Neverember's New Neverwinter

Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 3: Will of the Couatl
Part I
Astral Date 003

The Coautl, in a chiding and admonishing tone beseeched the party to aid him in keeping the floating god in slumber and to do so by battling a group of demonic forces on the god-beings monolithic-like hand. The Coautl he explained, would take care of the lich and his forces on the galactic gods slumbering head, while he thus requested the party to dispatch the nefarious forces preparing a ritual on the lower appendage.

Agreeing to the demands, the party assaulted the floating wraiths and the gelatinous and large bellied demon who tore bits of his own flesh from his stomach and threw it in flaming balls of searing fire at the party. Due in no small part to a Wall of Fire the party defeated the wraiths but not before almost losing one of their own.

After the fight, they found the coautl watching them and proceeded to speak to the divine being who, after much maneuvering offered his aide and brought the party to his Cloud plane which materialized from the astral sea behind them all…

On the couatl’s world, a mote of cobbled roads, temples, and clouds forming temple layers, the party met a guardian who explained the plane, which was organized around a court of the couatl’s who spent their eons trophy hunting. The party decided after introductions to seek out on of the libraries to find a possible solution to their predicament…

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Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 2: The Strand
Astral Date 002

The party emerges from the storm into the cannons of the waiting Githyanki and fire back. The schooners attempt to board the vessel and one crashes into the ship, disabling it for a brief few seconds.

But between the Hopefuls and their crew repulsing the boarding pirates and their cannon fire they spook the Githyanki enough so that when another storm appears on the bow, the Githyanki once again decide to avoid it..

Allowing the party precious time to make it to the other side where two astral strands a crimson and magenta one flickers on the horizon. The party decides to take the magenta one, and sail forward on the astral highway, bound for whatever plane they were headed for…

After traveling for several days, short on food and finding the chef had poisoned much of the rations aboard, they came upon another group of astral travelers, pirates of a sort who for a price offered deliverance to the astral city of Sigil. Not liking their terms the party turned them down and went on their way, but now with the knowledge that they were headed towards the realm of Pandemonium…a chilling thought…

Deciding to take their chances with the sea, the party, getting low on food departed the strand into the shadow of a floating humanoid god. Using their ritually inclined Hand’s they decided to venture to the being and were stopped by a flying serpent, a being of goodness, a Coautl who sought their aid…

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Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 1: Flight from Githyanki
Part II
Astral Date 001

In hot pursuit of their quarry, the Githyanki pirate ship pursuing the Neverwinter Hopefuls started picking up speed as they tried to flee from the dreadnaughts devastation, which left all the other ships including the mechadragoon in pieces. Aboard their vessel, the Githyanki clipper ship, the Hopefuls decided amongst themselves to use every bit of skill in their repertoires to try to increase their ships speed, using astral eddies and sheer brawn to push the vessel to the limit. Aided in this by their fellow crewmen of their new ship, a handful of dragon-borne Neverwinter natives and a few Mintarn guards, most notably the bugbear Hrugga and his attractive counterpart Taylor, both in black-suited armor helped the party in whatever ways they could.

Despite their attempts, the Githyanki ship in pursuit, manned by Astral pirates fully familiar with the winds and ways of the astral sea gained on them…

But suddenly a dubious salvation appeared before their bow, a psychic storm appeared, prompting the party to make a decision to enter or fly beyond. As the Githyanki in pursuit of them fired off a cannon in range behind them the decision was made-into the storm!

Looting their ship for any available aid, the party came across an Astral sextant and a captains log, along with a chef who took up arms, pitifully. The magically adept of the party also realized the items significance and its ability to return them home. As the ship careened into the dazing storm they encountered flying astral serpents that pelted them with psychic shrieks, stunning them but eventually the ship emerged from the storm…into the waiting cannons of the Githyanki clipper and its hovering schooners…

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Tales of the Astral Sea
Chapter 1: Flight from Githyanki
Part I
Astral Date ZERO

After sailing through the sky-portal (see this Chapter in the Main Story for details), the Neverwinter Hopefuls, made up of the beautiful Vryloka and Neverwinterian Noble Blessed Bane, Kasabian the dashing Nobleman and his tiefling bodyguard the somber Sorrow along with his magical confidante Kerem, find themselves within the midst of an astral fight between the newly flight-capable Neverwinter warships and Githyanki pirate ships.

Sailing atop one of the Githyanki ships, the mechadragoon, piloted by Rook, deposit the Hopefuls aboard the ship where they dispatch the crew…

Just as the astral sea opens up and gigantic behemoth beings, astral dreadnaughts drawn to the battle coalesce from the sea itself and begin to tear into the scene with unchecked abandon. Narrowly escaping the claws of the astral juggernauts the Hopefuls flee the battlefield, or rather get careened away from it aboard their Githyanki ship.

In pursuit came a small schooner ship filled with Githyanki who attempted to retake the vessel but the party successfully repulsed them, even as another ship, another schooner filled with other Neverwinter defenders, including the genasi mage Reci and his erstwhile companion from the Feyworld Yuusha. The two forces, both out of sorts in the Astral Sea and from Faerun joined up and aimed their vessel away from the monstrous feast, finding themselves pursued by two Githyanki schooners and a Githyanki clipper of same make as their own..

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Helm's Heroes Mini-Series

18 Leaffall

Chapter 3: Helm’s Heroes and the Duergar Chieftain

The party pushes their way into the room beyond the set of doors, to a small coterie of hobgoblins and bugbear sentries caught off guard within. Despite being accompanied by fellow goblinoids, the Heroes spend a few seconds battling it out with the sentries before the guards yield and give in to talk.

But talking soon descends into a squabble between the hobgoblin Nogglebock who the party captured before, and Cudgel the leader of the sentries in the room. Bickering over Sweetbottom, a hobgoblin lady whom both goblins sought to court before the arrival of the Duergar chief, the Heroes eventually settle the hot-blooded goblins down in exchange for taking out the grey-dwarven menace to the tribe, whom the hobgoblins refer to as King Biggy. Though the hobgoblins are split on this offer, the bugbears prove the deciding factor and the party is able to move further into the underground lair, goblin allies at their side.

They first come across a holding room with a spell-scarred individual out of sorts, along with a bruised an battered drow woman who takes her life and a pair of badly beaten bugbears. After this the party pushes forward…

And the Heroes still need to convince the remainder of the hobgoblins and they do so by meeting another larger group of goblins, the leader of whom, Zats, demands that to prove their mettle they dispatch with King Biggy’s devilish wizard. Agreeing the party marches forth into the winding tunnels of the lair, and battle it out with a tiefling occultist and his hobgoblin side-kick, who readily yields once he is teleported within the midst of the party. He says his name is Butterball.

After defeating the tiefling, the Heroes with the rest of the hobgoblins storm the duergar’s main quarters, where they come face to face with Mernud, King Biggy. Ordering his followers to eliminate his female captives the party faces off and defeats the duergar cheiftain and his troll, hobgoblin and duergar forces, but not before Mernud detonates the path down into where he and his men came from…or so he attempted. Zats, the new leader, orders some of his goblins down to make sure the way is sealed, at which point Butterball takes the opportunity to redeem himself, and heads off with this group…

The Heroes make their way back to the Undercity where they are greeted by Muyen in the Mechadragoon cavern, giving the wizard the samples of troll elixir they found on the wizard. She takes the party to Commander Peats quarters, where he is nodding as five golem warriors leave, bidding farewell to one of them as Bill…

After debriefing him, Commander Peat asks the Heroes what they know of Gauntlygrym…

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Helm's Heroes Mini-Series

18 Leaffall

Chapter 2: Helm’s Heroes and the Goblin Raids

The roar of the crowd reverberated against the walls of the Mechanical Dragoon cavern. A palpable excitement could be felt in the air surrounding the Helm’s Heroes, mixed with the coppery scent of blood and guts from the legions of goblins slain in the battle that just took place. Over the din, a single focused and determined voice could be heard calling for order.

Commander Peat’s steely words barked out from a rocky dais above the scene. His firm speech quelled the blood-drunk crowd and reminded them of their ultimate goals for Neverwinter, and called for a feast in the eve, which satiated the bloodlust and turned it into a bacchanal delirious desire for revelry.

Heeding this call, the Heroes decided to take part in the festivities but not before being approached by first a Sons Magus, Myuen who requested the Heroes service in uncovering the bloodlust of the goblins and then by Peat’s daughter Irietranna. In the midst of congratulating the Heroes the Commander’s daughter, who was clearly grating on the elder Magus’ nerves, was interrupted by her girlfriend Kara, a teenage dragon-born eager to meet the adventurers. Bubbling with excitement the two young ladies proceeded to fawn over the Heroes and Kara expressed her desire to accompany the team on their mission. Displaying her leader-like demeanor, Irietranna convinced the Heroes to allow Kara to go along and then took them to their rooms.

The feast was grand that evening, with speeches by Commander Peat and other luminaries of the Sons rebellion including Eralt Gavin , a young hot-headed noble, an elderly dwarf and the Lady Ciara, madame of the Silver Pedal. The Heroes, uninterested for the most part in the orators took to the dance-floor quite readily; Bizu found a lovely bearded female companion to go down easy with the ale, Lance drew lines of revelers despite the cool stares of Ayala, Jimbo recounted his tales of the land beyond Living and Moradin’s siren call, and Minos found his pleasures doubly graced for the eve….while Kara the young dragon-born took in all the sights of her role-models and burned with anticipation for the coming dawn…

In the morning, after a night of dancing and frolicking the Heroes set out for the cavernous hall of the Mechadragoon and took off into the goblin tunnels to find the lair from which the vile vermin had issued from. Sent on their way by Peat, and warded as they went by Myuen, the party soon stumbled upon other groups of Sons who partnered with the Heroes and made their way further into the Underdark…

Soon they came upon an eerie pool of water stretched out before them in a vast cavern as twinkling lights beneath the waves drew the attention of the group. Though the lights were soon revealed to be nothing more than bio luminescent fish, above them, hanging from the stalactite ceilings were Dark mantled things that descended upon the rebels and Heroes alike, looking for a scrumptious meal. Quickly dispatching the cloaked things, the Heroes investigated first a crude goblin hut by the lake and then a trail that lead to quivering goblins in a side tunnel.

The goblins, lead by the scrawny Oog, asked the party for mercy, and then once granted, for aid in defeating their unwanted chief; a grey skinned dwarf. Taking the news in stride and agreeing to investigate if only to find the lair, the Heroes pushed forward and found a patrol of hobgoblins and bugbears that they easily subdued. Convincing them to aid them so that their own desires at throwing off the yoke of the Duergar menace might come to fruition the Heroes talked the goblins off the brink of fighting to the death. Agreeing to the terms, the Heroes, lead by these goblinoids and trailed by more Son Rebels behind them, pushed forward into the dwarven palace in the Underdark, where behind a set of iron doors the Duergar chief awaits….

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Episode XXIV
He who Laughs Last....Duergar!

11 Rotting

Pushing forward, the party next encounters a river of slime flowing through an underground causeway splitting the passage in two. On one side of the bubbling acidic waterway is a giant dwarven statue. A second towering statue had been by the looks of it detonated at the ankles and was sent sprawling over the causeway to the far side of the slime river. Treading cautiously the party sent out their recon pair, Olaf the bowman and Tana the Hidden, to investigate the scene…


But as the two scouts made their way over the makeshift bridge of stone and casting, from the cracks in the statute at their feet bubbled up yet more hungry oozes, looking to feast upon their flesh. Flying into action, the crew rushes forward to save their companions and to do battle with the mindless puddings.


It is a fierce battle, and another long one, with acidic appetites threatening to consume them all. After one of the giant black puddings had been puddled to oblivion, the party, through the manipulating hand of the Jester, pushed the other brute over the bridge, and attempted to flee further into the next tunnel ahead…


But unfortunately were put into a dangerous position between the pursuing ooze and a revealed flame-spouting trap embedded in the cave wall ahead. Somehow, in the mayhem, the party moving in spurts to get away from the remaining ooze left one of their companions behind, Chester, their misanthropic comedian who found himself cut off and alone at the rear..


And the party, close to surge-less, without healing, and bloodied, watched in horror as the ooze engulfed their Jester in a final acidic embrace that carried their sometimes ally into the beyond….


Putting down the pudding with vengeance, the party, hearing sounds in the room ahead pushed forward, without a moments breath, led by the always curious shardmind. They were greeted by a duergar posse decked out in whips and manacles that rushed the group, immediately putting Redleaf down and demanding the rest to surrender. Ersihti without hesitation complied, while Torrin, keeping it real as a dragon-born should, resisted, and received a warhammer to the back that sent him off to sleep-time. Only Tana and Olaf, the quickest of the group, managed to flee the encounter back the way they came…even as a weird earthen creature that seemed to flow through the ground pursued them, along with a pair of duergar. But their speed and stealth proved no match for their pursuers who gave up chase and returned to their captured companions.


So it was that while Tana and Olaf were for the moment free, Erishti found herself being manacled and shackled by duergar and their slavish peon, alongside her unconscious companions, Torinn and Redleaf, as well as Chester’s body that lay cool on the ground in a cavernous hall of the fabled Gauntlgyrm deep in the depths of the terrifying subterranean world that is, the Underdark…

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Episode XXIII
Lets say we're Frenemies, Puddin'

11 Rotting

Following their dwarven and oozy encounter, the party hashed out their … collaborative differences and decided to continue forward under an uneasy truce of personalities…The party also managed to question the one surviving duergar that they had left alive. But the grey-skinned hoodlum was less than forthright, despite the probing questions of the company’s expert diplomat, Erishti. Finding little answers, and mostly lies, the crew decided to tie up the red-headed fiend and drag him along.


Down a dark tunnel, lit by the light from Torinn’s shield. Then, halfway down the tunnel their war-forged friend powered off, just as they came upon an opening…


Right into a room covered in green goo. The cavernous enclave also housed another assortment of oozes, this time green slimes that took a liking to their half-orc archer and the group’s wee little gnome. Huge black puddings also made a squishy attempt to consume the party. But despite the odd choice in tactics chosen by their prankster and disruptive Jester, who took to fleeing in a strategic attempt to gain barrels of duergar combustibles to use on the oozes, the group was able to divide and conquer the oozes with patience and determination, flashbacks and all.


And so it seems, uneasy or no, the group may be functioning more like a team…at least in the bowels of Mount Hotenow, on their way, presumably, to the fabled….Gauntlgyrm.

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Episode XXII
Traitor! [Part Deux]

10 Rotting – 11 Rotting

Barely defeating the devils and cultists at the bottom of the sinkhole, the party decides to hunker down for the night, making camp along the walls of the cavernous room. As darkness unfolds beneath the stars above, several eerie and portentous events happen…culminating in the arrival of a band of mysterious grey skinned dwarves at the lip of the sinkhole..
*
By morning, the group awakens to find the bodies from the devil encampment above along with the lift structures littering about the cavern around them, thrown into the pit by the erstwhile dwarven goons who appeared during the night. But more disturbing than that is the fact that one of their member, the prankster Chester was seen during the interlude conferring with a shadowy figure by the sleepless, and ever-watchful shardmind..
*
With the way back out of the sinkhole cut off, the party decides to venture further into the open chasm surrounding Mount Hotenow. Rappelling down a cliff into the next section of the sunken chamber the party encounters a nest of poisonous spiders, lead by a pair of huge, repulsive and bloated arachnids. Struggling against the webbing he is encased in, the party also finds a war-forged who frees’ himself with the aid of his homonculu. After the battle is joined the golem-man introduces himself as Bill, a reticent new addition to their party…
*
Searching for loot in the spider cave, the party uncovers a host of spider-bit bodies in various stages of decay, including humans, a drow and a severely withered dwarf. In the dwarfs mummified hand is a tiny metallic automaton that takes a shine to the company’s shardmind and hobbles up her leg, finding a new and comfortable home on her shoulder.
*
But the bodies also draw out a confrontation between the Jester of the group and the other members, who accuse him of duplicity and being aligned to the forces of evil. Despite his pleas, cajoles and witty come-backs, most of the rest of the group subdues the Jester, and place him in restraints. Only his sometimes compatriot Olaf and the newly arrived Billy the Forged seem unconvinced of his nefarious nature. But soon enough, the chance to see if he is more devil than deva arrives as the party continues deeper into the pits of Mount Hotenow and literally land on a waiting Gelatinous Cube; and then, just for good measure, teleport into another Cube.
*
Harassed by grey dwarves while they attempt to beat back the spineless oozes, the party, apparently aided by the escaped and wily Chester, ultimately prove triumphant over the encounter. But both the Jesters true motives, and the party’s further journey deeper into the cavernous Underdark remains a terrifying mystery that lies ahead…..

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Episode XIX

19 Leaffall

Still battling their demons, the party manage to overcome their enemies and fling some off the side of the floating mote. Meanwhile, the arriving party of Neverwinter Hopeful’s too manage to defeat their dragon foe…apparently.
-
For as the dragon takes a kill blow it flies away, and a purplish light erupts from its chest, opening the rift in the sky where it emerged even wider and changing the landscape it came from in that portal beyond. The rift now contained a silver sea with advancing ships moving towards the skies of Neverwinter. Aboard the ships, a small army of pirates, Astral Sea pirates flying straight for the opening into the skies over Neverwinter…
-
As these astral marauders made their way towards the opening, a great chanting was heard and ships in the bay of Neverwinter loosened from their moorings and floating skywards to meet the advancing flotilla. Astonishingly too, out of the depths of the Blacklake arouse a mechanical dragon, that swooped down and offered the Neverwinter Hopeful’s a chance to defend their city alongside the Lord Pretender’s own forces. Headed by the fiery red-head Blessed Bane, the Hopeful’s boarded the mechanical dragon flying ship and sailed for the opening rift, knowing the journey may be one way…
-
And into the rift they sailed, and came face to face with githyanki pirates whose ships darted for the opening into Faerun, but who were stopped by Neverembers galleys and the flying mechadragon. The mecha deposited her crew, the Hopefuls to the decks of one of the clippers and where they dispatched the githyanki, even as the rift home sealed shut, and they found themselves now far from Neverwinter and in the possession of a pirate ship, and still in the heat of a astral naval battle…

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