Spartak 645

The Bad Seed
Adventure Log - 3/12/17

When we last picked up, our group was camped in the forest, about three days away from Kara Kai monastery. After the most restful night of sleep in several days, we almost didn’t notice that an amber light was creeping up over the horizon earlier than usual. It wasn’t until three wolves ran past, paying us no mind, that we started to suspect something was awry. Helicon was the first to realize that what we had thought was the rising sun was actually a raging forest fire that was tearing across the plains and headed for us. As Zefir conjured up several mounts for us with her wand, Kellin took to the sky and confirmed that we were indeed in the path of a wildfire that was a mile wide. While we took flight, we passed through a very small town where two cabins stood like fodder for the oncoming inferno. We yelled “Fire!” towards the cabins, and two confused elderly people emerged, unaware of their plight. We continued trying to rouse them, but they seemed exceptionally slow on the uptake, exclaiming “Huh, what?” instead of rushing to action. Feeling as though we’d done our part to warn the innocents, we worried for ourselves, and left them behind in order to salvage our own lives.

Soon we came to a shallow river, and when we crossed it we saw that a massive bank of clouds was amassing over the approaching fire. Through spell craft, Zefir was able to determine it was a Control Weather spell. The clouds began to rain down on the fire, quenching the blaze. We continued on our way and approached a small village, where we found a tavern and decided to enter and warn the townspeople of what we’d just be fleeing from. Two customers within the tavern left shortly after we entered, and the bartender, named Jefferson, seemed none too concerned about the wildfire. Perhaps the magical storm had quenched any worries when it had quenched the flames.

While we inquired about a place to stay, the barkeep seemed anxious for us to leave, claiming no rooms were available. Raven sensed his motive and could feel his nervousness, and suddenly, a chair lifted off the floor and flew through the air, narrowly missing our heads. The barkeep was not shaken by this strange development, and said it’s something that “you get used to” around here. Pressing him for info, we learned that once a flower lady had once been killed in the tavern by several bricks that had become airborne in a similar way. As three other strangers entered the bar, the barkeep suggested that speaking about more of this would put them all in more danger, and that we should just move on. Raven cast a Detect Thoughts spell, which revealed a ten year old girl hiding just outside one of the tavern’s window. She was repeating a nervous thought pattern: “They are just strangers, they are going to move on…”

Mat snuck towards the window, creeping through the shadows, and when he got near the girl, whispered to her non-threateningly. She yelled, “No!” and Mat was flung back against the stairs, pushed aside by an invisible force of telekinesis. One of the strangers that had entered the bar screamed, “Just get out of town!” and Raven was able to persuade the bartender to admit that these people were under attack by demons that demanded they be obeyed. Just at that moment, a Mehrim demon appeared in a puff of black smoke, which our battle ready heroes attacked without hesitation.

Over at the window, Mat pulled the little girl inside the tavern with Lucky’s help, and standing at the outskirts of the room, he sensed another presence upstairs. Raven revealed its presence with a Glitter Dust spell, which coated the demon and made it unable to hide. A third demon entered through the fireplace, its gray skin and membranous wings revealing itself as a Garazu demon.

As our group coordinated an assault against the demons, the little girl escaped through the window and was gone by the time the last demon was vanquished. Afterwards, Mat questioned the people in the tavern, and we found out the girl was named Leanne, and her parents had recently drowned. The townsfolk claimed that these demons were triggered when strangers came poking around town, and the bartender said he often found a demonic face imprinted upon his bread when he pulled it from the oven. They gave us the address where Leanne’s aunt Rosalie lived, an elderly clothes maker who was found to be pale and declining in health. Rosalie was none too pleased with Leanne, going so far as to call her a little bitch that only brought trouble to the town. She gave no indication of knowing where Leanne was.

Raven decided to cast a Detect Object spell that was attuned to Leanne’s shirt, and we were next drawn to a grove in the village where Leanne was hiding. We offered her a shepherd’s pie, which she greedily ate, but still urged us to leave or else “she” would hurt us. We realized Leanne was referring to an unknown entity which seemed to speak in her head, when a pitchfork rose and flew past our heads. Not wavering, we pushed Leanne for more info, and soon were able to get her to write down the demon’s name she seemed so afraid to speak aloud: Kali Ann.

Zefir’s knowledge of the plains informed us that Kali Ann was a Balor demon, and had been a major figure in the demon war. Leann told us that she was hearing terrible things in her head warning her that something was about to happen. We questioned her about what had happened to her parents and she finally relented and told us that she had wished for her parents to return one day, over at the river’s edge where they had passed away. We asked her to lead us to the river, and once we got there, for a split second we glimpsed a huge hulking demon hovering over the water, seeming to blink in and out of reality. Zefir detected a strong aura of evocation magic from the area, and Kellin’s keen sight caught the glint of something metal about ten feet under the rushing rapids.

Before we could investigate, three demons appeared and a skirmish ensued at the water’s edge. One of them was a Glabrezu demon that called forth five mirror images that gave us even further hassles. We soon overcame the demons with no serious injuries. We now saw that there was a candelabra set into stone at the mouth of a waterfall. Kellin evolved his form and enlarged his size for more strength against the current, and dove down to affix a rope to the candelabra. Back on the shore, we all grasped the rope and pulled, noting that young Leanne had quite strong biceps for a 10 year old girl.

The candelabra dislodged under the strain, and we were able to pull it to safety. While Zefir examined it, the candles lit by themselves, and an audible hum was heard. Zefir was able to tell that it could cast the Blasphemy spell once per day, a powerful evil spell we thought we probably shouldn’t mess with. Luckily Bru had been carrying a lead box we could store the artifact in, and we agreed that we would take the candelabra to Kara Kai monastery, to either trade it to someone trustworthy, or destroy it in the lava flow, if all else failed.

Just as we were about to leave, by a stroke of insight and good fortune, Mat perceived something behind the rushing waterfall not far from us. There was a hidden cave behind it. Using a rope tied around our waists and Kellin’s ability of flight, we each secured safe entry to the cave, bringing Leanne along with us. As we descended deeper, the cave became even more dark and smoky, until at one point we realized that the coalescing smoke was actually a mass of wispy, smoke-like demons, who now seemed to be aware of our presence as one approached and attempted to reach down Mat’s throat with a smoky claw.

Suddenly Leanne ran deeper into the cave, alarming our group as we fought our way through the Belkir demons. Raven cast a Slow spell on six of them, which turned the tide and allowed us to defeat the otherworldly creatures in a long, tough battle. In the scuffle, Leanne had been gravely wounded and then pulled back from the brink of death by Zefir, and Mat had seen the Balor demon flicker in and out again over a chasm. We felt a magical effect in the area, as if we had to strain all of our will to resist some unknown deadly effect. We discovered that the dirt was disheveled in a particular area of the cave, and after digging through it for a few seconds found human bones buried within it.

Zefir continued to work on restoring Leanne to full health, and soon Leanne recovered and relaxed enough to tell us that she was no longer hearing voices in her head.

As questions still swirled, we began to plan our next steps.

Into Rhinegoth'a -or- How to Cleanse an Aura in 3 Easy Steps
Adventure Log – 2/12/17

After successfully escaping from the arena with Lucky in tow, our group met back up outside of the city of Mithas. Mat and Kellin decided to return to the city to find a shopkeeper and sell the goods we’d won from our victories in the arena, while the rest of us waited in the neighboring forest with Lucky and Helicon.

Not long after entering the walls of the city, Mat and Kellin found themselves sparring with a group of minotaurs in a bartering transaction that quickly went south and transformed into battle.

At that same time back in the forest, the rest of the group suddenly heard a great crashing sound approaching through the underbrush, as a Triceratops emerged from the trees and attempted to trample the heroes.

By the time the dust settled in Mithas and their foes had been vanquished or had ran away fearing for their lives, Mat and Kellin decided to postpone selling the group’s goods and reunite with the rest of their party.

Meanwhile, back in the forest, the triceratops seemed to focus on grasping Zefir in its huge maws before it was finally brought down by the heroes’ assault. Gleaming from the great creature’s forehead was a blue gem that had been embedded there, seemingly out of place on the primitive beast. We pried the gem out of the dead monster’s flesh and Helicon detected an aura of magic about it that appeared to be somehow attuned to Zefir.
Troubled by these events but not swayed, our group decided to head for Ergoth, the nearest place where we could potentially sell our goods. Not even a full day’s travel had passed before we heard a loud sound like wind chimes or glass pieces crashing against each other approaching on the road in front of us. As we hid in the bushes on both sides of the road, three large and quite terrifying creatures entered into sight: an Ice Elemental, a Rope Golem, and a Crystalline Horror marched directly towards us as if we weren’t hidden from view. Noticing the creatures each had a blue gem embedded in them, we gave up the ruse of hiding and launched into an attack.

Several Scorching Rays and Pit spells later, our battle weary group stood over shards of ice and burnt ends of rope and mutually decided to change course to Rhinegoth’a, where we could find someone capable of cleansing the aura of Cassandra from Zefir. Apparently someone had sent these bedazzled beasts to track down Cassandra/Zefir, and we would need to resolve this problem sooner rather than later or risk an onslaught of attacks of this nature.

After another day of travel, we arrived at the inlet of a vast lake. We had been told that we would find the temple of Rhinegoth’a inside a cave, and soon we found two large statues marking its entrance. Peering closer, we saw that the statues were created in the shape of a large pile of goo with eyes, and each of the statures possessed a concrete tube capable of shooting flames at a distracted traveler as they passed. Mat disabled the traps that would surely have incinerated us, and while searching around the room, we found a sledgehammer covered in black sludge. Mat picked it up and brought with us as we plunged deeper into the temple.

Soon we entered a rectangular room with strange etchings in the wall that appeared to be in the language of abyssal. Thankfully Mat had the ability to read the etchings, and he told the group that it appeared to be instructions on how to use the temple.

Essentially, the temple had been created with the ability to cleanse someone’s spirit if the individual was placed into a cage and lowered into a stone tube filled with fluid. The catch was that the tube was currently empty, and would only fill when a complicated stone lever was triggered within an altar in an adjoining room. There were also additional levers spread throughout the temple that more priests could be stationed at, each one reducing the difficulty required to activate the cleansing ritual. If all of the levers were triggered, even a low leveled priest could pull off a cleansing ritual, but if only the main lever was pulled, than only a powerful priest should attempt it.

Giving it a try, Raven attempted to pass for a cleric, and set about manipulating the stone staff. After a failed try, we heard something squishy approaching and a huge demonic ooze came into view. As Raven fiddled with the contraption again, Zefir recognized the ooze as a type of creature that could split and duplicate if cut or slashed, which put our heroes at a disadvantage and required they fight with blunt instruments. After a few more failed tries with the lever contraption, a monstrous eight legged Shriezyx and a Fungal Crawler entered the room and joined the battle alongside the ooze. Changing tactics to focus on exterminating these creatures, our group initiated a coordinated battle to take them out one by one. When the ooze was the last creature left, we slashed it a few times which caused it to divide, but we were able to overcome its divided form and vanquish the animated sludge with some effort.

Turning back to the altar, we attempted a new strategy, dividing into three groups and activating three altars, to ease the difficulty of triggering the cleansing fluid. It still required some skill and patience, but eventually we were able to do it, and fluid rushed into the stone tube, signaling our success. Zefir jumped into the pool. Only a moment had passed when a creepy red slime dropped onto Bru and seeped into his eyes, mouth, and open wounds. Overtaken by the beast, Bru heaved and retched before vomiting it up in a pool of red slime. A few well-placed blows from the rest of the party took it out before it could attack anyone else.

Turning back towards Zefir in the stone tube, the group spent a few rounds attempting to pull her out, via a chain attached to a cage that was already lowered into the chamber. When she finally emerged, she indicated a feeling of being refreshed that implied the cleansing ritual had worked.

Exiting the temple and camping for the evening, the heroes discussed where to go next. In the morning they headed towards Ergoth, and after traveling for some time found themselves outside the gates of the elven city of Qualimori. Passing through without incident, we gazed upon a beautiful city full of intricate buildings, with terraces covered in vines that overlooked trees and expansive courtyards, as the sounds of urban life filled our ears.

Several elves approached us then, asking if we wanted to donate to the “elven religion” but Raven sensed they were dishonest, so Mat bluffed that we would make a donation later, and we parted ways with them. We soon found a vendor where we could sell our loot and replenish our supplies. After looking over the treasure we amassed, we agreed we would give 1000 gold pieces each to Lucky and Helicon, as they were turning out to be very important friends to have.

Getting Lucky
Adventure Log – 1/14/17

Our heroes were gathered near the foot of the Tower of Knowledge, when the tower’s owl representative called for us. Our time had come to plead for an audience with the wizards. Bru shared a general sense what he knew about how they had gotten here, and mentioned both time travel and the coming punishing star. Once Bru had finished pleading his case to the owl, it bid us farewell and said we’d be called if our request for an audience was to be met. We found out that the current leaders of the tower were three wizards going by the names: Serten, Sabella, and Mordo.

That evening, an enterprising wizard by the name of Exander Runthorn appeared at the foot of the tower, looking to make some extra coin for selling some potions and magical items. Raven and Mat were able to barter a wand of invisibility and a wand of mount, respectively.

Later, the wizard Sabella appeared at the foot of the tower, and called for the heroes. She took Mat, Bru, and Helicon up to a private room where Mat began to explain our story and inquire about Cassandra. Sabela listened patiently, but generally refused to intervene, stating that we were out of our depth. After further discussion, Mat could sense that she was sad, or feeling some sort of remorse. She soon admitted that she couldn’t reveal where Cassandra was, and that the leaders of the tower had even privately voted about the matter. Our heroes weren’t ready to let things go, and pressed for more info. Eventually, she raised her hands and deliberately placed them on a map laying on the table before her, and we couldn’t help but notice her index finger was pointed to the city of Mithas. Perhaps noticing that we caught this subtle hint, she then said “just be careful.” We bid her farewell, before being transported back down to the foot of the tower.

Next, our group set off towards Mithas. Along the way, Raven and Mat began to question Helicon about his eyes, and when exactly they had changed color. Helicon said that it had happened when he traveled back in time six months from the future. He also revealed that he had the strange sensation that someone had accompanied him at one point during the process of time travel, but had no idea who it could have been. Our heroes were growing slightly suspicious about Helicon.

Passing through a small town, our heroes picked up some fresh supplies. Soon we encountered a strange man who upon seeing us suddenly pointed at Zefir and exclaimed “Cassandra, I’m afraid we’ll have to imprison you!” We attempted to engage the man in conversation, and learned his name was Warden. But he didn’t appear to be a friend. He pulled out a deck of cards and threw one down on the ground. “Step on this card,” he coaxed.

At that point, our party initiated a battle, and three beasts emerged from the surrounding trees to aid Warden in combat. A giant worm, a large bat, and a large panther-like creature that had tentacles attacked our group. At the end of the scuffle, the beasts had been killed, and Warden was left unconscious. After some questioning, we learned that Cassandra had been a poor girl from Kara Kai. She had unawakened powers, and had gone to a monastery, where she was imprisoned and harmed. Since then, her captors had all been killed, and she was the prime suspect. Warden said that Cassandra could be tracked because she had a distinct aura, which just so happened to be the same aura that Zefir had.

Stripping Warden of all possessions, we imprisoned him in his own magical card trap, and resumed our journey to Mithas. After a few days we arrived at the large city, standing before an imposing gate and high stone walls guarded by three minotaurs. In order to gain entrance to the city, they challenged us to a duel, and the largest one of them faced off with Bru. Participating in the primitive ritual of battle, Bru shortly won access for the group, and together we entered Mithas with the minotaur’s noticeable respect.

Zefir cast a Locate Object spell and focused upon what she remembered of Lucky’s belt buckle; a one of a kind engraving of a swan. The trail led the heroes to a huge arena that was closed for the night. Claudia, a minotaur guard in front of the arena, told the heroes about a new contestant that had taken the arena by storm that went by the name of Helicon. Raven performed a Detect Thoughts spell and sensed that the people in the area did in fact recall visions of Helicon (who we knew as Lucky,) fighting impressively in the arena.

The next day when the arena opened for the day, the heroes returned and gained entry with no challenges. Bad mouthing the contestants was found to be the primary way to be entered into the queue for battle, and our heroes found this was no challenge for a group possessing such high concentration of wit. Casting a magical disguise on Helicon for his own safety, we sent him to hide within the crowd and prepared for our public battle.

Stepping out into the arena, we faced a towering minotaur, a young brass dragon, a warrior, a mysterious beast with weird hair and eyes, and another unusual figure that appeared to be a magic user. A bloody battle ensued, but our heroes overcame the opposition and stood united when the dust settled. The crowd’s applause was tepid, but our victory assured we had the option to remain in battle another round, when we could challenge Lucky face to face.

When he emerged into view at the opposite side of the arena, we could see that Lucky had scars and battle wounds that hadn’t been there before, but he appeared to be the same man we had come to know slaving away in the fields outside Burrowby not long ago. At his side stood several intimidating creatures: a six armed humanoid bearing a short sword in each hand, a small densely plated creature with a gaping maw that dripped black bile, an armored knight with gleaming metal wings waving a flaming sword, and a vicious looking gnoll that deftly wielded a dagger in our direction.

One of the heroes most challenging battles yet left Bru bleeding to death and incapacitated at one point, with Zefir spending an inordinate amount of rounds and spell power bringing him back from the brink of death. Interestingly, Lucky even spent a round tending to Bru’s bleeding wounds, perhaps signaling that he remembered his connection to the heroes and was fond of them, or was otherwise opposed to their death. Thankfully, Mat, Zefir, Raven, and Kellin were able to bring down the other creatures as this was happening, and Raven used non-lethal blows to bring down Lucky and leave him unconscious but without permanent harm.

At the conclusion of the battle, before the audience had reacted, Raven cast a spell of Invisibility upon Lucky and Kellin, causing them both to disappear. Unseen to all, Kellin took flight, with Lucky on his back. The crowd began to boo in confusion, but Raven did a few charismatic flourishes, which redeemed the performance somewhat, earning a polite applause from the audience, as Mat, Zefir, Raven, and Bru stood before them bloodied, yet victorious.

Meeting Cassandra, and the Merchant of Evil
Adventure Log 12/18/16

On the way back to Burrowby we decided to camp for the night.

Lights streaked across the sky overhead, and we noticed there was a meteor shower. Suddenly there was a bright flash of light, and we found ourselves slowly stirring and waking up from some sort of strange sleep. We checked on each other quickly and found that Raven remained to be unconscious, and his Eidolin Kellin had vanished.

From the shadows a thin, wispy woman approached, carrying a basket of berries and fruit and offering it to us peacefully. Once she was close we could see that she was wearing a heart shaped pendant with an inscription of the name, “Cassandra.” She spoke no words, and only motioned to us as her main means of communication. After a few minutes of this challenging discourse we learned that she was seeking work, and that there was much sadness and death back wherever she was from. Her family had apparently been attacked by some unknown non-human creatures, and she appeared to still be fearful when sharing this information. It seemed she was a cleric, as she offered to tend to the wounds that Raven had incurred in the last battle. She was able to visibly heal his wounds, but Raven remained unconscious.

In the morning we decided to continue the trek to Burrowby, and Cassandra came along with us. We found out that she was not affiliated with the quaternity, and had learned magic from her mother.

Before long we encountered a giant and an ogre, but were able to dispatch them after a swift yet bloody battle. Afterwards, Raven stirred and began to wake up, with only a nursery rhyme in his mind, and no recollection of the past few days.

That night, as we were setting up camp under a night sky full of meteors once again, suddenly another flash of light occurred, and we awoke in a camp that appeared just like the one from the night before. As we debated whether this was a vision or time travel, our group was attacked by a mysterious creature from the shadows. Something terrifying was using the art of magic to slow and paralyze its prey. Out of self-defense our group killed the creature with a master combination of Raven’s grease spell, and a lucky strike from Bru’s greatsword.

Cassandra approached us then, and we heard a voice in our heads, saying: “I’m looking for Helicon.” Confused and cautious, our group hesitated to reveal any connection to Helicon, and before much more time passed at all, the voice in our heads said, “Forget. Slumber.”

We then awoke back at our campground. Cassandra was there, appearing frustrated. It seemed as if she said, “This isn’t working. I’m looking for Helicon and you aren’t helping.” Before we could gather a response, she flew away. Kellin took to the sky to see which way she went, but she was already gone.

Once we had returned to Burrowby, Helicon pulled us aside to confide that after spending some time with Lucky, he didn’t think that Lucky was his brother after all, just a very suggestable guy. He also confessed: “I’m not of this time. I’m from six months in the future and I came back to change my transformation into elven form from occurring.” After a few more minutes we learned that he had stolen one of Math’s spell books, allowing him to time travel.

Feeling that our time at Burrowby had come to its conclusion, the group bid farewell to Lucky, chipping in to give him 5 gold pieces to open his own farm as a free citizen.

Together with Helicon we decided to head out to the Tower of Knowledge, where we could likely find a magic user to help us locate Cassandra. The ride was four days away, and on the first day, we came upon a small human village that was immediately strange for the fact that it appeared to be completely empty. Soon we discovered two small children hiding, who told us they were named Bindi and Ralph. They explained how a man had come to town selling jewelry right before all the adults in town “turned mean” and fought each other or went away.

Deciding to help the children, we looked around for the surviving adults and the mysterious merchant that had brought destruction this town. We soon discovered several of the villagers casting spells in a clearing, seemingly under no control of their own. Soon a scuffle ensued, and we found out that if the villagers were killed, the necklaces they wore would disappear; but if a necklace was removed from a villager while alive, they would regain their senses and could be saved. We made the mistake of killing two villagers in this learning curve, noticing that when they died, an audible laugh could be heard. The two surviving villagers were dazed but otherwise unhurt once we had ripped the necklaces from their necks, and seemed to recall nothing of the time they had spent wearing the jewelry.

We went over to examine what the people had doing in the clearing before we stumbled upon them, and found that they had been digging. We continued to dig where they hadn and soon found a backpack with two more of the exotic necklaces, an expensive looking red stone on a chain, and a Belt of Plague Rat.

The necklaces seemed to all fit together, and two more would complete a set. Zefir’s knowledge of the Planes triggered her recollection of a legend about an outer-planes creature who harvested life force by tricking people into dying while wearing its jewelry. It seemed that if a living being was to die while wearing one of these necklaces, their life force would be transferred to a demon.

Soon our heroes discovered a caravan off in the distance, and we were able to easily catch up to it. Expecting this to be the nefarious merchant, Raven attempted diplomacy and masqueraded as an interested buyer. The wagon was manned by an otherwise unremarkable human woman who offered to show us her jewelry, and a comical exchange between Raven and the women occurred in which they both continued to offer to try the necklaces on each other, each one evading the request but turning it upon the other in a witty play of words, each one out doing the last.

Sensing this could go on for a while, Bru used the time tested warrior’s method of brute intimidation to bring an end to this clash of wits.

The merchant then transformed and shifted into a large clawed, blue skinned creature, which we recognized as the form of a Slaad. Our heroes were shocked by this turn of events, but lost no time gaining initiative in a tough battle which soon left the Slaad dead, and our heroes in possession of two more necklaces and a stash of goods equaling around 600 gold pieces.

Vowing to bring a quick end to this evil plot, we assembled the necklaces, which fit together neatly and opened a shimmering gate upon being combined. Linking hands, we stepped into the gate and found ourselves on rocky outcroppings that seemingly floated above an endless expanse. It was a dimension that pushed the boundaries of human sense and psychology, and our heroes were tested simply to focus and notice a sapphire orb on another rocky island floating off a way in the distance. It could be possible to climb over to it, but first it seemed the heroes would have to avoid two more Slaad’s and a Beholder, among other shadowed and tentacle beasts that hovered right at the edges of our perception.

Finally we found and crossed a rope bridge that led to where the sapphire orb was, with Mat having the fortuitous skill of disabling several traps that would have surely ended our quest, even this close to its completion.

Standing around the glowing orb, Helicon had a stroke of insight that we should each put on the necklaces to somehow trigger the sapphire, and sure enough right at that instant, the orb flashed and transported us back to the familiar countryside we had been traveling across. A quick roll call established that we had all survived and lived to escape the treacherous plane.

After some rest we agreed that we all felt our recent experiences had made us stronger and wiser in some undefinable way. Together we continued our trek to the Tower of Knowledge, each step more sure than the last.

Shaken and Staggered, but not Stirred
Adventure Log – 11/27/16

Once Helicon had finished his tale, and our chronologically displaced heroes had agreed to help him find his brother, together we headed to the nearest village, a halfling settlement called Burrowby.

On the way there we passed groups of workers, made up of halflings, elves, and humans, tending to the farms and letting us pass without incident. As we entered the village, a small group of halflings approached and offered us free food and lodging – and although our party was initially suspicious, their motives appeared to be true, and we soon discovered the town was populated with some of the most honest folks we had encountered thus far in all our adventures.

After some discussion, the halflings led us to an indentured human servant that was working on one of the nearby farms. Going by the name of “Lucky”, the strapping, muscular man was good natured, and happily agreed to join us at a tavern for some mead and small talk. Throughout this exchange, our party noticed that Lucky had some similar facial features as Helicon, and was indeed a likely candidate to be his lost brother.

Lucky revealed that as a boy, he had often been called “halfling” and that he used to appear almost Elven to the appearance, but he firmly maintained that he was a human. Mat revealed we were beginning to believe that Lucky was Helicon’s lost brother, and urged them to spend some time getting to know each other.

Meanwhile, Raven excused himself to speak with Lucky’s master about the terms of his servitude. He found out that Burrowby would soon be voting on the abolition of slavery, but was still very much divided on the topic. It seemed that a significant event could sway them to go either way. Raven also learned that a nearby temple honoring the goddess Yondala had been taken by a dark force, and the loss of their holy place weighed heavily on the people of Burrowby. Perhaps purging the temple would help lessen the villager’s cloudy and muddled thoughts and come to a conclusion on their civic matters.

Leaving Helicon and Lucky together at the bar, our group headed to the temple, a two day hike eastward, that ended at the shores of a large lake where the underwater temple was hidden.

But before our heroes could proceed, we heard the sounds of a scuffle coming from a shipwreck on the lake shore. Noticing the bodies of halflings strewn about the beach, we rushed to the shipwreck to discover a lone halfling fighting a giant crab inside of it. Behind them, a gnoll was tied up and begging to be set free. Quickly dispatching the large crab with a few well-placed blows, Bru and Kellin then questioned the halfling, who told us that his name was George Leafcutter and that the gnoll was part of a hostage negotiation. He said that his family had been abducted by the gnolls, and that he wished to trade this tied up gnoll to get his family back. It turned out the captive gnoll named Meatball was actually a reincarnated halfling that had been brought back in gnoll form, and that he had agreed to be a part of this transaction willingly.

George stated that they were on the way to swap the hostages when his crew had been attacked by a band of gnolls. Just then, an arrow struck Raven in the back and our group realized they were no longer alone. Three gnolls aimed arrows from a nearby cliff side, about forty feet up from the beach. Kellin unfurled his wings and took the fight to them, as Bru shot arrows from his longbow from his cover behind the ship.

Meanwhile, several swarms of crabs had been approaching the shipwreck, as well as another giant crab, which kept Mat and Zefir busy. Mat pulled some flammable oils from his pack and attempted to set the crab swarms aflame, while Zefir used her scorching ray spells on the creatures.

After a struggle concluded and the assailants had all been vanquished, Kellin grasped one of the gnolls who was still alive and flew him back to the group. Together we decided to move forward with the hostage trade, and with great mercy, even included the gnoll who had attacked us as a part of the trade as well.

Once we all reached the meeting spot in the forest where the hostage trade would occur, Mat’s ability to speak the language of the gnolls came in handy as he began the negotiation in a peaceful manner. The gnolls accepted the trade and the two warring groups separated without animosity. Raven took the opportunity to drive home a point about how slavery was always bound to result in grievous imbalances of power, and it was often easily abused. Our new halfling friend George agreed, and after thanking us for helping return his family, he headed back to town.

We turned back to the lake, and soon found a coral stairway that led down into the rippling deep. Several bushy plants surrounded the stairs, each bearing beautiful flowers that appeared edible. The halflings had told us that the temple of Yondala was underwater, and given us a heads up that these plants around the stairs would have magical properties which allowed people to breathe water. We wasted no time consuming the plants and descending underwater, feeling the effects of the plant immediately.

It was as if a giant kelp forest stretched out before us, waving and swaying in the current. An obvious path stood out, winding deep into the kelp, and as we began to follow it, soon a skeleton with black bones approached us menacingly. Bru caught a glimpse of the creature that caused him to be shaken to the core, but he soldiered on and soon the heroes had destroyed the skeleton. Not much further on, a shark attacked us, and after the initial melee, thankfully Zefir’s divine fire came to our rescue and her scorching ray finished the beast.

Wearying of this increasingly dangerous underwater journey, Zefir cast a locate object spell on the temple entrance, which soon led our group into a clearing where a coral sphere stood, enclosed around three halfling women. With their hair flowing in the water around them, the women pleaded us to free them, which they said could be done by returning a stolen artifact that had been buried in a graveyard not far from here. Raven sensed their motive was unclear, and as we all attempted to disbelieve in the illusion of these women, Bru caught sight of their true form, which resembled an ugly sea-hag. Signaling to the others, he communicated this while attempting to keep the revelation hidden from the sea hags. Raven had enough of the deception, and attempted to attack the women. He cast a pit spell on the edge of the coral sphere, but soon found out that an invisible barrier was the true cage imprisoning the sea hags, and the pit hadn’t affected it.

The three women appeared to be casting a series of spells, and soon had summoned forth a giant moray eel and three undead skeletons that shambled across the bottom of the lake towards our group. Engaging in an extended underwater battle, our heroes tussled with the summoned creatures, and along the way discovered that the barrier around the sea hags was a lattice that had holes and gaps that small weapons, like an arrow or a rapier, could pierce. No sooner had the sea hags summoned another dark beast into existence and into battle with our heroes, so Zefir changed up her attack tactics and began to cast spells attacking the witches. As the rest of the group battled and narrowly overcame the summoned creatures, one of the sea hags approached the side of the barrier and gazed at Bru with her Evil Eye – staggering him. Barely able to drop his sword and grasp an arrow with both hands, Bru swung the arrow with both hands towards the sea hag, plunging deep into her eye and causing her to drop to the ground.

The rest of the group continued their slow and steady assault against the hags, until suddenly the force barrier around the hags disintegrated and our heroes rushed in and wasted no time in finishing the hags once and for all.

A vision came to us at that moment – of a golden cornucopia that fit perfectly into an indentation in the floor beneath us, where the hags had been. Recognizing this imagery as the artifact that had been described as buried in the nearby graveyard, our heroes gathered our wits and set out for the cemetery.

As we approached the graveyard, we noticed that several small halflings wearing strange masks were wandering about. Lore had it that these were undead halflings, or “hollow-heads” as they were sometimes referred to. There were a great number of them, spread all around the grave yard, so our group split up into two halves: Bru and Mat taking one side, and Zefir, Raven, and Kellin taking another path. As Raven’s group entered the gravesite, the hollow heads all turned and started walking towards them, and Bru and Mat remained hidden. As Raven lured the hollow heads towards him, Bru and Mat crept towards the large grave. Buffing Kellin with every damage resistant spell and trick known to them, the other group sent Kellin out in front, and the hollow heads surrounded him and raised their weapons.

Next, Mat disabled a trap on the grave, and Bru began to smash the gravestone, as Kellin was beginning to be pummeled by the undead halflings. Finally pulling the golden cornucopia forth from the dirt and rubble, Mat held it up in triumph and the group began a mad dash to run away from the hollow heads. The undead couldn’t keep up, and our heroes had soon returned to Yondala’s temple with the cornucopia in tow. Placing it into the indentation we had seen in our visions had a divine effect – suddenly the water cleared and the kelp around us seemed brighter and healthier.

Four flowers suddenly glimmered and appeared before us, as a blessing from the goddess Yondala Herself. These flowers could be used to increase the likelihood of avoiding negative spell and environmental effects, or as a one-time tool to break enchantments, or consumed to heal someone in dire need.

Sharing a celebratory cheer and packing the valuable flowers into our packs, we contemplated our next steps…

Out from under the Goblin Isles
Adventure Log – 10/23

Beneath a ruined tower on the Goblin Isles, our heroes were gathered around a glowing sarcophagus. (The last time we’d touched this coffin, Bru and Raven were teleported to a mysterious museum in the future. We had just returned, finding that no time had passed.) After sharing our tale of what just happened with Mat and Zefir, we decided to be cautious with the coffin and open it outside, underneath the sunlight. That would require touching it again however, which was a risk… but luckily, history didn’t repeat itself, when Bru braced himself and pushed the coffin up out of the cavern and towards the sunlight. Through a team effort, we lifted and pushed it all the way up and outside into the forest.

Before it could be dealt with though, there was the matter of the three goblins who we’d last seen camping outside the ruins, one of whom was seeking his father. Luckily for us, upon breaking the news that we’d discovered the father’s dead body within the ruins, the goblins cheered and appeared happy he was gone. Apparently there was no love lost between them as their father had been an annoyance to the family. Without a trace of sentimentality or grief, the goblins cheerfully parted ways with us.

Opening the sarcophagus revealed a white-robed human lying inside, covered by a shimmering blanket of light. Zefir perceived abjuration magic emanating from it, and sensed a spell protecting the sarcophagus that would magically trap someone inside if the occupant was removed. And sure enough, when Bru tested this and pulled the man out, they swapped places and Bru was trapped asleep in the coffin, while the robed stranger gathered his wits and looked around confused. After some polite questioning, Raven found out he was a priest and had been trapped for three days, beginning when he had attempted to rescue someone else from the coffin in a similar way. We asked the priest to restore Zefir from a nasty level drain incurred on the last adventure, and he performed a complex ritual that left Zefir feeling like a brand new sorceress.

Later, the crew was able to free Bru from the sarcophagus when Kellin reached a furry paw into the coffin and pulled Bru out, (which of course then trapped Kellin, but Raven dispelled the eidolon, planning to summon him again the next day.)

As we headed back to town with the priest, we shared some details of our journeys, and he told us that the goblin’s leader, Grinkle, had some relevant experience with dispatching a Djinni.

But this conversation was shortly interrupted, as suddenly we heard a beastly horn echoing through the trees and saw a large monster lumbering towards us. The creature blasted us with a sonic wave, which shook the group and knocked out the priest. Before he could do any more damage, Raven conjured a pit beneath the creature. Making matters worse, three centaurs had followed the monster and entered the scene with blood lust on their minds. Our group dived into the surrounding trees and brush, hiding from sight. Zefir healed up the priest, and he revealed centaurs generally didn’t care for people much in these parts. Soon, a lively and bloody scuffle ensued, that left the horned beast dead and the three centaurs unconscious. The group decided to make haste back to town to rest and replenish supplies.

At the town hall, the heroes found Grinkle, and learned some interesting details: Grinkle used to be the right hand man of Macdon. Years ago, when Macdon and Grinkle had gone to investigate the scene of a meteor crash, Macdon disappeared for a time. When he reappeared, it was discovered that he was no longer Macdon, and instead a Djinni imposter in his place. Later, Macdon was found to be in the form of a pig, but was never restored. Grinkle said this last part of the tale was “another story for another time.”

Most noteworthy though, was the fact that Grinkle said he had imprisoned the Djinni somewhere “long forgotten.” He thought this was the last Djinni, the one that Helicon had not been able to capture years ago.

We showed Grinkle the snow globe that we’d found in the ruins, and he confirmed that the structure pictured inside was the museum on the other side of town. We decided to head to the museum to investigate, and before we left, Grinkle strongly warned us against going near the temple at the south side of the island.

Once arriving to the museum, Mat was startled to notice a Slaad going unnoticed amidst the general public. The rest of the party couldn’t see this entity at all. When Mat mentioned the Slaad’s presence, it seemed to hear him and began to aggressively approach. A fight broke out, and despite most of the group fighting blindly, we were able to overcome the Slaad, which exploded into a cloud of gas and dust that only Mat could see. Noticing the other patrons of the museum cautiously evaluating this scene, Raven bluffed them that we were simply rehearsing for a play, which they seemed to accept.

Our group agreed that in the future, we would signal the presence of a Slaad to each other by subtly brandishing a coin, instead of speaking aloud and potentially giving ourselves away.

Progressing through the museum, we entered the upstairs library, where one book seemed to stick out to Mat, practically emanating the same color as a Slaad’s skin. Nobody else seemed to be able to see this book. Paging through it, Mat noticed that it appeared to include descriptions of all the many different types and variations of Slaads.

Zefir sensed magic coming from another book in the library, which held a mysterious written incantation she sensed would transport the reader somewhere unknown. Never ones to shy away from teleporting blindly into danger, our heroes all grasped hands in a circle, and read the words fearlessly.

The walls of the library shifted and morphed, and our group found themselves somewhere altogether different. Looking around, we gazed upon a destroyed village. There was a ruined pyramid not far away, rising above broken huts, walls, and rubble that blended into the mountainous terrain. Ducking inside a ruined structure, our group watched as several small groups of goblins and a giant entered into view. The goblins yelled “Come out and throw your weapons down, we won’t harm you!” but Mat sensed they were extremely hostile. More goblins were entering from various directions, and two more giants followed them.

Enacting a plan to distract our enemies, Raven magically transformed Kellin to grow into a larger size and sprout wings. Kellin then began to hover off the ground and flap his wings with such force it kicked up a cloud. In tandem, Zefir cast a sphere of invisibility to help hide us. With no easy way out of this strange place, the group headed for the pyramid and began to scale it, using Mat’s assistance disarming traps all the way up. As one of the giants took a wild swing in our direction and grazed Bru, we realized a full on hit could pulverize us, and were thankful for every bit of cover. At the top of the pyramid stood an obelisk, with the engraved words: “Praises to the bright sun will bring you safety and comfort.” Noticing many broken shards of glass surrounding us, Raven cast a spell of mending on the glass and it coalesced and reformed into a mirror. Then he had the brilliant idea to use it to reflect a beam from the sun onto the top of the obelisk.

Abruptly, the floor opened and the adventurers plunged down into a pool of warm, soothing water. As we felt some strength returning to our battle wounds, the opening above us closed. We were inside a cavern lit by several large burning urns, with various landings and dark caves where enemies could lie in wait. Discovering a large obsidian gemstone, Raven used a mage hand spell to pick it up, and not long after felt an something try to enter his mind and take control of him. Suddenly a fireball singed the heroes, leaving no doubt we were under attack. A shadowy creature approached Bru and drained some strength from him, as Zefir issued a swift retribution in the form of a scorching ray. When Raven discovered another one of the creatures inside this strange cavern, the party agreed we should make a run for it. But before we could escape, Bru felt overcome by an evil force that entered his mind and took control. Bru swung his greatsword around dangerously, in the process even landing a devastating blow on Zefir and wounding her. The rest of the group fought back and brought Bru down with non-lethal damage, tying the unconscious warrior to the back of Kellin (still in his enlarged form) and heading for the far edge of the cavern.

Five minutes of travel in near darkness paid a toll, and when we finally emerged from the caves beneath the pyramid, we collapsed, breathing heavily. The heroes were now in a forest that stretched high up into the sky above us. Zefir took the first opportunity to heal herself, and then took great mercy on Bru by healing his wounds too. Feeling whole again, he expressed regret at having attacked his friends.

We noticed an elven man walking alone in the forest, who had seen us already and called, “Who are you?” We introduced ourselves, and sensing the man meant no harm, invited him closer. After a short time he informed us we were in the Okatchi mountain range, and found out he was seeking his brother.

What followed that brought a wave of shock and rattled the heroes: he claimed it was the year 576, nearly 70 years in their past.

Even more startlingly, was what this elven stranger claimed his name to be: Helicon.

Without hesitation Mat declared, “We’ll help you find your brother.”

Into the Goblin Isles
Adventure Log - 9/11/16

The wind whistled outside Omar Zuman’s air ship as it cut through the air far above Spartak’s blue ocean. Our party was sailing high above the Goblin Isles, headed to the city of Maldreg, pursuing the mystery of the missing Djinn.

Our group bid goodbye to Omar in a secluded place a short hike outside the city, and set off across the lush wild towards Maldreg.

Before long, we stumbled across a clearing where a beautiful shirtless man was dancing while surrounded by a gremlin and a group of goblins. With Zefir’s assistance we perceived a low level enchantment spell, and also sensed some suppressed anger from the group in the clearing. Fearing foul play, we attacked the gremlin, breaking from the cover of the trees and charging the small fey creature. Quickly dispatching him, Raven and Bru turned to the shirtless man, who began to move rhythmically in a strange and intoxicating dance. His dancing had the effect of dazing Zefir and Bru, who were suddenly unable to do anything but defend themselves. Raven cast a Pit spell, and although the man avoided it initially, not long after he slipped and fell into it, breaking the trance he’d cast upon his audience. Peering over the edge of the pit, Zefir cast a Scorching Ray spell, which set the man aflame. As he burned to a crisp, he uttered the word, “Emetra,” and cast a dying curse upon Zefir. Feeling her energy and charisma immediately draining, Zefir reeled with the curse’s effects, but it appeared she would be able to carry on with the adventure even though battle worn. Our group mutually agreed they would seek the help of a cleric with high priority.

The goblins that had been watching everything unfold appeared to wake from their trance. Making good use of Mat’s ability to speak the language of goblins, our group struck up a conversation with the leader of this small band of goblins, named Uvula Gag Twice. He seemed relieved and thankful to be saved, and offered to lead the group into town as a small token of gratitude. On the way, Uvula explained that tensions were high in Maldreg between the Kenku and Goblin populations, and the entire area had been in an economic depression since the disappearance of Mackdon the Great, their last great leader, who disappeared about five years ago.

Once reaching Maldreg, the party visited a temple and spoke with the local clergy, hearing rumors that foul play may have been blame for Mackdon’s sudden absence, and that the conflict between the Kenku and Goblins could have caused or hastened this tragedy.

The priest told them that the best cleric available to restore Zefir and remove the curse was likely to be found out near the ruins to the east of Maldreg. On the way out, our group took the opportunity to question the priest about the Djinn, and it caused him to become fearful and only urge the party not to pursue the dangerous matter any further.

Much later, after trudging through the forest and reaching the ruins, our group entered into a clearing where a tower stood, along with three young goblins gathered around a campfire. Approaching in a peaceful manner and using much diplomacy, we introduced ourselves and learned these goblins were named Torkelman, Fervil, and Gertrickle.

Torkelman said his father was inside and seemed eagerly awaiting his emergence from the tower. The group discovered to enter the tower in search of him. Before they parted from the three younger goblins, the group sensed the fact that the younger goblins were none too fond of Torkelman’s father though, and in fact he had annoyed them to such a severe degree, it had spurred them to hunt down the elder goblin. A few follow up questions revealed that this unseemly mission was what had brought the goblins to this tower where he was last seen.

Our heroes used a rope to climb into one of the tower’s windows. Once inside, we found little of interest in the plain room, besides a blast glyph protecting a large stairwell. Mat used his innate rogue abilities to disarm the trap, and the group followed the stairs down into a disturbingly humid cavern. An unnatural growl signified that our heroes were not alone, and the room started to slowly fill with smoke.

Before learning the source of this growl, a glowing column drew our adventurer’s attention. We approached it and noticed that several animals were engraved into the gleaming pillar: a badger, crocodile, deer, and owl. Without hesitation, Mat touched each of the badger engravings, and suddenly a badger materialized and ran off toward the snarling sound as if it was engaging in battle.

Our group followed and witnessed a horrific sight – a large red dragon was facing off with the badger. Engaging in battle, our heroes attacked and stunned the dragon with their sudden ferocity, getting several hits in before it came to its senses and backed down a smoky corridor in retreat. Charging into the smoke after the dragon, Bru ran directly into a gaping pit and fell down thirty feet into darkness. As our group struggled to adjust to the smoky darkness, the dragon continued its escape and soon disappeared.

At the bottom of the pit, Bru found a recently deceased elderly goblin. A quick search revealed a dog slicer and a snow globe, which Bru pocketed and promptly forgot about in all the turmoil. The group helped Bru out of the pit, and he pulled up the goblin’s corpse along with him, slung over one shoulder.

Giving up on the dragon, our group set off further down into the cavern, the opposite way the dragon had gone, and soon discovered a faintly glowing sarcophagus. Sensing Abjuration magic, Zefir warned the rest of the group to be careful. Raven suggested the group drag the coffin outside into the sunlight in case a vampire was inside.

But as soon as Bru leaned over to push the sarcophagus and touched its surface, he, along with Raven, and his eidolon Kellin, all disappeared from sight. Mat and Zefir watched in shock as half of their party vanished right before their eyes.

Raven, Kellin, and Bru woke up confused but feeling fully rested in a nicely furnished room. Wind whipped outside the room’s walls, and the wood creaked in response. It sounded as if a great storm raged outside this place’s walls.

Searching the room but finding nothing of interest, we listened and cautiously peered out a door along one wall, which was the only method of exit. Initially seeing no living thing, we emerged into a museum-like room with high ceilings filled with ornate paintings, pottery, and art displayed throughout. While examining these objects, a large tusked humanoid creature wearing armor entered the room and gazed at us murderously. A scuffle ensued, and the creature cast several damaging spells on our heroes throughout the attack. As it became clear our heroes would overcome this creature in battle, he transformed into a gaseous form and began slowly floating away. Kellin was able to continue to inflict damage on the gaseous beast, and finally slayed it before it could get away. Raven examined the body and found the beast had been wearing a locket necklace that contained the image of a young human man inside.

Deciding to pocket a bunch of jewelry and antique pottery pieces we found on display in the halls, we soon found a stairway leading up, and at the top of it, a small library. A man was sitting at one of the chairs, deeply immersed one of the many books that littered the room before he noticed these new visitors. Our heroes learned the man was named Valmarius, and he was being held here by a raging storm that allowed no exit. Valmarius told the group he was from a place called Solace originally, and most recently had been reading a book at a library inside the city of Maldreg, studying the legends surrounding the Djinn, when suddenly he was transported to this place. He had been stuck here for several days and living off of rations he’d only brought by chance inside his backpack. The heroes had found him trying to get back home by using the same method of transportation that was perhaps hidden inside the books that filled this strange library. But what was most unsettling to our heroes was that Valmarius claimed to be from the year of 680, nearly thirty years in their future. Sensing no mal intent or deception, Raven and Bru had no choice but to accept this as a possible truth. As the heroes explained how they had arrived, Valmarius soon revealed that some of the paintings adorning this places halls showed images that resembled objects we had described in our story. One of the paintings contained the image of a sarcophagus, another one had a picture of a locket just like the one we had just taken from the fallen tusked creature.

Suddenly a crashing was heard downstairs, and our heroes rushed down to see two foreign looking creatures engaged in combat. Apparently they had also been unwittingly transported to this place just like everyone else here. They appeared malicious, and as they turned to face our heroes, a short and harsh battle broke out before the creatures were dispatched by our battle weary group, now wounded, in addition to being lost.

As we walked around and examined the paintings, Raven cut them down and placed them in his backpack. When we touched the painting that showed the locket, the locket suddenly disappeared from our possession. Our group began to look at each painting deeply and notice these notable images:

- The boy from the locket
- The sarcophagus, which did in fact look to be the same as the one that had teleported them here
- An image of ruins, titled “The Fall of the Tower of Isis”
- And most disturbingly, an image of a woman who appeared to be Zefir, burning on a stake. The painting was titled “Cursed Ending”.

Touching these paintings appeared to have no further effect, and it wasn’t until our heroes were struck with a moment of divine inspiration to look at the snow globe we had found from the fallen goblin at the bottom of the pit. We noticed that there was a structure inside the globe that was pictured in yet another painting that hung on a nearby wall. As we approached the painting, we sensed that something was about to happen… and when we touched it we suddenly vanished from the strange gallery entirely, just as quickly as we had come.

Of Pits and Minotaurs, and Spectre Trouble

Last time, our adventure resumed on the Isle of Tombs, in Sothenopelous, where our heroes were resting up and selling treasure. They were also seeking to identify the highly powered gear they had found, to confirm once and for all whether or not it was cursed. That undeniable risk hadn’t stopped Mat and Bru, who had been using the gear for several days now, without an obvious repercussion.

Amidst the downtime, Mat decided to gaze into the gem of enlightenment, a brave experiment to determine the true nature of the stone and the visions that had been plaguing Raven. It was revealed that only one person at a time could be afflicted with the visions caused by the stone, for now Raven no longer saw anything unusual, but Mat began to see frog creatures passing for people.

Divvied up, the group had each netted 340 gold, and set about replenishing their supplies. They had tracked down an old associate, Trinia Sabor, for her opinion on the gear that was potentially cursed, but she only recommended they try the Temple of the Sun. Once there, the clergy suggested the highly powered items used to belong to followers of Ha-Sith-Ka, an evil god that was worshiped by Lizard men, but the items themselves didn’t appear to be evil.

They also met the wizard Clufyne, who was able to help them by creating several scrolls of sending. In return for the scrolls, Clufyne asked for help recovering the remains of his recently deceased friend, Ed Keel, from an island nearby. The heroes agreed to this side quest, and Clufyne joined the crew for this new adventure.

On their way out, they decided to question the folk of the Temple of the Sun about these frog people. But it was troubling that when pressed about the subject, the clergy remained tight-lipped, becoming evasive and fearful rather than respond in a meaningful way. Opting not to cause a scene, the heroes left on a two day voyage to aboard Omar’s air ship.

The group was dropped off in an overgrown forest on the island, and before long were attacked by alternating groups of winged chupacabra’s, and tribal minotaurs. On more than one occasion, Raven’s Pit spell turned the tide of battle and saved the day.
Finally, once they had reached the top of a ridge, our heroes saw a clearing off in the distance, about three or four hours away. Zefir cast a locate object spell and was able to confirm that the clearing was indeed the place that they were seeking, where Ed Keel’s remains were sure to be found.

Once they arrived, Mat’s expertise locating and disarming traps was tested, as he disabled an alarm, and located a secret door at the foot of a decrepit old flight of stairs they found leading downward. As Mat opened the secret door, he narrowly avoided a spectral hand that reached through the wall and nearly grasped him. Now, with the door opened, sunlight flooded the opening of the room, and the heroes could see that it was a drop around thirty feet down.

Using a silk rope, the heroes descended into the earth, but hadn’t even reached the bottom when the door slammed shut, and first Zefir, then Mat, were struck by the spectre’s floating hand and drained of two energy levels. Continuing downward, the party rushed to the bottom of a hallway, where they discovered a crumpled pile of remains that included a helmet bearing Ed Keel’s family crest.

Bru scooped up the remains, and suddenly the spectre appeared from the darkness and made a horrifying sound as he plead for the group to leave. Raven attempted to bluff him, but rather than react in any obvious way, the spectre just sank into the earth ominously. As Bru made a dash for the opening of the crypt, Mat and Raven readied actions to attack the spectre with Holy Water and magical weapons, and Zefir cast magic missile. While they provided a valiant cover, Bru downed a levitation potion and floated to the top of the room, where he began busting the door back open.

Suffering a series of failed rolls and a door that wouldn’t budge, Bru was struck twice by the spectre’s ghostly hand, which drained him of all levels and hit points, and his body fell to the ground. Raven was finally able to scale the rope and bust open the door, which let sunlight into the room and provided some respite from the spectre. But not before Mat had also been struck by the spectre and drained of life in the same manner as Bru. Thankfully, the wizard Clufyne was outside the room and helped drag Mat and Bru’s lifeless bodies into the sunlight. He motioned to the others that he could raise the two fallen men, but that they would have to seek out a priest to restore the level drain.

Clufyne was relieved to have his quest accomplished, and once they had all returned to Omar’s ship, suggested they get a cleric’s help in fully restoring Mat and Bru. Meanwhile they used Clufyne’s scrolls of sending to communicate with Echean and let him know that the group had succeeded in locating a Clockwork Spider. They made plans to meet in Sothenopelous, and after Mat and Bru were restored, Echean met up with them and thanked them all for retrieving the spider. They took this opportunity to inquire about the Slaads, and found out some important details:

During the Lycanthropy wars, as people were returned to their human forms after being turned to werewolves, some bodies were infiltrated by demonic slaads, who infiltrated society and began to pose as humans. Echean said that as far as anyone was aware, the slaads had come back and inhabited the bodies of those who were previously slain in the wars. He also stated that in regards to the strange land masses popping up across the world, the djinni’s wish magic had a side effect, whenever a destruction spell was cast – an act of creation would occur somewhere else.

Before parting ways, Echean expressed some worry about the rogue group of wizards who were seeking to crash the moon into the world and extinguish all life.

The group realized that they had just learned an important piece of information – the gem of enlightenment was a legitimate magical resource and not a mysterious trick being played upon them. There were slaads to be found in Amber island and Sapphire Island, and surely further pieces of the puzzle awaiting them in both places.

Journey to Nightfall Station and Halfling Trouble
from 6/18 gaming session

Our latest adventure begins with the adventurers having set out across a strange unknown land in search of Nightfall Station.

Heeding a map passed on from the denizens of Bludin Cove, the heroes started off on a five day hike from the docked airship Enki Zephyr in the direction of Nighfall Station, planning to meet up with the river that ran next to it. Not far into the journey, Raven and Zefir felt a change in the air that signaled they were crossing in and out of a dead magic zone.

Along the way, several encounters pushed the heroes even deeper into the swampy forest than they had planned. First a cloud of mosquitoes threatened nausea if the party didn’t swing around them in a wide detour. Then three leather bound Gnolls approached and warned them not to come any nearer. Both groups parted peacefully, avoiding each other. Later, a great ruckus was heard as a tentacled beast came crashing towards our heroes through the brush. After the beast took a swipe at Bru and inflicted some heavy damage, Raven conjured a pit that swallowed the monster whole. Leaving it behind to its own fate, the group wasted no time and continued on into a valley, where they could see the river at the bottom that they sought.

As they got closer to the bottom of the valley, the group saw a river boat approaching. Fearing the worst, they decided to hide as it passed. They looked on as it ran aground, and some humans jumped out of the boat to help push and guide it through the rocky riverbed. It appeared to be the people of Bludin Cove, and as they recognized our heroes, they waved. On the way to help, the heroes passed by a road that was disturbingly littered with corpses and bones. Although they attempted to communicate about this troubling discovery, the heroes didn’t speak the same language as the crew of the river boat, and the source of those corpses would remain a mystery for the time being. Succeeding in freeing the boat, the heroes jumped aboard and continued down the river toward Nightfall station.

Passing under a canopy of trees and wildlife, everyone aboard the boat spotted one of the most beautiful birds they had ever seen above them in the trees, and our heroes noted that it didn’t resemble anything familiar from their lands. A day passed, and the river boat passed the ruins of a shipwreck, dotted with shurikens and surrounded by a cloud of red stained water. Not long after, smoke was seen on the horizon, and great concern showed upon the faces of the river boat crew. Debris began to float downstream, consisting of wreckage and burnt wood. The group was convinced something drastically wrong was happening at Nightfall Station.

Entering Nightfall station, they tied up the boat at an eerily quiet dock. As they approached, the city almost silently burned and appeared empty, save for destroyed houses and the dead. Human corpses littered the ground and showed signs of blunt trauma, burns, and many of the bodies had shuriken stuck in them.

Suddenly the group was ambushed by nine halflings. They quickly assassinated one of the river boat crew members, and a tussle broke out in the smoldering street. Zefir cast an offensive sleep spell that knocked out many, and the halflings that weren’t afflicted by it soon fled the scene. The heroes then grabbed one of the sleeping halflings and withdrew into an abandoned house to question the drowsy attacker. He refused to speak out loud, but the group learned through much trial and error that generally the halflings sought to kill the humans and viewed them as invaders. The group decided to let the halfling go, and in the process, parted ways with the surviving crew members of the river boat too, who respectfully bid their goodbyes and left our group alone in the abandoned house.

Around twenty minutes passed and a rushed knock at the door was the group’s first clue that the house was now surrounded by a gang of halflings. Mat answered the door and attempted to speak elvish with one of them, learning that the halfllings wished to take the hero’s weapons, but that in return promised no harm would come to anyone. Mat sensed that they were either lying or leaving something out of the story that would change things. He continued to negotiate with the halfling and soon a slight change came over him that seemed to indicate he wasn’t completely hostile any longer, and just really unfriendly.

Agreeing they had little choice in the matter, the heroes gave up their weapons, and joined the halflings outside. They led the heroes outside the city into the countryside where there were even more of halflings surrounding them. Hopelessly outnumbered, the adventurers continued to make peace with the halflings, and after many negotiations had taken place, the halflings offered to train the adventurers in their ways.

The first step in their culture they taught: Don’t speak. Instead, take in knowledge. It was beginning to make sense why some of the halflings they had crossed paths with had seemed to be mute.

Several days passed under the halflings tutoring, when suddenly horn blew, putting the entire halfling camp at alert. The heroes’ weapons were returned to them, and everyone scrambled to a skirmish that was about to break out at the edge of the forest. A large group of humans approached, signaling for war. The halflings rallied, as did our heroes. But as soon as the first blows had been traded- every last one of the halflings turned and fled, leaving our group facing a mob of angry people. Zefir cast a sleep spell to turn the tide of battle, and the group used non-lethal damage to overcome the rest, leaving several to flee in terror.

Frustrated, the group decided to leave this place entirely, and head back along the river the way they came. They were soon attacked by a large four-armed gorilla creature, but with a combination of luck and a well-placed sword thrust, Bru dispatched the creature before it could cause much harm.

Next, the group ran into one of the halfling leaders from the camp, who expressed that the skirmish was only a test – and one that we had passed. He then gifted the group with a magical stone that to a trained eye practically oozed moderate transmutation magic, and said that if someone was to stare at it, the stone would bring enlightenment. He expressed thanks on behalf of him and his people, and that now they felt they understood more about the world, after their time spent together. Then he left the heroes on their way.

Once they made it back aboard the Enki Zephyr, Omar Zuman claimed he had discovered that this entire land mass dated back no further than twenty years, and that the people here had no memories of a time before that. Heading back towards Sothenopolis, the heroes all agreed that they had enjoyed their time adventuring with Omar, and would accompany him on a quest to Goblin Island before heading back to Meadowheart.

As the balloon ship sailed over the ocean, Zefir decided to use the magical stone. She stared at it intently until a sudden flash occurred, and the heroes all peered at each other for any signs of changes. All appeared normal except for Raven, whose eyes glowed a strange yellow and green color for about a minute. But he otherwise appeared to be fine, and nothing else seemed to be amiss, so the group had no other course of action than to proceed to Sothenopolis. Once docked and inside the city however, Raven claimed to be seeing strange frog-like people with claws, in place of what everyone else saw as ordinary people. Mat had the knowledge skill to conclude that a demon may be involved somehow.

And as simple as that, a new mystery had began to unfold…

An Airship Grounded, and the Mystery of Bludin Cove

The adventurers peered over the edge of Omar Zuman’s air ship as endlessly swelling waves crashed upon the ruins of Stormsend Isle. It was the island where they had met Echean, and having successfully brought him back a clockwork spy, the heroes had been eager to collect a reward for their effort. But now only a flooded pile of rocks stood where the island used to be.

Omar pitched ropes off the side of the air ship, and the heroes scaled them down into the submerged ruins to explore and find what might be left. Aided by a spell of underwater breathing from the druid, the heroes searched the rocky landscape, in the process passing by a pair of stone kapocinth’s guarding a tunnel into the rock wall. Proceeding into the tunnel in a single file line, the heroes began searching the cave until discovering a chest. Just then, the kapocinth’s blocked the heroes into the tunnel. A scuffle ensued as Kellin and Bru attacked the stone creatures and quickly dispatched them with a few well-placed blows. Mat attempted to disable any traps on the chest, and in the process read an inscription on top that said “Damodred,” (a familiar family name, and also the same last name as Bru.) Within the chest was a mysterious small black cube that closely resembled the shape and appearance of a type of artifact that could be placed into a clockwork spy that held recorded information. The cube also appeared to look and feel just like an old relic that Raven and Mat faintly recognized from childhood memories; a “key” that opened a mirror within Egwene’s towers, all the way back at home in Meadowheart.

When the adventurers packed up and left the otherwise empty underwater cave deep beneath the ruins, they discovered Omar speeding towards them in dolphin-form, beckoning them back to the ship with great haste. What they saw when they emerged from the water was enough to still their hearts; a Dragon-like creature was swooping around the Enki Zephyr and attacking the balloons holding the ship afloat. Jumping into the fray, the heroes attempted to fight off the creature, which turned out to be a Dragonnel. While Raven scaled the masts and attempted to use a spell of mending on the rapidly deflating main balloon, Mat used a ballista aboard the ship to fire at the beast, eventually succeeding at hitting it and causing it to plunge into the ocean below. After Raven fixed the balloon, Omar realized that the air elemental powering the balloon from inside was weak from age and fighting the storms to get to this faraway place, not to mention the toll of the struggle with the Dragonnel. They would be forced to find a new elemental, if they were to continue questing aboard the ship with Omar.

Days away from the nearest land mass, the heroes were forced to drift the air currents for several days at the mercy of the winds. It proved to be a time of needed rest. It also allowed for Zefir to cast the spell of “Identify” many times on the magical items that the heroes had raided from the vampire’s lair on the Isle of Tombs from their last adventure. They seemed very valuable indeed, repeatedly revealing themselves as so high powered, the heroes just couldn’t believe it. Over the course of the trip, Zefir decided to cast Identify a few more times for good measure. And a few more times after that. But each time, if the spell yielded any result at all, it was consistently as follows:

Staff of Bolstering
Ring of the Lucky Leprechaun
Chain Shirt of Nimbleness
Dagger of Disappearance

On one of the long days they spent floating the air currents with no land in sight, Mat equipped the dagger, seemingly eager for any end to the guessing, no matter the result. After waiting a day to make sure Mat didn’t appear to be cursed or penalized for using the dagger, Bru followed suit, and donned the chain shirt. He tested his abilities, and sure enough, they appeared to have been increased in accordance with the new armor as the Identify spell had claimed. Could these items really be what they appeared to be? Raven seemed convinced it was too good to be true, which only sowed more seeds of doubt within the party.

Meanwhile, Omar examined the clockwork spy that the heroes had retrieved during their last adventure, and found three cubes within it, similar to the one they found beneath the ruins of Stormsend Isle. One of the cubes had an interesting recording upon it, and Zefir was able to “play” the audio sound of a group of individuals chanting the name: Ha Sith Ka. It sounded as if voices were calling, “Please come back to us Ha Sith Ka.” Zefir’s knowledge of religions told the group that Ha Sith Ka was a neutral evil serpent god, usually worshipped by tribes or primitive cultures.

Zefir and Omar placed the fourth cube (which they had found in the ruins) into the clockwork spy, attempting to see what recording was on it as well. What they heard was a somewhat innocuous conversation between Aunt Egwene and the master of the Tower of Knowledge, Verneschal, in which Egwene showed a minor annoyance for having to be an advisor to Mat and Raven in Moraine’s absence. Before the group could ponder how this cube could have possibly recorded a conversation in Meadowheart and ended up on the other side of the world, Omar suddenly spotted a large landmass in the distance. Omar seemed incredulous, and exclaimed that no land should be here, as this stretch of sea had been mapped by nautical sailors for hundreds of years. Seeing a town about ten miles up the coastline, the heroes decided to explore it, while Omar set off in search of a new air elemental to power the ship. “Bring back some bubble berry vine juice,” he had called, motioning to the empty jugs he’d left for the group.

Leaving the air ship grounded on the coast, the heroes hiked along the coastline until they reached the village. Upon reaching the gates of the town, seeing that the denizens of this mysterious place appeared to be peaceful humanoids, our adventurers laid down their weapons and called out, “We visitors come in peace.” The people manning the gate spoke back in a language nobody recognized, until soon a woman came to the gate and beckoned everyone inside, offering a strange food of seafood and fruits. Although she didn’t speak the same language as the heroes, she motioned to the group to follow her, and they did so, even consuming the meal she had provided, despite the fact it was salty and tasted horrible. Attempting to communicate remained a struggle until Mat tried the language of Elven, which caused the woman to disappear for a few minutes, before returning with a Halfling that spoke Elven. The heroes found out that this woman was named Inge and her Halfling acquaintance was named Esteban. Striking up a conversation with Esteban, they found out they were in a place called Bludin Cove. When originally mentioning that they were from Spartak, the group had sensed some fear or mistrust from Inge, and later, when they had a chance to speak to Esteban alone, they inquired about his safety at Bludin Cove. Raven had sensed that Esteban was afraid of Inge on some level, but as much as they tried to question him, the most he would say was, “It’s too dangerous for you to concern yourselves with my safety.” He seemed anxious all the while, which made it seem as if there was more than meets the eye with this mysterious town.

Earlier in the day, while questioning a local vendor at Bludin Cove, Mat & Zefir had found out there was bubble berry vine juice to be found at a place called Nightfall Station, which was a trading post that was located inland. Ironically, they had been specifically warned to stay away from Nightfall Station by Esteban, when questioning him about this strange land.
As the plot thickened, it seemed that Nightfall Station would indeed be the next stop on their quest.

The heroes decided to camp back at the air ship for the evening, and set out along the coast headed back to the grounded Enki Zephyr.

What was in store for the heroes at Nightfall Station? Only time would tell…


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