Blaze


Adventure: The Last Command
Sessions: 2007-06-03, 2007-06-04
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Tyrian
Status: Human Paragon 1/Wizard 1/Human Paragon +2/Master Specialist 4/Fatespinner 4

An End and a Beginning

The day was going to be a rough one, Orilam knew, as she was awoken abruptly by falling two feet. She took a couple seconds to realize that she and Tyrian had both been teleported to the Inner Guard Enclave. That wasn’t so much of a problem, since both of them had been here before, and both had access. What was a bit odd was that the two of them were both naked. What was a bit embarrassing was that Sir Blaze was here, and definitely not asleep. What was a bit alarming was that Tyrian sported a rather large gash in his side.

“Ack! Invisible attackers! Gimme a hand here, Blaze.”

Orilam’s commanding officer hurried to her boyfriend’s side and channeled his divine powers of healing with a touch. “Sir Tyrian, what has happened!?”

Orilam covered herself as best she could as she ran to the supply cabinets to find a couple sets of clothing for herself and Tyrian. She returned a short while later in a simple white tunic.

“…couldn’t see him, despite all my perceptive aptitude, so I can only guess that it was a well-trained ninja.”

Blaze nodded. “Very likely. You should check on the others immediately; if I’m not wrong, this assassin will try for the lives of your compatriots if he has not already.”

“Good idea! Orilam, grab me a couple scrolls of sending.”

A moment later, Tyrian tried to activate the items with a shout of “Ankmopar!”

Tyrian frowned, as he noticed that the magical writing did not disappear. He failed activating the scroll. He never failed with magic. That could only mean…

“Blaze, I think Nebu’s dead.”

The sound of Blaze’s knuckles crackling emanated from the Priest’s desk. “Try the others.”

A couple minutes later, after failing to reach Siivrell and Teferi, Tyrian was finally able to reach Mike, the now-human monk. “Mike, are you OK? Assassin attacked tonight. I can’t reach the others, possibly dead. Meet at the cathedral immediately.”

Tyrian spoke to his girlfriend as he quickly casted an invisibility and a fly spell on her, “Go quickly to the Keeper’s chambers; that place should be warded against attacks.

Orilam nodded. “Please be careful.”

***

Orilam and Jaela gathered about the basin of water in the latter’s chamber later in the afternoon. Tyrian, Blaze, Mike, and Sovelom and managed to destroy the assassin, and recovered Siivrell, Nebu, Teferi, and Ankya’s bodies. Since Blaze’s death and true resurrection some time ago, Jaela had become much more paranoid about death, and had fortunately stockpiled five scrolls of true resurrection. They were put to good use.

Blaze and Krozen each led their faction of troops to Morningcrest, where they planned to mount the first stage of defense, while Tyrian et al. had traveled on air skiff to scout out the enemies.

Orilam gasped. “What are they doing?”

“It’s obvious. They’re going for the airships. Thrane and Karrnath both lack air superiority; those are going to be dangerous later on if not destroyed now.”

The image in the water proved Jaela right as the adventurers freed the huge fire elemental powering one of the airships. The moved on to another, and then another, and soon the fleet was completely in shambles.

“Your Grace, they did it! Now Flamekeep will have nothing to fear from the skies.”

“Hardly. There are four more armies, so they’ve maybe defeated a fifth of the air threat. But it’s a good start.”

***

The group headed to the next army.

“Tyrian! That fool, what’s he doing!?” demanded Jaela as Tyrian jumped off the airskiff to hover some hundred feet above the foot soldiers.

“Look, Your Grace.” Orilam pointed to a few warforged in the corner of the field of vision. “Those look like casters; the first army didn’t have such a squad.”

“Well, I sure hope he doesn’t try anything stupid. Those warforged may not be able to stand up to him one-to-one, but there are a lot of them and only one of him. Oops, too late!”

On screen, Tyrian casted a protection from arrows spell on himself, before casually tossing an empowered fireball to the center of one of the caster squads. The targeted few evaporated as expected; however…

With the efficiency of a well-practiced army, all foot soldiers from the entire army turned to face the no-longer-invisible Tyrian, and let fly a hail of arrows. The first of the volley were harmlessly deflected by Tyrian’s spell, but there were simply too many arrows. Tyrian, realizing his jeopardy, quickly started to incant a teleport spell, but did not have time to complete it, as the thousands of arrows struck into him from every angle.

Orilam fainted.

***

Orilam awoke with an uncharacteristic scream, before realizing she was still in the presence of the Keeper of the Flame. “Your Grace..?”

Jaela nodded sadly. “His friends have recovered the body, but Tyrian’s dead, no doubt.”

Orilam quickly knelt before her master, and begged out in tears. “Please, Your Grace, please! The last scroll…”

Jaela hesitated. “But, it’s the last. The main battle has yet to start. What if Blaze were to fall tonight?”

“I beg you, Your Grace! Sir Blaze and Tyrian are close as brothers; surely he would agree as well! You’ve heard Tyrian neutralize the threats of the vampires and Vol. Surely with Tyrian alive, the battle will be that much more in our favor!”

Jaela bit her lip as she considered the consequences. Finally, she nodded. “You and Tyrian have been served me well these years, and I owe you at least this much. Ready the altar.”

Twenty minutes later, a new body for Tyrian appeared out of thin air at the end of the invocation. He awoke with a Fireball ready to throw, and bracing a grimace of pain.

“Tyrian!” Orilam clamber atop the altar to embrace him.

“Welcome back to the land of the living,” spoke Jaela as she wiped the sweat off her brow. “And try to stay away from the land of the dead for a while.”

Tyrian gritted his teeth. “Those damn warforged! I’ll turn them all into slag iron tonight.”

Jaela stormed up to the altar and slapped him. “What part of the order ‘stay alive’ don’t you understand!? If it wasn’t for Orilam begging me so insistently, I’d have been content to raise you from the dead some months later. And that’s the best you can hope for if you get yourself killed again today.. assuming we actually defeat the warforged armies.”

Tyrian considered this sullenly. “Are the rest of them still kicking?”

“They’re fine for now. It doesn’t look like they’ll be directly confronting any more armies after your shining example. Now teleport your butt to Morningcrest and tell Blaze that he has strict orders from me not to die today.”

***

“Finally, it’s beginning.” The image in the water showed the warforged troops, some 80 000 strong, marching relentlessly toward the fortress-town of Morningcrest. A few squadrons of warforged titans broke rank to besiege the city walls, while the main column of troops marched ahead toward the main gates. Blaze stood atop the gates of the city in his usual combat form, that of a cervidal. With his falchion, he directed the volleys of the Thrane archers, while shouting encouragement and healing the nearby injured.

In the other scrying pool, the air skiff bearing the Tyrian and his companions veered to the eastern side of the city.

“Good to see they’re learning from their mistakes,” noted Jaela as she witnessed Tyrian throw some three iceballs without returning to common sight. “Greater invisibility.”

“Your Grace, Tyrian’s single-handedly destroyed the right wing of titans!” Orilam beamed.

Jaela nodded, “Yeah, it looks like it was right for me to resurrect him. The western city walls are taking quite a beating though, they to need to hurry.”

As the front line of warforged troops approached the city gates, tornado-force winds whipped thousands of the metal-clad soldiers into one another in the air. Some minute later, the winds died down, leaving only the scattered metal remains of those consciousnesses awoken but a few weeks ago.

“No blood, no soul,” muttered Jaela. “The enemies have no purpose, no value, and no hope for salvation.”

“Your Grace, some warforged are fighting on our side. There is the one called Watcher, and there is that magic shop owner…”

“I wonder if those few are truly different, or if they have other treachery planned. I have heard many a tale of heroes who have fallen through the actions of their comrades.”

The image in the water scrying on Tyrian suddenly shifted to the interior of the city. Tyrian teleported himself and Teferi there, where some number of Teferi’s followers had gathered. The shadow dragon rampaged in the background, breathing the pestilence of the Mournland onto the home of the paladins of the Eternal Dawn.

“That fool Tyrian! Are they trying to take down the dragon with just the two of them!?” Jaela motioned her hands and quickly casted a sending spell to him.

“Tyrian! Do not engage that dragon! This is a direct order! Dragons can sense you despite your invisibility. Clear out immediately!”

“Negative. That thing’s doing too much damage to ignore. Teferi says he has a plan. I’m here to bail him out if it doesn’t work.”

An instant later, the shadow dragon stopped in its tracks. The gnome pointed at the warforged airships, and the dragon obediently flew directly towards them.

A minute later, Sovelom and the rest caught up to Tyrian and Teferi. A round of congratulations later, they took off again for the battlefield abreast the city walls.

Sovelom suddenly handed Tyrian the steering wheel, and jumped off the air skiff, soon to be followed by Nebu and Siivrell. Tyrian suddenly grinned wide, and jerked the air skiff suddenly in a vertical loop.

“What a show off!”

“Your Grace! The Lord of Blades himself!”

Indeed, it was hard to miss him now, for he was a full seventy-two feet tall, towering over the battlefield. With a powerful smash, he shattered the heroes’ air skiff, and carried through the blow to temporary captain Tyrian. The giant size lasted but a moment though, and quickly he returned to his normal self. Though the remnants of the air skiff crashed to the ground below, Ankya, Teferi, Mike, and Tyrian stayed aloft.

With two quick motions, Tyrian zapped the enemy leader in a Dimensional Anchor, and encased him in a shroud of force, effectively sequestering the mighty warforged general from the battle. This however, also lasted but seconds before it was dispelled by an enemy spellcaster.

In an instant, the seven adventurers morphed into war trolls. Several of them engaged the Lord of Blades in melee, while others continued blasting away with spells. And then…

It was over.

***

“Today, we stand at the dawn of a new age. An age of rebirth, where yesterday’s errors will not shadow the light of tomorrow’s coming. An age of unification, where all that is light and good in Eberron will unite against the powers unleashed by the lich-queen Vol and the now-dead Lord of Blades. An age of expansion and cleansing, where those nations indulgent of evil shall be purged along with those actively working against us.

“Citizens of Thrane, Breland, and Karnath, we have stood together against the most formidable army of ruthless killing machines the world has seen, and won. Our friendship has been forged in battle, and shall be further tempered in war. Our triumvirate alliance has been sealed by victory, and together we shall band together to sweep all before us.

“First, we must retake Breland, and restore the rightful heirs to the throne. I, Blaze of Flamekeep, shall personally lead an elite contingent of three hundred paladins to serve as the vanguard in the campaign to retake Sharn from the hands of remaining warforged. The City of Towers shall rise again, reaching closer to the stars than ever before! Citizens of Breland, I pledge to you that your home shall be yours once more!

“From there, we shall march onwards with vengeance to Droaam! For too long have we been distracted by our own petty squabbles, and allowed this monstrous state to grow strong. These fiends dared side with the soul-less warforged, but they shall soon pay for their treachery. Our warriors, hardened in experience and outfitted in trophy-armor of the bodies of the defeated warforged, shall make short work of the hags and harpies.

“Along with Droaam, Darguun will also receive its comeuppance. With the mists of Cyre lifting, Lord Kaius of Karrnath has mobilized his troops for immediate departure on a south-eastern campaign to punish the goblin state, with the full fury of warrior spirits both alive and returned to life. We of Thrane have promised our unconditional support for them, and all citizens of Thrane are to treat Karrnathi citizens as brothers in arms, offering quarter and supplies as requested.

“The remains of Galifar’s nation has too long be splintered. Today, we make our first move towards reunification!”

***

Tyrian smiled. “A good speech, Blaze.”

“Thank you, my friend. Not only for your half-hearted compliment, but more importantly for the invaluable support in the Battle of Flamekeep.”

“You seem to have omitted Aundair, Zilargo, Valenar, and all the rest on the hit list.”

Blaze’s jaw tightened. “One can only face so many opponents at once, as I believe you learned early yesterday morning. There is nothing to gain by declaring hostilities so soon on them. However, rest assured that their actions shall not go unpunished. With the vast stores of adamantine scrapped from the husks of the warforged invaders, we have enough resources to sustain war for a hundred years. But the soldiers will tire, and Breland needs rebuilding. Punishment to Aundair can wait a couple years.”

“What of the Glowing Chasm? The rate of monsters appearing have diminished but the ones already here still pose a threat on the safety of Thrane and Karrnath.”

“It’s true, but the threat is local, and others are already making moves to neutralize that threat. Your friend Siivrell and her jade phoenix mage companions, for one. Druids and rangers from the Eldeen Reaches, representing a faction known as the Gatekeepers, have also arrived to assist. What of the rest of your companions? Are they willing to serve Thrane?”

“Not so sure about that. Mike seems to be interested in opening a temple, while Sovelom is heading back to reconcile with his family. The gnome Teferi and his followers could be persuaded given the right approach. I should be able to talk Nebu into assisting us; he seems like the reliable sort.”

“Good. We march on Sharn three days from now. You mentioned before that you wanted to fight by my side again; the time has now come.”

Tyrian raised his eyebrows. “Does that mean I have a three-day vacation until then?”

Blaze laughed. “As you wish.”

Player’s Notes:

Mmm… portentious. I foresee a Rome-like era.

Tyrian’s final Statistics:

  • Str: 9 (-1)
  • Dex: 8 (-1)
  • Con: 14 (+2)
  • Int: 16 + 3 + 2 + 4 = 25 (+7)
  • Wis: 14 (+2)
  • Cha: 10 (+0)
  • hp: 76
  • Base Atk +6
  • AC 7, touch 7, flat-footed 7
  • Fort +5, Ref -1, Will +15
  • Init: +24

Special Abilities and Effects:

  • Bat familiar (+3 Listen checks)
  • Focused Specialist (Evoker)
  • Prohibited Schools: Enchantment, Abjuration, Illusion
  • Adaptive Learning (Use Magic Device always a class skill)
  • Ability Boost (+2 Int)
  • Fickle Finger of Fate (immediate action to force another’s reroll, 1/day)
  • Spin Fate (4 points, add to DC)
  • Spin Destiny (add Spin to skill check, attack roll, or save instead)
  • Deny Fate (auto-stabilize when below 0 hp, 1/day)
  • Resist Fate (1 re-roll per day)
  • Minor School Esoterica (Evocation): +2 Concentration for Evocation spells
  • Permanent Spell: darkvision (60ft)
  • Permanent Spell: see invisibility
  • Permanent Spell: read magic
  • Skill Trick: Tumbling Crawl (crawl 5 ft. as move action, Tumble DC 15)

Spells:
0th—detect magic ×3
1st—feather fall, grease ×2, nerveskitter, swift expeditious retreat, [magic missile ×3]
2nd—rope trick, scorching ray ×4, [scorching ray ×3]
3th—piercing shivering ray ×5, [fireball ×3]
4th—piercing iceball ×3, [explosive cascade, piercing iceball, resilient sphere]
5th—teleport, greater fireburst, [ball lightning, cacophonic burst ×2]
6th—disintegrate, [lingering flames (to power reserve feat), piercing ball ice ×2]

DC: 17 + spell level (19 + spell level for evocation)

Traits:
1. Aggressive (+2 Init, -1 AC)
1. Slow (+1 HP/lvl, half base speed)

Flaws:
1. Poor Reflexes
1. Vulnerable (-1 AC)

Feats:
1. Guerrilla Scout [+1 initiative, Listen and Spot always cost 1 skill point]
1H. Improved Initiative
1F. Spell Focus (evocation)
1F. Sudden Silent [Silent Spell 1/day]
2W. Scribe Scroll
3. Quick Reconnoiter [+2 initiative, Listen and Spot as free actions]
3HP. Energy Substitution (cold) [good for not damaging buildings/ships]
5MS. Skill Focus (Spellcraft)
6. Fiery Burst (+1 caster level for Fire spells, Nd6 burst (5’ radius) of fire as standard supernatural action, Reflex half DC same as Nth level spell)
7MS. Greater Spell Focus (evocation)
9. Action Surge
12. Piercing Cold [+1 metamagic adjustment, ignore cold resistance, do ½ damage to cold immune, do double damage to cold-vulnerable]

Skills: Listen +24, Spot +24, Spellcraft +29, Concentration +19, Use Magic Device +21, Knowledge (Arcana) +22, Tumble +14

Gear:

  • Weapon: +1 warning dagger [+5 insight bonus to initiative]
  • Waist: belt of battle [3 charges/day, 1 = extra move, 2 = extra standard, 3 = extra full round; +2 competence bonus to initiative]
  • Head: headband of conscious effort and intellect +4 [Concentration check instead of Fortitude save, 1/day]
  • Eyes: goggles of perception [custom: +4 insight Listen and +7 insight Spot]
  • Neck: empowered spellshard (fireball) [3/day +50% damage for fireball]
  • Hands: gloves of device mastery +6 [custom: +6 competence bonus to Use Magic Device]
  • Arms: bracers of spell aiming +2 [custom: +2 enhancement bonus to touch attacks]
  • Carried: handy haversack, lesser rod of metamagic empower ×3, lesser rod of metamagic energy substitution (acid), lots and lots of scrolls
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Adventure: Before the Storm
Sessions: 2007-05-05, 2007-05-12
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Blaze
Status: Paladin 2/Cleric 7/Fist of Raziel 1

PC: Tyrian
Status: Human Paragon 1/Wizard 1/Human Paragon +2/Master Specialist 4/Fatespinner 2

A Mission for Tyrian

Blaze, High Priest of the Silver Flame and incognito personal confidante of the Keeper of the Flame, paced the floors of his office restlessly. He succeeded in his quest to destroy the bridge and the warforged lieutenant, thus providing critical delays to the advance of the enemy armies, but had uncovered something more troubling in the course of doing so.

The Lord of Blades, through means of an evil artifact, was controlling a local vampire. Rather, several local vampires. Blaze and his erstwhile companions had traveled to the lair of Lucan, the vampire, but met with great difficulties. Perhaps they should have rested after that battle with the guardian purple worm, but Blaze himself had insisted on traveling further, that no time would be lost before the advent of the living construct army. And that had cost the lives of three of his compatriots.

And the most disturbing part was that the vampire who felled so many heroes wasn’t even the master. She was Antinua, a citizen of Aundair who had previously trying to slay that powerful undead. The next time adventurers face Lucan, they would not only have to contend with Lucan and Antinua, but also Taris and Anson. Blaze felt some little comfort in knowing that he saved the most morally upright of the group though, a House Lyander human-turned-kobold by the name of Sovelom.

***

A knock sounded on his door.

“Come in.”

Orilam, the elf waif he rescued some three years ago on the plains of Talenta, entered. Orilam was not who he expected to see. “It’s you? Where’s Nugeph and Rood?”

“Her Grace, seeing the imminent threats of the warforged of Breland, has reassigned most of the Inner Guard to reconnoiter the enemy. Only a skeleton crew is left here,” replied the girl pensively. “I apologize in advance for any mistakes I may commit.”

“Oh, sorry Orilam. I’m just in a bad mood because of recent events. What do you have to report?”

“Craftsmen around the city are working around the clock on forging new weapons, aided by priests who remove their weariness from lack of sleep. The Crown Knights are training all willing city inhabitants in the ways of the crossbow and spear. Our militia currently numbers 10,000 strong, and within the week that number should increase to 30,000. Should the Flame bless us with six weeks to prepare before the upcoming battle, every man and woman over 15 will possess a crossbow and basic training in its use.”

Blaze nodded. “Well, onto the bad news now. How much time do we actually expect until the attack?”

Orilam bowed her head. “Reports on that are spotty. The enemy being warforged and not needing to sleep, they could force march and be upon us within four days. Possibly even faster for the vanguard. Rood reported yesterday that there are rumors within the lower ranks of the warforged army of awaiting reinforcements of some sort.”

‘Ah, yes, reinforcements,’ thought Blaze. There was some small chance that his cause would also be augmented by the dragons of Argonessen, but dragons are a long-lived people and slow to react. He dared not place too much faith on their support, despite the promises of that young gold he rescued.

“Oh!” spoke Orilam, as if suddenly remembering something. “Tyrian checked in this morning, reporting success.”

“You got that right, Sugar!” pronounced the haughty human of some twenty years, appearing instantaneously beside the elf hand, and playfully giving her a slap on the rump. “Perfect success, Blaze! Our stores of weapons-grade adamantine has increased by 253 pounds, and mithral by 177 pounds. And some exorbitant tonnage of steel. Those warforged are walking mines!”

“Um…” stammered Orilam, sporting a deep crimson blush. “Sir Tyrian, could you please remove your hand?”

“But why, Sugar? You know you like it, and Blaze here isn’t dumb enough not to know our relationship.”

Blaze rolled his eyes. True, he knew about Tyrian and Orilam, and didn’t disapprove. But he did repeatedly tell Tyrian to restrain himself in public.. and especially in the presence of the other members of the Inner Guard. It could cause… morale problems.

‘Ah, well,’ thought Blaze, ‘it’s just me here tonight anyway, and it sounds like Tyrian really did pull off a stunning success.’ “Mission report, Sir Tyrian.”

Tyrian grinned widely at his girl, and gave his report without changing hand positions. “Worked just like I planned. Waved a caravan of mithral-gilt iron in front of a company of warforged, and they took bait. Lured them into a nice valley, with nowhere to hide from my Fireballs.. and, well, the rest was just salvage their metal.”

“Casualties on our side?”

“Two scouts got pincushioned. I’ve recovered their bodies, cremated them, and informed the families.”

Blaze nodded. This was good news. “Tyrian, you’ve earned yourself and Orilam a half-day vacation. Report to me at 6 am sharp tomorrow morning.”

Tyrian grinned. “You’ve got it, Boss!”

***

“Tyrian, I have another mission for you. Extremely dangerous. Involves slaying multiple vampires. Are you interested?”

Tyrian raised his eyebrows expectantly. “Well, now, I’m so glad you asked. Us bros haven’t done a job together since that Aerenal expedition eight months ago. This’ll be great!”

Blaze hesitated. “I won’t be able to join you this time, Tyrian. With warforged army poised to attack at any moment, it’s already a huge risk sending you out. And in fact, I’m giving you a time limit. Teleport back here exactly three days from now, no matter what the status is with the vampires. Your top priority in this mission is to return alive exactly three days from now. Is that understood?”

Tyrian nodded.

“Good. Now, I have some gear for you.” Blaze took out a small knife. “I found this little thing in Xen’drik not long ago. Here, catch!”

Tyrian reached out with his right hand to try to grab it by the handle, but fumbled and dropped it. He sheepishly picked it up. “But…”

“Yeah, I know you don’t like to use weapons. But this one’s special.”

Tyrian detected a sudden movement in Blaze, and instantly reached out his left hand, readying a spell.

“See?” smiled Blaze, as he replaced his weapon in its sheath.

“Improves my reaction, eh? Impressive little piece. Thank you.”

“I have some more stuff for you to pick up with our quartermaster. Here’s is a map to the vampire’s lair, as well as a partial map of the inside. It’s probably safest to teleport to near this point on the Lightning Rail, and travel the remainder distance on horse. Also beware guardian monsters outside the ziggurat–last time I had to face a giant purple worm. Oh, you may also run into some of my former companions. There’s a human monk named Mike, an undead halfling named Alia, and a gnome named Teferi. Beware that they may be less… reliable… than you’d hope.”

Tyrian raised an eyebrow. “How unreliable are we talking here? Is it worthwhile for me to… reduce the risk, so to speak?”

Blaze shook his head, “Oh, no, no. I just meant that they may be prone to craven tendencies and may ‘be busy’ just previous any climactic battles, but I doubt they’d actively work against you. Again, remember that your life is more important than any objective here.”

“Will do. I’ll be there before noon.”

Player’s Notes:

Oops, made a mistake originally… Human Paragon makes me lose a caster level, so the earliest I can take Fatespinner is 9, not 8.

Oh dear. Vampire planar shepherd? O_o Really, *really* need to win initiative against him (which fortunately shouldn’t be hard).

So, Tyrian makes a really good team with Blaze, since they have mutually complementary roles and abilities: Tyrian is slow, low-AC, and poor saves, while Blaze is fast (in Cervidal mode), high AC, and uber saves. Tyrian covers the reacting first in every encounter, and can use Warning Shout from a scroll to make Blaze not flat-footed (and hence capable of casting Delay Death). In terms of the four classic roles, Blaze covers Fighter and Cleric, while Tyrian covers Wizard and Rogue/Monk.

The campaign is more or less zarked if Tyrian gets Vampirified. We’d all have to play monks or rogues the next time around.

Tyrian’s base stats:

  • Str: 9 (-1)
  • Dex: 8 (-1)
  • Con: 14 (+2)
  • Int: 16 + 2 (leveling) + 2 (paragon boost) = 20 (+5)
  • Wis: 14 (+2)
  • Cha: 10 (0)

Adventure: Grasp of the Emerald Claw
Sessions: 2007-04-09
Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Blaze
Status: Paladin 2 / Cleric 6

Dangers of Xen’drik

The fourteen-year-old girl waited expectantly in her chambers for some fifteen minutes. She did so every night, for she did not want to risk missing the message; the rest of the palace was blocked against magic of such nature, and it was only through her own subversion that it was possible in here.

The visage of Jermon, a.k.a. Blaze, appeared before her at the expected time.

“At ruins of ancient temple. Joined up with group of adventurers; they’ve dealt with Emerald Claw previously. Encountered ancient warforged from Age of Giants; reanimated from schemas. Miss you.”

Jaela paused for a moment to gaze at her friend’s form before responding. “Boranel calling banners from Wroat. Diani sent personal knights to assist with situation; likely trying to befriend Breland. Sent Adinlan after them. I miss you.”

As the image of her knight flickered away, Jaela wished resentfully (and not for the first time) that Jermon would just once not speak of “important” matters on these nightly calls, and just spend some time talking to her. Really, there’s rarely much of absolute import that Jermon had to speak to her of: The Inner Guard he provided for her was much more effective than him at uncovering and delivering world news, and even barring those, Jaela finds out quite a lot just from the official channels.

Plus, Jaela scryed on her friend multiple times every day, and was in general aware of his adventures and misadventures. “After all,” reasoned Jaela, “I can’t have that fool getting himself killed again.”

Still, today was more eventful for Jermon than most though.

(Morning)

Blaze emerges from his Rope Trick extradimensional space, and after stretching a bit, proceeds to create water, using his inverted shield as a bowl. After washing his hands and face a bit, he releases his shield, and bid it to protect him. He then summons a horse, and takes off in a gallop, following the river.

(Mid-afternoon)

Blaze appears to be in a ruined temple of the cyclopean variety, and was currently brandishing his Flame-touched holy symbol. Across from him, a girl (if she could be called that, for she was clearly undead) stands angrily and throws a cup of liquid at him. The liquid hit the paladin, but he did not cringe–Jaela wasn’t sure if that meant the liquid was *not* unholy water, or if Blaze was just being macho again.

Blaze’s companions mediates for a bit, and Blaze eventually turns away from the necromancer girl and towards a large stone column rising some 150 feet into the air. He casts a spell, and then flies straight up, as his companions clamber up the sides.

The top of the column leads to a new floor, which was strewn with bloody body parts. A giant warforged paces around, converses with the group for some time, before launching a large pile of rubble at one of Blaze’s human companions.

At this, Blaze casts a spell and transforms into a cervidal, and then charges toward the living construct. Jaela tsk tsked. “He’s going to get himself killed again sooner or later if he doesn’t curb that reckless attitude of his.”

An mental alarm went off in Jaela’s mind at this moment though, and she quickly dismissed the spell from her basin of water. Time already for the meeting with Breland’s ambassador.

(evening)

Blaze and the others (including the undead necromancer) have set up camp besides what looked to be a shoddy airship. They are gathered around a cooking fire, and converse with one another–with Blaze pointedly ignoring the undead girl. A large marsupial zombie lurks in the background, but does not attack.

Jaela grew bored of the scene quickly, and walked to the library to find a diverting book to read.

Player’s Notes:

Obviously, Adinlan is one of the Inner Guard.

Trying a non-standard method of recording events now.

Player: Dave Zhang
PC: Blaze
Status: Paladin 2 / Cleric 6 (Silver Flame)

“I’ll miss you!” shouted the girl, with tears streaming down her face.

“Wipe away those tears, Freckle-face. What would the Cardinals say if they saw their dear Keeper in tears? Throw me in a dungeon, most likely.”

Jaela punched him. “Can’t you be serious for once? I won’t get to see you again for I-don’t-know-how-many years. You’re the only one I completely trust; I’ll feel so much less safe with you gone. Not to mention, alone… with you gone, who can I tell my nightmares of the demon within the Flame?”

“I won’t be gone that long, dear Jaela. And you can cast Sending to tell me your nightmares.”

“It won’t be the same. Jermon, promise me you’ll contact me every week!”

The lad shrugged. “Can’t you just scry on me?”

He was punched again. “All right, all right, I promise.”

Jaela sniffled again. “I still don’t understand why you have to go yourself. Can’t we just send out a task force to do all of those things? I’ll promote you to Silver Retainer, and then you can be by me day and night.”

“You said yourself: I’m the only one you can completely trust. Any task force we assemble is bound to have at least one man on Diani or Krozen’s payroll. While my competence may be suspect, my loyalty assuredly is not.”

“I have every confidence of your coming success. But.. be not away too long, and remember that courage is the complement of fear. Be not fearless, for to me you are worth more than any artifact you can manage to recover or any army that I can assemble.”

Jermon nodded, took out his handkerchief, and wiped away the girl’s tears. “It’s about time for me to go.”

She nodded, stood up straight, and looked to her companion expectantly. Her friend hesitated a moment before giving her a friendly embrace.

She smiled when it ended, and incanted some words of divine power.

In a moment, the two of them stood just outside the gates of Flamekeep. The Keeper saluted her knight. “Sir Blaze of Flamekeep, I bid thee well.”


Jermon was born in Flamekeep, where the strong expression of his ancestral heritage was immediately recognized and put to good use. He began his harsh training as a Paladin at age four. Jermon’s parents were civilians, and did not have access to the inner quarters, but fortunately a kindly priestess (Meizi Daran) who lived next to his new quarters took care of him.

Meizi had just given birth to a daughter during Jermon’s arrival, named Jaela, and as Jermon grew older, he learned to love Jaela as a sister. When Jaela was selected to be the Keeper at age six, Jermon had assumed that he hardly ever again speak with the little girl, but was quickly pleasantly surprised. Jaela’s acceptance of the position was not unconditional: Most pertinent, Jermon and Meizi were both promoted to the rank of High Priest, with special priveleges of meeting the Keeper. Though a bit regretful that he must stray from the path of the Paladin, Jermon accepted, and applied himself to the arts of the Cleric.

Now, five years later, a number of threats to Jaela have surfaced. Jermon was in a unique position to observe them, for he was in a position of moderately high rank, yet most assumed him to be a naive brat up-jumped due to nepotism. Thus, the conspirators of this faction or that were much less wary than they should have beeen of the Keeper’s most loyal companion. Recently, though, that has started to change, as Jermon grew into young adulthood. No longer could he hear the whispers of usurpings and briberies, though he knew they still persisted.

Then, there was the demon in the Flame. The Voice of the Flame, typically attributed to be the Paladin Tira Miron, was but one of three that haunts Jaela nightly. The demon, though the least powerful voice of the three present, was dreadful when he did command the power of the Flame: Many a night did the youthful Keeper awaken in screams from the threats and nightmares the demon caused.

As a result of the above and others, Jermon decided to journey from Flamekeep to accomplish a number of goals. They are as follows:

  1. to reconnoiter the other nations and their states of readiness for re-kindled war,
  2. to discover the extent of Diani ir’Wynarn’s plans to usurp power,
  3. to seek an artifact that can permanently destroy the demon within the Flame and ease Jaela’s sufferings,
  4. to help solidify Jaela’s position within the Church and Thrane against the Council of Cardinals (esp. High Cardinal Krozen),
  5. to discover the secrets of the Day of Mourning that ended the Last War, and
  6. to recruit a loyal contingent of persons of high ability who would answer directly to Jaela.

Jermon, knighted as Sir Blaze in carrying the wrath and power of the Silver Flame, was nominally on a quest to find new converts for the Silver Flame and to destroy evil where ever it lurked. Many of those in power in Flamekeep viewed this move with little suspicion, thinking him to be but a haughty boy seeking his first adventure. He had even heard it whispered that some believed him to yearn the brothels of less puritanic nations. Jermon, prior to his departure, did his best to deny these rumors in the most unconvincing ways possible.

In the three years that followed, Jermon has been moderately successful in most of his tasks. He established contacts of some sort or other in most major cities, and is relatively confident of getting at least one day’s warning before any major political manuevers. He recruited some twenty men and women of various talents and the highest moral benchmarks, and sent them back to Flamekeep. Jaela named these the members of the Inner Guard, and placed them in positions of low nominal rank but high strategic importance within Flamekeep. He even recovered an artifact bracelet from Aerenal that allows Jaela to suppress dream invasions (for obvious reasons, the Keeper does not use it continuously though).

That is not to say that he was entirely unobstructed in his quest. Blaze was killed once when he snooped on the dispositions of the royal family in Korth a bit less than subtly. Jaela cried secretly for days, and hoarded diamond offerings for weeks before she could cast the True Resurrection spell. (She dared not draw from the official Silver Flame treasury, though she was fully entitled to–at best, the people of Thrane would view her as profligate and whimsical; at worst, the conspiratory Cardinals would realize that their puppet was no longer mindless.)

Other than that unconventional method of returning to Flamekeep, Blaze has returned twice to his city of birth. Both times though, he felt tails on him, and thus refused to see the Keeper except on the most formal occasions.. for which he had to apologize profusely afterwards. Blaze realizes that eventually the other players would realize that neither he nor Jaela are pawns any longer, and on some level he yearns for that day to quickly arrive, for then he could see the Keeper once more. But every extra moment the two of them had to solidify their position was precious, and Blaze was not so selfish as to jeopardize Jaela’s life for a moment’s worth of reunion.

For now, he journeys to try to understand the Day of Mourning, and the significance of the powers that caused it on Thrane.


The last message Blaze sent to Jaela via sending (scroll):

“In Sharn. Warforged revolt involves Emerald Claw. South House Cannith arrested for creation of new warforged. Rumored undead dragonmarked warforged. Headed to Xen’drik. Miss you.”


Player’s Notes:

This build will be focusing on two combinations:

  • Power Attack + anyspell (wraithstrike) for damage
  • delay death + Diehard for HP invulnerability

Aasimar Paladin 2 / Cleric 6 (Silver Flame)

Base Stats:

  • Str: 14 + 2 (leveling) = 16
  • Dex: 10
  • Con: 10
  • Int: 12
  • Wis: 14 + 2 (race) = 16
  • Cha: 13 + 2 (race) = 15

So, I wasn’t sure whether to wield a Falchion or a Scythe, but then, I read through the Eberron campaign setting again, and found the perfect weapon! Talenta Sharrash, 1D10, 19-20/x4 range, reach weapon. Tack on a Keen to that, and you get an extra 60% damage from crits! (Put another way, 37.5% of my damage output will be due to crits). 1 Feat? Cheap.

I’m hoping this backstory will be somewhat integrated into the coming adventures. I mean, come on: eventual lead-in to romantic subplot and deus ex machina true resurrection… what could be better? 😀 Plus, it’s intrigue-heavy, and very much in the spirit of everything being politics in Eberron.

Depending on where Blaze actually shows up to join the party, the last message may have to be edited.

The Inner Guard: 18 NPCs recruited by Blaze for Jaela’s personal protection, as well as being Eyes and Ears inside Thrane. All are either Neutral Good or Lawful Good, possess above average intelligence, and are strongly devoted to maintaining peace and prosperity within Khorvaire. Character levels range from 4 to 7, and class composition vary from Rogues to Monks to Fighters to Wizards. All of them know Blaze moderately well (i.e. interacted closely for at least one week), and all of them regularly report to Jaela herself.