States of Enchantment

By My Blade Alone

PLAYERS: Bill, Briana, Coleton, Jordan, Josh, Stephen, Tarvis

Roderick and Jez’ra dragged the bodies into the room before waking everyone up. Akyrin squeaked in surprise as she rolled over. Seeing as they looked the same, Maldrin was asked if he knew them to which he replied, “No.” At that point a brief discussion was had about party loyalty. The gist of it was that they’ve made a lot of enemies recently and things seemed to be coming to a head. Some of the matters affected certain individuals more than others, but you were either in for all of it or you should go on your way in the morning. Maldrin said he wouldn’t be staying with them any longer, but the rest of the party agreed. With that they all went back to sleep while Leviathis went out behind the inn to bury the bodies (even though Maldrin said that traditionally they were burnt).

The next morning Akyrin, Ray, and Ulhar went to visit Kayliss, the noble who fell ill (and also the noble that hired adventurers to kill the Eye of Al Ghautra… and to kill the vampires… he’s a very busy noble). They learned that Kane was his bastard son, and Ceassa used him as an emotional tool in her fight with Kayliss over the hillside mansion. Akyrin stormed out of the room in disgust when Kayliss said he’d given Kane’s mother enough to live on (because Kane was an orphan). None of them could really identify his illness, but coldfire, a rare phenomenon of the colder regions of the world, was suspected as a culprit since Kane had forced him to drink a blue-green liquid and severe chills and muscle atrophy were some of his symptoms. The clerics so far couldn’t do anything even with their magic. Before they left, Kayliss gave them the reward for taking care of the Eye of Al Ghautra. All 10,000 gold pieces were there so the other party must have never stopped in to claim it.

While that was happening, Oren and Roderick went outside of town to the east where they expected to fight the black dragon the next day and found an oak tree that Oren enchanted to defend their chosen battlefield should any dragons approach.

While that was happening, Leviathis went to the arena and asked Brock to help him rustle up some fighters to help with the dragon.
“Brock, there’s a dragon heading toward Falcon’s Rest. I need men.”
“What?? How big is it?”
“Hmm… Would it fit in the arena? We haven’t had a dragon fight in a long time.”
“No. Too big.”
“WTF!! Holy hell.Uhh… I’ll see what I can do. Come back in a couple hours.”

Everyone reconvened at the Beached Kraken to discuss their findings thus far. Maldrin offered some insights on coldfire which all but solidified it as the culprit of Kayliss’ illness. They decided to head to St. Cuthbert’s temple to see if their priests could help.Leviathis arrived as they were leaving and took Roderick aside to tell him what he’d done. Moments later Leviathis was seen sprinting back in the direction of the arena.

Little luck was had at St. Cuthbert’s temple. The high priest had never even heard of coldfire, but suggested they try one of two alchemist guilds in town. The nearest one was only a half hour away, so they walked there first… to discover that they had never heard of coldfire either. As they stepped out of the building and discussed whether it was worth the two hour walk to the other guild, an elven woman staggered toward the party in a very lithe, graceful, and discombobulated manner. “You think he can only harm you at night? He has eyes everywhere!” she said to them as she sauntered up in a slightly-aggressive, slightly-diagonal manner. Ulhar instantly recognized that she was dominated and cast dispel magic, clearing her mind of the controlling effect. She looked around dazed for a moment and asked where she was. Some discussion revealed that her name was Lady Fortuna, she was a nomad of sorts, quite crazy, and was met by a woman on the banks of the river to the west last night that matched Ceassa’s description. The next thing she remembered was standing there with the party. They decided to go check it out. Ray went to the other alchemist guild to scrounge up a cure for Kayliss. Before parting, Ray commented on the party being so crazy that they would follow a random elf, who had just threatened them, out of the city with complete trust.

Meanwhile, Leviathis returned to the arena. Using his rather imposing figure he “encouraged” (read: intimidated the crap out of) the staff to not spread around that there was a dragon. He waited for Brock in the bullpen. Brock told him he found a few men willing to take on the dragon for 100gp a head. Leviathis agreed and also offered Brock 2,000gp if he would also fight. He considered for a minute and finally accepted the offer. They were all to meet Leviathis outside the city gates the next morning (the expected day of arrival of the dragon).

Ray entered the other alchemy shop on the south side of the city and, finally, found someone who had heard of coldfire. Unfortunately, they would need a sample to develop a cure as he’d never personally worked with the stuff before. Ray grumbled at everyone’s incompetence, but learned that it would probably take the alchemist 3-4 days to develop the cure alone. If the party had a skilled alchemist, it might go faster. He returned to the inn with the news, picked up Leviathis and Maldrin, and headed west out of the city to catch up with the rest of the party.

When they got to the spot on the river there were no tracks to follow, although Akyrin did find a small piece of fabric with blood on it caught on a branch. Ray spoke with a squirrel and asked if it had seen the woman Lady Fortuna mentioned. It had. He asked it to show them where she came from and it took off running further west. “Follow that squirrel!” Ray shouted pointing at the animal. A look of realization that he was just as insane as the rest of the party washed over his face.

Two more castings of the spell later (about 30 minutes) they worked their way into a very thick stand of trees in which was a small cabin. The cabin had no windows (and thus no sunlight inside). The front door was locked. The party discussed tactics for a moment before Oren summoned a windstorm that began tearing the building apart. Leaves and branches from the surrounding trees whipped by, and Leviathis had to grab Akyrin by the tunic to keep her from flying away. After a couple minutes the building was reduced to nothing but splintered wood and rubble (fortunately there were no innocent civilians inside). Searching the area revealed a trap door beneath the dirt floor. Before opening it, Roderick cast a spell upon himself causing a blinding light to burst out of his body. He reached down and pulled up the trap door releasing the stench of death from the now brightly-lit chamber about 8 feet below. A ladder led down into the ex-darkness. Roderick jumped in and landed in front of a half dozen zombies and ghouls. “I immediately regret this decision!”

He braced himself and held his shield over his head for the other party members to climb down upon. The undead were no match for the cleric-turned-portable-sun and Leviathis. The two vampires that appeared at the back of the room attempted to dominate Leviathis, but his iron will fended off their mental assault. The howl of wolves could be heard outside and Oren, still above ground, transformed into a treant to defend Ray and Ulhar. The wolves came nearly within reach and then paused a moment for some unforeseen reason (the DM forgot to have them attack). The warforged and Maldrin made quick work of the two vampires and the wolves were wiped up in a similarly effortless style. Exploring the crude basement revealed hand and claw marks on the dirt walls, but nothing of interest besides the two coffins at the back of the room. Ulhar had disintegrated one of the vampires, so only one of the coffins contained a body. Leviathis decapitated it and then Maldrin dropped two torches in to burn it to ash. In the fiery glow, Leviathis noticed a symbol on the back of one of the coffins. He reached in and pulled the chunk of wood out, patting the fire out with his metallic hands. Once sufficiently cooled, he showed the fragment to the others. It was a crest. The same crest found on Kane and Ceassa’s coffins back at the mansion suggesting that they were part of their brood.At this point it was moments from nightfall, so Oren turned into a small dragon and carried Akyrin back to the Kraken. Ulhar teleported as many as he could, but Maldrin and his kitty had to run back. Fortunately, no harm fell upon them.

The next morning while they were preparing their daily spells and eating breakfast, Ulhar suddenly spasmed and fell to the floor coughing blood and extremely weak. Roderick fortunately had a restoration spell prepared and healed him of the 9 CON damage he had just suffered. A minute later Ulhar caught his breath and was about to get up when a second spasm hit him. This one left him weak, but not coughing up any more blood. He finished preparing his spells while Oren attempted to scry on the black dragon to no avail.

After getting Ulhar patched up at the nearest temple, they met Leviathis and his men near the forest to the east of town. During the night Leviathis dragged several large boulders from the woods and the river to form a rough semicircle of stones with the intent of providing some cover against the dragon’s breath weapon.They all arrived and then… they waited. For several hours. They arrived at the field around 10 AM and it wasn’t until nearly 4 pm that they finally heard the beating of massive wings over the treeline. Just before they thought it would come into view the beating stopped. Several tense minutes of silence passed as they looked around for the dragon. Suddenly Oren and Akyrin noticed two figures bounding out of the grass nearby but they were not quick enough to act before Ray and Ulhar were struck by their blades. Fortunately the poison coatings didn’t take hold of either of them. Oren shifted to rage drake form and roared as the two black dragon spawn snarled back at him…

Anything's Better Than Hell

PLAYERS: Briana, Chanell, Jordan, Josh, Stephen

Learning from their mistakes, our intrepid heroes felt ready for the challenge before them. The buttons were pressed and creatures appeared on the pedestals as before and immediately began attacking. In Roderick and Maldrin’s room two bizarre looking creatures with no eyes materialized and screamed, causing them to cover their ears as a deafening shout emanated from their toothless mouths. In Oren, Akyrin, and Jez’ra’s room two fiery spiders spat webs as their mandibles dripped hot poison.

As an enemy was slain it appeared in the other room fresh and ready to fight. The force fields at the entrance to the room kept flickering on and off. The party eventually figured out that they were tied to which creatures were in the room. They slew the proper ones and opened the force fields at the back of the room providing access to the second set of buttons. Ray counted down from six, and as he reached one, Akyrin and Maldrin slammed their hands down on the buttons lowering the wall of force guarding the rod at the front of the rooms. Some careful slaying of enemies then released the party from the chambers to join Ray as he grasped the scepter in his hand, holding it up for all to see.

They did not have long to admire the rod. Moments after they removed it a red-skinned devil with small horns, a tail, and rings adorning his right hand – among them an onyx sleeve on his index finger – appeared nearby accompanied by a monstrously large winged devil with a ranseur. “My, my… you’ve caused quite a bit of trouble today, haven’t you?” the red devil said with a smirk.

A look of recognition came across some of the party’s faces…
Ulhar: “How were you in my head?!?”
Jez’ra: “You’re the reason I lost my memory!!”

“Ahh, you were the one looking at me through her eyes, weren’t you?” the devil inquired of Ulhar. He then looked at Jez’ra curiously and began to speak again, but Ulhar, apparently not wanting to know the answer to his question, called for everyone to hold hands as he cast a spell to transport them back to the material plane. Before he could finish the spell, the devil reached out to Jez’ra and placed his hand upon her wrist for a moment. The spot he grabbed glowed a sickly, reddish black and Jez’ra looked weakened by the touch. A moment later he released his grip and the party disappeared from Minauros.

They appeared back on the Prime Material near Aptos on the road from Falcon’s Rest. Ulhar teleported a few of them back to the Beached Kraken and then returned for the rest of the party. While waiting for him to return, Oren spotted something in the air to the east traveling west. It was only a black speck at this distance, but the assumption was made that it was the black dragon whose lair they assaulted a couple days prior. When Ulhar returned, Oren pointed out the speck, and a look of anger flashed across Ulhar’s eyes. For a moment they thought he might fly off to meet the creature, but Ulhar restrained his feelings and teleported the rest of them to the Kraken.

Safe within their room they began discussing the next course of action. Roderick adamantly refused to even touch the rod, so Ulhar was determined to be its keeper for the time being. Next the three people that recognized the devil explained their stories. Ulhar mentioned how that was the creature he saw in his side vision when the black dragon invaded his mind. He had been handing a talisman with a white gem at its center to some woman. He noted that the devil was not wearing the talisman (so presumably he gave it to the woman after the vision ended). Akyrin recalled his rings as belonging to the man that set her up after she assassinated Larz Hinnigan. Jez’ra told everyone of the memory that erupted when she saw the creature. How he had been present after she faced Ghamilan Al Ghautra and was killed. As she awoke dazed he looked at her and said, “You should have stayed dead,” and then pointed his onyx finger at her creating a beam of crackling energy that didn’t seem to affect her. Confused, he stepped over to her and placed his hand on her head a moment before excruciating pain knocked her unconscious as he invaded her mind. When she awoke, her memories of her previous life had been wiped clean and several years had passed. After seeing him again, Jez’ra was unsure what the devil’s exact connection to all of this was, but he was most definitely involved in the Great War.

Our heroes decided to put the mysteries of the devil and the rod aside for the time being as they had a more pressing matter: a black dragon heading straight for them. Ulhar estimated that, based on the size of the cave he laired in, the dragon was most likely either large or huge and could arrive in as little as 2 days. Ray, Jez’ra, and Ulhar went to the city hall to inform the leadership of the city while the rest of the party waited at the inn.

The government building had a listing of events in the lobby, among them an informal meeting with the heads of the various merchant houses that afternoon allowing for a presentation by the people of concerns and requests. Jez’ra was asked to surrender her sword as they entered, but otherwise they were allowed to sit in on the meeting. Ray observed the proceedings for a bit to get a feel for the proper decorum before raising his hand to be heard. The noble behind the bench browsed the crowd, but passed over Ray. Not wanting to wait, Ray uttered a quiet suggestion to the noble to look at him. The noble’s eyes moved to Ray and he motioned him forward to the podium to voice his concern. After the appropriate formalities were tended to, Ray requested a private meeting as his was not a matter for public ears. The noble looked slightly irritated, but asked him to scribble down what it entailed. Ray passed a note to the guard saying, “A black dragon is heading for Falcon’s Rest and will arrive in 2 days. We wish to help. (Just keep smiling, we don’t want to cause a panic)”

The merchant furrowed his eyebrows thoughtfully for a moment before asking Ray to return in two hours after this session was concluded and they would discuss the matter. Ray thanked them and returned to the rear of the room to wait. The remaining two hours were dull and mundane with the exception of one woman’s plea. She said she found her son dead with two holes in his neck as though he had been bitten by an animal. The noble assured her that they would have guards scour the area around her home to find whatever stray dog or creature would have done this and take care of the problem and that he was very sorry for her loss. Ray and Jez’ra both noticed something in the way he spoke that betrayed he knew more than what he was saying.

After everyone left, the adventurers returned to the podium to discuss the dragon threat with the noble houses. The noble informed them that the city was grateful for the warning and they would increase the number of guards on the wall and prepare their ballistae for the dragon just in case. He asked how they knew it was coming for Falcon’s Rest, but seemed to accept their answer that they weren’t sure what it wanted. In conversation, it came up that Ulhar helped stop the Burning Eye of Al Ghautra and the seven nobles looked visibly impressed by the feat. Hearty thanks were given and a feast was declared to be held in their honor in 3 days’ time. The noble mentioned that Kayliss, another of the noble lords, had put out a request for adventurers to do just that. Were they the ones he hired? When Ulhar mentioned that they were, the noble suggested they stop by his house if they haven’t done so already. Kayliss fell ill a day or two ago, but he would most certainly enjoy a visit from town heroes. The three adventurers took their leave and returned to the Beached Kraken to share this with their friends before bunking down for a much needed night of good rest.

Shortly after nightfall Roderick heard a soft thud outside their bedroom door. Opening it cautiously he saw an elf with the same frosty blue skin as Maldrin slumped on the floor with blood trickling through the front of his leather’s while another was being lowered gently to the ground by Kane. “Do not think this a favor. I stopped them because your blood will spill by my blade alone,” he said as he silently released his now crimson dagger from the elf’s neck. Roderick fired a beam of energy at Kane, but he dodged it as it struck the opposite wall. Kane hissed at the warforged before running into the other room and diving out the window as he had during the last attack. If nothing else, it seemed they were safe from his vengeance… at least for tonight.

Hell Hath no Fury Like a Worm Scorned

PLAYERS: Briana, Bill, Chanell, Coleton, Jordan, Josh, Stephen

The worm released a bone-shaking roar before beginning its descent toward the party. Maldrin acted quickly to draw the worm’s attention away from the rest of the group by sinking several arrows into it’schitinous face. The worm sped off after Maldrin, but he was able to avoid the worm’s toothy maw. This gave everyone else a few moments to prepare while the worm circled back toward the less evasive meals. Thanks to a well-placed fly spell cast by Ray, the group was able to get into a position to attack the great beast, but not without injury. Both Leviathis and Roderick were held fast in the monster’s mouth, but Ulhar casually teleported them out of harm’s way. Akyrin flew up to the creature’s face and sunk her daggers through its eyes into the creature’s brain, killing it and sending it crashing to the ground into the side of one of the buildings.

With the remaining time on their flight spell, they swooped over to the remaining slaves and freed them. Hurriedly the party and their 23 rescued companions ascended the spiral steps inside the central tower hoping to find an escape route. Half way up the tower they came upon a room housing a lone imp acting as a secretary keeping track of who had entered and exited the archives below. He requested that everyone sign out before leaving, but did not appear hostile. Ray attempted to distract the imp while the slaves snuck past unnoticed, but as Roderick passed the mirror on the far wall he caught a glimpse of himself and vanished, his shield and hammer falling noisily to the floor. The imp turned around smiling and clapped his hands together gleefully saying, “Oh goodie, a new friend!” Maldrin, who had his bow trained on the devil in case it saw the escapees, unleashed a volley into the creature’s side causing him to teleport away.

Ulhar and Ray analyzed the mirror from a distance, and came to the conclusion that it was a Mirror of Life Trapping, meaning that Roderick was being held inside. Jez’ra and Leviathis averted their eyes and smashed the mirror to pieces, releasing Roderick, an angel, a nude human woman, and several smaller demons. The angel and demon noticed each other and there was a moment of calm before a fight broke out. The angel conjured a sword in its hand and jumped toward the large ape-like monster. The party took care of the smaller demons while the larger one summoned more tanar’ri: several bird-like creatures that began dancing and chanting and giggling. While they didn’t appear very dangerous, as the sounds of their chant unified and came to an end, a nova of energy burst out from them throwing everyone back. The bookshelves were cut in half, their contents spilling onto the floor. The mirrors were shattered, and the statues, cut in half by the blast, fell to the ground. Several of Roderick’s plates were disjointed and barely attached to his body. Annoyed, he tapped himself in the chest restoring some of the damage and marched up the stairs to find an exit.

At the top of the stairs, the party emerged into a series of corridors. Oren guided them toward the direction of the room they had entered through with the hole in the wall. Before they got there everyone stopped in the corridor and discussed what was to be done with the slaves. Several ideas were thrown out. During the conversation the party noticed a lemure appear around the corner at the end of the hallway. It looked at them for a moment and then turned around and left. A couple minutes later the party could hear a loud rumble coming from the same direction. They quickly ushered everyone through the nearest door, hoping to avoid whatever was coming their way. The rumble passed the door without incident. They decided right then that the slaves would be sent back to the material plane without the party and hopefully they would be okay.

Once they were out of harm’s way, the party explored the hallways they had stepped into to see if this would be an acceptable place to bunk for the night until they could recover the spells to send themselves home. They saw a T intersection at the end of the hallway with a field of force guarding a small alcove in which a rod floated. It had golden tendrils encircling a smoky green orb. Roderick and Leviathis immediately recognized it as the scepter King Shael used to control them. Ulhar attempted to teleport into the alcove to retrieve it, but was unable to. In addition to that, he determined that the wall of force had been modified slightly and a disintegrate spell would not be able to pierce it. Exploring further the party came to a pair of identical rooms. Four small platforms adorned the corners of each room and a single stone button on a pedestal stood in the center of each. On the far wall of one room was a blue force field and another button could be seen behind it. In the other room a red force field with another button. Ulhar and Akyrin entered one room while Oren and Leviathis entered the other. They both started pushing the button to no avail, but eventually they both happened to press it at the same time conjuring creatures on the platforms. Akyrin and Ulhar faced a pair of blue slaads while Leviathis and Oren faced a pair of salamanders. Ulhar and Akyrin fared far better thanks to Ulhar’s spells. Leviathis and Oren were nearly burnt to a crisp when Oren decided to push the button again. As he did so the creatures in both rooms vanished from sight.

Roderick prayed to St. Cuthbert asking how to retrieve the rod. The answer he received was “All shall face fire, but ultimately the stone eyes shall release the relic.” After healing their wounds, they filled the passage behind them with stone to avoid any interference and prepared themselves to face whatever the buttons conjured next…

The Ghost of Victims Past

PLAYERS: Briana, Bill, Josh, Jordan, Stephen, Chanell

Everyone drew their weapons in anticipation of what was coming around the corner at the top of the stairs. Radiating cold was rarely a good thing. Slowly, a ghostly figure appeared reciting numbers and races, “6,128 elves. 14,224 humans. 4,819 dwarves. 2,550 halflings. Etc.” After some questioning, our intrepid heroes learned that these were death tolls from the Great War. The numbers of people killed as the warforged ravaged the land under the command of King Shael. The ghost was not very responsive when questioned about what lay at the end of the hidden corridor behind the trophy case. Ulhar disappeared for a few moments and returned with Roderick in tow after receiving a telepathic message from the warforged cleric.

Venturing into the dark passage, Akyrin soon noticed a trap that appeared to have been deactivated already. Perhaps the knob she twisted in the bedroom disabled it. The passage descended in a spiral staircase into a triangular room covered in mirrors. The effect was very disorienting. Seemingly out of nowhere, a golem also covered in mirrors attacked the party. Every blow the party struck against it seemed to cut into their own bodies as though the damage were reflected back at them. Akyrin ran upstairs to get a blanket to throw over the creature which would possibly stop the reflected damage, but by the time she returned it had been slain.

During the fight, Ulhar’s vision blurs and he sees as though through someone else’s eyes. He is in a swampy area holding a green sphere, presumably one of the dragon orbs. Another white one sits at this feet. The voice in his mind says in Draconic, “Your weakness betrays you, young one. Tiamat’s hand comes for you.” While this vision is happening, Ulhar gets the sense that there is another part of it he can look at. He guides the vision away from the swamp and to a small kitchen. He looks out through a woman’s eyes at a handsome man whose hand is adorned in jewels and rings. The man is offering the woman an amulet. She reaches out for it, but the man looks deeper into her eyes. He seems to be looking at Ulhar, not at the woman sitting before him. The vision fades as Ulhar is pulled back into his body.

Oren began smashing all the mirrors around the edge of the room until he came to an unusual one. Although he was in his rage drake form, his elven self was reflected in the mirror. What’s more, he was shown nude as was anyone else who looked into the glass. It seemed to reflect their true selves and nothing else. Most interesting of the reflections were Leviathis and Roderick. Leviathis’ appearance was that of a hardy dwarf, and Roderick appeared as an aasimar. Our heroes attributed these odd reflections to the results of the Deck of Many Things they toyed with a few days prior.

As Oren placed his large clawed hand up against his elven reflection the mirror rippled slightly. Ulhar determined it to be a portal of sorts, but to where was uncertain. Oren stepped through followed by the rest of the party. They seemed to be moving through the portal toward a small room, but were violently pulled aside and out another direction. Everyone found themselves falling, nude, through the air outside of Larz’s front door. Everyone was stunned to silence for a moment. They all looked at each other and then simultaneously rushed toward the front door attempting to get back inside. It was locked. Akyrin checked the other windows and doors but had the same experience. Oren eventually succeeded at breaking the door down and everyone hurried inside.

Maldrin again questioned the ghost of Larz Hinnigan about the mirrors and how to get into the triangle room again. He was very unhelpful, but Maldrin did convince him that Kane was his killer. Hopefully this would prove useful sometime in the future. At a loss, everyone considered returning to the Kraken, but unarmed and unarmored, the journey through the night could be dangerous with Kane after them. Suddenly Akyrin remembered the odd poem in the journal that Sylas gave her. “Speak truth in the language of friends,” she said to herself. She moved to the door leading to the mirror room and said, “Truth,” in Infernal. The door opened. She spoke it again at the mirror portal. It’s reflection shifted to reveal a walkway to a small room in which lay their equipment and several books and documents. It appeared to be a secret study of sorts. Reviewing the documents, Ulhar and Ray learned more about the research Sylas had begun regarding the flow of time on the outer planes.

Each plane seemed to have its own calendar measuring events, so while in the written calendars events seemed to happen in different years, the flow of time was actually consistent across the planes. Each of the layers of hell also had their own calendar. What was odd was they found 10 calendars for hell and there were only nine layers. Further research revealed Larz’s and Sylas’ conclusion that a tenth layer was to be brought into existence soon. The precise date was revised several times in their notes, but they finally settled on a date about three years from the present day. Somehow the region of Sorradar in which they lived was to be syphoned off from the material plane and used as the base of this new layer of hell. The heroes’ eyes grew wide as they read this part. Unsure of where to go next, they gathered the research, delivered the two innocent prisoners from the festival to the jail for release, and returned to the Kraken for a good night’s sleep.

Everyone had decided to sleep in a single room to better protect themselves from Kane’s wrath. It was very tight, but they managed to do it. Akyrin slept beneath the window, and Jez’ra and Roderick, who didn’t need sleep, stood watch. Despite their cautions, in the middle of the night a light fog rolled under the door unnoticed by the two sleepless guards. It manifested between as Kane who plunged his dagger into Oren’s throat. He was startled to find Oren unphased by this typically devastating blow. Everyone awoke at the commotion and groggily rose to attack. Kane next sunk a dagger dripping with a greenish liquid into Jez’ra’s side who also seemed unaffected. At this point he realized that this was going to be more difficult than he expected. Ulhar easily jaunted away from the final dagger Kane threw before rushing from the room and jumping through a window.

The following morning, Jez’ra went to the temple of Heironeous to pray, and Akyrin needed some time to process everything that happened with Kane. The remaining members of the party, following Ulhar’s suggestion, teleported to the swamp from Ulhar’s vision that was east of Aptos (apx. 350 miles away). Entering the large cave subjected everyone to a barrage of explosions as glyphs on the wall glowed momentarily before releasing their stored arcane energy. The end of the cave seemed to be empty until they looked up and saw a huge hole in the ceiling above them. Oren and Ulhar climbed up and the others were on their way when a draconic creature with black scales jumped up from the hole at the far side of the raised tunnel and attacked Oren. It spat webs over the hole to prevent anyone else from climbing up. Oren quickly rended it and it’s body slumped back down the hole.

Once everyone was up into the tunnel they proceeded to the far side and looked down through the hole. Oren peeked down and saw several more dragonkin waiting for them to drop down. He pulled his head back just before one of them jumped and attempted to remove it with his sword, grazing the rock where Oren’s head was moments before. In a brave attempt at diplomacy, Ray obtained their word that they would not harm him if he dropped down to talk. He began negotiating with the creatures and trying to learn more about the dragon orbs when Ulhar also jumped down in a rage and began flinging spells at the monsters. A vicious fight ensued in which the black dragonkin were all slain. Looking around the party saw they were inside the hoard of a dragon. Maldrin’s eyes glittered. Before they could act they heard a roar from outside the cave. Everyone’s expressions drooped. They tried to quickly find and grab some of the hoard before Ulhar teleported them back to the safety of Falcon’s Rest.

Ray looked quite annoyed with the chosen of Bahamut’s actions and went up to his room to collect his thoughts with his pen. Roderick regaled everyone with his adventure during his absence. He explained how the portal was sending the slaves to a temple that had been damaged and they were being forced to work to repair it. He rescued as many as he could, but the slaves said there were several others farther into the temple. After much debate, it was decided that they should return to hell to save the rest of the unwilling laborers. Everyone was assigned tasks to collect necessary equipment while Ulhar studied the acid sample Roderick brought back. He determined that they would be journeying to Minauros, the third layer of Baator. While fetching supplies and some barding for his pet, Maldrin began to notice people watching him occasionally. Roderick acquired a tuning fork from the high priest of Heironeous that would take them to the appropriate plane and returned to the Beached Kraken to meet everyone for dinner.

Catching the King

PLAYERS: Bill, Briana, Chanell, Jordan, Josh

Our intrepid heroes decided to split up temporarily. Oren and Ulhar waited at the mansion to see if the vampires would return while Ulhar rested and prepared his spells. The others walked back to town. Upon everyone’s return to the Beached Kraken, they noticed that Mankirk had yet to arrive. A brief search established that he entered the city, but didn’t make it to the inn.

That night everyone staked out the inn at which Akyrin and Kane met hoping to find him. Eventually Jez’ra and Maldrin went back to the Kraken so Maldrin could sleep. A couple hours later the remaining heroes spotted a hooded figure of Kane’s size and build leaving the restaurant. Oren leaped to action and blocked him from leaving through the front door. Akyrin convinced Kane to go upstairs and talk. Kane nodded at the barkeep who nodded back and everyone went upstairs. While Akyrin and Kane spoke alone in a room, Ulhar and Oren waited in the corridor with their ears pressed to the door. Kane tells Akyrin how he just wanted them to be together forever. How he offered her immortality by making her a child of the night as he was. How five of his brethren are dead because of her actions, and now five of her brethren would fall as well. Akyrin pleaded with him to not do this and warned him against going into the hallway where Oren and Ulhar waited. He replied that perhaps they will be the first two to fall.

Kane opened the door and walked calmly down the hallway. Oren transformed into a rage drake and roared at the vampire who merely paused and turned his head slightly before proceeding down the stairs and out of the inn. Akyrin collapsed on the floor sobbing as Oren and Ulhar attempted to comfort her.

When everyoneawoke the next morning, the barkeep asked them if they were going to participate in the Catching the King festival. Akyrin explained it to everyone: To celebrate the fall of the tyrant king, a small handful of prisoners from the jail are released into the streets with enchanted crowns attached to their heads signifying them as “the king.” They are given a plain sword. Any citizen of the city may challenge the kings to a one on one duel. If the citizen wins they earn a small reward. If the kings can survive until nightfall they are released from prison. Most of the crime in the city is theft, embezzlement, and the like, so there is not a lot of real danger to the people.

The party is outraged that such a tradition exists and considers trying to put a stop to it, but decides against that. They plan to find the convicts and determine whether or not they are of an evil bent. If they are evil, they will be slain. If they are not they will be protected until nightfall so they can be released. After some hours of tracking they find the first king on a rooftop having just slain an attacker. He only stole some food to feed his family and was thus protected. They covered him in a dirty blanket on the roof and removed the ladder. The next two kings seemed to be travelling together toward the southern part of town. The tracks split, and the second prisoner they found was imprisoned for stealing from a merchant ship he worked on. He was consequently protected.

The final set of tracks lead to a dilapidated residence. The entryway houses a staircase to the second floor, but footprints on the dusty floor lead the heroes around the bottom floor into a side room. The footprints circled around that room and the party discovered the third convict hiding in the corner. Questioning him lead to the discovery that he killed a man in a bar fight. He could have stopped but didn’t. Jez’ra took it upon herself to end his life.

Meanwhile, Akyrin and Ulhar attempted to find Kane while the rest of our heroes searched for potentially innocent prisoners. They went to the place that Kane and Akyrin usually parted ways after their nightly meetings and looked for clues as to his whereabouts. Akyrin is drawn by a memory down an alley. Not really sure what she’s following, she climbs a ladder and finds her vantage point of the home of LarzHinnigan, one of her targets from her time as an assassin.

Ulhar and her climb back down and approach the building. As before, Akyrin climbs the tree to his bedroom window on the second floor and unlocks it, tumbling into the room. Ulhar simply teleports up there. Looking around, Akyrin finds a secret knob on the lamp next to Larz’s bed and turns it. Nothing seems to happen. Moving out onto the landing they are standing before a trophy case at the top of a staircase leading down to the main floor. Akyrin climbs the case and examines several items. When she picks up an hour glass filled with black sand the bookcase slides to the right revealing a hidden passage. She and Ulhar look at each other with excitement when they hear the sounds of a struggle coming from the first floor. They move cautiously downstairs and around the corner to find Jez’ra and the gang having just slain the murderer.

With everyone together, they venture back upstairs toward the passage. As they climb the stairs, a heavy cold begins flowing around the corner from some unknown entity. Everyone prepares for a fight with the undead…

Cleaning House

PLAYERS: Bill, Briana, Chanell, Coleton, Jordan, Josh, Stephen

Realizing the direness of their situation, Leviathis and Oren decide to barricade the room while Ulhar teleports to town for assistance. He arrives at the Beaches Kraken to discover Akyrin and Maldrin talking to a middle-aged human by the name of Ray. The man is a dragon scholar and heard rumor of the chosen of Bahamut being in the area. Naturally hs had to see for himself and offers to assist in anyway he can if only to be allowed the opportunity to learn about Ulhar. The party accepts his offer and they quickly make their way back to the mansion, desperately hoping that the warforged and druid are still alive.

The party gathers together and proceeds to sweep the first floor for signs of the blood drinkers to no avail; however, in the courtyard Akyrin finds a pressure plate in the stone fountain that reveals a staircase leading down into the darkness. The passage below is walled with stone and slightly musty. Listening at the first door betrays the sounds of movement to Oren’s keen elven ears. Leviathis kicks the door down and everyone rushes in expecting a fight only to find several humans locked in cages. Jez’ra confirms that none are evil and Akyrin goes about opening the locks. Oren and Leviathis attempt to speed up the process using their immense strength. Akyrin cracks open the first lock only to hear the telltale click of a secret mechanism being triggered. Her quick reflexes allow her to roll out of the way as a lightning bolt arcs out of the lock striking the wall just in front of Ray. She shouts for Oren and Leviathis to not touch the other cages, but their blows come crashing down sending small spikes into their bodies. Leviathis staggers for a moment as his legs seem to lose some of their mobility. He shrugs it off, and the party allows Akyrin to disable the remaining traps, but not without one of the prisoners becoming an unfortunate casualty of another trap mishap. The rescued people are panicked, but able to convey that vampires took them recently. The ones taken out of the cages don’t come back. All of them are shown the way out and sent back to town.

Behind the next door lie two coffins watched over by two lifesize statues. Oren touches one to remove the lid when Jez’ra says, “These radiant an evil taint.” Oren slowly removes his hand and wipes it on his loincloth. The lids are removed and inside lie the bodies of the two vampires vanquished upstairs. Leviathis promptly removes their heads turning their bodies to ash that slowly drifts to rest in the coffin. Continuing down the hallway the path comes to a T. Maldrin and Ulhar explore the room on the right which holds some books and weapons upon which Maldrin notices magical auras. They are gathered and given to Mankirk. Maldrin keeps the book and begins browsing its stretching and agility-enhancing exercises.

The other room seems to be where the undead monsters feed as it is covered in blood. A butcher’s cleaver sits upon a table. There is a passage off the side of this room hat the group follows. They come to a third door and stop to listen. Behind the door they can hear muted voices and farther down the hall past a bend they can hear some large creature moving about. The group decides to breach the door first. Knocking it open sends a fireball hurtling toward them and burning everyone. In addition an alarm sounds. Stepping into the room, the group stops when they see a pale human looking at them from the far end of the room. “You are not welcome here,” it hisses revealing its fangs and betraying its true nature. A fight ensues and the party finds themselves pitted against no less than seven vampires, one of which is a mage. The first six are slain and their gaseous forms retreat to their coffins, but not before several wounds are dealt to the party. Mankirk is nearly killed, but survives, hufdled in the corner nursing his wounds. The mage vanishes and Ulhar informs the party that she cast dimension door, so she can’t be far.

After dispatching the vampires in the coffins and looting the room, Oren flips the largest and most ornate sarcophagus over to hopefully prevent its owner from escaping when it returns. The party patches some of their wounds and proceeds down the last hallway to the sound of the large creature. When they get to the room they discover a jumbled mess of arms surrounding a single large mouth. The beast rolls around what once appears to have been a training room. They charge in and slay the monstrosity, releasing it from its magical prison and returning it to its home plane.

Moving back upstairs, our heroes consider their next move. Mankirk is sent back to town with the unidentified items since HD is useless in combat at the moment. Everyone begins checking the second and third floor and come across no additional signs of life with the exception of a single room on the third floor. Akyrin sneaks into the fire-lit room to find it devoid of both life and unlife. The rest of the group enters and they find a wine glass half-filled with blood still dripping down the edge of the glass as though a sip had recently been taken. A novel lies on the chair next to the table. It seems to be about an elf and a human who bridge the gap of racial tensions and fall in love.

The conclusion is made that the vampires probably will not return to this building. The sun begins to rise over the forest to the east. A welcome sight after a long night.

A Missing Friend

PLAYERS: Bill, Coleton, Josh

Story Summary by Josh

A Robot and His Dog
Leviathis and Oren enter the arena while Akyrin searches for Kane

PLAYERS: Bill, Briana, Chanell, Coleton, Jordan, Josh, Stephen

Story summary by Chanell.

Into the Bubbling Breach

PLAYERS: Chanell, Coleton, Bill, Briana, Josh, Stephen, Jordan

Recap from previous session:

The Deck of Many Things was introduced to the party from a traveling fortune teller, allowing the users to affect their destiny’s drastically. The rules were simple, ask for how many cards you would want, and accept whatever happened.

Leviathis confidently asked for five cards. His first card summoned a gelatinous cube inside of the very tent that they were at, which the party quickly dispatched. His second card gave him a dwarven beard. His third card stopped all forms of aging from affecting his metallic body. His fourth card made his body even stronger, allowing him to shrug off more damage from attacks. His last card made his body even heartier, giving him more health.

Jez’ra was next. Still new to the party, she seemed hesitant to draw anything. However, she eventually settled to draw two cards. The first card she drew was known only as “The Life Card”, and nothing immediately happened. The second card she drew was equally veiled in mystery, “The Flames Card”. Even the fortune teller was confused about the results.

Akyrin went next, happily asking for a single card. The card she drew immediately changed her gender, causing her to become a man. She immediately let her displeasure be known to the party.

Oren joined his party members by drawing two cards of his own. His first card gave him superior strength. His second card created a mountain of gems at his feet, which he simply shrugged off, his vow preventing him from taking the gems for himself he willingly gave them up for the party’s benefit.

Roderick decided to take three cards himself, keeping his thoughts to himself. His first card gave him a very powerful morningstar, unfortunately, it was too chaotic for him to handle. The second card he drew changed his presence putting him more aligned to an outsider. His last card was a mystery as he drew “The Wild Card”.

Maldrin, emboldened by his companions seemingly good luck with their drawn cards, demanded six cards. His first card drawn continued to make him draw cards as he was forced to draw two more. His second card blinded him slightly, making it harder for him to attack. His third card gave him a powerful breath weapon. His fourth card immediately struck him with weeping wounds, weakening him greatly. His fifth card made him swifter. His sixth card immediately caused all of his magical items to vanish from him. His seventh card immediately summoned a cohort to his side, giving him a friendly companion named Mankirk. His final card restored some of his lost vitality, increasing his heartiness.

Ulhar was the final member to request cards, only asking for three. His first card forced him to lose some of his precious wisdom. His second card gave him more agility. His last card forced his clothing, money and any other mundane equipment vanish from his body.

The party sold Roderick’s morningstar and Oren’s gems and the question came up on how to spend some of it. The first order of business was to replace Maldrin’s lost equipment. Akyrin was making a large fuss about her new-found manhood, begging the party to change her back. Under that pretense, Roderick voted to let her be “wished” back to her womanly self. Roderick also used his clerical power to restore most of the weaknesses inflicted upon his party members.

And then……….

When last we left the party, they were in pursuit of a strange creature that was attempting to kidnap people off of the streets. They chased it down an alleyway where it went through a hidden door that was barely noticeable. They charged into the room with reckless abandon, not finding the creature they chased, but rather two devil creatures wielding chains. They dispatched the devils with relative ease, showing that they were able to work off of one another’s strengths very well.

Exploring the building, they found what seemed to be a library being kept by an imp who appreciated balance in the room. They attempted to question the imp, trying to find the purpose of the building and of the kidnappings. Before they could press the imp further, he vanished with a handful of books leaving no trace of where he was. Akyrin inspected the books after they found they were written in infernal. This lead to more puzzles as they seemed to depict money movement and accounts in Falcon’s Rest.

They ventured further in the building and came to a large room with a large pool in the center. It was filled with what appeared to be a grayish mass of water that never sloshed over the sides. In the room, there also was the creature they chased into the building, shoving prisoners into the pool on the floor. The party wasted no time taking care of the creature and rescued the remaining two prisoners.

The prisoners were some of the kidnapped townspeople of Falcon’s Rest but had no memory of anything after they were kidnapped.

A room connected was full of jail cells, all of were empty with the exception of one that held two hell hounds. The party mercifully put the beasts down.

They quickly discovered that the pool in the floor was a portal. But to where? They could only speculate. They only knew that the portal seemed to be one way only, so returning through the same portal would be impossible. The party seemed a little torn at this point, debating on whether they should venture into it and discover what secrets the portal held or destroy it so it could never be used again. In the end, they felt there were more pressing matters in Falcon’s Rest that needed investigation (including the new ledgers and account books they found) and decided to simply cover the portal for the time being so it would not be used.

They informed the local authorities on what had happened, asking that they setup a guard at the building to keep it under control.

The party returned back to The Beached Kraken, preparing for the first day of the tournament.

History and Mystery

PLAYERS: Bill, Briana, Chanell, Coleton, Josh, Stephen

Our intrepid adventurers take a brief respite after the arduous goings-on of dealing with the Eye. After purchasing a variety of equipment to assist them in their heroic travels, they then decide that it is, indeed, time to head for Falcon’s Rest. Their goal is two-fold. One, to collect the bounty for assisting in the destruction of the Eye that was laying waste to the city. Second, to assist Akyrin in dealing with some as-yet-to-be-disclosed issues from her past.

Not wishing to delay further, they decide to use the services of their incredibly able wizard, Ulhar, and teleport just outside Falcon’s Rest’s gates. Upon entering the town, they run into a graceful being, garbed in shining armor and radiating a sense of good, justice, and all around attractiveness. Her name ends up being Jez’ra, a Paladin of Heironeous. After being introduced to Roderick, she decides to accompany the party, since they currently seek answers in the same place, the Temple of Herioneous.

Akyrin, being familiar with Falcon’s Rest, shows the party to the Temple. Upon reaching their destination, the party discovers that the back half of the temple is in ruins, due to the (possibly) indiscriminate destruction that befell the city due to the Eye. Jez’ra asks to see Tom, the High Priest of Heironeous, in order to find out what happened to others of her kind. Tom tells her to meet him in two days, at which time he will regail her with all of the knowledge that he possesses on the subject. In the meantime, he suggests seeing the sights.

Having gained this newly acquired free time, Ulhar and Akyrin decide to go claim the bounty. Having forgotten that they were supposed to meet in a week (their journey taking them much shorter than they thought) they head to the city’s government’s offices. There they learn nothing, but realize that they had, indeed, been mistaken. They are to await contact with one Dryden Corsair.

The party decides to get some room at a local inn, the Beached Kraken. This ship-shape establishment seems to be able to house them comfortably while they take care of the various tasks before them.

Akyrin then decides to go off on her own, to seek answers to the questions about her past that have been troubling her.

Ulhar takes the time to gather some information about the various goings-on around town. He discovers that there have been some recent thefts of laundry from the areas surrounding the Beached Kraken. He also learns of some mysterious disappearances that have been occurring on the north side of the city. Also, Kragg’s Pit has been fined for the fighting that has been going on in the pit and is threatened with being forced to shut down. Also, THE CIRCUS IS IN TOWN!!!!! for two weeks.

The party decides that they have earned some rest and relaxation, and while waiting for other events to take their course they think, hey, why not go see what’s going on at this circus. They enter a small tent and, shazam, as if by magic they are immersed in an area full of earthly delights. Roderick, Jez’ra, and Oren all try their hand at the ring toss and succeed, earning them some delightful trinkets.

They then come across a mysterious looking tent which ends up being the shop of one Madam Curio. This old crone proceeds to ask them if they wish to have their fortunes read. After Oren runs screaming from the tent some of the other party members agree to see if Madam Curio can indeed shed light on to their future.

Jez’ra: She is going somewhere hot in the future, with a lot of non-humans around. She is asked if she knows anyone by the name of Zizifrix (to which she replies no). She is told to “BEWARE THE FLAMES.”

Akyrin: Upon asking the location of her friend, Madam Curio reveals that she does not see Kane’s spirit in this world…. dundundun

Ulhar: Madam Curio sees Ulhar developing a much closer relationship with his god.

Oren (after recovering from his inital fear): Madame Curio sees him being reconnected with this leader sometime soon…

Finally Mandame Curio asks the adventurers if they would be interested in drawing from her DECK OF MANY THINGS…… of which a later journal entry tells the results.

After leaving Madame Curio, the adventurers decide to slough off some of the foreboding with playing whack a mole! Jez’ra sees that the carnie in control of it is rigging the game. Undaunted, Oren steps up and with an incredible feat of strength and dexterity manages to not miss a mole! His reward, a stuffed rabbit.

Finally, after their fun filled? evening, the group decides it’s back to the Kraken.

Oren decides to stake a watch out during the evening to see if he can discover the culprits that are stealing the laundry, lest the townsfolk be forced to walk around without their favorite breeches. During his stake out he notices two small, humanoid figures stealing the clothes off of the clotheslines. He follows, only too discover that it is a group of orphans that are stealing the clothing to use as pillows, blankets, and well, clothes. His heart weeps at the sight of the forlorn younglings, and he decides it is his duty to help them in their most dire of straights. He does what he can for them that night, and stays with them so that no harm shall befall them.

The follwing morning, Oren returns to the Kraken and enlists the aid of Akyrin (who is also saddened by the fate of the orphans, having been one herself) and Ulhar (who is also interested in seeing what being poor is like) to help those troubled souls. Oren spearheads the initiative, going to local bakeries in order to find employment for these down on their luck kids. He also enlists Akyrin and Ulhar in helping set up a sheltered area that is more “home” like, as well as supplying them with some food to get them through a couple of weeks. Their efforts are not in vain, and they alleviate some of the stress on the orphans…. and feel better themselves as a result.

During this time, Jez’ra and Roderick went to their meeting with Tom at the Temple of Heironeous. There, they learned many things that they then shared with the rest of the party. Apparently, Jez’ra’s and Roderick’s concerns about the Great War were indeed valid. They learned some of the history surrounding the creation of the Warforged. Apparently, King Shael, at the time of the War, constructed the Warforged with the assistance of his adviser Ghamilan (also responsible for the creation of the Eye of Al-Ghautra). The King controlled the Warforged though his scepter, and when he was assassinated at the war’s end, all of the Warforged shut down.

During this time, King Shael had a strict policy concerning non-humans. He required them to be strictly contained and submit to a census. This was coupled with the disappearance of many non-humans, which oddly coincided with the creation of the Warfoged… perhaps they were connected?

It is believed that Ghamilan has not met his end, and rumors abound that he is in some way connected to this devil that Tom alludes to. Jez’ra has a flashback confirming this. She, in fact, has been reincarnated to see about the Al-Ghautra – Ghamilan – devil connection. Perhaps the disappearances in the north of Falcon’s Rest are somehow related?? Will we ever know!!!? We shall find out (When Brianna concludes this part of the tale).

Rest of session summary to be filled in by Briana


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