I realized that these keep getting longer, but details seem like they could become more significant at this stage of the show. As an apology, here is a summary of the summary (aka a tl;dr): time didn’t pass in the void, Zeke took a temporary character until they could revive Unnamed, they try enchanting her body with the spirit of Maharib’s old sword, this doesn’t work and the dragon takes her body, the party allies with the dragon, Berg has sex, they go out and make friends with an air dragon and some dwarves, Maharib fights for control of his Axe but fails, the Hammer of Heaven destroys it and is destroyed in the process, they accidentally kill the dwarf boss, Ramus has them peace-out but Maharib stays behind, Maharib knows kung-fu.
Thanks once again for the recap videos. It cut probably several hours worth of work. Proper nouns are in square brackets per a request from the previous post, and should be spelled correctly (unless I missed somewhere in editing after looking it up).
The party returns from the Court of the Void, but barely any time has passed. Their arrival interrupts a meeting between [Mouthful of Worm-Ridden Grave Dirt] and [Ten Pillars of Gold], a secret asset of the Court of Coins (played by Zeke). [Ten Pillars] is at the desecrated monastery seeking peace with the undead army. The PCs meet with [Grave Dirt] then go to the barracks to rest, except [Maharib], who sets out for the base of [The Embers of Imix]. He hopes that they may help reunite him with his people. [Amira]'s body is given to [Grave Dirt] to study, but [Unnamed] is kept with the party.
Within the barracks, [Ramus] casts gentle repose to prepare [Unnamed]'s body for future revival. This is illegal within the temple grounds, but it is noticed by a woman with one arm. This woman, [Somchai], has a conversation with Ramus about religion. He, in turns, offers the teachings of [Harmony], his fledgling religion. It’s focus is on freedom, relationships with others, and choice. This conversation leads to recruiting [Somchai] as a bodyguard of sorts.
[Ten Pillars] meets with [Berg] and [Ramus] and invites them to stay in his guest suite instead of the barracks. [Maharib] attempts to commune with the spirit of [Bahath], sealed in his old sword, and whatever may embody his axe, [The Wicked Edge of the Void]. This does not prove fruitful.
[Maharib] hurries through the jungle towards [The Embers of Imix], hoping to outrun a storm. Meanwhile, [Ten Pillars] evaluates the military assets of the undead-controlled temple. The “re-education” seems to be working on the former farmers here; they believe in the mara’s cause. [Berg] and [Ramus] head to the temple library, seeking information about [Berg]'s magic items and a material component for one of [Ramus]'s higher-level spells. They get an old pervert to break the seal to the forbidden section, killing him instantly.
[Maharib] meets with [Awut] and his sister, the shaman fire genasi [Vani]. [Vani] enters a trance and is possessed by [Agni], who speaks with [Maharib] about his past, his weapons, and the spirit sealed within his sword. This conversation tempers [Maharib]'s resolve. He sends a message ahead to [Ramus], alerting him of his return and to prepare “the body.”
In a sequence of scenes set before the library trip, [Berg] discusses freedom with [Ten Pillars] over orc-level spicy food prepared by the agent. On paper, slavery is already outlawed within the Court of Coins. This freedom is but a legal fiction, as dwarves still openly hold slaves within the court. The two discuss future collaboration that may lead to true emancipation for [Berg]'s people. This is considerably helped by [Berg]'s [Emperor Fei] artifacts. [Ten Pillars] believes [Berg] should become a great leader of armies, but [Berg] insists he is but a warrior.
Elsewhere, [Ramus] gives a sermon to the temple dwellers about the lies of Heaven and the mara, trying to spread the influence of [Harmony]. With [Somchai] as an enforcer it starts to spread. But [Ramus] realizes he needs someone charismatic to help spread his word.
Down in the forbidden section, they fight a group of spirits that should be very familiar to the audience: the original three PCs.
Having breached the sealed section, [Grave Dirt]'s shadowy guardians begin to “discipline” the PCs. They have picked up a number of tricks since their deaths in episode 8, making for a difficult encounter. After destroying [Zephyra] (JP’s old character), [Berg] gets banished to Heaven for part of the fight, leaving [Ramus] to deal with the remaining two spirits. After a number of humorous sequences, (Dan’s old character) [Baern]'s concentration fails and [Berg] returns to the fight. With the return of [Berg], [Baern] and [Velimir] decide to leave the fight. As he relaxes, [Berg] gets possessed by the ghost of the pervert who opened the seal. Ramus fails to notice the possession, as he collects his spell component.
[Maharib] tells [Vani] about his journey to The Void. The axe gives him murderous visions, and there is some doubt that he is fully in control.
Back in the temple, [Sen] reveals himself to [Ten Pillars] as a god of Heaven, trying to use the mara to correct the current course of human destiny. [Ten Pillars] does not agree with the god’s assessment, but still treats him with reverence. He never mentions this encounter, or [Sen]'s identity, to the other characters (at least not in this recap period). After the conversation, [Ten Pillars] and [Grave Dirt] perform an autopsy of [Amira]. I am sure nothing bad will come of this. When questioned once more about peace between the undead army and Court of Coins, [Grave Dirt] solidifies its impossibility. [Ten Pillars] will alert the Court of Coins of her decision.
In perhaps the most important moment of this section, [Doug] arrives at the fortress of [The Embers of Imix].
Building off his efforts from the previous episodes, [Ramus] continues to convert the members of the temple-turn-commune to the teachings of [Harmony]. Similarly, [Ten Pillars] expands upon his previous conversation with [Berg], suggesting that they should free all orcs and enlist them as an army to fight the undead. Unfortunately, [Berg] is still possessed, gets drunk and copulates with the people in the temple baths. [Maharib] arrives at the temple and immediately gets into an argument with [Som Chai]. [Ramus] and [Maharib] agree to use the power of [Bahath] to reignite [Unnamed] and to bury [Amira]. This requires getting the body of [Amira] back from the lich mistress, so the party strikes a bargain with the only card they have: a ritual to grant a soul to a void-born. [Grave Dirt] agrees to hand over [Amira]'s body in exchange for the details of the ritual, which will almost certainly become a weapon in her hands. [Somchai] is left in charge of [Ramus]'s followers at the temple as the party heads out together towards [The Embers].
[Maharib] leads the party towards the fortress. Fight with a bunch of kobolds along the way. The ghost possessing [Berg] is pushed out during the fight, jumping into [Unnamed], confirming that her body can house a soul. The air dragon [Lum] and rider [Kheiu], descend and the rider claims the kobolds belonged to her. They are enemies of the Court and the occupying mara: [The Bloody Scale Revenge Society]. She wants to remove all controlling elements from the river-lands, after past trauma brought about by the Court (specifically three magistrates we may have seen again recently). [Ramus] convinces her that they may be allies, and she gives him a whistle to call her and [Lum] in the future, if something interesting happens. Upon returning to a seemingly empty fortress, the party eventually finds [The Embers] in the midst of a noodle-eating contest. [Korlon the Eater] defends his title against [Berg] (who let him win to keep his pride), and everyone but [Ramus] enjoys a night of drinking and eating. [Vani] sees the true ambition of [Ten Pillars], to restore an Empire led by the current Court of Coins. [Ramus] alone guards the outside in a moment of contemplation.
[Ten Pillars] tries to convince [The Embers] that the undead army is their problem too. [Berg] and [Maharib] finish their night of drinking and bonding with their new friend [Korlon]. [Vani] informs the group of the ignition ritual, to turn [Unnamed] into a kind of magic item, hopefully granting her life. Upon examining the corpse, she is shocked to see no signs of injury nor decay, nor even the chill of the grave. [Ramus] explains that he only preserved her with magic at first, but it proved unnecessary. Once the ritual begins, whatever is left of [Unnamed] will need to fight [Bahath] for control. The materials for the ritual includes 20,000 gold worth of components. On top of that, they need a vessel to temporarily hold [Bahath]'s essence, a symbolic bridge between darkness and flame to act as a battlefield, and a gift to appease [Imix] for imprisoning [Bahath] within the body. [Ten Pillars] tries to requisition the gold-cost components from the Court of Coins, but the request triggers another agency to move: Special Projects Division. [Maharib] gets permission from [Awut] to enter the lower-levels of the fortress, to take the treasure from the dwarven ruins there. [Berg] and [Vani] share a moment when they discuss possession and the hardships involved. As it is her job to do so, she has quite a bit of insight, and suggests that she might be able to teach him how to protect himself from further incursions. When the scene ends, it is revealed that someone is scrying on [Berg], and that they are in possession of a certain preserved heart.
[Mr. Yang], an agent from the Special Projects Division of the Court of Coins appears in the fortress. He is willing to provide the requested materials as long as he obtains the ritual for the court. After some trickery by [Ten Pillars], [Maharib] and [Mr. Yang] instead attempt to trade materials for information about the Court of the Void. When conversation is not enough, it evolves into [Maharib] trading the notebook of his bug-loving friend. The deal is sealed, and [Mr. Yang] has the component brought to the base. They now have two of the four requirements for ignition: the material components and the bridge between darkness and flame, [Ramus Krill]. With a void soul, deep connection to [Unnamed], and the blessing of [Agni], [Ramus] himself can serve as the battlefield. Still requiring a vessel and an offering, the party travels down into the depths of the ruins within the fortress. There they must defeat the monsters blocking the way and the guardian of the forge, an iron golem. The golem can regenerate by submerging within the surrounding metal, so [Berg] uses his monumental strength to hold it on solid ground while [Maharib] hits it. [Ten Pillars] finds the forge controls and with help from [Ramus], turns off the forge/prevents detonation of the volcano. The loot obtained is monumental: 30,000 gold worth of misc. treasure, 8 potions of healing, 2 potions of supreme healing, a potion of climbing, a spell scroll: dominate monster, another: shape stone, [Imix’s Folly] (bowl of commanding fire elementals), the [Unyielding Steel of Deep-King Zarkh] (adamantine armor), [The Edict of Queen Elaheh XII] (rod of lordly might), [Dwarven Stubbornness] (immovable rod), [Ac-Menateh’s Unbroken Vigilance] (cloak of eyes). [Berg] takes the armor, [Ramus] the immovable rod, and [Ten Pillars] the cloak. The bowl is used as the vessel for [Bahath], and the lordly rod (and the forge itself) as the offering to the fire lord. A share of the gold is also provided to [The Embers], as thanks for the ritual, unsealing the lower levels, and generally being good allies.
The ignition ritual begins. With [Ramus] as a battlefield, the minds of [Bahath] and [Unnamed] take draconic forms to fight for supremacy over [Unnamed]'s body.
“And that’s when the great fire dragon, Bahath, met in combat with the shadowy spirit from beyond. All within the mind of Ramus Krill, who they say conjured the temple from some long-forgotten memory.” The two fight it out within [Ramus]'s mind, leaving [Berg] and [Maharib] unable to help. Eventually, [Bahath]'s flames conquer the shadows of [Unnamed] and takes the prize: possession of the body. [Berg] acts as a pillar of comfort for his long-time friend. In mourning, [Ten Pillars] reveals that he lost his wife, [Hana], to raiders before even having a child. In this moment, [Ramus] reveals the name he was unable to give his love, [Zadani]. “The Tower teaches us to let go, to not hold on to things. But I think whoever wrote these words never loved someone.”-Ramus [Maharib] goes to kill the newly-embodied [Bahath], but [Berg] blocks with his hammer. The two weapons colliding releases a flash of energy and foreshadowing. [Ramus] saves the party by creating an anti-magic field as an aspect of [Imix] attempts to manifest through [Vani]. Later, in the dragon-fighting cave, [Vani] awakens, possessed by the hearth flame, [Tohil]. [Tohil] explains that now it is up to the party to decide what to do with [Bahath], and that she would speak in favor of [Agni] to [Imix], to avoid a harsh punishment. She also mentions that when gods die, they come back but sometimes without all of their memories. HMMMMMMMMM. [Ramus] tries to control [Bahath] with a Geas, but fails. [Bahath] wishes to bathe the world in destructive flame. They do suggest that there is a world that does not yet know the heat of flame, the Court of the Void. In the future, they may send [Bahath] there ([Bahath] wanted to go immediately). The party must decide what to do with the results of their ritual, and if they should inform [Grave Dirt].
[Berg] and [Ramus] bond over the loss of [Zadani]. [Bahath] has taken administrative control over [The Embers of Imix] and wields the [Rod of Lordly Might]. He tells his newly acquired cult to begin the “Age of Conflagration” and to gather more followers. [Berg] follows [Vani] as she leaves the room, and her weakened state is obvious. In performing the ignition ritual, her life has nearly burnt out. [Nisha], the Eldritch Mother, is ready to pass on her power to [Vani], but [Vani] must first survive the night. [Berg] gives away one of his blessings from Heaven (his 4th death save), which crystalizes on her throat and saves her life. [Ramus] uses legend lore to look into the past of [Bahath], when the sword compelled [Maharib] to burn and slaughter. These are memories that no longer reside in [Maharib], that he gave up to The Void. The party confronts [Bahath], who tests [Ramus] through immolation. Through the use of his magic, will, and an encouraging shout from [Berg], [Ramus] withstands the ritual. [Bahath] decides to ally with the party, but still knows nothing but how to burn. Certainly not how to grow food.
[Berg] and [Vani] have a relationship now, so [Berg] finally gets a ‘W’. [Nisha] dies off-screen after the power-transfer. Everyone except [Berg] has a conversation about how to protect [The Embers], and it is suggested that they could move them to the recently incinerated [Xulin Valley], the land where [Ramus] and many other PCs originally died. Since the Court of Swords no longer has the energy to dispute the territory, it falls squarely in possession of the Court of Coins, and within reach of [Ten Pillars]'s influence. [Ramus] sends a message on behalf of [Ten Pillars], is informed that he failed his mission and should return home. Instead of relaying this, [Ramus] says that it was an order to stay and observe [Bahath] and [The Embers].
The PCs try to convince [Bahath] that [The Embers] need to move away from the undead, up to the valley. [Vani] helps them with this prospect, arguing that it is sacred ground seared by [Novum]. [Ramus] and [Ten Pillars] have to teach [Bahath] the true terror of an army that comes back from the dead, and does not fear fire. [Bahath] doesn’t understand necromancy, or anything other than burning/treasure/caves/worship. She seems to be starting to access parts of [Zadani]'s mind, memories, and personality. The PCs consider having the volcano erupt on purpose after [The Embers] leave for the valley.
After 136 episodes, Adam makes a map of [The World]!
[Bahath] is no match for [Grave Dirt], but is also impatient. Party decides to seek out Captain [Southern Wind] of the Court of Swords army, whom they were once tasked to kill by [Grave Dirt]. [Berg] and [Vani] enjoy each other’s company again. [Maharib] and [Ramus] speak with an overwhelmed [Awut], not used to the momentum sparked by the declaration of [Bahath]. In order to help the exhausted [Awut], [Ramus] puts him under a Geas, requiring him to get a full long rest each night, or die. This goes over very well with his target, but will likely cause friction with [Vani] later. [Ramus] confesses to [Ten Pillars] that he lied about the mission, but [Ten Pillars] decides to stay with the party. A plan is set to contact [Vani] with message every night as she watches [Bahath], and set a return point in [Ramus]'s room for word of recall. The room is a temporary shrine to [Harmony].
Looking for [Southern Wind], attempt to hints at location by summoning [Kheiu] with the dragon flute. She does not respond. They head in the general direction of the dwarves from the area, a memory from [Ramus]'s time at the temple. The party reaches a desecrated camp, with fresh remains strewn about. Someone has been dragged away by trolls, distorted relatives of giants. They have taken one last dwarf as a snack for later. An invisible [Ramus] and [Maharib] try to convince the pair of creatures that [Maharib] is the god of the mountain while [Ten Pillars] sneaks off to rescue the dwarf. [Woz-Rog-CludKlak-Burr-Dung] and [Fat Boy] agree that the invisible [Maharib] is probably a god, but said god is also their toilet, not worthy of their respect. It eventually boils into a fight with [Ramus] casting earthquake, [Ten Pillars] conjuring a storm of flame from his pipe, and [Berg] and [Mahrib] doing what they do best. The dwarf recognizes the metal of [Maharib]'s axe, and tells them that only its blows will stop the regeneration.
The dwarf, [Addi-kur], insists that the party is owed a debt for saving her from the trolls. She agrees to break tradition and law to repay this debt by brining the party to her home city of [Mannum-ek-Bahl]. In their introductions, we learn of [Berg]'s mentor, [Rathos], the one who named him. [Ramus] notices her sorrow, and decides to resurrect her boyfriend, [Eratshtum], who was a victim of the troll. This is a big-deal miracle for [Harmony]. [Maharib] is furious that [Ramus] did not do the same for [Amira], despite [Ten Pillars] assuring him that it was impossible for [Amira], who had no soul. [Eratshtum] and [Berg] have a conversation where he reveals that this group of dwarves not only no longer enslaves orcs, but hold a great deal of guilt over their past treatment of [Berg]'s people. In the morning, [Lum] arrives without [Kheiu], and with a wicked javelin of void metal stuck into her body. [Kheiu] has been captured by [Grave Dirt] and [Lum] intends to rescue her, despite the difference in power. [Ramus] rides the dragon into the skies to look at the composition of the undead army. [Grave Dirt]'s forces are merely the tip of the mara spear, and their influence covers the entire southern half of the Court of Swords.
At [Mannum-ek-Bahl], [Addi-kur] and a dwarf warden of the gate, [Aga], leads the party to the [Law Keeper] while [Eratshtum] handles other business. The [Law Keeper] is one third of the leadership of their dwarven society, along with the [Law Bringer] and the [Law Wielder]. He is part dwarf and part machine, connected to the bodies of several homunculus assistants, responsible for recording all happenings of the hold and clan and recall the laws that bind the clan together. Holding a psychic gestalt with the party, they exchange one answer for another, and we learn that the dwarves have found the void metal under ground (accidentally tapped a vein). The dwarves have no intention of involving themselves in the human wars, but will meet the army of the dead at their fortresses with these new weapons. Through the mind-meld, everyone learns that [Maharib]'s body is tainted by the mara and that [Ramus]'s soul is a fake from the same power. [Maharib] attempts and fails to assert dominance over the axe, in a psychic group-fight against the [Great Green Worm]. As the battle rages on, [Ten Pillars] probes the secrets of their opponent, and manages to uncover a method to craft void metal weapons without risking corruption. The moment he grasps this knowledge, he is hit with a counterattack that gnarls his left arm into a flaky husk. As [Maharib] cannot dominate the axe, [Ramus] and [Berg] decide to attack the source of control: the axe itself. Only pausing in temptation, [Berg] smashes the [Wicked Edge of the Void] directly with [The Hammer of Heaven], shattering them both. Battered in both body and spirit, the gestalt ends, and the party sees not only the shards on the ground, but one in the [Law Keeper]'s neck. He and all of his homunculi are dead. Despite losing his weapon, [Berg], still himself [The Hammer of Heaven], tells [Maharib] that the fight gave them something invaluable: his freedom. As the party quickly gathers up the shards of both weapons, hoping to use [Ten Pillars]'s new knowledge and [Agni]'s power to forge something from the remains, the party is surrounded by dwarven guards. Seeing no other way out, [Ramus] grabs for his companions and casts word of recall to return to his room at the fortress. But, as the wording of the spell says, it only works on the willing.
[Maharib] did not return with the party. The returnees investigate [Ten Pillars]'s arm; it’s bad news. The arm has become a riddled network for strange void insects, and [Ten Pillars] does not have control over the creatures. The party decides to amputate/regenerate, so [Berg] goes looking for blade. Young [Ember], [Jai], has life-threatening injuries from the undead. His party, including brother [Kita], has been taken captive by [Grave Dirt]. He needs magical healing or will die. [Ramus] tries cure wounds, but it doesn’t work. [Vani] doesn’t like Ramus at all. [Ramus] decides that the problem is that the injury resulted from void magic, so he needs to use void magic to take it away. He starts channeling a void version of cure wounds (I’ve named “Remove damage”), but is stopped by [Vani] before he can complete it. After hearing the opinions of [Ten Pillars] and [Berg], [Ramus] gives up on casting. Eventually, [Ramus] will discuss this with [Awut], which goes well, and [Berg] with [Vani], which does not. [Ramus] has learned the difference between magic powered by The Fountain and that powered by The Void: the former is something that gives, and the latter takes (See my compiled list of Ramus’s void spells for a general idea). The party returns to their quest for a knife, recruiting [Doug] and his cleaver to remove the arm. [Ramus] casts holy weapon on the tool, and combined with Adam’s crit for Doug’s chopping roll, it becomes a new magic weapon (and [Doug], a paladin of [Harmony]). With the regenerate spell cast at the same moment as the strike, [Ten Pillars] is restored, and the arm immediately burned. Speaking of burning, there is a strange burning spell coming from [Vani], as she is embodied by a yet unseen aspect of [Imix].
After the others in the party retreat in a column of swirling light, [Maharib] stands surrounded by armed dwarves. With no chance of non-violent escape, and no grasp of the dwarven language, the goliath surrenders. Despite this, the dwarven soldiers continuously pierce him with spears, so he resists. Apparently part of the dwarven arrest process, his reaction causes them to rush him, knocking him out.
He is thrown into a dwarven jail cell, an unadorned stone box, he awaits trial by combat. His “co-conspirators”, [Addi-kur], [Aga] and [Eratshtum], are imprisoned elsewhere. Here [Maharib] meets with another captive goliath, [Hashim]. Imprisoned for attempting to steal the artifact, the [Veil of Zamaan Ral], he has not left the cell in 50 years. His abilities sealed by a brand and lifespan near its end, he decides to spend his remaining time imparting his teachings to [Maharib]. Undergoing a shirtless montage, [Maharib] successfully completes the tests of body, mind, and spirit and earns the wisdom of his people: the Go Lai At [Watchers at the Gate]. Master [Hashim] breathes his last, but [Maharib] has one trial remaining: the trial of blood. Using his new abilities as not a fighter, but a monk, [Maharib] must protect himself and his dwarven co-conspirators against their would-be executioner, an eternal frost giant. Using his new monk abilities and enlightened mind-set, he aims to defeat his distant cousin with non-lethal damage. When he should be killed by the swing of the axe, his master’s spirit blocks the blow. With one last blow, he knocks his opponent out, and gently lowers it to the ground. Having won in combat, [Maharib] and his exiled allies are freed. He demands that the [Law Wielder] release the eternal frost giant. He does so, and [Maharib] thanks him. [Maharib] frees her from her chains, and she decides to go with him.
Everyone is level 16 except [Ten Pillars] at 15. Will they be able to forge a new weapon? Will [Maharib] make it back to his allies? Will our dragon friends lose their patience and rush to their deaths? Find out next time on Court of Sword-Z!