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Campaign journalby RPGPundit
So, we just finished another session, which went really well. Here's the update:
Sir Firearm's player was ill and could not attend, as such, very soon after arriving on the Hollow world he comes down with a very bad jungle illness, and falls into semi-consciousness.
The PCs spend a few hours getting used to their weird surroundings, and discovering that some of their spells don't work.
Then one of them, with boots of levitation, flies up to get an aerial view, and sees only jungle, some lights across the bay to the south (he doesn't really know its south, since he can't orient himself here), a big swamp to the south and west, mountains to the north, and ocean to the east.
The PCs decide to go around the bay toward those lights. After a day of travel they come across an abandoned camp, very recently abandoned. They theorise they are being watched, but fail to spot anyone.
That "night" (not really night in the HW, but when they're resting), they run into an old Indian, deformed, and with some symbols the cleric identified as probably religious. He doesn't speak a word of common, but they make out that he belongs to a tribe called the Atrauhualco, and that he's impressed they came out of the ruins where the "Head of Atruatzin" resides. He warns them about the lights to the south, they make out that he thinks its a bad place, and that the people there follow Atzanteotl, who they already know as a bad dude. He also notices that two of the party are elves (calling them Tzevel), and implies that there are some elves in this world, far far to the west.
Based on that they decide to avoid going south, and head straight west instead.
They travel on for several days through the jungle. On another moment where the Halfling uses his boots to get an aerial view, he gets attacked by a Pteranodon. He and the cleric start wrestling with the pteranodon in the air, getting it to fall enough that the elf, who was a bit behind the others using Fly, could cast "charm monster"; figuring that it would be REALLY COOL to have a pteranodon mount to get them places faster. Unfortunately, after some wrestling, biting and fighting, they find out that Charm Monster doesn't appear to work in this world. With no other choice, they fight the monster till it crashes to the ground dying. At least they get some pteranodon meat for supper.
Continuing on, they skirt along the north of the swamp, following the course of a river. Up ahead they see a fort with the same kind of pyramid-architecture that the ruins of Atraughin's palace had, but at that moment the magic metal-detecting sword tells them it detects metal in the swamp, and they decide to go their first. Making their way through the swamp, they find a bog with a huge tree. Inside the tree is a demon, who taunts them, and then charges out to attack. The Cleric casts dispel evil, the demon fails its save, and is banished back to the plane of entropy.
Finding very little treasure there (only some silver pieces and a weird tablet), the PCs are told of more metal to the south (again by the sword), and follow it till they are eventually beset-upon by a party of faeries (who look like little winged Aztec warriors). Trying to parley rather than fight, the PCs manage to communicate with the faeries that they killed the demon in the bog, and the faeries, suitably impressed, stop attacking and instead lead the PCs to their grove. There the PCs meet the Faerie Queen herself, who appears as a woman of extreme beauty, based on what each pc imagines as extreme beauty. She speaks common, and expresses her gratitude for the work they have done ridding this swamp of the demon. She asks them for the tablets, warning them that the tablets contain a powerful entropic ritual. They choose to give it to her freely, and she rewards them by telling them a bit about the world, telling them where they are (the hollow world), what this place is (a kind of museum to preserve extinct cultures), and that there are people from the surface world here (a colony of Heldanners on one of the floating islands and a community of Alphatians deep in the jungles west of here, expressing her dislike of both groups). Finally, since the PCs are unable to teleport, and with her immortal magic she can do so, she agrees to help them by teleporting them near one of the two groups. They choose the Alphatians.
The party ends up in the jungle some distance from the colony, and they begin heading there. Along the way they run into a squad of Alphatians capturing a bunch of Nogai warriors to take them to Haldemar for "re-education". They reluctantly help the Alphatians (since the Alphatians are only capturing, not killing the natives), and take them back to Haldemar. Once there, they are interviewed extensively by the General in charge of the settlement, who determines that they are not agents of an enemy government, and he basically believes their story of how they got there. They manage to avoid pinpointing where on the surface world the mystic conveyor of Atraughin is to be found, and because two of them were once hired as spies for Alphatia, the General agrees to let them stay in Haldemar, and send word (through the tunnel that links Haldemar to Aegos on the surface world) to the Empress herself about the PC's presence here.
In exchange, while they wait for the word to be sent and a response to arrive, the PCs are thoroughly debriefed about everything they know about Karameikos, the Shires, Darokin and Monorchid.
Hathalon also has an affair with a female skyship captain and goes flying; Galafilo hangs out with the halfling engineers, Alendalan learns how to make scroll paper, and Corwyn spends time talking to the chief cleric, whom he learns is deeply opposed to the use of Nogai slave labour. The cleric comes to trust Corwyn and expresses his feeling that his immortal wishes him to put an end to the abuse of the Neathar peoples.
After a few more days wait, while the only thing interesting that happens (other than Hathalon bonking the captain) is a Tyrannosaurus Rex hunt, the Head cleric confesses to Corwyn that he's done something drastic, and revealed the defences of Haldemar to the Heldannic Knights. He warns Corwyn because he thinks Corwyn is a fellow thinker, and offers to take the party with him in hijacking one of the digger machines used to build the Aegos-Haldemar tunnel and fleeing before the Heldanners arrive. Corwyn refuses, but sensing the Cleric is only following what he believes to be the wishes of his immortal, he is reluctant to hand the cleric over to the General, so he gives him an hour to leave.
An hour later, just as Corwyn confesses everything to the General, several Heldannic warbirds de-cloak and bombard the town. Most of the Alphatian skyships are docked and get destroyed in the first attack. Only the Tyrant, Hathalon's captain-girlfriend's galleon, gets into the air on time.
The PCs get into action. Hathalon and a young lieutenant board one of the shuttle-boats and fly toward one of the Heldannic Warbirds, despite being totally overmatched. Corwyn, realising there's no chief cleric present, takes over the sick bay. Galafilo initially helps the halflings turn around the lightning-bolt artillery on the defensive wall, and then joins Alendalan and a group of Alphatian commandoes in doing a "fly"-based boarding of one of the Warbirds.
The battle progresses. Hathalon gets close enough to one of the warbirds, avoiding its cannons as best he can, to allow the lieutenant to cast Web over one of the cannon turrets, causing it to explode and crippling the ship. Corwyn watches as the General single-handedly downs another warbird with a meteor swarm, only to hear an explosion coming from the tunnel site. He and the general realise that the attack was a distraction while someone (presumably the Heldanners) sabotaged the tunnel, and they both run toward the site. There, while the General fights off a team of Knights, Corwyn gets into a long battle with the Knight-Cleric who led the strike team; its a tough battle but eventually he defeats the Heldanner.
Galafilo and Alendalan board another warbird, fighting the knights on board, while Alendalan uses his rod of cancellation, cancelling the ship and causing it to come crashing down.
Between the PCs, the Tyrant, and the Halfling Lightning Artillery, they manage to turn the tide, and the two remaining Heldanner ships limp away.
But the damage has been done, the Tunnel that linked Haldemar with the outside world is destroyed, as are most of the Alphatian skyships. The general orders one of his officers to take the last remaining digger and start tunnelling to the surface world, and he orders the captain of the Tyrant to fly through the skyshield; figuring one or both of them will be able to reach Alphatia and inform them of what happened here.
Since the PCs excelled in the battle, the general decides they can be trusted, and offers them the option to travel either with the digger or with the Tyrant, back to Alphatia. The PCs debate this, and decide to go on the Tyrant.
So ends this session.