A couple of weeks had passed since our last session, so a quick recap was in order. We’ve travelled to wyvernhill to investigate their connection to Zhao/ the current Creatureborn situation. Inadvertant opening of two portals, one to Celestia, one to The Nine Hells.
Information gained from a local bard means we need more, wider knowledge about Zhao’s motives, so our next port of call is far to the south where she is known to hang out. We’ve a couple of options: Brent and the Armada are in town so we could hitch a lift, or we could hoof it down and try and use our remaining boat.
We decided instead to try a riskier approach: To use the portal here to take us to the portal in Casswyn‘s shack, using Celestia itself as an intermediary plane. Risky? yes, but we didn’t really think about the boat too much.
The local priests of both Tiamat and Bahamut are both pleased about this, with the Tiamatians planning an expedition into the portal. at first light the next day we enter into the goldeny glow of the Celestial portal and /splash/ we arrive in the middle of a beautiful silvery sea beneath a starlit sky. The portal appears one way, which does not bode well at all.
We make steady swimming progress towards the shore where we can see a beautiful white-stone citadel near the coast. All is going well UNTIL A GIANT SHARK ATTACKS.
The damn thing drags Jaros under the sea, and has swallowed him before we can make it down to rescue him. he cuts his way out between us we stop him dying and manage to kill the shark.
We drag it ashore and loot it for some nice scrolls, a potion (Barkskin), and a chunk of gold that goes to the Party Fund.
Upon the morning we make our way to the citadel, flanked by two large angelic figures standing sentinel. the place is massive, full of nothing but residences and sprawling streets. We find ourselves rooms, which are free and for all. We’re also directed to a portal expert, a Lawful Evil fire Efreeti who is working to redeem himself.
He offers us information in exchange for helping him onto the 2nd layer of Heaven itself, where the exit portal we want is. Sevastian d’Este and Aarnel express discomfort at the idea of helping him skip the challenge rather than overcome it. However Auriel Jaros and Leona Rowan Montessori all are in favour of it, and so we climb the mountain to the first gate, Aarnel leading using the power of not-thinking-about-where-you’re-going to arrive at the destination.
Standing there is a pale haired golden clad wingless Archo who informs us we all must be judged worthy before going forth, including the one that is trying to sneak past. The jig is up!
To prove his intentions and to demonstrate her strength, Jaros lets the Archon judge him. The effect is staggering, Jaros is knocked from full hp down into the negatives. For reference that’s ~150hp.
She explains that the judgement is in a sense self inflicted: Presented with someone else who shared your story, you are judged as you would impartially judge this mirror of yourself. In a sense, it is not she who smote Jaros, but instead he himself. Her forked sword even transformed into Jaros’ chainsword for the blow.
Leona steps up to the plate and the archon strikes her, but instead of mirroring the greatsword of Kord she prefers, the archon strikes with her fists, staggering and hurting Leona but not criticalling her. Instead her HP is perfectly balanced on 0. Rather than accept Aarnel’s healing, she uses her own.
Sevastian is next, and the archon strikes at him with his own greatsword, the one that ironically he has never actually used in battle. He too is wounded to 0. My job as healer is becoming particularly called upon today!
Auriel is next, and I confess to being somewhat concerned for her safety, she is Aarnel’s apparent sister after all! Thus it is to my horror when she is stabbed through the heart, and knocked to her knees. Thankfully the effect appears to have been more mental than physical in this case, as she reports only a crippling headache. Heals are applied. a heal check reveals she lost ~20hp.
Ama is next to last. The archon draws back the sword and it becomes Ama’s bow, a shot is released and strikes Ama in the temple, who is smashed into the negatives. More quick heals and she’s restored, but very upset. “I thought I was better than him” she says in relation to Jaros. ouch.
My turn last. I’m nervous, but it shouldn’t be too bad… -6 you say? god damn. Leona attempts to stabilize me (well done using your Lay on Hands like that) but fails. I drip down to -7, and then -8 before Sevastian is able to convince Ama to heal me into consciousness. ow.
We’ve each been allowed into the next layer, but the Efreeti cannot accompany us. Angry he retreats down the mountain. We’ve lost our portal guide, but all survived the test. We conclude our session there!