<- Volume 15
The journal pages here feel look and like they're made from dragon skin, with the ink being freshly shed dragon blood. Handling them causes a strong sense of peace and rightness, however; acts of violence and death were not involved in their making...
The journal continues:
Naturally we assume by this point that "If it exists, it's a trap" in this place, and the doorway is no exception. The wires have the distinct aura of transmutation magic about them, and the beads are actually filled with an impressively corrosive acid. Getting anywhere near the doorway causes the dangling wires to try and whip themselves at whoever approaches, moving fast enough to smash the beads on the intruder, coating them with the acid contained within (and likely dealing some bludgeoning damage too). The wires themselves then attempt to wrap around the intruder, crushing more beads against them and possibly doing some strangling too. Quite an ingenious trap! Any intruder sufficiently lacking in Intelligence who assumed that they're simply a decorative bead curtain would quickly meet their acidic, grabby demise without quick assistance... And even then they'd be very much the worse for wear. That acid is POWERFUL.
Unfortunately for it, we're prepared to deal with this threat, and all it takes initially is a long pole and some time, jabbing at the beads and smashing them, letting the acid hit the stone floor and dissipate harmlessly (it even carves into the stone floor somewhat, which is quite disturbing; imagine what it would do to flesh?). Once the beads are disposed of, I have a Great Idea for the wires! We tie an ordinary sword to the pole, I use Firebolt cantrips on it until it is glowing hot (see, applying FIRE to the issue once again!) and then using that to melt straight through the wires at the point they join the doorframe. Once they part ways with the frame, they lose their animation magic and are simply long thick strands of pure silver... and pure profit!
Heading into the room itself, we admire the room's layout, until the nearest silk sheet on the roof suddenly reaches for us in an attempt to ensnare us like the door curtain. Backing away, I examine them and find an aura of transmutation magic about them as well (no surprise; from my divinations I learned that The Librarian is an expert Transmuter Wizard; with this evidently being her area of the keep, we're going to find Transmutation traps and effects *everywhere*). Since they seem to be attracted to the warmth of our bodies rather than the presence of other objects (such as the pole), I quickly create a "hot sphere" made of stone and holding a very hot ember within, to see if I can attract them that way and allow us to cut them down. This doesn't work, however; they don't reach for the sphere, instead reaching for whoever gets close. At this point it becomes evident that they're attracted to the warmth of the living, ie, their lifeforce, instead of warmth in general. Smiling, I ask if one of the others would be able to cut someone down if they were grabbed by one of those; I'm thinking that they'll lose their magic in the same way the silver strands did if they get severed from the ceiling. We've got a sword-on-a-stick, of course, and it's plenty sharp enough to cut through some silk (especially when pulled taut like this stuff is as it grabs), so the answer is a puzzled "Yes, but why do..."
Laughing, I run straight at one; it grabs me, and I yell "Cut me down! Help, oh help! Save me!" through my fits of laughter. It takes one good swish with the Swordstick, and down I come wrapped in gorgeous, soft, fine black silk; such a pleasure! Then I run right into another! "Oh no, oh help! Saaaaave me!" while laughing too much to breathe properly... And then another! The others have good fun, each taking turns to cut me down with a well-placed SWISH, until every silk-trap in the library is disabled and we have a stunning array of very fine silks. Midnight black, emerald, ruby, shimmering blue, blazing orange; these will either be worth a small fortune or be the basis for some amazing new clothes!
Having had our fun in the library and praising our good fortune, we examine the books for a while (I could spend so long here...) and then head into the next room at the end of this one. Again, the doorway has a bead curtain; again, it's dealt with the same way. More smashing, more silver, the only difference being that these beads were red glass, not green. The room beyond is obviously The Librarian's private sanctum. A fairly plain stone room, with an extremely ornate writing desk (must be worth a fortune on its own), an incredibly ugly chest that looks like a gargoyle (complete with feet and claws underneath, ears on top, and a face that doubles as a lock with the mouth as the keyhole), and the central feature... A plush coffin with a layer of earth in the bottom, sitting on a raised platform. As we're examining it and pondering the best way to try and open the chest (and whether it's trapped), a thick mist rolls into the room. It seems to defy gravity, lifting up from the floor and pouring into the coffin... And once it has all collected within, it changes form to none other than The Librarian herself!
Evidently, Tin Man has followed through on his vendetta against her and killed her. In typical vampire fashion, she's automatically retreated to her coffin to recuperate; in an hour she'd be back up and healed to as good as new. Such a pity that she's happened to reform right in front of the very people she would most prefer to give an ocean burial to... Since we've got plenty of time before she becomes conscious again, I take the time to transmute some stone into a very fancy carved wooden stake, with decorative runes and sigils all over it. It doesn't matter that it will revert to stone later; I can return it to wood form and then make the effect permanent with a little assistance, and since it's wood now, it's perfect for staking a vampire! I carefully line up the stake, and drive it straight through her heart. Now all that's left to actually kill her is to use our magical bone-handle dagger to decapitate her, which is done in short order. (Staking a vampire's heart only immobilizes them and renders them completely helpless; if the stake is removed, they can move freely and heal the damage quite easily, just like any other damage.) Now I have in my possession a stake that has been used to help end the life of a great evil - Surely this will be able to be turned into an amazing relic item such as a mace or rod! As The Librarian's body crumbles to dust, I notice that the stake absorbs some of her essence, guaranteeing that when it finishes being turned into another item, it will retain some of her spirit, possibly becoming an Intelligent Item. Such an effect has already happened to the Rogue's sword; I often hear it muttering and cursing in Abyssal, so I'm quite sure it's either possessed by, or actually is, a trapped demon or fiend. Hopefully my item will be... Less evil.
With The Librarian properly dealt with, I take possession of the hefty tome she was carrying. It's chock-full of Transmutation theories, notes, experiment results, interesting asides; it's like a working journal, but also contains her more personal thoughts on various topics. There's plenty of vitriol in there directed at Tin Man; it seems that the two of them hated each other even before they ended up as vampires. The tome also chronicles her entire life up to this point, from early childhood through to being turned vampiric by Ivan and beyond. There's far too much to take in or properly study in one sitting (or even several; it's going to take me months to fully absorb the book's contents). While I flick through it, the others turn their attention to the Gargoyle Chest, pondering how best to open it. It doesn't appear to have any obvious traps as such, so they ask me to examine it for any lingering magical effects that may give away the presence of a magic-oriented trap instead of a physical one. Taking extreme care, I check the chest over. It is absolutely drenched in Transmutation magic; my understanding is that it IS a gargoyle, twisted into this shape by The Librarian to better serve her needs. Furthermore, the "lock" on the front will crush, eat and destroy anything put into it before reverting back to looking like an ornate lock. A key, a finger, anything that fits will be eaten and destroyed. Which means that it has some other way of opening...
The ears on top seem to be relevant. I get the impression that they're function as well as form, and speaking to them in a particular way will open the chest. But what would the codeword be? The only clue we have is the tome in my hands. I look through it a bit more thoroughly, and as I search, five words seem to stand out as not quite fitting in with the rest of the text. Sometimes they just seem to be put randomly in the middle of a sentence, or dropped into a margin; by themselves they have no meaning or context. With no further leads available, we decide to try the codewords... and now the question becomes - There are two ears, one either side of the chest spaced quite far apart... Which ear should the codeword be spoken to? Both seem to be listening. Animated discussion comes up with a theory: If a theoretical "you" is quite valuable to someone, you are considered their "left hand", correct? (Because being someone's "right hand" means you're useful... and disposable.) Being someone's "left hand", if they were speaking to you, you'd be hearing what they're saying primarily in your... right ear. With that settled, we speak one of the five codewords to the chest's right ear, and... It sprouts wings and lifts off the ground, with the seeming intention of escape! The Paladin and Barbarian both jump onto it to try and keep it down, but it's having none of that. It's easily able to fly with their added weight. As they try and bash it into submission, I see that it's trying to fly straight up through the stone chimney and out the gap at the top, so I cast a quick Wall of Force across the chimney about half-way up to block its progress. It smashes into the barrier, flapping uselessly against it as it continues to get beaten on. With one of its wings finally damaged enough to make flight impossible, it falls out of the air like a stone, landing straight on the writing desk and smashing it to splinters. Its two riders are thrown clear and suffer some minor damage from their impact.
Further discussions seem to narrow down the possible codeword choices to two from the remaining four; we decide on one of them, speak it to the right ear... And it takes off again! Straight up and into the invisible Wall of Force with a crash, then it seems to realize that the upper exit is blocked, so it heads for the doorway we came in through. Again, it's got riders; again, I Wall of Force; again, there's a resounding CRASH into the Wall, more bashing until it's crippled and drops straight down... Straight onto the coffin, obliterating it and its stone pedestal. We're all wary of even trying another codeword, as there's no guarantee we have the right one at all. Still, no pain no gain right? We try the last codeword we think is right... And the chest clicks open. Thank the gods for that small mercy; I was out of Wall spells!
Inside the chest is a beautiful mirror. It seems that the chest is designed to keep its contents perfectly secure when it's evading potential raiders trying to open it with the wrong keyword! Using one of my remaining pearls to Identify it, we find that it is a Mirror of Life Trapping, and it contains five unfortunate people: A flamboyantly-dressed Wizard; a female Barbarian carrying a greataxe; a Rogue who seems to have a strong affinity for knives, if his clothing decorations are anything to go by; a platemail-wearing Fighter with a longsword; and someone who appears to be a Cleric, but it's not immediately obvious which god they would follow. Our chatter immediately turns to whether we should free these poor people, or whether doing so would be more to our detriment. Who knows how long they've been trapped in there? They could be utterly insane from the sheer expanse of time being lost by themselves in their own, lonely realms of eternal fog; releasing them could turn them on us immediately, seeking someone, anyone to blame for their captivity. My counterpoint is that we may be able to gain their assistance in the battle against Ivan (and possibly Tin Man, since we still don't know his motives or if Ivan was able to slap him back into line); as it is, we're nearing 24 hours since our last rest, we're getting low on spells and close to feeling the beginning effects of fatigue. Without assistance, we might very well be dead in our tracks, especially given that he can automatically regenerate a significant amount of damage with no effort on account of being a Vampire Lord. We're also badly in need of rest, but we're unlikely to get a full one, so a short rest is probably as good as it's going to get. But where can we actually rest? Anywhere in the castle is bound to be located fairly easily by Ivan...
Then someone suggests that we hide and rest IN THE MIRROR - That we willingly allow ourselves to be trapped within it with the exception of the Rogue, who has his own very personal reasons for never, ever entering a mirror in such a manner. He can let us out when the time is up, and can hide much more easily by himself than all of us would be able to. Some very heated debate is involved in this; who would willingly trap themselves in an extradimensional space, possibly forever, if the Rogue gets captured / killed / simply changes his mind about letting us out? (Especially the Paladin...) I myself am inclined to trust him; although he knows that I know a great deal more about him than most of the others do through my observations and notes (hint: He falls well and truly on the "Evil" side of the scale, but he's also not inclined to simply murder innocents and the like, he's just... let's say "morally flexible"), he's also well aware that I'm not inclined to use my knowledge against him in any manner, and I actually assist him in achieving his goals on occasion as long as they're not inherently terrible, so I am certainly a valuable ally. And if he's releasing me, he's releasing everyone (or I will, because I know the mirror's activation codewords; I'm the one who Identified it after all); the others wouldn't be very tolerant of selective releases. With no better options, we agree to the plan, and it's put into action. I gaze at the mirror, allowing it to pull me in (the sensation is remarkably similar to when we teleported to the Plane of Air)...
And I find myself standing in a void. There is some form of dim ambient light here, that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere; I can see a distance of 10 feet before the fog becomes too thick to see through. I know full-well that walking in any particular direction is meaningless; I could walk literally forever, and wouldn't find anything except more fog. The ground itself seems to simply be made of solidified fog as well. It's very slightly spongy. Shrugging and trusting in the plan, I sit down on the ground and study my notes and spellbook, centering myself and losing track of time. The minutes tick by in this place without any indication that they're doing so; there is no hunger, no thirst, no ageing; a second could have passed by, or a year, or a lifetime, and nothing at all would be different. Even speaking seems to just get absorbed by the fog; it has a flat, lifeless quality to it. I recite a poem, I sing a song, and the fog oppresses and cancels my voice; it seems to imply to me that doing so is pointless, and I should just accept the inevitability of fog, forever. Like the fog itself, my mind drifts.
An unknowable time later, my eyes focus on the fog in front of me, and it seems... Different. Brighter somehow, as if it's being lit by an approaching dawn. This is exceptionally odd; there are no sources of light in here! Every creature trapped within the mirror is kept apart from the others by the fog, and no light comes in from outside. And yet, there is a steady brightening happening, and the fog seems to be retreating slightly, becoming thinner as it does... Until I can see, very faintly, a glow in the far distance, like a single firefly in a starless sky. I begin walking towards it, and as I go, it steadily gets brighter, until it's less of a firefly and more of a distant campfire in terms of glow. Faint wisps of conversation seem to drift from that direction as well; just imagine, voices within this featureless wasteland! I'm wondering if I've finally gone entirely mad from being trapped in this void for, well, who knows how long? I shrug and speed up; as I approach, I see our Barbarian holding her axe high in the air - It's glowing with the intensity of a small sun, and the light from it seems to be banishing the fog. Huh; everyone in here is supposed to be completely isolated from the others. It seems she's found a way around that! She's clearly injured and in a towering rage, using the sheer force of emotion from the rage to power the axe. Every few seconds, she uses it to cut herself and draw blood, [OOC: She rolls a damage d6 for every round that the DM determines it takes someone to "arrive" due to the beacon effect; he rolls a d6 of his own to determine the number of rounds between each arrival; it landed on "5" distressingly often for both sides] prolonging the anger and (when the axe bites quite deep by accident) screaming in incoherent fury. An impressive array of insults, slurs and slights spills forth, directed at some imagined phantom only she can see to direct her rage at. My understanding of Barbarians is that if they're not actively taking damage or facing an enemy, the rage effect will wear off early, and since she's using some sort of Blood Magic to draw us to her, she can't let that happen, thus the self-damage which really seems to be taking its toll. As I arrive, I find that there are several others here as well. Most of the trapped people are present; the only one missing is the knifey Rogue, so it would appear that I'm second-last. He arrives a short time later, and our Barbarian allows the Blood Magic to dissipate, calming down slowly until she can breathe and speak normally.
My arrival is nearly unnoticed; there are heated discussions going on between the mirror's primary denizens, accusations, blame assignments... The only two that seem genuinely happy to see each other are the Rogue and Cleric. The brightly-dressed Wizard spots me leafing through my spellbook making sure I'm as ready as I can be for the upcoming fight, says something in a delighted tone and swipes my spellbook, replacing it with his. Ah, an exchange of knowledge! Normally other wizards *ask* if they can compare notes, but this particular gentleman is too excited for such pleasantries... I suppose he's been stuck in here for so long that he never thought he'd see a fellow wizard ever again. I don't mind. I begin looking through his spellbook, noting some useful spells I'd like to learn from him later; some of them are quite advanced. It seems he too has magic theories, and it's interesting to see the similarities and differences in our approaches. Some of his approaches are quite dated, however, having been disproven about 600 years ago... How long has he been in here!?
That question is answered for us soon enough, as the discussion turns to precisely that topic. The date they quote as remembering last being outside the mirror is... A date format that is no longer in use; it hasn't been for hundreds of years now, hmm. If I put my mind to it I'm certain I can convert it to the current date format, let's see... That was last in use about 450 years ago, wow, and they're quoting something before that point, so if I add... That's 700, plus... Double-check my calculations... THAT'S 800 YEARS AGO. They've been trapped in this mirror for 8 centuries!? My calculations are absolutely correct, and are further cemented when the discussion turns to the Paladin's very boneriffic outfit (the spine-and-ribs shield looks quite evil to an outsider, even though it's certainly Good-aligned, plus the other bone-motif stuff he's wearing, being a Paladin of the Church of Bones and all...). The Cleric worships a deity who was actually deposed (and presumably killed, as the story goes) about 500 years ago in the War of the Gods, whose replacement in the Pantheon is the one that the Paladin follows. Tough break hearing that your god is dead, right? At least there's a replacement... He's having to work hard to convince them that he's not a follower of that extremely evil god that also got trounced and replaced (even the suggestion infuriates him; oh, the righteousness!). The discussions eventually result in them agreeing to assist us in exchange for getting out of the mirror, although truth be told I think we were always going to release them anyway; we're not awful people (generally). Their skillsets should come in handy against Ivan; we might just have a fighting chance now.
Of great concern to myself and my companions is that these guys have been in the mirror for 800 years; their sanity would have well and truly slipped, smashed and crumbled to so much mental dust and cobwebs by now just from the sheer loneliness. It seems that the Blood Magic has restored them to clarity, but once that wears off, what then? The fog is beginning to close back in, so it must be approaching Time To Go. I retrieve my spellbook and hand back the wizard's, promising to catch up with him later and discuss magical theories and spellcraft. There is the sound of tapping, as if on glass, that seems to emanate from the fog around us, and then the voice of our companion Rogue, naming each of us in turn. Each person named disappears with a faint "pop!", and as the names are called, the fog thickens aggressively, reducing visibility very rapidly until it's just myself and the mirror Rogue left. Just before I vanish, he says with a smile "Well, chap, I really hope they're not intending on leaving me here by myself ag-" and I suddenly find myself in the library, surrounded by the others. Our companion summons the last person from the mirror and carefully puts it in his Bag of Holding.
Well, there's nothing for it now; time to go find the Big Bad and see if we can survive long enough to put him to permanent rest. We exit the library into the preceding room, and when we're halfway across it headed for the opposite door, we hear the leathery flurry of a great many bat wings above us. A swarm of bats flies in through the window, condenses on one of the overhead chandeliers, and changes form to none other than Ivan himself. Well, that was easy...
Ivan: "INTERLOPERS! I've given you more than enough opportunity to leave!"
Paladin: "And I've given you more than enough opportunity to DIE!"
Smiling to myself in complete agreement, I punctuate the Paladin's statement with a Fireball directly to Ivan's face. With an enraged screech, he jumps from the chandelier and comes to land directly in front of me. The battle is joined! He attempts to hit me, but I manage to dodge out of the way; after everyone in melee range (or who can move to be) surrounds him and begins beating on him, he jumps into the air and hovers out of physical reach. Myself and the wizard both respond with another Fireball each directly on top of his head (which sets the chandeliers swinging violently; that seems to be a theme with me whenever they're around...) and the mirror Rogue gets a beautiful shot directly to his head with a crossbow as some of the damage from the Fireballs already starts to fade. The crossbow gets Ivan's attention more than anything; he dives down and lands directly in front of the mirror Rogue, striking him repeatedly. His Cloak of Shadows reaches out tendrils and these grab hold of the mirror Rogue, preventing any thoughts of escape. Shrugging, he gives the rest of us a look that says "Well, this is my last stand then", and instead of trying to break free, he drops the crossbow, draws his shortsword and goes to town shanking Ivan as much as he can. Infuriated, Ivan uses both of his magical longswords to simply decapitate him, then jumps back into the air and hovers above us, preparing to swoop on someone else as the inflicted damage continues to fade from him (that's concerning). The two Barbarians are launching wooden javelins at him with fire-hardened tips during the battle; while these hit (and obviously hurt), they're not doing enough damage. None of us are.
As Ivan hovers in the air looking smug, the Paladin remembers that I gave him a Wand of Paralysis, takes it out and zaps Ivan with it. The effect is immediate - Ivan fails to dodge the sudden wand attack from such an unexpected source, is instantly paralyzed and drops like a stone to the floor, rigid and immobile. The Paladin then casts Hold Person on him so he now has two effects to try and break out of when next he can act... But he doesn't get the chance. It's like a ray of sunshine from behind the clouds in my mind as I have another Great Idea: I look at my comrades and ask:
"What happens if you stake a Paralysed vampire?"
As our Barbarian's eyes light up, she grabs one of the wooden javelins and impales Ivan with it, driving the fire-hardened tip right through his heart and rendering him utterly helpless. The Paladin then gives him his final rites and executes him; his body immediately crumbles to dust and ash, leaving behind the swords and cloak for me to properly Identify later. The javelin seems to undergo some sort of transformation as well; it turns darker and (to my eyes at least) seems to immediately get covered in some sort of faint runic script. Absolutely another item to have consecrated and turned into a powerful weapon in the fight against evil, it too has absorbed some vampiric essence (Ivan's, this time). I've got my eyes on that cloak; it might make an excellent replacement for the Cloak of Protection +1 that I'm wearing! I use my last pearl to Identify it... And it turns out to be a Cursed Item, only usable by vampires. Anyone else who wears it immediately starts getting their lifeforce drained, resulting in death if it's left on. Hmm... It is going to require some work to turn it into something usable, and will need the help of some powerful Good-aligned clerics. It is literally made from living Shadows fused to the cloth; a thoroughly Evil item. It will be my personal quest to have it turned into a Good item, no matter the cost.
With Ivan destroyed, we are free to look for his coffin and whatever goods he may have secreted there. He's hidden it in an area that only he (in bat or mist form) or a similar-sized creature can get to; too bad for him that I can Polymorph myself into such a small creature to explore the various possible locations! I eventually find it; the only other way of getting in is through a completely hidden, walled-off, forgotten corridor thoroughly loaded with amazingly nasty and interwoven traps that would be a terrifying challenge even for a Master Thief, if we were somehow able to discern its location. On display in his sanctuary here are his extremely ornate coffin (of course), a staff that seems to be made from flames frozen in time (it's gorgeous), gems and cash piled high, and an unusual breastplate that looks like it's been laying at the bottom of the ocean for years before recently being dredged up. That breastplate turns out to be one of the Relics that the Paladin has been searching for, belonging to the same saint that his shield is made from! I did promise him that I would assist in locating Relics in order to further my redemption, and here I am making good on my word.
Further searching reveals the resting place for Tin Man. It turns out that he infuriated Ivan so much that he got himself killed and then staked in his coffin by Ivan as a form of prolonged time-out. Ouch. He's still perfectly alive, just completely immobilized, unconscious and helpless. We step outside his hearing range to discuss this turn of events, including the possibility of terminating him as well and leaving no vampires alive here whatsoever. That doesn't sit well with anyone though, not even the Paladin, who of course believes that there is no justice in such a course of action. We quickly reach agreement that he assisted us in several ways, is not inherently "evil" as such, and could even be a useful ally. After all, he's now the most powerful figure on the island, and by default is now in charge of every pirate crew that Ivan used to control; it's a perfect, spotlessly-clean coup. The Paladin volunteers to be the one to unstake him and negotiate safe passage off the island for us (without it, the moment we set sail we're going to get mauled by pirates). The Paladin slowly draws the stake just barely out, but within touching distance so a re-staking is extremely easy if it becomes necessary. Tin Man's eyes open, focus on the Paladin, then look down at the stake. He doesn't move a muscle. The Paladin explains the situation, what our request is, and Tin Man nods slowly in his considered, methodical fashion. He says he's more than happy to be the next Dread Captain, and appreciates our mercy. The Paladin's last stipulation is that the pirate crews are to defend against attackers as much as they like, but no violence is to be visited upon the innocent, either on the island or on the seas. Again, Tin Man nods, the Paladin withdraws the stake from striking range and tosses it away entirely, and they shake on the agreement.
With that, we take "our" ship and sail back to the mainland without any pirate problems at all; the new Dread Captain is true to his word. We're able to inform our employer that the pirates will no longer be a problem for anyone who doesn't attack them first, and we get paid a handsome bounty.
With my new cash windfall, I'm able to pursue another Great Idea, this time with regard to my own personal redemption... But it's going to require the assistance of a temple. My idea is to create Scale Mail... From my own self-extracted scales! My logic behind this is essentially: I have knowingly partaken in aiding and causing the suffering of others. It is, therefore, only right that I myself suffer to an appropriate degree to make up for my failings. My enquiries around the city's temples are mostly met with incredulous looks and statements that they can't help me with such a project, but two temples are interested... The first is the Temple of Loviatar, dedicated to enjoying the infliction of suffering; the other is the Temple of Ilmater, dedicated to endurance, martyrdom, perseverance, and suffering for Good causes. I choose the Temple of Ilmater to assist me in this regard, under the care of an old priest named Lazzurus, dressed in sackcloth and covered in cuts from a whip.
Over the course of the next month, Lazzurus assists as best he can in healing me as I extract my own scales. The pain and tormet is indescribable, and he is not always able to prevent me from passing out in pain. Halfway through, the Barbarian locates me and requests my assistance in dealing with a problem in the city (more on that later). Apparently it sounded like I was actively being eaten legs-first by a dragon, as my screams and curses in native Draconic were clear as a bell once she was within the soundproofed confines of the apothecary I was staying in while doing this. Once I was sufficiently coherent to understand and respond to her request, I left immediately to assist in the fight that occurred.
[OOC: As part of the ongoing redemption, I was temporarily cut to half of my normal Max HP and had Disadvantage on Wisdom saves due to the mental damage, so I had to be VERY careful.]
Dealing with all of that, I got straight back to work on the difficult process of finalizing my redemption. At the end of the most horrendous (and yet, most satisfying) month of my life, I was able to craft incredibly fine armor that I have chosen to name:
Scales of the Suffering Sage
* Scale Mail +2 (AC 16, max Dex bonus of +2)
* Always has the appearance of being slightly bloodied
* 1d6 elemental damage to enemies within 5 feet
* 1d6 elemental damage to enemies that strike the wearer
* The elemental damage (and color of the scales) defaults to Lightning and reverts to Lightning (blue scales) after battle, but changes to match the element last cast by the wearer during battle
* Permanent Advantage on Constitution Saves
* Enhances the effect / benefits of any Acts of Good performed by the wearer
* Relentless Endurance: When the wearer would be reduced to 0 HP, they are instead reduced to 1HP (once per long rest)
* Only usable by Good-aligned characters. Non-Good characters take the following penalties:
** 2d6 Psychic damage per round while wearing Scales of the Suffering Sage, as it inflicts the suffering and anguish involved its creation upon the undeserving wearer
** The wearer gains none of the listed benefits
** AC reverts to that of severely rusted, low-quality, stiffened, basic Scale Mail (11) only, barely better than normal clothing
** Limits max Dex bonus to +0
** Disadvantage on Constitution and Wisdom Saves
My alignment has shifted to Chaotic Good as the gods recognise my efforts at atonement. I will never allow myself to fall so far again. I feel like this armor actively enhances my ability to do Good things in the world. I feel... Like I'm finally balanced again.
-> Volume 17