The Silver Empire

Dragons are worth more than steel

After a few days’ travel, the team arrives at the enemy mountain base. They set up a perimeter around the entrance and observe. A troll exits and begins muttering something in Giant. After a minute or so of observing, the party attacks the troll and dispatches it. Jarn uses his new flame breath to turn the troll to ash after the party subdues it.

The team closes in the perimeter and the party enters, meeting another pair of trolls inside. Jarn blinds one and the party begins fighting; the blind troll flees while the other fights, hitting Sven hard. The fighters take down the trolls without too much difficulty afterwards and Jarn barbecues them. Alain heals Sven with the last of his healing belt.

Will continues his inspiring down the hall, and Roderick sneaks ahead to scout. The Kaltans have established a barricade and have turned out all the lights to hide their numbers, but the Scout’s Headband held by Roderick gives him more than enough vision to make out enemy archers on the top of the barricade. Jarn makes Kaeli invisible and her and Roderick sneak into the enemy position.

Kaeli begins the fight by killing three enemies in the enemy guard tower, while Roderick snipes the enemy druid from a hidden position. Will hastes everyone near him and Alain and Sven take to the air, flying over the enemy barricade at the most obviously threatening enemy; a half dragon wearing full plate. Alain and Sven unleash their full attacks (Alain having used conviction to move into position), Despite haste, 7 attacks and 2 destruction smites, the halfdragon stands and retaliates back, hitting Sven for pretty serious damage. The halfdragon’s allies swarm Alain, chopping at him and Sven for no real damage.

Himoor charges the barricade armed with sword and shield, leaping to the top of the barricade and engaging one of the archers, dropping him. The archers all open fire at him, but he takes minimal damage to his ridiculous HP.

Jarn runs up to where Himoor is, using his lizard claws and strength to easily scale the barricade. Jarn fires his breath weapon at the archers, catching two on fire but doing relatively minimal damage.

Kaeli moves up to support Alain, cutting a path through and denying the enemy flanking.

Roderick snipes another dude.

Will scales the wall with a helping hand from Jarn and attempts to CC the halfdragon, but fails.

Alain drops the halfdragon with another hit and starts working on his buddies.

Himoor moves down to support Alain, dropping another enemy.

Some of the enemies begin to flee; one runs into Will and hits him for damage. Will makes a bluff check to act like he isn’t hurt (but he totally was). Enemy archers fire at Himoor, Alain, and Jarn but no hits are scored.

Jarn breathes fire directly into the melee; due to his Endure Exposure invocation, his allies are immune while the enemies are scorched lightly (his breath is kinda weak).

Kaeli moves up to support Will and knocks out the enemy attacking him.

The remaining enemies have either fled or surrender or are dispatched.

The party brings most of their team inside and stabilizes the dying enemies. Will and Sven are healed with spells.

Moving further into the stronghold, the party encounters another group of enemies, but they are convinced to surrender. Alain and Sven rush ahead to cut of an enemy retreat and find another iron barricade and a stable area. An enemy slams the barricade shut and attempts to bar it, but Sven rushes forward and tears the door completely off its hinges. The enemy barring the door shits his pants. A nearby werewolf in a chef outfit charges at Sven and hits him again (what the fuck!).

The rest of the team charge ahead and Alain attempts to fight the werewolf. He is marginally successful but impeded by the lack of a silvered weapon in hand. Will hastes the rest of the party, while HImoor and Kaeli rush forward to fight the werewolf as well. Kaeli deals mediocre damage, but Himoor is carrying a silver greatsword and he drops his weapons and draws it as he rushes the werewolf, taking him down quickly. Alain rushes the last remaining enemy and Sven goes in to grapple him. The enemy captain is pinned by Sven, surrendering immediately.

A few remaining enemies are captured and the base supplies are taken control by the Iskur forces. The Iskur make plans to secure the stronghold and use it as a garrison point.

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Steel is worth more than gold

During one of the meetings mentioned in the previous entry, the Iskur mention that movements have been made against the Iskur’s holdings in the east. Razra describes the attackers as skirmishers, probably mostly mounted archers and expertly trained. Chamaak has already left to attempt to deal with the problem and Kaeli makes plans to head out.

The team holds a reserve contingent back at Fjallbaer and sends a significant fighting force (1 platoon + Tanner + Hoffman + support personnel) to help bolster the Iskur defenses at one of the less-defended villages in the path of the skirmish forces. Hoffman and his unit immediately begin bolstering the defenses at his point and working with the local militia, most of which are hunters.

Meanwhile, the heroes (Kaeli, Alain, Will, Jarn, Roderick, and HImoor, plus their pets) mobilize to locate the enemy base camp and stymie their efforts. After a brief encounter with winter wolves, Kaeli and Prince Reichelt II reason down where the enemy must be coming from. The team identifies the leader of the skirmishers, an elf captain with significant skill (a BAB 6 martial). Kaeli and Roderick infiltrate the camp, identify the captain’s tent and sneak inside to look at his campaign maps. She finds that he’s a student of a particular Jahari military scholar and predicts his attack point. Alain and Himoor are dispatched on Svenskeren to warn the attack point in advance; with Sven’s impressive flight speed they can outrun horses and aid the defense.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team work to identify targets of opportunity; they sabotage the enemy supply wagons and find that the enemy is on alert for werewolves. After doing all that they can to prevent the enemy from escaping with most of their equipment, Kaeli and Roderick go about elminating the small unit commanders covertly. After a few are dispatched, the camp goes into a panic, realizes something is wrong and begins to pack up, but the supply wagons won’t move and there is almost no leadership. The camp fractures at the seams; people cannot decide which direction to flee. Unfortunately for them, a fire in the camp started earlier attracted Chamaak and his team of werewolves who attack and the camp falls completely into disarray. Kaeli and Roderick exfiltrate without being discovered.

Alain arrives at the town and finds that it is the village being defended by Hoffman’s team. Even still, the number of expected attackers is approximately the same size of the number of combined defenders, and with one superhero on each side (with Himoor being a bit low level) and the attackers possessing superior weaponry, things seem a bit sketchy if the defenders actually do battle with the enemy directly. Himoor uses his own tactical insight and Kaeli’s revelation on how the commander thinks to make a gambit; he puts everyone concealed and indoors, and makes the town look abandoned. The Frusnans agree to this plan (as the local militia captain has no experience).

When the Frusnans arrive, they hesitate, and fire a few arrows into the town to see if there’s an ambush. When there’s no response, they bail, recognizing the non-Frusnan fortifications and guessing that there might be a trap. The commander completely avoids the base camp on his return, guessing that his camp might be compromised because his attack was forseen despite him not telling anyone about the attack destination prior to departing.

After a day of waiting for him to arrive at the base camp (and looting the camp), Kaeli’s team determines that the commander isn’t coming back and heads to the village. Between interrogating small unit commanders, going over the enemy captain’s notes and utilizing the Tome of Worldly Memory, the team identifies a possible fallback point; a strongpoint in the mountains nearby.

The heroes assemble a small team of volunteers from both locals and their own men, leaving a good number to defend the village, and head to the mountains to capture the strongpoint.

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Someone will be going home tonight

Tribal council happens.

The delegation (led by DaFarge and Venkman) makes its appeal to the tribal leaders. There are some questions from Razra (Iskur tribe warchief), Chammak (Scarred Wolf chieftain/warchief), Svalten (Svalten chief), both Leaf Whisperer reps and Sunak (Ice harvester chieftain).

The delegation emphasizes (greatly) that they are not representing the Empire, but rather the two houses of the Empire actually interested in Frusna’s well-being (Rothenburg and DaFarge) and that the Empire itself will not be pleased if a solution to the ice problem isn’t eventually found. The council is told about the eventual plans to advise the Frusnans on Imperial political matters after the war is over, and the strategy to win the war via as little conflict as possible. DaFarge and Venkman both note that the Empire is a bunch of fuckers and the Kalta have every right to be pissed off. The eventual goal for the Imperial delegation is to get the Kaltans to sit down and talk rather than actually beating them into submission, but the Kaltans are not likely to talk until the Iskur make it clear that the Kaltans won’t win the war if it continues.

A significant amount of time is also discussed on battle tactics and training and what Kaeli brings to the table. FYI: it’s a fucking lot. Some discussion is also made on how Sol the Biter went down; Venkman confirms that strategy was involved and Solukaal walked into a trap, but he was still slain in direct combat.

After the meeting, a few other meetings happen. Razra thinks that getting tribal leaders to work together will be impossible and she’s tried before. Kaeli agrees that it’s going to be a problem and they have some options, but ultimately Frusna isn’t an island and they can’t just continue on as things were. Chamaak is brought up as an issue and Kaeli says she looks forward to showing him the dirt, face-first.

A bunch of intel gathering eventually leads into a meeting with Rashim, who is trying to get the stuff back. He leaves Kaeli a note telling her that he wants to meet with an Eyes rep and he’s willing to pay 35k to get shit back.

A bit of trickery has Rashim meeting with Daniel Clooney (actually JC in Shadar-kai form). Rashim wants his stuff back and is willing to pay. He also wants involved with the Eyes, whom he knows are beginning to muscle into Fjallbaer (because JC, Roderick, and Senko are doing work to do so). Clooney does a good job of making it look like he has more assets than he has (Kaeli and Roderick are positioned to cover him) and that Rashim isn’t as valuable as he actually is, getting Rashim to agree to play by his rules. Clooney also voices that he’s pissed that Rashim let Kaeli know there’s some organized crime elements working under her nose to divert attention away from the fact that Kaeli is obviously involved.

A dead drop is set up and Clooney tells Rashim that it will be a couple weeks before he knows where the stuff is.

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Stealing is bad okay

Around the time that the party is setting up to meet with Senko, the camp is approached by Orus, the son of the Iskur tribal leader. Orus likes the Empire. He leaks some info but he’s mostly just hype to be hanging with the Imperials. He wants to help and we’ll let him help eventually.

Roderick comes back to the team after routine intel gathering with a who’s who of various locals, and an arms dealer that sells to Kaltans comes up. The team (minus Alain and Jarn) set up a plan to rob the arms dealer and put the blame on the Kaltans.

After a day of casing the joint, the team sets up Prince Reichelt II and Kaeli for insertion. Under the cover of darkness, she scales the wall on the side of the warehouse and uses a rope to cross over to the warehouse. She then travels along the roof of the warehouse to the main storefront of the arms dealer. Upon arriving at the back door of the storefront, Kaeli waits to make sure that the guards pass by her. Prince Reichelt II waits outside on top of the warehouse.

Kaeli proceeds to rob the storefront of most of its obvious valuables, as well as a few things that probably aren’t valuable, including at least half a dozen everburning light stones. She leaves a number of Imperial copper coins lying around, in order to make the job look like a frame job by the Kaltans.

Upon reaching a case locked with a command word activated alarm item, Kaeli realizes she’s going to need some help. She signals to Prince Reichelt II to come in and explains the situation. Prince Reichelt II flies to Venkman, who shares Magic Savant (extended) with him. He flies back to Kaeli, and uses his buffed UMD to easily disable the alarm device. She steals everything in the case, breaks the case, and Prince Reichelt II activates the alarm. She then stuffs both him and the alarm device into her bag of holding and bails, evading guards and ditching her pursuers.

The away team returns to camp. Venkman takes custody of the bag of holding, intending to shadow cache it prior to any actual investigation.

The next day, before tribal council, local authorities come to ask questions about the robbery. The camp agrees to lead an investigation, but obviously the investigation bears no fruit. Rupert seems convinced that the robbery is a frame-up (without hearing about any of the evidence) and is concerned.

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Herrrrrrrrooooo

After arriving in Fjallbaer, Venkman immediately begins hunting for the people that have been chasing after Kaeli for the entire story, as he assumes her pursuers have finally gotten ahead of her. Roderick and Prince Reichelt II find them easily after a day of searching.

During this time, Venkman also begins setting up pro-Empire local information networks while Kaeli, Alain, Jarn and Sven make themselves visible around town to help build positive reputation.

The pursuers turn out to be from Nou, an island country in the seas north of the Empire. A quick battery of Knowledge checks gives us some ground to work with; Nou is ruled by dragons (green dragons, lol), and is a trade partner with the northern coastal nations. They fought with the Empire ages ago, but the relationship is a tenuous peace now. Merchants from Nou do trade around Ellis’ hometown and in Jahari frequently, as well as (presumably) the underwater kingdoms. Their relationship to the lizards is somewhat unknown.

One of the Nou agents is a bard, while the others are presumably warriors or NPC rogue-equivalents. The team uses Kaeli’s overt actions to lure the Nou agents into a meeting.

The Nou bard reveals himself to be Aburashi Senko, a retainer to the Akaiyama clan, one of the noble families of Nou. He explains that the Akaiyama and Rothenberg families are related by blood, and his lord wants to arrange a meeting with Kaeli. Senko and his crew are allegedly tasked with assisting Kaeli until such a time as she is capable of meeting with Akaiyama-dono.

Further discussion reveals little other than the fact that Senko is a retainer of Akaiyama purely due to merit (which isn’t too surprising, he’s a bard). Venkman gleans during the meeting that Senko is a 6th level bard (at least Class 2). It’s pretty clear that he knows more than he lets on (he’s a bard).

Because Kaeli cannot step away from her current obligations, she explains to Senko that she would be willing to meet up with Akaiyama-dono after things are settled in Frusna. Senko is tasked with setting up the pro-Empire information networks and left to his own business.

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The path to the West opens

After the Biter is defeated, the allied forces rally to defend against the remainder of the enemy forces.

The battle is roughly 250 or so allied soldiers versus roughly 200 enemy soldiers.

Lucas and Roderick move into a covert position under the cover of darkness and attack the enemy camp with a Fireball spell, delivering heavy casualties. Kaeli and the allied war chief Toasty (or whatever) rally the allied forces and attack. The enemy is drawn into disarray; most of the enemy soldiers are captured or killed. Toasty’s forces suffer light casualties. The mercenary corps suffer none as they are engaging at range in order to avoid potential friendly fire incidents.

After the battle, the allies reconvene. Toasty provides the team with a letter recommending Kaeli to the tribal council, as well as confirming her kill on Sol the Biter. The team trades off Solukaal’s breath weapon girdle for a dragoncloak of resistance for Kaeli. The rest of the team banks the cash, and the company moves on to the Frusnan capital with Toasty’s blessing.

Upon arrival, the team spends some surplus cash; Ellis picks up a Haversack; Alain and Jarn each get a Circlet of Mages and Roderick gets a shiny new mithralmist shirt (this is not on his character sheet, must fix).

The team announces their arrival in the capital and notifies the authorities.

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Wah dein vokul mahfoerook asht vaal

The party ambushes several Kaltan patrols.

The Iskur authorities notify the party of a halfdragon warrior who is on the hunt for Kaeli after the attacks. The team moves to intercept. The battle is short and brutal. Kaeli takes 7 damage from the halfdragon’s breath weapon and the party shreds through the halfdragon and her allies. Several of them surrender and they are returned to Iskur captivity.

Alain and Kaeli go through some character development in the immediate aftermath. Lucas is put on the bench to help Rupert with negotiations and serve in a more strategic capacity. Maybe someday he’ll actually have fireball on his list so that actually works.

Venkman produces a plan to defeat the dragon. Sam directs Jarn poorly, forgetting that he needs Alain to target an ally that Jarn made invisible. Nice job, Sam. After wasting one of Jarn’s numerous spell slots, the party then buffs up to insane levels.

Sam also constantly forgets where in the plan’s timetable the current moment is and constantly has to be beaten upside the head with what is clearly written in the plan.

The dragon fails to hurt Kaeli with its breath weapon, thanks to her newfound Evasion class feature.

Nick also demonstrates a lack of understanding about how the z-axis works, but after explanation he realizes his mistake. It wasn’t a huge deal regardless and Venkman’s use of a Downdraft scroll drops the dragon to the ground in front of Kaeli.

Everyone else otherwise performs correctly and Jarn rolls big big damage on his ray of enfeeblement, dropping the dragon to 10 STR. This by itself pretty much ends the fight as the dragon then lacks the attack bonus to effectively hit Kaeli’s massively buffed AC.

Alain lets Kaeli get the last hit, somewhat due to character development or something. Nobody cares.

The dragon dies a full 2 rounds before my expectations. I guess I underestimated the attack bonus on Interfaith Blessing when calculating hits and damage. Also, one of the bisons gets a charging crit for 37 damage, roughly 1/4 of the dragon’s HP.

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Old people suck

At the town, Kaeli attempts to pick up some items at the local shops and hears about a nearby druid who does business with the town.

ITS GRANDMA

Grandma and Kaeli talk a bunch about family, and they get Kaeli high on dragon drugs. It doesn’t amount to a whole lot. Alain finds Venkman (who is gathering info around town) and tells him about the old lady.

Grandma drops a number of knowledge bombs:

  • The nevermelting ice has a source of some kind, and it is running out
  • The fact that the ice is running out was discovered by Wolfgang (that asshole)
  • Wizard magic could probably solve the problem, but there is exactly one wizard in Frusna that isn’t traveling with us, and he’s probably trying to save the world

Using massive skill boosting, the team identifies virtually all information about the dragon, codenamed Sol the Biter (the Bad Guy).

  • Sol is a jerk
  • He is a hedonistic asshole and likes lording his power over other people
  • Like most white dragons, he hates stronger dragons, especially red ones
  • There is a 60 billion double dollar bounty on his head (or about 20kgp in Frusnan silver)
  • He only speaks two languages: Draconic and Frusnan
  • He doesn’t have many useful skills
  • He has INA for his bite attack (ouch), Power Attack, and Power Dive
  • He has no known hoard, though he wears a gorget of tempest breath (10kgp)

The team conjures a plan to attack a scouting party, have it retreat with the knowledge that arrogant dragon hunters are coming, then slay the dragon when it comes for us.

Items are purchased, and Kaeli is taught some basic offensive phrases in Draconic regarding the relative value of white dragons compared to reds.

A significant discussion occurs where Rupert does not want to stay while the dragon problem is handled, fearing entanglement with the Kaltans or an international incident with the Iskur before formal diplomacy has started. Alain and Venkman want to keep the company in place, while Rupert does not. A meeting is called and a compromise is reached, training the team leaders in basic Frusnan etiquette. Venkman works with the civil authorities while Alain works with the military ones to help ease the burden as well. Sgt Hoffman offers to help reinforce the town’s fortifications, and Kaeli approves the mission.

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We shall pass

The party advances into Frusna, now completely off of Imperial soil. After a few days, they spot scouts ahead on the road. The expedition does a quick scout, which Alain helps with his use of the Wieldskill spell. GO ALAIN

The scouts identify a second party of Frusnans in the trees. The players (Kaeli, Alain, Venkman) go up to talk with the scouts while Roderick is sent to steal anything that could identify them.

Negotiations last a while, and Venkman suggests that Kaeli head back and organize the front ranks of the expedition for a potential attack. The Frusnans get nervous at this, and Venkman identifies their dialect as Kaltan. He gives the signal to attack to Kaeli and battle breaks out. Kaeli rides up and starts raining arrows on the enemy, Jarn uses Glitterdust, Lucas uses Sleep. The enemy druid uses Fog Cloud (which makes no sense given his role as a raider) to obscure his team’s position. The army unleashes a volley of crossbow bolts into the cloud and hits a few people. Alain charges into the cloud and deals some damage while Kaeli follows up, riding into the cloud herself and dealing some big damage. No enemies escape.

Two enemies (knocked out by Sleep) are still alive. Roderick has the druid’s satchel, which contains messages identifying them as raiders. The team takes the two surviving fighters and interrogates them. Nothing particularly exciting comes out of them. Kaeli uses their info and documentation to identify their outpost’s position and patrol routes.

The company moves towards the next pro-Iskur town, and the party (Kaeli, Alain, Venkman, Jarn, Roderick, and an expert) conduct recon of the town before the company moves in. The town is in control of the Iskur, so Venkman sends a message back and has them move in.

The party speaks with the military base and finds that they are outnumbered by the Kaltan home camp (where the raiders came from). Of greatest concern is a young adult white dragon who is terrorizing their scouts and patrols.

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The last stop before the storm

Meeting back up with the expedition, the team learns that Rupert has authorized scouting parties to check out the southern Imperial fort while waiting for the team to return. Everyone approves of this decision, so waiting for the scouting teams to return becomes the next plan.

Once the scouts arrive, it’s revealed that the tower was hit by some kind of attackers. The attackers left no clues, including blood and bodies of fallen soldiers. Himoor, who was on the scouting party, claims that they were missing magical support, which kept them from learning more. Venkman volunteers to go check it out since he can travel by air. Kaeli gives him the OK, so he takes off “in dragon form” to scout the place.

Meanwhile, after some pressing from the Doctor, Alain challenges Himoor to a friendly sparring match. Kaeli sets up the ground rules and the two go at it. Alain wins, but Himoor messes him up pretty bad and Kaeli is impressed. She offers to teach him how to fight like a real warrior, and he agrees.

Venkman identifies that druids were likely involved, as well as a large number of half-dragons and a Huge white dragon. Oh dear. Returning to the camp, Kaeli uses this information to deduce that a Frusnan tribe of eco-terrorists is responsible, and they were also likely responsible for the frost salamanders from before. The threat of an H white dragon has everyone on edge, since it’s something that could wipe out the entire expedition by itself. Venkman postulates that the dragon is the reason why Vanja — our missing silver dragon — is missing; it’s likely that she wants to deal with this white dragon for muscling in on her territory, but is possibly even afraid of it. Based on Venkman’s knowledge, this dragon is likely a mature adult female named Saerileth (it’s something else, but due to the naming similarity, she’s Saerileth just like Professor Farnsworth and Geordi LaForge are part of the expedition).

The team does a bit more research into these eco-terrorists before leaving.

note: 2HD warrior versus 6HD cleric in a martial battle, warrior nearly wins lolol

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