This session in Strange Aeons we finally left Katheer and headed to the slaver city of Okeno. Last session the GM had dropped hints that there was a chance of us getting pick pocketed whilst in Okeno, so there was considerable times spent by the players figuring out how to minimise those chances. Though it was obviously part of the adventure path but not something us players were looking forward to, so we did everything we could to avoid it. Fortunately we succeeded.
12th Gozran, Toilday
We make final preparations for leaving Katheer, getting agreements from the priests to teleport us there directly. Ray came up with a plan to disguise himself as a Gnoll using his hat of disguise, but wearing a cyan ribbon in his hair so that we can identify him.
The priests at Katheer teleport us to the temple of Abadar in the centre of Okeno. It is a grand cathedral built from honeyed marble, with a huge vaulted ceiling illuminated by a bright candelabra overhead. Outside we can see the bay of Okeno, and the air is filled with the scent of flowers. This was nothing at all like we were expecting. It was very obviously the posh part of town.
The temple was able to hire out a young acolyte to us as a guide, so that we could buy some provisions (which we had forgotten to buy at Katheer) and then head out of the city as quickly as possible. From our discussions with Mun, we knew roughly where to go in order to find Biting Lash, and we wanted to head that way without spending any more time in the city than was absolutely necessary. Ray wanted to do some shopping, but we managed to persuade him against it.
Heading out, we discovered that the city seemed to be home to all sorts. As well as gnolls, there were also Hell Knights here, and humans of all sorts. A litter carried by four chained Aasimar went past, which reminded us that this was a city of slavers. We quickly purchased some supplies, then headed north out of the city. Away from the temple, the quality of the buildings got progressively worse, and the wealth of the people got significantly less.
Once we reach the city limits, our guide leaves us and we follow the road north, where it takes us through fields of pesh, which were being worked on by brutalised slaves. By the late afternoon we get close to the site that Mun had directed us to, and come across a gatehouse that leads into a side canyon.
The gate is guarded by a couple of gnolls, so Ray, in his disguise as the gnoll Dizz, wanders up to them. They ask him something… in gnoll, when he suddenly realises that he doesn’t speak. So much for that disguise. He talks to them in common, and tells them that we have important information for Biting Lash. There is a lot of laughing and possibly ridiculing from the two gnolls, but they direct us through the gate into a long tunnel through the mountain.
The sides of the tunnel are lavishly decorated with carvings of slaves heading into the canyon, and cavorting gnolls heading out. When we reach the far end, it opens into a ravine with a honey coloured stone tower about 150ft across, with branches visible from a garden on its top.
There are a couple of gnoll guards standing at the entrance to the tower, who direct us inside. The entrance leads into a passage, which opens into a large round room full of slaves being forced to do martial training by several gnoll slavers.
As we are most of the way through the passage, there is a sudden mechanical grinding noise and portcullises drop down at either end of the passage. Ray, Erasmus and Sheena manage to leap through the inner gate before it closes, leaving myself, Catiana and Gregor stuck inside the tunnel. Everyone is shocked by what has happened, but I decided things were about to get worse, so quickly threw a spell into the room.
Player’s Notes: After the gates came down, we entered initiative, and the wonders of the initiative system meant that though several of us went first, we weren’t certain exactly what was happening and whether violence was going to ensue, so nobody did anything. I figured that since we had an initiative track, there was going to be combat so started things off. It turned out to be the right choice. We had all expected Ray to fireball everyone, since the targets were nicely clustered together, but he didn’t want to do that.
I filled the central room with etheric shards, which start to dice the slaves and gnolls, and yelled to the rest of the group that there were shards in the middle of the room. I felt bad about attacking the slaves, but there were a lot of them, they were armed, and they were very probably going to do what they were told. As a fine, bloody mist started to fill the room, the gnolls yelled at us to drop our weapons and kneel down.
Catiana ran back out through the outer gate, phasing through the bars and attacking the gnolls outside. It was then that I noticed the holes in the ceiling – just as hot acid was poured down through them onto myself and Gregor.
Ray turned invisible and went up to the door over the other side of the tower, opening it to reveal more guards, slaves and some strange beasts. Once again, there is a voice in our heads.
You’ve made it. Find me here soon. We must stop its growth. Come to my side, help me , our joining is at hand!What the Elf said the twelfth time.
Sheena is busy fending off the slaves and gnolls, protecting Erasmus at the same time when a canal comes charging into the room, into the shards and gets diced to pieces. Many of the slaves are injured by this point, but not dead, so Erasmus calls down a flamestrike on most of them, then runs to the inner gate to help me and Gregor out – though Gregor manages to slip out through the gate by himself.
Whilst Catiana kills the gnolls outside, Erasmas dimension doors me out from under the murder holes. By now a thing – a cross between a lion and a dragon is coming into the room, so I hit it with a ray of exhaustion. It flies up and out of the top of the tower. Gregor manages to shoot the remaining gnolls and all but one of the slaves, who is begging for his life, is dead. Catiana snaps in to my side, and we are together and temporarily safe.
This was a good point to stop. We won’t have a session next week, but should be continuing the following week.