Thuria

Tripping around Twin Valley (OR parked on your patootie for days on end)
10 Gaia’n, (April) – 16 Gaia’n, (April) 3363 A.A (253 A.F)

After discovering the ruins of an unnamed castle in the eastern half of Twin Valley, consensus decided full moons were key. So everyone parked there to wait for a week until Lena waxed full again in 6 days.

Some inspection found various signs of interest, but nothing living or dangerous around nearby. As time passed, the keen-eared among the party heard the sounds of chopping echoing from far to the north. Travelling up the valley, several sources of ax work were heard, two humans and a lizardman. All were starved and pallid, with sunken dull eyes and an unhealthy odor. They didn’t respond to anything social but kept gathering wood without rest. The only interaction they did respond to was a question about the location of the Lady; they would point south toward the castle. Dragging them away from their work only resulted in their fighting free to continue chopping. Finally Rolan decided to burn one, but the combination of a perfect shot and his weakened condition killed him instantly. The others were left to continue their lumberjacking ways in peace, but the wood they gathered and stacked at the castle door was burned every night for light and warmth, but mainly to deny anyone it’s use. If turned out later that the lumberjacks would work until they collapsed, only to immediately continue when they awakened hours later; a rather unhealthy course of action.

Later in the week, the huge scarred man was noticed wandering around. He returned to the rear of the castle (where his footprints had earlier been found) to sit and eat a captured hog. Approached by the group, he seemed wary and scared, backing away and moaning wordlessly. When fire was waved his way, he dropped the carcass of his meal and fled, leaping several feet up the wall of the ruins and dashing away over the rooflines. Following him, a hiding place in the eaves was discovered with some collected trash and rags, but the scarred man fled to the north and did not return.

Finally the next full Lena-moon arrived, along with a dense fog, cloudy stormy skies and (unsurprisingly) an intact castle…roof, gates and everything! The initial thought was to blow it down, with Carric summoning a storm and raking the roof with lightning blasts. After several bolts, a dark dapper man unseen until that moment stepped up behind Carric and said “Would you please stop doing that, it’s quite annoying.” He was dressed in fine rich clothing and polished knee-high boots, with short dark hair and a trimmed goatee. Noting the sharp and extended pair of fangs, the lack of noise while moving and the polite manners, Carric decided to stop immediately. “Thank you” said the gentleman, vanishing in a cloud of mist.

  • _NOTE: the record has missing/mismatched notes here…y’all really need to keep your own accounts! *
  • insert where remembered…^_^ *

Some time in here the team’s newly-elected medic Angus noted several signs of physical illness on the sunken-eyed men; boils, sores, and general bad breath all around. Carric used his magic (Lesser Restoration) to cure any poisons or diseases on one of the ill, and he collapsed and died instantly! Apparently the only think keeping the man moving was the drugs that both reduced his will and increased his strength and stamina. (NOTE: There are 3 physical saves involved and he missed all three at that point, dropping his exhaustion level far past the point of no return)

Also somewhere in here, the Anaya gloves were checked, and while the nearest-heir pointer went into the castle, the find-senior pointer when AWAY from it! Two Ironfists running around, or bad magic? Heading away, an older dwarf in fine clothing was found returning to the castle, unarmed but wearing jewelry incorporating the same clan sign from Agathius’ armor. He looked much healthier than anyone seen so far, ruddy and well-fed. Not much of true interest popped up, other than mention of Agathius.

  • back to main flow… *
    _
    Approaching the alcove containing the front door and opening it, a large ornately-paneled room was seen, roughly half the side of the main rotunda. It was also noted that divine magics were weakened or absent within the walls, with cantrips such as Carric’s guidance failing altogether! The summoned lightning storm was also cut off within. It was deduced that the building did not seem to occupy the material plane, cut off from the usual mana flow.

Other than several wolves napping near the huge fireplace, the main room was empty, but they noted the opening of the door, and the small pack got up and exited the building without showing any care about our party. Another group of lightly-armed guard and wolf-men came down the main staircase from the 2nd floor, and also exited without comment. Backtracking the men up the stairs to a balcony, large double door featuring a wolfs-head within a crecent moon insignia were found. Opening them (and Rolan’s touch causing the doors to howl like wolves) showed a dining prep room; tables of covered dishes and more being removed from a dumb-waiter in the back wall by more unwell-looking men. From behind another set of curtained double=doors to the right, the sounds of dining could be heard.

The serving men continued to move, carrying dishes through the double doors. Moving into the dining room, an unsavory scene was revealed; a dozen men and wolf-men seated around a table covered with meat and soup, with a beautiful woman at the head of the table. She was pale with long dark hair and bright red lips dressed in a shimmering white gown and silver jewelry. Around her neck was a pectoral necklace showing the same insignia as the doors on the balcony. It was noted that the roasts on the table appeared to be mostly humanoid…

“Ah, visitors! Welcome to Clairelune! I’m afraid you’ve missed dinner, but if you’ll wait for a few moments for us to clean up and I will be glad to greet you properly! My servant will show you to the antechamber to wait!”. One of the sallow gentlemen serving gestured back toward the door opposite the dining room in the antechamber, and unwilling to start a fight, everyone followed. Through the far door, past some works of art, the quiet man showed everyone into a furnished personal chamber with padded satin walls, a small day bed, a full sized marble tub and several chairs. On bowing his way out, locks were heard to engage within the door.

Feeling unlucky, Rolen still managed to work open the bolt from within the room and the party headed back downstairs quickly and quietly. As the location of Agathius from the gloves pointed on the main floor beneath the dining antechamber where there were no openings, the group snuck through an arch on the other side of the fireplace looking around. An ogre-sized statue of a wolf-headed man formed of some black fine-grained substance stood against the far wall, a narrow passage led away from the pointer, and a set of double-doors pointed to the space beneath the dining room. Rolen snuck in, checking behind the doors, and found the kitchen; tables full of butchered animals and people, a couple of huge cauldrons cooking in another gigantic fireplace, and on the far side (room beneath the dining antechamber) was a pantry full of stored supplies and a dozen more idle people. They were just standing around mindlessly next to the meat hooka and crates of dinnerware, but were still alive, and one of them was Agathius!

Agathius was apparently under the same poisonous drugs as the others, but seemed otherwise unharmed. The rest of the party moved into the pantry, but passing the large statue caused it to start emiting a loud wolf howl. Not seeing many good choices, Carric again magically cleansed Agathius and he collapsed, living but unconscious! Being the strongest, Angus tossed Agathius over his shoulder and everyone ran past the cooks and howling wolf-man statue into the front hall. The door was still open, but coming off the stairs were a group of identical wolves. (Unnatural!) The doors above also burst open (but didn’t howl…) and several of the diners could be heard running on the balcony above.

Now what?

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Travelling, Phandelin to Twin Valley
23 Mitra’n (March) – 9 Gaia’n, (April) 3363 A.A (253 A.F)

23 Mitra’n (March) – 9 Gaia’n, (April) 3363 A.A (253 A.F)

After visiting Phandelin and it’s inhabitants and stocking up on emergency chocolates and cigars, and newly joined by a pookha warhorse (with Angus tossed on top for speed) and a rather peppy owl familiar, the now-huge group headed west following the Heir-gloves of Anaya. Spring having finally arrived, the sky is clear, the air is crisp and cool, the roads are finally without ice and snow.

The first few days retread known ground along the Triboar Trail. The mines are busy moving the winter’s product west and north to Brindlingford, except for a cluster of several parked just southwest of the Corberry ruins. People (mostly dwarves, but from several clans) were clustered with their wagons, quickly moving into and out of a nearby mine. We didn’t bother asking why.

Turning north at the Corberry fork, we reached and followed the so-called ‘edge of the world’ for the Shadowlands, the badlands on the edge of the dragon-claimed eastern valley. A couple miles of sharply-descending cheese-grater, alternately shattered boulders and rough pumice-stone fell to the thick forests of Megalaar’s domain far below.

Worringly, the tracking spell from the gloves stopped working. Angus’s ‘feeling’ was still present, so it wasn’t a global condition, but no idea why. Decided to continue and find out what happened to the bard.

Another few days passed. The rough road wove between the rough canyon edge and the Craigsmaw forest heading north. It was obvious from signs on the trail that the larger wagons do not take this road, probably due to the irregularity of the surface and the eroding edges of the cliff it follows.

Along the way, a pair of local hunters were spotted ahead. They quickly jumped off the road into the woods upon seeing the oncoming gang. Following them until they threatened to shoot the group from hiding, a conversation ended with some exchange of information about local conditions and the passage of dwarves.

A day later a clear rocky hill was spotted ahead, and the group arrived at Twin Valley, a two-lobed scooped bowl of forest and swamp around 50’ across, separated in the center by a rough ridge dropping to the north. The eastern edge of the descending ridge was a tall cliff face, but several small creeks had joined the road in descending along the western side. The falling ridge formed shelf-like plateaus including the largest one halfway up the ridge where the town of Gallantry hid within it’s strangely-sloped walls. As both moons are nearly full, the group finished a march along the road to the central town in the dark.

The people of the valley seem uniformly slow and dim and terrified of being out at night. The group nearly failed to get into the main gate after dark, but clean living and holy power proved a useful key to entry. One inn. One temple, to Danae the Night Mother. A central cistern and it’s water gathering structures. Not much else.

Asking around the next day, people remember Agathius as being a bit pushy while inquiring about the Moon Hunter, a strange shield he carried, the local Curse (family relations being stuck here) and the legends of the valley, specifically the immortal Lady of the Night said to live deep in the woods. Not much else learned.

Agathius is FOUND! Sort of…The gloves started working one morning, again no idea why. So, onward! HItting the road into the valley, moving from stone hut to stone hut (provided to keep travellers safe from killer nights in the woods). Occasionally, single wolf howls can be heard from far away, sometimes in succession across the valley. NOT normal.

Later, surrounded by stealthing creatures, the group makes a run for the third hut. Rolen easily outdistances everyone on foot, then gets attacked by a pack of wolves coming from the underbrush. Several other wolves circle the main group. It’s not looking good. Carric speaks with the wolves in their own tongue, explaining there’s no need to fight, then hears a strange wolf cry from the East, ‘…it’s time’. Rolen gets chopped up pretty badly, but Angus (leaping off Agathius’s horse) keeps him covered, mostly. Then the wolves (except the ones slain) run off and leave the party alone.

Rest in the hut, then another day. There are no wolf corpses on the road, but there are a couple of dead men. Their wounds match the killing blows from yestereve, so werewolves? But they exhibited no signs of lycanthropy; no immunity, no healing regeneration, and no human intelligence. Carric is sure, they were normal wolves! Hmmm.

The gloves pointed to the southern end of the western valley lobe, so around the ridge we go. Over the rocky heights, near a tiny creek, many prints are found of bare-feet, humanoid not wolves. More strange evidence. Hmmm.

Continuing, another night in the open, but darker; Boares waning, Lena half. Scouting by owl-vision shows several small packs of wolves around the party at a distance, including one huge dire wolf, but no attacks tonight. Also a huge scarred man is seen, hanging in a tree groping for bird’s nest until he falls. Hmmm.

The afternoon of the following day, a ruined castle with 3 towers is reached. Thick stone walls, but long ago burned out, it’s roof and floors all gone. Nothing but a hollow shell. Wolf tracks around the walls, also deep footmarks where (apparently) a heavy man jumped off behind the ruin to the dirt below the west tower. Agathius is no longer detectable by the gloves. We wait for nightfall, but nothing of interest. Hmmm squared.

Onward…

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Looking back to look forward, an overview in non-real time
Summary of the year 3363 A.F.

Summary of the year 3363 A.F. which somehow includes a second Winter, but just entering Spring.
So, a full year but not yet a calendar year.
Isn’t Time Travel fun?

Unknown, 3362 winter (Aug 2016)
Jumping around the Time Bridge: From 3362 to somewhere in the 2800s to maybe somewhere in the 13th century? No idea, could be any when by this point. Still trapped in Chroma’s time forge along with various strangers by disrupted mana lines, a nonfunctional gate room, a raging son of the Dragon Goddess (named Ragnar) and our own ignorance. Hopefully one of those can be remedied. Soon.

Our small group joins a disparate assortment of others trapped within the Vault by a young mythic crystal dragon named Ragnar, son of Tiamat. An historic paladin (Myrlani) and her dwarven companion (Ollias) , a meticulous (and suspicious) woodhelvennan cleric (Sithlan Alnesti) and his trainees (mainly Thanolan Rockfist, some unconscious rookies), a human wizard with his apprentices (some more unconscious), a squad of trained human warriors, two almost-fallen undead paladins, a hostile but still charmed group of minotaurs (and one uncharmed one), and a dead barbarian queen. Oh, plus one absent-minded and mostly just absent archmage, Chroma Lord Chronos, who knows much but can do little. Not an auspicious group for a dragon attack on the morrow. The arcanes have been exhausted on timelooped force walls to buy us enough time for the creation of a lure made from Ragnar’s own tooth, thus giving our heroes a possible initial advantage in our various plans for survival. Chloe and Pathe, pray grant us fortune and favor! We need it!

Unknown, winter 3362 (Sept 2016)
Though several were slain, including Aedesh for a few moments (thanks, Myrlani!) now everyone’s standing around with a bag full of swag over their shoulder wondering how, where and when they’ll go next. As the various bits of metals, books, coins and dragon scales slow the pace, and we continue from there. Choices, choices! The High road, the Low road, or roll the bones…

Our intrepid heroes managed to get back to their own time (mostly), and jumped out of the now-functioning gateway in the Sphere room, landing somewhere east of RagnaMor and south of Yonderton/Shadowlands. (Turns out later that around 10 months had gone by…the winter they returned to wasn’t the end of season but the beginning of next year’s… Also, Rolen is radiating Temporal magic, and Aedesh is overcharged with Wild Magic, so we have that going for us) Heading north, we encounter several dead and mutilated corpses, and a man looking for his missing dogs. A Dog-gone hunt, or a run for the hills. TBD!

Charos’n (October) 3363 (Sept 2016)
Well, the dogs were being held captive by an apparent anti-paladin, his flaming claw-hooved bony horse and a pack of honest-to-Alantyn HELL HOUNDS! There was some evidence this group was also the cause of the eviscerated corpses and several strange burned patched. Unfortunately they found us before we found them, and a hot time ensued. The hounds were all slain, but at the cost of two party lives. Creating a sling and with Carric doing double duty as the creator of one-berry meals and the draft lizard dragging the corpses, a quick trip to the nearest raise dead in Yonderton was made. A side visit to a local wishing well or blessed shrine. Agathius loses his fathers armored boots, but gains a set of large gold boot-shaped cufflinks. Other hilarity ensues. After arriving, It took most of the loose change, a few sacrifices to Gaea and some quick talking to convince Father Yarlin to spend a couple of days praying over the dead to raise them. Welcome to Yonderton, back again!

Alantyn’n, (November) 3363 (Sept 2016)
Yonderton in winter is a peaceful town, located in the center of a scenic mountain valley huddling beneath the Spine of the World. Unfortunately, lately this winter events have tended somewhat UN-peaceful. Someone has been assaulting people outside of Yonderton proper; farmers, merchants, outrangers Yonderton Sentries, anyone. Some were burned, some eaten, some simply vanished without any signs. The only clue found thus far is a tuft of fine snow-white hair found in the Greer farmhouse. Given its texture and coloration, Agathius identified it as subterranean in origin, probably Drow! We left everyone sleeping overnight. The group is supplied and ready to follow the Underearth road beneath the Barrier Peaks in hopes of finding the Greer family, or any survivors at all.

Alantyn’n 3363 (Oct 2016)
After a messy battle, several Derro managed to get themselves put down, leaving the party battered, exhausted, but happy to have found at least one of the Greer clan; the older son, Angus. Broken leg and all, he was pushed onto one of the surviving pack lizards and sent blindly up the cave corridor to the surface. Next up, long rest, short conversation, middling journey

Further in and further gone. Notes are sketchy but at the end of recovering from a fierce fight, a room of broken parts, tunnels filled with vague sounds, and a low humming from right behind. What next?

(Nov 2016)
(Assault on recharging/repairing Automatons, whereupon surprisingly nobody dies, plus some dialog, commentary, and peaceful parting)

Koros (December) 3363 (Nov 2016)
After days of wandering the caverns, upon following the advice of automated council the group has discovered a lakeside village of peaceful Derro farmers and their collection of dependants. Some assembly required.

Koros’n (December) 3363 (Dec 2016)
Burning town, slain hellhounds, exploding runic circle spells, a cursed shrine, and Angus performs a lightshow using a trinket of his fathers, a deck of magical cards. Several versions of him and our party (which Yarlin identifies as fatageists, or Fate-Ghosts) and each of our intrepid group (including Angus) develops a fate. Leftovers, Angus has a nemesis (AKA an assignment and an extra level in Cleric), Carric is ruler of a small keep somewhere far to the north and has a ‘silver tongue’ to prove it, Rolen has pockets full of small fortunes, and

(Jan 2017)
As the group has survived the Night of Random Chance mostly intact, congratulations are in order. And it seems that very soon, some folk are headed south, some to the north, and one Angus Greer will be headed east.
But before everyone scatters to the four winds…

  • Yarlin braces Aedesh about fategeist counting, which nobody understands
  • Wyanne discusses headaches and enchantments, which nobody takes her up on
  • Angus seeks guidance, which nobody provides, but he’s screwed in any case…
  • Yarlin plans a last great adventure, into the Underearth to help rescue the Greers.

Remember when I said l said two weeks ago was night of the Random Chances? I was wrong…it was last week! _ Well, it finally happened; Time caught up with Rolen, and everyone chased after him into the unknown. But this trip Aedesh tried to control the aether-tunnel to find Gromdug’s origin instead of another trip to the time vault. Something changed, and the party dropped out prematurely, landing near a strange obelisk with a lensed opening at the top. Carric’s ‘day during night’ spell seems to have awakened a strange lumpy building, causing it to rise from beneath the waters of a nearby lake. It took every bit of strength and crowbar that the party had available, but the stone disk door was pushed open, revealing a watery slime-covered passage into the rock mound. Onward…

Remember when I said l said two weeks ago was night of the Random Chances? I was wrong…it was last week! _ Well, it finally happened; Time caught up with Rolen, and everyone chased after him into the unknown. But this trip Aedesh tried to control the aether-tunnel to find Gromdug’s origin instead of another trip to the time vault. Something changed, and the party dropped out prematurely, landing near a strange obelisk with a lensed opening at the top. Carric’s ‘day during night’ spell seems to have awakened a strange lumpy building, causing it to rise from beneath the waters of a nearby lake. It took every bit of strength and crowbar that the party had available, but the stone disk door was pushed open, revealing a watery slime-covered passage into the rock mound. Onward…

Danae’n (January) 3363 (Feb 2017)
Remember when I said l said two weeks ago was night of the Random Chances? I was wrong…it was last week! _ Well, it finally happened; Time caught up with Rolen, and everyone chased after him into the unknown. But this trip Aedesh tried to control the aether-tunnel to find Gromdug’s origin instead of another trip to the time vault. Something changed, and the party dropped out prematurely, landing near a strange obelisk with a lensed opening at the top. Carric’s ‘day during night’ spell seems to have awakened a strange lumpy building, causing it to rise from beneath the waters of a nearby lake. It took every bit of strength and crowbar that the party had available, but the stone disk door was pushed open, revealing a watery slime-covered passage into the rock mound. Onward…

Welcome to the Shrine Obliquitous! Entry and searching proved a bit dangerous, but Rolan found a shiny!

The next day was spent resting, refreshing, and replacing a druid spell with Water Breathing, guaranteeing our intrepid party will survive a bit of deep swimming. Using Carric’s Daylight after resting through the actual day, the shrine has been raised once again. An alternative (and easier to use) entrance has been found near the surface of the lake. There is a semicircle of corridor with more-or-less evenly spaces rooms around the interior of the curve. Looking for a way into the assumed interior rooms, the party continued to search behind each door. A pair of guard rooms (with guards), several insidious trapped rooms and one wet webbed room leave only two unopened doors. Behind the penultimate door, Rolan heard growls and bones crunching. Aedesh and Angus pulled the resistant open to reveal another guard room overfull of the walking dead, ghouls and ghasts standing everywhere gnawing on the recently-dead remains of several dwarves. The stench was overwhelming, but fortunately the elves were unaffected. (Sadly not so, our Irish sailor) With a mighty effort, Aedesh managed to quickly force the door closed alone! As the thumps of near-beserk ghouls begin sounding from beyond the stone door, and cries and growls grow louder from within, the party gapes at each other, Wonder what will happen next?

(March 2017)
One giant golem sentry, one pancake’d rogue, and a powerful need to GTFO. (Now with correct date, because I’m awesome like that) <flicker> Rolan had just managed to disarm the explosives hidden inside the floor of the trapped sanctum when both the slizzard pack and the travelling bandit circus came back around the inner hallway from opposite directions! Pity we didn’t just hide and let them ‘disarm’ it for us! The slizzards got tangled with Carric’s crocodile posse, but the jugglers started picking both them and us off while their damn strongman blocks the way! Wish we still had that smoke ring! Well, guess we’ll do this the hard way!

Sysstorith’n (13th midwinter month) 3363, (March 2017)
Twas brilliant in the slimy coves, and gyre did gyrate in the reality storm. Something like that. As the time approaches midnight on Darkening night and the group has found it’s way to the center of the Shrine (and the unhallowed ground), the strange thumping vibrations and subsequent shifts of visiting seem to be both faster and shorter. The lock was found, but the key remains elusive, with apparently only a couple more doorways remain to investigate. A quote from an earlier time: “It’s better to act than it is to react. Acting gets you in trouble. Reacting all too frequently gets you dead!" Tick, tock! _

Lyr’n (February) 3363 (April 2017)
Butterfly effects in time : Apparently some of ‘reality’ took a head-first dive off a tall cliff. Angus is a priest of Noman instead of Danae, Carric is a land druid, Aedesh is MUCH more metallic, and Rolan is less stabby and more talky. But they each have a small devil on their shoulder whispering, whispering…

Heading further east, we visit Agathius’s broken home, even more broken now, but meet the oft-mentioned ‘Gran’, who immediatly scolds the party with gestures and a ghostly ruler, convincing Aedesh to don a pair of magical gloves of “Finding Anaya Heirs” Right now this is probably Agathius, somewhere east.

Mitra’n (March) 3363 (April 2017)
Between Angus’s nemesis-sense and Aedesh’s Anaya-pointer, we’re going near Phandelin. OK, stopping for a visit in Phandelin on the way to Agathius. Much building, a new mansion/keep on the hill, and about three-quarters of the outer wall is rebuilt! Lots of new houses, too!

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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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