Session Notes: 11 November 2021
Chapter 2: A Different World
Location: outside New Vasselheim, Othanzia, Issylra
Date: Miresen, 3 Sydenstar 845 PD (calendar of Exandria: https://criticalrole.fandom.com/wiki/Calendar_of_Exandria)
Rinn – half-elf sorcerer/rogue
Stubby – half-elf artificer
Tāmerai – gnome bard
Fisch – bear fighter
Absent Party Members:
Bob the Therapist – changeling warlock with a couch for a familiar
Tunk – bugbear monk
Previously on Yeeted & Yoinked…
The Storm Lord’s avatar Oren tested Rinn, who learned valuable lessons about friendship, asking for help, and how to use his magic in a fight. It was a real After-Academy Special.
The Adventure Continues
The night is mercifully uneventful.
When Rinn wakes, he feels a bit stiff and sore at first, but being a young and limber man, it’s not long before he starts to feel like his regular self. As he goes to wash his face and complete morning ablutions, he examines his reflection in the cracked mirror in bathroom. Yep, that’s him. Him and the dick-drawing on his forehead, with an actual caption saying SO DO YOU [sleep too hard].
Stubby, he decides in between vociferous threats and swearing in draconic, is just going to have to die.
Fisch wakes with a big stretch. He feels like a bear, which of course he is, so that’s all right. He goes outside to fish for his breakfast and eat it while watching the sunrise, then returns to the house where Tāmarai and Stubby have both awakened and dressed themselves.
The four of them discuss their plans for the day:
1. Visit the fire at the Platinum Sanctuary. See how it burns, and if anything affects it.
2. Kick the titan’s toe. Look for Victor and his mechanical dragon.
3. Visit the other gods’ temples, and shop/loot on the way.
4. Go back to the Platinum Sanctuary.
The four pack up their stuff, including some new bedding from Melora’s place, and head out. As we walk down the trail in the same direction as the Slayer’s Take, there are animal tracks in the dirt and grass. When the unnamed quartet came here, the red rust in the dirt came a certain way up the road, and it looks like it comes less far up it now, having receded by an inch or two. They pass by a crossroads, its houses and businesses in ruins, and climb a staircase up to a plateau and down to another, this one right by the Platinum Sanctuary. It’s a quieter day than the one that came before it, thank goodness.
Tāmarai hears rumbling and feels it beneath her feet almost at the same time that she sees, and calls out, “Rocks, big, moving! Run!” and obeys her own instruction, trusting everyone else to follow. Stubby, on the other hand, finds the sounds familiar: someone moving rocks, like her Aunt Keyleth. But then one of the rocks stands up. It’s a stone construct — no two, no THREE of them, each carrying a huge shield. The one points at Stubby; the other two also open and stand up, doing an excellent impression of people.
The four adventurers bust a collective move up the very tall, steep stairs towards the spire of power. No handholds, no breaks, no rails, just steps forever leading up to the spire. The constructs follow them, and because they are unfamiliar to all four adventurers, and made of stone, and about the same size as Fisch, it’s a very tense few minutes. The constructs move very aggressively, and Tāmarai is very small and has a deal of trouble with the stairs, which are sized more for Fisch, or the constructs, or Stubby’s uncle Grog, than for her tiny self. She falls behind, and Stubby falls back with her, but Fisch steadfastly remains behind them all, closest to the constructs.
Eventually Tāmarai realizes that this can’t continue, so she spins around and casts one of her most powerful spells, Hold Person. It doesn’t work. She mutters a word in Xhorhasian and takes off running again, but of course is too slow. Fisch picks her up by the clothes and tosses her onto his back. Stubby also climbs on and offers Fisch a choice between being very fast, or walking on walls. Fisch decides the walls are a good idea, so Stubby casts Spider Climb on him. Rinn joins the other two on his back, and Fisch burns the wind getting up the wall. For good measure, Tāmarai casts Faerie Fire on the three. It only works on one of them, but at least that one will be easier to hit, if they need to hit.
Rinn, Tāmarai, and Stubby cast various spells, send automatons into the constructs’ faces to distract them, and so on. It all has very little effect, but at one point Stubby realizes that the constructs — well, one of them, at least — have a stylized depiction of a three-fingered hand on its chest. She calls out to them, “Are you friends? We need friends! Learn from my mistakes!” Catching on, Tāmarai and Rinn hold up their own three-fingered salute. The constructs stop and stare at them. Tāmarai calls to Fisch to “Hold!” and tells him that the constructs are friends after all.
They continue on towards the spire, now with two constructs waiting at the foot of the wall and the third escorting them as some sort of weird honor guard.
What should have been a lovely, domed ceiling is now an open hole, blue glow of power shooting skyward. It’s been called a flame by most people in New Vasselheim, but up close, they can all see that it is no such thing. It’s not fire at all, just pure, arcane power. A magical blast. Its circumference is larger than the four of them could encircle while holding hands, even wider than Vox Machina themselves could encircle. If it were an archway instead of whatever this thing is, one could drive a team of horses and a rather impressive carriage right through it. It stretches near a hundred feet in circumference, and as for its height, they have no way to gauge it: they can’t see any end to the light-blast in the sky, with its fiery blue color occasionally flickering with other shades.
Rinn tosses a good, egg-sized rock into it. The rock goes into the blast, and Stubby at least is keen-eyed enough to notice it becoming sand and grit, and shooting upward, following the path of the power. It reminds her of her father Percy trying to power his sandpaper to make the job of sanding wood go a bit faster. Tāmarai tosses in a piece of dried jerky from her rations, and it also gets burnt down… No. Not burnt. Sanded. The power is, specifically, abrading whatever goes into it. “Yep,” Fisch confirms, “that’s what happened to Lefty.”
The group examine the spire further in relation to water, smoke, and fire, with promising results. They also notice that there appears to be another way in, just off to one side: one can get down near the base of it, if one follows the sewage tunnel down far enough.
As the adventurers and their construct-escort walk back down to rejoin the other two constructs, they discuss the likelihood of various types of substance, energy, or spell to be able to affect the spire. Once they reach the two waiting constructs, the group also mention that they need to look around first, and have some things to do, but after that, they’d really like to be taken to Viktor if he is still alive. Unable to speak due to the lack of mouths, the constructs are silent, but in an agreeable sort of way, and the general consensus is that they’re probably fine with this plan.
The group follow the street back out from the city, stopping to loot — ahem, investigate — a few houses. Most are ransacked to within an inch of their lives already, but they do find some remarkably fine things: a platinum bracelet set with a sapphire, some beautiful embroidered silk, a small gold statue of the Everlight, and an eye patch decorated with diamonds and a sapphire in the shape of the eye it’s meant to stand for. Tāmarai offers her find to Stubby, who puts it on.
All the wall pictures/art aren’t great, but there’s a mustache drawn on one of the faces that is clearly a post-market upgrade. They were elves: one really old, two middle-aged, a couple of youngsters, and also a bunch of (even) older faded paintings from bygone eras, as Stubby recognizes their fashions from history books. They also find a few bronze coins, some broken and heavily tarnished silverware, and a handful of assorted slivers of gems, just enough to make a small handful of gem dust.
In the closets, most of the clothes are burned or molded or both, thanks to being semi-exposed to the various elements for the last five years. Any books remaining in the houses aren’t worth reading for amusement or education, though they were probably very useful to the businesses that used to keep the accounts in the pages.
In another house, they find a body, dead for at least two or three years. It was stabbed. Someone was here, killed this individual, and then left. The strings of a belt pouch are torn off the belt, and the knife sheathes are empty. What in the world was this person even doing in Old Vasselheim?
In the last house they examine, Tāmarai ritually casts Detect Magic before they all go inside. They find two bags containing five bullets each, a spell scroll, and a Bead of Force. Then they move on, unwilling to spend any more time looting when they really need to be looking for Viktor Vonn.
As soon as the group leave Old Vasselheim, a weight is lifted off each of their minds. Old Vasselheim was even creepier than Tyriex, and in different ways. The further they are from the old city, the better the ground and the plants look and smell. They reach the first set of doors that had been blasted off the town gates during the explosion; it looks very much like the one they found on the other side of the city when first approaching. The “rust” on the ground has receded noticeably away from the door. By more than a human handspan.
They walk past where they first met Fisch. The constructs turn off the path and begin to follow a smaller, less worn path into the woods. Fisch, however, keeps going a bit further, and after a silent ‘discussion’, the constructs follow him and the others. The four-and-escort cross a river, then another stream, and keep walking. Trees change a bit, thinning out, and more of them out here are coniferous rather than deciduous; they’re more sparse as well. Abruptly, the group come to a place where there are no trees, and no sign of trees ever having been there. No trees, no shrubs, no scrub. Around the corner of a sharper face of the mountain, where winter snow has not melted even now in the height of what passes for summer in northern Issylra, they spy a shape.
Part of it is on the mountain, one arm laying up against its slope. Ruins upon ruins of scaffolding litter the area, marked with a tiny representation of a lightning bolt with a capital letter T superimposed over it. Lightning Tetsuo, the Greased Gnome, apparently has a day job as a scaffold builder.
This was not what Stubby expected to find. Her family left the titan immobilized, re-dead-ified, but still upright. Whatever flattened Vasselheim also toppled the titan as well. That’s power.
They step into the clearing with some trepidation. Of a sudden, Fisch and the constructs both stand up straight, and the constructs crouch into a combat-ready stance.
“Oh, shit!” the group hear, and about six people come out of the bushes across the way and sprint away from us, veering off to the side, and run for the hills. A motley crew of russet-pated coughs, many in sort. Common bandits. Fisch calls after them, “Yeah, you better run! Assholes!” Then he points, in case anyone was unclear on his meaning, “Those are the assholes.”
Loot: (Unless mentioned otherwise, or specifically granted to a specific person who is not Tāmarai, everything goes in the Bag of Holding)
Rinn: Platinum bracelet set with a sapphire, worth about 2500gp
Stubby: Beautiful embroidered silk, fancy AF, fancier than the deRolo have ever even had! About 5 yards of Sartor. Repeating pattern highly suggestive of the Everlight. Worth about 3000gp.
Fisch: Small gold statue of the Everlight, worth about 750gp.
Tam: One-eyed Willy’s eye patch, diamonds surrounding a sapphire. Sapphire carved to resemble the eye that no longer existed behind. Worth 2750gp. Also, about 20gp worth of diamond offcuts. 5 ivory toothpick-sized shards.
Stubby: 2 bags of 5 bullets each: enchanted to cause fire damage when they hit someone
Bag of Holding: Spell scroll: Banishment (4th level spell; takes an extra 1d4 fire damage); 1 Bead of Force