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78285 No. 78285 edit

The group makes a number of travel preparations, anticipating an early departure on dragonback to Loudwater for their rendezvous with Sid. The five have a restful sleep at the Tavern of the Flagon Dragon, a higher-class establishment in the Castle Ward not too far from the famous Blackstaff Tower. Your expenses have been covered for this stay, as you act on the behalf of the Council of Waterdeep, and so long as you continue to do so, you don't have to worry about paying for an inn in the City of Splendors.

Your rest is largely uneventful, and as you gather outside the tavern--Torinn, Myn, Sureiya, and the mysterious shaman--you are approached by a pair of familiar faces. One is Remallia Haventree, and the other is the deva invoker who accompanied you some time ago, on your mission to the earthmote.

"A good morning to you all," Remallia says, bowing deeply. The moon elf woman is dressed seemingly for battle, in green scale draped with bits of purple cloth accenting it here and there, and a long, curved blade strapped to her back. She looks to Samel, and nods slightly, "I believe you know each other?"
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>> No. 78388 edit
The ranger nods in response to the paladin, then he mounts the flying horse and takes out his spyglass.
>> No. 78389 edit
Rutger's wings flap mightily and kick up small dust clouds. The pegasus ascends higher until the Torinn signals for him to stop.
>> No. 78390 edit
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Sid hurriedly begins to cast the proper rituals to enchant the necessary items, clearly not expected to be burdened with such a long list. In the distance, with the aid of the Spyglass, Sureiya can more clearly make out the tower--a curious structure made entirely of metal, with what appear to be pipes protruding from the top of which seem to occasionally emit blasts of steam. It's difficult to get a good look at the ground level due to the thick foliage, but Sureiya believes he can make out about three squat, metallic square structures near the base of the tower.

Suddenly, Asgorath reappears in his tiny dragon form, hovering near Sureiya and Torinn.

I hoped to never lay eyes upon that abominable machine again...

Sid starts enchanting the Staff of the Traveler, Bracelets of Brachiation, and Elixir of Chameleon Power.
>> No. 78391 edit
The shaman helps craft, too. "We'll be starting at night, right?"
>> No. 78392 edit
The ranger stops his scouting through the eyeglass to ask the mini dragon, as if he were already used to its presence, "Back in Abeir, you saw this Tower before?"
>> No. 78393 edit
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The tiny dragon turns to face Torinn and Sureiya and elaborates briefly,

This construct was indeed born in that godless realm... a weapon against the dragons and the primordials...

As suddenly as the tiny dragon appeared, it again winks out of existence.
>> No. 78394 edit
Not used to the lack of manners of the god of creation, Sureiya shrugs in confusion and now addresses to the paladin.

"Maybe you could bring us a little closer? I'm seeing something near of the base of the tower."
>> No. 78395 edit
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Torinn and Sureiya close slightly, but don't think they should get too close or risk being spotted. All Sureiya can tell is that there are three small structures near the base of the tower--but they don't appear to be of the same make as the tower itself. Perhaps a camp set up by the imperials around the tower?
>> No. 78396 edit
"Going any closer would be too risky, but I think I can see a camp close to the tower."
>> No. 78397 edit
Before Torinn can ask more about this 'weapon', Asgorath vanishes entirely. With nothing left to add, he orders Rutger to land.
>> No. 78398 edit
The shaman peers up at the scouts. "...Is that Lord Asgorath?"
>> No. 78399 edit
Once the ranger and the paladin are back with the group, Sureiya gets down from the magical beast.

"I couldn't see much, but apparently they have a camp nearby the tower. Oh, and Asgorath appeared for a moment, apparently the tower was a machine built to fight dragons and primordials."
>> No. 78400 edit
"The tower is a weapon? Mr. Silversprocket, is that what you were looking for? It seems they already have what they wanted, in that case."
>> No. 78401 edit
"If it can fight dragons, we have to get a hold of it."
>> No. 78402 edit
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"Towers are hardly mobile fortresses, however. As I suspected, might the bulk of the structure be buried beneath the earth?"
>> No. 78403 edit
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"Well, I'm as confused as you, but it sounds like it was built in Abeir, and Asgorath seemed annoyed to see it again" Sureiya talks again.
>> No. 78404 edit
Sid is about to ask what Sureiya means by "Asgorath says" when the tiny dragon suddenly appears next to the half-orc, startling the tinker gnome. It begins to speak,

The mechanical monstrosity and I have history, yes... in the final days before the Spellplague, I did battle with the Empire's creation... we fought for seven days and seven nights...

The tiny dragon vanishes, and reppears near Samel.

In his hubris did man seek to gather all forbidden knowledge within this great fortress...

It then teleports over to Sid, and the artificer gasps and stumbles backwards as the dragon says,

In his cowardice did man fashion the library into a world-rending weapon...

Finally, it disappears once more and appears near Myn.

And in his madness did he consort with that which sleeps beyond the stars...

With that, Asgorath floats back towards Sureiya, leaving Sid to stammer, "Great googly-moogly... did you say, Asgorath?!"
>> No. 78405 edit
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"Does he mean to imply something, I wonder."

With great effort, Myn forces his eyes to remain unnarrowed as he gestures to Sid.

"Indeed, this Mister Asgorath is mostly likely the one you are thinking of, a being of some renown. We came into contact while investigating the Well of Dragons."
>> No. 78406 edit
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"Why these older gods cannot properly speak?" the ranger wonders, considering his manner of speech is not common of an orc, from having a human father.

"With that sleeps beyond the stars? Just who are the Empire, Sid? Are you sure it is worth to try to negotiate with people like them?" he asks, sounding somewhat frustrated.
>> No. 78407 edit
Lost in his thoughts again, Samel finally snaps out and asks:
"I keep hearing the name Asgorath... that ...flying lizard can't possibly be The Asgorath, Creator of Dragonkind??"

Last edited at 17/10/20(Fri)15:36:10
>> No. 78408 edit
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"Per-perhaps you'd best explain the deal with Asgorath to us... and I'll explain what I know about this machine," Sid manages to stammer out, before sighing in seeming resignation.

"This creation was a large-scale undertaking, as you could imagine... hells, you look at the outside, but it's actually bigger on the inside--like a bag of holding, kind of! From here it looks like a tower, and within it's about the size of a city! Of course, most of it is narrow crawlspaces and machinery, but still. This tower is one of its 'legs', so to speak. While I contributed much to the original design, I stopped working on the project after a time," Sid pauses to look to his comrades, then explains, "I was already... having doubts at that time. What I can say is that this reference to consorting with the Far Realms is certainly news to me! Such behavior was not generally tolerated in the Empire! With that said, the original engineers who started the project... Gordias, and his son Midas, were always a bit, ah, overambitious."

Thumping his chest, he adds, "Lots of people worked on this machine. The Empire contracted businesses in addition to well-regarded families within the military's command structure. My brilliant daughter, Mide, helped to bring the project to its realization... and didn't quit when I did. I..." His face falls slightly. "I still don't know what happened to her."

Shaking his head as if to shake off the cobwebs and refocus his attention, Sid announces loudly, "I don't know exactly what the machine is capable of, but I do know a lot about its power sources! If I could get inside the machine and reach the arm's power core--the Knot, in the shoulder--I could disable it, or alter it in some way. However, as you've probably guessed, due to its multi-dimensional nature, teleporting or phasing in through the exterior won't work. Only the access ports are designed to allow you to properly transition from the outside to the inside and vice-versa, attempting to force your way in would probably set you adrift in the Astral Plane!"

For its part, Asgorath flies a lazy circle over the ground, remaining silent.
>> No. 78409 edit
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Myn seems to think that his previous explanation of Asgorath was sufficient.

"In that event, I suppose we can hardly expect Mister Sureiya to investigate alone. A tower is one thing, but he would surely be discovered sooner or later if he need search a city. More importantly, if Mister Sid is required to be present to untie this 'Knot', then we might be most effective in silencing any group that finds us, rather than hoping to avoid the full population within."

"I can avoid having to boil my dagger in water after lending it out as well."
>> No. 78410 edit
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"Please do not be rude, since Lord Asgorath remains the World-Shaper... regardless of looking like that," warns the shaman. "Though, Lord Asgorath's current state is most likely temporary."

As the faithful, aspiring cleric (kind of) of Asgorath, the shaman and her Quickquill copies down Asgorath's words into a notebook specifically for recording stuff related to Asgorath. After that comes Sid's details on the machine, in her regular notes.

"Are you consorting with sleeping things, Mr. N?"
>> No. 78411 edit
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"I can hardly see how something sleeping might be consorted with, Miss Bernkastel."
>> No. 78412 edit
"Maybe you first wake it up," suggests the shaman.
>> No. 78413 edit
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"Then it would become an awake something, I suspect."
>> No. 78414 edit
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"Lord Asgorath called it madness. Maybe it's a bad idea to wake them up."

"If teleportation won't work... we could still use the potions you mentioned, but we would need a different approach for entry. For now, perhaps we can limit our activities to the campsites? After that... Mr. Silversprocket, can you think of ways to sneak into the tower? Maybe by creating or hijacking an access point, or at least authorization? ...What happens if someone brings in a portable hole?"
>> No. 78415 edit
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"Perhaps the madness is in attempting to consort with the unconscious, rather."

"In any case, it's preferable to the Underdark."
>> No. 78416 edit
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The ranger approaches Sid, and tries to explain.

"It's... complicated. But right now, Asgorath has a pact with Torinn, and the rest of the party. So, since they visited the Well of the Dragons we've been blessed with the occasional help and advice of the World Shaper."
>> No. 78417 edit
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"A... pact? I suppose asking whether or not that's wise is moot at this point," Sid muses, tilting his head. "That's rather... serendipitous that it has history with this machine, and just began to accompany you right before you came here!"

Continuing to muse on the matter, Sid adds, "I-is there any advice you can render unto us for this matter, Lord Asgorath?"

The tiny dragon regards Sid and replies,

I fear this machine has a part to play in the events to come... but what part it shall play depends upon thou and thine.

Sid scratches his head, as if unsure what to make of that reply.
>> No. 78418 edit
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"It's less our pact, and more Mr. Bahamut's, really."

The shaman scribbles into the Asgorath notes. "Maybe Lord Asgorath means we can use it to beat Ms. Tiamat."
>> No. 78419 edit
"I would rather not rely on help that came from beyond the stars," Torinn murmurs. "Nothing good could come of using this massive... thing, if that's just one of its limbs."
>> No. 78420 edit
Here, the shaman glances at Myn again.

"But it was made to fight dragons, among other things. Could it not be of use, since we'll be fighting dragons? Perhaps the involvement of sleeping things can be dealt with somehow."

Last edited at 17/10/21(Sat)14:43:47
>> No. 78421 edit
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Perched on his shoulder, Myn's disembodied hand waves.
>> No. 78422 edit
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Sid scratches his head. "If I had access to the Knot, I could determine the extent of the Far Realm corruption. As I mentioned before, that part was unknown to me. It was certainly not a matter that came up when I was part of the machine's design!" Addressing the shaman directly, Sid answers, "Hijacking or creating an alternate access point... it's theoretically possible, I suppose, though highly impractical, we'd need access to the Knot for sure. As for the portable hole, the stabilization fields should prevent anything catastrophic occurring like with a bag of holding. Sneaking in... how possible that is depends on to what extent the Remnant forces have control of the machine! I doubt they have unlocked the Knot for their own use, but if they have, then they would be able to monitor our position anywhere on the arm itself! Without that, they'd need to rely on more conventional techniques for locating any invaders. It'd be difficult to sneak around the interior, given much of it is narrow passages, but not impossible!"
>> No. 78423 edit
"Then, what if we destroyed some ports, and meddled with the repair process to create a back door?"
>> No. 78424 edit
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"Destroying the port could strand those inside, though the machine was designed to be self-sufficient. I have no idea if enough of the systems are still online to support a population inside the machine, but if so, it'd leave them in a good position to manipulate the machine from within. As for sabotaging or otherwise meddling with the repair process, we'd certainly need access to the Knot to do such a thing," Sid confirms.
>> No. 78425 edit
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"Could we trick the Knot's... Administrators? Into granting access from an insecure access port, thinking it's secure? Like, by introducing faulty parts to a maintenance or repair process, or subverting an Abeir person to request it for us."
>> No. 78426 edit
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Sid cocks his head at the shaman's request. "It's... not impossible... to what end, though? To evade detection? I couldn't guarantee that--who knows what security measures are inside the machine? It would also require a lot of time and luck--I must say it strikes me as highly impractical. Perhaps if you were more specific about what you wanted to do, I'd be able to give better suggestions." The tinker gnome gazes off in the direction of the tower. "I called you out there so I could get into that thing, but it seems to me like this planning is getting rather elaborate for marginal gain. We will need to deal with the Remnant one way or the other eventually, whether we want to utilize this thing or shut it down. I will defer to you of course on that matter, but it does seem to me like this is getting overly complex."
>> No. 78427 edit
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The ranger listens to the strategic arguing and figures out he should give his input as well.

"Maybe I should go see the camp before we continue discussing our options. However, I might side with Sid this time, unless we try a diplomatic approach, any way to get inside that place is going to require a bloodbath..."

Last edited at 17/10/21(Sat)22:42:51
>> No. 78428 edit
The shaman sighs. "The reason I am opposed to diplomacy is that Mr. Silversprocket said any successful diplomacy would involve exposing his existence. Do you not think that once the Abeirians are aware that a means to control their machine exists, they would become much more motivated to obtain these means? On the other hand, if they do not know about Mr. Silversprocket, then not only will they be unaware that a person who can understand the machinery and turn it against them exists, meaning they will be less on guard about such threats, but they will also be without a miracle solution to their problems. Once they face sufficient setbacks, they will become less motivated to continue their pursuit, perhaps even giving up in time. If they begin allocating less resources to these machines, then there would be further opportunities to do as we wish."

Last edited at 17/10/21(Sat)22:46:36
>> No. 78429 edit
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The ranger listens to the shaman, and prepares his response.

"I believe your argument assumes the Empire won't be able to hold on the weapon without Sid's expertise? If there are more of the engineers who worked on it, especially on the Far Realm nonsense, I'm sure they only need some time to be able to get it working again. With Sid, or without him."
>> No. 78430 edit
The shaman nods. "That is why I mentioned setbacks, which will serve as additional discouragements and obstacles."
>> No. 78431 edit
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"Hmm... we shouldn't stay here for too many days, or weeks though. We have other responsibilities. I think we should also consider how much time it would be wise to spend on this mission." Sureiya says, confused on what to do.

"In any case, maybe scouting the camp and the Tower from close could help us. Samel, could you please begin casting the ritual again?"

Last edited at 17/10/21(Sat)23:16:04
>> No. 78432 edit
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"We may as well accompany Mister Sureiya on his expedition after all. I believe we should simply strike towards the Knot with as much force as possible, eliminating sentries and the like before they have a chance to alert the bulk of the enemy. If we fail in the latter objective, it is likely better to press forward and attempt to sabotage it before they are able to mount an effective counterattack. Considering the size of the interior, even if we are unable to retreat immediately, we will likely be in a position to hide somewhere until an opportunity to exit presents itself."

Myn's tone seems to show a pointed disregard for the possibility of the enemy posing a threat.

"In the worst case, an additional option is open to us. We may profess to offer up Mister Sid, claiming that he had deceived us into attacking the Imperials under false pretenses. Afterwards, having entered their good graces, we may utilize the situation to save Mister Sid and retreat, or complete our objective if we had not already."
>> No. 78433 edit
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"Ma'am, I think you underestimate me quite a bit," Sid says in slight indignation in response to the shaman's declarations. "Much of what will happen depends on who is in charge of this expedition--but I have escaped from their notice before and I can do so again! Furthermore, the Aberians would not have had such a strong empire were they so easily deterred. I know them quite well, and to be frank, I know them and how they will react much better than you, so you would be wise to give my advice due consideration! A few setbacks and sabotage will not stop them. Perhaps it is risky to expose myself to them, but that risk is mine to take and I would knowingly take it for something as important as this! The Remnant does not have the manpower to organize a realm-wide hunt for a gnome that doesn't want to be found or taken in; if I was sheltered in Waterdeep or another such large city by the Lord's Alliance or another such group, they would not be able to get to me."
>> No. 78434 edit
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"I don't think the shaman is underestimating your skills, Sid. Rather I think she's just worried of how well our attempt at diplomacy can go without a good plan, and probably the same for a direct assault. To be honest, both plans have several problems.

In any case, I still want to take a look. Maybe then we can tell if assaulting them, as Myn says can be a viable alternative."
>> No. 78435 edit
"Immediately, Mister Sureiya."
As soon as we all agree, Casts ghost walk (17) 4rp left

Last edited at 17/10/22(Sun)18:04:46
>> No. 78436 edit
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With the aid of Samel's ritual making him ghostly and his other magical enhancements, Sureiya begins to stalk through the forest in the direction of the tower. It takes quite a while, but Sureiya is starting to see the outline of the metal structures around the base of the tower through the foliage--and there appears to be humanoid movement as well.

Now would be a good time for Sureiya to make his stealth check and describe how he wants to go about this.
>> No. 78438 edit
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Still wearing the ugly cultist clothes and mask, after finally getting close enough to take a look with his spyglass, Sureiya hides behind any nearby obstacle there is in the surroundings and takes a good look with his magical spyglass.

Stealth: 26 https://orokos.com/roll/561371
Perception: 29 https://orokos.com/roll/561374

Last edited at 17/10/23(Mon)00:22:51
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