This session happened Friday, April 29, 2011, and was the only session I ran this past weekend.
Su Bel (human cleric)
– Dame Yasha of Bereste (Su Bel’s human cavalier cohort)
Thorngrim (half-orc sorcerer)
– Kainen (Thorngrim’s human fighter cohort)
Alys Kaah (gnome summoner/cavalier) [via Skype]
– Mr. Boodles (Alys’s owlbear-looking eidolon and mount)
Xin (human wizard) [via Skype]
Note: the list of player characters is in player sitting order, from my left and then clockwise around the table and then on my laptop via Skype.
In-game Starting Date: October 28, 23rd Year of King Nikola V
"If we go to any other plane and die, I'm not talking to you again." ~ Xin to Thorngrim
While in Drop-off Tower, Alys called all the adventurers currently in residence out to the front steps, as excited as a 3-year old dragging her parents to look at something she found. Once the adventurers were assembled, she summoned Mr. Boodles, who now has wings and can fly. She then mounted her miniature owlbear mount and took off, flying circles around the tower. The other adventurers were suitably impressed. Once Alys landed again, there was a conversation about what would happen if she flew upside-down and how she could not fall off. Many of the options involved gluing her pants to the saddle, though she eventually settled for restraining straps.
Half the group was firmly of the opinion that it was time to return to the elemental chaos via opening a rope trick in the center of Old Stones. With no one bringing up the possible lethality of the location, all quickly agreed on that as their location of choice. Some quick preparations and they were away on mounts summoned by Thorngrim (except Alys, of course, who rode Mr. Boodles).
Heading south on Old Road, thence to Stone Road, the only significant hold up was the attack of a dire tiger. As a measure of how much the adventurers have grown, they did not flee from the encounter, but instead attacked successfully. The dire tiger attempted to savagely maul Mr. Boodles, but Alys transferred most of the damage to herself via her link with the eidolon. This kept Mr. Boodles from assuredly dying, but was very dangerous to Alys. Once the dire tiger was killed (and she was healed by Su Bel), Alys had Xin use prestidigitation to clean the skull of the dire tiger so she could take it as a trophy.
A couple of hours later, the group arrived at Old Stones. Thorngrim cast see invisible to locate the elder air elemental the group had been warned about. He found it. And then some. Inside the rings of stones, on the ethereal plane, were several large and dangerous creatures. Thorngrim spied the purportedly insane air elemental, plus a pack of phase spiders and several other creatures he could not identify but were monstrous in the extreme. The creatures did not seem to notice the adventurers yet, but Thorngrim had the feeling that if the group stayed in the vicinity and/or cast a lot of magic, the ethereal monsters would take notice.
So when it came time to select a camp (as it was late in the afternoon already), Thorngrim recommended a site nearly a mile away from the stone circles. When asked why, he was very evasive in his answers, mostly suggesting that anywhere near the circle would be "not good". Taking into account Thorngrim's firm statements that camp should be away from the stones, the group conceded and made camp about a mile away. Thorngrim erected another stone tower, this time with Kainen's assistance [Kainen had apparently been studying with Sal on the topic]. During second watch, Kainen and Alys could see the ghostly air elemental stalking around inside the stone circles and woke the others. The quick consensus was that it could not get out of the stone circle and therefore was no threat.
The next morning, the group returned to the stone circles and Thorngrim led them into the center ring of stones. There he cast rope trick. Just as he finished his casting, a bright light surrounded the adventurers. When it dimmed, they were no longer on the plains of the Sea of Grass. They were instead standing on an icy sphere some 30 ft in diameter – and each of them had a slightly different "down" orientation. Su Bel and Thorngrim, experienced in this, looked above and away, through the multi-colored "sky", at a basalt sphere with fiery cracks exposing its molten core. On that sphere they could just make out the end of the rope indicating the exit from this place. Orbiting between the two spheres was a third, slightly smaller orb covered in meadow grasses.
While Su Bel and Thorngrim oriented the other adventurers, a frost-covered, four-armed gorilla approached from far side of the ice ball. As it approached, Su Bel and Dame Yasha suddenly winked out of existence! This distressed the adventurers as Su Bel was their only source of healing! The adventurers killed the icy four-armed ape and then immediately started working on their way out. Thorngrim easily jumped from the icy sphere to the grass sphere on its next orbit, but the others were not ready for it and missed. While waiting for the grassy sphere to come around again, an elder ice elemental erupted from the far side of the icy sphere and advanced to the attack.
Xin attempted to negotiate with the elemental, greeting it in Aquan. This amused the elemental, so much so that it swatted Xin so hard that he was knocked off the sphere and started tumbling helplessly through the void towards the basalt sphere. This was quickly followed by the elemental slamming Kainen, knocking him of the planetoid as well. Alys took wing on Mr. Boodles to rescue the two tumbling adventurers, barely avoiding getting slammed by the grass sphere as it came around on its next orbit. The elemental called out to the basalt sphere, waking an iron golem with an immense sword blade. The two started positioning themselves for a game of "adventurer ball".
The adventurers wisely stayed on the grass sphere as it orbited between the other two spheres, lobbing spells at each enemy as they came near. Except Alys, who, not certain of what else to do, fell back on here cavalier training and charged the iron golem. This had little appreciable effect as the iron golem's defenses greatly blunted her attack. In return, she was hit multiple times by the iron golem's sword, taking many grievous wounds. Kainen, attempting to support Alys when the grass sphere was swinging by, also took nearly fatal wounds from the iron golem. In fact, it was only the surprise cleric levels held by Xin that kept Kainen alive.
Thorngrim's multiple fireball spells eventually weakened the ice elemental to the point where Alys charged it and shattered it into an explosion of ice fragments, which she and Mr. Boodles flew through. It took a combined casting effort from Xin, Thorngrim, and Alys, all using acid-based spells to wear away and defeat the iron golem. Once they did so, they quickly made their way through the rope trick exit and back to Old Stones. There they found Su Bel and Dame Yasha sprawled on the ground next to them with no idea what had happened.
Taking their cue, the adventurers made their way back to Drop-off Tower, post haste. They were richer for the experience, but no richer in the pocket for their trip.
*End of session*
[Su Bel disappearing was due to her player (my wife) needing to stop playing and pack for a trip. This was apparently distracting enough that she could not concentrate on the game until it was done. So I had her character and cohort disappear for reasons to be explained later in game. I would have preferred she not played and done the things she needed to do, but that's life.
Also, until this game session, no one knew that Xin had taken 2 cleric levels along with his wizard levels. As it turned out, this was critical to keeping Kainen and probably Alys walking during the big fight. This was simply explained by Xin as the goddess granting many different powers, which impressed Alys.
Also, also, early back in April, the campaign crossed the One Year mark. In-game, the PCs are at the year and a half mark of elapsed time. In case anyone was interested.]
EDIT: Corrected who dealt the killing blow to the elder ice elemental.