Spartak 645

A new volume begins...
Backstory info

Although this campaign era is called Spartak 645, due to the major world event that happens in 645, kicking off a new age, our new game will begin in the year 653 (when the twins turn 18).

In 645, Spartak’s greatest heroes, Finn, Egwene, Etherielle and Grace stop an invasion by horrific beings from another world in a battle that takes place on the Moon of Ukko.

Another thing that happens during this time period is that the gap between rich and poor, between the aristocracy and the lower classes grows wider than ever before. The extravagant lives of the Emperor and his family, and the lives of those wealthy families who orbit the glowing sun of prosperity, become completely separated from the lives of the working poor — struggling farmers and tradesman who toil just to keep food on the table. Still, even this wretched life is better than being torn apart by Fey creatures or turned into werewolves, so the majority of the underclasses still believe in the importance of the Empire to keep them safe.

The ineffective attempts by the deposed king Leopold Keff and his band of revolutionaries is largely looked down upon as an attempt to take away the safetly that the Empire provides. It was, after all, under Leo’s reign that everything fell apart. He is not looked upon fondly by the people that he ruled almost 20 years ago. Emperor Julistar and Corinne, on the other hand, are adored as saviors and celebrities by even the lowliest of peasants in the Empire.

In putting together your new characters, please figure out where you want to be in the wealth spectrum. It will be difficult for your group to come from a mix of aristocratic and working class backgrounds, and if you do have different backgrounds, you’ll have to figure out the part of the backstory that explains how and why elite members of upper society would be associating with the commoners. It will be something that will bring a lot of attention in either realm so do your best to work this out before we start playing.

I’ve been working on a very detailed story that explains a lot of loose ends and mysteries from the last campaign, but it is proving much longer than I first thought. So, that is still coming, but in the meantime, since I know you are all anxious to work on your backstories and some of these depend on the details, here is the short version:

When the party saved Moiraine from turning into a lich through the combined powers of the wands of life and death, they made her soul immune from magical influence. This would make Moiraine completely resistant to spells such as Magic Jar, Trap the soul, or any form of possession. It also, however, made her immune to being raised from the dead, as the protection of her soul from being affected by magic would continue even after her death.

And so, sadly, Moiraine was saved from the horrible fate of becoming undead, but was felled by the most common killer of women in Spartak during the 600s: childbirth. Moiraine gave birth to twins in 635 and died during labor. I’m sorry, but it happens, especially with twins. And the magic that saved her from Agnes’ curse meant that there was nothing anyone could do to bring her back.

Several months later, Barnabas was investigating a means to bend time, using the Silver Rose of Ariella, to possibly bring Moiraine back, but he encountered an unexpected, well, sort of, Kaldane rune which, by viewing it, completed the cursed transformation that was begun back in the Pyramid of the 5 Pharoahs. Barnabas was transformed into a Kaldane mummy which disappeared in a cave in of the underground tomb he was exploring at the time. Neither he, nor any of his possessions, including the artifact warhammer known as Whelm, were ever recovered.

Peri, as you may not recall, never actually returned from the Fey Realm after she spun the Wheel of Fate in order to return Barnabas and Greg to their normal forms. The metal construct of Peri that appeared briefly, was a minion of Jack-in-Irons who had been sent to help Jack move into the Prime Material Plane. Count Julistar defeated the metal Bard, but she escaped to the Moonshae Isles to the island of metal constructs that Jack created. Unfortunately, for Jack, he used up all the mana in the area and, because of the mana wells, Jack became immobile, petrified by the lack of mana in the area, which he needed to live. He became a giant statue in the center of town which is worshipped by the clockwork constructs who were created by him. The real Peri, would live out the rest of her life in a Dream dimension which was a funhouse copy of the real Spartak, where she pursued her dreams of becoming a great ruler.

Kellin’s fate is pretty much a mystery. He raised his children, and was a devoted father even without his beloved Moiraine beside him. Then one day he simply vanished from the face of Spartak, leaving behind the sword Zerial and all his worldly possessions. All attempts to find him, even divinations by Steffen, who eventually rose to the rank of Bishop in the Quaternity Church, could not find what had become of Kellin. Some say the vampire that killed his older daughter Grace’s mom returned to take him out. Some say he went on a dimensional quest to bring Moiraine back. Others think it had something to do with the cursed sword Zerial, whose redemption Kellin had sacrificed in order to prevent his life-long friend Simon from becoming the Prince of Demons. But nobody really knows. Grace took the sword Zerial and began the quest for its redemption again. It helped her stop the invasion on the moon. Shortly after that battle, she learned that she was not one of the 4 whose birthdays indicated they were destined for importance. It turned out her mother had lied about the day she was born, saying that Grace had been born on the night the Star of Arra blinked 3 times, bestowing a historically great significance to those born on that night. Grace was actually born the night before that and was never anything more than a regular girl who learned to fight for her life when she was young. The real 4th birthday on that list belonged to someone else who was on the moon during the fight: Zev, the Bronze Dragon. Zev hatched on the night of the Star of Arra and his help proved invaluable to stopping the invasion of the moon. Grace left the group soon after that to pursue the redemption of Zerial on her own.

Plans to inhabit the island where the Hell Well had been closed never came to fruition after Moiraine’s death. The island is thought to have sunk in a Wildmagic storm some years later.

The School and the Tower of Isis continued to flourish in Meadowheart, which was one of the only known areas to retain a strong presence of Mana due to the fact that the party had stopped any Mana wells from forming in that region. Fidessa’s school and tower shut down after her death (she was in her 80s). Magic had drained from the Amberton area and without her driving force keeping things going, the doors were closed in just a few years.

The Tower of Knowledge was never rebuilt after the Whispering Way destroyed it. Blaine Castlemaine passed away around 648 and the Tower of Weyreth disappeared into the magical forest after he was gone. This meant the Tower of Isis was left as the one and only Tower of Wizardry in Spartak, as well as the only known school of magic. Enrollment was very low, as interest in becoming a wizard in a world where magic was quickly becoming a thing of the past, had dropped off, but there were still always a few students struggling through their lessons as usual. Vernishel eventually became the master of the Tower, although he always said he could never fill Moiraine’s shoes (though he sometimes liked to walk around the tower in them just the same).

This party left behind a lasting legacy. They established the last known center of Wizard knowledge and helped raise what is possibly the last great generation of wizards in Spartak to follow in their footsteps and save the world from evil. But they also will be remembered for saving the world themselves from the Fey Queen Serena and the 400-year-old debt left behind by the wizards Connor Ioun and Marcus Evard. They were critical in saving the Elven city of Silvanos from a draconic attack. They restored the dwarven kingdom of Tharbardun after madness and evil had plunged it into chaos and Moiraine even reconnected Tharbardun with the surface world. They helped free the city of Wavesreach from enslavement to devil-worshippers. They saved the town of Meadowheart numerous times and helped transform it into a prosperous trade center for magic supplies and items. They closed off the connection to the planes of Hell so that from this time on, there are no Devils in Spartak. And lastly, but certainly not leastly, they destroyed the Prince of Demons, Orcus (preventing him from returning to Spartak physically for 50 years…watch out Spartak 684!).

Although they are gone now, Spartak lives on and will never forget these heroes and their amazing story. I am thankful that I got to be a part of it.

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Another adventure begins with a bar brawl

Adventurers:
Zephyr – Sorceress
Mat – Rogue
Raven – Cleric
Bru – Fighter

Adventurer’s Journal – (from September 26th ’15 – Earth Time)

One fine day the four adventurers were catching up over some ale in a pub in Meadowheart. Amidst the laughs and stories traded, they noticed a minotaur at the next table who was becoming annoyingly loud and obviously saturated in alcohol or spirits of some kind. As these things often do, one thing led to another and the adventurers caught the ire of the minotaur and his friend. Soon a brawl had broken out, but it wasn’t too much of a challenge and the adventurers soon dispatched the minotaur and his friend by knocking them unconscious.

In the process, the adventurers had an interaction with another individual at the pub who was decidedly less menacing – Jonas the Jeweler. He spoke of needing hired help to retrieve some family heirlooms and potentially finding his brother’s remains in the swamp. Jonas’s brother had gone into the swamp about a year prior, seeking a rare mushroom.

The adventurers craved the sort of comfort only coin and heroic pride could bring, so headed into the swamp with Jonas in tow. But before long, Jonas and Mat were sickened by some sort of noxious cloud that permeated much of the stagnant swamp. The adventurers trudged through it and soon came to a rushing river. In the attempt to cross it, Jonas tried to jump across but fell, and quickly both Zephyr and Raven also followed, both slipping in an attempt to save him.

Adding insult to injury, the adventurers also had to deal with three large and vicious snakes that were in and around the river. After many hits, misses, and a few sleep spells, the adventurers had dispatched the snakes, and fished themselves out of the river.
They decided to camp there overnight, but while Mat was keeping watch, a large animal slightly resembling a large cat approached. The adventurers stirred and caused such a ruckus of intimidation that the creature ran away down a path in the distance. The party decided to follow the path, and in the process Bru became sickened by the fumes of the swamp. Before very long the group discovered the animal in a prone position on the path. Originally expecting him to be asleep, they were startled to discover that the animal had been killed – speared and left dead by an unseen entity. Suddenly the group was ambushed by four humanoid creatures. After much tussle, the group killed the humanoids, and in the process was able to discover that they were actually lizard men.

Lizard men… was there a significance to that? While pondering that, the adventurers soon became distracted by the treasure and loot that the lizard men had on them, some coin and a few trinkets that were passed around the group.

The day was long, but their journey had only begun. What would happen next?

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Making friends and enemies in a new city
Sothenopolis: Gateway to the Isle of Tombs

Adventuring Notes – 10/25-10/26 (Gaming Getaway Weekend)

When our adventurer’s story picked up last time, Raven, Bru, Mat, Zefir, and Raven’s summoned familiar Kellin, were being accompanied by the merchant Jonas, into the forest on a search for the merchant’s brother, Jensen. Our trail had led us into the wilds not far from Meadowheart, where during a tussle with a group of Lizard Men, we discovered that Jensen was ‘living’ with the Lizard Men and serving as a vessel for the god of Wealth and Prosperity, Asadore. The term “Living” may be used loosely, as while tending to Jensen we determined that he was actually a reanimated zombie. Trying diplomacy as a tactic, we convinced the Lizard Men to leave us be, now that we had found out what happened to Jonas’s brother, and also convinced Jonas to leave his brother “Jensen/Asadore” with the Lizard Men, even though he struggled to accept that his brother had changed form and was no longer the man he remembered. Having convinced Jonas that the quest to see what happened to his brother was complete, we received payment from him – a mysterious box containing some purple grains that looked similar to salt, and a dark tree resin.

We parted ways with Jonas, but not before getting the lead that we could find out what these mysterious materials were for at one of the magical tower’s that populated Meadowheart. We set off to the one that was most familiar – Egwene’s.

As we approached Egwene (who is Raven, Mat, & Bru’s aunt,) we overheard Vernishel speaking quietly to Egwene, something along the lines of “Have you talked to them about Zefir yet?” To which she replied, “Not sure if we should.”

After exchanging pleasantries, Egwene helped us ascertain that the purple grains and tree resin we found were indeed magical in nature, and come from an area known as a mana well. We learned that the materials would be very valuable and useful for a spell caster. Egwene suggested we investigate the source of these materials.
In the midst of this conversation, we also found out that some mysterious group was hunting Zefir, and Egwene recommended that she hide or stay in disguise until we find out who may be seeking her. Troubled, but not wavering from our destiny, we also learned that Asadore was not actually a god of wealth, but instead a two headed fey creature. (It seemed that Jonas’s brother Jensen had meet a grim fate indeed.)

Finally, we learned that Egwene was going to be leaving town soon and wouldn’t be back for a long while. Bidding farewell to Egwene, she teleported us to the large Southern city of Sothenopolis to find out more about the mana wells.

We then found ourselves in the large city lined with White Sphinxes known as Sothenopolis . At an Inn in we got a room (Zefir masquerading under the name of “Beth”,) and in talks with the Innkeeper, discovered that we really should be dressed in the local fashions and under no circumstances talk about the Prince in conversation, as it’s such a polarizing topic.
We disguised ourselves in local fashions and went to the local pub called the “Oasis Bar”.

At the Oasis Bar we overheard a man boasting about keeping a pseudodragon and torturing it, who was willing to sell it to any bidder for the cost of 5000 gold pieces. Raven chatted him up and learned that his name was Devargo Barvasi, and asked him to show us “where the action was”, even while Mat sensed that Devargo’s motives were unpure.

Following Devargo down to the docks, through dark alleys, and into a room that suddenly locked behind us as we entered, we realized we had been duped, and had been identified as easy targets for a den of thieves. We were attacked by Devargo and several others, and after a struggle and dispatching the thieves, intimidated Devargo to lead us down a hidden stairway to where the pseudodragon was being held in a cage. Bru opened the cage to free Majenko, just as the group smelled smoke and realized that the bar had been set on fire, and wagons were pushed against all exits preventing a quick exit. After much choking and trial and error, the adventurers barely escaped without being burned to a crisp in the process. Even though betrayed by Devargo, we decided to strip him and let him go, now that he had been sufficiently punished by losing his home, bar, and his amassed fortunes.
On our way out of the thieves den, we managed to pick up some treasure, not the least of which was an interesting series of letters from Veronia, the young wife of an Ambassador who had been writing to a high ranking official with lurid details of an affair.

Back at our Inn in Sothenopolis , the Innkeeper Uplish said that local authorities were searching for us. Having pledged obedience to the souls who rescued him, Malenko agreed to accompany us, pledging to repay us for saving him. We quizzed him on the magical materials since he was also magical in nature, and found out that the resin and purple grains were able increase the power of spells, and could allow magic users to cast spells normally even in low magic areas that would normally prevent it. He said that these materials originated from the Island of Tombs.

In the process of getting to know Malenko, the pseudodragon mentioned that she would like to pay a visit to Trinia, a woman that helped her in the past, and that she would like to repay. We decided to help Malenko with her request, and traced Trinia back to an Inn where she had been staying, but had left. Zefir first tried assuming a disguise to question the innkeeper, but later succeeded in bribing him and finding out that Trinia Sabor was staying a few doors down the street while she recovered from some wounds. Zefir sent a note via messenger to Trinia, stating that Malenko would like to meet her. The messenger came back immediately stating that Trinia had hurriedly fled after reading the note, so we immediately sent Malenko up in the air to find her, which she did. As she was trailing her, we came across a wanted poster for Trinia’s arrest. Malenko then returned, stating that Trinia had been apprehended by the authorities for killing a low level government official, and was now being held in the Temple of Eternal Sun.

We went to the Temple of Eternal Sun where we began asking about the whereabouts of Trinia, but the people at the temple lied and told us she wasn’t there. Mat sensed that something was not right about their story though, and as we forced our way inside we were struck by a glyph of damage as we pushed past the threshold of the temple. While the priests and inhabitants of the temple were readying their weapons as if to attack us, Zefir cast a sleep spell and put them all to sleep, save one who ran off down a back hallway deeper into the temple.

We set off after him and after turning several corners and many hallways, found him were he said. “Welcome, fate drew you here but you must pass this test to survive and find the truth.” Suddenly the room filled with mist and we were transported somewhere else…

We passed three magical or illusion based trials: (Children telling a ghost story on a battle field, a giant ice creature attacking us in a cavernous ice filled land, and an old woman named Hannah who wouldn’t let us in her cottage despite our knocking and pleas for her to help us.) Suddenly transported back to the temple, the priest informed us that we had passed the test, and that we should “Go up the stairs to find the destiny you seek.”

Climbing the stairs, we found Trinia, but before we could utter a word, Malenko said “Trinia, when you betrayed me to Devargo, I swore that I would repay you for it!” And the pseudodragon attacked her. Bru asked Malenko to stand down, but she refused, stating, “This person sold me to Devargo, who tortured me!” Mat grappled Malenko to stop her from attacking Trinia, and we tied Trinia up for questioning. She then told us that Malenko led her and her party into danger and got them all killed.

At this point, Malenko took flight and began to flee from us. What followed was a desperate chase involving long bows, a flying pseudodragon, and much fluttering about, until finally Malenko was brought down, just before escaping the walls of the temple. With Trinia assuring us that Malenko was an evil pseudodragon, who willingly leads people into traps for profit or the sheer joy of it, we decided it was likely best to execute the pseudodragon, and with some slight hesitation, Bru did the deed, decapitating Malenko and ending the problem with finality.

Having gained Trinia’s friendship, we questioned her about the Isle of Tombs and our recent affairs, before parting ways. She warned us of the prevalence of undead on the Isle of Tombs and gave us some insight as to how we could prepare for our next journey.

Before leaving for the Isle of Tombs, we decided to approach the woman who wrote those illicit letters we found that could potentially cause such an upheaval in local Sothenopolis politics, with the intent to give them back or dispose in a way that would cause the least amount of distress to all parties. We set up a meeting with her for the next morning, in a café, and when we gave them to her, claiming “No strings attached,” she rushed off with more than a little haste and rudeness to our good deed. We shortly found out that she went missing immediately afterwards, and that her name was Doreen Markham.

With prep and packing for the Isle of Tombs complete, we boarded sail for the Isle via a thieves guild boat, that upon reaching the shore, quickly dropped us off and headed back in the opposite direction, leaving us there with no certain way back.

As we hit the shore, we saw a half buried shipwreck, with some gems and skulls strewn about. In the process of getting closer we realized it was a trap, and a decomposing serpent creature approached us, with several undead in tow. After some struggle we were able to overcome the undead, and turned back to the daunting journey ahead of us… heading deeper into the Isle of Tombs.

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Into the Isle of Tombs

When our last adventure picked up, our adventurers were trudging deeper into the Isle of Tombs, an unforgiving desert that required our hero’s to fully outfit themselves in heat resistant clothing and camp in tents to withstand the midday heat or risk overheating.

At Egwene’s suggestion, we were seeking information about the mysterious resin and purple grains that we’d encountered earlier in our quests. We had been told that these materials may even save magic from disappearing entirely from the realm of Spartak, and that they were traced back to a group of cultists residing in the Isle of Tombs.

On our first day trek into the desert, while camped and waiting for the sun to drop and the temperature to cool accordingly, we felt a tremor come from the sand beneath us. We hunkered down and expected the worst – but nothing happened. We decided to continue our trek into the desert, yet made slow progress as we soon encountered a large dust storm which made us once again take refuge in our tents to avoid being pelted by sand.

Suddenly a huge worm creature with tentacles surrounding its mouth emerged from the sand and began to attack us. We joined the battle gleefully, anxious to destroy this strange creature that was attempting to grab and swallow our adventures whole. In the struggle, the creature managed to first swallow Raven, and then Bru. In a measure of intense bravery and solidarity, Mat dived into the creature’s mouth as well. Together we carved our way out from the inside, to the demise of the worm creature. We had the foresight to strip the teeth and skin from the Kanseen Worm to sell for coin, no doubt a rare and valuable commodity in this strange land.

The dust storm went for another eight hours and we took refuge in our tent to get our wits about us and wait out the punishing winds. Soon the storm began to subside and we continued our trek, approaching some elaborate ruins off in the distance. As we got closer, we noticed some valuable-looking gems embedded in the ruined columns. Expecting the worst, Mat searched the area for traps, which he found and was able to easily disable. As Mat busied himself with prying these gems out of the columns within the columns, the rest of our group noticed a “whooshing” sound nearby, and Bru spied what appeared to be an Air Elemental just outside the ruins. Suddenly three Air Elementals attacked us and we fought back with all the vigor a band of flesh and blood adventurers can manage against the ghostlike air creatures. The fates smiled upon our group as the elementals were dispatched and we made off with the gems in tow.

Later, while trudging further through the sand, we kept noticing a dust tornado about a mile behind us that would disappear and reappear occasionally. That night, while camped, during Bru’s watch, a gust of wind blew the sword out of his hand, but nothing else happened the rest of the night.

We approached a ravine/chasm, and planned to pass through it on the ground, however Raven noticed a set of runes along the walls of the chasm that would surely damage us, were we to pass them. Mat and Bru decided to scale the chasm wall and attempt to pass over the top of the ravine, and as they reached the top, suddenly Bru was attacked by a wolf at the top of the chasm. As Mat and Bru fought off and killed the wolf, Zefir was surprised by a swarm of bats that surrounded her and attacked. Never one to sweat the small stuff, Zefir cast a Sleep spell and dispatched all of the bats without a struggle. Helping Raven, Kellin, and Zefir up to the top of the chasm, we spotted some glowing eyes in the distance, suggesting that more wolves, (or even something more disturbing) were awaiting us as we delved deeper into the chasm.

Passing over the top of as much of the chasm as possible, we soon approached a set of large stone doors set into the chasm wall. Without much hesitation, we broke into the doors, feeling that surely some revelation about the magic materials we sought was inside.

As we entered, we immediately noticed that the room was surrounded by four open coffins, and four sarcophagus. As dread filled our bones, a man entered the room we were in, seeming confident and not at all threatened by our presence, even though we had broken in. As we attempted to read this man’s demeanor and decide whether he was friend or foe, he suddenly exclaimed that he smelled Malenko, the pseudodragon that we had tussled with earlier in our adventure. Trying to be diplomatic with some delicate conversation, we figured out that Malenko was the former familiar of this man. We admitted that when Malenko was revealed to be duplicitous and attacked us, we fought back and killed the creature. The man took this information in stride, contemplating aloud, “I don’t think I want to kill you…” As we began to realize this man was likely a vampire that would outmatch us in battle, we tried the age old art of conversation instead. Our discussion soon revealed that this vampire had killed the cultists that we were seeking, the same ones that had drawn us out into this desolate land in the first place.

We discovered the vampire had acquired some notes that the cultists had written, and we plead with him to reveal these notes as they may be holding the keys to our quest. The vampire seemed to want something from us in return and we hurriedly offered up the gems we had recently acquired, fearing his taste for blood may overtake him at any moment. The gods must have been on our side, for his greed for riches overtook his thirst for our blood and he accepted the deal.

Without waiting around for him to reconsider, we hurriedly left, with the notes in tow. On our way out we considered killing the vampire in the light of day to rid the world of another evil, yet decided we better quit while we were ahead and leave the vampire be, at least for today.

Outside of the chasm, we camped and collected ourselves for the journey back out of the desert, when suddenly during Zefir’s watch a large air elemental entered the camp. Picking up our weapons and belongings, we prepared to fight, when Raven suggested we all jump into the Air elemental, in the hopes it didn’t have mal intent and instead was trying to help us or communicate with us.

Taking the risks and running with them – we all jumped into the Air elemental with varying degrees of fear, bravery, and resolve….

With the elements of wind both whipping us and supporting us all at once, we were carried swiftly across the desert that had taken us days to cross, and out over the vast ocean beyond. With a rising dread and realization that the elemental could easily drop us to drown in the sea, we braced and prepared for the worst. Suddenly a flash went off somewhere above us, and as we slowed to a stop over the water, a booming voice called down to us, “Are you OK? Or need help?”

Gazing up we saw a beautiful air ship powered by balloons, with a man beckoning towards us from the deck. We climbed aboard, profusely thanking the man, who mentioned that he had dazed the air elemental.

The man was strikingly attractive, displaying a bare midriff and tanned torso that spoke of many days out in the sun and a comfort with the desert elements we hadn’t quite reached yet. His name was Omar Zuman, and he had a tiger companion with him named Gwendolyn. As we introduced ourselves, we came to discover that Omar was a druid who considered himself a student of nature, and he was busying himself by seeking treasures across the Isle of Tombs. He told us that his ship was called the Anke Zephyr. Omar spoke of many interesting things, one of which was the fact that he thought it was very strange that an air elemental would behave the way it did. He could have been talking about anything though, his attractive looks and friendly demeanor was putting us all at ease.

While resting aboard Omar’s ship, we delved into the cultist’s notes we had obtained, and discovered more about the magical materials that we sought:

The Purple Grains were “Verdant Salt,” which enhances enchantments & spells.

The Tree Resin was “Entropic Resin,” which can be used to cast a spell 1 level higher per user’s hit die.

The notes also stated that we may be able to find more esoteric components such as these back at the swamps in Meadowheart.

With a rush of excitement and inspiration, our adventurers realized that the notes they had retrieved from the vampire’s den were useful indeed. The next steps in our journey were already beginning to reveal themselves.

But first, Omar had a matter that he asked our assistance on – a tomb full of treasure that he couldn’t raid alone. Having agreed to split the treasure five ways upon completion, we happily accepted the deal from our new mysterious friend.

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Aboard Omar's Airship

Aboard Omar’s Airship – Adventuring notes from 1/16, as written by Lee.

Our next adventure begins on Omar Zuman’s baloon ship. Mat had had developed a severe case of heat stroke with nausea, vomiting, fever, and diarrhea…lots of diarrhea…explosive diarrhea. Omar Zuman restricted Mat to his cabin and tended to the youth while the rest of the travelers prepared for the tomb raiding.

They arrived at the tomb, and Bru, Raven and Kellin climbed down the rope, while Zephyr simply floated down while putting the finishing touches on her nails…toenails that is. Omar buffed the party with Ant Haul and sent them on their way.

They descended a long circular staircase, cautiously looking around for traps and secret doors. After several hundred feet, they arrived at a room and discovered a mirror behind a hollow section of the wall. Zephyr determined that it was divination magic and looked upon another room in the tomb. They also found a rune carved on the wall but were unable to decipher it.

The party proceeded downward and arrived at the room they saw in the mirror. The room had large, gem encrusted candle-holders, a large engraving on the floor and an alter with an ancient book. After fighting a serpent man, they took the gems and the book, but when they tried to descend, they found themselves back in the same room!

After fighting several monsters, they noticed grooves in the floor and a mirror on the ceiling. Ultimately, they positioned the alter by pushing it along the grooves, and Zephyr and Raven went to the original mirror. After some trial and error, they discovered exactly how to position the alter and how to use the mirror to keep the alter from sliding back to its original spot. When this was done, everyone was able to leave the room.

They made their way back to the surface, and Omar met them there. He appraised the book at 5000gp!!!! Everyone was thrilled and jumped for joy, including Mat who promptly started vomiting again and was sent back to his room.

Omar told them that he had seen another air elemental with two people inside, so everyone decided to follow it. The group was attacked by a bunch of small demons called Sky Barnacles. But between getting lots critical misses and falling off the boat, being put to sleep by zephyr, bitten by Kellin, severed in half by Bru, clawed by Gwendolyn, fanged by Omar, Greased by Raven and…well…not really sure how Mok contributed…oh yeah, he played dramatic battle music on his drums…the foes were dealt with in short fashion.

Everyone healed up and followed the air elementals towards a giant storm cloud, hundreds…no wait dozens…no wait, a few miles in diameter. Inside the storm clowd, we saw hundreds of jet, black dragons, fangs dripping with green venom and lightning rippling over their scales. Wait….I think there was only one dragon. Actually, maybe it was just an exceptionally large mosquito. Anyway, the storm looked menacing. The risk to the party was clear, but the decision was not.

Do we get close to the storm and risk our lives? Or do we fly away and leave the air elemental’s prisoners (if they are that) to their fate and cash in our loot, so that we can buy some awesome stuff?

Tune in next month….same pathfinder time, same pathfinder channel!

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Into the Eye of the Storm

When we last left our adventurers, they were aboard Omar Zuman’s floating air ship just off the coast of the Isle of Tombs. They had just finished assisting Omar in raiding some nearly forgotten subterranean ruins, and found themselves pursuing the unlikeliest of natural occurrences, an air elemental carrying three humanoid figures swiftly towards the eye of a dark and menacing storm.

Although risky in nature, our band of heroes made the noble decision to follow and try to free the humanoids from this air elemental. Perhaps they empathized, as they had been headed towards the same fate before Omar had rescued them similarly, only a matter of several days before.

Tying themselves to the deck of the ship, they sailed into the storm, armed with a magical chime that was capable of controlling an air elemental. Their plan was to use it sparingly, and just long enough to incapacitate it, (as it’s true purpose was to control the air elemental within one of the Anke Zephyr’s ballons, the “engine” of Omar’s ship.)

With the wind thrashing about, many ropes strained and broke under the pressure, and the ship pitched and spun as the heroes struggled to maintain control of the ship, and pursuit of the elemental. As unsecured cargo crashed and slid about the deck, Mat and Bru had their hands full attempting to grab the ropes and reattach them, succeeding mainly due to Raven’s assistance and his magical cantrip “Mending”, which truly saved the ship’s fate and kept it from plummeting beneath the waves below.

Suddenly the air cleared around the ship, and the wind lessened. The heroes noticed that they were in the eye of the storm, and it appeared to be centered over a rocky island. Seeing the air elemental headed straight to the island, they sped towards it and used the chime, freezing it in place. Saving the humanoids within and bringing them aboard the ship, they introduced themselves to the shaken and suspicious trio: Vicarla, a robed wizard woman, and two Kobold companions. They said they were from Sophenopelous, seeking secrets from a cult that was trying to engineer the destruction of the world by magically manipulating the moon to crash into it, which would be catastrophic. (Vicarla learned this as she has a friend named Rowena that had returned from a trip to Sophenopelous telling the tale of this nefarious plan.)

Our heroes descended to the island below, asking Omar to wait for us aboard his ship, within the eye of the stationary storm in the skies above. Spotting a cave entrance amid the rock shore, they headed towards it, until three heads emerged from the ground in front of them, seemingly attached to snake-like bodies and blocking the path. The creature was making a disturbing whine and appeared to have eyes where it’s mouths should be, a troubling and unsettling sight. The creature appeared to be casting a spell and had soon charmed Bru, magically confusing his simple mind into believing that the creature was his friend, who he was sworn to protect. The creature had emerged fully from the sand now, and it was apparent that it was a large three headed creature that was not friendly. Zefir cast a cold spell upon it, and Kellin viciously attacked with his claws, but it was Mat that finally brought it down, due to a fine combination of acrobatics and flanking talents.

Traveling deeper into the cave, soon the heroes emerged into a cavern that included a pool of water surrounded by several magically inscribed plates, and several fire balls roaming around the room, mindlessly. As the heroes examined the magical plates, a large fire elemental materialized on the far side of the cavern and began to approach, hurling balls of fire. Diving into a side cavern, the heroes escaped for a moment, but observed the room was full of scorched bones from a variety of creatures. Deciding to take their chances and confront this evil, they returned to the main cavern, and Zefir was able to read the inscriptions for all the plates, which were for summoning three different types of elementals: Water, Earth, and Air. Raven suggested the heroes take a chance at solving this magical riddle by summoning all three elementals at once. Immediately after doing so, the three newly summoned creatures began to converge, and shortly transformed into a shimmering portal. Holding hands, the adventurers stepped into the portal… and emerged in another cavern which had a river running through it. Beside the river stood a tall, blue skinned woman, who the heroes were able to recognize as a Marid, a rare type of water genie. The marid appeared to be very suspicious and shot off a water bolt towards the heroes, stumbling about and shouting things such as “Stay back… if you come nearer… I’ll attack. Why have you brought me here?” The heroes noticed that the marid appeared to be blinded magically, and Raven even attempted to create water for it, as a peace offering. The marid spat the water back, disgustedly.

Turning their attentions to a room across the river, the heroes took advantage of a shored up canoe and paddled across the water to a mysterious room. Spotting a glyph protecting the secret doorway to the room as he passed through, Bru nearly escaped damage as he passed the threshold, and called to his teammates to scale the walls instead of using the doorway. As they did so, a large clawed creature appeared on the far side of the room. After a short struggled, they dispatched the creature with a few well placed blows. Suddenly a red robed figure appeared…

Who was this red-robed figure? Did s/he hold the information they sought, or would they be trapped in this strange cavern for all time? Would Omar be waiting for them, even if they did make it out alive?

But the day was long and the answers to these questions would just have to wait until the next chapter…

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Echean's tale of the Djinn and a subterranean quest...

Our last adventure began with the heroes in conversation with the red robed figure Echean Ansolandi and his sidekick Phethean Klexius. They had found themselves in a hidden stronghold deep within an island not far off the coast of the Isle of Tombs. Echean told a tale about the ancient wizard Math, who had engaged in a battle that cost the realm it’s magic before he passed away. Echean explained that the air elementals our heroes had followed in their last adventure were from an old cult that had used it as a method of abducting people as recruits for Math’s war. The cult had long since left this place, but the elementals were still carrying out their outdated orders and nothing seemed to be able to be done about it.

The group rested that night in the airship of Omar above the stronghold. Echean had mentioned that there was someone in the temple who knew Mat and Raven’s parents, and so our heroes sought her out. She turned out to be a face familiar to Mat and Raven: Pearl Sheercleft. She transformed from shape to shape as if uncontrollably, between the form of an old woman, a troll, and a dwarf.

Pearl then told a tale of how long ago, the wizard Azetor, an ancestor to Mat, Raven and Bru, had enslaved genies in an effort to prevent the world from falling into chaos, until he himself was imprisoned by Math, along with the 1001 genies. Hundreds of years later, 13 genies were released back into the world accidentally, when Pearl and the enlightened wolf-creature known as Winter, entered the Math’s prison-dimension of Kakistan. After escaping Kakistan with the help of Mat and Raven’s parents, Pearl teamed with the wizard Helicon to round up the genies, and Helicon went mad in the process, causing Pearl herself to try to stop him from changing the world by using the genies’ wishcraft. They had succeeded in finding all but one of the genies; and perhaps unsurprisingly, the one that eluded them was the most powerful of all. It possessed enough strength and magical abilities to undo all the chaos and damage that Helicon and the other wayward genies had wrought. Our heroes learned that the Goblin Islands were the last known sighting of the last and most powerful genie. In this conversation it was also insinuated that Helicon may have had some impact on Mat and Raven’s mother in an unknown way. Pearl wanted to help undo the damage she had unwittingly been an accomplice to causing, but she had grown too old and lost control of her shapeshifting ability.

After talking with Pearl the group met again with Echean, who spoke about Mana stones which could be used to cast spells without relying on the fading ambient mana of the world. Echean still was untrusting of the group of outsiders, so they made a deal to complete a mission for him in order to gain his trust and then, hopefully, learn more about the Mana stones, a closely guarded secret of the cult of Nex. Echean sent the group to an ancient battleground, where Math had fought. There were antique spider-like constructs scattered around the area that had seen the battle first hand, and if one was to return with one of these clockwork spy’s intact, they would be able to access its archived knowledge.

After discussing the mission with Omar, the group agreed to the mission and headed for the nearby island. They poked around a freshly dug mound when suddenly an exotic looking metallic and stone creature emerged. Our heroes attacked it with such force it began to flee, despite appearing to quite powerful and capable of much damage. Through of combination of Raven’s Grease spell and sheer brute force, our heroes were able to bring the stone creature down for the count. During this tumult, a clockwork spy was noticed off in the distance, as well as several more constructs. They quickly disappeared into a dirty mound, and our heroes pursued them down a narrow hole into the earth over forty feet deep. Spotting a construct waiting at the bottom of the hole, Mat pointed his rapier downwards and dropped the final twenty feet, succeeding in stabbing the construct that was waiting at the bottom. After a brief struggle, our heroes dispatched both constructs and pursued the clockwork spy into a widening cavern that included several passageways and pools of water.

After our heroes had captured the clockwork spy and stuffed it into an empty backpack, Zefir detected an aura of magic coming from one of the pools. There was a waterproof chest beneath the water, holding several scrolls that Raven and Zefir split amongst themselves.

Suddenly our heroes noticed a robed figure ducking away in the shadows, attempting to hide. As they began to investigate, a ghostly translucent creature appeared, hovering over the ground. A fog then filled the room, and the ghostly creature disappeared up into it, out of sight and out of reach. A spell was cast and the party was suddenly covered in a glittery dust that prevented stealth and any subtlety. Striking out at the robed being, our heroes had soon dispatched him, but not before the ghost-being had cast a bolt of lightning that fried Bru nearly to crisp. A booming voice called “Begone or Be Destroyed!”

In the middle of all this, as the heroes passed by a large statue on the far end of the room, it abruptly became animate and attacked Zefir. With this new threat taking their attention, the party nearly missed a horrific sight as the ghost creature vomited out a swarm of spiders which headed directly for Mat. With the rest of the party focusing on the large statue, Mat became covered with spiders until a lucky strike smashed the statue and revealed a trap door underneath. Temporarily dodging the spiders, Mat was able to get free just long enough to disable the lock on the trapdoor and get it open. As the heroes darted through the door, the spiders disappeared, evidently magical in nature. Bru pulled the door shut behind him as the last one to enter. Down the staircase was a small alcove, and as our heroes scanned it, they noticed a reptilian four legged creature called a Destrachan in the shadows. Leaping to attack it, the heroes didn’t miss a beat in dealing with the new threat, as much banging and commotion came from the trapdoor behind them. Something was trying to get in- likely more of the constructs that had been a deadly nuisance earlier. Just as the heroes brought down the Destrachan for good, the trap door buckled and in rushed three of the metal and stone constructs. Battle weary, our heroes engaged in yet another fight that tested their resolve and dwindled their hit points dangerously. Finally overcoming the latest wave of constructs, the heroes gathered their wits and discovered a secret panel in the wall that had a ring and a scroll hidden behind it. Perhaps this subterranean quest had been worth it after all…

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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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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…

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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.

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