Fallout is Dragons

Flametongue
Session 0

Recap by Great Dinn

Xencarn and Flotsam have been travelling together. They encounter an Earth Pony with a set of Saddle Bags labelled with a faded “-ing company.” He talks with the two about the various curses, mentioning the Gunsmith Curse, but also the Fool’s Gold Curse, wherein multiple forms of loot are in fact fake, or switched with fake loot. The two ignore him, and head down the road, laden with landmines. The earth pony attempts to shoot the two from a distance and take their loot, but Flotsam and Xencarn manage to scare him off with two summoned Zombie Mooks, Xen summons more after the battle for later use, including mine detection, while Flotsam disarms several landmines to keep. The two continue to Flametongue.

Firelight is in a room at the Last Stop, having come to the town a few days earlier and learned much about the town, including the way the mayor, Shady Deal runs things. His door is knocked upon by a pony named Opportunity, who asks Firelight to come with him and meet the caravan that he wants Firelight to accompany into Dragon’s Maw. At the bar, Firelight is accosted by the drunk ponies, who reluctantly accept him into the group.

Tempered Steel is slightly closer to town than Xen, he is accosted by 4 Raiders, the leader of which demands Rage from the minotaur. He roars, and they are terrified. Steel brings out his hammer, slams it into the dirt and says “I hereby accept the terms of your surrender.” Three Raiders flee, and the leader freaks out, but stays due to his need for Rage. He brings out a nailed bat for combat. The two begin to fight, (Steel has Who Da Minotaur, Tank Beats Everything, Justic Strike, Strike of Vengence, and Wield the Hammer) the Raider taking damage, and then pumping his neck full of the last of his RAGE in order to fight back. Steel takes 2 damage. Steel responds with a smash to the face and the Raider is bloodied. Steel attempts to run away, but doesn’t manage to completely escape the blast. The Raider dies, and Steel takes 16 damage. Steel is bloodied. Steel goes through the raider’s meager supplies (16 bottlecaps, and a bunch of empty syringes, which Steel smashes.) The remaining three raiders make comments to each other, moaning Rager’s loss. Steel notices them, and follows.

The raiders run past Xencarn and Flotsam, followed by Steel. “Xencarn, can we keep him?”

Tempered Steel notices them, stops his chase, they become friends, and arrive at Flametongue. The guards notice Steel’s wounds, state that the town doctor is busy, and that there is another doctor in the Inn. They arrive at the Inn, and the shocked receptionist sends Tempered Steel to Room 221, and Firelight. Xencarn and Flotsam attempt to rent a room, for 500 caps a night, but are forced to trade grenades for the room due to a lack of caps (and as a security deposit). They also receive a tab for food and alcohol. Meanwhile, Firelight’s room is knocked on by Steel. It isn’t until after they discuss the situation that led up to his injuries that Firelight opens the door all the way and Tempered Steel hunches over to get inside. Firelight asks for money, which is given, and uses some healing bandages. (Heal 34.) A day’s rest, and Steel will be good. Steel talks about the two he met, and brings Firelight to meet them.

Flotsam has fewer grenades than mines now. She and Xencarn decide to go into town to trade for more grenades (and books, which CAN in fact explode ponies if used properly). Steel meets up with the two of them, Firelight close behind, who is immediately questioned by Flotsam due to her natural curiosity. She casually brings up the zombies (and is immediately shut up by Xencarn), and the group is introduced to each other. They discuss the trip into Dragon’s Maw, and Firelight and Tempered Steel discover the filly’s proclivity for explosives. Steel and Firelight question a filly coming to Dragon’s Maw, as well as carrying a bunch of explosives, and in response, she reveals how she got her cutie mark, what her brother, father, and sister do, and then asks how Steel plans to defend himself without explosives. He responds that he has a hammer that shoots lightning, and before the conversation can progress, they are interrupted by the sounds of Xencarn’s and Flotsam’s stomachs rumbling, which leads them to the bar for food.

Powder Keg is sitting in the bar, drunk, when he notices the “caravan” from earlier, that Powder Keg recognizes as raiders/bandits. Powder Keg gets a brilliant idea. “Raaaaaagh.” Grenade. But he fumbles, due to using his hooves instead of his horn, and falls to the ground. The pin remains unpulled. The patrons scatter, the bartender freaks out, wondering what Powder Keg is doing, and then Powder Keg states that the raiders are raiders. Powder Keg threatens the group, they threaten him, and they begin to fight when the other group enters. Tempered Steel slams his hammer into the table, getting everyone’s attention, and asking what’s going on. Powder Keg explains, and then he and Tempered Steel get into an argument about being drunk, which is eventually interrupted by the four front most raiders screaming “SHUT UP, WHO ARE WE FIGHTING?”

Initiative Order (2 Raiders, Xencarn, Firelight, Flotsam, Tempered Steel, Powder Keg, 2 More Raiders)

The lead raider strikes against Powder Keg (5 Damage). The second raider goes for Tempered Steel (9 Damage). Xencarn pulls out his Necro Scythe, and uses Grievous Wound on the lead Raider (7 Damage to the Raider). Firelight uses “I Can Fix That” on Tempered Steel (6 points healed). Flotsam lobs a Nail Bomb (Knife in the Dark) at Raider 2 (6 Damage). Tempered Steel attacks Raider 2 with Invigorating Strike (5 damage) and gives 5 temp HP to Flotsam. Powder Keg pulls out some C4, and uses it on Raider 2. (Raider 2 dies, Raider 1 and 3 are bloodied, and takes a chunk out of the floor.) Raider 3 takes out Dash and injects it into himself, and goes for Flotsam, Firelight, and Xencarn. Tempered Steel takes the Damage for Flotsam (6 damage each). Raider 4 lobs a grenade but only manages to slightly hit Powder Keg (4 Damage). Raider 1 takes damage from the scythe (7), and attempts to flee, but is caught by Flametongue guards, and gunned down. Xencarn uses Death Cyclone on Raider 3, and hits Raider 4 as well (1 damage each). Firelight uses Burning Slash on Raider 3, after drawing his sword. (3 damage from slash, 2 ongoing). Flotsam aims for Raider 3 and Raider 4, using Explosions for All. She hits both (4 damage apiece). Tempered Steel refrains from attacking, due to personal beliefs. Powder Keg throws a Sticky Bomb at Raider 4. (7 Damage, now Bloodied and has a bomb on him.) Raider 3 is overcome with flames and dies. Raider 4 panics, and runs around the room, until he gets out of the room, scaring off the guards, until he explodes. Battle over.

The terrified bartender, and Opportunity are still alive. Powder Keg etches two scratches into his gun. Xen harvests body parts (minimal as most are exploded). Flotsam looks for unexploded bombs. Powder Keg sets three caps on the table and pays for his drink with “a little extra for the bar.” The Flametongue guards approach, guns drawn. A brown maned pony with a grumpy look enters in front of the guards, and asks “Who started it?” Everyone points to Powder Keg, who responds “They started it. By being raiders.” Opportunity verifies the claim. Firelight recognizes the mare as Shady Deal, who demands that the party leave the town by tomorrow morning. They aren’t allowed back unless they’re dead or have dragon treasure on them. They will need it to pay for all the damage. Flotsam puts all of the raiders looted bottlecaps on the bar. Powder Keg reveals his one-track mind for killing Raiders. Shady Deals tells them that they need a caravan name, before leaving. Powder Keg is introduced to the group, mentions that he’s marked his gun for the two raider deaths, and Flotsam checks the gun. She notices that the gun isn’t quite right, but can’t identify exactly what. Townsponies are watching the scene with interest and confusion. Tempered Steel mouths that Powder Keg is insane to the rest of the group. Flotsam nods cheerily, Xencarn shrugs, and Firelight nods while cleaning up. Flotsam thanks Tempered Steel for protecting her, and the introductions finish. Powder Keg states “I have some business to attend to” turns around, and throws up.

Tempered Steel has taken 15 Damage.
Flotsam has gained 5 temporary HP.
Powder Keg has taken 9 Damage, and will be sleeping off a hangover.
Xencarn has taken 6 Damage.
Firelight has taken 6 Damage.
Everyone is now in trouble with Shady Deals.
They’ll be sleeping this damage off though, so who cares!

“Dear Princess Newbiespud,

Today I learned that the party is insane, and Dally is hilarious. This is gonna be a fun ride.

Your Faithful Student,

Great Dinn”

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Flametongue Pass
Session 1

Recap by Great Dinn

This session features Special Guest: Lyntermas! Running combat for Firelight.

Powder Keg wakes up in an alley way, hungover, and only vaguely aware of what happened last night. The slow thought process is interrupted by a cybernetic Donkey who walks up to unicorn, claims that Powder Keg is now the minion of Doctor Javolt, and that the two have to go buy supplies. Despite the fact that Powder Keg argues against this sudden action, Javolt ignores him, and drags the unicorn down the road with his mechanical claw.

The party members in the Last Stop Inn are woken up by the knocking of the town guards reminding them that they need to remove themselves from Flametongue posthaste. The two ponies, Minotaur, and zebra decide to make one stop before heading out, and direct themselves to the general store of Sellout.

Javolt and Powder Keg pass by the remains of the bar, lone worker glaring at Powder Keg who remains unaware of his involvement, until they too arrive at the general store, where Powder Keg manages to break free from the mechanical menaces grasp, and attempts to leave, only to be stopped by the arrival of the rest of the party, and a contingent of armed guards. A friendly little argument takes place concerning the goings on of last night, the state of the bar, the company that Powder Keg now keeps, and the reason that the guards might be following both groups.

3 house cats, a tesla coil, an exploded warehouse, and a lot of algae. These are the items involved in the accident that put Doctor Javolt in the same boat as the rest of the group, the creatures he now considers minions.

Thanks to the “accident” of last night, prices at Sellout’s Blowout Bargains are inflated. Despite Tempered Steel’s promise of reward, Sellout doesn’t care, because no one’s come back with Dragon’s Treasure in about 8 years. Even Flotsam’s biggest cutest eyes fail to lower prices. Nor does the maddened laughter of Doctor Javolt, who is quickly pulled away and slapped by Tempered Steel before the guards very nearly open fire on the party. The group makes some purchases for the road, argues a bit more, and then departs, after the careful nudging of a guard and his loaded, cocked gun.

With all their money gone, the party leaves Flametongue, trying to get far away from the good doctor, who insists on “Leading” despite the party’s insistence otherwise. Powder Keg, meanwhile, asks for a reintroduction to the group, because as we all know, the consumption of alcohol is wrong, and leads to situations we may not recollect that probably should be. (See Session 0) The party arrives at the gates to Flametongue Pass, and the steel edifice opens, crossing the threshold from the relative normalcy of the wasteland, to the danger lurking in the crevices of Dragon’s Maw. The path ahead is full of hiding places, twisted rocks spiraling upwards into the sky, cliff faces crumbling, stones dropping from high peaks into dark chasms, the wind whistling a haunting dirge through the pass.

The party divides themselves for protection against surprise attacks, Tempered Steel and Xencarn in back, Powder Keg and Firelight in front, and Doctor Javolt and Flotsam in center. Yet another argument ensues concerning the Doctor’s naming patterns, with the result that a grenade with “Doctor Gevalt” written on it has been made, and a threat hangs in the air should the word “minion” be used again. The Doctor asks what reason the group is venturing into the Maw, but only Xencarn responds, claiming that he wants knowledge, books, and dragon bones. The rest remain strangely silent.

The group encounters a cliff face, with a downward slope, dragon bones piercing out of the side and top, large, ominous, and partially buried by stone and sand.. Powder Keg picks up a small dragon’s tooth and Xencarn picks up three small dragon wing bones for his collection, while Doctor Javolt brings out a series of levitation pads in order to slide down the cliff.

The party makes their way across the platforms and down the cliff, jumping from platform to platform, but Flotsam misses the first levitation pad, and begins to fall down the cliff face at alarming speeds. It’s only thanks to the quick work of Powder Keg and his magic that Flotsam makes it to the next pad safely, and reaches the bottom unharmed. For having saved his “Research Assistant” Javolt upgrades Powder Keg’s status from Minion to Security Guard. Xencarn spies another pile of bones, smaller, more pony-like and examines them, looking for full skeletons to serve as potential minions, as well as for observations on how the ponies died, but most are too old, brittle, and damaged to be of any use. Tempered Steel examines the bones that Xencarn leaves behind, and finds five caps that were missed by previous scavengers, hidden beneath the bleached skull of an otherwise picked clean pony. Xencarn’s scavenging does not go unnoticed by the others, but they come to an agreement that they won’t interfere in each other’s business, at least for the moment. They will however, be keeping an eye on him.

Flotsam, still wary and perceptive from the encounters yesterday, notices a rock that has changed position. She calls to the others, pointing out the “Rock Monster.” Tempered Steel picks up a different rock, but before he can give it a toss, Powder Keg decides to perform a test using one of his grenades. The grenade bounces off the back of the rock, lands, and then explodes, as the Cragodile unrolls itself from its “camouflaged” form.

“If this thing kills us, I’m going to kill you in the afterlife too.” Tempered Steel says, before he rushes forward, and strikes at the Cragodile with a swing from his hammer. Before the Cragodile can recover from the ferocious blow to the jaw, Powder Keg plants C4 around the beast, and lets loose, shrapnel and fire blistering its rocky hide. The Cragodile roars in pain, a shrieking bellow that hits Powder Keg, Xencarn, and Tempered Steel, dazing the three of them before it charges at Powder Keg, ramming into the unicorn and then lunging at Doctor Javolt, snapping at the donkey with its craggy teeth. Xencarn reaches into his bag, fumbling through the rubbish in his dazed state to pull out his Necroscythe, which unfolds with a tripping flourish and gives Xencarn the time needed to snap out of his daze. Doctor Javolt begins running ideas through his head, manic thoughts crashing into one another, brilliant flashes of insight consumed by madness, until even his daze dissipates. The beginnings of a plan of attack grow in his mind. Firelight notices the damage that has been taken by Doctor Javolt, and attempts to heal the good doctor, to great success, magic light wrapping around the wounds opened by the beast’s stony bite and sealing them shut, at least temporarily. Flotsam rushes around the Cragodile unseen, and slips a mine in front of Tempered Steel, hoping that her ally can convince the Cragodile to rush into it in a blind fury.

Tempered Steel attempts to grab the Cragodiles attention with another fierce hammer blow, this one clipping the monster’s tail, while Powder Keg rushes at the Cragodile’s face, and gives it a quick buck to the jaw, dealing it a minor blow. The Cragodile lets out a wounded cry, that doesn’t seem to do anything, until the smaller rocks in the area begin to move, revealing four baby Cragodiles that lash out at the party. Tempered Steel is attacked by the baby he had earlier unknowingly picked up, but it triggers Flotsam’s mine, and before it can even lay a claw on the minotaur burst into a glorious display of meat chunks and stone. The other three baby Cragodiles manage to reach their targets, and bite Firelight, Xencarn, and Flotsam, clamping down and struggling to take down the larger prey. Firelight strikes back against the one clamped on his foreleg, knocking it out and tossing it aside. The Cragodile takes advantage of the distraction caused by its children and swings its tail, digging it into the ground, and launching boulders and rocks at the entire party. Firelight manages to catch one of the boulders with his magic, and sends it screaming back towards the Cragodile, visibly cracking the beast’s stony shell. Xencarn strikes at one of the minions, making a whirling dervish of necromantic magic that manages to catch both babies and their mother in its wake, draining the life out of the Cragodile babies. Doctor Javolt takes a moment to switch out a new weapon, and fires upon the Cragodile with a large beam of electricity, which stuns the monster, and causes the cracks to grow ever wider, smoke rising from the hidden flesh. Firelight pulls out his Old World Blade, and imbues with the energy of Fire, before striking at the Cragodile’s skull, forcing open a large gash that makes for a perfect target. Flotsam closes one eye, and focuses, before tossing a grenade into the gash. It lands, wedging itself into the opening and then explodes, blowing the Cragodile’s skull to pieces.

The group notices that the baby Cragodile that wasn’t blown up, or reaped of its soul, is unconscious, and after a few moments of pondering, decide to keep it, as a pet, for Flotsam. Because what better pet could there be for a demolitionist filly than an alligator made of stone? The group decides that the best way to take care of the baby Cragodile is to dissect its mother to learn what Cragodiles eat and need. They lack any sharp object to cut open the stone creature, so Tempered Steel busts out the hammer, and opens up the Cragodile’s digestive tract with a very strong blow to the abdomen. The group finds sulfur stone, and other minerals that the monster’s munched on, of which a gram of the sulfur is immediately harvested by Powder Keg for future bomb making. Xencarn gets an idea of how the Cragodile functions through careful biological examination, while Powder Keg tells the party that in order to get the baby Cragodile to accept them as its mother, they should rub the mother Cragodile’s outer shell stones on themselves to obtain its scent. Powder Keg asks Flotsam, who is anxiously waiting for the baby Cragodile to wake up, if she can take care of the creature, and Flotsam promises to love it, feed it, and walk it, cause they’re gonna do all that stuff anyway. Tempered Steel crushes some of the outer shell into a powder so that the scent can be reapplied later, and after that monstrous ordeal is finished, the party finally decides to move on.

The party walks along for quite some time through the pass, before they notice the body of a pony, laying by the side of the road. He’s alive, but barely, bleeding out, and weakly he waves the group over. The group gets close, and noticing his bloodied knife cutie mark, decide to be a little more cautious, assuming logically that he’s a raider. Flotsam ignores this caution after a few moments, and moves towards the pony to apply pressure to his wound. It does little to help, and was probably done a little more forcefully than she should have, judging by the coughing fit that ensues. The party notice his saddle bags say “Black Lotus Travelling Company”, and he makes a dying request that they deliver a letter for him. To Slick from Sharp Edge, Slick being the only pony that didn’t betray Sharp Edge from the travelling company. The Black Lotus group became obsessed with the power of the magical artifacts hidden in the Maw, obsessed with becoming all powerful through their usage. Sharpedge attempted to leave, deciding that the group was going insane, but they turned on him, attacked him, left him to die. He warns the group of a potential curse, making sure they know to keep an eye on their so called friends.

Sharpedge asks forgiveness from these total strangers for what he’s done in the past, begging that they take his letter to Slick, help his only real friend out, to give Sharpedge a chance at redemption. The group, somewhat reluctantly, takes the letter, and with his dying will accepted, Sharpedge’s breathing slows, and then stops. Flotsam begins to cry, before scooting away to find a place to dig the pony a grave. Tempered Steel takes the ex-raider’s saddlebags, and prevents the others from looting the body, while Powder Keg closes Sharpedge’s eyes. Xencarn recites a short Zebrican prayer for Sharpedge, translated:

“May your soul, rest among the dirt
Away from the cosmos, away from the stars
Away from the battles, away from the scars.
Your body will rest
Your mind will sleep
And those who loved you
Will weep”

The group takes their time to bury the body, and moves on. From various stories each individual party member has heard, they recall that a town called “Gold Rush” lies just beyond the pass, serving as the Flametongue of Dragon’s Maw, and Flotsam proves even more knowledgeable thanks to her Steel Ranger friend. She knows that the town has old prospectors, new prospectors, and an organized group of Raiders called the Four Horses Gang, itself divided into sub-gangs each ruled by an individual who cooperatively control the entire gang. Death, War, Pestilence, and Famine. Flotsam shares this information, during one of Powder Kegs many rants about personally killing raiders.

Doctor Javolt steps to the edge of the pass, and examines the scenery below. The valley is lit a burning orange by the setting sun; fiery sands, and wasteland as far as the eye can see. The only sign of civilization is a small shanty town at the bottom of the pass. Xencarn hides his face behind his cloak, and steps behind Tempered Steel, just in case. Down below, the party notices movement, some of which is focusing in their general direction, and they are clearly armed with primitive melee weapons. The group can mostly see face and body paint, red, black, green, and orange. Xencarn however can see that these are members of the Four Horses gang, according to Flotsam’s earlier description. The gang of fifteen ponies is only watching the pass, and doesn’t notice the group itself. It is agreed that directly attacking the raiders is a stupid idea, at least until they split up, so they come up with a new plan. Powder Keg decides to set up a distraction, namely the Distractogon, effectively a rocket propelled disco ball covered with glowing lights, spinning wildly, and playing the complete abridged works of George R. R. Mareton, as read by Morgan Freemane. Powder Keg launches the Distractogon towards the raiders, which leads to ten of them departing to salvage the strange device. So pleased with the success of the Distractogon, Tempered Steel lets out a ferocious “OH YEAH,” which immediately alerts the raiders to his presence.

Seeing the remaining five raiders, and deciding that flight is better than fight in this case, Powder Keg uses the last of his supplies to create the Scare-tron 2000, a wheeled box covered in spinning saw blades, lasers, and a seat for Doctor Javolt to ride in as he cackles maniacally, speeding down the path and towards the raiders with the (supposed) death-machine. The raiders take a moment to appreciate the gravity of the situation, the complex structure of their incoming doom, and then flee in mortal terror. Javolt congratulates the party on a job well done, and commands that his “minions” join him for dinner in town. This unfortunate choice of words leads to a series of events wherein Powder Keg shoves a pinned grenade into his mouth, Tempered Steel slaps him on the back of the head, and Javolt chokes on the grenade, only briefly. Unfortunately. The grenade is removed, unharmed, and no one dies, for the moment. This bout of slapstick finished, the group makes their way down the path, out of the pass, and arrives in the town of Gold Rush.

Dear Princess Newbiespud,

Today I learned that there are limits to what the DM might have available in the ways of information. This will not stop the party from attempting to discover that information by dissecting an adult golem, studying its physiology, and adopting its only non-exploded, non-soul devoured child. They named him Craggy. This decision will probably lead to regret.

Your Faithful Student,

Great Dinn

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Gold Rush
Session 2

Recap by Great Dinn

“And that my dear filly, is where fowls come from.” Says Javolt to Flotsam as they enter the town of Gold Rush. Gold Rush is a shanty town, mostly sheet metal and tents, and a few small buildings. There are only three gates, two in the front, one in the back.

Powder Keg attempts to begin a glorious quest for alcohol, only to be halted by Doctor Javolt, who asks “If not minion, would you prefer unpaid intern?” Powder Keg proceeds to punch him in the face, breaking the Doctor’s goggles, sending the doctor flying, and causing a conversation to ensue concerning the status of Doctor Javolt’s relationship to the group. .Firelight decides to hold Doctor Javolt back, and have a conversation with him, while the rest of the group enters Gold Rush proper. After a few blunt words, it finally, FINALLY occurs to Javolt that minions isn’t the best term for the rest of the party members. He upgrades them to Junior Professors. It’s better than nothing.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party enters Gold Rush, a small town of maybe 20 to 30 ponies total. Posters hang around the side of the buildings, covered in pony’s faces, akin to the election posters of pre-waste days. The posters say things like “Sarge, Fight the Raiders,” “Blue Moon, Find the Treasure, Once and for All,” “Thunderspear, Protect Our Town and its Ponies,” “Sharper, Making the Town More Efficient,” and “Sooty, Runnin’ because I can.”

Flotsam notices a Steel Ranger wearing the Applejack’s Ranger logo, and waves him down, asking who the ponies in the poster are. The Ranger asks if they’re a new caravan, and the group comes to find that the city trades food and supplies grown within with the Four Horses Raiders (out of necessity) which ensures Powder Keg wants nothing more than to leave. Xencarn reveals his heritage to a small amount of surprise, and asks if the town would be persuaded to part with anything in exchange for the removal of the Raiders. The Ranger informs them that they wouldn’t be the first who’s tried, but that the group should stay around until at least after the election, since the former mayor died, and the Four Horses are considering reneging on their deal with the town, given the previous mayor was the one who brokered the deal. Xencarn, seeing an opportunity, asks if the mayor was buried nearby, and if they would have the information about the deal.

Before a good response can be made, Trip (the Applejack’s ranger) is cut off by Sarge (from the poster) who begins to converse with the group concerning their own situation. Flotsam presents the group as Dragon Mawlers Inc. and, Sarge and Powder Keg come to something of an understanding concerning the situation of the Raiders, and the potential way to deal with it, but are stopped by the equally pressing matter of defense of the town. They come back to the subject of “paying respects” to the mayor, and figuring out what the deal was, and possibly where the individuals leading the Four Horses are located. After Flotsam openly reveals Xencarn as a necromancer, the less innocent members of the group manage to convince Sarge and Trip that Xencarn is merely a detective. A very good detective. The Rangers miraculously believe the party, so Sarge tells them where the body and the mayor’s old office are located so the group can check for clues.

The group splits up to investigate both, with Flotsam, Doctor Javolt, and Tempered Steel deciding to bother a nearby filly, one pointed out by Sarge as Short Circuit, who is busy working on the battery power for the town. Not much success is made with the conversation, short of a revelation that none of the caravans have come back from attempting to kill the Four Horses, and that the filly has a shotgun. They wisely decide to move onto the Mayor’s office.

Meanwhile, Xencarn, Powder Keg, and Firelight go to exhume a body. They arrive at a graveyard, laden with bare-bones graves, for lack of a better term, and proceed to locate the Mayor’s Grave, which is thankfully marked “Mayor.”. Powder Keg locates a shovel, and digs up the body, which is near frozen solid. Xencarn begins the ritual to speak with the mayor’s corpse, and while that occurs, Powder Keg notices a blue unicorn staring at the trio from the gate. It doesn’t take much for Powder to realize that the unicorn saw everything, and that it would be best to try and dissuade the unicorn from doing anything brash or stupid. He calls out to the unicorn, but the blue pony disappears behind the gate to town. Fortunately for the trio, a few moments later the unicorn returns, and approaches the group, somewhat nervously, but amicably.

Powder and the Unicorn, who identifies himself as Blue Moon, begin to talk while Xencarn continues his ritual. Surprisingly, Blue Moon isn’t that disturbed by Xencarn’s magic, as he is an avid studier of magic himself, and is more than interested in examining a form of magic so foreign to any he’s seen or read about. Idle chat occurs for a few more minutes concerning the town, Blue Moon’s running for mayor, and Blue Moon’s campaign poster, but eventually, the ritual is complete, and Blue Moon heads back into town.

The Mayor, recovering from his little case of death, babbles for a few moments about the bizarre nature of returning to a state of consciousness, his memory a fuzzy blur of the events leading up to his demise. Despite being able to use his necromantic powers to force the mayor to answer one question, he’s surprisingly chatty, and explains to the trio what sort of things occurred in Gold Rush not too long ago. The deal is explained, Gold Rush grows plenty of crops, and sends a large amount to the raiders, probably Famine’s gang, in exchange for not getting blown to Tartartus. When the topic of his murder is brought up from that, the Mayor tells the group that the Raiders are terrible at magic, and that it would’ve been nearly impossible to reach the mayor in the middle of town, kill him, and sneak out without being noticed by the watch. And then the mayor remembers who did it.

But Blue Moon has already gotten far away from the trio.

Back in town, Flotsam, Tempered Steel, and Doctor Javolt are busy examining the Mayor’s Old Office, finding nothing particularly noteworthy. Before they can do any thorough examination though, they hear the yelling of some nutjob outside the building, and open the door to find Blue Moon riling up the townsfolk with talk of how the newcomers are raider spies, and necromancers, how they defiled the mayor’s body, and even as he speaks, are preparing to overthrow the town. Tempered Steel, and Flotsam make an attempt at showing the town they don’t mean any harm, and that they just want to help Gold Rush figure out what happened to the old mayor, but Blue Moon strikes back with claims that they’re lying to lull Gold Rush into a false sense of security. Doctor Javolt scoffs, and speaks to the town about the quality of his “Junior Professors” and that the necromancers in his “employ” are only the best, and would never do anything to harm future test subjects, which goes about as well as can be expected. The Steel Rangers in town decide to go the graveyard and check things out for themselves.

Thinking fast, Tempered Steel picks up Flotsam, and tosses the pegasus filly in a long arc over the crowd, while she uses her wingpower to bring herself to a not-so-graceful stop in front of the Steel Rangers, blocking off their path out of town. She gives an impassioned speech, pleading with Sarge and Trip to believe that they don’t mean any harm, even if they are performing necromancy. There’s a moment of hesitation, and then Sarge calls the Steel Rangers off. They’ll wait for word straight from the horses mouth.

Realizing that Blue Moon is likely going to raise a ruckus about the situation, Powder Keg, Xencarn, and Firelight retrieve the Mayor’s body, and bring him into town, so he can tell the truth himself. The town reacts about as well as can be expected with the frozen corpse of their mayor speaking to them due to the powers of Zebra necromancy, but no mob forms to hang the party immediately, so they all have time to explain their case. They decide to prove to the townsfolk that, despite Blue Moon’s claims, the Mayor isn’t under Xencarn’s thrall, by having the mayor say something that only the mayor and townsfolk might know. The mayor proves his freedom of mind by recalling the night of the murder, and the conversation he had with Sarge, mere minutes before the mayor’s untimely demise. Sarge hesitates for a few moments, then calls the Rangers to keep any townsfolk off of the party. Blue Moon gets nervous, so Tempered Steel and Powder Keg move closer, intending to catch the unicorn should he try to run. Javolt meanwhile, busies himself by looking for a bottle of alcohol of some kind. The Mayor realizes and reveals that Blue Moon killed him to get the “Key to the City,” a large golden key that’s actually to something else, probably the treasure that the campaign poster refers to. Blue Moon makes a few more negative claims that are shot down by more rational members of the party and crowd, and feeling the magic supporting his form fade, the Mayor gives a final speech to the town, telling them to find the truth.

Blue Moon panics, and tries to flee, but is hit by a bottle thrown by Javolt, then tackled by both Tempered Steel, and Powder Keg. Once the unicorn has been subdued, Tempered Steel takes the body back to the cemetery to bury it, while Xencarn goes with Trip to Blue Moon’s home in order to find the key, as proof that Blue Moon is responsible. Despite the large collection of magic books catching Xencarn’s eye, it becomes obvious that the key is hidden within the locked chest at the foot of Blue Moon’s bed. However, after it’s been forced open by local fixits Hammer and Nail, the inside appears completely empty, at least, to those who don’t have as much magical talent as Xencarn. It takes a few minutes of research, mostly finding the right book with the right bookmark, but Xencarn discovers the enchantment within the lockbox, and dispels it, revealing a giant golden key. Trip goes to fetch the guilty party.

Blue Moon, the rest of the party, and many townsponies arrive at Blue Moon’s home, where Xencarn reveals the key. It’s agreed by all that Blue Moon is guilty, but he still refuses to confess. until, of course, Xencarn reveals he has a spell that can help with that, provided Blue Moon is made helpless. Tempered Steel grabs Blue Moon by the tail, and lifts him into the air, intending to help Xencarn cast his spell, but with quick thinking and a flash of magic, Blue Moon cuts his tail, and lands on the ground, intending to flee. Powder Keg beats him to the punch, with a solid hook to the jaw, which knocks Blue Moon into the wall. Before anyone can react, Blue Moon rises, and summons his magic, preparing something. A horrible noise comes from Flotsam, and her bag opens as Craggy flings itself at Blue Moon, clamping down hard on the pony’s muzzle. Distracted by the stony fangs of the baby cragodile, Blue Moon is quickly taken down. The party surrounds Blue Moon, takes a few more hits on the unruly unicorn, and then Tempered Steel sets his hoof on Blue Moon’s neck, pinning him to the floor. Javolt scrapes off a sampling of Blue Moon’s horn, and Xencarn sits down in front of Blue Moon to begin asking his questions.

What does the key open? Despite initial protests, Blue Moon reveals that the key is possibly the key to a dragon’s treasure, Glaurung.

Did he work alone? Yet again more protesting, but Blue Moon reveals that all he did with the raiders was ask them to up their raiding parties in the nearby area without entering town. No actual partnership was made with anyone.

Where is the treasure? A few moments of silence, and Blue Moon finally relents, telling the group that the treasure most likely lies to the northeast, though he doesn’t have an exact location pinned down.

Satisfied, Xencarn’s spell ends, and Blue Moon is partially released. The group begins to argue about what to do with him now, several clamboring for his execution, Flotsam suggesting they let the town decide since he’s their criminal, Firelight suggesting a less violent punishment, and many disagreements being reached, until finally the town votes to have him killed. Powder Keg ties a rope to Blue Moon’s neck, and leads him out of town, followed closely by Firelight and Doctor Javolt, one who wishes to possibly convince Powder Keg to show mercy, and the other who merely wishes to collect the pieces for study.

Outside of the town, Firelight makes his claim, and manages, for a few seconds to talk with Powder Keg. This does not prevent him from unpinning a grenade, and forcing it into Blue Moon’s mouth. Or rather, attempting to. With the distraction caused by Firelight, Powder Keg, and Javolt’s conversation, Blue Moon used his telekinesis to grab hold of the grenade, and force it back onto Powder Keg. Javolt grabs Blue Moon by the neck with his claw, attempting to choke the unicorn, while Firelight uses his magic to launch the grenade up, but not in nearly enough time to prevent the explosion from hitting all four of them.

Bright flashing light, unbearable noise, searing pain and bleeding wounds, Powder Keg recovers fastest, but not in enough time to catch Blue Moon as the unicorn rushes off into the wastes. Not one to give up the fight so easily, Powder pursues the pony. The two match for speed, Powder steadily gaining, Firelight catching up to try and stop Powder, but it soon becomes clear that none of them are going to catch the other, so Powder Keg does something drastic. He reaches into his bag with the fastest telekinesis he can muster, and magics his collection of C4 forward, strapping it to the back of the fleeing criminal. Before Blue Moon can even react, Powder Keg triggers the detonator.

Blue Moon splits in two, front hooves skittering against the dirt and gravel as they fall to the ground, and his back legs land some twenty yards away with a sickening plop, and a slow pooling of viscera and blood. Doctor Javolt attempts to saw Blue Moon’s head from his neck, but the idea is put down by the two slightly more rational members of the party. “Hooves down, the worst execution I’ve ever been a part of.” Powder says, only half-jokingly, as the battered trio returns to town.

The dirty deed done, the party reunites, and attempts to figure out what to do next. The grateful town, spoken for by Sarge, tells the party that they’re welcome to stay, especially since Blue Moon’s house just became available, and that the group can, as a whole, have a vote in who becomes the next mayor of the town. The party decides to wait for that decision until later that night, and splits off into groups again. Flotsam, Powder, Firelight, and Xencarn head out to bury what’s left of Blue Moon, Flotsam mostly to check out what kind of damage Powder’s explosive’s caused, and Xencarn to read burial rites. Doctor Javolt meanwhile, decides to look for a laboratory, while Tempered Steel gets momentarily distracted, and fails to remember the trouble that Javolt causes.

Javolt winds up in the medic tent, run by the Griffon named Ivy. Despite the initial, very hooves on inspection of her talons, and bizarre questioning, Ivy manages to put up with the doctor for his ramblings, until he mentions that the tent is to be his new lab. She quickly points out that the lab would be a problem for any patients she has, and that there’s a much better option available with town hall, which has almost no visitors, and is rarely used. She has to repeat this point multiple times, but it eventually gets through, and Javolt leaves, just in time to run into Tempered Steel who has realized his own folly in leaving the Doctor alone, and attempts to stop whatever crazy scheme he has begun. Javolt ignores whatever nonsense that Steel begins talking about, and pushes him into Ivy’s tent, because she clearly wanted to give the minotaur an “examination,” and it’s rude to keep a lady waiting. By the time Steel gets out of the tent, Javolt has already left for town hall.

Tempered Steel catches the good Doctor in the lobby, and holds him up in the so they can talk face to face. A very serious discussion is had concerning whatever actions Doctor Javolt is planning, and what consequences will be occurring should the doctor get kicked out of town for his actions. Despite this, the Doctor presents his own points, albeit a bit more tangentially than Steel’s, which show that without a lab, the Doctor would likely be MORE dangerous for the group’s welfare. They agree to let him have the lab in town hall, Ivy having already started spreading word about the doctor’s plan to the town, and Doctor Javolt clamps his claw hand around Steel’s horn, attempting to pull him along to meet Ivy for that examination. He still refuses to let go when Steel puts the donkey scientist down. It takes a few seconds, but finally Steel gets the idea that the doctor isn’t letting go anytime soon, and is “dragged” off and out of town hall.

The party meets up later, and decides to learn more about the candidates they’re voting for. Trip offers his knowledge about the ones he can, and makes a few comments on his own opinions of the potentials.

The two big candidates are Sarge, and Thunder Spear. Sarge is a Steel Ranger, and a bit more gung ho about dealing with the raiders. He may keep the deal that was previously established, but it’s clear that he wants as little to do with the raiders as possible.

Thunder Spear meanwhile, is a former prospector, older but no less of a badass than he was in his youth. His son, Scarlet Shawl, is the one responsible for growing most of the town’s crops. Thunder Spear’s biggest goal is to keep ponies from dying, in any way shape or form, regardless of what has to be done.

The other, less likely candidates are Sooty, Trip, Hammer, Nail, and Sharper. Sooty is the town’s “bartender” and owner of the general store. He’s only running because he can. Trip is technically a candidate, but he doesn’t think he’s going to be getting many, if any votes. Hammer is a supervisor, a fixer-upper, a pony who “runs things” around town. Mostly though, he doesn’t do any kind of work. His little buddy Nail, however, is a quiet type who gets things done. If something needs doing, especially at the behest of Hammer, Nail will have it done. Minimal amounts of grumbling, sarcasm, and ire, free of charge. Sharper, the final other candidate, is the town’s therapist. She specializes in dealing with caravans that pass through Gold Rush, team optimizations, and ironing out any kinks between party members, her Whet Stone, and Knife cutie mark showing how she sharpens skills and bonds between teams. And possibly that she’s also a good cook.

The team argues for a few minutes, before deciding to talk with the candidates themselves. They head out to see Thunder Spear first. The party chats with the older pony for a little while, asking about his experiences in the wasteland, in Dragon’s Maw what kinds of things to expect, what other towns there are, if he ever got treasure, what his campaign platform is, etc.

He explains that there are two other towns in Dragon’s Maw; Ribcage, and one other that he can’t remember the name of at the moment. He did find treasure, but he sold the last of it recently, a large purple gem. He warns them about the usual problems in Dragon’s Maw: the heat, the need for rations, the raiders, particularly the Four Horses, who have lately been learning more and more magic from somepony, the seven curses etc. When asked about those, he explains that he can only remember a few. The Gunsmith’s Curse, which affects the entirety of Dragon’s Maw, the Fool’s Gold curse, which only seems to be effective around Glaurung’s cave, the Watch Your Friends (Enemies Closer) curse, The Magic Mayhem curse, and the Secrets and Lies curse (which might be the same as the Watch Your Friends curse, but he isn’t sure).

The last question is brought up by Tempered Steel, who asks if the Black Lotus Travelling Company has been through recently, to which Thunder Spear nods, informing the party that they went southwest, looking for something. The party thanks Thunder Spear for all his information, and then head off to meet the other candidates.

That night, the party argue, Powder and Tempered Steel fervently holding onto the vote for Sarge, Flotsam flipping between Sarge and Thunder Spear, Xencarn eager to vote for anyone else despite liking Sarge, and Firelight holding for Thunder Spear. Javolt abstains, because politis bore him. It takes some time, and a lot of bickering, but the group finally relents to voting Thunder Spear. They all head off to the new home of Dragon Mawler’s Inc, and hit the hay, ready for a new day, and a new adventure, each having gained from their experiences thus far.

It is uncertain, however, if they’ll be ready for what’s to come.

Dear Princess Newbiespud,

Today I learned that, necromancy is a lot like jaywalking. It’s not TECHNICALLY illegal, but it is frowned upon. I also learned that pets can be just as effective as a distraction as they can an argument starter, and that I really need to finish these notes the same night I start them, or I take WAAAAY too long to finish them.

Your Faithful Student,

Great Dinn

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Glaurung's Spire
Session 3

Recap by Great Dinn

Javolt has spent the vast majority of the night before setting up his laboratory, tinkering, preparing, and altering his own particular body parts. Following that, he begins experimenting and examining in order to determine the particulars of the Gunsmith’s Curse, and has discovered that the vast majority of the problems between the guns aren’t similar. For some, the triggers are failing to line up properly with the hammer, for others, the barrels have warped and twisted, preventing the bullet from firing, and yet others have simply rusted or fallen apart unnaturally.

As a result, Doctor Javolt has come to the conclusion that he should look into energy weapons, and asks both Sarge and Thunderspear if they’ve ever seen any energy weapons in use in the Maw. Sarge answers that he’s only ever fired one of them, and everything past that is classified. Thunderspear responds that he’s seen energy weapons used, but they wear out just as quickly. Javolt decides that the town should build a Tesla coil, and asks if Thunderspear would mind. He states that it would be a bad idea, and asks if Javolt would also consider taking down the blueprints he’s placed around town, seeing as he’s dealing with the raiders today, and it might send the wrong impression.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party sits in their newfound home, and plans their next move. Arguing ensues concerning whether they should pursue the dragon’s treasure to the northeast, or head for the Black Lotus Travelling Company in the southwest. It’s interrupted by Thunderspear and Doctor Javolt arriving. Thunderspear asks the group to follow him, while Doctor Javolt picks up Flotsam and carries her to the general store for the closest approximation to ice cream.

The group looks around Blue Moon’s cabin, finding a cache of 120 caps to split between the six of them, which is used for purchasing basic supplies. Thunderspear, as the purchases are being finalized, tells the group some more information about the area around them, remembering details that he’d forgotten. Back in his prospecting days, he had a partner with a Pipbuck and subsequently has a map of the nearby area, as well as a map of the Maw.

The Maps:
Of the area around Gold Rush: http://i.imgur.com/Kg7SadB.png
Basic map of the Maw: http://i.imgur.com/l5xmEg3.png

With their newfound maps, the party lays out a travel plan, pointing out particular locations between Gold Rush and Glaurung’s Spire that could prove interesting in one way or another. With the heavy key in tow, and the knowledge that, at some point they do need to try and locate the Black Lotus Travelling Company, they decide that they’ll only stop at the Dragonstone between Glaurung’s Spire and Gold Rush, despite the temptations of the Abandoned Parking Lot, and the Boneyard Cave. Before they leave, the group asks Thunderspear about the curses, which he has written down, as well as the Dragonstones, and the Cult of Tiamat that worships the stones.

The Curses are:
Universal
The Gunsmith’s Curse – “Always bring a knife to the Maw, because your guns will fail.”
Region-Specific
The Fool’s Gold Curse – “Always double-check your loot, because it will be fake.”
The Backstab Curse – “Always keep an eye on your so-called friends, because they will betray you.”
The Voodoo Curse – “Always be careful with your magic, because it will behave unpredictably.”
The Blood Curse – “Always strike first, because you won’t get another chance.”
The Zombie Curse – “Always assume it’s not down for good, because it’s not.”
The Machine Curse – “Always be wary of technology, because it will turn against you.”

The party gather their supplies, and Xencarn sneaks four books into his bags to take with them, one about the Ministry Mare of Morale, one about the Ministry Mare of Arcane Sciences, and two with a focus on magic.

An hour of travel later, the six arrive at a giant silver stone emerging from the wasteland, appearing to any passersby as the scale of a great dragon, fallen to the earth. Strange etchings and writings cover the glittering object, Draconic language, and Xencarn uses some of the knowledge he’s accrued from his studies to translate. The translation is a dark description, the final words of the dragons as they lay their curses on the whole of the Maw. It quickly becomes apparent from the magic emanating from the stone that it is connected to all of the others, though not a source of any curse.

Curiosity not nearly satisfied by Xencarn’s translation, Tempered Steel taps the stone, first with his finger, then with his hammer, making harder and harder attacks against the monolithic object. It rings, louder, and louder, resonating far longer than any of the hits should. And then it begins to glow. Thinking logically, the rest of the party takes cover as best they can, be it by air, by rock, or by meat-shield, and Firelight yells at Tempered Steel to stop messing with the giant scary magical artifact. The glowing and ringing reaches a peak, and Tempered Steel decides to touch the stone again, with his bare hand. The writing on the stone shift underneath his palm, and when it seems that the stone won’t be exploding, Xencarn emerges from cover and translates. The new translation states specifically that they will meet their end by gold and greed.

Powder Keg speaks up, and suggests touching the stone and the key together, since they seem to be connected to Glaurung’s hoard, and as the heavy key reaches the Dragonstone, it too begins to glow, brighter and brighter until a burst of light shoots out from the key, a blinding green beam that heads directly to the Spire, holding until the key is removed from the stone.

Recalling that the map shows a Raider Encampment near the Spire, the party quickly decides that they should reach the tower before the enormous signal they just launched at the spire attracts too much attention. Their journey through the sandy wastes buffets them with wind and debris as they pass near the Boneyard Cave, and can just see in the opposite direction the billboards of the Abandoned Parking Lot. Doctor Javolt is tempted to explore the cave as they are so close, but when he sees the cave and a distinct lack of bones, he realizes that it clearly must have been named after somepony named Boneyard.

When they arrive at the tower, however, they find they’re a bit late as a group of Four Horses Raiders have already started exploring the strange tower, 2 in the green paint of Pestilence, and 3 in the red paint of War. Powder Keg huddles the group together, and lays out a quick battle plan. He’s gonna make another Distractogon. A few moments later a rocket powered flying disco ball emitting a laser light show and playing a grainy version of Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows zooms past the Raiders, and setting up a surprise attack for our “heroes.”

Powder Keg starts the attack with a series of firebombs, searing flame and shrapnel peppering the raiders, while Firelight uses a combination of magic and blessings to empower the party with Celestia’s Light. Flotsam meanwhile launches her own explosive at the nearest War Raider, lacerating the pony with nails and debris. Our favorite Necromancer Zebra goes for a more hooves on approach than his comrades, and rushes the nearest Pestilence pony, bashing skulls, and placing a small curse in preparation for future attacks. Tempered Steel decides that, now that the raiders are beginning to realize what’s happening, he should make a nice distraction to prevent the rest of the group from being attacked. He yells at the top of his lungs, then picks up the Pestilence pony with what he assumes is the freshest paint, and tosses him down the cliffside. Our good Doctor begins to scheme again, attempting to come up with another ingenious and deadly plan, but unfortunately, nothing comes to mind.

The Distractogon long gone, and the Raiders now at full attention, the fight begins in earnest. Powder Keg pulls out his favorite weapon, and straps the brick of C4 to the most injured War pony. The explosion rocks the cliffside, damaging three ponies, two of which are near crippled by the blast. Powder smiles, “I love the smell of raider blood.” Firelight pulls out his sword and charges Powder’s last target, a blazing wound opening along his chest. Xencarn’s previous target uses his magic to heal what damage he can in the near dead War-rior, the fire puttering out as that unicorn unleashes a bolt of lightning that strikes Firelight, but fails to penetrate his magical blessing. Flotsam pulls out a small group of grenades, and spins as fast as she can in mid-air, launching the explosives in a wide arc that strikes all four of the remaining raiders, and ending the life of the burned War pony. One of his allies charges up their magic, and unleashes a burst of lightning that strikes Tempered Steel, charring the minotaur, then changing course and damaging Powder Keg, before finally being halted by Doctor Javolt, who’s cape and claw manage to ground the electricity with no damage to the Donkey Scientist. Xencarn headbutts the Pestilence healer once more, then unleashes the full force of his curse. A billowing wave of darkness envelops the unicorn healer, before growing even larger and consuming the Unicorn that just damaged Xencarn’s allies. When the magical cloud dissappears, the Pestilence unicorn is dead, a horrified look on the husk that was once its body, and the War unicorn is barely standing. Spent of his magic for the moment, Xencarn draws his scythe, and prepares for the next attack.

What he doesn’t expect is for the final War pony to unleash a less direct magic on the party. A red glow wraps around Powder Keg’s head, and warps his vision, turning his allies into viscera covered raiders surrounding him. He strikes at the group, lashing out with another explosive that strikes Xencarn, Tempered Steel, and Firelight. Before he can really do anything, Tempered Steel notices that the pony he threw off the cliff earlier has finally returned, and the minotaur decides to prevent another death. He holds his hammer tightly, and stares down the green-painted pony, growling “Do you still wanna fight this fight? The only thing left for you here is death.” The pony immediately turns around and runs off, away from the group…straight to the Raider Base. Understanding the severity of the situation, Doctor Javolt leaves the remaining War ponies to the others and chases down the runner. It takes a few moments of adjustment, and then launches his claw at the pony’s leg. It just barely misses at first, but then lashes out one final stretch, and clamps around a hind hoof, tripping the raider, and then locking him in place.

The magic having faded, Powder Keg decides to show just how pissed off he is by that kind of manipulation. He uses his magic to pull a series of parts from his packs, and assembles a small weapon in front of him. He places the launching weapon into his hooves, and then pulls a balefire egg from his saddle bag. He places it into the launcher, and fires it at the Raiders. A blinding flash of energy, light, and radiation strikes them, and Firelight follows it up with a brilliant blast of magic fire that passes through Xencarn, Powder Keg, Tempered Steel, and both Raiders. Firelight’s allies feel their wounds sealing, while his enemies burst into flame, one dropping to his knees and charring to a deep black. Flotsam and Xencarn strike at the remaining Raider, tossing a grenade and a blast of shredding magic wind to fell the final foe. With the multitude of wounds taken over the course of the battle, the last raider collapses in a heap, leaving the party victorious.

The fight finished, Powder Keg immediately rushes for the Javolt and the pony that escaped, trusting neither party to keep things sane and civilized, which results in the explosive unicorn tackling the already captured Raider pony while Javolt is collecting various samples. The good doctor attempts to shove Powder Keg off of his new test subject, but despite his efforts, neither party’s agenda is satisfied. As the rest of the group nears, an argument breaks out over what to do with the Raider, both belittling the unicorn’s life choices, as well as attempting to get him to, in some way reform. Xencarn begins the ritual for summoning a zombie, hoping to scare information from the raider, while the fighting grows worse and worse until Guts, the captured raider, attempts to escape via magic, only to have his horn cut into by Powder Keg using one of Javolt’s bone saws. The zombie done, Xencarn makes a few dark statements about what might happen to Guts that is far worse than death, while Flotsam warns Craggy, who has emerged from his hidey-hole in her saddlebags, that he shouldn’t attempt to eat the undead.

Just as it seems that Guts is about to crack, the question is raised about why he’s even with the raiders, and he responds with a question as to why he should tell anything to a group that just killed the ponies he was in a group with, ponies who were something like brothers, and this sets Powder Keg off. In a flash, he has the bone saw to Guts’ throat, but a quick hoof from Javolt pulls the improvised weapon away for “improper usage,” and Tempered Steel and Firelight pull the unicorn away from their prisoner. Xencarn sees that Guts has been damaged by the sudden scare for him to get the absolute truth, and he sits down in front of the unicorn prisoner to ask three questions, with Firelight making a deal that if Guts answers, they’ll let him go. If he doesn’t, they’ll kill him right then and there. Guts decides to answer the three questions.

1st question: Are any other raiders coming? Not now, but they’ll see the damage caused by the fight, and they’ll certainly be interested in why their scouting party didn’t come back.

2nd question: Why are they interested in the tower? Dragon’s treasure.There really doesn’t need to be another reason.

3rd question: Where can we find your leaders? They have meetings where they convene at Apocalypse, but for the vast majority of the time, they travel the Maw advising all of their subgroups, and organizing raids and agreements.

Once the questions are finished, the group enjoys a few moments of silence as Javolt pulls out a scroll containing a list of potential experiments. The ponies in favor of preventing long-term damage state that the deal didn’t specify when they’d let him go, but the decision is overpowered by the others, who agree to let Guts be on his way. Tempered Steel takes a moment to suggest that Guts go to Gold Rush, attempt to start a new life, a clean one. Javolt even offers Feldspar as a new name, and with those words said, Guts heads off into the waste, headed towards the town.

Their experience with the raiders complete, Tempered Steel pulls out the key, and aims it towards the tower, adjusting both his position and the keys position, waving it around like a lunatic until he finds a point of light emitting from both the key and the spire. The party approaches slowly, wary of tricks and traps. The others once again find cover as Tempered Steel approaches the light, finally touching the key and a flat slab of stone along the spire. The edifice drops into the ground, revealing a dark staircase, the only source of light coming from small windows that line the tower. Xencarn sends his zombie in first, and the rest of the group follows, with Tempered Steel holding the key up high as an additional source of light.

As they climb the stairwell, they see pictograms, and paintings lining the walls. Images of great dragons feasting on small ponies, two alicorns, one white and one blue defending those ponies, forcing the dragons back with beams of magic and a powerful presence. Powder recognizes the alicorns as Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, and at the mention of her name, Xencarn speaks of Nightmare Moon. Doctor Javolt fails to care, Firelight doesn’t speak up, and Tempered Steel has no idea what they’re talking about, so Flotsam explains, asking Xencarn if he really believes Luna was Nightmare Moon when the war happened. Before a metaphysical debate can begin about deities that no longer exist, Powder Keg forces the group to continue, following the staircase as more pictures appear of dragons and ponies interacting, and a group of dragons sitting across from the princesses. Then the murals stop for quite some time. near the top of the stairs, next to a door, the final mural appears.

It’s a crudely, hastily drawn explosion.

The door opens into a large landing, approximately 6 yards in diameter, and lying in the center is a giant keyhole. The group hesitates, trying to figure out an appropriate course of action until Tempered Steel slams the key in, and the platform drops. It’s an elevator of some kind. The group makes various judgments on Tempered Steel’s somewhat rash action, but Flotsam thankfully points out to the minotaur that “I’m gonna withhold judgement until we’re dead.”

However, as the elevator descends, a trickle of gold coins begins to pour from the walls. Then a stream. Then a river. Then a flood. It pelts the prospectors, and fills the floor, and seeing the potential danger, Flotsam flies back up the elevator shaft while Firelight quickly raises a magical shield to protect the group, holding the gold in place around them, but leaving them somewhat trapped in the meantime.

The elevator continues to descend, and Tempered Steel becomes blinded by the sheer amount of gold, unable to see anything beyond the riches that are slowly beginning to crush the group to death. Xencarn offers some knowledge to Firelight, taking advantage of his experience with magic, hoping to improve any flaws in the shield, but Powder Keg catches a mistake, which Xencarn quickly corrects, preventing massive damage to the magical structure. Powder Keg too throws his magic behind the shield, hoping to keep it sturdy and safe until the group can find an escape. Then, miraculously, the golden hail slows, and ceases, as the group spies a section of the spire not made of stone, but of glass. They quickly smash through it, dropping the shield and letting the gold coins pour into the cavern system beyond the glass. Further down the tunnels, they can see a golden city, filled with statues of dragons in regal poses, a hoard fit for a mighty dragon.

Now safe, Tempered Steel tests the key again, turning it in the other direction and raising the platform, ever so slightly. Satisfied that the stone column they rode down can take them back up, he returns to the cave level, and attempts to remove the key, only to find it stuck. Satisfied that, at least they can come out the way they came, the group delves into the cave system. Powder Keg lags behind, picking up a paltry ten gold coins.

And as he holds them, he finds that he very much doesn’t want any of the others to have his gold.

Dear Princess Newbiespud,

Today I learned that Powder Keg is seriously messed up. No really. He scared the bejeebus out of me. It makes me so excited for backstory time, and also, very, very, very terrified. You picked some excellent players.

Your Faithful Student,

Great Dinn

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Glaurung's City of Gold
Session 4

Recap by Great Dinn

As Powder Keg picks up the gold coins leftover from the elevator, a strange feeling envelops him, and suddenly, in his mind, the gold, all of the gold in the cave, is as precious to him as his brother is. He seems to make a slight mention of it, merely stating “huh” before sliding the gold pieces into his saddle bags.

Tempered Steel, interested himself in the gold reaches down to pick up a few pieces, and very quickly, the same feeling washes over him. The gold is all. The gold is everything. The gold is…quickly swiped by Powder Keg and shoved into his bag and the two begin to argue. It doesn’t take long before Powder Keg threatens to simply kill Tempered Steel if he should try to take the gold again.

Noticing the strange behavior of his teammates, Xencarn decides to see if he can investigate the potentially magical nature of the gold…by poking it with a hoof. Despite the direct contact, and the seemingly fast acting effects of the curse, Xencarn does not find himself enamored with the gold, and a few minutes later, Tempered Steel’s own adoration has been significantly reduced.

Having realized that there is some sort of curse or curse like effect going on, Firelight attempts to strip the magical taint from the one ally still obsessing over the coin. However, the pulse of magic that flows through Powder Keg doesn’t do quite enough good for the pony, only making him aware that he is in fact cursed. It unfortunately does not make parting with the gold any easier, despite a very, very, very difficult attempt to get rid of it. Just before he can toss the coins away, the desire comes back with full force, and he hugs the gold tightly to his body, as laughter begins to echo throughout the cave.

Before any more attempts can be made to separate Powder from the gold, he gathers enough of it to magically form a giant bust of a pony, which none of the party members recognize as Powder’s brother. Not that Flotsam has been paying much attention to the matter, as she’s been dealing with Craggy, who has found himself eagerly chomping away at various piles of gold and enjoying it quite a lot. When Flotsam does manage to put Craggy back into her saddlebags and returns to the group, she is disconcerted by the strange events occurring, and asks “Why is Powder Keg making arts and crafts?”

With the gold in a more centralized location, and thus not as easy to hide away in a bag, Powder Keg is more easily forced away from the object of his desires by the combined efforts of Tempered Steel and Firelight, whom Powder Keg continues to make numerous horrible threats towards. The group agrees to move forwards, further into the cave, but is stopped by Powder who refuses to leave the bust behind. Xencarn decides to solve the problem by using his previously summoned Zombie to pick up the bust and carry it with them. The Zombie doesn’t seem to be effected, so things appear to be in order to proceed.

Firelight examines the entirety of the events that occurred and realizes that the curse only seems to affect creatures that have picked up the gold and kept it within their possession. The revelation is accompanied by more of the echoing laughter from earlier and a voice that says, “So, one of you idiots figured it out.”

One of the nearby piles of gold loses its shimmer, fading from a lustrous gold to a pallid and cold gray, as the image of a young golden dragon appears on the reflection of the coins. Knowing magic when he sees it, Xencarn analyzes the image and realizes very quickly that it’s a mental projection from the dragon, Glaurung. A small interrogation occurs, as the group attempts to figure out what the hoarder’s scheme is, how he’s interacting with the group, etc, only to receive answers like, Glaurung is “only slightly dead,” various insults towards the parties proclivity towards craftsmanship (specifically the bust), yet more insults directed towards the fact that a filly is with the adventuring group, and ignoring a few questions entirely by stating that that would be “telling.” Glaurung’s image shifts from pile to pile before he finally introduces them to his City of Gold, explaining that it’s only sort of a death trap. But they definitely won’t be leaving.

Tempered Steel attempts to find the source of the projection by shuffling the gold piles with his hammer, but all it serves to do is shift the dragon’s image around slightly, before the image finally disappears, Glaurung finished with his harassment. The group decides to investigate the cave, following Xencarn’s magical tracking to the source of the projection within a palace on the opposite side of the city. Xencarn attempts to have his Zombie follow the group, but the undead monster fails to budge, not even as Tempered Steel attempts to knock it over. Fortunately, the hold on Powder Keg has lessened to the point where he can leave the bust behind, though every flash of glimmering gold draws his focus.

As they proceed down to the heart of the city, Xencarn explains to the group some of the information he’d discovered in Blue Moon’s notes. Namely, that Glaurung was one of the youngest dragons, but incredibly proud, with the most to prove, and that he was a trickster, who loved to deceive others. As they walk, the stone underneath their hooves shifts and changes, beginning to pave itself with gold. Between buildings, and lining the plaza are statues of Glaurung himself, a dragon in his prime, looking “adventurous” and “bold.” Flotsam notices with her keen senses that the statues have pressure plates in front of them, and Firelight is asked to press one with his telekinesis. The maw of the statue opens up, and a cornucopia of gold coins fall from the maw, pelting the area below with more of the cursed golden coins. After about twenty seconds, the flow of coins ceases, and the maw closes, no more gold to drop on whatever unsuspecting passerby triggered the trap.

Tempered Steel questions the quality of this trap, claiming not to get it, as Powder explains that the “joke” is simply killing the ponies that enter the cave with the gold they intended to get. Glaurung’s image appears on the gold beneath their hooves, and grins, confirming “You gotta admit, it’s a hoot.” Tempered Steel approaches the statue, keen to poke something else he doesn’t understand with his hammer, while Glaurung goes on to say that it’s a shame that they aren’t going to take the time to explore the city, since he worked so hard on it, and that it’d be a shame if they missed the real treasure that lay in wait. After all, not all that glitters is gold.

Powder counters the claim by stating that the “secret real treasure” Glaurung’s referring to is just a bunch of dead ponies. Glaurung laughs, and says that since the curse took the worst hold of Powder Keg, he must be on Glaurung’s wavelength, to which Xencarn responds “So, you’re both stupid then?” Glaurung laughs, and admits he walked right into that one. Before the group can begin another round of forty questions, Glaurung feigns boredom, and disappears. Powder Keg tells the group to continue, but the idea of a bluff is brought up for exploring the city, then a double bluff, and a triple bluff, but before the conversation can get any more ridiculous, they continue their progress. They have to get through the city anyhow to reach the palace.

The group arrives in the Main Plaza, where even more statues of Glaurung sit, even more daring in appearance, and looking like the dragon equivalent of a hero or adventurer. There are four buildings that line the Plaza, each distinct from the houses and buildings previously passed, and etched with Draconic writing. Xencarn reads them with his arcane knowledge of Draconic, and notes that they are the Hall of Marks, the Hall of Magical Knowledge, the Hall of Artifacts, and the Money Pit. Within a half-second of reading it, Xencarn enters the Hall of Magical Knowledge, eager to get his hooves on some necromantic tomes. Flotsam, Powder Keg, Firelight, and Doctor Javolt all follow closely behind, some eager to stop Xencarn, others just going along for the ride.

Xencarn is not disappointed when he enters, finding an enormous library, with shelves upon shelves upon shelves of books. Anything that could be named could be found here. Xencarn immediately looks for books on Necromancy, and is immediately rewarded with the first book that comes to his mind, “The Beginner’s Guide to Necromancy.” Before he can reach it, Powder Keg tackles the zebra, eager to prevent yet another party member from being cursed. Javolt sees the book that Xencarn was going for, and picks it up from the shelf, effortlessly dodging Firelight’s similar attempt to tackle him. The donkey scientist opens the books, and skims through it, and as he reads, he finds himself understand the entirety of it. He gets the fundamental concepts of necromancy, to the point that he feels he himself could cast spells. Fortunately, the good doctor doesn’t care for magic, and puts the book back on the shelf. Xencarn, still trapped underneath Powder Keg’s body, asks for the book from Javolt, but before he can hoof the book over, Powder Keg takes it with his magic, and “fixes” it into a useless ball of paper, ink, and binding. Naturally, this leads to yet another argument.

Tempered Steel, meanwhile, has entered the Hall of Marks, curious what the name could mean. As he enters the building, he finds stained glass windows lining the walls. Images of Celestia, Luna, dragons, ponies, a young Discord, a blue dragoness, and many other things beyond the minotaur’s understanding. At the end of the hall is an open book, being written in by a quill with no hand to guide it. Being the only thing of notable importance, Tempered Steel approaches the book, then turns to one of the golden walls, asking Glaurung what it is. Despite a fuzzy connection at first, Glaurung explains that it’s a book of marks, a book listing all of the creatures he’s conned in life and in death. The open page has two very, very recent additions, one of which is still being filled out. The first is Powder Keg, the day’s date, and the note “Formed a bust of a pony out of fake gold.” The second reads Xencarn, the day’s date, and the note “Tricked into fighting with his allies over a bunch of fake books.” Tempered Steel attempts to flip through the book, but is knocked away by the pen, which is still trying to finish the last entry.

When it finishes, Tempered Steel flips through the book, going back a few pages to see recent entries that include a group of ponies wasting away in Boneyard Cave, a pony having his treasure fade to dust as he tries to sell it, and Sharp Edge, who’s “magical weapon” broke as he tried to use it against a Steel Ranger. Tempered Steel flips to the “end” of the book, or attempts to, only to find it continues endlessly. With that knowledge in mind, he begins to flip back, aiming for the front, for the first cons the dragon committed.

Back in the Hall of Magical Knowledge, the group attempts to prove to Xencarn that the books are clearly fake. They first manage to convince Xencarn to look at them magically, and he notes that there is something strange about them, but it could be anything. Then Flotsam pulls out a book that she immediately asked for “How to Care for Cragodiles.” Xencarn is only somewhat convinced, citing a very, very advanced organizing system. Then Powder Keg says that the next book he pulls out will be “How to Prove to Xencarn That He’s a Fucking Idiot.” Xencarn is, reluctantly, convinced. Meanwhile, Javolt has left the room, with nopony actually aware of the fact.

Javolt has moved to the Hall of Artifacts, attempting to examine them for anything “scientific.” None of the amazing inventions in front of his eyes seem to fit the bill, only resulting in a scoff from the good doctor, and the appearance of Glaurung on the side who states that “he needs something to work with.” Javolt speaks with Glaurung on the difference between “Science” and “Technology,” and delves into a multitude of non-sequiturs that only serve to piss Glaurung off, and make him disappear, leaving Javolt alone as he yet again wanders out of the room, looking for something else to examine.

Tempered Steel reaches the initial entries seeing only a long list of them in Draconic, which the minotaur cannot understand or read in any way. He continues to flip to later and later entries, looking for something he can read, but as he approaches the ones in Common tongue, he finds that there’s nothing worth looking at. He continues ever forwards, approaching more and more recent dates, until he finds a name he recognizes. Thunder Spear is in the book. And he shows up many, many times, along with a group of ponies that must have been his travelling companions. The final entry for Thunder Spear is recent, and merely states “Broke his will for finding treasure twenty years after dedicating his life to it.” Tempered Steel closes the book, and returns to the Main Plaza.

The whole of the party reconvene in the center of the Plaza, excepting Javolt, who is found only a few moments later, with Glaurung screaming “Hey! Hooves off!” as Javolt flies out of the Hall of Marks riding Glaurung’s Book of Marks. The group watches as Javolt flies high into the air, overlooking the entirety of the city as the book struggles to throw off its unintended passenger. Javolt takes this opportunity to look around, seeing anything they might have missed, only to stumble across a hidden cove not visible from the city proper, underneath the palace. Before he can look closer, the book teleports out from under him, dropping him into the city below as Firelight runs to catch up with the doctor, and slow his fall with magic.

Mostly unharmed, the group discusses what to do next, only to be marched towards the alcove that Javolt noticed during his flight by the heedless ignorance of discussion by the mad donkey scientist. Tempered Steel takes a moment to look into one of the houses while the group nears the alcove, and notices a pony skeleton resting at the bottom of a large pile of gold. The similarity to the other houses indicate that they all have similar contents. As they approach, they find the alcove is covered in a giant golden gear-like door, akin to a S.T.A.B.L.E. Nearby is a golden computer, which Javolt examines, eager to do some science. It asks for a password, and Javolt puts in Glaurung for kicks. It beeps, and states that only four attempts remain to open the terminal. Flotsam, and Xencarn offer their services to help Javolt hack it, each familiar with either mechanics or the magic that powers the device. Javolt makes a small adjustment to the terminal, and it responds that there are now six attempts remaining as the screen loads a series of potential passwords.

REPRIMANDING
CIVILIZATION
APPRECIATION
CONVERSATION
CIRCUMSTANCE
PURIFICATION
SECLUSIONIST
CONSTRUCTION
DISAPPEARING
TRANSMISSION

The group discusses what to put in at first, and decide on Construction, which responds that five of twelve characters are correct. Before the next decision can be fully agreed upon, Javolt punches in Civilization, and the terminal opens, listing one available command.

Open S.T.A.B.L.E. Door.

The enormous gear releases steam and pressure, grinding and crushing stone as it rotates and slides open. Behind the door is an unexpected treasure. A small room, lit by a single hanging light, which rests over a container containing a large gold and black egg. A dragon’s egg.

The group enter the small room, examining it from as many angles as possible, only to find it simply contains the container, the lamp that Flotsam identifies as a heat lamp, and a wall etched with more Draconic writing. Tempered Steel leaves the room and approaches the golden door, the only golden reflective source nearby, and attempts to converse with Glaurung. The dragon does not respond. The group discuss what this egg could be, some thinking it may be Glaurung himself, others thinking that it’s a new dragon entirely that Glaurung is helping to hatch. Before the group can look any closer, Glaurung’s image appears and he tells them, with simple fury to Get. Out. Of. That. Room.

The group says that they won’t, and Xencarn asks Glaurung to translate what’s on the wall. Glaurung scoffs, and says that Xencarn can do it himself. Xencarn does just that, reading:

“Here we protect our next generation for the fated day,
When the dragons rise again.”

The group asks for the origins of the egg, and Glaurung answers, after a few moments of silence, that it’s been there since just after the war, and goes on to explain exactly how this dragon egg will hatch. Glaurung is feeding the egg the enormous amount of magical energy, and life energy of all the ponies that have entered his cave, or fallen prey to his tricks. The question is asked if he plans to make zombie ponies, to which Glaurung responds that it isn’t his style, that’s more Nidhogg’s thing. Firelight attempts to hatch the egg, only to find his magic being absorbed and dissipated by the container. This attempt, and the examination of the container that follows pisses Glaurung off, and Tempered Steel leaves the alcove, going to examine the palace quickly.

The floor begins to rumble, and a growl echoes throughout the cave, bits of stone and dirt falling from the ceiling. The group manages to make Glaurung even angrier, as Tempered Steel approaches the gates of the palace. Before Xencarn and Javolt can examine the container further, it disappears as another rumbling echoes throughout the cave. The palace gates burst open as an enormous dragon, teeth of swords, scales of gold, wings of silken tapestry, burning rubies for eyes, and riches beyond imagination littering its flesh, comes out, getting close to Tempered Steel. The others leave the alcove, now certain that they won’t be safe as the egg is gone, and arrive in time to watch Tempered Steel dodge a bullet-like spray of golden coins from the dragon’s maw, impacting the ground and leaving impressions in the rock where they land. Glaurung grins wickedly as Tempered Steel tries in vain to convince him that they don’t have to fight, but the dragon is long past reasoning. The group prepares themselves, and the fight with Glaurung begins.

A white light bursts from Firelight’s horn and an aura of white energy surrounds himself and his teammates, giving them some additional protection from what’s sure to be a nasty fight. Javolt grins madly, and the cape around him discharges, shocking the donkey and sparking enormous, dangerous ideas in his brain. The discharge from the cape bursts and strikes Glaurung’s head and wings, but nothing seems to happen. Flotsam rises to the air, and pelts Glaurung’s face with one of her patented Nail Bombs, which causes the riches on the dragon’s face to shift, ever so slightly. Powder Keg attempts to strike at the dragon, but his attack doesn’t even phase the golden scales, and Glaurung takes the opportunity to make his move. The fanged beast lowers his head, and rushes towards Javolt, who manages to just barely dodge the assuredly lethal blow, and then follows up by spinning around, swinging his enormous tail at the group, who manage to duck or jump over the vicious attack. While Glaurung attempts to regain his footing, Xencarn unleashes a burst of necromantic magic that drains some of the energy from Glaurung’s head, at minor cost to the Zebra, and Tempered Steel follows up with a strike to the head which doesn’t budge the golden shell, but fractures whatever lay underneath.

Firelight, seeing the damage done to Javolt by his own attempt at idea invigoration, attempts to heal the Doctor, which assists with the Doctor’s own devices to bring him back up to a more steady state. That, in turn, allows Doctor Javolt to unleash the full capabilities of his electro-cape and all of its associated devices, which arc in an enormous beam of light and electricity towards Glaurung’s face, peeling back the layers of gold and jewels to reveal a skull, animated by unknown forces. Flotsam lays a bottle cap mine in front of Javolt, hoping to prevent her ally from taking any more damage should Glaurung focus on him for the horrible blow, and Powder uses his explosives, directed towards the place Tempered Steel earlier shattered, to splinter the skull and send it tumbling to the ground, leaving Glaurung headless. Despite the missing head, Glaurung manages to roar in pain, and strike at the group, flapping his enormous wings and raining bits of golden hail that brush past the party, before striking once again with his tail. Unfortunately, this time Tempered Steel and Xencarn are not so lucky, and find themselves struck by the whip-like appendage, but fortunately for them, the disorientation caused by the loss of his head makes Glaurung’s blow weaker, and even more fortunately, Flotsam and Doctor Javolt find an opportunity within the attack to strike back, Javolt letting off another arc of electricity that causes the gold to drop from the tail while Flotsam plants another Nail Bomb that breaks the appendage off at its point of connection. Xencarn takes a moment to focus his energy, and then attempts to drain Glaurung’s soul from his body parts, focusing on the right wing. The dark energy eases past Glaurung’s golden armor, but doesn’t manage to strip everything away from the wing. Tempered Steel follows up with another blow to the wing, which manages to do significant damage to the bone structure, and gives Steel a better idea of the dragon’s weight in attacks.

Firelight uses his magic to once again patch up some of Javolt’s wounds, then pulls out his sword, focusing the sharpened edge and magic within it to strike through the Dragon’s scales. Flotsam lets loose another collection of explosives that rock the dragon’s wings, and Powder Keg tosses a well-aimed grenade into the hole where Glaurung’s skull once was, and the resulting explosion blows off what’s left of the right wing. Glaurung swipes blindly at the party members, unintentionally aiming at Powder Keg and Xencarn, but failing to hit the two, and then following up with another beat of his remaining wing, which launches debris towards Xencarn and Tempered Steel. Xencarn flees before he can even be caught in the strong gust, but Tempered Steel merely stands his ground, planting his hooves and defiantly staring down the headless dragon. Glaurung takes a few moments to recover himself, bringing his mind out of pure bloodlust and back into calculated thought. Xencarn once again uses his necromantic abilities to drain some of the energy from Glaurung’s left wing, and Tempered Steel follows it up by bringing out his Thunder Hammer, and striking the wing at close range. The impact causes Glaurung’s entire body to shake, shifting the gold, and loosening the armor.

Firelight takes advantage of Tempered Steel’s attack to set his sword alight, and focuses his blow at the wing. The molten sword tears through the golden covering, and severs the armor from the wing and chars the bone underneath. Javolt smiles madly, and once again shocks himself to encourage new ideas, only nearly killing himself in the process, as Flotsam launches one last grenade to the left wing, which completely annihilates the ashen bone, leaving Glaurung as a set of claws. Powder Keg attempts to strike but Glaurung retreats, or seems to for a brief moment, before the gold constructing his body melts, and reshapes, forming into an enormous version of Glaurung’s skull that rushes towards the group, roaring in pain and fury. The party strikes back, using all of their combined might, and the gold bursts apart, scattering across the floor and landing at the party’s hooves, Glaurung’s bones jutting from the piles, his roar gone.

Xencarn takes a moment to analyze the bones, and discovers a deep, hidden magical energy, that feels very familiar. It takes a moment, but he realizes that Glaurung’s bones, and the soul within them, are responsible for the Fool’s Gold curse. Still, ever the schemer, Xencarn attempts to bind that soul to the tome of Magic that he brought with him, but despite his best efforts, it fails. The group agree to get rid of the bones the only way they know how, blowing them up.

As one group gathers the bones into a pile, the other approaches the palace, eager to see what lay in wait behind the closed doors. As the explosion that destroys Glaurung’s bones rocks the cave, a reptilian scream echoes through the halls, and a pulse of golden energy spreads from the site of Glaurung’s demise. The pulse passes through the party with no harm, but as it passes through the golden city, and the palace, and all of the riches that lay in sight, it turns them into a fine gold powder, before disappearing into dust. All that remains in the cave are the party, torches, bones, and a small horde just behind the palace. The group nears the treasure, the reward for their hard work in the cave, and notice that the container and the egg lay on top. Tempered Steel opens the container up, and the group decide to try hatching it one more time. Firelight pours all of his energy into his magic, and all of that magic into the egg, each member of the party providing what they can to assist the unicorn with his task. The egg glows with Firelight’s aura, then the glowing stops, absorbed in the same way as before.

And then the egg cracks.

Small claws reach through the crack in the egg, opening it ever wider, breaking more and more of the shell, until a baby dragon pops out, and lands in the golden pile underneath it. It has dark scales, almost black in color, with golden highlights, spines and fins. But before the group’s eyes, the baby dragon grows, and shifts, getting larger, and maturing to drake size, before it opens its golden eyes, and looks at the group for the first time. They narrow, and a gruff female voice speaks to the group.

“Oh great.”

The effects of this particular adventure has leveled up our adventurers, and they have received a boon for their efforts! The choices were

Travelling Merchant – Merchant can appear anywhere in Dragon’s Maw to help.
Team Pet – New NPC gets skills that can be used as a partner for the whole party.
Dragon’s Maw Radio – Keeps everyone up to date on things in the maw + music, interviews
Instant Reputation – Reputation spreads and the party can influence
Forced March – When travelling between location, fast travel (sort of)

And the group has chosen “Team Pet.” We welcome to the party Aurelia, who is honestly not much of a “Pet.” But that doesn’t mean the other boons are out of reach, or mutually exclusive…

Dear Princess Newbiespud,

Today I learned that this campaign is going to have some pretty awesome bosses. I mean, I expected it, what with the dragons and all, but I wasn’t expecting a golden golem, and man that was awesome. Also, I learned that Tempered Steel is likely going to be found in the dictionary next to Technical Pacifist. His efforts at Diplomacy are to be respected, even if they seem super inappropriate when fighting aforementioned awesome bosses.

Your Faithful Student,

Great Dinn

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Enter Aurelia
Session 5

Recap by Great Dinn

The party seems confused by the sudden growth of the dragon from baby to drake sized, and curious about the dragon’s hatching to begin with. Concerned that the sudden growth may have done damage to the drake, Doctor Javolt approaches and begins to examine her, unfortunately not revealing his intentions and as a result looking like either an idiot or a pervert. The dragoness asks for a mirror before anything else, and Tempered Steel manages to find a large piece of reflective metal that he holds up for the dragoness to examine herself in. After looking herself over, the dragoness groans, complaining that she was woken up too early. She was supposed to be a full grown, fire-breathing dragon, not a drake.

After that little outburst, Tempered Steel begins introductions, getting through himself, Powder Keg, Flotsam, Xencarn, and Firelight, to which she responds that she’s not going to remember those names, to the relative lack of concern from the party. However, the entire ordeal is quickly left unfinished as Javolt gets a little too close while attempting to determine the dragon’s gender, only to result in him getting punched in the face and launched across the room. He states that she did just hatch, so she needs a medical examination, and the idea is very, very, very, quickly shot down. In an attempt to change the conversation, Powder Keg asks if the dragon has a name.

She doesn’t, and states that, since Firelight hatched her, he’s the one who gets to name her, she guesses. A small, strange argument ensues concerning Firelight’s fur color for some strange reason, and it’s discovered that Javolt is apparently colorblind. Regardless, Firelight gets the group together in a huddle, and attempts to discuss what she should be named. An incredibly long, annoying, and repetitive discussion occurs concerning the name, and it’s finally agreed upon Aurelia. By the time they’ve finished, they find Aurelia lounging on the remains of Glaurung’s horde, munching on a bunch of gems, asking if they’re done yet.

Javolt makes another attempt to examine Aurelia, which naturally results in yet another refusal, specifically stating “You can examine me from way, way over there you creepy donkey.” Powder Keg asks how she knows so much despite just being born, and Aurelia explains that the life energy drained from the various ponies and the container her egg was in served to grow her magically, storing her energy and allowing her to mature without actually hatching, giving her plenty of knowledge. Javolt makes yet another attempt to examine Aurelia, which results in yet another shove back. Xencarn then asks politely if he can examine Aurelia non-invasively for lingering necrotic magic, and she agrees, noting to Javolt that this is how you examine someone, but Xencarn’s examination results in the discovery that her magic is entirely natural. All of the magic in her body is hers.

Powder Keg asks about Glaurung’s plan for Aurelia, and she explains what she knows, namely that she’s supposed to be one of the new dragons designed to serve as a rebirth for the race. They discuss a potential death to all other races as a result to the ensuing dragon fire and vengeance, but Aurelia responds that it wouldn’t be quite like that because that would result in a lack of prey.

Powder Keg asks another question about the other six dragons, but is cut off by Javolt, who berates Powder Keg for interrogating such a young dragon. Another argument follows, and Aurelia asks if Javolt was honestly just trying to examine her medically, not in a pervy way, and he states that she’s too young for him, and yes it was only medical, and everything gets a bit complicated conversationally, resulting in one more argument before Aurelia finally answers the question, coming to the realization that this group is not the most functional. She states that, at least they’re better than Glaurung.

Aurelia finally gets around to stating that Glaurung only cared about the nearest dragons, Nidhogg and Vasuki. Powder Keg and Aurelia note that Nidhogg is some sort of Ghost Zombie thing, and that he’s responsible for the Zombie curse. The discussion of the dragon’s current state of existence continues, and the relationship between them is strained at best, even if they did stick together. Specifically, Glaurung despised Nidhogg. The topic of treasure and splitting it among the party, including Aurelia, comes up, as well as Aurelia’s dietary habits, as there likely isn’t enough gems for Aurelia to maintain a steady diet. Aurelia notes that she’ll gladly eat meat, so long as it’s cooked, and then tests her fire breath, which makes her choke at first, but she’ll likely get used to it. Powder Keg asks if there’s an alternate exit, due to the incited wrath of the nearby raider encampment, but Aurelia states that there’s only the one. Javolt asks to leave some of the treasure for the raiders as a distraction, but the idea is very quickly shot down, for understandable reasons.

As the group divvies up the treasure, each netting two hundred caps, and a small pile of gems, Tempered Steel goes to get the Book of Marks, and Javolt and Flotsam go to examine a pile of guns and energy weapons, all broken, but potentially repairable. The last item of significance the party finds is a small golden bauble, some sort of tiny machine that Flotsam, Powder Keg, Xencarn, and Javolt examine. Tempered Steel waves his hammer over it, getting no reaction, and then Javolt explains in simple terms that it’s a “Magical Metal Detector” with relative disgust. Powder Keg puts it into his bag, and it begins to spin and whir, generating something, which results in the party locating an additional twenty caps a piece. Powder Keg ponders that the device might be useful in locating the treasure hordes of the other dragons, leading the party to them.

Aurelia picks up one of the laser rifles, and looks it over, asking if it’s one of those things that doesn’t work here. As she attempts to remember the dragon responsible for the Gunsmith Curse, she accidentally hits the trigger, and launches a blast of energy into the ceiling. Tempered Steel attempts to do the same with another one of the laser rifles, but it begins to sputter and spark, and he quickly tosses it away where it explodes. In an attempt to scientifically analyze the situation, Javolt takes the energy weapon from Aurelia, and attempts to use it. It powers down, and proves completely ineffectual. He then hooves the weapon back to Aurelia, and it proceeds to fire again correctly after she presses a few buttons.

Aurelia, Tempered Steel, and Flotsam scavenge the remains of the other energy weapons for useable parts, and put them away for future use. Aurelia places hers in her new messenger bag, made by Doctor Javolt who apparently has freaky sewing skills, and based on the bags that Tempered Steel picked up from Rager back before the party even met.

By this point, the party has a pretty good idea of what Aurelia is like.

The group then turns to examine the enormous tapestries that remain, each depicting a dragon and lined with Draconic that is translated by Aurelia.

One tapestry is golden, and depicts Glaurung.
One tapestry is black and depicts Nidhogg.
One tapestry is blue and depicts Vasuki.
One tapestry is red and depicts Smaug
One tapestry is steel gray and depicts Ormarr
One tapestry is green and depicts Tanis
And the last is a multitude of colors, reds, and golds, and greens, and depicts Astaroth.

Judging from what is known so far, Glaurung is responsible for the Fool’s Gold curse, Nidhogg is responsible for the Zombie curse, Vasuki is responsible for the Voodoo curse, Smaug is responsible for the Blood curse, Ormarr is responsible for the Machine curse, Tanis is responsible for the Backstab curse, and Astaroth is responsible for the Gunsmith’s curse. These are the guesses placed by the group.

Powder Keg asks if having Aurelia along would help dissuade the dragons from genocide, but she explains that the dragons spent the last year of their life plotting their vengeance, and that they likely won’t be budging from that particular path. The tapestries done being examined, the party rolls them up, and places them in the egg chamber, holding them later for storage.
The rest of the party attempts to look for alternate exits, but fails, and so everyone returns to the elevator. Aurelia and Flotsam fly to the top floor of the tower, without turning the key, and attempt to get a better look out of the tower, Flotsam giving Craggy to Firelight for safety. The rest of the group, gets on the elevator and begins to go up, and as Flotsam gets further and further away, Craggy begins to cry.

Flotsam peeks over the edge of the platform to see if any raiders followed them in, while Aurelia simply lands on the platform, stretching and contemplating her wings and flight in general. Flotsam and Aurelia look around the top of the shaft for windows, and manage to locate some areas of the wall that seem to shift, and open to reveal windows for the tower, which Javolt immediately associates with a Bunsen burner, leading to his attempt to find an opening at the top. The group sees that the windows are transparent only from the inside, so that no one outside knows that the group is watching.

Down at the base of the tower, the group can hear the voices of several different ponies conversing. One says in a gruff voice that this is their territory, and everything found on it belongs to them, while another with a posh voice states that they have an agreement with the Four Horses gang, and that since this is clearly Dragon related, this is their responsibility to look into it, and the raiders can’t get in their way. One member of the party sticks their head out the window and looks down, to see that the group consists of Raiders and members of the Cult of Tiamat. Gold Rush is also visible from the windows, as is the Library of Arcane Sciences. Javolt tugs out part of his mane, and tosses it out the window on the opposite side of the tower from the raiders below and attempts to see if the windows can be passed through. It manages to catch the wind, circle around the tower, and lands near the group.

Tempered Steel attempts to pull the key from the elevator, but fails, only serving to bend the key further into place. After a long discussion on methods of escape, Javolt comes up with the idea that they can disguise themselves as members of the Cult of Tiamat using Javolt’s spare Hazmat Cloaks. Javolt recolors the cloaks to match the red color of the Cult of Tiamat, and everyone covers themselves, walking down the steps and approaching the entrance. The group makes attempts to blend in, and manages to hide well enough to pass by, chanting…something. Not a single raider even notices the dragon hiding within the group.

Once out of sight and earshot of the other groups, the party discusses their next destination, and initially attempt to make their way to the Library of Arcane Science, but notice the setting sun and decide it would be better to rest back at Gold Rush. They manage to sneak past any of the scouting raiders, and make it back into town, returning to their home. Realizing that Aurelia doesn’t have a bed, the remaining party swings by Sooty’s general store, and Tempered Steel purchases a bed for Aurelia, using fifteen of his caps. Powder Keg buys some Rad-Safe, and a Healing Potion (spending one hundred and fifty caps), Xencarn purchases a packet of Party Time Mint-Als, and Rad-Away (spending one hundred and fifty caps), Firelight purchases two Healing potions and replenishes his adventuring kit (spending a hundred and fifty caps), Javolt purchases some Rad-Safe and some Rad-Away (spending one hundred and fifty caps). Flotsam and Tempered Steel save the rest of their caps.

The party, save Javolt who gathers the hazmat cloaks and returns to his lab, return to their home, and Tempered Steel attempts to bargain with Aurelia. In exchange for teaching Tempered some of the basics of Draconic, she can take his bed instead of the sleeping bag. She decides that she’d rather just sleep in the bag, because it sounds like too much work to teach Tempered Steel. She says “maybe tomorrow.” Xencarn decides to look through more of Blue Moon’s possessions, specifically any more information about the Ministry Mares, Twilight, or the Ministry of Arcane Sciences, and finds a scrapbook journal of pages glued together by Blue Moon. One pages in particular catches Xencarn’s eye.

It’s a very carefully preserved page of notes, written a long time ago. Above them, Blue Moon writes, “Found this over at the library. Apparently the M.A.S. tried to examine dragon magic.”
The note itself says,

Entry 1
I’d say, overall, that our attempts to learn more about the magic of dragons isn’t going well. The few ponies that have settled in the area have plenty of hearsay to offer about draconic magic, language, and culture, but the burden of proof on them remains unsatisfied. Any hope of this kind of magic turning the tide in the war – if it even exists at all – seems very unlikely.

Everyone goes to sleep, and the night proceeds as normal (though, Javolt does various “science” experiments that apparently involved spiders). Everyone proceeds to wake up at their own pace, preparing for the morning. Javolt meanwhile buries the corpse of a giant mutated spider outside of town, writing in his notes, “I know what I did wrong.” Flotsam gathers the energy weapons from the cave, and places them into the locker at the foot of Blue Moon’s bed, which serves as an almost infinite storage space for the party thanks to the enchantment left by Blue Moon.

Up and ready to face the day, Tempered Steel and Firelight decide to go through the town and locate the pony formerly known as Guts. Or at least, attempted to be formerly known as Guts. The two ask around, and finally manage to locate a pony that looks like Guts in one of the shanty shacks at the edge of town. He’s lost the paint and raider clothing, but he’s still recognizable. The two party members attempt to converse with Guts, trying to see if he’s doing better, if the town is treating him well, but he doesn’t take kindly to their talk. Outside, Javolt drags around another giant spider, which goes unquestioned by the trio. Firelight and Tempered Steel offer him a hundred caps total, but Firelight makes a joking comment that goes very, very unappreciated by Guts, and results in their need to leave.

Tempered Steel attempts to locate the mayor, Thunder Spear, who has just had a very interesting, very short conversation with Doctor Javolt concerning the “Dragon Infestation” in the spire. Powder Keg and Firelight meet with them, and interrupt what appears to be a very serious discussion with Sarge. Powder Keg opens the conversation and explains the general events pertaining to the Spire, and the raiders and cult members that surrounded the tower. He continues to explain that the dragons are dead, but undead, and quite spiteful, and that they killed Glaurung. Multiple ponies freak out about this particular fact, both excited, disturbed, confused, and awed. The group is bombarded with questions that go largely unanswered by Powder Keg, who goes on to explain the ultimate plan of the dragons, and their kin. They also point out they got rid of the Fool’s Gold Curse.

Powder eventually gets around to the subject of hatching Aurelia, and the fact that she’s currently in the town. They explain that she’s friendly, and make attempts to prevent panic, and swarming of the born only yesterday dragon. Tempered Steel even goes so far as to say that they’re raising her as a good dragon, not an evil dragon, which results in Sarge walking away with a heavy sigh. They make it known that they’re going to hide Aurelia from the cult as long as possible, and Short Circuit points out that the cult is crazy, but not deadly, so far as anyone knows. Thunder Spear points out that they likely will try to take her, so they best plan for it, regardless of how long they intend to try and keep her hidden.

The conversation dies down, and Tempered Steel brings up the Book of Marks to Thunder Spear, and points out his own particular entries. Thunder Spear sighs, and resigns himself to the fact that he was tricked, but decides not to look into the book. He excuses himself to continue talking with Sarge, as there’s trouble heading for the town. They ask what’s wrong, and Thunder Spear states that the town still has a deal with Famine’s gang, but they want a larger amount of food. Not enough to sustain themselves for much longer. Tempered Steel states that the town probably needs to find something to defend itself. And Thunder Spear reveals that his son, Scarlet Shawl, left for the M.A.S. library in order to find any knowledge about growing crops faster. The trio offer to locate him, and Thunder Spear says that it would be a personal favor to him.

Meanwhile, Flotsam gets bitten while playing with Craggy, Javolt deals with a very intense and amazing series of events that happened off screen, most definitely involving spiders, and no one pony can agree on exactly what took place. Except of course that it was very eventful, and very off screen.

The party heads towards the M.A.S. passing by the Boneyard Cave, and not seeing anything much on the outside. However, outside the library, there seems to be a plethora of cultists. Aurelia hides herself among the party, while the rest try simply to sneak past the cultists. Aurelia manages to hide, but Firelight gets noticed, and a few of the cultists come over to say hi and chat. Specifically, they ask him if he’s heard of the Book of Tiamat. Flotsam manages to convince the cultists that Firelight is her dad, and that she was promised they’d go to the library. The cultists nod and hoof Firelight some pamphlets about the Cult of Tiamat to Firelight, before letting them both go. As they leave, all they notice is the cultists saying something about dragons.

The group finally arrives at the library, and enters through the front door. As the doors open, they see a very, very large amount of red-robed ponies, as well as a few normal looking ponies. Aurelia is not very well hidden this time. Everything goes silent, ponies pointing out the dragon. She weakly raises a claw and says “Hi,” and the cultists immediately drop to their knees, and prostrate themselves, chanting and praising Aurelia.

Aurelia whispers to the group that they’re praying in really bad Draconic, and that they’re saying a nursery rhyme that involves silly ponies, with a few honorifics. Mostly it’s too terribly said to be translated, and Aurelia asks for it to stop because of how awful it is. Firelight steps forward, getting the attention of the crowd (just barely), and says that the chanting is creeping the dragon out, and somewhat angering her. Tempered Steel steps forward and says to the group, “Aurelia the dragon demands that you go about your business.” The ponies are confused, but continue to do that, occasionally stealing glances at Aurelia as they do that.

Javolt rants about the state of “Science” in the library, since it’s using magic and stating that it’s science, calling it a disturbing, deviant, twisted, decadent insult to science. Many, many ponies face-hoof as Javolt rants and raves, ignoring the previous events, and generally being a confusing mess. Javolt heads off to look for any science books unrelated to magic, Xencarn looks for a computer to locate more books, and the rest of the party splits up, spreading through the library to find the missing pony, Scarlet Shawl.

Dear Princess Newbiespud,

Today I learned that DMs are not in fact immortal beings, and can in fact fall prey to hard times and physical pains. And I learned that despite those hard times, and physical pains, they can still pull through and create amazing sessions and games. And they can do things that can make a person smile from ear to ear for over an hour straight. Thank you, Newbiespud. I hope things get better for you.

Your Faithful Student,

Great Dinn

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Ministry of Magic Library
Session 6

Previously, in Dragon’s Maw…

The party explored the Ministry of Arcane Sciences Library very thoroughly, while trying to solve Scarlet Shawl’s food problem and figuring out where they stand with the Cult of Tiamat. They found secret documents, a slide whistle, and a guitar, amongst other things, Javolt learned some basic nutritional science, and the Cult instantly formed a schism of opinions on what to do about Aurelia. Some wanted to let her be, some wanted to take her away. A third option presented itself, which was to find the Cult’s legendary traitor, the Burned Pony, and kill him, thus proving themselves paragons of the Cult. They were led to the Radigator Swamp to the south, and passed by a basically pointless campground on the way, but Xencarn’s Thattaway power pointed them further on, towards the Ministry of Image Intelligence Office to the west. They found the complex, a gated ornate building guarded by a high-tech security system, and blew it away with a combination of weather control and bomb-zombies. The Cultist scouts waited at the edge, while the party planned to head inside.

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Ministry of Image Intelligence Office
Session 7

Previously, in Dragon’s Maw…

The party entered the Ministry of Image Intelligence Office, or at least what was left of it. They met the Burned Pony, otherwise known as Graham Cracker, who was a dragon-pony hybrid created by an experiment being run by the Cult of Tiamat. He tentatively agreed to help them with the dragon Nidhogg and the Zombie Curse, but their conversation was cut short by a raider attack on the building. They fended off the intruders and the zombies they’d summoned, but somepony hacked into the security and turned the mechs and turrets against them. That somepony turned out to be a mysterious unicorn known as the Executive, and Powder Keg seemed especially pissed off by his presence. The Executive offered them a head start escape in exchange for Graham, but the party refused. They escaped through a tunnel that Javolt had found earlier, and rigged the building to explode when the Four Horses raiders’ next group entered the building. The tunnel led them to the north, exiting into a graveyard just behind the Church of Tiamat, in the northwest section of the Maw. They decided to wait, and Xencarn took some time to use his knowledge of necromancy to try and find Nidhogg through the curse’s connection to Graham. He wasn’t totally successful, but he did sense that the Dragonstone to the northwest might be an effective conduit. The party decided to wait for the cover of darkness.

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Scorched Boneyard
Session 8

Previously, in Dragon’s Maw…

The party waited for the cover of night in the tunnel leading under the Church of Tiamat’s graveyard. Then they made their way to the northeast to the Dragonstone, avoiding the roaming zombies scattered throughout the area.

Beneath an outcropping near the Dragonstone, the party ran across a couple of travelers, one of which was a sobbing mare. They were initially suspicious and thought it a trap, but eventually went over to see what was wrong. The mare was Lookout, bearing multiple lethal wounds but still upright and speaking. The second traveler was Stronghoof, whom Firelight managed to bring back from the brink of death. After some depressing conversation, the party promised to do what they could once they dealt with Nidhogg, the dragon in charge of the Zombie Curse.

They went up to the Dragonstone, used Graham as a conduit to find Nidhogg, and found themselves pointed towards the north towards the Scorched Boneyard. A massive horde of zombies blocked their path into a cave. Xencarn, realizing that the zombies in this location likely had a direct link to the dragon, persuaded Nidhogg to let them through, though probably not for the reasons he thought.

The cave led to a group of sarcophagi, which the party reluctantly entered one by one. Inside each sarcophagus, the party members died, and their souls were brought to Nidhogg directly. In that abstract soul-space, Nidhogg had a long discussion about the experience of death and its meaning in the wasteland. His idea had changed over the last two centuries, and he wanted the party’s input based on their experiences. Just about each member of the party had something dark to say, some element of their past cropping up, until Flotsam finally broke into tears and demanded that they all stop.

Eventually, Nidhogg was satisfied with their understanding of the subject, and returned their souls to their bodies. The party woke up in a deeper cave containing Nidhogg’s skeleton, soul, and hoard. Blue Moon, the murderer of Gold Rush’s mayor, revived by the curse, had gotten their ahead of them, but the party neutralized him before he could take advantage with the artifacts in the hoard. Nidhogg’s skeleton was destroyed shortly after, Blue Moon’s skull was crushed in so he DEFINITELY wouldn’t be coming back, the loot was divvied up, and the party left.

Graham, now peacefully dead, was burned in a funeral pyre in front of the Scorched Boneyard to prove to the Cult that he was well and truly dead. The Cultist scouts approved them as paragons of the Cult, and they went their separate ways. The party found Lookout and Stronghoof again, their situations now reversed, and used some magical powder kept in Nidhogg’s hoard to bring Lookout back to life. And with that, the whole group went back to Gold Rush. They gave Scarlet Shawl the rest of the powder to revitalize the soil and improve the crop situation, and the group finally got to rest.

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Therapy in Gold Rush
Session 9

Previously, in Dragon’s Maw…

Once the party was back in Gold Rush, they took a bit of a break to restock, rest, and plan their next move. Aurelia, worried about the party’s mental health after what they’d all experienced with Nidhogg, used up almost her entire hoard of caps to buy them a session with Sharper, the town’s group therapist. Several of the group’s interpersonal problems were at least addressed, and some uncomfortable questions were asked, along with some strange hypotheticals. The party left more or less satisfied, though everyone knew that they were far from getting along perfectly, but all were agreed that there was at least progress. After that, the party made a general plan to travel to the southwest towards Slayer Base, a Steel Ranger outpost, on their way to Skyfall and the next dragon’s territory. They asked Sarge for help and advice, who reluctantly agreed to give them a passcode into the base – at least, once everyone in Gold Rush was done celebrating the passing of two dragons. The party waited until the right moment to head out into the wasteland.

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