In Search of Destiny

In Search of Wisdom: Beyond the Chape
Session 10: September 9th, 2018

Iomedan 8th, 2568AG

The fight was difficult, bloody, and nearly fatal for Valyn and Taramis. In the end the party was able to collect the ears of the bugbear. The worst of the storm passed, it was still too dangerous to continue traveling the mountain tops. The party quickly found a small cave to hole up in, but the conditions were so cramped, and with no room to even light a fire, everyone awoke feeling some degree of fatigue.

 

Iomedan 9th, 2568AG

Reaching the crevasse in the morning sun, the rocks slowly drying, the party finds a single goblin sittings in the opening, pushing some rocks with the butt of his spear. Shown the trophy the tribe requested as proof the exiles were slain, the lone guard leads them into the village to the longhouse of the chief. The village is as scattering of animal skin yurts sitting on various ledges and rock shelves around a large crater or sink hole. The activity of the village comes to a halt as everyone looks on to the strangers passing by.

Within the longhouse of the chief, the party handed over the ears, and the village elder was summoned. Several minutes later a frail goblin, far older than any seen by the members of the party, entered with the assistance of a young goblin child. The elder seems to have little idea of where he is or what is going on, and the party holds little hope of gaining any useful information. As Valyn, in the goblin tongue, mentions Rogahn and Zelligar, the elders face contorts in pain, his single good eye bulging in fear. He gibbers and shakes. Valyn reaches out with his mind and enters the thoughts of the pitiful creature. Instantly he is taken back to a memory from the goblins youth, when the tribe lived in the Scabbard Pass, north of Fortress Chape. It was a fine day, as the goblin went about his business gathering water from a spring in the wall of the pass. There was a sudden whoosh and a strange voice carried on the wind. A cloud rushed over the entire pass and settled upon the village. No one could see farther than the span of their arms, and the mist seems to eat the flesh. Screams of terror and pain filled the fog. Without any time to react, there were warriors all around. They cut a swath through the village and slaughtered nearly all of the goblins. The few left alive were gathered up and tortured for information. Many of those questioned did not survive. The goblin recalls seeing Rogahn and Zelligar, and that they were seeking an object, a magic artifact, which they were adamant was in the hands of a tribe of orcs. Eventually the two humans were either satisfied with the answers they received, or simply tired of asking the questions. They left with their army and went north looking for the gnoll-lands; the only place the goblins could think of which might have the information Rogahn and Zelligar wanted.

Exhausted and in shock, the goblin was in a catatonic state. The party didn't think they could get anymore out of him, but before leaving, the elders young care taker spoke up. He offered some edits on the map of the savage wastes, as best as the tribes intell could provide. He also offered a rumour he'd heard. The two humans had entered the gnoll-lands, and done worse to them than they had the goblins. The gnolls lost their territory, which was quickly subsumed by their neighbors. They also lost an ally. A creature with the wings of a bat and the face of a human. Taramis thought it might be a manticore. The young goblin indicated the current location of the manticores nest and suggested it may know something about the fate of the two humans. If not it, than the last remnants of the gnolls, a small nomadic pack of ambush hunters, may still yet have some memory of those who destroyed their nation.

The party took the info and headed back to Fortress Chape. They rested the night, during which Thoris spoke with Lanastas once more, and agreed to think about doing a favour for him if the party returned this way.

 

Iomedan 10th, 2568AG

The party passed through the breach in the wall and began to trek through the pass. It wasn't long before they spots smoke, and found some sort of outpost. They could make out some humanoid forms, which according to the information from the goblins, would be bugbears. The party decided to wait until night fall and sneak along the eastern wall, far from the bugbears which built their structures against the western wall. The party traveled for hours and came across a line of torches which seemed to cross the entire 600 feet of the passes width. Trying to time their passage against the movement of guards lighting torches as they burn out, the party stumbles and is discovered. With poor lighting on their side, Valyn successfully convinces the approaching guards, who can't yet see them, that they are goblinoids on the hunt for humans who have come into the pass. The guards turn to gather reinforcements for the hunt, giving the party time to run. They continue moving until sunrise when they find a small cave to rest in, and wait for day to pass once more.

 

Iomedan 11th, 2568AG

Shortly after day break, they notice a group of riders heading north at a gallop, and a group of riders returning south before dusk. With darkness once more blanketing the Scabbard Pass, the party made for the mouth of the pass again. They crept along the eastern wall for a few hours when they heard clattering. Similar to many people knocking stones together. Thoris is the only one that can see the cavern wall in the darkness, the red lensed lantern of Yeofur doesn't cast light far enough. Thoris sees a small insectoid creature, larger than some dogs, climbing down the wall towards them. It gnashes its teeth and makes the same clattering the party hears in the distance. There must be many more nearby. As the one approaching becomes agitated upon seeing the group, it's clattering becomes quicker and more frantic. The others take up the same chaotic cacophony. A voice cuts through the night, "W'as goin' on? The dossenuses are getting uppity."

How many of the rocking eating Dosseni, who collapsed the tower and cliff face at Fortress Chape, are nearby? Who is it who seems to be watching over them? How much farther does the party have to go before getting out of the Scabbard Pass?

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In Search of Wisdom: The Fortress Chape
Session 9: August 19th, 2018

Iomedan 7th, 2568AG

Since entering the Jaengin Savannah, the winds have been constant, but mild. Following the ambush by creatures which can expose their skulls, while camping in the ruins of Blaenbalach at the mouth of the Scabbard Pass, the winds grew stronger. They whipped and howled, bringing a chill. Everyone was thankful for the remains of a foundation they managed to put their backs to for the night. Still, rest came with difficulty.


Iomedan 8th, 2568AG

As the sun rose and the party prepared to break camp, Ailen and Valyn spotted a figure approaching from the south, following their path. Aiden, Valyn, and Embrith approached and greeted the stranger. A mammoth axe slung across his back and a greatsword resting on his shoulder, the traveler was happy to meet other travelers in a place few dare enter. They shared a meal and learned of this man who calls himself Yeofur. He comes from a remote settlement on the border between Ullondin and the Savage Wastes, where his people harvest the rare livingsteel. For the time being, the interests of the party and Yeofur seem to align, so they all agree to travel together.

Climbing the crumbling stone stairs built into the slope entering the Scabbard Pass, the party finally is in sight of Fortress Chape. The damage from the Sundered War, and fifty years of neglect, is obvious. Over four hundred feet wide, and sixty feet tall, a wall once blocked all passage from the Savage Wastes into the civilized lands. A breach now sits in the base of the wall and allows anything to come and go as it pleases. On the eastern cliff of the pass once sat the barracks which housed the main body of the troops. Now only a pile of rubble as the canyon wall had collapsed upon it. Fortress Chape rests against the western cliff. Its tower felled, damage covers much of the north face of the keep.

Drawing closer, the party sees corpses scattered here and there, decomposed to bare bone. Armour and weapons were left in place. Valyn eventually notices that each one is missing its left hand. Coming face to face with broad double doors, there are charcoal markings on the wood and stone. Warnings of danger within, that Fortress Chape is occupied. The warnings are written in common, goblin, orc, and elven.

Entering, the party is in the one-time stables of the fortress, which are now damaged beyond use. Wood is burned and rotted. The stables and lofts are all collapsed. After a quick search which only turned up a few more skeletons, the party ascended a ramp to an upper level. Finding a grand hall, the party looked around a little bit but didn't find anything. On the back wall was a staircase leading up. A set of double doors took the party outside to a section with a ramp leading to the top of the wall. The remaining base of the tower sat flush with the wall and allowed Thoris, Aiden, Valyn, and Embrith to climb in and investigate. Aiden found that the wall of the tower had been chewed on until it toppled. She recalled a story told to her by her captain about a creature called a Dossenus which could do the same, and left marks resembling these.

Returning to the grand hall and taking the stairs further up, the third floor showed a great deal of damage. The tower caved in much of the floor leaving only three rooms unharmed. The first was a war room with a massive stone table built into the floor and a relief of the pass on its surface. Covering much of the table were pieces of wood and metal, bits of armour, and a scythe, twice the size which a normal person could wield. Valyn detected magic from the weapon but could not identify the enchantment. Only that it was based in the school of conjuration. Taramis managed to examine it and determine that the scythe allowed the wielder to open a portal to a pocket dimension. Following Taramis' instructions, Valyn sliced a hole into the fabric of reality and exposed the small pocket. Empty, the party closed it and took the awkward item with them. El've searched the doors of the other two rooms. The first showed no signs of traps, but when the door was opened, a magical arrow covered in acid struck him and began eating through his armour. He was fortunately able to discover the trap on the second door, but unfortunately not able to disable it. A rainbow of light sprayed across his face and left him in a stupor. The effect passed moments later. The first trapped room was a small bed chamber and office. Dust covered everything. Some paper work, clothes and various personal effects of whatever officer called this 10 by 15-foot room home still sat where they were left forty-eight years ago. The next room was a little different. Clean and fresh, it showed no signs of time's deleterious influence. Letters written to "L" from "W" spoke of a project, and personal interests at home still safe. Flipping through a few of them it's realized the receiver, this "L" character, is from Ullondin.

With nothing else of interest, the party continued to the fourth floor. A set of double doors lead into an old barracks room. The walls were lined with bunks, three high. Clinging to the edges of each bunk was a single, severed left hand. Thoris approached to inspect them and realized what they were. A form of undead referred to as crawling hands. As he informed the group he'd gotten too close the hands, and they detected his presence. Suddenly they leapt to the attack. Three dozen animated hands with surprising alacrity clambered onto the bodies of Thoris, Embrith, and Yeofur. Struggling to destroy as many of the hands as quickly as possible, the party began to make headway toward survival. A voice broke over the din of combat and the hands froze in place. With another word, they returned to their places on the bunks. A robed elf stood in the hall and asked why his home had been invaded despite the posted signs.

As the party and the elf, who gave his name as Lanastas, spoke with one another, it was learned that he was a necromancer who felt the bodies of the deceased were a valuable resource which could be, and should be used to improve the lives of people all over Tauln. He was here in the pass to study and find a way to raise undead which were not inherently evil. He was also attempting to build a construct which could venture into dangerous or large areas to search for corpses to be returned for funeral rights and eventual reuse as undead. The party was unsure but willing to give Lanastas the benefit of the doubt. All except Yeofur who demanded Lanastas leave this place and do so appreciative his life was left intact. Standing up for himself, Lanastas debated with Yeofur until it seemed violence might erupt once again. Cutting the tension quickly with a slumber spell, Taramis left Yeofur snoring on the stone floor.

Lanastas understood that the party was only passing through and forgave the intrusion. He agreed to sequester himself in his chambers while the party searched Fortress Chape for any clues pertinent to their quest. With Yeofur conscious once more the party stepped out into the rain to investigate the balcony of the fourth floor. The corpse of a guard from Quasqueton laid abandoned with an arrow of goblin craft piercing the crown of his head. Keen eyes amongst the party notice a small form watching from a hundred feet above. Believing itself hidden it doesn't move as the party glances in its direction. Once one of Yeofur's arrows clattered upon the stone nearby, it turned and fled. Scouring the roof, Valyn found a makeshift ladder of handholds carved into the cliff face. Ailen boldly scaled the height and found an opening to small tunnel. Embrith followed and they found the camp of the figure which had just escaped. The tunnel went deeper into the stone and so the party made their way up and followed the path. Exiting into the rain once more a path was discovered and so the party followed it through the mountains. Squeezing themselves through a crevasse, goblins, armed with bows, leap out and surround the party. Dozens of them are over-head ready to rain death. The goblins demand to know why the party is here. Explaining they are searching for the trail of Rogahn and Zelligar, the goblins offer information in exchange for a favour. Exiles of the tribes have been harassing the goblins in an attempt to take their territory. Kill these exiles and bring back the ears of their leader, and the goblins would share what they know. A hastily drawn map is dropped to the party and shows the location of the exiles' camp.

Hours pass as the party makes their way, in the driving rains, through the treacherous peaks of the Cairn Mountain range. The clouds darken and the sun, though unseen, is making its way towards the western horizon. Finally, a camp is discovered. Three tents and a burning fire sit in a sort of stone clearing. No one seems to be home. A search of the area suggests they are out on a hunt. Lying in wait, the party prepares an ambush. Hours pass as the rain and cold penetrate the bones of everyone. Eventually the exiles are seen entering the camp. Expecting goblins, the party is surprised to see a bugbear, two lizardfolk, and four hobgoblins. Expecting to see no one, the exiles are surprised to see Thoris and Taramis poorly hidden in the camp.

Weapons are drawn by each side. The rain and wind promise difficulty in the next few minutes. Stones of the Cairn Range will wear the blood of the slain, but whose shall it be? Will the goblins have anything useful to share in the end?

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In Search of Wisdom: To the Scabbard Pass
Session 8: July 29th, 2018

Serenith 27th, 2568AG

The party ponders the research folio discovered in the hidden treasure vault, and with a Comprehend Languages spell from Thoris, they learn that it is a part of a journal entry about an expedition which discovered the Armoury of the First, and that whatever he discovered inside shook him to his core. He sequestered himself in a Hexadian Temple, with an order known as the Knights Concordant. As the are pouring over the information, a strange elf approaches and introduces himself as El've. He is an associate of Hobb, who has had to leave town suddenly. He hopes to join the group on their adventure, and after some discussion, they begrudgingly agree.

 

Serenith 28th, 2568AG

The next morning the party departs Fair Hill, heading north east attempting to trace the route of the long abandoned Hyveirdar Road, which once ran from Fair Hill to Fortress Chape in the Scabbard Pass, which is their destination.

 

Serenith 29th, 2568AG

A few nights out they are attacked by a giant spider, which they quickly killed.

 

Iomedan 1st, 2568AG

Another three days travel and they come to Arhxaeluun's Gullet, the River of the Dragon Turtle, which runs from the Ardor Gulf to the Sorrowful Sea. The waters are swift, the rocks are sharp, and the ravine is deep. The remains of the Eid'n Bridge are just two large stone arches on either side of the river, the bridge having been collapsed by survivors from the Fortress Chape during the Sundered War. With a handy grapple arrow, Garrick is able to set a line and assist everyone getting across safely. Headed north the party is soon slowed by the tall grasses of the Jaengin Savannah. Four feet high and thickly grown over the bulk of the land. Garrick begins clearing the grass as they travel, and the trail cutting allows them to make excellent progress.

 

Iomedan 3rd, 2568AG

Two days from Eid'n Bridge, the party encounters a small settlement. Worried it may be savages, they move to the east and camp for the night. In the morning Ailen and Embrith sneak toward it to investigate.

 

Iomedan 4th, 2568A

Approaching quietly, the two discover the small settlement is surrounded by a hedge of an unfamiliar plant. Coppery flowers, each with 5 long and narrow petals, dotted a four foot tall hedge of gnarled and thorny bushes. A slightly bitter scent wafted off the strange plants, and a thick sap the colour of patina could be seen seeping from the thorns. Not seeing anyone on the other side of the bushes, Embrith had Ailen boost him over to investigate. Meanwhile Ailen returned to the group, with a sample of the flowers, to tell them about the situation. Taramis recognized the plant as Iiccuullyykk, a very poisonous plant that the savage tribes use as a warning for great danger. Worried about Embrith's safety, the party rushed to find him. During this time Embrith has been poking around the small village and found that it was built by humans, and seemingly no one has lived here since the Sundered War, 48 years ago. Thatch is gone from every roof, beams sag, door are nearly or entirely off their hinges. A low grass and weeds have grown over the entire space. As he investigated inside some of the buildings, Embrith found tables set for super, with food rotted away entirely; only moss and mushrooms were left to grow in place of meals. Children's toys lay scattered in doorways, and tools on shop tables. Saddles and bridles hang from pegs in the stables. All evidence indicates that whoever lived here left in a moments notice. As Embrith looked around the village, an old tale from grandfather came back to him. After Fortress Chape fell, the survivors fled south. They came across the village of Rowanford, which looked like it had been evacuated, but there was no way they could have known to evacuate. The savages were still coming south, and these survivors had reached the village first. Continuing along the Hyveirdar Road, expecting to find the villagers on the other side of the Eid'n Bridge, they were surprised to find that no one had seen anyone from Rowanford. No one ever heard anything from anyone who lived in Rowanford. Realizing where he was, Embrith was excited to continue investigating. Only two buildings stood taller than a single storey, and retained their shingled roofs. A tower near the center of town, and the inn. Choosing the tower first, Embrith found it unlocked. The first floor was a small storage room with a few crates and barrels. Stone stairs lead to the upper floor, which was former living and working quarters to someone with arcane knowledge, as some aparati were on a work table. The room had been packed up and prepared for it's occupents departure, unlike the rest of town. Furniture was covered and moved to the wall, bookshelves were emptied, and unneeded items for a journey were safely stored in a locked trunk. By this time the rest of the party had reached the hedge and begun chopping their way through. Creating an exit for Embrith, they waited for him to return. Shortly after, he emerged with a trunk. Inside the party found old clothes and personal items of no worth, up on top of the belongings was a simple signet ring with the image of a Rowan tree. Despite the warning of the Iiccuullyykk, and the protests of Taramis, the party entered the village to investigate the inn. They found only rotted wood, and dangerous footing.

 

Iomedan 7th, 2568AG

Continuing north for four days, the party had little difficulty until they were nearly upon the fortress. Seeing the rise into the pass just ahead, the party are suddenly attacked by a pack of feline like creatures. With a shriek, the creatures peeled back the flesh from their skulls, inciting fear into Ailen and Valyn. One by one the creatures focused on different party memebers and began dividing the group into dividuals with the hopes to pick them off one at a time. Holding it together enough to keep their wits about them, the party managed to defeat the 6 creatures just before they dragged Ailen's limp form into the grass. A few dozen feet from the site of the attack, they party found the remains of another small town. Taking advantage of a few stone foundations still standing, they found a place to camp for the night, and lick their wounds.

Intending to enter the pass in the morning, they will investigate the remains of Fortress Chape. Will they discover something about the trail of Rogahn and Zelligar? What, if anything, is available about the Pearl of Wisdom or the Armoury of the First? What other terrors await them on the doorstep of the Savage Wastes?

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In Search of the Unknown: Into the vault
Session 7: July 8th, 2018

Serenith 8th, 2568AG

Ailen, Garrick, and Hobb stood in the tunnel staring into the glinting, unblinking yellow eyes of this hairless, blue skinned lion-like creature, with a mass of undulating tentacles in place of a mane. Worried that in their injured condition they would not be a match for the creatures which Valyn described as inter-planar aberrations, the three turned and ran back towards their friends. Garrick gave a mighty blast on his signal horn which reverberated throughout the entire fortress. The Akata gave chase, easily closing the distance. Two more emerged from adjacent tunnels, and joined the hunt. Hobb managed to injure one and avoid a counter attack. The rest of the party headed toward the call of Garrick's horn. With the entire group gathering around the known pit trap they hoped to use the choke point to their advantage, but a miscalculated step turned Garrick's leap over the trap into a plummet into it. With great luck he managed to avoid the spikes at the bottom, but learned something else laid in wait. A mold was growing in the pit and it seemed to cause a strong chill. Shivering already, with the feeling in his fingers beginning to fade, Garrick failed to clamber out of the pit, and collapsed unconscious. Taramis used a scroll to obscure the pit with fog, hoping to send the creatures into the trap, but they were able to navigate directly to their prey. One by one, the three Akata lashed out with vicious bite attacks, managing to wound everyone except for Valyn. Each bite victim, aside from Thoris, soon grew weak from an infection caused by the Akata saliva. Before too long, the party managed to slay the three terrors.

Returning to the search for the kobold chief, in the hopes that she would have or lead them to the signet ring they sought, the party followed the trail from the Akata cocoon remains, to the amphitheater style nesting area which was now unoccupied. A trail of dozens upon dozens of prints indicated the last of the clan was fleeing the area. The trail lead out into the forest and headed west. After several days in that direction, the kobolds would encounter salt flats. Breaking off pursuit, the party returned to lick their wounds, and search the fortress one more time.


Serenith 9th & 10th, 2568AG

Two days the party spent combing every inch of the upper level and managed to reveal two secret rooms which were previously missed. One contained construction supplies, and the other was dozens of barrels of food stuffs. Reading over the last manifest, and inspecting the barrels, they realized there was a discrepancy, and ended up finding a stash of coins. A note included in the stash indicated that two guards were stealing from the once masters of Quasqueton, and happened to mention the hidden vault was on the lower level.

By this time everyone had managed to fight off the infection from the Akata's, except for Hobb, who was looking very pale and sickly. As Thoris laid his hands on the halfling to ease his suffering, Thoris' vision seemed to be playing tricks on him. Before him was a pair of people in a single space; Hobb Roundydoor the halfling he'd adventured with for over a year, and an elf he did not recognize. Realizing he had managed or pierce the figment of an illusion, Thoris decided to think on the situation for a bit before saying anything to anyone.


Serenith 11th, 2568AG

With Hobb finally on the mend, the party descended once more into the artificial tunnel system below. Following Thoris' lead they relied on his Dwarven intuition to show them were the vault was hidden. Eventually they resorted to a step by step search of the entire level. By the end of the day, back in the chamber of the kobold chief were a secret passage was found. A narrow passage lead back to the cavern of the bat swarm, but also had a second passage which revealed a small chamber in which sat three chests and a set of low pedestals with statues and a pouch. Two of the statues, intertwined snakes, began to move and approach menacingly. Four cobra shaped creatures of iron attacked, but were able to be dispatched rather easily. Searching the chests, the party found them to be filled with coin, though the bulk was copper. Additionally were 6 gems, 4 gold bars, a leather folio with ancient vellum sheets inside, and the gold signet ring for which they have been searching the last 36 days. Finally able to leave the dark, dank, musty depths of Quasqueton, the party emerged into the star filled night, confident they would not need to return again. They camped in the forest and the next morning began their trek back to Fair Hill. 


Serenith 26th, 2568AG

Returned home, and once again the talk of the town, the party went to the shop of Idella and restored to her the family signet ring which had been taken from her nearly forty years prior. Overcome with joy, she sat and wept softly to herself. She wished she could do more than offer her sincere words of gratitude, but she had nothing else to offer. The party made their exit and went to tend to their own errands.

Later that evening they rejoined one another at the Azure Lamp and began inspecting the folio they discovered. Two very old pieces of vellum, estimated to be well over 500 years, perhaps even near 1000 years, have been stitched onto two newer pieces of vellum in an attempt to preserve them. The first is a sketch of a door in a rough stone wall. There is no scale to it, but it looks impressive none the less. The arch around the door had sigils which are unrecognized and strange iconography is on the doors themselves. In the center of the doors, and seemingly the main focus of the image as it possesses the most detail, is a circular depression. The second page is all text and is of a language no one immediately recognized. As Valyn poured over the text he realized it was an ancient and dead dialect of common. We was roughly able to understand that it spoke of a place called the Armoury of the First (which is what the image on the first page depicted) but without any further description or location. Mostly the page spoke of an amulet, the key to the armoury, called the Pearl of Wisdom. Along with these pages were a few sheets of modern parchment with the recognizable scrawl of Zelligar, in his personal cipher. After some work Valyn was able to unlock the secrets of the notes. They were a rough draft of research into the Armoury of the First and the Pearl of Wisdom. What little was present indicated that the expidition of Rogahn and Zelligar from 38 years prior, had headed into the savage wastes in search of the Pearl of Wisdom. They had a strong suspicious of it's location in a Hexadian Temple, though there is no hint, at least in this copy of the notes, to the location of the temple. It was decided that the best person to speak with about the folio would be Varki'hs Muscove, archeologist from Kivarshian Academy in V'lisdrice, the capital of the Kingdom of Glandauhir. With his reputation for being the "early to bed, early to rise" sort, the party decided to table the discussion until tomorrow.

As the night wore on and the party began to split off to their own interests, Garrick was summoned to the table of Wellyn Yll'Bramberg the Magister of the Market. She wished to find out what they had found in their recent adventure to a lost ruin nearby. Knowing full well the wealth adventures often find, she is looking to find a way to profit from the party.


Serenith 27th, 2568AG

The party arose to greet the day and their next adventure. What is the Pearl of Wisdom, and the Armoury of the First? Why was Rogahn and Zelligar searching for them? Did they find them? Is any of this worth pursuing into the Savage Wastes?

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In Search of the Unknown: What a tangled web we weave
Session 6: June 17th, 2018

Serenith 8th, 2568AG

With the wave of a torch, the webs blocking the tunnel ignited. Within a few minutes the path was cleared. Hobb and Garrick took point and snuck forward to a bend in the path. Turning back on itself nearly 180 degrees, a peek around the corner earned Garrick a close call, as a javelin whipped past his head. From atop a ten foot high ledge a kobold looked down at them with another javelin already in hand. Nearby, something glinted in the darkness. The rest of the group moved forward to help combat the seemingly lone kobold. When Aiden rounded the corner, the glint revealed itself to be the eight eyes of a cave fisher. Spitting it's sticky silk filament, it snagged Aiden, who managed to wriggle free of his coat moments later. The two sides traded shots for a bit before Embrith and Ailen managed to reach the top of the ledge, and Garrick was able to yank the cave fisher to the floor. It wasn't long before the two assailants were dispatched.

With Idella's family signet ring not showing up in this cave, and not having found anywhere else to search, the party was unable to decided on the next course of action. Some wanted to return to town and attempt to find a scroll of Locate Object to help them find the ring. Some wanted to search the cavern with the Akata cocoons. Others wanted to search the large cave the kobold Chieftess and her elite guard were in. Ultimately it was decided to send Hobb sneaking into the cave with the Chieftess. He successfully snuck up to the group and saw no sign of the ring. He then snuck past them to continue looking. He found a secret passage in an anti-chamber, but unfortunately when he triggered it, there was a thunerous rumbling. The kobolds moved to attack and the party moved to intercept.

A quick Web spell from the kobolds immediately complicated the fight, but after a slow, whittling combat, the party managed to defeat all but two of their number. One was captured, the the other, the chieftess, turned invisible with the help of a potion. Moments later the secret passage Hobb discovered began to open. Investigating, it was determined that the kobold did not exit via the passage, but rather opened it as a distractionary measure. The web spell was dispelled through no action of the party, and the exit to the cavern was opened by an unseen force. Tracking the kobold in their ways, Hobb and Garrick chased after her, with Ailen in their company. 

Running to the eastern end of the dungeon, they were able to follow, but not find or catch the invisible kobold, but encountered a blue quadrupedal creature, with a tentacled mane and beak-like maw. It appeared the kobold awoke at least a single Akata.

Will the party find the kobold chieftess? Is she even around? Will the battered group survive a confrontation with the blue inter-planar aberrations? Or will the succumb to Void Death and rise again as Void Zombies? I, for one, can't wait to find out!

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In Search of the Unknown: Elementals, Aberrations, and Undead, Oh My!
Session 5: May 27th, 2018

Serenith 7th, 2568AG

Having left off in front of a secret door, the party proceeded to enter the unexplored room, finding the workspaces of Zelligar. The first was littered with various instruments, but a rack of various material components drew the party’s attention, including a jar containing a cat suspended in a yellowing solution. An adjoining room had a similar set up, but on the central table was a jar made of smoky glass. When it was picked up, Garrick noticed what appeared to be two gems within the bottle. When he unstopped the bottle to retrieve them, a voice emanated out, “DOOMED TO CERTAIN DEATH!” The Bottle of Messages, having completed its task, shattered, then the shards and gems fell to the ground. The gems, being Elemental Gems, cracked upon impact with the floor, and a human sized water elemental flooded out from within each. The party closed in and attacked. The elementals managed to dole out some punishment, but were eventually physically destroyed, allowing their essences to return to their home plane.

Recalling a set of double doors they passed on their first venture through the stronghold, the party returned to the northwest section of Quasqueton. The doors, they learned, revealed the library. While most was ordinary for a library, they did find a large cage with giant fire beetles which lit up the rear wall with their glow. On the east wall was some research in converting healing spells to the arcane disciplines, and with it, a scroll with two Cure Light Wounds spells.

With nearly all of the main level explored, the party headed to the northeast section to complete their search. Three rooms in a long hallway turned out to be identical, in size, shape, layout, and trap placement. Having completed an inspection of the first room, the trap was sprung when the party attempted to leave. Falling from the ceiling, a thick slate tile struck Valyn on the head, and a heavy ash-ridden smoke began to fill the room. Coughing and gasping for fresh air, the party managed to break down the door and escape, the smoke billowed out behind them. After a few minutes, the smoke settled upon the floor.

Continuing along the hall, the party found a set of stairs leading up approximately ten feet. Having reached the stairs, Thoris, the keen-eyed dwarf, realized the floor of the hall they traversed was angled down a few degrees. Not enough to be readily apparent, but enough that over the long distance, they had descended ten feet. It was a feature apparently designed to confuse.

Further along a door led to the training room, filled with various fitness items, such as weights for lifting, targets for archery, a rope for climbing, blunt weapons for practicing, and a layered mat for wrestling. Hung on the wall near the door was a plaque sporting an impressive looking war-hammer. The plaque was inscribed with “To Rogahn, my most gifted student. A truly impressive and terrible warrior.” Detecting an aura of magic to the weapon, Valyn hefted it in an attempt to identify the enchantment. As he inspected the details, he found his hands shifted to grip it by the haft, and he tested out the weight. It felt right in his hands, and made his heart beat hard. Looking around the room, he saw only enemies to be defeated, and he let out a roar as he attacked his allies. Thinking quickly, Garrick managed to disarm Valyn and broke the enchanting curse upon him. Discarding the hammer, they party followed the hall and made their way through a twist of confusing halls, and a set of small rooms with many adjoining doors, but nothing to help complete their quest.

Deciding that they had thoroughly searched the upper level, the party descended the stairs to the lower level, breaking their word to the kobolds.

Entering a door previously ignored, a museum of sorts, partially built, and exhibiting frescoes of the lives of Rogahn and Zelligar, was discovered. With nothing else of interest, the party moved to explore deeper into the rough-cut tunnel system. Not far from where they descended, Thoris discovered yet another secret door. This one hiding a small room containing only three zombie bugbears. As the zombies were destroyed, their corpses released clouds of spores, but the party managed to shrug off any effects.

Shortly after the combat they found a section of hall way that was littered with stalactite and stalagmites. Garrick was able to determine that the formations are not naturally occurring. Cautiously he slowly worked his way through the mineral growths which varied in size from a couple of inches to a couple of feet. It was slow going, but he made it to the end without difficulty. Unfortunately, he didn't notice the trip wire. A massive log swung down and caught him full force, sending him flying back several feet, and piercing him upon the stalagmites. Learning from Garrick’s example, the party managed to cross the difficult terrain without further incident.

The next room the party found had a steel door wedged into place in some ad hoc masonry. Within, there were three bluish metallic looking eggs, each about the size of a human. Valyn identified them at cocoons, hold the hibernating forms of Akata’s; interplanar creatures which move between the planes and plummet to a planet’s surface from the void between stars, all the while fully protected by their cocoons. Once they detect the presence of food, by way of sentient beings, they hatch and attack. Their venomous bite can turn someone into a zombie. Slowly and quietly the party left the room and sealed the door once more.

Coming across a massive cavern, larger than any yet found, the party began investigating a couple of alcoves, however, a massive swarm of bats were disturbed by the movement and attacked. It took no time at all for the party to realize they were unable to defend against the assault, and fled. Braining storming a method of dealing with the swarm, the party realized that the nocturnal creatures would depart the cave to hunt within the forest surrounding the stronghold. Secreting themselves away in the hidden room they found the zombies in, the party rested and licked their wounds.

 

Serenith 8th, 2568AG

They returned to the cavern of the bats well after midnight and were able to perform a search which turned up no results.

Following the tunnels back the way they came, the party noticed a glow up ahead. Hobb snuck forward and found the source to be a large cavern with every inch covered in purple moss which glowed with a blue phosphorescence. The party had never heard of or seen anything like it and was unable to identify the plant.

The two tunnel’s presented to them lead the party back around to the section of the cave system where they encountered the kobolds on the previous foray through the caves. The party decided to head back to the cave blocked by webs which they had avoided before.

What creature has secreted itself away behind the webs? What else do the web hide within? Can the party handle the challenge? Will they find the signet ring of Idella's family?

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In Search of the Unknown: Come on in, the water's... DEADLY!
Session 4: May 6th, 2018

Serenith 7th, 2568AG

Having witnessed all his compatriots take chips of the mystic stone, Ailen too tried his hand. He felt a comforting sensation as if under the effect of a healing spell, but no other effect was noticed.

Moving on the party found a small group of kobolds relaxing and playing at dice. Surprised by the party’s sudden appearance in their subterranean home the six guards grabbed their spears. Moving quickly Valyn attempted to defuse the situation and request their aid in finding the signet ring they are looking for. Being distrustful and afraid, and having no knowledge of the ring, the kobolds attacked, but were easily dispatched.

Heading back to the main tunnel and heading further along, the group found a door looking a little out of place. Unlike the rest of the properly fitting doors, this one seemed to be installed as an after-thought. While the additional masonry holding it in place looked different, and perhaps simplistic, it seemed functional and sturdy. Hobb determined there were no traps and the door was unlocked. Valyn and Ailen were able to hear many voices talking on the other side. It seems there is a large crowd. Moving into the room they found it to be a large room with five concentric levels descending down about 10 feet, similar to an amphitheater. Scattered about the various steps were nests made of forest debris, about 2 to 4 feet across. Huddled around the nests and cowering were over three dozen kobolds, many of them children.

Aiden spoke with them and managed to convince one of them to help the group. He agreed to take them to the chief. A short walk later the party was in audience with the kobold clan’s leader, adorned heavily in various animal pieces, bird feathers, rat tails, pelts, antler pieces, and tiny bones of all sorts, all integrated into the purposefully tattered robes. Accompanied by 5 other kobolds, each well outfitted with gear of differing types, she showed no fear and admonished the young kobold as well as the party, who she viewed as invaders to her clan’s home.

The party requested the kobolds turn over the ring and in turn they would leave peacefully. The chief was not convinced or impressed and attempted to threaten the party. They in turned changed their tactics to match her aggression and managed to shake her resolve. In trying to keep face, the kobold leader offered a compromise they party accepted. The guard would lead them back to the upper level and the clan would leave them alone up there to search to their hearts content for the ring.

Back on the upper level, the party searched for areas not yet explored. They found the bed chamber of Erig, Quasqueton’s captain of the guard, which had a magic shield and magic mace hanging on the wall behind some cloaks. They also discovered Rogahn’s trophy room filled with the preserved pieces of various kills, including a stone basilisk, a stuffed and mounted cockatrice, the hide of a brass dragon, the skeleton of a dwarf, and holy symbols from some goblinoid race. Hidden behind the dragon hide, which is large enough for one light or medium suit of armour for a medium sized creature, Hobb found a scroll case with a Dispel Magic scroll inside. It would have come in handy four week ago when he was blinded in the room across the hall.

Still roaming around looking for the location of Idella’s missing signet ring, the party found a large room with fourteen ten-foot-wide and five-foot-deep pools, all varying colours and consistencies. Valyn determined four were emanating magic. Among the lot was a pool of healing potion, a self-sustaining koi pond, highly addictive and intoxicating red wine, a green slime which the party kept their distance from, a pool of illusory treasure, and a pool that made Valyn glow purple for several minutes.

Nearby the party discovered the cleaned out armoury and the seemingly ransacked barracks. Whatever or whoever had tossed the joint was either looking for something very specific, or just wanted to make a mess. The party was easily able to locate 86gp worth of gold, silver, and copper coins, 10 agate jems, and a small collection of weapons. Leaving the weapons behind the party exited the room and began examining three iron cranks in the wall they had noticed on the way in. Initially they would only turn clockwise, and only for a single rotation. They would then be able to run back for a single rotation. Nothing obvious seemed to happen when the cranks were turned, but there was the sound of clinking metal and a thunk when the wheel finished a rotation. Seeing no method to discover the effect, they party set the cranks to the opposite position they found them in, and continued forward.

Back in the empty armoury, they found an alcove with a large iron bound armoire. Defeating its lock, Hobb revealed a chain shirt and a spear from within. Surprising the party, Hobb cast Detect Magic and revealed them to be enchanted items. They party handed out a +1 chain shirt, and a +2 spear. Having completed his focus on the spell, Hobb glanced to his right thinking he may of seen something, and just barely manages to catch a cloaked silhouette as it melted into this distant darkness.

The next few rooms where the personal chambers of Zelligar himself. They found a wand of Magic Aura with a single charge left in it, a few books Zelligar seemed to be studying before he left, and trapped room that nearly cooked Valyn when he charged in to attack what he believed was a mimic, but was only an illusion.

Escaping that trap, it wasn’t long before they fell for another. Quite literally. Hobb, Embrith, and Valyn dropped into a self-resetting pit trap which dropped them into a near freezing vortex of water. Immediately they had to start fighting to keep their heads above water and resist the deathly chill. In short order Embrith managed reach the edge and get himself pulled out, while Valyn and Hobb struggled. As he started to swim against the current Hobb is momentarily distracted by another silhouette cut out of the darkness. This time standing in the doorway. Although he couldn't make out any detail, Hobb had the definite sensation the figure was staring directly at him. Having failed to resist the strong current, Hobb was soon pinned to the floor of the pool without air, and it seemed Valyn would soon join him. Hobb managed a feat of strength and free himself from a potential watery grave, and not without a falter or two, eventually pulled himself to safety. Meanwhile the rest of the team upstairs were attempting to retrieve their friends. They managed to get a rope tied to the door handle on the far side of the pit trap, nearly loosing Ailen as well. With two available ropes, Hobb Mage Handing them to Valyn, and a bit of luck, the psychic managed to get plucked from the icy maw of death. With some help from those above, everyone was returned to the upper level.

With a few chilly and wet members, the party forged on. Finding few paths not explored, the team decided to double back and reinvestigate. Passing through the hall outside of the kitchen where they encountered the dust mephit, Thoris happened to notice something he hadn’t before. There was a secret door in the east wall.

With baited breath we wait to find out what the party can look forward to beyond this mysterious door, in this enigmatic stronghold, in this crazy messed up world.

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In Search of the Unknown: A Mystical Stone
Session 3: April 16, 2018

Caydae 5, 2568AG

After a thorough search of the fungal garden, nick-named the Mush-room by Hobb, which turned up nothing, the party pressed onward through Quasqueton. Following the only path not ventured at the last intersection they crossed, the party found themselves walking what seemed to be a spiral of some sort; the halls were straight and getting shorter after every right turn, never offering any other avenue of exploration. At the end they found a door which shouldn't go anywhere as the wall behind was part of the hall they'd only just walked down. Hobb readied to inspect for traps, but seeing the party stepping back to leave him alone to any possible danger, grew irritated and flung the door open without any precaution. Behind was merely the wall, but adorned with the swirling and prismatic flowing lines of a Hypnotic Pattern spell. Most managed to shake off the enchanting effects, but two members stood dumbfounded. The party was able to quickly rouse their attention and continue on.

Backtracking a bit, an as of yet unexplored hall was found and the party set forth soon finding they had backtracked further than expected; the hall led back to the main foyer where they party had discovered the dead bodies and the unhelpful map of the stronghold.

Following one of three new paths, the party found themselves at the end of a long featureless hallway with only a couple of doors. One of which lead to a room that gave them pause. It was the bedchamber, and gilded cage, of Idella, the blind seamstress of Fair Hill. The party gained a clear picture of the horrors subjected to the now frail elder. The party continued on and discovered the bedchamber of Rogahn the Fearless, and his ego and paranoia became apparent. Four large detailed tapestries which seemingly depicted moments in Rogahn life hung from the walls. Three different entrances to his chambers were all secret doors, and one lead to a throne-room for the primary occupants of Quasqueton.

A single large set of iron double doors sat opposite the thrones, fifty feet away. They bore the images of terrible looking creatures, each in their own method, inflicting pain and injury upon defenseless victims. Without hesitation, Thoris was able to identify the stepped pyramid the creatures stood upon as representing a hierarchy, and each creature was a herald or emissary of Zon-Kuthon, the dark prince, god of pain. When the doors were swung open the party was taken aback at the sight of torture implements hanging from jagged hooks set into crimson stone, and the far wall adorned by a gruesomely detailed idol to Zon-Kuthon. As the party reluctantly began searching the room, Hobb pulled a gem from the left eye of the idol, and he was struck blind, at the same time as eight skeletal warriors appeared throughout the room and attacked.

In the first moments of the fight, the skeletons seemed too powerful to defeat, dealing telling blows to all in the room. Thoris was the first to deal grave damage [pun intended] to them by summoning the radiant light of Sarenrae and the bones of the attackers seemed to partially cremate under the effect. The battle raged back and forth, with each side taking heavy tolls. As skeletons began to crumble, members of the party also hit the floor, half alive. After a long fought and difficult combat, the party managed to survive in whole, by the skin of their teeth. Licking their wounds, they found shelter and secured themselves for a night’s rest and tending injuries. In the morning they exited Quasqueton and rode for Fair Hill in the hopes of securing a cure for Hobb's blindness, which had been found to be permanent.

 

Caydae 20th, 2568AG

Two weeks later they arrived home. Several hours of searching lead the party to the east end of the caravan market to a brightly painted cart owned by a half-elf by the name of Gyels. As fortune would have it, he had a vial of the substance the party needed, and they were able to haggle to a price that suited all. Pooling their coin, Hobb was restored his sight.

Garrick and Aiden took a day and worked with the parchment packets of purple powder found on the bodies of the kobolds. It had been found that the powder was an alchemical substance derived from a fungus, but nothing more. Pooling their knowledge and skills, the two were able to ascertain that the powder is an odorant of ground and treated shrieker spores. Shriekers, Garrick is aware, are a species of subterranean mushroom which possess of bizarre method of reacting to the scent of a creature, and emitting an ear-piercing shriek. The powder, they surmise, would allow someone coated in it to pass near a shrieker without disturbing it.

Having been surprised more than once by the contents of Quasqueton, the party decided to pay a visit to Idella and inquire what else she could reveal before they returned. As they explain what they have learned about her past (including her time as an employee of the Porcelain Tortoise, Fair Hills one-time brothel, a glimpse into her ordeals during her decade in Quasqueton, and her real name, Laella) the blind seamstress looks physically assaulted, and must quickly find a seat lest she collapse to the floor, tears welling in her eyes. She is given time to compose herself as tea is prepared. Once ready, she shares what facts she can. Much of the stronghold she did not see, and much of the rest has changed in thirty years. Convinced Idella has not hidden anything important, the party prepares to depart the next day.

 

Serenith 7th, 2568AG

Having returned to the stronghold, it’s found that the entrance is boarded up. Whatever remains inside is attempting to defend the stronghold. The effort of tearing the barricade down takes some time, but Garrick puts his back to the task and opens the path. Beginning once more from the nightmarish torture chamber, the party follows a few nearby hallways, and come across a set of stairs leading to a lower level.

Below, the first room holds carts of mining equipment covered in dust, but rather than the grey dust of disuse, it’s the black dust of mined slate. The tools show signs of having been modified for smaller miners. Continuing along the tunnels, there is a stark contrast between the rough unfinished lower level and the complete and polished upper level.

Coming to a fork with a thick web to the right, the party moves left, avoiding the possibility of a confrontation. Not much further ahead they discover a tall purple mushroom blocking much of a choke point in the path. Coating themselves in the shrieker powder, the party is able to squeeze past without raising an alarm.

Eventually they come across a small alcove and within they find a kobold cowering behind a large protrusion of white mica. The kobold explains that he is an alchemist working at the behest of his chief to understand the magic which suffuses the stone. Impatiently, Taramis places her slumbering hex upon the kobold who passes into a torpid silence. Prepared to leave the stone be, Hobb suddenly recalls that he had heard a rumor about a stone resembling the formation before them. If one were to flake a piece off and place it in the mouth, they would be granted a wish. As the group debated the possibilities and the risks, Thoris took a chip and placed it on his tongue. As the party looked on in shock, Thoris seemingly had not been touched by any effect, and is in fact fine. He then squints beyond them past the torch light, into the distance of the cave, and he realizes that his natural dark vision has been enhanced. Excitedly, everyone begins taking flakes and consuming them. One by one they are all affected. Garrick has his personality suppressed slightly (-1 Cha), Embrith has his dagger magically enhanced (+1 dagger), Aiden coughs out a large pearl (Thoris appraised it for 400gp), Valyn has his muscles withered (-1 Str), Taramis fades from sight (Invisible), and Hobb appeared to be completely unaffected by the stone.

As the party members adjust to their blessings and curses, we eagerly await their next steps through the black tunnels of Quasqueton.

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In Search of the Unknown: Kobolds abound!
Session 2: March 25th, 2018

Caydae 5, 2568AG

The party continued to search Quasqueton, former stronghold of legendary figures Rogahn and Zelligar. Following the "always go right" rule the party passed a few hallways and doors before finding one to try. An implement room that looked like it had been picked over and was in short supply of supplies. Hobb did manage to locate a lever secreted in the wall, but it didn't seem to do anything when pulled.

Further down the hall which ended in double doors, Hobb picked the lock and opened the doors only to find they were a trap. A wall was behind the doors and a portcullis closed behind them. Fortunately Taramis and Aiden had stood far enough back, and were able to use the lever in the nearby implement room to free the party. And just in time as a group of kobolds heard the sound and came running. The ambush didn't go as they expected and in short order they were pinned down. One attempted an escape, but Ailen, Hobb, and Garrick made sure his alert was not heard. The only items on the kobolds was their armour and weapons, and small vellum packets containing a purple alchemical powder which Hobb was able to identify as having been derived from a mushroom of some sort.

The party followed the halls around to the south, passing an intersection they had seen before, and so temporarily changed up their "always go right" method.  A long featureless hallway brought them to a door. Hobb was able hear someone on the far side so the party turned the tables and ambushed them. Another gang of kobolds. This group used their environment to their benefit, taking advantage of a fissure in the wall to enter a bizarre mushroom garden. A veritable jungle of fungi, left unchecked for decades, covered every surface. Two large copse of giant mushrooms, with some caps reaching eight feet in diameter, dominated the center of the room. Wherever the party tread a spore cloud was cast up, choking and poisoning the characters. The kobolds seemed to be immune to the effects. Between the kobolds being able to get off some ready actions and the spores obscuring vision, the battle was a bit more challenging than some expected. It also doesn't help that the kobolds of Quasqueston appear to be skilled warriors. In the end the party managed to pull through and defeat the kobolds.

What other extraordinary sights and deadly traps does the stronghold of Quasqueton hold in store for the party of daring adventures?

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In Search of the Unknown: Into Quasqueton
Session 1: March 4th, 2018

Irorus 17, 2568AG

The party arrived back home in Fair Hill to great fan fare. They regaled the town with tales of high adventure, that may have been more or less slightly exaggerated. The next day amidst the return to daily life for each of the adventurers they were requested to visit Idella, the blind seamstress. 

Within the seamstresses shop the party was privy to a tale of woe in which a young girl was kidnaped by non-other than legendary hero of the region, Rogahn the Fearless. She eventually managed to escape, but was forced to leave behind her prized possession; the signet ring of her family, handed down to her by her father, who had died when she was very young.

Idella had recently come into possession of a map, costing every last copper she had, which she believed showed the location of the secret stronghold of Rogahn and Zelligar. She requested the party find the stronghold, search it for her family heirloom, and return it to her. Anything else they find in the stronghold is theirs to keep.

 

Caydae 5, 2568AG

After 16 days in uncharted wilderness, after a brief encounter with The Great Hunter, a very old and powerful Owlbear which was renowned in the region, the party discovered the stronghold. After a bit of a dramatic entrance, thanks to a synchronized paired of magic mouth spells, the party began exploring. They fought a dust mephit in the kitchen, which escaped. They found a room which seemed to change the layout of the dungeon, before they realized they were being teleported between two identical rooms.

Having regained their bearings after the confusion, the party is ready once more to search the stronghold.

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