Thuria

Through the Gate to Somewhere
Trapped beyond time and space

28 Koros’n – 1 Danae’n, 253 A.F. (SunsEbb 1st, 3363) (January)

At the close of the final day of Fall with the last of the madness draining away (from Agathius-Obsession, Aedesh-Ego), the group was left deep beneath the temple at the heart of the Dead Zone.
Faced with (in no particular order)

  • a high-priest time-locked fighting a crypt,
  • our spellcasters (but not Rolen) slowing down,
  • a flickering hole in space occasionally showing a split-second glimpse of elsewhere,
  • a whole temple full of priests and warriors which would awaken again at sundown,
  • half the group badly wounded, and
  • no idea how to break any of the spells affecting everything
    …well, jumping blindly through the oscillating gate seemed a wise decision. So jump we did!

Everyone appeared in a windowless stone sphere large enough that the edges weren’t visible with darkvision by the flickering light of the portal. Once Agathius summoned his light, more was seen.
The party had apparently exited from a 15’ wide carved stone disk standing vertically on the slope of the west side of room. The scene on the disk was mostly static and smoke, but there were the occasional split-second views back to the temple crypts. Another similar disk stood opposite, but it was dark and inert. There was a floor-level pool at the bottom center surrounded by a low pierced wall, filled with what appeared to be sewage. The last obvious sight was a set of steps carved into the north side of the sphere, leading to a pair of large doors beneath the jaws of a giant dragon skull.

Since some of the group were reeling from exhaustion, we immediately camped in the light of the ‘Stargate’ (TreasonPoints to Jason for the name <grin>) During the next day, Agathius investigated the whole room for fun. He didn’t find anthing interesting, but Carric noticed a striation in the too-smooth stone on the south wall opposite the skull. It was still smooth, but looked as if another arched exit may have been sealed up there at some point.

Once everyone rested, healed, and regained their spells, the group started exploring the dusty complex. No lights or sounds, no windows or exits found anywhere (Agathius believes we’re underground) and nothing alive.

Points of interest on this level included

  • a large pillared room watched by a giant statue, one pillar having been blasted off the base and knocking a hole high up on the eastern wall.
  • A set of guard barracks rooms containing disintigrated furniture, an (empty) armory, a meeting room, two guardrooms overlooking the entry gate sphere and the statue room
  • A 10’ crystal-ball control panel with some green and red slots, and a flickering view globe in the center. One of the 3 red gems was cracked and dark, but the others were lit, and there was a line of controls to set 6 double-digit numbers, which when moved disrupted the globe picture.
  • A burned-out library full of ash.
  • A combat-damaged temple, with a pillaged alter surrounded by the bones of (assumed) adventurers
  • A hole in the floor-ceiling that dropped infinitely, yet still passed only 3 floors before returning to us.
  • A throne room full of smoke or dust
  • A kitchen with an large oddly-ventilated cooking fireplace.
  • Some capstan-style wheels geared into the ceiling (later found to move stone dishes on screw-rams)
  • A stone pillar topped by a rail-guided stone dish (later found to be pointing up at the cube room)

Continuing up to the next level, other points of interest:

  • The local ‘hole in the floor-ceiling’ room
  • 4 more dish-rams rooms.
  • A sleeping room of cots, apparently for priests or scribes (based on the clothes and lack of armory) with a meeting room with desks. Hidden behind a cracked secret panel was a pair of bony corpses, one holding a scrap of paper with a number written on it.
  • a guard room
  • The Cube, a square room entered through the center of one wall with a stairs down to the ground. There was a truncated cone stand in the center of the floor, with a triple-scissor of metal floating above it in the center of the room. Strangly, there were more platforms, stairs and doors in the ceiling and all 4 walls echoing the ones we used. There were slightly transparent, and could be felt (by resistance) but not actually touched. Our keen-eyed druid noticed some ghostly people standing horizontally on one wall, but neither sound not gesturing caught their attention before they left the room.

The top level’s sight included:

  • The local ‘hole in the floor-ceiling’ room
  • 3 more capstan rooms
  • A dish-ram pointing down.
  • A pantry or storage room full of supplies.
  • A room empty except for a mechanical lever-and-gear machine.
  • Another globe-table, but different from the first. It had no gems, and a different set of controls.
  • A broken-up room, apparently an alchemists lab with several stone tables and shelves.

It was noticed that the capstan and dish-ram rooms had numeric displays, but not the same as the Globe-table. The concave dishes apparently surrounded and pointed into the Cube room, and all the rooms adjacent to the Cube had strange, rounded walls cupped away from same. The capstans were found to adjust the numeric displays AND the dish-ram lengths.

We found 6 dishes, but only 5 control capstans, so there’s some part of the complex that’s been missed.

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Adventures in the Dead Zone
Battles in a bipolar land

2 Koros’n – 24 Koros’n

NOTE: I meant to mention something He’er would explain during your conversation, but it got lost in the race to Lady El’s meeting.

RE: the priest which exited the temple into the outer moat and dissolved: He’er would explain and relate that to his problems entering the Temple proper. The beings trapped within cannot leave the Temple and survive, just like He’er cannot enter, and they all understand that, if only subconsciously. Both can exist (and slowly dimish) on the boundary. (i.e. the moat area and porch)

As wounded as that priest was by Silent’s attacks, trying to cross the boundary finished him, at least for now. He’er isn’t sure whether that priest is gone for good, or only for the night. Maybe you can pretend to be census takers and find out? <grin>

I’ll fill the rest of this out for next week. Feel free to contribute! B)

(PLACEHOLDER: Arrival at the Zone and what signs found while wandering in)

(PLACEHOLDER: First attempt as searching the central Temple, and various pointy objects discovered therein)

(PLACEHOLDER: Recovery, wolf sign, and a valiant attempt at clearance)

(PLACEHOLDER: Escaping with He’er and Silent, some partial explanations)

(PLACEHOLDER: Meeting Lady Eliandra and her surviving team, and politics trumps sanity yet again)

(PLACEHOLDER: Rafting to the island, finding the last ship’s log, and visiting He’er at his brewery)

(PLACEHOLDER: Return to the Temple, by way of the sacrificial sandpit. Hugs for ALL!)

Travelling through the lower swamplands, everyone realizes how fortunate it is that we’re doing this near the start of winter. Imagine trying all this running around in temperatures 15 degrees above body temp, with constant rain and LOT more insects!

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Travelling West to the Dead Zone.
4 Alantyn'n - 1 Koros'n

Leaving Phandelin in late fall, the group plus Agathius followed the high road west.

Passing the farms and mines near town (and meeting the Postman coming the other way), a lesser moon’s travel later they noted a strange storm on the horizon, hovering over the everything south of the road. Over the next day, it never moved and grew stronger and darker.

On the ninth day west of town a milestone informed everyone that the storm was centered on the Glass Tower, a ruin originally created by the wizard Kincayd. The winds and lightning were strong enough that everyone stayed the night in a cave to avoid being either blasted or blown away.

The following day was spent carefully traveling the trail south to the tower. Finding a ring of standing stones filled with small wind spirits holding some kind of ritual, and a ruined cylindrical tower hosting ice spirits (and a ice-glazed stone arch over a deep chasm), the caves beneath the tower were entered, searched and cleared. Some magical and research materials were recovered, including notes on the history of the tower and it’s creator, a mentally-joined married couple of wizards who used the name Kincayd for their joint activities.

Several different spirits and elemental traps were cleared, but finally the roof of the 250’ spire was attained. Somehow a huge air spirit had become trapped here by the activity of a large embedded horn. When blown, the horn opened a gate into the air planes and disrupted the local weather greatly. The djinn kept trying to open the gate and go home, but when he stopped winding the horn the gate would close before he could pass through it, whereupon the djinn would further aggravate the local storms. The many smaller wind spirits he controlled were apparently just an accidental addition.

With the rest of the party as an anchor, Carric uses a Gust of Wind spell to blow the horn for long enough that the djinn would escape back to his home, along with most of the smaller elementals. During their escape, an invisible manlike form (noticeable only by missing turbulence in the storm) was seen moving OUT of the gate and away to the north.

Through the next day, the party rested and searched the top level of the tower, where the harpies Agathius had mentioned hunting had built a huge nest from tower contents. With some valuable bits stored away, the party returned to the road and continued west.

Over the next two moons (14 days) the road was traveled to the Yonderton turnoff, then the group left the road and and traveled directly north for a few days, decending the cliff marking the actual edge of the Shadowlands. Two days of heavily overgrown forest travel led to a lesser cliff down to the Midlands, arriving there on the 28 Alantyn’n.

This far west, the Midlands were marshy and much warmer than the party had become used to. The next morning, 1 Koros’n, (which Agathius noted was ‘inauspicious’, as Koros’n is the month of ‘testing’ and the harvest) the smaller cliff was climbed down (for there was no path), and the dead zone was approached.

Nothing lived within the circle, no plant, bird, insect or animal moved north of the party, but neither the weeds and trees decayed. Just miles of dried, fragile debris and the dead. Some landmarks were seen as blobs on the horizon.

Onward!

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Phandelin, after Thundertree
24 Charos'n - 3 Alantyn'n, 250 A.F.

Once the last of the twiglings and ash-zombies were destroyed, the trip back to Phandelin (in the company of Agathius) was uneventful. The dwarven skald recited the history and stories he remembered about the Dark Legion and their (supposed) destruction. (His details are sketchy, but Agathius plans to go digging into the library of Sister Granueal and a plan to visit the accumulated records in Brindlingford.

He also mentions friends who traveled west into a dead zone looking for facts about the Legionnaires, grumbled about harpies, explained that some of his information came from his father’s dead mother (‘Gran’), and turned out to be a pretty impressive cook. Also, the solitary gauntlet on his left hand (matching the breastplate he wears) is magical, usually holding his Wedgeaxe (battleaxe/war-hammer hybrid) inside. (Something new every day…)

The following week consists of relaxation, recreation, and rumination, and other events.
25 Charos’n : Co-opting the Lionshield forge, everyone works together to destroy the cursed chainmail fragment. It dissolves into smoke.

26 Charos’n : Reidoth sends a messenger to Carric informing him that the twiglings are still being born, but are not as hostile as before the black chainmail was removed. Also, with the spiders and their larder destroyed, the young green dragon has started hunting along the river. During one extended chanting session, the dragon ate one of the cultists and the rest departed town in haste. Thundertree has become relatively quiet.

1 Alantyn’n :
Aedesh assists Granueal with the dawn ceremony of Alantyn. Most of the town attends, including Sheriff Sildar and all of his newly-reformed Militia guards. Good singing.

2 Alantyn’n :
Agathius returns to Phandelin from Brindlingford with mixed tidings.
Sildar invites Ryal over for ale and a frank discussion.

3 Alantyn’n :
Agathius invites the party to help him look for his missing friends. After a month, they still haven’t returned from the dead zone east of the Shadowlands. Bored, our heroes agreed.

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Thundertree
19 Charos'n, 250 A.F.

Happenings:

  • Cleaned twigblights and ash-zombies out of half the town while rescuing druid Reidoth.
  • Discovered there’s a dragon and some dragon cultists hanging around.
  • Discovered a aura of evil poisoning the area, apparently radiating from the town square.

Notable Quotes:
“Well, I’m done. Let’s leave!”

Possible Courses of Action:

  1. Poke the dragon.
  2. Poke the cultists.

Current goals:

  1. Finish off the last twigs and zombies around the barracks.
  2. Investigate the statue in the town square

Unanswered questions from previous sessions:

  • What is causing the unnatural poisoning of the area?
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Eliandra Windborn
Brindlingford, 3rd Charos'n, 250 A.F.

“…El? What are you doing?”

Oteric watched bemusedly as Lady Eliandra, Paladin of Chloe and lead warrior of the Brindlingford temple, simultaneously grumbled about ‘that manky dog-priest’, stuffed her rucksack full of odds and ends and managed to blow her equipment into the courtyard. Seemed a bit irreverent, using holy powers over winds to throw armor, tent and tarps out of the window, but Otter had never known the paladin to step wrong yet.

“That decrepit dog Heirarch Foregrim convinced the Baron that WE needed to check the Shadowlands! Apparently his Sun Maiden is leading her cubs north, sweeping the old highway for bandits and blockages, and can’t be DIVERTED to FOLLOW UP on the clear WARNING from our blessed SEER!”

Otter felt a bit lost, but wasn’t sure where to start his questioning. Luckily, Eliandra just kept talking.

“So we get ‘assigned’ to sweep the whole Shadowlands, with instructions to cover the Stone Road clear to Yonderton! Something’s out there powerful enough to disturb the sleep of the Seer! Can’t let the old woman’s dreamings go to waste, but it’s just not important enough to waste his Sun-Bitch on! May Chloe blast his damn light right up both their…”

“Um, we’re leaving today?” Otter injected quickly, before the Lady managed to wake half the temple with some choice blasphemy. “Who else?”

“Oh, Tracker, the Twins, two messengers and whichever pair of soldiers is highest on the boss’s naughty list this week. Pair of half-squads should be flexible to cover most of the contingencies. And we’re sending out local scouts to check the area nearby while we head for Yonderton. Sorry, Oteric, you’re staying…you’ve got door duty this month.”

“…well, Goddess blow me down…” Oteric thought to himself, shrugging at Eliandra. He felt a bit disappointed to be missing the trip, but Chloe favored the daring, and if his luck had gone bad with his assignment this morning, it would surely be GOOD out on the town later this evening!

Just more time to catch the eye of that pretty potter down east Chatterstreet way!

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SCOUTS WANTED!
Phandelin, 13th Charos'n, 250 A.F.

WANTED: Scouts and guards to join the search for a lost friend, missing since before YearsEnd Festival. Initial journey, a trip to Thundertree Wood, possibly further as required.

Pay: keg of double-froze Applejack, healer’s credit and full share of found. Negotiable.

Sister Granueal, the Shrine

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POSSE FORMING!
Phandelin, 11th Charos'n, 250 A.F.

Posted on the townhall door:

“Sheriff Hallwinter seeks brave Phandelin locals, farmers, miners, artisans and all would-be Heroes! We need to rid the nearby roads of these lawless ruffians once and for all time!

Anyone who is interested in bringing justice to criminals, wants some payback for their betrayal of trust and common decency, or just want to vengefully kick some butt, meet on the green before the Town Hall at dawn on the morning after Festival!"

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Sister Granueal
Phandelin, 12th Charos'n, 250 A.F.

The sister finished the last of the inner points, and started the outer eight. Nothing had stirred since she began at noon, and 8 hours of working charms had her sore already, but for sure the cemetery would be sealed down long before the festival, which was the real point. But half done is just begun, an old friend used to say, so Granueal started the outer north point.

“Looking good, but half done is just begun, ya know!”

Granueal jumped up and turned around, and saw the slim form in grey leathers in the shadows behind one of the stone posts. “Jack! About time you showed up! Your letter arrived a lesser moon ago!” The slim man steeped out into the moonlight, and Gareal realized it wasn’t Jack, or at least not her Jack. Too young, for one, and he didn’t have a whip coiled anywhere. She quickly said “Sorry, neighbor, I thought you were someone else.”

His toothy smile stood out in the darkness. “Understandable, as he asked me to come in his place. Prior obligations, sticky situations, all that. What can I fix for you, Sister?”

“First off, this is my town, my business, my friends, so I must ask you to tell me true: sunny, shadow…other?”

“Oh, Sister, “ laughed the young man. “Do you really think your friend would send a blackjack? Well, I’m not that bright, but not that dark either. I’m promised to help here, just as your friend would”

Inside, Granueal felt her heart rate slow a bit. Shadowjack, could have been much worse. “Well, if you’re here to help, work widdershins! Be nice to finish this blessing before dawn comes!”

Chuckling, Jack took out his knives and moved off to the west. Maybe she’d get some sleep tonight after all.

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Daran Edermath
Phandelin, 12th Charos'n, 250 A.F.

Daran put down his knife and picked up the jug from the ground by his chair. The wooden slizzard was coming along nicely. Luckily it was still cool enough in the evenings to sit around the porch. With both moons waxing, it was an excellent night to watch the Town Green. Some tents were up and a few late workers were getting their displays ready for the YearsEnd festival. Looked a bit thin this year, but it was early in the cycle yet; might be some latecomers in the next couple of days.

Daran looked the other direction, for a different reason. From here, he could see the western slope and it’s graveyard. There was a light way over there tonight too, and he knew why. It’d been a few years since he and the Order had cleaned out that pesthole near Owestry, but the twitch was the same. Some Charos-burned chaoxite was messing about the dead, and needed a Gauntlet right between his witless eyes! He’d thought it that arcanist playing near the Old Owl Well, but apparently not.

Burn it, he’d better send off a message to the Order. Just in case.

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