out of sight. As they get within a few miles of it, it slows, loops awkwardly, and turns to the west. They change course to pursue, but are caught out of position as they were moving to intercept. It takes the heavily laden dragon 6 hours (it is undead and doesn’t tire) to catch up with the island and the whole party are saddle sore, especially Stephen, who is glad to be tied down as he has to zone out to handle the painful ride.

As the sun is setting, the approach the island from inside its shadow, ascending to the ground level rather than approaching the windows in its sharp bottom peak. The stealthy dragon grabs onto the low wall around the edge and allows Rovert to look over. He sees a wide open space with terraces on the far side, stairs up their center to buildings around a courtyard, and towers flanking them.

As the sun is getting low, he instructs the others to dismount the dragon, which will stay there waiting for them, and cross to the base of the larger tower in the shadow presented by the terraces and buildings. They are soon at the tower, where they can hear kobolds discussing in a dragon empire dialect their displeasure under Pogromii (the dragon which they can hear singing lazily in the distance) and their coming shift change.

They wait for the shift to change and using Sidriss to scope out the room with the new shift, Rovert attempts to knock them out with a stun blast through the wall/floor. One resists and the alarm is sounded. They rush up the terraces and into the tower, quickly disabling the one on the main floor and the four that descend the stairs after ringing the bell.

The response is disorderly (as if they have never had intruders on the island) with Pogromii shouting at the tower for interrupting his song with the bell as a score of kobolds rush toward the tower. They speak in a few languages, asking what they are doing there, but Rovert decides to respond in the dragon tongue, hoping to confuse them with the language used by their clergy. He makes a few vague statements and they ask if he is a dragon or a representative of a dragon and inquire why he has come.

Rovert uses the confusion to let off a large stun burst in the middle of the gathered archers, again knocking out all but the one furthest from the center who is high enough level to stay up. He runs back toward the buildings yelling about betrayal. They can see a type of pavilion in the failing twilight where dozens of kobolds are scrambling to get into defensive positions. The dragon itself, hearing that another dragon is present, emerges from the gloom in the courtyard and comes to stand beside the pavilion.

It hails them in several languages before they agree to elvish and then proceeds to order them to leave its island, and if they will not listen to lose their ability to hear. Stephen carries on the conversation, telling the dragon they came to ask it to stop dropping rocks and to seek a pact of friendship. Meanwhile, Rovert inserts ear plugs and starts a silence spell. Not satisfied, the dragon lets out a mighty roar that deafens all of them (Rovert’s spell fails due to inability to hear, instead silencing Verdis’ armor).

As the dragon, over 100 feet long, charges the tower, taking flight, they all evacuate it, intending to meet it in the open rather than let it control the fight. It must have ordered a charge, because kobolds flood down from the pavilion. While Rovert attempts (in his deafness) to put spells on the dragon and Stephen shoots it from concealment on the terraces, Verdis runs out to confront the coming swarm. The dragon descends, striking Rovert (his rebuffing robe teleports the dragon back into the sky, but Rovert takes extra damage from claws his own failed spell charged). While Verdis faces dozens of arrows, breaks swords, and cuts down a couple of kobolds on his front, Rovert cures his own deafness and hits the dragon with more spells. It lands near him as it attempts to attack and soon Rovert stands before it blasting it with death beams while Sidriss dodges its tail and lands punches that ring out like percussion. Stephen’s shots, which come intermittently as he deafly implores the kobolds to stand down while reloading rifle and crossbow, ring out loudly on Pogromii’s scales as well, but not quite loudly enough to deafen Rovert again.

On the kobold front, Verdis enters a blade dance with his two axes, mowing down nearly 20 kobolds in a couple of rounds. They flee in terror, one that speaks elvish indicating that it seems their fight is with Pogromii (his god) and that they will stay out of it. With that front handled, Verdis charges the dragon, striking it a blow powerful enough that the cymbal explosion of sound bursts not only his ear drums, but Rovert’s and Sidriss’ as well.

Deaf, Rovert fails his first attempt to heal his ears, but succeeds on a second, healing himself greatly from the deep wounds the dragon has given him. His hearing doesn’t last long as Verdis again cuts into the dragon, finishing it but deafening Rovert again. With the dragon down, they pause, Rovert healing himself again before attempting to heal the others’ hearing.

In the courtyard, they can hear a discussion in process. It seems word of the fallen dragon god has reached his high priest who is arguing for all of the kobolds to avenge their god or die trying. Their is some disagreement, however, with some of the lesser priests arguing that with the dragon dead they can descend to the land that their ancestors have seen only from afar for generations and there make a new life, perhaps worshiping the god powerful enough to send warriors who slay their prior god.

Verdis and Stephen contribute to the discussion (which carries on all night as the high priest Tutitli stalls calling for the vote with the voice of the people clearly against him). Verdis offers those who desire it a place in his keep until they can find another place and Stephen tries to convince them that their deaths will mean nothing. Rovert sleeps, exhausted from wounds and magical healing.

When the vote is finally held, 99 vote to take Verdis’ offer while 30 vote to die avenging their god. Since the vote is against them, these 30 inquire where they can go to find their own kind on the ground and are pointed toward the Dragon Empire.

On the 22nd, they assess Pogromii’s treasure horde, estimating over 10k gold coins of value. They decide to gift each of the kobolds 10 gold coins to get a start in the land below. Rovert asks them where he can control the island and they show him. They are already passing over the Vale and it takes Rovert the rest of the day to figure out how to descend and slow the island down as they continue to the west (speeding up first on their way).

As he is trying to stop it, he hears a roaring and looks out a window to see a large dart riding a plume of flame toward the island. He runs to the surface, arriving too late to see what the other see, the rocket breaking apart and orcs and goblins falling to their deaths as three (a goblin, a human, and a halfling) glide to the island in wing suits. The human is Earl the tinkerer from Citadel House, the halfling Milo, and the goblin a Schek Garim tinkerer who tries to lay claim to the island. Rovert has his dragon bring him back to the ground.

Returning to the Vale, they argue over who should get the island. Stephen and Rovert seem on the verge of reaching a deal for all three to share it, but Rovert to keep it at his tower, when Verdis presents an ultimatum: he will claim it whole sale for himself for 22 of his 23 shares or Rovert will claim the whole thing for his 23 shares. Verdis has no interest in sharing it with Rovert, who has decoupled from the Vale, and believe he can use it or sell it himself for greater value. Rovert declines his offer and Verdis claims the island (Rovert returns with his other dragon and steals the map in the great hall, the dragon corpse, and some food and graffiti’s some of the buildings with his unerasable chalk).

The 30 kobolds travel to the West Hill March of the Dragon Empire and the rest settle in at Verdis’ keep, at least temporarily.

This session has been on the horizon for years since they first saw the island, so lots of prep for locals this week. This is the first time we have encountered the deafening mechanic, and Brass Dragons are the most extreme form of it. Definitely needs some tweaking, but it was fun to see Rovert struggle with it. He is usually all-powerful and a more deadly type of dragon would either have killed him or been killed much more quickly.

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1 Response to Haven: On the Wandering Steppe

  1. Pingback: Haven: Odsev Mirror Factory | Mind Weave Role-Playing Platform

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