Chornalth Adventures - Liga

Arc 3, Episode 35, the First Mark
The Belly of the Beast

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 10th of Goodmonth, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric (Murlynd) and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

The descent down to the surface of Celene took most of the following day, and on the morning of the 11th the party disembarked the Vlon’s Fury II and began exploring the upper, outer works of the pyramidal spellweaver node.

Sam did a bit of exploring inside the stacks that led inside the node, but didn’t see much of interest. Those waiting outside noticed that waves of arcane energy could be seen/felt washing over the area like a gentle breeze, but the energy was too diffuse and erratic to be of much concern. Eventually Sam re-emerged from the stacks, and the group made their way down to the main entrance.

After a short period of time, the group encountered the first guardians of the node, a pair of clockwork golems (Cabaren) that guarded a shaft that led deeper into the facility. As Sam was the first to close with them, Sam was shot repeatedly by the strange projectile weapons that they bore. These “ribbon guns” fired a trio of barbed knitting-needle like projectiles that trailed bright red ribbon into the wound. Sam quaffed a healing potion, which while it alleviated most of the damage, it made it twice as difficult to remove the needles after the fight was over. In the end, Mekkatorque clobbered one and sent it falling down the shaft (Squizzles tried grabbing the gun from the falling Cabaren, only to discover that it was fixed into place, and narrowly avoided dropping with it). Alexia had gained control of the other, and following her command for it to attack the other, it stepped off into the dark shaft to pursue it’s quarry.

When the group reached the bottom of the shaft, they found only the remains of the one they’d destroyed, the other having gone off down the corridor in the direction they wanted to go. About halfway to their ultimate destination, the group encountered a Prismatic Sphere blocking the corridor, but they used Dimension Door to avoid it.

At the end of the corridor, they finally located the chamber that held the device they’d been sent to retrieve, but it was guarded by a mix of more Cabaren, dire wights, and a number of black skeletons wielding kukris. The lack of air presented some problems, as most of Squizzle’s buffs required sound to be effective, and Elerra’s most effective spells required minds (or air) to be effective, as well. Eventually, on the far side of the room, a wizened mythic-level spellweaver lich showed itself, and it quickly became the target of everyone.

As we ended for the evening, the lich had just stepped back inside it’s Prismatic Sphere, right after it had encased Wilfred and Mekkatorque inside a massive block of ice…

It is the 11th of Goodmonth, 600 CY…

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Arc 3, Episode 34, the First Mark
Flight of the Deathspider

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 4th of Goodmonth, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric (Murlynd) and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

On the morning of the 4th, Elerra paid Squizzles the honor of informing him that no longer would she refer to him as a battle-mage, from now on she would call him a Deathsinger. Squizzles accepted the honor with …. reservations.

The group spent the next 2 days shopping for potions, scrolls, and ioun stones, against the possibilities of ability drain, the moon’s lack of atmosphere, and energy drain. At noon on the 6th, the party boarded the hammership Vlon’s Fury and began the journey to Celene.

As the ship reached Celene late on the 9th, the group could easily pick out the dead sea bottoms, ruined cities, and petrified forests with their spyglasses. The crew of the Fury also spotted another spelljammer, a huge neoghi deathspider. Spyglasses soon proved that the deathspider to be crewed by drow, and flying a flag that featured Lolth pierced by three spears.

The first wave of boarders used Dimension Door to reach the deck of the Fury, and the packed condition of the melee prevented the use of Fireballs and the like. On the deathspider’s second pass, it rammed the Fury, throwing Sam and Meroln from the deck. A lucky shot from one of the drow riflemen nearly killed Elerra, but eventually the party and the crew of the Fury prevailed, though the Fury herself proved to be too damaged to continue.

As the crew transferred their Helm to the drow’s vessel, an argument broke out between Elerra, Squizzles and Alexia over using a piece of skin from one of the drow as a material component for the Create Treasure Map spell, in the hopes of discovering the port from which the deathspider had hailed from on the moon. Alexia was adamantly against this (as she had been in the past when the target was a humanoid), and matters were made worse when Sam tried to use his tongue-sting to paralyze her.

While the arguers finally went their separate ways, the bad blood remained. As we parted for the evening, the newly christened Vlon’s Fury II was beginning it’s decent to the ruined spellweaver node at Celene’s north pole…

It is now the 10th of Goodmonth, 600 CY.
28800 xp

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Arc 3, Episode 33, the First Mark
The Grand Conclave

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It remains the 4th of Reaping, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric (Murlynd) and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

Once home, Allister promptly fell asleep, and remained so for three days.

Meanwhile, Elerra returned to Greyhawk, to speak with Kiamyr at the shrine to Ellistrae, where she discovered to her horror that not only was the shrine unmanned, but it had been so for over a month. There was no sign of the priestess, and the shrine had been robbed of all its valuables. Kneeling before the shrine, she prayed to her goddess for a clue, and was rewarded by a vision of some very familiar snow elves kicking in the door to the shrine and felling the priestess in a hail of arrows. Furious that she might have prevented her priestesses’ death, Elerra made what minor repairs she could to the shrine and then returned to Narwell to commiserate with her companions.

When Allister finally awoke, the general consensus was that Allister wasn’t quite the man he used to be. While his memory of the past seemed intact, he had very little memory of his time in the ruins of the nation of Geoff. Overjoyed to have him back under any circumstances, the Baron and his wife arranged for a grand celebration two night later, to which they invited many of the notable lords and ladies of the city, as well as the leaders of the various guilds and Alexia and her companions. Also attending the celebration was Lord Peralay of the Knights of Luna, from Celene.

It was obvious to anyone that Lord Peralay was somewhat distressed to be seated at a table with a drow, but those who studied his face closely could tell that this was mostly an act. He seemed to be using his distaste for Elerra’s presence to furtively study Meroln. Trying to distract Peralay, Elerra kept peppering him with questions, even going so far as to try flirting with him, which seemed to actively draw genuine distaste from the elven knight.

Later in the evening, Squizzles and Alexia pooled their knowledge to reveal that Lord Peralay, in addition to his honorable service among the Knights, was a close associate of Prince Melf Brightflame, cousin to Queen Yolande of Celene, and the two were noted for their battles together against both Iuz and the Scarlet Brotherhood. At the end of the party, he made polite farewells to his hosts and departed without a word to either Elerra or Meroln.

Following the celebration, Elerra and her companions returned to Greyhawk City to try and discover the fate of the slain priestess, and soon found that her body had been found in the street near her shrine, and had been given a pauper’s burial in the cemetery outside the city. After greasing some palms, she received permission to exhume the body, which she took back to Narwell and asked Lady Aerogenesis to Resurrect her, which she did. After Kiamyr recovered, she assured Elerra that revenge was not Ellistrae’s way, and that since she had been given another chance at life, that her plan was to return to Greyhawk and resume her duties. Elerra made a substantial donation to the costs of replacing the stolen finery, and then took Kiamyr back to the shrine.

Meanwhile Wilfred was hitting up his contacts at the Grey College, all of whom had conflicting theories they were only too happy to share concerning the Calcification; they were also abuzz with the news that two of their number, Maldin and Zajeth, were scheduled to duel one another the following morning over which of their interpretations were correct. After several hours of learning much about nothing, someone finally directed him to visit Professor Emeritus Lareth Holfen, aka “Crazy Larry”, one of the school’s founders who kept an office in one of the lowest levels of the library (or was kept there, depending on whom you asked).

While Lareth bounced from subject to subject for the better part of two hours, amid all the chatter he did recognize two of the sketches that Wilfred had brought along, and even seemed canny enough to identify that the drawings had been done by a dark elf. Both sketches he identified shared similar characteristics, in that he claimed that both “did not exist yet” and that he also claimed to have encountered both in his younger days, when he had explored a number of alternate prime material planes.

The first he claimed was the symbol for Imperial Londra, an island city state of deep depravity, which boasted skies of choking vapors and a strange assembly-line style of crafting magical items. Mekkatorque, who had been ignoring the chatter up to this moment with the universal distaste of all felines, also recognized the symbol, calling it a “Union Jack”, the national flag of a place called Great Britain, whose capital was a city called London, not “Londra”.

The second symbol (which Mekkatorque promptly dubbed a “Ferris Wheel”) Lareth declared the symbol of strange group known as “the Carnival Krewe”, a group of traveling performers renowned not merely for their lavish showmanship but for the trail of mysterious deaths, aberrant births, and general misfortune they left in their wake. Said to be based on a mysterious island washed by the blood of a dead god, on the world he encountered them they were an insidious force that local authorities were hard pressed to stamp out.

Before Wilfred left, Lareth confided that if he ever came across a supply of some rare mushrooms known to grow in underground caverns on Celene, he’d greatly appreciate them….

Reuniting with the others, Wilfred shared his experience, and then the group discussed it. Someone brought up returning to the Temple of Boccob, as being the deity most affected by the Wane of Magic, they might have new information. On the way there, Squizzles remembered that they had made an appointment with the High Priest before they’d fled the city back in Flocktime, so they were all quite surprised that the High Priest they sought had been killed the night before their appointment. The new High Priest, Olaf, stated that he was unsure what information his predecessor had thought to share with them, but asked what they knew.

Elerra showed him the Puzzle Box, and explained how she had used it to visit the audience chamber of some colossal being that had apparently assembled a coalition to bring about the Wane. As the High Priest was quite intrigued by this, Elerra opened the box for him, but when he placed his hand within, he and the box promptly exploded, showering the party in gore to their shock and disgust. The acolytes who ran to discover the source of the explosion found them all standing dumbfounded, and quickly realized that a horrible accident had occurred.

The High Priest’s chief understudy, a young priest named Kendar, helped the group get cleaned up and reheard their story, trying to discover for himself what had happened. he related that the original head of the temple, Lantraal, had been murdered near dawn on the 28th of Flocktime, by an assassin who had broken into the temple. As Lantraal had wished to be cremated, there existed no body with which they could employ Speak with Dead. But once the acolytes had finished scraping Olaf off the walls, it turned out that in death he provided some answers that he’d been less forthcoming with in life.

The information led Kendar to an ancient scroll (the tome which Lantraal has used also having done missing) that told of the Dawn Times, and how a few of the first children of the gods, the Titans, had set up their own kingdoms upon the surface of Chornalth, how they had made lesser creatures of their own (the giants), and how they had warred against the gods themselves. Those titans who had sided with the gods went on to become the first angels and devas, and those who stood against the gods and lost were consigned to the Hells, becoming the first arch-devils. But the few who refused to choose sides became the Forgotten, cursed by the gods to dwell forever apart. More importantly, the list of their names showed evidence h=of having been altered, one name in particular being missing from every source they could check.

Over the next two weeks, a council was assembled. Several other Temples sent historians, as did the followers of Delleb, Wee Jas, and even Mystra. Khelben sent one of his senior apprentices, as did Greykin, Mordenkainen, Tenser, Bigby and Theodain. Many theories were bandied about, and the assembled knowledge base did identify two more of the organizations that Elerra had discovered the symbols for, namely the “Lords of Emerald Thought” (a group of evil mages said to lurk in the shadows of Krynn’s Centrial City), and the “Council of Wyrms” (a group of mages said to have broken off of the Cult of the Dragon on Beregond).

An ancient tome from Beregond proved to be useful as well, as it spoke of a time in the future when the Weave of Magic would curdle and fail, one of the final steps toward this being known as ‘the Putrification’, a time when even the most casual spell-casting would impose spell plagues and worse on arcane casters on all the worlds. This would soon be followed by the collapse of arcane magic in general.

One of the dignitaries at the conclave then put forth the suggestion that in the distant past, a race presently known as spell-weavers (their own name for themselves being the Sykarans) had ruled a vast inter-dimensional empire that had fallen to ruin over 50,000 years previously. While little is known of their empire or it’s history, it was known that one of their cities (or nodes) had been on Celene, and that prior to it’s destruction, divine magic had been suppressed over the whole of it’s surface for several decades. It was then suggested that perhaps what was being put into motion to corrupt and destabilize arcane magic might be based in whole or in part upon whatever experiments the Sykarans were doing prior to it all blowing up on them and their empire collapsing into ruins scattered across the multiverse.

On the 2nd of Goodmonth, as the Conclave was beginning to fall into petty disagreements and generally unraveling, a young urchin appeared on the steps, and asked to speak to Alexia, whom he informed that Galen was back in town and had work for the party, if they were interested in it. Alexia then rounded up the party and met with Galen later that evening at the Green Dragon Inn.

After exchanging pleasantries, Galen informed them that he actually had three tasks for them. The first of which would involve a journey to Celene, into the very heart of the spell-weaver node located at the moon’s north pole, to recover a piece of the engine which had suppressed divine magic. he offered the group 15,000 gold each for the successful completion of the mission, and would provide them with a spelljammer crew willing to transport them there as well. He warned them that the moon was populated mainly by undead, and that even after 500 centuries, undead spell-weavers or their construct servants (known as Cabaren) might still guard the facility.

As we broke for the evening, Galen informed the party that the crew would be at their disposal for the next week and a half, so they had a few days to equip themselves for the journey…

it is now the 3rd of Goodmonth, 600 CY.

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Arc 3, Episode 32, the First Mark

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It remains the 4th of Reaping, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric (Murlynd) and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

As the party defeated the first wave of guards, Wilfred and Mekkatorque returned from whatever dimension they’d been Summoned off to and rejoined the fight. Shortly thereafter, the illithid returned, using it’s Mind Blast on the cluster of people fighting near Wilfred and ultimately stunning Mekkatorque. Elerra responded by hitting the illithid with a mythic-fueled Confusion like she had Skagmolax, but Sam moved to attack the illithid, which then concentrated it’s attacks on him, alternating Mind Blasts and psionics.

Meanwhile, Meroln valiantly hacked at the Wall of Force guarding the entrance to Allister’s cell while more guards and a beholder arrived, just as the last of the original guards were falling. Those guards who practiced the Soulbolt disciple kept to the lowest level of the prison, while those who were more traditional Soulknives were forced to race for the elevator (which, ultimately, cost them their lives, as between Elerra blasting them with spells and Wilfred’s Summoning a huge air elemental, they were dead before the elevator made it to the third level).

The beholder was eventually slain by a combination of Elerra blasting it with an Acid-elemental mythic Fireball, and Meroln taking a moment or two off from smashing his sword against the Wall of Force to finish it off before it could manage to succeed with any of it’s deadlier eye rays. Upstairs, Sam divided his attacks between the illithid and a duergar who has obviously rushed to the alarm, as he was unarmored. between Sam and Giselle, he soon fell, revealing that he wore a complicated jeweled bracer. Eventually, though, Sam, weakened by one of the illithid’s psionic attacks, eventually fell victim to the Mind Blast.

Seeing that Sam was about to become calamari for real, Wilfred summoned an earth elemental to bull rush the illithid off the balcony, but it’s Levitation kept it from plunging to it’s doom. It then used that Levitation on Sam and began drawing him towards itself. Wilfred then summoned the aforementioned air elemental to try and keep them apart, but it failed to do so (so he sent it spinning around the room to assault the guards). Giselle raced around the balcony to bring the bracer to Squizzles, who had been bolstering Meroln’s assault on the Wall of Force.

In short order, the illithid was slain, the bracer used to unlock Allister’s cell, and the heavy thudding footfalls of proper giants could be heard in the distance. Sam and his previously dropped sword were recovered, Allister, likewise, was thrown over a shoulder, and as a trio of furious fire giants arrived in the cell block, Elerra put a Wall of Force in their way and the party beat a hasty retreat back the way they’d come, using Vhaeraun’s key to return to Narwell…

It is still the 4th of Reaping, 600 CY.
38400 xp

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Arc 3, Episode 31, the First Mark
Down Under Deepholm

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 4th of Reaping, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric (Murlynd) and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

After maxing out their preparatory spells, they sent Squizzles and Sam through the door to begin scouting, but both quickly reported back that as soon as they crossed the threshold, a Bane effect sprang into being. Alexia countered it with a Bless, and Elerra detected that a Dimensional Anchor was in place as well as she crossed into Deepholm.

The corridor they were in led perhaps 70’ before turning, and beyond the bend the corridor became a trench that ran 10’ beneath the surface of a larger chamber. Sam climbed the walls to peak over the edge, and quickly spotted a huge red dragon dozing near the neatest and best-kept treasure horde he’d ever seen; Squizzles later identified the dragon as likely being named Skagmolax, a former Githyanki war-mount rumored to have taken up residence somewhere in the region after his rider was slain in a raid against the illithid city of Larguno perhaps a century earlier. The other side proved to house the horde of a less fastidious but equally impressive red dragon, Yazcara, Skagmolax’s mate.

Screening themselves from the lair via the use of Silence, the party quickly plotted their plots, and then launched their attack. Squizzles threw a second Silence at the far side of the cavern, where the trench became a corridor once more, to screen the noise of the combat from the rest of the city. Elerra hit Skagmolax with a mythic level Confusion while the bulk of her allies moved to melee Yazcara.

Yazcara, sensing how close to death she was, and surrounded by foes, used a Ring of Transference to trade places with Skagmolax, conveniently putting her in a prime position to blast the foes who had once surrounded her with her breath weapon. This, of course, caused the party to begin to realize that some of the spells they sensed in effect (the Bane, Dimensional Anchor, perhaps others) affected only themselves, not the denizens of the prison complex. Yazcara’s time was short, however, and soon she lay dead.

Turning their attention to Skagmolax, he was quickly finished off as well, with Squizzles dealing the death blow. Afterwards he claimed the penultimate scale for his tribe’s quest, while the rest of the party dumped the contents of the dragon’s individual hordes into their assorted extra-dimensional spaces. Sam, for his part, cut away the best parts of the dragons for use in his alchemy, and the party eventually got underway once more.

A few hundred foot further down the corridor, the scouts spotted a pair of duergar guarding what looked like a massive brass cage that blocked the end of the hallway. Meroln quickly charged them, but one of them managed to sound the alarm anyway. The party quickly demolished the two, and after a brief examination, figured out that the cage was in fact an elevator, and divined it’s operation.

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The cage elevator itself gave access to the area where Alexia’s brother Allister was imprisoned, and using Elerra’s vision as a guide, they used it to reach the fourth level and then left the cage to engage the guards they encountered there. Shortly after engaging a pair of guards on the cell block opposite the one where Allister was imprisoned, Wilfred and Mekkatorque vanished, Summoned away by some caster in an alternate reality.

The group attacking on the other side of the cell block quickly located Allister’s cell, a decently appointed apartment-sized room that was warded by an effect much like a Wall of Force. Standing inside the cell was a haggard and underfed Allister, and standing close behind him was the very thing people had accused Sam of being for most of his life, an illithid. As the battle progressed outside of the cell, the illithid could be seen to look distractedly at the ceiling, it’s head briefly crowned by a halo of pulsating green light, after which it vanished, apparently Teleporting away, again in defiance of the Dimensional Anchor permeating the region.

As we ended for the evening, the alarm was still in effect, and Allister was still locked in his cell as the party battled the duergar guards…

It is still the 4th of Reaping, 600 CY.

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Arc 3, Episode 30, the First Mark
Dance for me, my pretty!

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 2nd of Richfest, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

Deciding to brave it out, Elerra, Sam and Squizzles waited for Krog to appear, and demanded to see his superior. Sgt. Pador seemed at best vaguely impressed by Elerra’s pedigree, saying that they already had lots of Everhate and Tormtor, and that he supposed they could find a place for a Vae. After having additional guards remove the orc they’d poisoned, and replaced him with a fresh guard, Pador led the trio deeper into the barracks complex guarding the gate to the Underdark and into the upper works, where it was obvious that some “reconstruction” had gone on to make it friendlier to giants.

Passing through an outer office staffed by three human females whose spirits were obviously broken, Pador led them to his superior, a stone giant named Hadramak, whose rank was given as lieutenant. Hadramak seemed surprised that a drow had appeared at the gate, and also was subtly surprised that she seemed unaware both that the relationship between the drow and the giants had changed, and that she lacked information on how well their efforts to hold the lands they’d stolen fared. He asked if the drow had had another war and if they were looking to sell more of the losers into slavery, but seemed not to care much either way.

As the uncomfortable exchange ground to a halt, the trio finally made their farewells are were escorted back to the gate, which was locked behind them. Rejoining their companions, they sought another exit from the Underdark, eventually finding another tunnel that led to a ruined gnomish settlement where they camped for the “night”. Sam and Squizzles scouted further ahead, finding signs that a skulk also dwelled in the area, but never quite encountering it, although it did trigger the Alarm that Wilfred had set to alert the party in their camp.

The next day they climbed/flew/levitated up the 60’ chimney that led to the surface, noting the nearby (1-1.5 miles away) watchtower that had a view of the exit as well. making their way well away from the area, they bedded down for the day, reasoning that it would be better to travel at night,

That evening, as both moons reached their zenith overhead, Elerra, Wilfred and Squizzles all felt the First Mark as it imposed itself on the magical energies of Liga. Alexia’s staff became agitated as well, as this affected it’s special purpose. After some debate, the group decided that they would keep to the lowlands as they approached Tycha to try and connect with Allister Aerogenesis’ contacts in the Underground.

After almost a week of travel, the group arrived on the outskirts of Tycha, the last town Allister and his companions had visited before the fateful ambush at Lake Mala. Even at 4 AM, the town bustled with orcish activity, though the guarded “ghetto” where the humans dwelled was silent. Fearing to approach the city even invisibly, the group camped out in a stand of trees on the edge of the fields that surrounded the town. When Alexia renewed her spells for the day, she used a Contact Planar Ally spell and received a strange “ally”.

An orc with pale gray skin (instead of green) and hands that were dyed pitch black, wearing a serape, a wide brimmed hat (similar to the ones they’d seen many orcs wearing in the town) and a pair of pistols arrived with a burro. Squizzles recognized him as being one of the nalshavel, a rare, good-aligned orcish offshoot that followed their own subset of orcish deities known as the Zavik (the Enlightened); by the color of his hands, this one likely followed Torva, the leader of that pantheon. Given his task, his skin changed color to green as he rode off into town and returned several hours later.

“The Orc With No Name” told how he had sought out Tolmar Naz, the only other Underground contact the group knew of in town, who had confirmed that there were perhaps 500-odd orcs in the town, whose main duties were supervising the 800 or so remaining humans. A pair of stone giants dwelled in the large stone manor-house, with perhaps a dozen ogres and a trio of trolls also present. An elderly make drow was also known to dwell with the giants, in charge of anything “magical” the giants might need. He had also arranged a face-to-face meeting with the party and Tolmar, as they lacked travel-papers and could not expect to approach the town without them.

Later that night, the group met with Tolmar, learning that the traitor, Tangmar, had been promoted by the giants and had gone Pest’s Crossing to further serve the overlords in some capacity. As Tangmar had been the head of Tolmar’s cell in the resistance, he was currently cut off from the movement, but felt that his presence in town still served the greater good, as he was in a position to funnel extra rations into the ghetto to help feed the humans there. When asked about Allister, he had no specifics, but did state that when the nearby dwarven fortress of Deepholm had fallen, it had been re-purposed as special prison; it was possible he had been taken there.

As dawn approached that night, Elerra danced to the glory of Ellistrae, and prayed mightily for guidance. Her hopes were two-fold: Does Allister languish in the prisons of Deepholm? And is there an easier way to enter said prison that fighting their way past a legion of giants and their minions? Spending a Hero Point, her faith was rewarded. The first part of her vision served as a rough tour of the revamped dwarven city of Deepholm, now overrun by orcs and fire giants. Deep beneath the city, she saw a level of the dungeons where the “special prisoners” were kept; politely appointed apartments screened by Walls of Force, and she witnessed Allister seated in his cell. A nearby cell proved to hold a mind flayer, though it was obvious that the illithid had the freedom to wander the halls, which were guarded mainly by duergar.

The second part of her vision surged deep into the Underdark, to the very streets of Erelhei-Cinlu, namely a hovel somewhere in the Ghetto of Outcasts. There an ancient male drow could be seen with an odd golden key on a chain about his neck.
Erelhei-Cinlu1.JPG

Knowing that visiting her home city was dangerous beyond measure, she elected to bring only Wilfred, who utilized his Hat of Disguise to appear as a drow himself. She Teleported the two of them to a location nearby that she was familiar with, and made her way to the hovel she’d witnessed in her vision, and knocked on the door for access.

The old man eventually let them in, and Elerra fed him a sob story about needing his key to help free the brother of a companion; even going so far as to reveal herself as a priestess of Ellistrae. To her benefit, the old man (whom both she and Wilfred noticed was growing visibly younger as the visit progressed) raised no alarms, though he did seem deeply amused that a noble drow female would debase herself to aid a male. Eventually he did relent, and offer her the loan of his key, if she would dance for him.

As she danced, she was quick to notice that not only did the squalid furniture in the (now reasonably young) man’s hovel move out of her way of it’s own accord, but a beam of what looked like moonlight shone upon her as she danced. Eventually she came to realize that she was dancing before Vhaeraun (drow god of thieves) himself. After making a hasty retreat with the key, she and Wilfred returned to their haunt overlooking Tycha, and, lacking any doors upon which to test the key, they all returned to Narwell via Teleport.

After testing the key and learning that it would size itself to any lock, and further learning that if used with forethought, could cause the unlocked door to lead to a specific destination, Elerra used it to open a door into a hewn stone tunnel, from which a wave of heat poured into their apartments. As we broke for the evening, the group was preparing to make their way through the door, to lead a rescue for Alexia’s brother…

It is the 4th of Reaping, 600 CY.

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Arc 3, Episode 29, The First Mark
It looks remarkably like an "Easy Button" from Staples...

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is still the 6th of Wealsun, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

After unloading their gear and getting settled, the group began interrogating Janos Tandovr. Based on his information, they learned that it was extremely likely that Jaliseem was once again among the living (courtesy of a Clone spell she had cast) and that she was likely ensconced at the Northern Leering Keep.

The Keep, it seemed, was well defended against both air and ground assault, and the walls themselves were said to have eyes that could detect invisible intruders. The one “secret exit” to the keep was just as well guarded, and known to Jaliseem, the High Priest, and the Company’s second, Laris. While Janos retired to his cell to sketch maps of the place, the party broke into groups; Alexia and Elerra fell to crafting, while Wilfred and Meroln returned to Greyhawk, Wilfred to the Grey College, and Meroln to the arms of Jenny. Sam kept mostly to himself, especially after having had his third dream.

About a day after Janos fell out from under Elerra’s Dominate spell, Alexis heard a disturbance in the main foyer, and found one of her brother Allister’s adventuring companions, one Larresta of Hardby. She’d come to inform the family that Allister and the rest of her companions had been ambushed at Lake Mala in Geoff. When she had last seen Allister, he’d told her and Zafferyn, their cleric, to run, but she had seen no trace of the cleric since fleeing the Lake.

Over the course of the next several days, she retold the story several times, slowly adding details as more of the party arrived with new viewpoints and new questions. Though nobody ever specifically asked, it quickly became obvious the Alexia and her companions were going to Geoff to search for Allister, as her parents, while they could not locate Allister directly, they could detect that he still lived. Larresta gave them a full accounting of the names and locations of their contacts in Geoff, including that of Tangmar DeMag, the contact in Tycha who had likely betrayed them.

As Elerra was going through her things, preparing for travel, she noticed that the puzzle box she’s recovered was emitting a low hum and vibrating softly. After spending maybe an hour opening it again, she placed her hand inside and was once more transported to the dark audience hall. Everything was much as it had been except for the addition of a strange artifact that sat on each of the tables in view. The artifact in question was a platinum disk about 4" in diameter, with a 3" red cabochon gem (the whole object resembling nothing so much as an “Easy Button”).

Not wanting to touch the item, she gathered her companions together to make a group effort of it, but when they did not follow her into the chamber (on the “outside”, they merely saw her place he hand on the puzzle box and become comatose), she put her hand over the new object on the table. Her vision then shifted to a brilliantly glowing version of the throne, The figure there spoke, saying “The time is at hand, my disciples. When both moons shine full in the sky, the first Mark will become active, and the whole world will feel the breath of the Wane on their necks. Our time is a t hand!”

On returning to the “outside world”, Elerra recounted the experience to the others, who quickly pointed out that the only night both moons would be full this year was in three days. All of this made Alexia’s staff quite agitated, as it’s special purpose was to oppose the Wane of Magic. However, as the group knew next to nothing about what was planned, they decided to proceed to Geoff.

The following morning, Elerra Teleported the party to a tunnel she knew of, somewhere beneath the Barrier Peaks – a passageway from the Underdark to the Sundered City, a lost Grey Elven city from the times of the Spidered Throne. In her youth, she had visited the Sundered City several times, as party of her family’s manipulation of the first giant invasions in 577 CY. Working their way up the corridor, Sam and Squizzles soon spotted a lone, bored orc guarding a door. After a discourse, Elerra, Sam, and Squizzles approached the door openly. The orc seemed unimpressed by any of them, only showing a surprised mistrust when Sam spoke.

Eventually Elerra shot him with one of her sleep-poison bolts, but not before he’d alerted “Krog” on the far side of the door…

It is the 2nd of Richfest, 600 CY.

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Arc 2, Episode 28, the Puzzle Box
o/` This is the fight that never ends.... o/`

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is still the 6th of Wealsun, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

As the battle continued, Meroln raced to engage Jaliseem as well. As her health steadily fell, she bit off one of her own fingers (along with the magic ring that rested there) to restore a large portion of her health. This stratagem was of little avail, as the steady onslaught from Meroln and Wilfred soon left her unconscious. Despite this, her Contingency spell activated, causing only momentary confusion.

Meanwhile, additional forces began to enter the battlefield, springing the final elements of the trap that had been laid. Four warlocks bearing Dimensional Anchor warding rods rode to the far corners, denying the group an easy exit, as the Company’s head Warpriest of Hextor made a beeline for Coleman’s corpse. As the priest moved to put Coleman’s body on his horse, Meroln raced to stop him, and Alexia (spending a Hero Point) blasted Coleman’s body with a Flamestrike, completely vaporizing it and sending his ashes spiraling towards the heavens.

Several knights also entered the field, some coming to the aid of the Warpriest, others keeping near Jaliseem’s body. When Janos finally arrived on the scene, Sam, Squizzles, and Giselle all moved to counter him, but his first attack nearly killed Sam outright. As Alexia moved to Heal Meroln (courtesy of a scroll), Squizzles did much the same for Sam. Several archers, breaking from stealth, began firing on Elerra, Meroln, and Alexia, using arrows that carried Anti-Magic.

As the battle began to turn once more in the party’s favor, Janos moved to recover Jaliseem’s body, seeking escape (more horns could be heard in the distance), but was driven back. Elerra spent her final Hero Point to punch through Janos’ magic resistance and Dominate him, commanding him to order his forces to surrender. Before he could manage that, one of the knights in his retinue managed to get Jaliseem over the saddle of his horse and raced back towards the sound of the horns.

Janos ordered his forces to surrender, and most complied, though Janos needed to be ordered to stop (as he was wandering towards one of the Anti-Magic fields still littering the battlefield). Wilfred and Elerra gave chase to the knight, catching him a mere 100’ from the onrushing forces coming to the battle. Between the two of them, they blew the knight off his horse, and his retreat allowed them to recover Jaliseem’s body.

Upon their return to the others, they quickly stripped the soldiers and knights of their gear, and used a Teleport to return to Aerogenesis Manor in Narwell.

It remains the 6th of Wealsun, 600 CY.
38000 xp
2nd Mythic Tier

End of Arc 2

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Arc 2, Episode 27, the Puzzle Box
Docamald Fields, Forever....

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 5th of Wealsun, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd and Giselle, Alexia’s cohort,
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.

Alexia’s parents and the household guards showed up seconds after the final foe had surrendered, but the Baron and his wife were more concerned that everyone was okay than they were with the destruction wrought on the room. As the guards dragged the bodies of the fallen away, Alexia recounted the events of the fight, as well as the events that likely led up to it, as well, while Elerra went through the items recovered and discovered to her dismay that the great-swords wielded by their opponents all had minor demons bound into them.

Alexia and her mother took the swords to the Temple of Murlynd to cleanse the corruption from them, while Elerra and the others questioned their prisoner (Elerra’s father having departed to go and “strengthen the wards” guarding the domicile). After agreeing that the soldier would be turned over to the Clergy of Murlynd afterwards, he revealed that when he last saw them, Janos, Jaliseem and Coleman had all been present at the camp outside the town of Docamald, and that the swords he and his companions bore had been provided by Janos’ friend, the elf, whose name was revealed as Losien.

When Elerra sought to check on her crystal ball, she found it freezing cold to the touch and filled with the same roiling, oily black smoke that had been employed by the Black Rooks to guard their command tent from scrying. She and Wilfred sought out the Baron, who managed to clear the smoke and return the crystal to it’s normal temperature, though the crystal remained slightly discolored (and, as they were soon to learn, had lost it’s ability to scry on areas).

When asked if he knew anything specific about Jaliseem, Baron Aerogenesis could reveal little, except that he knew that she had served as Rary’s apprentice until 580 CY, after which she joined her brother Janos in the running of his mercenary company, serving as the head of the arcane services.

As the night progressed, the party decided that the Rary connection might be enough to convince Tenser to aid them. Plans were made to Teleport out to Tenser’s Castle the following morning. On their arrival, they were told that the Archmage was currently occupied, but that he would make time for them later in the day. The guards handed Elerra a strange disk made from an unknown, translucent material, and was told that when the disk began to flash and vibrate, that the Archmage would be prepared to see them.

The party spent the next hour or so cooling their heels in the Sultry Apprentice’s Tavern in Magepoint, until at last the disk they’d been given began to flash a ring of red lights and hum violently. Returning the disk to the guards, one of Tenser’s apprentices led them inside the castle and led them to Tenser, who greeted them warmly.

Dismayed at their tale of attack in the home of Alexia’s parents, Tenser agreed to try and locate Jaliseem, and succeeded, finding her and Coleman riding through low hills, possibly alone (he was keeping the viewpoint narrow so as not to alert them of it’s presence). He further agreed to Teleport the party to the location he’d seen, but cautioned them he’d have no way to recover them. The party then cast a few preparatory spells and arrived on the same road as Coleman, Jaliseem, and a small coterie of foot soldiers.

Elerra promptly blasted the tight-knit riders with a Fireball, but this only served to illustrate that all but one of the soldiers and the mounts of Coleman and Jaliseem were illusions; the mounts died and the soldier stood charred but quite alive. As the battle played out, Coleman and Jaliseem were eventually located despite their Greater Invisibility spells, and Coleman, who had blasted Alexia, Giselle and Meroln with a maximized Lightning Bolt was soon unconscious and dying at the feet of Meroln. The foot soldiers came running out to join the fray, and Jaliseem nearly turned Meroln to her side with a Phantasmal Turncoats spell, but Alexia managed to Dispel it before Meroln had a chance to act.

Wilfred and Mekkatorque eventually moved to melee Jaliseem, and she nearly did to Mekkatorque what she’d tried doing to Meroln, but she could not penetrate his Spell Resistance. Unable to flee due to a Dimensional Anchor spell Wilfred had targeted her with, Coleman down and her foot soldiers dropping one by one, things were beginning to look grim for Jaliseem, but are those horns in the distance…?

It is the 6th of Wealsun, 600 CY.

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Arc 2, Episode 26, the Puzzle Box
I spy, with my wandering eye...

Our journey began: 11th of Coldeven, 599 C.Y.
It is the 4th of Wealsun, 600 C.Y.

Our companions:

Alexia Aerogenesis, Human Cleric of Murlynd
Elerra Vae, Drow Cleric (Ellistrae)/Sorcerer
Flotsam “Sam” Stormsurge, Animan (octopus aspect) Rogue/Alchemist
Meroln Sands, Half-elf Fighter
Squizzles, Kobold Bard
Wilfred Fizzlebang, Gnome Summoner & Mekkatorque, his eidolon.
and introducing Giselle Ratchetgear, Alexia’s gnome synthesist-summoner cohort.

The following morning, Alexia made inquiries concerning any former members of the Black Rook Company that might have settled in the region, and one of her retainers gave her the name and directions for Kaden Hral, a mercenary who had retired from the company perhaps 10 years previously. Seeing no reason to waste time, she and Meroln set out to speak with him after breakfast.

The ride out to his orchards took perhaps an hour, and it was clear from the environs that the former mercenary was doing quite well for himself. When the two arrived at his large home, they were greeted by his 10 year old daughter Lizet, who, after informing the pair that her daddy was down by the distillery, proceeded to ask Alexia endless questions about her clockwork steed. Upon learning that the contraption had never been named, Lizet promptly dubbed it “Sparkles”.

At the distillery, the pair soon found Kaden, a tall man whose fighting trim was beginning to vanish behind the paunch of his belly. The two spent several hours drawing him out about his former company, learning that he had served under Elias Tandovr in the Greyhawk Wars, seeing action mostly in Furyondy and the Shield Lands. While he had never served directly under Janos, he said that he had heard that he had his father’s knowledge of tactics and also praised Jaliseem for her growing skill at crafting battlefield illusions.

While he had no real knowledge of the commanders and the faiths they might follow, the only war-god he had never seen a priest of among the company was Heironeous, which he added, “was more the god of knights than of mercenaries”. While talking with the two, he also mentioned that another alumni of the company, Mikhail Draz, was now a mason in a village perhaps 10 miles further north, and that come Patchwall he expected to sell another 20+ barrels of cider to Dalen Mynar, a dwarf who served the company as a quartermaster.

Furthermore, he stated that the previous year’s shipment had been sent to Axeport in the Shield Lands, and that it was likely bound for Docamald. He said it was likely that that would be their base for the summer’s conflicts. When asked if they could arrange a meeting with Dalen, Kaden said that he didn’t expect him until after Brewfest, but that he would send word when he was again in the area.

Returning to the city, Alexia and Meroln encountered a lone clockwork mechanical approaching them. As it drew near, the clockwork contracted itself, sliding back into itself until it revealed the young gnomish female that had been inside. The young woman introduced herself as Giselle Ratchetgear, a “robomancer” who wished to pledge herself in service to Alexia. As they continued their journey home, the two of them worked out the details of their arrangement, and Giselle was introduced to the greater group upon their return.

Afterwards, based on the information Alexia and Meroln had gained, Elerra used her crystal ball to scry on Axeport, and followed the roads to Docamald, where she found the Black Rook’s encampment. She encountered resistance penetrating the command tent, as a layer of thick, black, oily smoke clung to the fabric. Inside the main tent, she found a large map of the Shield Lands, with the towns of Nairen, Weslan, and Shepkote marked as being occupied by the forces of Iuz. Also on the main table was a large bell jar containing a blinded quasit, and a strange black stone sculpture with a smooth concave depression sat at the rear of the tent. Also present were Jaliseem and Colman; she could tell that Jaliseem was a fellow mythic.

Examining other tents, she found that one of the large tents near the command tent contained a shrine to Hextor, where a priestess of Sotillion was kept magically bound, and obviously subdued, presumably for her services as a healer. None of the tents looked as though they might be Jaliseem’s, however. After conferring with her fellows, she returned to her labors, estimating that perhaps as many as two thousand troops were encamped there, and based on their spirits, fresh from a recent battle that they’d won. Also, from the urgency of their activities, they were anticipating battle again, and soon.

The town of Docamald, itself, seemed to have turned itself over to the service of the company, and the inns and pleasure houses along it’s red light district were quite busy. Turning her attention back to the camp itself, she witnessed Janos and an unknown companion, an elf, both obviously mythic, ride back into the encampment, but there was something odd about their approach – no one challenged him, or his companion. Her companions, who were also watching through the crystal ball, pointed this out almost immediately.

While the group began to doubt the “veracity” of what they were seeing, remembering that Jaliseem was a mistress of misdirection on the battlefield. As Elerra brought her scrying point nearer to the command tent, she spotted a mote of light slowly moving through the camp. As it grew nearer, she recognized it as one of the disembodied eyes of the quasit she’d seen earlier. It spotted her, and as it rushed at the focus of her crystal ball, she broke the connection and quickly stuffed the ball into her haversack.

The group began discussing plans, perhaps merely to rescue the priestess they’d seen earlier, or perhaps to wipe out the leadership of the Company on one fell swoop. However, while they debated their plans, others put theirs into action. From the bedroom attached to the sitting room they were planning in, Wilfred clearly heard the sound of a dimensional portal opening, and soon a number of soldiers wearing the colors of the Black Rook company swarmed into the room with them.

Swords and spells flew, and Squizzles was knocked unconscious, but as we broke for the evening, one survivor of the invading force knelt before the party, asking they accept his surrender…

It is the 5th of Wealsun, 600 CY.

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