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Roleplay: Interesting Times
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"I remember the times when I roamed through this land - there were Hydras, Manticores, Wyverns, Ghouls and extraplanar beings trying to devour my soul. I have taken part in battles, seen the departure and death of my brothers in arms, but also seen new, curious faces that came in their place. I've lived through unimaginable events that may have very well changed the course of history itself, but I've also seen terrors which to this day remain unnamed."
Tybald Magnus Ellar

Roughly 150 years ago the kingdom of Ilyrium was one of the leading powers of the north, know and recognized across all of Golarion. Despite being a predominantly human economic and political powerhouse, it also housed a large population of both dwarves and elves, which provided a steady stream of high quality weapons, warriors and mages. All of these were necessary to maintain the “aggressive foreign policy” approach, as per the preferences of king Alardd II, the last of the great kings.

His greatness and grandeur also proved to be his undoing. Satisfied with nothing but complete domination, he decided to launch a huge campaign aimed at uniting all of northern Golarion under his rule. The neighboring nations, prompted to set aside their differences and unite against a common foe, managed to launch a massive counter-offensive on several fronts. This proved to be too much even for Alardd and his mighty army. The king was defeated, his only heir died in unexplained circumstances and everything quickly fell into disarray, with five lords fighting over who has the right the be the next king. This proved to be the nation’s undoing.

The five scarred and poverty ridden counties, which currently make up what remains of Ilyrium, can only dream of their former glory. Each of them manages to scrape by on whatever resources they managed to secure during the schism: the nations of the south and south-west make use of their fertile lands to grow abundant crops and sell them to the north, which in turn prides itself on whatever few mines and rare ores are left in its possession. These however offer little help, when one has to constantly face hordes of orcs and other beasts, coming from the snowy mountains. The south-eastern nation did manage to secure the only major dock after the war, establishing its dominance over the other nations in terms of trade. A very unstable status quo started to emerge.

The fame and power of Ilyrium quickly faded, replaced by the reputation of a mediocre yet reliable trading partner, not really worth considering in any power plays or diplomatic scandals, unless one was really desperate. And nobody really wanted to change that, especially not the lords, still too busy licking their wounds after the war.

All that changed six months ago, when, as the bards would later put it, the gods got peeved. A huge meteor shower took place over Ilyrium, most of it concentrated directly over the remains of the kingdom. The land once again saw destruction (Walendorn, a capital city, was almost annihilated during said shower). But fear and anger quickly gave way to curiosity and greed. The hated rocks from beyond the sky contained great riches in the form of diamonds and Adamantium – a metal of unimaginable strength.

One did not have to wait long – the word spread, and with it came adventurers, scholars, diplomats and all sorts of misfits. The delicate balance is quickly falling apart, the lords once again trying to assert their dominance and everyone is desperate to make their own fortunes by any means necessary, before all hell breaks loose.

What follows below is a collection (or rather a recollection) of tropes from a Pathfinder based adventure called Interesting Times. Based in the world of Golarion, Ilyrium is a self-contained world, with its own economy, factions, politics etc., although some major players do make an appearance or contribution to the storyline (e.g. Cheliax). You can follow our merry band of outcasts as they try to navigate a complex maze of political and mystical intrigue, try to sort out their own pasts and problems, all the while trying to stay alive in a bleak and unforgiving world ravaged by conflict.

The (currently alive) protagonists include:

  • Alvis: somewhat ditzy thief with a penchant for falling into traps and getting into trouble.
  • Cynthia: psychotic barbarian and the brawn of the team - the only real man around, despite being a woman.
  • Reich: positive minded cleric who has trouble fitting in.
  • Tybald: noble elven mage, usually either absorbed in his books or plotting some Machiavellian scheme.

Each adventure has its own folder, in which you will find a short teaser, the group's progress map, link to a session log, as well as Tropes the team has encountered. The Tropes applicable to the setting itself or present throughout each session can be found in the 'General' folder.

In case you're curious as to what the situation in Ilyrium is like right now, check out the political map: http://goo.gl/60I8dQ


Interesting Times the Role-play:

    open/close all folders 

    General 

    Session 1 - Kicking down the door 

Teaser: A ragtag bunch of misfits want to try their luck in the recently famous kingdom of Ilyrium. Their dreams of gold, fame and Adamantium are however tested even before they set foot in the kingdom itself - the border is closed to all. What should have been a simple quest turns into a swear-filled dungeon crawl of almost epic proportions as the team learns its first lesson: dwarves are f***ing insane. Also, you can't stab a hydra's head off.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:

  • Hydra Problem - in the literal sense. The team's final enemy before they were allowed to leave the dwarven catacombs was a hydra. It should have been a breeze, but our heroes suddenly found themselves with a lot of piercing or blunt weapons, but not a sword or capable swordsman in sight. While in the end everybody managed to pull through on some really basic swordsmanship and vials with acid and/or fire, the battle itself was more of a hectic parody than a real fight.
  • Malevolent Architecture - the team's first encounter with the wonders of dwarven architecture. Also the birthplace of the "dwarf walks into toilet and dies" joke. Dwarves of Ilyrium have turned out to be some of the most paranoid beings around, with traps, blind doors and retractable stairs galore. And that's just off the top of the trauma list.
  • Fetch Quest - the path not taken: the captain of the guard lost his armor plate to a goblin raid. The team was given a choice of either retrieving said armor from the goblin camp or going through some decrepit dwarven ruins. If only they knew what awaited them ...
  • Broken Bridge - the closed border.
  • Interesting Situation Duel - Fighting a hydra while in a semi-submerged corridor is a... peculiar idea.

    Session 2 - Forge of destiny 

Teaser: After successfully making it through the Dwarven Catacombs, the team finally sets foot on Ilyrium's soil. And not a moment too early: lord Kivan has a small favour to ask of a group of unaffiliated, yet highly organised and combat-capable people who happen to come by his castle. The favour: take back the Forge of destiny from the greenskins and resupply his army with high quality weapons. But when has anything ever been as simple as it seems at first sight...

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:

  • Aggressive Negotiations - the party's solution to an orc party wanting to negotiate the team's safe passage? Hurl an angry dwarf at them !
  • The Reveal - nobody really suspected the only dwarf in the mines to be evil... it’s somewhat obvious that in order to survive and hold an angry orcish mob at bay you need to resort to some dirty tricks. But raising the dead and worshipping evil gods is a whole different story.
  • Golem - as if traps themselves weren't enough, this dwarven dungeon now comes with mechanized stone guardians ready to crush any would be intruders. Neat!
  • Malevolent Architecture - yet another example of dwarven paranoia, with traps galore and an entire magically driven self-defense system capable of utilizing giant construct to vanquish foes.

    Session 3 - Now you see me... 

Teaser: On their way to Silandron - the former capital of the kingdom of Ilyrium - the team decides to stop by the Silver Gryphon Sawmill. The workers there have been disappearing since the last few weeks and the nearby town is filled with talk of an ancient druid curse, coming to slowly devour the whole place. Where most sane man turn back and flee, our heroes decide it to be the perfect opportunity to take up a new hobby - deforestation.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Don't Go in the Woods – a old forest being cut down by workers who suddenly start to disappear – it rarely gets more straightforward than this!
  • Failed a Spot Check – the main villain was actually a frequent visitor to the nearby town’s pub, where he would regularly boast how he’ll bring about the end of that pesky sawmill and how the owner did him wrong and how he would get his revenge… needless to say nobody on the team paid him any mind. [FALSE!]
  • Benevolent Boss – the owner of the Gryphon sawmill genuinely cared about his workers, despite (or maybe because of) being a true capitalist at heart and was even ready to pay a ransom for their release.

    Session 4 - Start with the basics/Court of wonders 

Teaser: Still on their way to Silandron, to team decides to split up. The more knowledge minded individuals decide to visit the temple of Irrori, god of self-development and perfection. The less demanding ones head over to the Court of Wonders - a town made up entirely of taverns. What was suppose to be a simple break turns into a night of 'demon-slaying' and royal intrigue.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Bar Brawl – the Sword & Cloak is famous for it’s regular brawls, which seemingly start at even the most flimsy excuse.
  • The Need For Mead – Alvis and Cynthia satisfy their alcoholic needs first, evidently proven by choosing the typical adventurer’s tavern as their first place of interest in solving the mysteries of the Court of Wonders.
  • You Do NOT Want To Know – “Rainy Morning” Olo, the democratically elected “king” of the Court of Wonders has a reputation for having his ways to maintain order. When asked how he does it, he merely points to his trusty pipe and ignites it with his fire magic. That, coupled with a strong psychotic, vibe effectively stops anybody from questioning his authority.
  • I Have My Ways – Olo yet again, when asked how he knows so much about everybody and how he’s capable of maintaining any semblance of order within the wall of the Court.
  • Dangerous Workplace
  • Smarter Than You Look
  • Beneath the Mask
  • Bad-Guy Bar
  • Smart People Play Chess

    Session 5 - Academic career 

Teaser: The Mage's Academy on the outskirts of Silandorn is the group's next destination, mainly because of Tybald's constant bickering. Sure, it houses ancient tomes of destruction, sources of power that can turn a mortal man into a demi-god and is home to the Kingdom's most powerful mages. But it's just a bunch of old books and old people in robes reading said books. Nothing remotely interesting can happen in such a setting...

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • A God I Am – to Tower’s defense mechanism/power core can be used to infuse a person with magic energy beyond his or her wildest dreams, effectively turning them into a demi-god for a short period of time.[FALSE - this is upgrade but current Tybald is more powerful than charged Tybald then]
  • Drunk with Power – when fighting the Hippogryph-riding mercenary on the roof of the Academy, Tybald goes a little bit overboard… drying the guy, his bird and pretty much a good chunk of the surrounding horizon. There go any potential leads.
  • Wizarding School – a university for magic people! Do I need to say anything more ?
  • Magical Society – the Mages have a surprisingly developed society, akin to some of the more developed universities, with their deans and chancellors as well as departments or even graduate and post-graduate students.
  • Shock and Awe – the Tower’s go to defense mechanism - high-yield thunderstorm carpet bombing which can turn the entire area into a scorched wasteland. Supposedly not a default function but actually an effect of the magic core overloading, but everybody has their doubts about that…

    Session 6 - Eternal fire 

Teaser: Our heroes finally reach Silandorn, the old capital of Ilyrium and the new capital of Durlagfold. But, being the adventurous lot that they are, they don't stay there for long. The Council has a mission - something happened at the Dwarven proving ground in the north-east. Simply put - the Dwarves go in, but they don't come out. Someone needs to discreetly check it out and 'unclog' this warrior producing machine. And who can do it better than a bunch of pyromaniac sociopaths.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Malevolent Architecture – dwarven architecture. Watch out, because the floor is lava, or in this cased full of giant spiders ready to bite your head off.[FALSE - There was lava but no giant spiders]
  • Rite of Passage – the obstacle course that can be found here is finally at least somewhat justified – what the team encounters during this adventure is a sort of proving ground where young dwarves become manly bearded killing machines. Or die trying.

    Session 7 - The harvest 

Teaser: The Dwarven proving ground problem is out of the way, but there are other pressing issues to be taken care of. A high-ranking official of the Durlag court has recently committed suicide. With nothing more than a cryptic letter to guide them, our protagonists must venture to the distant province he was tasked with overseeing and try to find out what, if anything, is really happening there. What starts as a night of fun and drinks quickly spirals out of control...

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:

  • Accidental Public Confession - more of a meta-gaming problem, but asking whether a spell will hurt you if you're 'hypothetically' evil is somewhat of a dead giveaway. At least we didn't have any doubts regarding Cynthia's alignment after that - we also try not to turn our backs on her.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil – the baron’s wife turns out to be the leader of the local Urgathoa cultist convent. With her husband helping and profiting from it.
  • Mystical Plague – the cultists plan to spread the “cleansing breath” of their goddess over the land of Ilyrium, claiming it as rightfully theirs in the process. The plague turns out to be some good old tuberculosis, but beefed up with magic.
  • Religion of Evil – the cult of Urgathoa, worshipping the goddess of pain and death, aiming to achieve a sickening abundance of pleasure and disfigure themselves the most to please their twisted goddess.
  • Cult – with robes, secret rituals, cannibalism and some other peculiar features, they more than qualify.
  • Indy Ploy – it just so happens that Cynthia more or less resembles the Avatar of Urgathoa. So let’s take her, make her walk down the length of a festive table for 50 people and decapitate the cultists’ leader while they watch in awe and fear. It worked…
  • A Friend in Need – Aras more than met his match here. He accidentally (he’s a MAN and he CAN’T control it) made the cultists’ leader fall in love with him. The cultists being the weird people they are proceeded to express their happiness by tying him up to a chair and making him watch and then eat dead sick people. The team managed to break him out just in the nick of time.
  • Captured by Cannibals – Urgathoa’s cultist eat people. Aras got captured by those guys. Enough said.
  • Off with His Head! – What happened after the Indy Ploy of a plan – the leader was decapitated with a scythe and it was epic.
  • Kill It with Fire – at the end of it all complete chaos broke out with ghouls running rampant – Tybald employed his typical fireball crowd control tactic.
  • Just in Time – Aras was tied up to a stone throne, probably about to be eaten alive. The team made it just in time.
  • Lethal Diagnosis – the strange sickness rampant throughout the surrounding area. If you as much as cough, you’re as good as dead and sent to a quarantine zone.

    Session 8 - Two towers 

Teaser: Before the Kingdom of Ilyrium rose to its former greatness, it was a land of elves. Nobody really knows what brought the very abrupt end of their reign, but many powerful artifacts can be found across Ilyrium that give testament to their power and glory. One of these is the Tower, built by the most powerful elven mage of the time. Rumors and books of ancient lore point to the northern ruins as the place where one can begin his ascent of the Tower. Needless to say, our team immediately heads up there to tackle the challenge in their own unique way.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Riddle Me This – the riddle’s which the team constantly has to solve in order to progress seem to be the long-gone mage’s favorite locking mechanism, culminating in the final riddle based on decision theory.
  • Only Smart People May Pass – the whole purpose of the guardian statue and the trials was to stop almost everybody and only admit the worthy to the secret entrance of the old Forsaken Tower.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service – the Spinx’s modus operandi and the team’s role during the final showdown at the top of the fake tower.
  • Riddling Sphinx – subverted, as she couldn’t solve the final riddle herself and thus made the team solve it for her.
  • Animate Inanimate Object – during the early stages of the Doorways Gauntlet, the furniture would come to life and start attacking the team, should they make a wrong decision.

    Session 9 - Perspectives 

Teaser: Destiny is a capricious lady - what it gives, it can easily take away. Plagued by the ever growing feeling of despair and looming threat, our protagonists decide to go above and beyond their standard modus operandi and try to foresee what their futures hold for them. What better place to do this than the Source, a placed rumored to hold all the answers to one's life. To rumors also say that some never return from their date with destiny. After all you yourself are your greatest enemy...

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip – the whole spiel of the Pond of Destiny, as Alvis ever so aptly named it, was to make the team exchange bodies. Tybald’s mind went into Alvis’ body, Alvis went into Halungalom and so on. Panic and mild fascination ensued.
  • Because Destiny Says So – everyone got a vision of what they are suppose to do in order to fulfill their destiny at the very end. The vision itself was pretty clear cut and only mildly open to interpretation.
  • Dream Land – where everybody went, as it later turned out, due to an evil witch’s magic.[FALSE - she was only using it against others, not creating or controling it]
  • Magical Negro – the shaman, for lack of a better word, living in the forest outside the cave is one of the very few non-caucasian people in Ilyrium and she has a more than apt knowledge of all things magical, include some rather very obscure spells and references…
  • Hellevator – the Pond of Destiny, sucking in Alvis and then the rest of the team and basically placing each and every one of them in a Dream Land version of their hell/life.
  • Human Chess – Tybald’s dream with destiny include life-sized chesspieces of everyone he’s ever met, with him as the main player
  • Don't Think. Feel – Alvis failed to grasp to concept of sorcery and spontaneous casting, opting instead to remain cold-hearted and analytical with a crossbow
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop – what it looked like at first, until the team figured out the pattern to the dreams they were seeing.

    Session 10 - Dirty job 

Teaser: The team has acquired a portal stone, enabling them to lay the foundations to their very own fast travel system. The question? Where to put such a portal, so that no unwanted soul would dare venture there and discover it. The answer? In the sewers. A quick romp through the sewage systems of Silandorn quickly takes a turn for the unexpected, with cultists and monstrosities abound. Also housing permits, mortgages and cutting in lines at hospitals by faking mental illness.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer – justified, as it’s the largest city in Ilyrium and also it’s the ruins of another, much older and bigger city
  • Down the Drain – the team gained entry to the sewers via a sewage drain in the hospital’s morgue
  • Obfuscating Insanity – Aras had to play this in order to get the team admitted into the hospital and to buy enough time for Alvis to scout out the location of the sewer entrance

    Session 11 - Shattered horizon 

Teaser: One could argue that all the signs were there. That it was all really inevitable in the end. As the ever growing conflict between the local princes finally reaches breaking point, the principality of Waldenfold makes a sudden move. Facing an invasion by a well trained and armed foe, Waldenfold and Durlagfold forge a rushed alliance and send their own armies to intercept. And our somewhat intrepid heroes find themselves in the middle of it all - choosing sides, trying to prevent a shattering defeat and in the end facing something no one was prepared for. The sky itself comes crashing down in this adventure, and in the literal sense.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Anyone Can Die – Alvis died during the decisive Walden push and Halungalom was beaten during the team’s battle with the alien abomination. Alvis was successfully resurrected while Halungalom was not – it served as a reminder that the team is not invincible and exempt from death.
  • The Alliance – Kivanfold and Durlagfold decided to put aside their difference and form The Coalition in order to withstand Waldenfold’s military might.
  • Came from the Sky – during the decisive push, a castle fell down from the sky. Nobody really paid it’s highly alien design any mind, nor was anybody too surprised to see invincible creatures made from black energy being spawned beneath it. Everybody just sort of hanged at the moment the castled started to burrow itself into the ground in order to disappear off the face of the Earth.
  • The Worf Effect – when a monster is capable of beating the unbeatable tank of a man that is Cynthia, you know things are serious.

    Session 12 - Dreams in darkness/Secret origins 

Teaser: After the decisive battle of the Coalition - Walden blitzkrieg leaves both sides scampering to lick their wounds and prepare for round two, our heroes are also left beaten and separate. With some on the verge of death, others need to find their way out of the underground cavern system and look for help. Time is ticking, but that doesn't mean you can't have a little heart to heart. With old secrets revealed, the team is one step closer to finding out what is really going on in the land of Ilyrium.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Ancient Tomb – the team finds itself in the ancient catacombs beneath the battlefield where the final battle of Ilyrium took place.
  • Dem Bones – a large number of old soldiers decided to take up arms again as skeletons.
  • Remembered Too Late – Alvis finally remembered that the book he was suppose to deliver during his early days in Walden contained a picture of a castle falling out of the sky, not unlike the one that almost crushed our heroes. Tybald got slightly upset and politely told Alvis not to withhold such substantial information next time.
  • Backstory - The boys share their life stories over a fire in a cavern. Also the first time anybody learns about the magnitude of knowledge Alvis actually has on what's going on (some of it actually surprised even him).

    Session 13 - Blood sports 

Teaser: With research into the true nature of their new foes underway, our team is tasked by the Council of Durlagfold with a peacekeeping mission. The annual Combat Arts festival is about to start. Once a simple retreat for those more combat inclined, it is now a symbol of hope and stability, uniting the people of all counties and offering some respite from the brewing conflict. But when you put the most skilled fighters of Ilyrium in one place, things are always bound to get ... interesting.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Not Just A Tournament – the annual festival plays host to a number of intrigues – somebody is incapacitating enemy players, there’s a strange sickness going around and the water tastes plain weird ...
  • Mystical Plague – subverted – it was actually a very common plague they were trying to spread, without the added mysticism of pneumonia.
  • Blood Sport or Deadly Game – a FIGHTING tournament, where one can find medieval equivalents of deathmatch and team deathmatch. While clerics are on standby to heal and/or revive those less fortunate, it still stands to reason it’s somewhat brutal.
  • Crippling the Competition – one of the more puzzling cases which the team couldn’t figure out – there one clearly a saboteur in the ranks, but he didn’t limit himself to just one team, as if trying to handicap the entire tournament…

    Session 14 - ...now you don't 

Teaser: Have you ever wondered what kind of impact you have on those around good? Are you a force of good or perhaps a vessel of destruction? You might have to take responsibilities for your actions when you least expect it. As our heroes venture into an old dungeon beneath an abandoned temple in search of certain scrolls, old foes make themselves known once again.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Evil Is Petty – while being crossed and having your life ruined by our group of happy adventurers can be reason enough to prepare and execute a dark ritual of unspoken power, one has to go all the way back to these villains’ origins: being mad just because or because you think a sawmill owner has crossed you is not reason enough to unleash the forces of hell.[FALSE - look at first "FALSE"]
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday – the team supposedly proved to be a pivotal force in the lives of some disgruntled people, but for the team it was just another day, which they soon forgot about.
  • Recurring Character: Starter Villain – a second appearance from our favorite band of misguided anarchists, including: [WHOM?]
  • Mind Rape – The Illusionists way of unsettling the team – induce upon them visions of horror and anguish. The visions included blood flowing out of stone walls, dismembered heads starting to speak and paintings coming to life.
  • Ritual Magic – the whole premise was a dark ritual that would grant the Disgruntled Three their much coveted revenge. They managed to pull through and placed a curse upon the team, but that was sadly it and no immediate effects manifested themselves. The team learned of it later.
  • Shameful Strip – the punishment the disgruntled Three received after their plot was discovered – they were given a stern talking to and given the option to flee in only their underwear, which they gladly took.

    Session 15 - Sense of scale 

Teaser: The Council has a new mission - a paladin has gone rogue. After being a paragon of good for almost his entire life, he has now turned to stealing and murdering. Seeming desperately intent on finding something, he spares nothing in his wake. Of course the best way to counter an unstoppable force is with another unstoppable force. Our heroes venture into the far south to track the rogue paladin down, all the while oblivious as to what awaits them at the end of their journey.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Our Dragons Are Different – the team met the western subtype of dragons, complete with a reptilian appearance, scales and startling intelligence. This one was different in that he decided to breath acid instead of fire. He was also very keen on learning new things, which actually proved to be the one and only possibility to talk to him.
  • Dragon Hoard – As per every dragon’s habit, this one proved to sport a sizable room filled with treasure. Alvis found a new trusty sword here and a lot of gold and silver, which he then promptly spent, in case the dragon ever decided to come back and take what is “rightfully” his.
  • Tunnel Network – the Kobolds, who consider themselves to be very close friends with the dragon (it’s mostly a one-sided relationship), have built a rather impressive nest adjacent to the dragon’s cave, complete with a hidden passage straight to his treasure room.
  • Black Knight – it’s where the team first met Victor, the fallen paladin. He proved to be more than a fair challenge.

    Session 16 - Alternative costs 

Teaser: To search for further clues and adventure, the team decides to venture east to the busy town of Elenport. But first they make a stop at the idyllic city of elves, the very last in the kingdom. With an endless summer-like weather and its inhabitants the (arguable) paragons of virtue, there can't really be any dark secrets hiding behind such a colorful facade...

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Hidden Elf VillageExaclty What It Says On The Tin – a village full of elves, hidden away from prying human eyes.
  • Bystander Syndrome – the elves consider themselves unattached to human affairs, mostly because of a somewhat Better Than Thou attitude. You can really feel it within the confines of the town.
  • Of the People – while they’re more than polite and open, you can clearly see and fell a distinction between how they treat other elves and everyone else. Case in point: Tybald got a fancy apartment within the main castle while the rest of the team had to huddle away in a tree house. A luxurious one, sure, but still…[FALSE: Tybald got it beacuse he is Elven WIZARD]
  • Close-Knit Community – they rarely leave their town and everybody basically know everyone else.
  • Tree Top Town – while the town itself has a few traditional buildings made of masonry to its name, there is also a fair share of tree-top housing, evoking a sense of one with nature in more ways than one.
  • Dead Hand Shot – the session ended on a very dramatic note, with Alvis being kidnapped by a mad female vampire (which is probably the worst possible girl you can get kidnapped by).

    Session 17 - Shellgame 

Teaser: The team launch themselves in a frantic pursuit after Minevra as Alvis slowly suffocates in his unknown prison. All bets are are off as one of the more powerful immortal vampires engages in a battle of wits with the team's merciless sorcerer. There's death, there's panic, there's epicness and there's also some very specific and careful choking for medical reasons.

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Shell Game – Alvis or Minevra were supposedly travelling inside a coffin on a cart. Sounds simple enough – just stop this impromptu convoy and all is good. Not quite… there are three group, all exactly the same, travelling in different directions. It’s time to place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.
  • Buried Alive – Alvis turned out to be trapped inside a freshly dug out grave, slowly suffocating while Minevra played the waiting game.
  • The Bus Came Back – Aras made a heroic (more or less so) comeback.
  • Terror Hero – when seeking shelter in a nearby town, the team did what every group of noble heroes would do – barged inside people’s houses at night, beat up the owners and simply took over.
  • Instant Drama, Just Add Tracheotomy – Romeo tried using his healing knowledge to choke a person ‘just right’. He doesn’t really seem to respect the “do not harm” rule.
  • Army of the Dead – Minevra’s defense force or at least what the team suspected at first, seeing overturned graves in every village they passed by.
  • Don't Go in the Woods – the woods surrounding the old Elven capital, to be exact. Only Macbeth knows what lurks there for sure (as he went inside himself), but he’s not talking.

    Session 18 - All Gods Eve 

Teaser: After the team successfully rescues their favorite inept thief (sans right arm), they set out for Elenport. But it's a long way there and there's this superb inn nestled against a mountain along the way and everybody is very tired... now why the heck is everybody dressed up as their patron deity? Oh right ... halloween! Costumes! Poker! People on fire riding horses and eternal damnation !

Progress map:

Session log:

The Tropes:
  • Stomach of Holding – When engaging in a drinking contest with the newly acquainted bard Balrin, Romeo tried to cheat by applying magic that would offset the effects of poison on himself. Barlin used a simple dispel and it kind of screwed up everything.
  • Headless Horseman – the team saw it out of the window of their room – a person on fire riding a horse.
  • Masquerade Ball – The tradition of All Gods Eve is to dress up as your patron deity (or any deity for the matter) or one of their servants.
  • Drinking Contest – Romeo challenges Balrin to such a contest to prove that elves are superior to dwarves. Everything goes downhill from there…
  • Bar Brawl – What the Drinking Contest inevitably ends up with …
  • Elves Versus Dwarves – the whole underpinning of the Balrin vs Romeo debacle, but in reality it was simply to get Barling drunk and then to pillage his room. Still, it was mainly Romeo’s idea, so one might still argue that it all boiled down to a racial dispute.
  • Haunted House – what the whole Eve turned into very quickly, with strange illusions and monsters from foreign lands invading the inn.

    Session 19 - Poisoned Well 

Teaser: After almost burning down the inn and probably scarring at least one bard for life, our heroes set out in the direction of Elenport once more. But alas, fate has something entirely different in store for them… a very elusive hole has opened up in the ground right off the beaten path and there’s some weird green gas coming out of it that poisons anyone who comes in contact with it. In light of these developments our protagonists do what any sane person would do in their place - jump right in an take a deep breath !

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  • Malevolent Architecture - the dungeons our brave explorers fell into via the above-mentioned hole turned out to be a forge built by dwarves. And we all remember their affinity for traps… Also the birthplace of the “suddenly - an axe to the head!” group meme.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You - the doors are electrified! The friggin’ doors! Floor panels of doom, portable tendon-cutting knives, wall-arrows and trained giant spiders are understandable. But the doors!? What next? Spiked toilet seats ?
  • Dungeon Crawling - one of the most typical dungeon crawling adventures the group has attended, but with a nice twist at the end.
  • Giant Spider - Level 4 was strangely quiet, until the team met the pet tarantulas. How they managed to survive for so long (roughly 1000 years) without food is a whole different matter…
  • Deadly Gas - the very reason our brave psychopaths embarked on this quest - a strange, poisonous gas coming out of a hole in the ground. Turns out to be a mix between actual poison gas and a cloud of spores from the mind-controlling fungus residing downstairs.
  • Fungus Humongous - starting at level 3, the true cause of all the strange things going on becomes apparent. A strange kind of fungus has strewn itself across the underground passageways and rooms. Said fungi are somewhat large, but he truly humongous ones appear on the last level, right next to the cray priest responsible for the infection.
  • Mushroom Man - the residents and the scouting party sent in to amend the situation were turned into these via the parasitic spores emitted by the fungi.
  • Fantastic Flora - on more than one occasion. First there were colorful fish without gills, and later what seemed like 3-5 kinds of mushrooms all rolled into one somewhat disgusting and disfigured plant.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different - Unfinished Business seems to be the case here, with a certain dwarf caring about his machines even after death and asking out heroes to clear the room of those pesky ‘shrooms so that said machines can “work” again.
  • Magic Versus Science - for what little the team has managed to piece together, the previous owners of the forge tried to construct a steam engine and usher in a world without magic. They were punished accordingly it seems…
  • Shock and Awe - whatever kind of dwarves were living here previously, they certainly had an affinity for electricity, what with all the lightning-based traps (if thhe trap relied on magic in any way, it was usually lightning-based).
  • Giant Squid - the final boss - the mad priest jumps into the pool of poisonous goo, turns into one and proceeds to rip our heroes a new one.
  • Combat Tentacles - Alvis and Mr. Giant Squid - especially after said squid caught Alvis and proceeded to go full hentai on him. Luckily he managed to squirm out just in time.
  • Portal Door - Alvis falls into one during the final fight. Needless to say he doesn’t bother coming back and helping his teammates, instead opting to stay in a warm and cozy room and read up on old elven scripture.
  • I Have No Idea What I'm Doing - Alvis started using this a lot during this session. Especially obvious with the secret room he found at the end, of which he supposedly had no previous knowledge, which he didn’t see and which he found entirely by accident.
  • Wall Master - the crystal troll hidden inside a crystal wall. Pure ninja skills combined with Alvis’ incompetence.
  • Drop the Hammer + Precision-Guided Boomerang - the throwing hammer the team stumbles upon can only be described as a combination of these two tropes. With enough skill one can easily throw, chain-hit a few enemies and have the hammer come back to him like a boomerang. Is that you Mjolnir ?
  • Locked Door - Alvis’ nemesis on level 2 - after some failed attempts and skewed logic the door finally got fed up and electrocuted our lovable thief. The same trope awaited the team on level 4, with the whole floor being one giant locking mechanism for the hatch in the middle.
  • Watch Out for That Tree! - it’s more like loose bricks and giant stone spikes, but Alvis did mange to score a spectacular fail when swinging from one platform to another. Luckily enough, he hit the pavement right in front of the team’s cleric, who was already prepared, as if expecting the painful outcome from the very start.
  • Slapstick + Amusing Injuries + Shot in the Ass + Accidental Aiming Skills - Alvis really pulls of the comedic relief act in this one, with tons upon tons of slapstick coming his way. The most notable highlights include being electrocuted by a door, getting shot in the butt (twice in one fight!), smashed around by a troll and speared a few times by angry goblins. The poor dude just can’t catch a break!

    Session 20 - Private means/Late for the party 

Teaser: The team finally arrives at Elenport, the city of riches and endless opportunity. Then they promptly depart. At least some of them. The more opportunity minded ones (the thief and the cleric, a surefire comedic duo) decide to lag behind and finish up on some unfinished business, while the pure and noble mage with his entourage decide to explore some nearby islands in search of some long lost ruins and treasures. Both teams get what they wanted and then some more, with powerful (and mentally unstable) forces tracking their every move.

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    Session 21 - Limited offer 

Teaser: The team is back together and everybody has a problem they want them to solve. A truly exciting romp through the everyday lives of average NPCs, complete with lost cats and dogs, demons that need slaying, an ancient legend locked up in an abandoned building, foreign envoys wanting to obtain some exotic beasts and some crazy lizardmen eating merchants and causing havoc on the local economy. Seriously, is there nobody else doing these things ? Are we the only ones ? Do these people go “oh, look, there’s those gullible idiots – I could handle this myself, but why not take a day off, sip on some drinks and these guys are going to do it for me” ?

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    Session 22 - See no evil 

Teaser: Since foreign envoys from countries where gold is cheaper than water usually pay well, our heroes have decided to humor the requests of one such envoy and obtain a rare and exotic beast – a Basilisk. Armed with very cool anti-petrification glasses (which “are probably suppose to going to somewhat work, I guess”) they venture to an abandoned and half-destroyed fortress south of Elenport, which is suppose house the beasts they’re after. What follows is a lesson on why you should always kill all your enemies, least they come back with reinforcements. Also – why outsourcing and unskilled cheap labor is not the answer. Also – glowing sheep!

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    Session 23 - Personal demons 

Teaser: Xert, the resident expert and all things hell-related, is entertaining an old friend. He asks our brave heroes to accompany him on his quest to rid Elenport of evil and corruption. Seriously, how hard could it be ? It’s not like he’s some uncultured barbarian with completely foreign views on civilization, culture and society. And it’s totally improbable for the whole thing to be a big setup in order to get him here, with innocent lives on the line.

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    Session 24 - Art for art's sake 

Teaser: Finally, the big festival is here! Hoping to brush up on their political connections and perhaps find some rich backers and/or sponsors, our heroes decide to somehow elbow their way into high society. As it turns out, those aristocrats sure do know how to throw a killer party…

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    Session 25 - Let there be glory 

Teaser: After their expectations being totally wrong two times in a row, our heroes try something totally mundane and standard, hoping for a break in the recent breakneck pace. But the problem with doing totally mundane and ordinary things is that there are probably other people also doing those things. Probably at the same time. Enter the Silver Gryphons – when good is not enough! Friggin' adventure-stealers…

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    Session 26 - TBA 

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Imperial BeachTroper WorksIvalice Adventures

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