Clockwork

00203
In which we meat the beetles...

Part 1
Part 2

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00202
In which it's a trap!

LOG

<synopsis>


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00201
In which... something with mummies?

LOG

<synopsis>


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00200
In which we reach a milestone...

LOG

Our 200th campaign session. Or close enough.

After a good night’s rest, the party, with our new companion in tow, sets off back across the Grey Maidens and into the shrouded lands. Beneath the fog, they find a cracked and parched desert devoid of all but the simplest of lifeforms. Except for at least one colossal, invisible whatsit that shakes the ground for leagues around.

With our luck, it’s the tarrasque.

The journey takes them due west, heading for the mysterious pyramids Serri spotted poking above the mists. Along the way, they find some dead trees, an even deader village, and more of the giant lizardfolk statues. As the eighth day under the mists draws to a close, they find a massive wall stretching across their path. Vargas makes short work of the climb and the party is surprised to find they have actually discovered an elevated roadway of unknown origin leading from an ancient dry riverbed in the south to a cyclopean temple in the north.


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00199
In which we learn an important lesson about gift horses...

LOG

Following the showdown with the quicklings, the party pauses to bury the dead and take stock of their situation. Deciding the best way to memorialise the fallen would be to see everyone safely to the golden city, the caravan presses onwards into the mountains and the first sign of real progress. As they crest the highest summit, the party is afforded a magnificent view of the western lands.

To the east spreads the deep green of the Kerangas valley and the Periyar river flowing north to the Queen’s Bay. Here and there, the spires of the scattered cities of the Anjaj confederation rise above the ancient treetops. At the foot of the mountain, they spot the smoke of a campfire and decide to check it out on the way back. To the west, beyond the foot of the mountains, the land is shrouded in a sea of perpetual mist. If the western sea is out there, or it’s just the very edge of the world – no one can say. But more importantly, far to the south, Serribon’s keen eyes pick out a golden metallic glimmer. With the end potentially in sight, the party presses onwards.

After several more grueling days of mountaineering, they finally reach the shining city of gold, where they find exactly what they were looking for.

For a time.

Their business with the gnomes concluded, the party returns to the eastern foothills of the Maidens and go in search of their mysterious camper. Finding her wasn’t very difficult, and at the end of the day, the party has a new member – the druid Acadia.


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00198
In which we come to judge the quick and the dead...

LOG

Having regrouped on the far side of the river, the party pauses for a few days to resupply before pressing onwards up into the Grey Maidens in search of the Golden City. It’s been a long journey from the depths of the western Kerangas and across the Chagri highlands and a deadly test for the gnome refugees, with nearly half of the able-bodied adults having fallen to disease or misadventure. But they press on, driven by dreams of the fabled haven in the west where they will finally be safe from the ravages of the post-Cataclysm world.

While Vargas teleports the latest batch of wounded and ailing back to Benedict’s monastery and hunts down a load of child-sized mountaineering gear, Serribon sets off in pursuit of the quickling that struck the party during the fording. He tracks the malicious farie across hill and dale, utilizing every trick he learned as a fey warden for the church of St. Cuthbert. Despite its unnatural speed and stealth, the creature cannot escape the Caiman, and meets its bloody end just inside the fringes of the great jungle.

The first several days in the mountains proper are a classic contest between man and the elements – and man makes a pretty good showing of itself. Despite the bitter cold and treacherous footing of the mountain passes, the entire party makes it to a saddle where they decided to break and set up camp for a few days before pressing on. As the party begins to take stock and decompress, Vargas and Serribon detect the presence of something malign zipping through the high meadow. Before they can raise much of a warning, the party comes under attack by swarm of those accursed quicklings.

Though the diminutive little bastards pose little threat to our hearty heroes, they’re absolute murder on our hapless charges, and it becomes a race against time to prevent the evil fey from slaughtering the lot of them.


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00197
In which we wander into a brainfog bank...

LOG

As Ibram attempts to marshal the gnomes across a river to catch up with Vargas and Miriam, they come under attack by an nearly-invisible assailant. Ibram manages to keep his charges from being cut completely to ribbons by playing meatshield. Serribon finally makes a reappearance and the attacker runs away, laughing.

After reuniting with the rest of the team, the caravan gets on its way again across the hills and dales at the feet of the Grey Maidens. Towards mid-afteroon, some of the hills reveal themselves to be constructed barrows – though who or what built them is a mystery. As they climb down one of them, they party is enveloped in a sickly greenish fog that sows confusion among the ranks. From there, it’s up to our doughty to keep Serribon from murdering everybody.


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00196
In which no one keeps a stiff upper lip...

LOG

After a pleasant night spent in the remains of the henge, the gnome pilgrims continue their journey to the fabled golden city in the west. They make decent time across the rugged foothills of the Grey Maidens, despite the gnomes’ misgivings about being stuck out in the open. As Serribon is still a no-show, it falls to Vargas and Miriam to scout the way ahead while Ibram marshals their diminutive charges. While ranging ahead, the ride into a desolate patch of ground that proves to be the hunting grounds of a small herd of gorgons. Naturally, the beasta are quite happy to see them.

At least, temporarily.

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00195
In which we almost run into an old acquaintance...

LOG

With the giant mantis lying dead in the woods, and most of the gnomes plucked safely from the quicksand, the party presses on and soon breaks through the western edge the Kerangas and the into rolling foothills that lie beyond. They spot a stone ring perched atop a nearby hill, and as it presents the only sign of civilization they’ve seen in weeks, they make for it.

Serribon races ahead to check for threats and finds a series of magically-crafted earthworks and other fortifications winding about within and signs of the party’s lost bard, Cassandra. Meanwhile, Miriam discovers that the party’s sense of being followed wasn’t stress-induced paranoia when a squad of war-trolls and hunting hounds emerge from the treecover in hot pursuit. She wheels off on her horse to provide covering fire while Ibram and Vargas shepherd the gnomes to the promised safety of the standing stones. The monsterous dogs quickly fall to Miriam’s arrows, giving her time to regroup with the others on the crown of the hill where they prepare to weather the trolls’ assault.


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00194
In which we leech off our friends....

LOG

The party splits again, with Ibram and Serribon leading the more hapless gnomes forward through the stinking morass that makes up this leg of the journey west. Things are going pretty well, until the group draws the attention of a cluster of giant leeches. They stave off the first attack, thanks to the timely arrival of Vargas, and manage to stage a successful retreat directly into a quicksand bog. While the gnomes flail and sink and fall prey to more bloodsuckers, the gang attempts a rescue operation of questionable success – all of which falls to pieces with the arrival of a huge jungle mantis (even bigger than the last one).


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