Dragonrealm

Arrival to Fargrave
22nd Session

The journey back to the Huntress was pleasantly unevenful. On the ship, they consulted their captain Celad, whose sea charts would take them to the city of Fargrave, of the titular Fargrave Peninsula. So anchor aweigh and they were off.

On the 12th of Shedding the Huntress was very close to the port, when a huge storm was about to hit the city. Trusting in their captain, who in turn trusted their ship, the Party decided to continue on their course and attempt to dock before the storm would hit. It was the correct decision. A costly one, but correct.

The Huntress lost her fore sail and collided with the pier, smashing it into pieces and taking damage to her hull. Thanks to Althea’s inspiring presence and Carric’s magics, the crash wasn’t as catastrophic as what it could have been. Still, the Party had arrived on Fargrave.

The city was facing a seasonal torrent, drenching the streets with an ankle-deep flood. The Party sought shelter in a local sailor dive, where all the life had gone. Amidst the loud laughter, fighting and gambling a trader called Galin introduced himself. Seeing opportunity to make profit, the dragonborn decided to act as a guide for the Party, taking them to a classier tavern: The Flameheart. In the round building with an inner, roofed courtyard facing a fire in the middle, the Party rested and talked with the proprietor and their new friend, with Althea making a lasting impression with her songs.

On the next day, Galin showed the Party his wares. Most of it was common trade goods, but his personal collection had some historical relics, along with a magical ring-like object. Althea, feeling her trading instincts flaring up, traded her scale of Khariss, along with a magical recipe for the ring and the relic. Acknowledging the danger involved with handling such a controversial object, Galin took the trade. He then offered a more mundane transaction: He could supply the Party for their journey to Trodgaf, and its wishing well. Carric took the ring and Dulkan got an amazingly crafted spear tip from the Age of War.

Now equipped, the Party was still lacking a clear direction. Having learned something about the dangers outside Mahturak’s influence, such as Remorhazes, greenskins, wild tribes and griffins, Carric wished to learn more. With Galin’s directions he found one of the few scholars of Fargrave, Xaviir. From him they learned some other details: The Peninsula mostly consisted of smaller valleys, each with their own name. In the ancient times the valleys held larger towns and trade roads, but time had not been gracious, and now most of the valleys belonged to the warring barbarian tribes… and monsters. Of the wishing well Adalrik’s corpse mentioned, Xaviir could say nothing.

Still having a little time remaining, Carric researched the griffins, having never seen them. Along with an autopsy, Carric found an interesting journal, written by someone who claimed to have lived with the beings. According to the writer, the griffins possessed sentience rivaling that of humanoids, but their territorial and aggressive nature had given them a bestial reputation.

With these facts in mind, the Party rested well in the comfort of Flameheart’s soft beds. It would probably be a long time when they have the opportunity for that again…

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The Living Tomb
21st Session

On the 8th of Shedding the Party had traversed the Misty Woods to their destination: An impenetrable wall of thick tree trunks, the Living Tomb. Althea was already there, having made her way from the river delta where the Huntress was docked. She had found the place with the guidance from a grateful group of wood elves she had met during her own trek.

The entrance to the Living Tomb was a thick, thorny bush covering a narrower, almost cave-like path. The cave mouth had inscriptions on it in the secret language of the Druids, one that Glinish recognized but couldn’t read. These inscriptions, in truth directions how to safely enter the Tomb, proved unnecessary. Glinish hunted a rabbit and presented it to the door as a gift to the Divines. The door, allowing access to those who came either for new burials or to those who came to honor the dead, understood this as a gift to the dead and opened. The Party, however, decided to make camp and rest before entering the unknown.

On the next day, 9th of Shedding, the Party again opened the door and took their gift inside. The walls of the Tomb were grown from living wood, thick tree trunks making columns that rose up to the dark canopy above. Ambient lighting, coming seemingly from nowhere, guided the Party further inside. Beyond an antechamber and a room bearing the name “Rogues’ Tomb” in a wooden plaque on the wall the Party found a chapel dedicated to Mishra and Sithrakh. Three passages led to “War Veterans”, “Great People” and “Leaders”, and an additional short corridor to a gallery with shiny treasures tantalizingly on display. But the biggest feature on the room was a large wooden vat full of still, clear water, again carved with druidic symbols.

While investigating the curious vat, Althea was reminded of a smaller one her mother used for scrying. When everything else failed, she tried her flute, playing a beautiful, enchanting melody. It drew a small spirit from the depths of the water to its surface, lured by the beautiful song. Althea asked the spirit to take them to Adalrik, telling that they brought him a gift. The Spirit then emerged from the water and flew into one of the passages, leading the way into the labyrinthine crypts.

Eventually the spirit took them to a smaller chamber, containing some tapestries depicting a tall, hooded character holding a staff in one hand and the Moons on the other, the same staff on display and an elf-sized sarcophagus of leafy sprigs. The Party had arrived to Adalrik’s crypt. They gave the gift to a receptacle at the bottom of the sarcophagus. Althea, now confident that the Living Tomb would allow them to do anything so long as it was respecting the dead, took a jar of unguent and stated that she would wish to apply it to the body. The sarcophagus opened, revealing the mummified remains of Adalrik, the Diviner.

Having gotten the idea from the scrolls they discovered in the wizard lair in Assarna, Althea began a chilling tune, one that drew a semblance of life back to the corpse. Tiny stars flared to existence in the dark eyesockets and an ethereal wind blew through its mouth, allowing the thing to speak. Althea asked the corpse of Adalrik where his secret lair was located. The Diviner answered: “In the Valley of Trodgaf is a wishing well. Light the Signal fires, and the fourth one will guide the way from the well.” Although cryptic, this message gave the Party a solid lead. Glinish, being wary of wizards’ lairs, asked him of its magical defenses. “Only clay and stone” was the answer.

Another question was whether the Adalrik would allow them to take his staff and spellbook, which was buried along with his body. The corpse was ambivalent, stating that he had created the items to be used. Emboldened by this, Carric took the book. As soon as his hands grabbed it, the spirit that had guided them to the crypt fled. Alarmed by this, he also took the staff and the Party fled to the corridors. After nearly becoming lost in the turns, Glinish used their tracks in the soft ground to backtrack to the entrance. However, it was blocked by a seemingly endless stream of skeletons, reanimated by ropy vines. Not willing to brave the labyrinth, the party charged, blasting through the bony guardians with magic and leaving behind splinters and embers.

Battered by the fight, they returned to the chapel, only to be confronted by another guardian: A huge elemental, consisting of flowing water, demanding the Party to return the stolen goods. Not willing to fight the imposing being, Carric stated that they were given permission to take them. A slight hesitation in the elemental’s being gave the sorcerer an opening, and with wit, guile and charm, he managed to convince the being to allow them to keep the items.

And so, the Party emerged back to the eternal twilight of the Misty Woods, armed with their next goal: Adalrik’s lair, which would hopefully contain powerful enough magic to find out where Edessa or the demons’ portal lay.

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Gwyn and the Hydra
20th Session

Knowing that the rangers would know their map was stolen, the Party decided to split to confuse any pursuers: Althea would take the Huntress and find a place to dock in the shores of the Misty Woods, while Glinish would lead the rest through the forest.

The journey to the woods’ took two days worth of traveling along the coast. Thanks to Glinish’s uncanny ranging skills the Party was not followed, and on 6th of Shedding they found themselves at the edges of the Misty Woods. Unassuming from the distance, the woods’ majestic nature became only apparent when the Party entered: The undergrowth was invisible under a near-constant white layer of mist, and the forest canopy rose into impossible heights, plunging the insides of the woods in perpetual dusk.

Knowing that word had probably gotten to the relatively safe northern part of the Misty Woods where the Kurrach’ border patrols would be alert, Glinish decided to risk the southern edge, which was Murguax’s private hunting field. As they headed south, the footpaths became deer paths, lined with sharp, nasty razorvines.

After almost a day’s travel, the Party happened across one of the hidden wonders of Misty Woods: A gigantic carved statue of a dragon, with glowing emeralds as its eyes. As the Party took in the wonders, Glinish let his senses merge with the land, attempting to sense the presence of any extraordinary beings, such as dragons. His worries were founded: A dragon was nearby, behind the Party. But he sensed another, more curious creature. A radiant being from beyond the material world: A celestial.

The Party picked up the pace, which was unfortunately futile. Murguax caught them. Carric used his magic to hide himself and the elf sage Sunder, while Glinish and Dulkan hid using only their wits. As the huge green dragon drew near, he was impressed at the Party’s abilities, revealing that he thought them as merely more competent spies. Just a scant few meters away from the hidden heroes, Murguax roared, sending a spike of pure terror into the hearts of the Party. While Glinish, being desensitized to the presence of a dragon and Sunder, trusting his newfound friends, resisted the urge to panic, Carric and Dulkan faltered. Carric, as an unconscious automated response, could only watch and take notes on the amazing being. But the slightest clink of his ink bottle was enough: Murguax fixed his gaze at the exact point where he was.

The Party ran.

Murguax breathed pure poison at Carric, more to terrify the sorcerer further than to merely kill him. Glinish, knowing that he would need to keep the party as together as possible, dashed after him through the poison, nearly dying in the process. The duo ran, the mocking laughter of Murguax hot on their heels. After realizing that the dragon was driving them towards somewhere, Glinish diverged, heading inexorably east towards their ultimate goal. This did not go well with the dragon, who became tired with the chase. Murguax landed in front of them with disheartening speed. “Your time is up.”

But in the thicket beside, Carric saw a light. He and his companion jinked away into the narrower path, merely inconveniencing the dragon who dived after them. The narrow, difficult path led to a serene little pond, with no way out. The heroes dived deep, just as another cloud of lethal poisons filled the air behind them. The only way was deeper down…

…and suddenly they surfaced. It was the pond, but different. The woods were knobbly and sickly green, small lights danced in the air and the stone they had dived from was smooth and carved with symbols. Sylvan symbols, as Carric could recognize. But most importantly, there were no pursuing dragons in sight.

Meanwhile, Dulkan and Sunder, along with Nini, Glinish’s pet pseudodragon had managed to find each other. Wondering about what to do, Sunder was contacted telepathically. Some entity offered them a path to safety. Wary, but without a better alternative, Dulkan and Sunder followed the directions. They were led to a promenade in the middle of the forest, with a clear stone floor and two rows of columns connected to each other by an arch. Each arch had a carving of one of the Divines on it. Their mysterious benefactor had instructed them to pray for Zariss, so the heroes investigated the archway… And found themselves in the same place, except that the columns were more ornate, more otherworldly… And there was a terrible, five-headed dragonlike monster waiting for them!

Again they were running for their lives, but this time the monster was stopped in its tracks by entangling vines. As they left the creature behind, their rescuer approached… A gleaming white horse with a golden mane flowing in an ethereal wind and a single horn proudly protruding from its forehead… A unicorn!

The unicorn, Gwyn, brought the Party together in the otherworldly realm they had found themselves in. She had helped them out of pure generosity and offered to lead them to another “door” where they could return to the “Other Side”. When questioned what the place was, Gwyn told that she was the last Beautiful One living in the woods. The corruption and poison that was seeping through the doors was the influence of what she called “the child”, apparently meaning Murguax. The green dragon had apparently managed a guardian of his own to safeguard these borders: The beast, known as Hydra.

Without hesitation, the Party offered to kill the Hydra. Delighted by the nobility of the heroes but fearful for their lives, Gwyn took their offer. After some planning, the Party decided to trap the remains of a landlocked ship in a clearing near the Hydra’s lair and lure it there. Ropes, hunting traps and nets would attempt to keep it in place while the Party would pour oil and fire on it. Glinish put his hunting experience to the limit as he set up the snares and the traps.

After the hard work the Party decided to rest overnight and tackle the Hydra in the morning, despite Gwyn’s warnings that people could “forget themselves” in the woods. Carric, however, returned to the pond, for the stepping stone’s sylvan symbols spelled a pretty poem. Inspired by it, Carric had a refreshing swim and followed it with a trip to another clearing that Gwyn told had singing faces carved into the stone. The stones’ singing lured the Hydra to the clearing, where it promptly gave chase to Carric.

The sorcerer fled to the ship, but his luck ran out. Three of the beast’s snapping heads caught Carric and savaged him unconscious. Before it could finish him, Gwyn charged in, kicking and turning its attention to her. The Hydra, finally catching the unicorn that had frustrated it, bit and bit, nearly ending her life. She teleported her and Glinish, carrying unconscious Carric to the ship.

But while the sorcerer was unconscious, her contributions were instrumental. Both Glinish and Dulkan had imbibed her flame breath potions, brewed from Khariss’ blood. The flaming breaths burned the Hydra, who pursued Dulkan right into the trap. Injured by the snares, flaming oils and arrows, it attempted to escape before succumbing to the flames.

With Gwyn’s magic, Carric was up again. But the Hydra had gotten her left eye, which refused to heal. However, the half-elf had no time to lament the loss, as the Party controlled the fire, extracted useful parts of the Hydra carcass and investigated its lair. Among the saddening remains they found the dead body of a dwarf, perhaps lured to his doom by an incomprehensible treasure map. Interestingly, he had a broken elaborate circular object with him. It probably was, at some point, a magical item. His warpick held clues to his identity, but the Party would need access to a library to investigate.

After they were done, Gwyn escorted the Party to a safe doorway to the Other Side. As a parting gift, she allowed Carric to cut a strand of her mane, a gift the sorcerer valued dearly. The Party traveled through the gigantic, beautiful tree and found themselves back in the Misty Woods, in a forgotten shrine to Mishra. After the longest and strangest night, they finally made camp and rested, pleased to know that the Living Tomb was only a short jaunt away….

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Journey to the East
19th Session

On the 23rd of Reaping, as the Huntress was heading towards Sunder’s hideout, they came across a single longboat, containing a man named Orrie. He claimed to be a survivor of the cargo ship that was carrying Athuin, the Paladin of Mishra. It was attacked by a giant shark in the dead of night, and in the chaos and confusion only Orrie survived. The Party agreed to search for any survivors, yet Glinish was wary of the man.

As evening fell, the Huntress approached Karhe reef, and the Party took the longboat in search of the survivors. Heavy rain was making the effort difficult, but they knew they had to try. Orrie desired to come along… for an ultimately nefarious purpose. As they left the hearing range of the Huntress, Orrie gulped down a hidden potion and cracked open a magical stone that unleashed a torrent of water, sinking the ship and nearly drowning Althea.

But with teamwork and Carric’s magical abilities, the Party regrouped. Carric, using the magical ring found from Assarna’s wizard lair, swam back to the Huntress, pulling the rest of the party on a disc of arcane energy. Glinish climbed aboard, just in time to stop the saboteur of sinking the Huntress with another stone. They were safe again.

The Party interrogated the man and found out that he, too, was a member of the Followers of the Guardian, and he had volunteered to sink the reinforcements to Bowmeet. After the questioning, Dulkan took him to answer another question: Since the Party’s and Followers’ goals were quite similar, why had Mishra given her blessing to the Party’s cause? This perplexed the man and he could not find an answer.

This time taking the _Huntress_’ longboat, the Party left for the reef again, this time with results: They discovered the survivors of the sunken ship, who included the Paladin. After bringing them on board and discussing the situation, Althea showed him the flower given by the druids. Athuin was impressed and suggested them to find a priest of Mishra and ask for a divine seance. Soon enough the Huntress came across a passenger ship who took the Paladin to Bowmeet.

On the 24th of Reaping the Party finally arrived to a small sheep farm where Sunder was hiding. After a heartfelt meeting with Althea and the retelling of the Party’s story, Sunder could provide the information he was privy to: The burial place of Adalrik, an ancient diviner. According to his information, Adalrik was a powerful wizard whose power afforded him leeway even with the dragons. He finally fell in the battle of Urktik between Sfara and Czarr, taking his secrets with him. But his body was buried in the Living Tomb, which lay in the Misty Woods.

The journey to the Misty Woods would take several days, each one another turn of the hourglass for Edessa. But it was a necessary journey. Before they undertook the long crossing over the Eastern Passage, the Party gave Pivot and Kenkirk, the arcane artisans a huge stipend of much of their amassed wealth. This patronage allowed them to leave for the wizard lair in Assarna, where they could start infusing, engraving and imbuing new magical artifacts.

As time inexorably sailed onward, so did the party. On the 4th of Shedding they arrived in Karvak, a port in the nation of Kurrach. The nation was ruled by Murguax, a terrifying green dragon. This was clear by the festivities in the misty and cold city: The annual Murguax’s celebration week.

The Party, after sampling the famous local wines, received a tip from Glinish’s contact: The local border guards in the Misty Woods probably knew the location of the Living Tomb. After direct pleas for the map fell on indifferent ears, the Party sneaked into the border guards’ barracks and stole their treasured maps. With those, the Party could plot their path to the Living Tomb, and great magical secrets…

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The Patron of Shadow
18th Session

The jailbreak went as well as it could have, considering the circumstances. Some wizards were blamed by other wizards to be the reason the university burned, and the situation escalated into a fistfight. Only after both Glinish and Dulkan came to break up the fight and start the charge into freedom did the wizards relent.

Using Glinish’ magical animals, the Party managed to create an opening. Ser Brack and the local priest attempted to stop the outburst of people, but the wizards’ magics thwarted their efforts. Dulkan managed to lead most of them to safety, aided by Glinish’ nigh-supernatural ability to blend into the streets… Par for a few. One of the aggressive wizards, brimming with fury, hurled a fireball to the Ashanti’s temple, causing death and destruction. Another one attempted to stop him from doing that, but he failed, only to be rewarded with capture. The terrorizing wizard fled into the mist, guided by arcane speed.

The Party collected the rest, mostly sages and students of non-magical matters. They questioned them for any knowledge on Adalrik or Ixthoth. One of them had studied the scraps and fragments of the latter and began compiling his knowledge into a written format. The Party then left, giving the sages as a gift to the Patron of Shadow, who had arrived to Bowmeet after nightfall. Glinish took the Party to finally meet the enigmatic criminal lord.

In the cave that the Party had cleaned of the horrid beasts, they witnessed the true identity of the Patron of Shadow: A green dragon who called herself Thivarax. Dulkan’s initial mistrust played right into Thivarax’s reason for being so secretive: She knew few would see past her being and hear her words. Carric, however, did not have the same reservations and engaged Thivarax in conversation. The Dragon first asked the Party to relegate their tale, and was especially interested in the details of Khariss’ death. Carric sensed that she was concerned that the Party would be the Dragonslayer.

Indeed, Thivarax explained that she had learned that someone, or something, had managed to kill a young dragon called Morathiss. This had happened several years ago (NOTE! I’m retconning this, realized some background stuff wouldn’t make sense in what I said in the game) while she was travelling the world, seeking a method to acquire power. Then, over a year ago, another one, Avarothul, was also slain. As both were quite close to her own age, she decided to look into it. What she discovered that these deaths were kept relatively obscure and no-one took responsibility. No-one but the Followers of the Guardian, whose devouts claimed that the Guardian was the one who had slain the dragons.

Now the Followers were spreading and Thivarax saw them as a threat to her own plans to end the hostility between the dragons and their subjects. The Followers would create more aggression and chaos, effectively ensuring that the dragons would quash them violently. Thivarax wanted to acquire power and prestige to ensure that her voice would be heard amongst the dragons themselves and hopefully, eventually, lead to a more respectful treatment of the other races. Or, at least, less indifferent.

Thivarax offered her help with the Party’s problems, opening her information network to their use in exchange for their assistance against the Dragonslayer. When she pressed them to swear that they would end the Dragonslayer when they finally found them, the Party avoided answering. They would want to know more before committing to an act of such finality. Thivarax made note of this, warning them that the lack of trust and commitment cut both ways, as they could use her help with finding Edessa and Ixthoth.

Before the Party left for Sunder’s hideout, led by Glinish, Carric exchanged a few words with the dragon about the nature of sorcerous souls. Thivarax expressed her view that the realm of the souls, from where Mishra draws new life and to where Sithrak deposits the departed, contains a lot more dragon souls than there are physical dragons in existence. Sometimes Mishra gives a dragon’s soul to a non-dragonic vessel, and that soul tries to burst through the weaker shell it inhabits. Those bursts of sorcerous power are the true nature of one’s soul attempting to escape. While this satisfied Carric, the dragon failed to give a satisfactory answer to her inquiries about the nature of Wild sorcerers, such as Edessa. Thivarax gave him a name of a dragon who apparently collected such magical information, called Zendikhar. She promised him a meeting, should he help her goals.

After the meeting was over, the Party returned to the ship. There, the wizards the Patron had rewarded them with had found out the true nature of the magical fan and the flying cloak the Party had discovered: They were parts of a gnomish techno-magical invention: A flying contraption! If the Party would discover the rest of the parts, or the blueprints for the whole device, they could perhaps rebuild the contraption. After this bit of exciting news, the Huntress undocked, heading north towards Sunder’s hideout…

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Glinish's Arrival
17th Session

The Party regained themselves. Carric, after being healed by the healing melodies of Althea, realized the situation: The being was Ixthoth, a lich who was imprisoned in his lair by Carric’s friend’s ancestor. The doll was an effigy of Ixthoth, and the pins held in place the swords and spears that bound him to the place. After the terrible battle that brought the victory over the wizard, the lair was sealed and all records were purged, lest no-one try to release him. The doll was guarded by Carric’s friend, who passed away childless. That is why it was in Carric’s possession, where it was then used to release the lich.

Disappointed and now suspicious of the Patron of Shadow, the Party returned to the Huntress, aiming to rest and tackle the situation on the following day. Borel, regretful over releasing Ixthoth, asked Carric for what he could do. In anger and frustration, Carric spat that he should find the lich’s phylactery. That is what Borel left to do.

Meanwhile, things were stirring. Glinish Furear, a servant of the Patron of Shadow, was collecting the wizards that the crime lord had collected to present to the Party when they would finish the task. Glinish organized a further meeting with his trusted joint, the Running Dwarf. On the following morning, the 21st of Reaping, the Party met at the dwarf brothel, from where Glinish took them to meet the wizards.

The Wizards were a pair of artificers, craftsmen of magical items. They knew relatively little of the kind of power the Party would require to find Edessa, the demon’s intended gate, or now, Ixthtoth. But they had heard from Sunder, Althea’s mentor when she was at Bowmeet, of a mage, Adalrik. The powerful diviner had lived in the Age of War and legend told that he had constructed wondrous, truth-seeing artifacts. While these artifacts were never found, Sunder had apparently learned of the place where Adalrik was buried in.

As luck would have it, Glinish had met Sunder. The elf had been moved to the northern coast and it would be a trivial task for him to arrange a meeting. But further assistance from the Patron of Shadow would necessitate another task, a show of trust: The indebtment of a shipping company that the Patron would then sweep under his wings.

This act of vandalism, while alluring in its directness, ran afoul of the Party’s moral cores. They instead presented their view: Thanks to the Patron’s request, there was now a lich free to terrorize the world, and it would be his benefit to speak with the Party directly. Glinish accepted this and arranged a meeting. The Patron would arrive to claim the now-empty smuggling cave for himself the following night. Meanwhile, Glinish decided to help out the Party, perhaps as a further bargaining chip with the Patron, perhaps because of his own motivations.

Meanwhile, the Party decided to free the wizards imprisoned by the Paladins for additional information. It would be a difficult task, but with luck, the Party wouldn’t even need the demanding and vague Patron of Shadow: Perhaps one of the imprisoned wizards would know more. They decided to infiltrate the Temple’s dungeon with magical invisibility and prepare for a diversion when the wizards would be free. The infiltration worked fine, but the amount of wizards and personnel was more than Glinish and Dulkan could feasibly handle. The Priests were alerted to something happening in the dungeon, the diversion panicked the ground floor, and the anger and confusion amongst the now-free wizards was getting to the boiling point…

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Locked for a Reason
16th Session

The Party decided. Patron of Shadow’s offer was the quickest way towards progress. Even if his end of the bargain would take some time, clearing the caves would be a quick task. How hard could it be?

Entering the caves was straightforward. A quick boat ride and a climb, made easy by Carric’s magic, was all that was needed, in addition to the Patron’s info.

Inside the jutting cliffs was a huge cavern, converted with wooden scaffolding to a storage area. The Party would later learn that this area was allegedly used as a haven by smugglers and other outlaws in the past, but was now fallen out of use due to monsters and tunnel collapses. The Party found both. Huge, monstrous carrion eaters ambushed them, severely injuring Dulkan and wounding Carric. But as soon as it had begun, it was over and the creatures lay slain.

After clearing the beast’s lairs, Carric discovered a large wooden door that seemed to have been sealed with heavy chain, now curiously un-sealed. As they needed to know what the area was, the Party broke down the door and continued on the tunnel. They found evidence that someone had broken through the sealed doors, now re-sealing them behind them.

Below they found a dungeon, carved with Quirion’s and Sithrakh’s iconography. The dungeon’s doors had also been well-sealed with thick iron doors, now almost rusted shut. The dungeon was as curious as it was worrisome, with ancient coffins and weaponry brought in from somewhere else. Moisture and seawater was everywhere, and the ankle-deep layer of water constantly streamed ever downwards.

At the bottom of the dungeon they found an impressive chamber whose walls were covered in falling water. Inside a group of Sahuagin were working to open an ornate, sealed door. Apparently the Sahuagin knew the Party’s reputation, for the Sahuagin Baron was extremely nervous. The Party gleaned that the sea devils were searching for a treasure, knowledge specifically.

Before the Party could finish the negotiations, the Sahuagin managed to open the door and began rushing in. Althea, invisible and wearing the silencing boots, used her family longsword to jam the door open, allowing the Party to follow in pursuit. The Baron escaped inside, only to emerge back momentarily back, zeroing in on Carric. He struck the sorcerer unconscious and grasped a curious prize: Carric’s skewered doll. Desperate, the Baron removed the pins even as Borel cut him down with the Mountain Carver.

Borel grasped the doll and heard a voice inside his head, offering immortality in exchange for him removing the final pin. As Carric was unable to protest, Borel took the offer. In the chamber that the Sahuagin opened, something stirred. An undead wizard of great power was freed. He teleported through the door that the Party hastily shut to observe them, granting Borel his actual prize: His continued life. Then it teleported away, leaving the Party aghast in the dark.

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Meet Bowmeet
15th Session

The Catalogue of Demons described Beligandir as a towering, horned being with gargantuan black wings, brandishing a flaming whip and a sword crackling with magic. One question remained: How would the Party even hope to defeat such a terrible foe?

Still, they needed to move, for Kolmhaag had exhausted its information. They would need some way to find out where Edessa had gone to. Carric, pondering on this, remembered that Bowmeet, a free trading city north of Dusk Coast , held much knowledge from many corners of the world. The University of Bowmeet was an unlikely jewel in the middle of the port that also saw adventurers, pirates and other unsavory travellers. After naming their ship the Huntress, after the fact that their immediate future would be hunting for information, the Party bid farewell to Kolmhaag and left.

After over a week on the sea, Bowmeet rose on the horizon. On the 20th of Reaping, the Huntress moored and the Party stepped out. At least for Dulkan, this would be the farthest he had ever traveled to. To the regular visitors of Duskport, the influx of new accents and things on sale were not as wondrous as one would have expected. But the posters were: The Cult of the Guardian, heretics and troublemakers, were wanted for acts of terror. Brushing these local concerns aside, the Party strode to the University. And they found blackened ruins.

The destruction of the University of Bowmeet came as a hard surprise to Carric and Althea, both appreciators of scholars. Inquiries to the reason of the destruction revealed that the Cult was to blame. During the last month, after Khariss’ death, they had intensified their efforts and had raided the library. Ashanti’s followers met their raid, and in the ensuing fight, the library burned.

Outraged, the Party headed to the Temple of Ashanti to speak to the current person in charge after the death of Dogi of Bowmeet at the hands of the Cult. Ser Brack, a Paladin of Ashanti, had taken order into his hands. He told the Party that the Cult had demanded for the disbanding of every Dragon Divine’s Temple on Bowmeet. Unsurprisingly, every cleric, priest and Paladin had declined, and the entire city had become the battleground in the cat-and-mouse game between the factions.

Ser Brack was sympathetic to the Party’s cause, as a demonic incursion was not to be taken lightly. But he was also hesitant to release any of the potentially heretical piece of information, nor the suspected wizards. As a symbol of mutual trust, he asked the Party to perform a task that he did not have the resources to currently attend: Find out what had happened to a ship that should have brought in reinforcements. The Party was disappointed to the answer, but promised to take a look.

Dulkan returned to the Huntress, while Althea and Carric asked for the local sea charts from a nearby tavern: The Mysterious Lamb. Dulkan discussed the situation with Celad, the Huntress’ captain. From the port, Celad had found out about a third faction: The Patron of Shadow. A criminal kingpin who had turned from thievery and corruption to aiding the war-torn Bowmeet. Intrigued and dissatisfied with the Paladins, Dulkan put out a message that he would like to meet the man. On The Mysterious Lamb, Althea and Carric found a message from the Patron of Shadow, stating “There are always options”. It seemed that the Party’s arrival had been noticed.

As Althea and Carric returned, Dulkan presented them with a message that had arrived to their ship: The Cult of the Guardian wanted to see them. Concerned with the Cult’s reputation, but not wanting to judge them without meeting them, the Party headed out to the meeting.

On the decrepit alehouse they found a mask-wearing human, who introduced himself as Sid, a devout Follower of the Guardian. The man explained their organization: The Guardian was a human, empowered with divine power who helped out free settlements in need and who slew dragons. The Followers had come from the far east, with a man called Master Oberon. Now that (according to their claims) the Guardian had killed Khariss, the Followers were rising up and resisting the dragonic oppression, one facet of which was the belief of the Dragon Divines. Sid explained that the Followers had great respect for the Party, who they saw as doing just work.

Despite Dulkan’s eagerness to help the Followers, Althea negotiated some time to think before any promises were made. For the Followers had a plan to release the prisoners and confiscated materials. Then they left the devout, pondering on this.

But on their way back, Dulkan’s message had bore fruit. A wine bottle, reminiscent of the one bought by the Patron of the Shadow in the tavern, was waiting for them, along with directions to a house. The Party followed the directions, resolved to go through every faction that seemed to want something from them. And at the house they found an unassuming halfling, stating that people called him the Patron of Shadow.

The Patron was revealed to be a rather sophisticated criminal, who now wanted for value and prosperity for the people of Bowmeet. He argued that while the Followers of Guardian wanted to bring security and the Temples of the Divines wanted to bring order, they did that via trust in some questionable higher being, or via draconic, dragonic attitudes and hierarchy. He thought that the best way was to bring liberty and mutual understanding to everyone. And that is why he had been garnering goodwill by spending his ill-gotten gains.

While the halfling seemed confident in his claims, the Party couldn’t be fully confident that the criminal kingpin wasn’t hiding something. What he needed from the Party was clear enough: He needed someone to clear one of Bowmeet’s southern rocky outcroppings for him to expand his operations.

With many options, the Party returned to weigh them to the Huntress.

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Preparations
14th Session

After the chaos in Kolmhaag had died down, the Party waited for Borel to arrive… and prepared. Carric dug deep into the daemonology books found from the secret chamber of the castle, Althea kept a close eye on Uratha’s mental being, unforgiving of his errors, and Dulkan wandered through his erstwhile home, soaking in the changes. He had finally cast off his family name, and was no longer a Kiln.

The hunt for more knowledge on Beligandir took the Party to Belelien, a resolute archivist. While she could name the book that the tomes were referring to, the Catalogue of Daemons, she did not know where it was stored, as forbidden lore was routinely collected from the bookkeepers and archivists. Her speculations were fruitful, however. They brought the Party’s attention to the Tomb of Salaris that lie in the Hallowed Halls, a holy resting place for Kolmhaag’s heroes. The occupant of this tomb did not exist, according to the archivist’s book.

As Dulkan had prepared the equipment for the journey at 12th of Reaping, Borel arrived… In the ship Lady Ashinka Drusia had promised them! Sleek and freshly painted, the ship was yet unnamed, waiting for the Party to give it a title. But this decision had to wait, for the Party left for the Hallowed Halls. All apart from Althea, who did not trust Uratha.

As the rest of the party hiked in the cliffs of the Weeping Mountains, soaking in the sights, they came across a grave threat: A troll that attempted to ambush them in the narrow path on the cliff! But thanks to Dulkan’s recollections of the legends surrounding the creatures, the Party knew of the dangerous brute’s weakness: Fire. Wielding his torch, Dulkan suppressed the creature’s regenerative abilities while Borel and Carric hacked and blasted at it. It was ultimately Carric’s staff that dazed the creature long enough for Borel to light it on fire and scattering its ashes in the wind.

Severely injured, the Party arrived to the solitary tower that hosted the Watchers, a group of old dragonborn who kept watch in the mountains for trouble. The only one left was Tiax, who allowed the Party to rest at his fireplace. On the next morning, the 13th of Reaping, the Party requested permission to enter the Halls to search for answers. They received it and left to find the Tomb of Salaris. Eventually they found a solitary tomb, sporting a massive stone door with ornamental keyholes. Thanks to Borel’s might, the Party entered the tomb, which was eventually revealed to be a vault. Evading the dangers within, the Party found several wondrous and worrisome objects. The lure of Ochrana was too great and the Party took everything: Magical boots, sporting skeletal motifs that completely silenced footsteps on all ground. A grand cloak that transformed into wings for the user that bore a suspicious resemblance to the great fan the Party had found earlier. The Mountain Carver, a legendary sword blessed by Ochrana. An obsidian statue of a demon. A bag of gold crowns bearing the image of old and now-forgotten dragons. And Catalogue of Demons, the book they were searching for.

With these windfalls the Party returned back to Kolmhaag on the 14th of Reaping to plan their next move…

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Secrets of Kiln
13th Session

On the morning of 7th of Reaping, Dulkan and Althea were reunited with Carric, who had ridden with haste from Duskport. The sorcerer had spent a few more moments consulting with the sorceress Yagasha about her time in Kolmhaag. Carric learned much troubling knowledge, but for the sake of Dulkan’s mind, decided to not share his findings. Borel had left the previous night to report back to Duskport and bring a group of Dragon Knights to secure the road.

After a quick breakfast the Party departed for Kolmhaag, hoping to reach the city by noon. They travelled the northern road, intending to ask the goat farmers about the situation in the city. In the nearest farm they found curious refugees: Merchants and other people who were doing well. They told their tale: During the first week of Sunburst the merchant guild suddenly started talking about relocating their wealth and operations from Kolmhaag. This idea had been shot down by the military side of the Kiln house, and tensions had been steadily rising. As the situation began to be hostile and even the local temple of Ashanti was invaded, the refugees had decided to take initiative and leave.

Without fresher information, the Party continued. As they approached Goat Town, Kolmhaag’s poorest district, Dulkan disguised himself to avoid being seen. The feeling in the city was oppressive: Armed mercenaries were guarding the shopkeepers, while the town guards were nowhere in sight. The Party even came across a group of thugs assaulting a man, almost in full view into the street. Deciding to intervene, the Party intimidated the thugs off and discovered that the man was Hayk, a local petty burglar that Dulkan knew. Hayk relayed the grim tidings of Kolmhaag.

After the Party had visited Kolmhaag to secure a boat to Duskport, the different branches of the Kiln house had been frightened: If Khariss was dead, what did it mean for the curse of Kiln? Was the house, and the city, doomed now? The merchants, realizing this, vocalized that they should take their wealth far from Kolmhaag in order to avoid the fall. The Chamberlain wanted to avoid anyone leaving and thus completing the curse’s implications, and pressed everyone to keep together.

Then Uratha arrived and intense speculations began. The curse’s existence slipped through and mutated into cult activity. Common folk became upset with the nobility’s indecisiveness and dark rumours and they started protesting. Uratha, fearful of having rioting in the streets, clamped down and sent guards to disperse the crowds. As the rumours of curses and dark magics fortified, the clerics of Ashanti demanded an audience and investigations. These too were deflected with force, and the clerics of Ashanti were arrested from their temple.

Now the situation had grown unbearable. People were frightened and wanted to leave. The nobles with most wealth on the line took to their ships. The rest of the Kilns, fearful of the knowledge of their curse escaping, pressed Uratha to sink the ships with flaming ballistas. This sparked open rebellion. The miners retreated underground and shut the tunnel entrances, the craftsmen and merchants bought mercenaries to threaten Uratha and the army, and the town guard enacted martial law.

And now, the guards had retreated to the fortress and shut themselves in. The rest of the nobles besieged Uratha’s fortress. The question why had eluded Hayk, and now, the Party. Knowing that the answer lay in the fortress, they decided to sneak in. Using Carric’s spells, they climbed Medrion’s Mast and got in the fortress without trouble. Then, wanting to know the answers, Dulkan walked to the nearest guard and demanded to see Uratha.

The guards led the party near the Main Hall, where Uratha had gone to perform an important matter. While Dulkan’s presence was important, the fearful guards dared not disturb Uratha’s meeting. Dulkan was well aware that they could incapacitate the guards and barge in. Yet, remembering the times he had been headstrong and broken rules, Dulkan decided not to. He allowed himself and the Party to be detained nearby for a moment and wait for Uratha to finish his task.

This was a mistake. A costly mistake.

Uratha emerged with two sages in tow. The jovial dragonborn noble was grim, a man who had made the greatest mistake of his life. Uratha took the party to a private balcony, where they could see the city. And then he revealed the most closely guarded secret of the Kiln family: The source of the curse.

After the Age of War, Kolmhaag was in ruins and was threatening to disappear into obscurity. But the first Kilns had a plan. They had come to possession of piles of knowledge from their opponents in the war: Demons. The Kilns contacted Beligandir, a powerful demon with whom they made a pact: For the price of regularly sacrificing a Kiln child to the ruling Dragon, the demons would ensure the Kilns would flourish. A mark would appear to mark the sacrifice. Seeing this as a good trade, the Kilns agreed. The curse was born. Not wanting to sacrifice their own blood, the Kilns started adopting other races into the house. Kolmhaag flourished.

But the death of Khariss changed everything. The pact, no longer being able to be fulfilled, unraveled. The Kilns started pulling their extended house apart. Uratha, in a moment of desperation, decided to contact the demons again. This idea was not well received and the other branches attempted to stop Uratha by force. He cast the ritual and beseeched the demons to forge a new pact. This one was deviously simple… For the price of a portal somewhere far away, in a place that would not affect Kolmhaag, the demons would bring unity back to the city. Staring into the fiery eyes of Beligandir and knowing that the gates were being broken as they spoke, Uratha agreed. The demon had disappeared in a flash, and as the magical connection broke, so did the caster of the ritual: Edessa.

As the dragonborn noble spoke, magical fires began peppering Kolmhaag, causing chaos and panic. The Party was horrified of Uratha’s choice, blaming and threatening him. But the fact that raining demonfire was most likely killing his enemies and opponents stayed Althea’s and Dulkan’s hand. Instead, they armed themselves with the silver weapons from Kiln’s contingency room and knowledge from their demonology books, while Uratha sent his troops to secure the city and aid the citizens.

The fires stopped as suddenly as they had began, leaving dead townsfolk and burning houses behind. Later on the party would find out that the fires had indeed killed off most of the dissenting Kilns, leaving only one person in command: Lord Uratha. Seeing as they couldn’t help the sad situation of Kolmhaag, the Party turned their attention to the future: The portal Beligandir was clearly coveting would take time to build, and it would require a spellcaster to complete. Since Lord Uratha would need to provide it, that left the party with few options: Prevent the portal from being completed, but that might just require another one to be built. Of course, allowing the portal to be completed would finish the pact, but then they would probably face an entire demonic invasion force…

Another way would be to summon Beligandir and slay him to put an end to the pact. This, however, would not be easy, as Beligandir is a powerful and old demon. Another, more direct would be to kill Uratha to destroy the pact. But would the good nature of the heroes to allow this to happen?

Nontheless, they would need to find Edessa. Her disappearance could have been, as the party hoped, a mishap from her wild magical talents, or it could have been Beligandir taking his prize already. Nontheless, they would have to search for her. But as she could be anywhere in the realm, it seemed to be a hopeless task…

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