Midnight RPG - Chapter 43.473

From RPGnet
Jump to: navigation, search


I meant to ask you about this earlier ... hopefully there's still time to get it done before the end of the week.

One of the big questions I'll have going into this confrontation with Diero and crew is what they want. I may be wrong, but I don't know that this means combat, at least not right away. If they just wanted us dead, the dragon could have easily strafed us from the air. So I'm guessing they want something else.

GM Commentary[edit]

Confrontation with Diero... You're right. It may not be what they want. However I'd offer that:

  • for all intents and purposes when last you met you nearly killed him, grusomely!
  • his "rejuvination" wasn't easy or without pain/sacrifice and it took all these months, he's had time to build hate.
  • the first time he met you slaughtered his guard and his "torphies" coming out of the Aruun, he barely got away.
  • Kyuad flatly said fuck you about him asking to court Collune.
  • His master is looking for you...
  • and Izrador has finally been roused to your "legend"

There's a good chance he's looking to kill you or beat you soundly (before doing who knows what)...

It's true the dragon could have just strafed you from the air. However, a couple things.

  • Diero wants you to know why and by whom you will be defeated.
  • The dragon's fear effect is important to this dragon "the Vanguard" (even though it doesn't know some of you may not be effected). So landing and intimidating is the "surprise round" effectively that we'll begin on next game.

For sure this MIGHT not come to a battle. However, if it does it will be more about gloating and posturing from Diero and then tactics from the Dragon once it understands your capabilities. IF it does become a battle... Oh to be SURE this WILL be a truly "real" and smart dragon tactic battle.


The obvious question, then ...

at any point during the torturing of Collune, the trip to the mirror, or the journey through the mirror to the North, did Diero or Vanguard ever mention what they were headed up here to do?

GM Commentary[edit]

Here is a "timeline" of the events that follow that box.

"SEER SIGHT - the bloody box"[edit]

  • The wood and iron straps of the box were first assembled in a small carpenters home/shop just north of Eisen. This is it's "birth" as a portal for Durgaz's sight.
  • That shop was raided in tax collection by a deformed Erenlander minor priest of Shadow and his goblin/hobgoblin guard. The box-maker was nailed to the roof of his shop for having unlawful tools found in a hollow anvil. He was not dead, but was being attacked by crows of the north when the tax-collector band road away.
  • The trip north zig-zagged back and forth along the Road of Ruin. The tax-collector's band never ventured more than 5-6 miles from the road, keeping in sight as much as possible of the Shadow Highway as they grew "richer" with booty collected.
  • Entering the squallor entrances to the hell on Aryth that is Eisen finally, the tax-collector bartered off as much of his collection as he could for food and safety while in the tortured village. Eisen was furious at this time, as it seemed many "runners" with news from the Erethor and Gamerillian front were returning to the FeyKiller.
  • The box was handed over to a hobgoblin that used if for several weeks to stand victims on as he hung then flayed them.
  • Left to rot with blood, Edgar Chander (the Ungral) grabbed the box up some weeks later where he brought it to his master's horse band.
  • From Eisen it followed the Road of Ruin, occassionally stopping at hostels and villages - the Legate band taking food/bedding and searching for a group fitting your descriptions.
  • This led the box and the band to Baden's Bluff, where rumors that Diero recognized as sounding as though your group could be involved led him on the Road of Salt and Tears, beyond and into the Erethor. It was in the Bluff that Diero was "traded" a pack of bloody-blood-thirsty mountain hounds bartered for information given to a gaunt man with skin stretched over his frame of a mix of Dorn/Sarcosan descent (stangely similar in "look" to Kyuad actually as far as his gauntness).
  • Into the Erethor and the Green March they travelled looking for the Legend...! Diero found Shealgruf's legion coming down from "retaking" (for the moment) the Gauntlet (to prove that he could) for the Legates of the Rivers Fang. The box then travelled (hanging from one of the Bloody Borther's hourses) Diero south nearly 100 miles from the forest edge. There the box saw the deal struck with One-Arm... THIS would be glorious he told the general! While he described as much as he knew to the Legend, Diero actually either held back or truly knew little about your heroic group. He spoke much of Kyuad and (you) Durgaz, but only minor descriptions of an Elf and the fact they were corrupting other shadow priests for your resistance cell (ie. Zal and Ahemia who resembled Legates!).
  • Diero watched the Battle for First-Hold, holding the Bloody Brothers Chander from rushing in. He chose a small stock from the Hobgoblin "Trigger" unit at this time. And following the battle gone badly retreated with them and the other Legate Clerics into the deeper Erethor.
  • For weeks they waited and evaded.
  • Finally Diero ordered the Brothers to sneak in and capture people/families, etc... Until he could get something of use.
  • Once gathering this "distraction" he sent the Hobgoblins and Legates toward the northern shore (as well as sending Neega to find the Vanguard) to create a distraction to get the Black Mask orcs to move away from First-Hold. Where he then offered a barter to First-Hold: Collune for the families he'd captured. Collune freely gave herself.
  • Used to stand Collune on as she was tortured, her blood and intestines running down the box... It was finally given the contents of the woman's head.
  • Travelling out of the forest and up the Road of Ruin, they road hard to the Bluff. There in town, the aftermath of the Death of Zaindal was crazed. Diero used this confusion to find his way into a hidden temple where he merged with the twin-Mirror of the Bluff.
  • Burned of any flesh and blood spilt on it from the mirror's power, the box would have emerged in the cradle of the Eye of Shadow. Gasterfang. But it didn't... Diero tossed it from the "Grey Realms" (this unholy Path of Dal Colia) into the Cold Downs as he watched Anaximath pass over your band of heroes!
  • And now the remaining bits of it lie where it fell (I assume you took a part of a board from it or something).

During the torturing of Collune, while the box was at the feet of her "torture rack" and the Bloody Brothers Chander were nearly finishing having their way with here... In the near background you could hear the conversations of the Legate Diero and Anaximath the Vangaurd. They spoke as if newly built allies. A deal was struck. It seemed the Dragon was actually prompted into taking the deal from Diero's intimidation regarding HIS master's wishes...
This exchange did seem to support a "barter" that could be had... One thing that Diero would accept that he told the Vanguard...
"...capturing the Lich 'alive' if possible... dead if necessart, but the BODY must stay intact... the Priest seeks to examine it."
... is the agreement that the dragon agreed to.

You are free to dig deeper in any of those areas if you like. Just ask any questions and I'll direct the "conversations" as you like.


I'll definitely be going into some of that in more depth, but first: I recently gained Legend Lore as a new Seer path ability, which might be handy for learning more about the Vanguard.

In order for this to work, we may need to clarify some stuff ... namely, whether or not having several days' worth of detailed visions qualifies as having the subject of the spell "at hand". (If it's not, the usefulness of this ability takes a pretty big hit ... a useable-once-per-day ability that takes 1d10 days to use isn't the best.) If it is, I'd still need to have devoted 1d4x10 minutes to the casting ... but it's probably not too unreasonable to retcon that the spell was actually cast the night before, in the castle, when Durgaz was "reading" the box in the first place. At that point, he did already know about Vanguard and would have identified him as the biggest threat (perhaps wrongly), so it would have made sense for him to research his enemy.

If all this seems like too much stretching, no biggie. I do think it'd be cool, though.

GM Commentary[edit]

For my reference...

Legend Lore[edit]

Legend lore brings to your mind legends about an important person, place, or thing. If the person or thing is at hand, or if you are in the place in question, the casting time is only 1d4x10 minutes. If you have only detailed information on the person, place, or thing, the casting time is 1d10 days, and the resulting lore is less complete and specific (though it often provides enough information to help you find the person, place, or thing, thus allowing a better legend lore result next time). If you know only rumors, the casting time is 2d6 weeks, and the resulting lore is vague and incomplete (though it often directs you to more detailed information, thus allowing a better legend lore result next time).
During the casting, you cannot engage in other than routine activities: eating, sleeping, and so forth. When completed, the divination brings legends (if any) about the person, place, or things to your mind. These may be legends that are still current, legends that have been forgotten, or even information that has never been generally known. If the person, place, or thing is not of legendary importance, you gain no information. As a rule of thumb, characters who are 11th level and higher are “legendary,” as are the sorts of creatures they contend with, the major magic items they wield, and the places where they perform their key deeds.

Here's what I'd like to do... I enjoy (and use) your ability alot to impart info. If you're cool with my guidance on it I'm more apt to allow for minor variables. But that goes both ways.

For example: I would normally say that this falls under the "vague and incomplete" information at this point. The name "Anaximath" was likely only used once or twice across the visions, it was given as a name reference to Diero from the gaunt man in the Bluff. "The Vanguard" and "dragon" were used alot, when Diero talked to the beast. And it specifically stayed "out of sight" of Diero and his camp for his own protection from such things. You really only have that: it's a dragon named Anaximath the Vanguard and has a lair somewhere in the upper Erethor/Green March. That's it. (although if you wanted to use some teamwork and have Kyuad do some research, or ask Eranon for ideas, or Zal for gather info... all of which might move you up a "stage" in the rumors, etc... This is also for general reference, as you could add to your knowledge for this in the future)
However, this IS a dragon - that's a BIG deal. And it's one of the (out-of-game) four dragons mentioned in the Midnight 2e core book. (don't look it up!) So I'd be willing to give you some info if you are okay with me playing a little looser with your abilities. WHICH leads me to the reminder about that info on the demon within Zal. As you mentioned a couple times that info was "supposed to be" from "Seer Sight". My response was that it STARTED as Seer Sight and morphed in and out as you could see from the fact some of it was "future" prophecy info.
So what I'm saying/asking is that I'm happy/interested in offering cool background info that may also help you with strategy, however with the above situation you technically by the rule should: "know only rumors, the casting time is 2d6 weeks, and the resulting lore is vague and incomplete".
I'm willing to rule that you can get similar info in the 1d4x10 minutes SINCE it relies on your Seer Sight ability as a reference.
it's all so interestingly connected anyway...

QUESTION.... so which would you rather do?

Going more by the letter of the rule may at times be more "predictable" in exact info/detail or going with the GM rule may get more/sooner but you have to trust me on what/when I give it to you more AND be cautious of what you're getting. (as was the example of Raz' the demon in Zal)

Personally I like the second. But I'll let you choose, it's your ability.

Let me know and I'll reply with this answer and for any other questions you have.



I really like what you've done with the seer abilities. Even though I often have trouble figuring out what the hell one thing or another is supposed to mean, that's part of the point. Visions that are clear and concise aren't nearly as interesting.

So given a choice, I would prefer to go with the latter. I do have one request, however. For the most part, Seer Sight is supposed to be pretty reliable ... what I see with it is what happened (just as long as I look in the right place, according to our house-rule changes.) I don't mind it being used as a "jumping-off point" for other random visiony kinds of stuff, but I would like if we could draw a clearer line between what comes from Seer Sight (and is more or less trustworthy) and what I'm picking up from those weird, unreliable channels on some other frequency (which may be trustworthy, but may also be wrong, or not have happened yet, or open to interpretation.) Would that be OK?

GM Commentary[edit]

That sounds fine. You're right. I will watch (and physically split) any future GM given visions from your stated abilities... That's a good/fair request.

Rereading the SEER path I want to remind (us both) of this statement in the path:

"Special: At his discretion, the DM may activate one of the seer’s spell-like abilities (though not when doing so would endanger the seer, such as during combat) in order to convey useful story information to the party." [Midnight 2e, p. 68)

Other than that. Feel free to ask any lines of questions you have on any of the above info on your "Seer Sight" of the Box. Below is the Legend Lore for Anaximath the Vanguard, that you were able to "see"...

"the Legend of Vanguard"[edit]

Anaximath small.gif


"The times's long gone" the old man said.
"You've come too late, my son.
You'll see them not in this sad age, our time is long since done
A hundred years ago and more, they ravaged or’ this land."
His voice was tough but his voice said "Aye lad I understand."
For I had walked 'cross half a world to hide from lizard eyes
Feared of spying the dragon wings as they still soar the skies.

"You must have come from far indeed," he said with knowing eyes.
"The word has gone afar and wide that they prey from our skies.
"Sit down a while, young lad. Let me tell you a tale
Of a dragon streaming down the wind, midnight bright on it’s scales
A tale my grandfather told me when I was but a lad,
For I too know the dragon's draw, I'd fain not leave you sad."

And so I sat down at his feet, upon a tuft of grass,
And listened as he spun a tale of beasts of scaley mass,
With scales darker than sunder shard, wings blotting out the sun,
Higher by far than the Enemy Crow soar when Vanguard comes you run.
He told of thunder and bile greater far than any work of men,
Of wisdom born in aeons past and held in trust since then.

His eyes were pale with terrored gleam as dusk crept down the sky,
I knew he heard an older voice, from when he, just like I,
Had sat and listened to the tale, hanging on every word
From one who might have seen it true, in a more monstrous world
He told it as much for himself as he told it for me
For his heart knew the fear too those deadly wings to see.

At last his tale drew to a close and with one breath we sighed
Imagining a brighter age before Aryth’s 3rd Age died
When elves roamed in the woods and giants still were seen
And mountain valleys echoed with Anaximath’s fearless scream
When wizards walked upon the Aryth with magic in their eyes
When elves lived side by side with men the Dragons always ruled the skies.

"Well that's the tale" he said at last. "My grandpa told to me
He said he saw with his own eyes its wings over the Pellurian Sea
I hope one day it flews into the west never again to fly
Above the hills of this sundered land." He heaved a heavy sigh
And said to me "Well I must go, the sun is nearly set
My wife will have the dinner done, and home's a long walk yet

Perhaps you'll come and eat with us? Though there’s little to go 'round."
Though his offer sore tempted me, I stood and looked around
Then politely I did decline -- "I too must go," said I
And he gave me a knowing look, and briefly caught my eye
I turned and walked back down the hill, towards the ghostly town
That slumbered quietly 'round the Bluff where I had come aground.

Back to my skiff I made my way, and raised the sail once more
And with the sunset on my face, I turned my back to shore
Ahead lay naught but open sea, I saw no hint of land
But still I set the tiller with a firm and steady hand
For somewhere to the north it soars and colder becomes my course lies,
'Till I have found that old old Dragon that now rules the skies.

Now I have travelled a thousand miles and I'll move many more
And storm and wreck I'll gladly brave as I have braved before
Though empty is the open sea and bitter winter's storms
Emptier still's a fearful soul and crueler is the scorn
Of those who do not dare to hope and cling to hearth-fire's glow
I left them without looking back many a year ago.

So now this sea is my road all through the starlit night
'Till the sun rises at my back and in the dawn's grey light
I see the shore long and low a half day's sail away
Hid under heavy looming clouds not yet lit by the day
Yet as dawn brightens in the sky I see a sudden gleam
As the sun's first ray glances from a circling seabird's wing.

But surely no bird could be seen as far afield as this
And no feather could ever gleam so bright in dawn's first kiss
Another shines and still a third, a spark of golden fire
From thirty leagues I see Vanguard climb soaring higher and higher
Surely nothing but dragon scale could so brazenly shine
As they thunder into the air in beauty near divine.

I see it clearly though my eyes are filled with tears of joy
For finally I've found the thing I first dreamed as a boy
My skiff fair flies across the waves, her bow spits spindrift foam
Though never have I seen this shore, I feel I'm coming home
And overhead the sky is gold and glory fills my eyes
The crystal air is wonder pure and Anaximath rules the Skies.

Sky-high, blood and bone
The shred of wings – as fallen stone
Scream that marks the end
A warriors hope, the dragon rends

HE led me down the darkest trail, so I could face my fear,
And now I feel my weakening, I know that He is near.
And before He spreads his wings to fly I cover up my eyes,
I will fly just one more time, before this warrior dies.

He licks the Yellow foamy bile from the dead man’s eye.
He feeds upon the maggots that in its stomach lie.
He breaths a cursed acid that scorches mans desire
And crushes little children 'til they cry.

His jaws are dripping wet swth the slime of mortal sin.
He acknowledges the world through a black toothed grin.
The slime is dripping down upon the unhallow ground
And the smell of death to cover where he's been

His eyes like glassy beads stare through the soul of man.
And see their lives in destitution as only evil can.
He has the smell of death upon his rancid breath
This has been his way since time began.

The lightening flashed and we saw the head of a dragon in the cloud.
It seemed he took a deep, long breath and you heard him monstrously loud.
The lightening flashed again, alas, you thought he’d gone away;
But I heard him roar and I felt reassured he hadn’t had his say.
The wind grew still and the air felt sharp; ’Twas only a matter of time
’Til he let loose with all his might his fury on all mankind.

What deed was done to unleash his wrath, so Chaos could reign unchecked?
What lesson was he teaching man that he’d leave this world so wrecked?
Has man grown so wrapped within himself that he no longer considers his friends?
Is it that man has a selfish heart that has driven the dragon these ends?
Man lacks the strength to control the Vanguard and must wait ’til they appease his lust;
But hope of hopes if he displays compassion and wisdom, the dragons will be fair and just.

At last the lightening grew dim and weak and the storm began to subside.
Those around me breathed a sigh of relief for they thought the dragon had died.
Not so, dear friends, for the dragon lives in the fire and the wind and the rain.
It will be only a matter of time ’til he chooses to visit again.
Let fear and loathing grow in your hearts for that will avert his wrath;
Real strength lies in the heart of man as he searches his life’s path.

Acids an' Ash[edit]

You haunted its dreams
You mocked its worth.
Now on the 'morrow, you will have it,
this being as old as Aryth.
Its body’s as big as a boulder,
and armored with acid etched scale.
Even the Shadowspawn tremble when,
it thrashes it’s hide-carved tail.
Its eyes tell a story of terror,
They pulse with an angry green flame
Surviving with hate of the Enemy.
And "Darastrix'ner'sjach"1 is the thing's name.
Its teeth butcher as vardatch.
Tearing darkwood and steel to shred.
Its tattered wings of leather on iron,
Dull-ripper claws gore-laden in red .
Each weapon is as fierce as the other,
Acid then Flame brings victorious death.
And any it touches must perish,
Sent to Shadow Haven by loon baited breath.
These tales ends only in pain,
a story even odrendor whisper in woe.
Dragonkind be the sixth Avatar of Aryth
Face a god? Then reap what you sew.
All who would foolishly stand
At Vanguard's arythquaken crash
Remain evermore on that broken field,
Nothing left but,
acids an' ash.

1 darastrix'ner'sjach: "Vanguard", literally: "dragon spear of shadow", aka. Anaximath