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Trials of the Oracle by Caradac

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Main Points

•    The Valley was able to put seven of our questions to the Oracle
•    The Dehori have set themselves against the Valley as a whole in pursuit of the destruction of the Humacti
•    The Dehori Boon is to prevent the Banishing of undead within their Nation
•    The Pentar continue in their war against the Valley
•    The Shadowsfall seem to favour contracts against the Valley above all else
•    Trade relations with the Dai-Fah-Dyne seem significantly improved
•    The Pordaradrim are in significant decline as a people.

Earth Day

The Valley sent a group of adventurers to attempt the Trials so that our Nation’s questions could be put to the Oracle.  The group was formed of Cirith, Verrick, Hak, Beren, Vilk, Ligner, K’sndra, Silverheart, Xernes, Caradac, Michael, Anatharion and Lei Feng.  Tornado of the Dymwan accompanied us much of the time.
The Trials were to take place near the Garden of All Elements Waystation.  Due to the number of Nations participating in the Trials, the Oracle had created several additional “Waystation-like” centres so that all could be accommodated.  
As we approached the one that we had been assigned, we were assailed by numerous unusual elementals which were able to release some spiritual invocations.  At the building, we found a roiling mess of magic, a dead Wizards Concillium Sorceror guarded by a golem and many wards.  Waves of elementals attacked as we cleared the wards and we eventually stilled the mana source that was attracting them.
At this point, a part of the group left to chase down a Fetch that was inexplicably very interesting to them.  One of the group had a Vision overnight of Dehori and Dymwan conducting a ritual together.

Fire Day

Two Wizards Concillium came by to recover the dead Sorceror.  We noted that magics of the pure elements (Earth, Air, Fire and Water) were behaving oddly and those with a connection to these magics were afflicted by some odd disease.
We set off to seek out the source of this disruption and, on the way, met some Shadowsfall.  They wished to purchase the asking of a question from us and, after some discussion, said they would return with their offer in full later on.
We met a group of Dehori and Dymwan intent on preventing us from making further progress.  After the inevitable hostilities, Tornado explained that there was some flow of people between the Dehori and Dymwan nations as those of a particular mindset moved to the Nation that best suited them.  Additionally, he made it clear that the two Nations are firmly allied.  Were the Valley to set themselves against the Dehori, they would also face the might of the Dymwan.
We fought our way to a ritual (as seen in the Vision).  Strange effects were in evidence including our foes drawing strength from the fountain at its centre.  Additionally, casting Good power nearby worked but resulted in the caster taking an opposite Evil effect immediately afterwards.
Defeating the ritualists, we were transported to the Realm of Disease and Decay on the Plane of the Sleepless Dead.  Here we had to prove ourselves worthy to the Realmlord before being permitted to leave.  This was a long and extremely arduous process which involved fighting off seemingly endless creatures whilst being affected by massive life drains.
Once we returned to Orin Rakatha, we disrupted the ritual which turned out to have two separate parts.  The first connected the area to the Well of Eternal Souls and the second to the Realm of Disease and Decay.  It was evident that these rituals were what had afflicted magic in the area and the further corruption was halted.  We were unable to undo the effects already in place, though.
We recovered eight Dehori questions and presumed that they had already submitted four to the Oracle.  Those questions were:
1.    Who forged the Nine’s weapons?
2.    How can we make protection from Banishment extend outside of our Nation?
3.    How can the next Grand Necromantic Conjunction be made permanent?
4.    How can we remove the connection between the Humacti and their Deity/Power Source.
5.    How can the next Grand Necromantic Conjunction be brought forwards?
6.    Where can we find the Tome of the Assembly?
7.    Where are the remains of the Silent Banshee hidden?
8.    How can the unseen evade detection?
During our return, we met with a Shadowsfall who had come with the deal they wanted to put to us.  We were to ask three questions on behalf of the Shadowsfall.  That was it.  No offer of favour, no trade, no Gests.  We politely declined and went on our way.
During lunch, we destroyed the Dehori questions.  We also gained information about the questions asked by the Dymwan but I didn’t get sight of those documents.  Hopefully, someone else will have the details.
We met with representatives of the Oracle and began the Challenges.  We were to defend a ritual area during the Trial and failing to do so would forfeit the Challenge.  Success would grant upo to four questions.  We were constantly assailed by Shadowsfall for the several hours of the Trial took to complete.
Shortly after the Challenge began, I was transported to another place which was full of traps and puzzles.  Every so often, another person was transported in until those present numbered four.  At this point, every time someone arrived, the person who had been present longest returned to the battle, suffering great harm as they did so.
As we progressed through the puzzle, we uncovered three minor Challenges to recover an Eye, a Tongue and a Skull.  These were all achieved and the efforts of both the questers and those who remained to defend the ritual are to be commended.  We also pieced together a story of lies and betrayal which I hope will be amongst any recovered materials from the mission.
With these completed, the defenders were told they no longer needed to defend the ritual and began to be removed (one-by-one) to the puzzle area.  When the last of us were there, we began to piece together the last part of the Challenge.  
Armed with what we had learned from the puzzles and with additional knowledge imparted by a magical box called the Eye of the Oracle we were to judge who was guilty in the story which had unfolded around us.  In this, we erred choosing incorrectly.  I would very much like to inspect the information we had available to see if we could have made a better choice with less pressure upon us.
Returning to the building, we were informed that we had garnered three questions from the first Challenge but would receive only two.  The third would be given to the Dehori as punishment for our earlier interfering with their questions.
That night, we faced two further Challenges.  In the Trial of Manual Dexterity, we were comprehensively defeated by the servants of the Oracle.  After this, there was a Chess Challenge which reminded me greatly of NathanQuest from a distantly remembered Yule mission.  Mostly thanks to Lei Feng, we were victorious in this Trial.

Steel Day

The servants of the Oracle asked if we wished to continue and we confirmed our intent to do so.  This got us another question, bringing our total to three.  The group was divided into three and we faced the following:
•    Challenge of Endurance.  A small group successfully endured five minutes of attack from foes that they could not harm.  This was done successfully.
•    Challenge of Subterfuge.  Whilst under attack by a slaver and his slaves, identify the slaver and rescue the slaves.  We successfully identified the slaver but did not slay him or rescue his victims before the Trial ended.  This Challenge was failed.
•    Challenge of Understanding.  Attacked by a group of disguised foes, the group had to identify each one before slaying them.  All were faced at the same time.    This was done successfully.
We gained a single question from this set of Challenges.
Dividing into two groups, we faced two more Challenges, one to have a combat, the other to face a mental test.  In the following combats, any who were disabled were immediately removed from the field of battle.
The first group faced off against a strong Pentar group and were easily defeated.  The group we faced had a psionic leader, a couple of Hepaths, two Yakuza and a Knifeman.  The real damage was done by an archer, however, that had a seemingly inexhaustible supply of power draining arrows of such potency that they felled any that were struck.
The second group faced a group of Dehori and were successful.  This group included Arkat (an Evil High Priest with attract Good and many stored Cause Mortals and Destroy Spiritual Protections), skilled warriors and Wraiths, Spectres and Ghosts.
Over lunch, we had a Word Challenge but were utterly defeated by the servant of the Oracle.  Later, it transpired that not a single group achieved any slight measure of victory in this challenge.  From this point forwards, we were often attacked by Unseen spirits and, if it had not been for Xernes, we might have suffered greatly.
Divided into the same groups as before, we did Challenges of Blind Trust (passed) and Senses (failed).
Finally, we were to face the same groups as before but those who fell would be revivable normally.  Additionally, we were able to divide the groups differently and to choose the place of the battle.  With only minor alterations, we were able to defeat both groups although the battle with the Pentar was particularly gruelling.
Back together as a group, we passed the Challenge of Luck and Skill which was a deceptively simple dice game.  Over dinner we established a trade agreement with the Dai-Fah-Dyne and declined a plea from the Pordaradrim to ask their question.  This latter was largely because the answer to their question appeared to be blindingly obvious to those present.  
Attacks by Unseen continued and a message was received by Tornado saying that a number of Spirits had recently left the Dehori Nation.  We believed that it was these spirits which were attacking us and made our suspicions clear to the servants of the Oracle.
Our final Challenge was to contend in a three-way battle between ourselves, the Dehori and the Pentar.  We were constantly harried on the way by Unseen.  Unsurprisingly, the Dehori and Pentar chose to ally themselves against us and we were deeply concerned for our chances.  At this point, we had two strokes of luck.  The Pentar group was not the same one we had faced earlier and the battle began swiftly denying them the opportunity to renew their Ward Pacts.  During the battle we were also constantly harried by Shadowsfall who constantly targeted our people.  Eventually, we were victorious and returned once again to the building.
The servants of the Oracle gave our final tally as nine questions with one gone to the Dehori and another to the Dai-Fah-Dyne.  We were assured that sanctions would be applied against both the Dehori and the Shadowsfall for their own interference.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2018 20:45
 

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