Ah, my dearest journal, it's so wonderful to finally have you back. Without you, I had so much less of a handle on the world; so many experiences and so much knowledge that I had to try and track in far less reliable fashion. Non-magical paper is so much more difficult to track and maintain, and it's so much more susceptible to damage! Where was I when I last updated you... Ah yes, the Cloud Giant, and my amazing windfall of wealth.
Well now, THAT was certainly an experience. It turns out that my "Bag of Holding" was actually a customised "Bag of Devouring
" designed by the Githyanki to funnel potential slaves and treasure to the utterly colossal colony they have on the Astral Plane. Anything incoming is dropped into a series of sieves that decrease in mesh size with each level; I fell through a few of these levels before finally coming to a painful stop on a section of grid that was too small for me to fall through. I was immediately captured, and stripped of most of my possessions; it was only through the fairly quick actions of my comrades in following me into the bag that I was rescued after a few days. If it wasn't for them, I'd still be stuck there, and so would all of my lovely giant gold coins. (It's a real pity that it was the only real treasure in the place that we could find before escaping; it would appear that they regularly transport any incoming goods elsewhere in the facility so that this doesn't end up as a slave or treasure store; it's merely a receiving port. Staying and searching further would have likely been suicidal, as we're not prepared for such an assault.) I feel that it would be in my best interests to... Revisit, someday... And properly terminate their operations as a "thank you" for the hospitality I was shown. I've still got the scars.
After that fun little experience, and the retrieval of my items, we all headed to the Abbey of the Sword
in Battledale, where all of us took up the offer of food, lodgings and training in exchange for doing missions of interest to the Abbey's leadership, and guarding the portals in its basement against incursions. For my personal training, I chose to undergo Battle Training in order to become proficient in all forms of armor and shields; I can now wear and wield anything I can reasonably lift that doesn't require Attunement
(which means I now need to work on raising my strength in order to wear any armors heavier than Chain Mail).
[OOC: Torgos's Strength stat is only 12, and stat-raising is very rare in this DM's setting, so better armors are unlikely to be an option in the near future.]
My next portal jaunt was at the Abbey where I've been training for the past year in order to be more martially adept, as well as giving me time to work on the slow and painful absorbtion of the Elemental Crystal. The idea here is for me to absorb the entirety of the crystal (a slab as long and wide as a decently-sized dining table) by grinding it into powder bit by bit, mixing the powder into a salve, and applying that salve over my entire body. Since the crystal is the physical embodiment of elemental lightning, even being a Blue Dragonborn (and thus being "resistant" to Lightning damage) and quaffing Potions of Elemental Resistance every time I do the salve bath, it's still a source of constant low-level pain and damage, like being slowly cooked by an all-over electrical field. The payoff from this will be greatly increased mastery of the Element of Lightning; my breath weapon will massively increase in damage potential, and will turn my scales from their ordinary, slightly-shiny blue to a far more enticing, shimmery electric blue... in theory. In practise, of course, this has never, ever been done (who would even think of such a concept?), and all the pain and expense of this experiment may be for naught. But that's why it's an experiment! Being near the end of this ongoing treatment, I can see that my scales have indeed become far more "shimmery", but I'm not going to experiment with the elemental side of things until the treatment is complete, as attempting it now may cause the absorbed materials to become unstable. The other mage with whom I have the agreement to get another crystal is doing an experiment of his own - He's tattooing half of a crystal into his skin and keeping the other half (which requires repeated tattooing of the same area, waiting for the "ink" to be absorbed, remove the tattoo, re-apply it using fresh crystal ink...), which in theory should have a similar effect while leaving him with half a crystal for later use... At the cost of him having fairly extensive tattoos, which will probably look pretty amazing.
Oh, I seem to have wandered off on a tangent again. Where was I? Ah yes, those portals.
[A new journal page, which seems to both exist and not-exist at the same time; as if it is only there when you're not directly looking at it, except when you're directly looking at it. The writing is still in Torgos's hand, but the tone is different.]
They're where I picked up my Necklace of Portent!
This amazing necklace lets me decide the fate of any creature I can see. I can activate it twice a day without any resting, or twice after each time I take a long rest and allow it to recharge by concentrating on it. I've always thought the gods toyed with us, rolling dice to determine our fates... And it seems that I'm rapidly becoming able to actually SEE those rolls. I'm seeing patterns where there were none before. With this necklace, surely a gift from the gods themselves, I can make my own rolls, store the (desirable or undesirable) outcomes within the necklace, and then choose to unleash those outcomes on any creature I particularly wish to have success or failure in its endeavours, guaranteeing that the stored outcome then becomes the outcome that creature experiences. I've used it to ensure that creatures utterly failed in their attempt to dodge an incoming Fireball spell (when they would "normally" have succeeded in doing so!) and I've used it to assist my comrades in shaking off the effects of something nasty that would have otherwise done them in because of their "natural" failure to resist it otherwise. Fate is mine to weave as I see fit!
[The journal page fades out of existence again for now, with the next page seeming to be a continuation from the previous, as if the phantom page never existed.]
Tricky things, those portals. You never quite know when one of them is going to come to life, shimmering like some sort of magic mirror lit from within; you never know if something is going to come out when they light up, or if they'll sit there gleaming for minutes or hours and go dark again, becoming once more just ordinary, ornately-carved rings of stone surrounded by ancient Elven runes. One of them dropped several Yochlols
on us, in their insidious Mist form; sword and steel couldn't damage them, but fire certainly got their attention as always! They weren't the biggest problem though. Sneaking in with them was some sort of Drow prince under an Invisibility spell, looking to attack the surface world and carve a foothold into it for the Underdark spawn he commands. We made short work of him, firstly with an Animate Object spell sending several whirling caltrops his way, and when he decided to drop a Fireball centered directly on himself to clear out the caltrops (he had the Careful Spell ability so he didn't damage himself), he brought me to within an inch of death without even knowing it - I too was invisible, putting some distance between myself and a Yochlol, and I happened to be within the blast radius. Infuriated, I launched a Fireball straight back at the point I saw his come from, and the resulting explosion was enough to destroy him. With him dead, the Yochlols were quickly taken out by my companions, and I grabbed the only two items he was carrying - A Ring of Fire Resistance (he wasn't wearing it; maybe he didn't think he needed to because he could exclude himself from his Area of Effect Fireball spells? Not wearing it killed him, it turns out. Ha!) and a most wonderful item, the Necklace of Portent: A necklace made out of sculpted eyes (not real ones, thankfully) that allows me to mess with certain outcomes. Most useful.
Before the portal closed that he and the Yochlols came from, my companions and I decided to head in and see what we could find. We found ourselves in very rocky terrain, facing a keep-like structure with a lava moat surrounding it. The air was thick with ash, smoke, sulfur, and poisonous vapors; over time it became harder to breathe . After some discussion on how best to get in, I used my Transmutation skills to create us a stone bridge directly leading to the back of the structure, then shaped a doorway straight through the stone wall. Sneaky!
Inside, we found a huge stone dining table, with a chandelier suspended above it from four chains. This chandelier is one of the most impressive I've ever seen: It was a huge, perfectly clear, thick crystal bowl, filled with brightly glowing, very liquid magma. Certainly the most interesting way to light a space that I've seen in a long while; I have no doubt that some strong magic is involved in maintaining its constant heat.
Sadly, we didn't have a lot of time to enjoy the view, as several more Yochlol made their misty way into the room and once again the fight was on. Worryingly, with all the Fireballs etc being slung around, the chandelier was soon set swaying in huge arcs, dropping magma to the floor below and forcing everyone to keep their eyes on their enemies, upward on the chandelier and on the floor and table (stepping in magma would be amazingly unpleasant, I'm certain). One Yochlol in particular seemed to be the leader; capable of Common speech, and singularly unimpressed with our presence, it told us in no uncertain terms that we were going to die. Yeah, that didn't work out so well for it.
Apart from the chandelier, there was little of interest to most of my companions here, and we've currently got no way of either bringing the chandelier back with us, or turning this area into a secondary base of operations due to the abysmal air quality, so we'll have to return at some point. We can get back there whenever we like now, which is a plus.
I seem to have lost those cursed sheets of paper I've been keeping my notes on again, so I'll have to come back and write some more when I find them again...