Aldurukh Keep - Session I
22 August 2010
I kicked off a new campaign tonight. I had been talking about running a campaign for my father-in-law and two brothers-in-law, and fate (in the way of a broken A/C unit) brought that about.
- Noslen Kessel: the commander of Aldurukh Keep, a border outpost of the empire of Chondath.
- Corias Kessel: the son of Noslen, marshal (second-in-command) of Aldurukh Keep, and paladin of Avandra.
- Dak’To: a githzerai monk stationed in Aldurukh Keep.
Aldurukh Keep has stood for centuries in the mountain pass between Chondath and Alduron. Until a year or so ago, its commander was Aden Brightmantle, a young and promising commander. However, after several years in command, the emperor heard that Brightmantle has let the Keep stagnate, so he sent one of his best, Noslen Kessel, to replace Brightmantle and bring Aldurukh back to imperial standards.Â To help in this cause, Noslen took his son Corias, a paladin of Avandra, with him.
Aldurukh has always been home to a group of githzerai that maintain a large archive of arcana obscura. This archive and the githzerai predate the building of the keep. Rumors even speak of catacombs and caverns beneath the archive, but to date these remain stories with no evidence.
Upon arriving at Aldurukh, Commander Kessel exiled Brightmantle and restored the keep to its former glory. He even managed to forge a working relationship with the githzerai, instead of merely tolerating their presence, as the former commander had. The past year has not been an easy one, but Aldurukh stands.
Commander Kessel and Corias return home from a hunt to find the caretaker of the archive (a githzerai) requesting a quick word. He requests that the archive be closed off to humans for a couple of days to conduct a magical ritual within it. Commander Kessel agrees, and the githzerai takes his leave.
Sometime during this discussion, Dak’To receives word that Commander Kessel needs to speak with him. Finding this somewhat strange, Dak’To complies, as Kessel is the commander of Aldurukh, after all. Dak’To arrives to find that Commander Kessel did not send for him. Dak’To turns to leave and finds that he cannot grab the handle leading out of the entrance hall; his hand passes right through it.
Sensing trouble, Commander Kessel, Corias, and Dak’To ready for battle. Several incorporeal creatures phase into the room in random locations. A hooded figure walks through the opposite wall and then leans against it. It is humanoid, but no other features can be discerned. The walls seem to become translucent, and vibrant colors appear to flash behind the walls here and there.
Battle Is Joined
Dak sensed imminent trouble and crouched down, steeling himself. Like a cat readying to pounce, he assessed the situation. Noslen and Corias drew their weapons as two entities suddenly appeared in the grand entrance hall. Words fail to describe adequately these new interlopers. Like a nightmare ripped from someone’s mind in a moment of madness, the horrors resembled writhing, ethereal masses of tentacles. One horror, to the right, was saffron; the other was violet in hue and seemed to pulsate.
They attacked immediately, the yellow one moving into melee and swinging a tentacle across Corias’ cheek. The attack was swift but oddly gentle, almost like a caress. The very tip of the tentacle passed through and a spike of pain tore through the paladin’s mind. The purple one thrust a tentacle out, its length growing considerably to strike Noslen, but missing as Noslen ducked out of the way.
As the walls continued to glow and be translucent, a shadowy humanoid emerged from the entrance to the hall. Apparently not content to use the door, this new figure phased through the wall next to the door. Clad in a long black cloak and standing six feet tall, the figure, now solid, leaned against the wall it had just walked through and crossed its arms.
Dak chose that moment to leap across the room in one great bound and land next to the purple horror. His fist struck quickly, channeling his ki through it. As the fist crossed the apparent boundary between empty space and the creature’s “body”, the creature rippled. The creatures could be hurt, a useful fact to know.
A sigh then escaped from under the shadowy figure’s cowl. Standing up straight, it pulled a longsword from under its cloak, and leapt the short distance between him and Dak. The longsword connected with Dak’s torso, forcing Dak to shift backwards and regroup. Dak did manage to get a look at this new figure, noticing draconian features.
Suddenly, large pillars of stone erupted from the floor in several locations. They rose 10’ in the air with one of them bursting forth underneath Corias’s feet. He recovered quickly and continued to engage the yellow horror.
The fight wore on. The yellow horror had an ability to immobilize, which it used to great effect on Corias. Dak managed to banish the purple horror, causing it to implode and return whence it came. Noslen’s inspiring words bouyed his compatriots and gave them the incentive to keep fighting. With Noslen’s help, Dak was able to land the killing blow on the draconian. Surprisingly, it turned to stone within seconds of its death. Perhaps it can serve as a grotesque on one of the battlements…