Shroud of the Avatar

Still reeling from the emotionally shattering disappointment of finding head trauma rather than a mine cart ride in K’rul, I was dubious and hesitant to try my luck at the cart ride in Serpent Spine Foothills. But, since I was supervising the reform of the Thugs in the area, I decided to investigate the situation and satisfy my curiosity.

My hopes swooned as I entered the chamber and heard the distinct rumble of a mine cart on the move in the shadowy distance. To create an atmosphere of suspense, the Kobold operators lit the cavern with only the most meager of lighting. It felt both sinister and exciting, and I was giddy with anticipation.

I found the lever on the entry platform and the fun began in an instant as the bottom dropped out from under me. The descent was stomach-churningly rapid and I lost my sense of space as I plunged through the darkness.

With a bit of a spinning head, a Kobold attendant guided me to a platform and oncoming cart. This ride was for the more advanced thrill seekers as I would be required to make a leap to board the cart as having it come to a halt would spoil the fun.

The lamp approached out of the darkness and I made ready. I judged the speed of the cart, the angle of my take off, the velocity I would have to travel and then with a jocular cry of excitement I left the platform and hurled myself through the air.

I stuck the landing like a champion and was soon whisking through the darkness at maddening speed. The Kobolds cheered and stomped their feet and my marvelous entry. And seeing I was quite adept at the ride, they decided to add an element of excitement by standing on the platform to defend myself as they took practice jabs at me.

The first few strikes got the better of me, but within minutes I parried their blows and landed several of my own. I must admit, I got carried away and through force of habit set Immolation in motion and blazed through the darkness with an impressive tail of fire.

After dozens of loops, I leapt from the cart to the finishing platform where the Kobolds had a lovely waiting area. In all the darkness I had lost my usual keen sense of direction and took advantage of their accommodations and a refreshing beverage.

The Kobolds were such good hosts that they allowed me to open their prize chest. It was loaded with gold tokens for more rides and lots of colored glass trinkets. I made a very fashionable necklace from them, which I showed to my hosts. They were keen to pat me on the back for a job well done.

They encouraged me to come back any time and to not be gone too long as they were expanding their offering and would soon be heading deeper into the caverns to construct more thrilling rides.

Those K’rul Kobolds could learn a thing or two from this lot.

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Oh my goodness, it really does exist!

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Gadzooks! The speed is amazing!

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Very well, I accept your challenge. As I come around, you will swing and I will defend!

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Oh good gracious! Sorry about that! In all the excitement I got carried away and cast Immolation.
It does look quite impressive, you have to admit.

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Ah, a lovely concession stand where I regain my bearing and have a refreshing beverage. Is that a prize chest over there? Is that for everyone?

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It was a rather fine day as I walked through Deep Ravenswood, collecting Spider Silk. I was using my proven technique of setting the ground ablaze then running through a cluster of the beady-eyed vermin or hovering around a cluster of their yet to hatch pods.

It was all going rather splendidly, the cleansing power of fire curled their legs in a satisfying manner, while my Stone and Ice Fist, coupled with a dose of Thrust rendered them incapacitated. However, the tingling of the fire upon the ground, my ill treatment combined with the aroma of his smoldering kinsman must have raised the attention, then the ire of one of the larger spiders.

As I collected my rewards, I heard something coming over the rise. Expecting it to be a band of the Red Spiders I paid no heed. I’m quite capable of holding my own against even a hearty band of the furry devils.

I was correct in assuming it was a band of spiders. I was incorrect as to the nature of my adversary. As I saw a multitude of legs crest the incldine, I prepared and steadied myself. As the spiders came into full view, I felt my bowels turn to water.

A Large Red Spider on it’s own is not too mighty a combatant. Even two can be dispatched with several key strikes. However, the Ferocious Red Spider that seemed to be the leader of this trio was far more than I bargained for. He marched straight toward me while his confederates flanked my sides blocking my escape. In an instant, he put a bite on me that brought me to my knees.

His venom was shocking powerful and it was quite obvious I was in desperate trouble. The poison went straight to my head, preventing me from casting any defensive spells that might extricate me from my predicament. I fumbled with the sword and leveled some powerful retaliatory strikes, but it wouldn’t be enough.

Perhaps it was good fortune. Perhaps it my was blood curdling scream for help. But on the spot appeared Alley, who, seeing my stumbling amidst the trees and rocks and the trail of spiders following me, surmised my tactical error.

In an instant, she was in the fray, quelling the bloodlust of the Large Red Spiders and pushing back the Ferocious Red. As I lay on the ground, amidst delirium and panic, another figure appeared. In my fragile state, he came in the form of the Reaper. I was disappointed that my end should come this way, or come at all.

I was on the point of trying to strike a deal when there was a blinding flash of searing heat. This was immediately followed by the roar of fire and the powerful stench of burning spiders. The fire and brimstone was at hand!

But as I regained my senses, I saw this mysterious figure harnessing the power of Fire and Sun magic to surround and contain the Ferocious Red Spider. Alley was also delivering a savage series of blows that rendered the spider lifeless.

While I looked on, they dashed across the open field and set another Ferocious Red Spider as their target. Again, there were fierce attacks from Alley’s steel while the spider was consumed in fire and blisteringly scalded with Searing Ray.

I followed as best I could as they dispatched multiple spider dens and put to rest several Ferocious Red Spiders. I knew Deep Ravenswood was dangerous, but when did all these ridiculously large and powerful spiders make their home here?

With all the spiders burnt beyond recognition the mysterious figure stopped to check on my condition. Much to my relief, it wasn’t the Reaper at all, but rather it was Oba wearing a terribly fashionable mask.

"Well, good to see you aren’t dead," he said and bounded off down the path, a trail of fire in his wake.

"Good to still be alive," I replied as I collapsed on a rock.

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Take that you furry legged spawn of evil! You and your wicked envenomating ways are about to come to an end!

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Oh, hi Oba. I didn’t recognize you with the fashionable new mask you’re wearing. Nab that from an Obsidian Overlord did you?

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I’m not sure what it is, but am awestruck by it’s scale and design. Just above our local stream, Oba has begun construction on a project I can only describe as epic. I say that because I have no idea what he’s up to or the purpose of this magnificent edifice.

As you cross over the bridge you can’t help but be taken by the myriad of columns, vines and statuary all placed with such random good taste and precision as to be infinitely tasteful and decorative.

When I entered the sanctuary, I was taken with it’s cooling and relaxing aura. I also became lost by following the winding footpath laid before me. It’s a snaking course that had me going in circles around the central columns. It took many tries to realize that I need to zig instead of the usual zag to make my way out.

The statuary is extremely elegant and the columns have a majestic aged quality. I’m anxious to see the final product, assuming of course it’s not completed.

I suspect this could be the beginnings of his new vineyard or perhaps a lovely garden where we can all come to meditate upon the virtues. I would ask the man himself, but he is elusive and chooses to work under the cover of darkness.

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I say! What a marvelous bit of construction we have here!

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I believe I will have to take a look. Hopefully this is not some sort of evil labyrinth with a terrible creature at the center waiting to devour me!

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That is some fine statuary you have there. And an abundance of columns too.
I dare say, it is quite magnificent, whatever it is.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

Our original visit to Upper Fortis had been sidetracked by marvelous log rides and late night propulsions into the heavens. But it was time to get to the serious business of this dispute and I saw at once the root of the problem.

While their garments don’t speak of such, the Kobolds are fine innovators with a vast array of inventions for work and domicile. Even their dwellings speak to a fine sense of craftsmanship and durability. On the other hand, the Thugs and Bandits, owing to their nomadic and distrustful lifestyle have yet to master the art of hammer and nail. As such, their dwellings are a spectacular sight of disordered misery. Merely looking at their shanty village fills you with a sense of disease.

Further, since the Kobolds have chosen iron as their material of choice, they taunt the Thugs, who have yet to advance beyond simple wood planks, with catapults loaded with flaming cauldrons of oil. While I admit the fiery payload is an amusing jibe, it does come across as callous and a dash on the dangerous side. Should one of the projectiles be taken off course by a gust of wind, or have a touch too much vigor in it’s arc, the Thug shanty town will be a raging inferno. While that may serve those red sash wearing hooligans right, it will be a blight on the town and most certainly lower property values.

And upon further reflection, it could be considered a senseless waste since there will be no one to loot the bodies for coins and weapons.

I took it upon myself to discuss matters with a Kobold that looked to be in charge. I explained that sending balls of flame across the bridge to the tinderbox known as the thug encampment could lead to a terrible disaster and some might find this to be a cruel prank.

He ignored my reasoning and ordered more flame for the catapult. While it did look spectacular against the evening sky, I insisted this was an improper way to build relations with his neighbor. I offered that perhaps his people could help those less fortunate than themselves and guide the nomads in the ways of metal work and solid home building.

My argument was defeated by the clarion call of, "Fling!" as fire streaked across the sky.

Alley encountered the same resistance. Instead of working to help the Cabalist move off the side of the rocky crag, they felt teasing them with fire and accepting the occasional hit and destruction of their shelters was good clean fun and had no intentions of bringing the gaiety to an end. They even offered Alley a try at the launch arm of the catapult, of which I was much jealous.

It wasn’t a total loss though, I’ll be back for some more log rides and Alley was quite keen on the Air Powered Propulsion System.

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Oh dear me, this will never do. I see why you chaps are living fear of those Kobold Catapults.

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Now look here, I’m trying to help! If I wanted to cause a ruckus, I would merely cast Immolation and mock you for your poor choose in building materials.

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Come now wolves, I have no time for this! This is a terrible place to settle a dispute.

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Oh, steady on. I think I begin to see why the Thugs want to make this their base of operations.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

My thrill and excitement over the log rides was eclipsed by a new discovery, the Kobolds Air Powered Propulsion System. It’s a horrifying device that I bumped into it quite literally.

After many trips over the falls and through the canyons, I was in a slight state of giddy delirium and needed a few moments to gather my thoughts and settle my lunch. While the Kobolds celebrated with fireworks, I took a convalescence on a grassy patch. To my surprise there was the hearty whoosh of wind and wild cries of jubilation. Curious, I went to investigate.

To my amazement I saw Alley leap aboard a platform and launch herself to the stars with a wave and smile of glee. In an instant, she was merely a speck in the grandness of the cosmos.

Bedazzled by the nature of this happenstance, I drew closer. As I did so, I felt the rush of air whip past me. It was a raging gale that knocked me off my feet and into a duplicate platform. I stumbled, twisted and fell. Instead of being savagely injured by the whirling fan, I was whisked up and hurled into the air at a velocity that squeezed lunch from my very being.

I screamed in terror as I was propelled upward. In mere seconds, the ground disappeared and I was suspended at a disturbing height. But for that instant, I could see in every direction. The realm was a wondrous and beautiful place. The landscape stretched as far as the eye could see with houses dotting the patchwork of trails and footpaths. It was truly dizzying.

But the thrill of flight was replaced by the terror of falling and plummeting back to town took the fore of my mind. Those distance specks grew at an astonishing rate and our collision would certainly necessitate a visit to the healer. And while I like healers, I don’t believe I should visit with them on a regular schedule.

Realizing that time was fleeting and I hadn’t finished the mug of ale I left behind, I began to panic. At this speed, I was quite certain Alley would not be able to catch my person. Even with the reflexes and agility of a cat, this might be beyond my means.

The next few moments that did not lead to my demise are a blur as I was saved by a miracle, or rather, an updraft. Just when I had given up hope, a billowing cushion of air embraced me. Though it had done my no harm, I frantically struggled against it, to the point where the air cushion gave up on helping me and tossed me to the side.

Although I was lying in a panting heap, I had survived my first flight. While it had been exhilarating and vomit inducing it seemed best if I kept my feet upon the ground. My thought was pushed aside as I saw Alley stick the landing with grace and precision, then launch into the abyss with reckless abandon.

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Hmm, what manner of strange device is this?

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Alley! Where in the blazes are you going? I’m quite sure this isn’t safe!!

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Holy Dingos! I shouldn’t be here. This sort of business is best left for birds and other things with feathers and less weight than myself. This is going to end in tragedy I can feel it in my bones.

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Oh, catapults.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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