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Summary[]

After planar shifting to the hostages' general location, the party rushes to collect their loved ones. Traps are navigated, people are met, choices are made.

Synopsis[]

The party is all in Rome, rescuing the hostages who were taken by the Cult of Hades. They are being planar shifted by Eldarion to the destination plane of whatever is at the center of Rome. Grizzop, who’s been planar shifted before, knows how it feels. For everyone who has their eyes closed, everything feels a bit weird and distorted. Hamid, however, opens his eyes; the distance between his eyes feels like it goes completely wrong, and he can feel the back of his head hurtling toward himself. Everything gets a bit kaleidoscopic, and he is incredibly nauseous. They all feel as though they’re at a point, and it doesn’t go well for Sasha, who begins to lose her grip. At the last second, Grizzop and Hamid recatch her. 

They are all dropped into a room, with baked dirt under their feet. Grizzop keeps hold onto Sasha as everyone lets go, claps her arm, and nods up at her. There isn’t anyone directly around them that they can see, but it’s as if they’re surrounded by smoke and dark clouds when it comes to visibility. It has no smell to speak of. There is no sound of wind whatsoever, but there are the sounds of distant, enormous movement - rumbles and the like instead of footsteps. The plane itself has not a lot of contrast, and the party looks almost vividly colorful in comparison. Azu is radiating pink, and Grizzop is glowing a bright green. 

Sasha notices some very faint tracks of a single person in the dirt leading to where they are standing and then away again, and starts running in that direction. They follow it for about a minute and see ahead of them a stone circle (similar to Stonehenge). It’s not enormous - about 60 foot across. At the edge of Sasha’s vision, she sees a single track leading through one of the arches, with a few other doing the same. As they approach the henge, they hear a familiar voice, and recognise Ed, glowing bright gold (brighter than Azu and Grizzop), stood in the center of the henge - Sasha thinks that all the tracks might be Ed’s, but can’t be sure. Ed recognises them as well, saying that they’re definitely in an ancient Greece situation, and then refers to what happened in Hannibal’s tomb. Grizzop tells him that he’s completely wrong, and then Sasha asks if he’s seen the hostages. Ed says that he did for a moment, but then he ended up here. Hamid asks how long he’s been here, and Ed says it feels like it's been a minute or two. Hamid tells him to stick with them, and Ed does, asking where they’re going next. Sasha asks him where he saw the hostages, and Ed points through one of the doors, and as the smoke passes through it, they recognise Bi Ming Gusset. Grizzop calls Eldarion over, and Sasha asks her to explain. Eldarion pauses as she tries to puzzle it out, and Sasha tells her that it isn’t the time for dramatic pauses. Eldarion says that’s not what she’s doing, and then says that they need to go through the door and hope, because she doesn’t know what will happen. Sasha runs through and the rest of the party follow her. 

As they pass through, distance goes strange, and then they find themselves in an identical stone circle, with Bi Ming in the center. Sasha grabs him and unties him, before pulling him into a tight hug. He asks what’s going on, rambling a bit, and Sasha mentions that time is weird here. Bi Ming keeps asking questions, and Grizzop, clearly antsy, tries to get everyone moving again. Bi Ming sits on Sasha’s back and they all run back. Hamid looks around to see if there’s anyone watching them. 

They run back through the doorway, and find themselves in a stone circle with tracks leading in from all doorways. Hamid grabs a lump of adamantine ore and chucks it on the ground, and Eldarion commends him. She tells everyone to back away, and they all do; she takes a moment and puts her hand on the ground, casting prestidigitation, and as she does so, the ground drops away. She pulls her hand back and orders everyone to not use magic in this plane. Grizzop instead shoots an arrow into the ground. 

Digital greyscale art of Vesseek, a non binary goblin, shown from the waist up. They have long floppy ears and sharp teeth, and are bleeding from their nose and mouth. They wear a torn t-shirt. They’re holding a short in both hands and smiling broadly as they look at it, saying, “Wicked!”

Vesseek gets a sword. Art by @SSArt123 on Twitter. Used with permission.

As everyone is talking, Sasha is keeping an eye on the door they came through, and a crack starts running through it before the entire stone collapses. The sounds of distant movement stop, and Grizzop urges everyone to move faster. They pick the next door along, and have that weird stretching out again before finding themselves in another stone circle, although this one has no broken door. There’s no one there, and Grizzop shoots another arrow into the ground. He checks once they return to the main room, and they can still see the arrow through the door. Sasha, meanwhile, is looking through the rooms, and catches a small glimpse of movement on the opposite door. She calls it out, and everyone races through that door. The same stretch happens, and they see Vesseek on the ground, in a far worse state than Bi Ming was in. Grizzop runs over to them and turns them over; they’ve been heavily beaten up, and Grizzop heals them before cutting their bonds. Vesseek hops up, asking what’s happening, and Grizzop explains it at warp speed before shooting another arrow into the ground. Hamid tears off a piece of his clothing and wraps it around the arrow. Vesseek grabs Grizzop, quickly says that there isn’t a pattern and not to look for one, and Hamid thanks them while Grizzop hands him a longsword. Veeseek is moving just as quick as Grizzop.

Sasha again sees something out of the corner of her eyes and they all run that way. They find themselves in another stone circle with an adamantine rock and arrow, and then retreat. The door they just came from collapses, and Hamid sees a person through another doorway. They all run in that direction, and enter initiative when they enter, spotting a robed figure acting on an object in front of them, facing away from the party. In the battle, Sasha is knocked out from her ice dagger, and her hand is all scarred up from the dagger. Ed explodes the creature by hitting it. On the other side of where it was, there’s a pedestal with a crystal ball on top of it - Hamid can tell that it’s specifically for scrying. Sasha grabs the crystal ball and sticks it in a bag. Grizzop runs up to Sasha and heals her. Sasha chugs her cure serious wounds potion and heals herself. 

They go back to the main room. Grizzop, Ed, Eldarion, and Hamid all notice something and point toward the next door. They all run through, finding Emeka, standing in the center with a bunch of bonds on the floor. Azu grabs him, and they run back through the door. Emeka spits at the floor as he leaves with them. The door, when they come through, crumbles and breaks again. 

Hamid notices the sound of distant movement has restarted - it’s quiet but seems to be moving closer, and he’s too worried about Ishaq to think much about it. None of them see any sort of movement through the door, but they all run through it. They see a set of tracks leading to where they’ve come from, and there’s no one in the room. Vesseek pipes up, saying that it’s just random, and that one of them got out earlier but just bounced around. They all follow the tracks back, and Hamid starts running back and forth through the door a few times; Grizzop tells him to stop, saying that he knows Hamid is panicking, but that they need to follow the tracks. The tracks go through different doors; Grizzop and Vesseek are at the front of the pack as they run. 

They can hear the large thing approaching from behind them, and continue running. They hear what used to be a stone circle being pulverised. They keep running, and it’s still getting closer, but it’s not charging. It is huge. In the distance, there’s another stone circle, through which they can just see Ishaq bound and gagged in the middle. Sasha tells everyone to not go through the doors and go through the gaps instead, and they all do. Hamid runs over to his brother, and his hands turn to claws as he rips through the ropes. Ishaq is happy to see him, and then asks where the captors are so that he can blast them. Hamid tells him not to do any magic at all. 

a blue digital drawing of Grizzop, a male goblin. He is wearing leather armor and has a quiver of arrows on his back. His ears are pointed down and his eyes are wide. He is looking up at something offscreen and his mouth is slightly open in shock. There is a blue light illuminating his face and his chest. Above and behind him is a black outline of a hand outstretched and coming towards him.

Grizzop sees the hand of Hades. Art by @kalgalen on tumblr. Used with permission.

Grizzop tells Eldarion that they’ve got everyone, and she tells them all to hold hands. They all grab onto each other, and Grizzop tells people to keep their eyes closed and not let go. Eldarion starts to scream in effort. An electric current runs through all of their hands, and Eldarion steps back, joining the hands of the two people she was holding. Another well opens up underneath her, swallowing the stone circle, and Eldarion falls as well. Suddenly, they all hear something impossibly huge covering the remaining distance. It almost sounds like the sea. Hamid screams at everyone not to open their eyes (mostly to Ishaq), but Grizzop does, needing to see it. He is the only one who sees Eldarion drop, crying and smiling, staring directly at Sasha. Grizzop notices that the smoke sweeps back from all of them and coalesces into a hand, dwarfing the sky. It’s properly massive, and it’s clearly a god. As Grizzop starts to slip, Veeseek grabs him.

They all start to planar shift again. Hamid slips out of their grasp, getting stretched, and is hurt from it as his hands slip; Ishaq screams 'no' and grabs Hamid, pulling him back. Sasha slips out of their grasp, and Grizzop, who hasn’t closed his eyes for the return journey, also slips. 

Hamid, Azu, and the rest of the hostages land on solid ground, eyes still closed, and they hear Einstein greet them. Hamid’s eyes snap open, noticing that Sasha, Grizzop, and Eldarion are missing, and screams ‘no’.

Quotes[]

Dice rolls and Mechanics[]

  • Everyone makes a Fortitude save at the top of the episode: Grizzop gets 20, Hamid gets a nat 20, Sasha gets 19, Azu gets 28
  • Hamid makes a Fortitude save for opening his eyes: 23
  • Everyone makes a Fortitude save again: Grizzop gets 20, Hamid gets a 12, Sasha gets 5, Azu gets 18
  • Hamid and Sasha make a Reflex save for failing the previous save: Hamid gets 27, Sasha gets a nat 1
  • Grizzop makes a Reflex save to grab Sasha: 26
  • Everyone makes a Perception check when they land: Grizzop gets 11, Hamid gets 18, Sasha gets 28, Azu gets 18
  • Sasha makes a Perception check to look through the doorways: 27
  • Grizzop uses lay on hands on Veeseek: heals them for 10 hit points
  • Everyone makes a Perception check in the main room: Grizzop gets 11, Hamid gets 17, Sasha gets 20, Azu gets 16
  • Everyone makes a Perception check in the main room: Grizzop gets 12, Hamid gets 13, Sasha’s isn’t said, Azu’s isn’t said
  • Grizzop uses lay on hands on Sasha: heals her for 5 hit points
  • Sasha takes a cure serious wounds potion: gets 21 hit points back
  • Everyone makes a Perception check in the main room: Grizzop gets 24, Hamid gets 30, Sasha gets 21, Azu gets 25
  • Everyone makes a Perception check in the main room: Grizzop gets 16, Hamid gets 26, Sasha gets 19, Azu gets 18
  • Grizzop makes a Fortitude save when opening his eyes: 17
  • Grizzop makes a Reflex save: 26
  • Azu make a Reflex save to grab Grizzop: 20
  • Grizzop makes a Knowledge religion check when seeing the hand: 20
  • Everyone makes a Fortitude save again: Grizzop gets 23, Hamid gets a 18, Sasha gets 14, Azu gets 20
  • Sasha makes a Reflex save to catch herself: 23
  • Everyone makes a Fortitude save again: Grizzop gets 27, Hamid gets a nat 1, Sasha gets 5, Azu gets 19
  • Sasha makes a Reflex save: 20
  • Hamid makes a Reflex save: 13 (he takes 10 damage)
  • Grizzop makes another Fortitude save because he didn’t close his eyes for the return: 14
  • Grizzop makes a Reflex save: 13

Combat Breakdown[]

Ongoing effects:

  • Hamid: +4 AC from mage armor.

Initiative: Azu (15), Eldarion (14), Sasha (13), Grizzop (13), Hamid (10), Vesseek, Ed

Surprise Round

  • Azu attacks the robed figure with her greataxe. She misses on a 13. 
  • Eldarion holds her action. 
  • Sasha drops Bi Ming to run up and stab the thing. She hits on a nat 20, and confirms the crit. Using the ice dagger, she deals 34 damage and 10 ice damage to herself as the ice dagger explodes in her hand, blowing her backward. Sasha falls unconscious.  
  • Grizzop activates his divine bond and grants his bow the speed property. He makes three shots at the creature. All three hit (28, 18, 21) and he deals 10 damage total. He takes a fourth shot, hitting on a 16 and dealing 3 damage. The creature screams, and Eldarion and Grizzop yell "no magic".
  • Hamid is halfway through casting a spell, and then drops toward Sasha, pouring a potion of cure serious wounds down her throat. She gets 12 hit points back. 
  • Vesseek charges, hits, and deals some damage
  • Ed also charges. Sasha asks if it’s magic. Ed uses smite evil and begins to glow like the sun, swinging his morningstar. He hits the creature and it explodes into shards of golden light.

Plot Notes[]

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