Mysteries of Mastoria

Session 40.5 - Storied Days
"In The Meantime..."

We joined our hero Jorvyn as he researched his heart out on potential people to impersonate at the Gala. He set his heart finally on Gearwood Undercoil, Ward Leader of Quiverfall. He also learned quite a bit about the small town, and others.

Barty received all of the knowledge he had learned, and then we joined our Lady Levinia on a quest of discovery. Plagued with questions, she sought out the Temple of Lathander, in the southern residential district of Crestguard. The priest took pity upon Levinia’s apparent struggle and spoke to her, trying to get her to open up about her troubles. He went on to suggest a way she may be able to get answers from the Gods, but doubted it would work.

The priest led Levinia out the courtyard with a dead rat they had gotten from a storage room, and he set up a divination circle. The rat caught aflame as the priest focused on the ritual, and from the ashes arose an avatar of Lathander. This avatar answered several questions to her about who Caiaphas was, why the Gods had chosen her, and how her family was. Afterwards, the avatar told her not to summon the Gods again like this, and disappeared into ashes once more. The priest thought the spell had failed but to his delight, Levinia spoke of what had transpired in her head.

Asking the priest if he knew of Caiaphas, he told her to check out the library, where she learned a good few facts about the man in a biography about him.

To be continued…

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Session 40 - Intrigue Abound
"You were wrong about one thing. The negotiations were long."

We joined our heroes locked in a fierce combat with the Amari Bandits.
The Bandit Captain called for negotiations, to the chagrin of his bard. It was realized that the dwarf in the cage was Dequilar, and the Bandit Captain released him. The deal made was that Dequilar would be returned to the party, the party would have safe passage out, and they would not take/harm the Knight. In return, the heroes would not kill more bandits, or reveal them to have them killed by the Crestguard ranks.
The bard, Kichidec, was furious that the Bandit Captain wasn’t killing them, and tried to cast a spell. With a quick hold person, he was subdued. When freed, Torsten tried to grapple him, but he seemingly disappeared.
It later came out that the Knight was not the only one planning to kill the King. And they heard the rumor of the King not being seen in some time. And the Bard, Kichidec, was a member of a cult that wears masks.

The Bandit Captain, Artax, was convinced to try turning his bandits into mercenaries, hopefully with the goal of hunting down other weaker bandit clans. He was also convinced to leave the clan hideout in favor of finding above-ground digs.
Before the party was escorted out, he presented Barty (he quickly grew fond of the wizard’s wit) with a spell scroll, and three potions. The Knight was missing when they got upstairs, and so were the bandit trainees oddly. The party headed back to Crestguard and discussed a lot during their evening stroll.

Back in the city, they went to visit City Hall. Ellion gave them a monetary and gemstone reward for their duty in returning Dequilar alive. Dequilar was given a place to rest and eat to get his strength back. The heroes filled Ellion in on the bandit clan’s promises, offering to Ellion that he could hire them as outside-of-town roaming mercenaries, and he seemed intrigued.

VANION STORY
Vanion escorted Valerie home, and on the way, something most peculiar was brought to light. Through passionate discussion, it was revealed that the person that’s been acting so strangely is a Doppleganger, employed by Ethel Greenteeth. Her job was to spy on the party, and Ellion for her, but this new Valerie had grown quite fond of Vanion. It was revealed that she visits the real Valerie every night, who is still alive down in the hag’s lair. It was put together by Vanion that Valerie had been replaced after his vision of her being knocked out in the Library. It was also revealed that Ethel has more Dopplegangers under her employ. Vanion had a lot to think about, told this to new Valerie, and headed to the pub for some heavy drinking.

BARTY STORY
Barty, on the recommendation of Roglak, visited the Horse’s Mane, a barber establishment run by one Lorace Stoatplump. There he got the works, including a beard perm. From there, he began a long week of study about the planes, and what is said to be waiting on each one.

TORSTEN STORY
Torsten began his week by heading to City Hall to talk to Ellion about the Gala. Ellion reassured him that he is to be security, and both stop funny business from happening, and cause no funny business himself. He gave a sigil coin of Crestguard to Torsten to cash at the King’s Tannery, so that Bepin would make him some nice semi-formal clothing for the event.

Content, Torsten headed out of town to do some training. During the week, a few travelers challenged him but he wiped the floor with them. However, nearer to the end of the week, a man approached him and put his arm on Torsten’s shoulder. Torsten reacted quickly and flipped the man over onto his back. It was revealed this man is Vestidio, Jorvyn’s teacher. Vestidio offers to have a good spar with Torsten, offering a deal. For each good blow on eachother (20 damage, either way), the one who did the damage would get to ask any question, and get an honest answer. Vestidio also assured Torsten he would teach him a thing or do if he did well enough and earned it.

To be continued….

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Session 39 - A Challenging Battle!
"Bandit Trainees Quiver Before Levinia!"

We joined our heroes with an unconscious Knight, and two bandit trainees who had submitted to the party. The Knight was tied up, and it was decided that Torsten would guard him, while Levinia intimidated the trainees into giving up details about where Dequilar was kept, how many more bandits there were, etc.
The rest of the party followed Levinia who had the trainees at sword-point as they led the way down a long staircase into the lower level of the Amari Bandit Clan hideout.

They pointed out a patrolling scoundrel up ahead, and he was promptly taken out by one of Jorvyn’s crossbow bolts to the back. Jorvyn lockpicked all of the doors in this hall, and they went through checking out the various bed-chambers they found. Their loot included a necklace, a golden ring inscribed with “To My Beloved Donnell”, a belt, and a helm. Barty even found three books to add to his collection.

After their searching, the bandit trainees led the party to two large stone doors they claimed led to the throne room. Jorvyn carefully opened one of the doors, and fired a crossbow bolt in an assassination attempt at the Bandit Captain on his throne. It was a hit, and combat began. The heroes were in a race against time as a dwarven man in a cage was slowly lowered onto a fire pit. Six bandits, four berserkers, a bard and the Bandit Captain engaged the party in difficult combat. As the forces dwindle down, the Bandit Captain has stopped the dwarf’s descent at 10 feet. What will happen next?

To be continued…

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Session 38 - The Clan Combats in the Cave Carelessly
"Our Heroes Show What They're Made Of!"

The epic combat ensued with our heroes Jorvyn (Roger) and Torsten surrounded by foes.
Vanion attempted to lead some of them away from the battle with a song on his lute (a song of a rogue who was too greedy). This song entranced several of the bandits, but upon a closer look at Vanion, and a response of his name, they turned on him, attacking. This set Levinia off into a frenzy, cutting down bandits in her path to protect the Bard and the Wizard. Barty sent a magnificent fireball careening into a mass of bandits, turning them to ash. Vanion’s song turned to a tale about Drack, while Torsten questioned our Knight, then knocked the Knight unconscious with a punch to the face. Bandits fell left and right, and before long Vanion, Barty, and Levinia joined Jorvyn and Torsten in the sparring room, providing some much needed backup.

The fight ended with a still unconscious knight, and two bandit trainees who submitted to the heroes, questioning their life choices…

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Session 37 - Enter the Amari Bandit Clan
"Can I Join Your Club?"

We joined our heroes at the impromptu cattle ranch by city hall where they had rounded up all of the cows (and one bull). They promptly readied themselves and heading out the western gate, using Vanion’s sense of direction to head northwest towards the fabled Amari clan bandit hideout. Using his gnomish eyes and knowledge of Thieves Cant, Jorvyn was able to determine the location of the bandit hideout. Scouting ahead, he spent time designing a new disguise, Roger Snobowser, vagrant. He found four bandit heads on pikes, and recognized/figured the names of other bandit clans along with their symbols on the cave walls behind them. Heading inside, he soon found himself proving his fighting worth against two guard scoundrels. After one was defeated/dead, the other challenged him, and he defeated/killed both.

Soon after, he ventured further into a second holding room, with three other doors. He returned to the group telling what he found, and took Torsten with him for another probe into the cave system. They quickly found themselves knocking on the door to the barracks, greeted by 30 bandits and scoundrels. They persuade some of them that they’re interested in joining the Amari. They are led to the training/sparring room, where the door is promptly shut.

They meet a Knight who’s training eight young bandit teenagers. The Knight and Torsten spar, with Torsten emerging victorious, but he would not return the Knight’s sword to him that he had grabbed during the battle. This enraged the knight, and battle begun between the trainees, Jorvyn (Roger), and Torsten. Not long after, many people heard the knight yell “Intruders!”, and Jorvyn yell “Electrum!”, which was his code word with Vanion for trouble, essentially. This led the other heroes to begin making their way into the cave. More bandits began to filter into the sparring room, while Vanion and company got to the barracks as he shut out the lights so they could stealthily observe and think of a course of action…
To be continued…

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Session 36 - Gala Preparation Part I
"Holy cow!"

We joined our heroes in the Dire Bear Retreat, who quickly received a message from an exhausted messenger boy. Upon delivering the summons to Ellion Starros, Mayor of Crestguard, he promptly collapsed on the floor. The party helped him to recover, and vowed to get Ellion some more couriers, finding out this one boy had run messages all over town this morning with no breaks.

Meeting the Mayor in City Hall, he explained to them that he needed their help preparing for the Gala. Three points were discussed. As there would be a glorious feast for the visitors, the farmers around the Crestguard walls donated 9 cows and 1 bull for the slaughter. However, at some point during the night before, the cows were released. The heroes were tasked with retrieving them and putting them in the new pen they set up by City Hall.

The second task involved Ellion’s favorite playwright, Dequilar. Dequilar had been kidnapped by the Amari bandit clan, who have a hideout northwest of town. Ellion explained that they’ve never been bold enough to kidnap people from the city before. The heroes were tasked with retrieving Dequilar, as he had knowledge of a play he was to perform for their Volkarsian guests at the Gala.

Thirdly, he let Jorvyn know that he would provide him a list of those who RSVP’s no to the Gala, so that he may choose one of them to research and impersonate.

The heroes set to work tracking down the cows, finding them all over the city, and some beyond! Barty polymorphed into a Bull to attract some of them, who had found their way to Alista Lockhaven’s cauldron, Marbo’s magic shop, Zoshia’s wolf statue, in front of the CU Library, the site of Gragg’s restaurant, and one of them even made it into the Tarsak river!

Torsten discovered a cow in the courtyard behind the Temple of Lathander that was filled with magics. It was later determined by a priest to be divine holy magic.

Another cow impersonating a bull was found eating a farmers carrot crops outside of the Crestguard walls, with branches attached to its head. A bull found impersonating a cow with bagpipes tied to it, was found in a house in the slums!

A cow was also found behind the bar in Pompous Potter, revealing Digits Farland to be behind the freeing of the cattle.

With the cattle wrangled once more, the party seemed to set their sights on rescuing the poor playwright from his plight.

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Session 35 - Welcome Back, Levinia!
Backstory, Masonry and Muck

Our heroes had been in a tense standoff with a Mezzoloth, after Barty had stricken him with a fireball. Hoping to acquire this power, the insectoid was upset to find out it would take many reads to learn, but accepted the book. Barty gave him one of his spare books, written in common. The creature left seemingly content. Torsten tracked the creature through the doors in the restricted section, disappearing at the split in the staircase below.

They formulated a plan to hide Elizar by getting him to leave for awhile, getting a substitute to watch the Library, though Elizar seemed quite hesitant. Using non-detection he slipped out of the Library with the party, and separated off towards City Hall to tell Ellion of his absence. Torsten and the party went and found Byron Firestone, founder of The Seventh Column masonry in the Market District, learning much of the lore of the town. The party inquired about the original Library blueprints, which were produced, showing no staircase leading downwards. This was peculiar, and Byron informed them of the Tiefling called Barakas who had originally designed/contracted the sewers.

Torsten sought out Whispers, and explored some of the sewers with him, finding a storage room with chains and a golden ring, which he gifted to Whispers. Whispers led him to a sewer exit outside of town. Meeting up with the party who had gone south to visit Levinia, they headed into the temple to her room. Levinia inquired about an open space to the acolytes, who led her to the courtyard behind the church. Levinia told the heroes of her muscle memory and what she planned to do. She wanted another nights rest, so the heroes acquiesced to her request and went to the Dire Bear Retreat for some raucous drinking. Jorvyn taught the party a bit about his past once he had a few drinks. There were many Bluedale Berry Ales and St. Paddy’s (Saint Paddigan, Dwarven Paladin) Day Green Ales to go around!

Vanion went to Valerie’s house and tranced for the night, without her ever returning. Torsten went into the woods to the south and practiced his magics, almost setting a forest on fire. Jorvyn and Barty hit the hay.

Come morning, Barty came down first, with Vanion then Torsten arriving soon after from their places of rest. A few hours later, Jorvyn came down to greet them and eat some breakfast. Not thirty minutes later, Levinia herself entered the Dire Bear Retreat, finding out some of her “usuals” from Roglak. The party was surprised to find out that Levinia did not enjoy ale whatsoever. Our heroes discussed with Levinia about the future of the group, including the upcoming gala. It seems they had hoped for a rather peaceful day…

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Session 34 - The Master Plan
Prep for the Sundown Showdown!

Our heroes debated the best course of action to defend Elizar. A rustling in the bushes however introduced to them a young female elf by the name of Rhiannen Silveroak. Through discussion it was found out that one of Vanion’s aunts married into the Silveroak family, and both Rhiannen and Vanion share a disgust for Volkarsis in general. She told them she patrols the woods as a ranger. They accompanied her back to town, and did some shopping and preparation for the next day’s events.

Jorvyn and Vanion visited Alista Lockhaven at the Bubbling Cauldron, with Jorvyn picking up a healing potion. Vanion got his golden dragon scale back from Bepin Stoatplump at the King’s Tannery, and handed it over to Torque at Arken’s Smithy so he could attempt to create golden lute strings. Torsten went to converse with the slaves at the Temple of Lathander, looking for information about his mother. He found out that these slaves had slaved away alongside her, and she was one of the slaves that escaped and may be somewhere on the Plane of Earth. Some of the slaves seemed ready to depart for other lands, with Todd, the slave Torsten conversed with, thinking of heading back to Brevin, Barty’s hometown.

Barty and Elizar scouted out the library. Barty discovered some kind of scrying spell was being used in the main library. Elizar and Barty discussed using Non Detection spells and Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum to protect themselves against Mask.
They all headed to the Dire Bear Retreat for the night. Most everyone went to bed while Vanion went to Valerie’s house. Not finding her there, he waited in trance outside her door.

The following morning, Vanion found no Valerie had returned by 8am. He went to meet up with the awoken party at the Dire Bear Retreat, where they made some plans. They went to the library and into Elizar’s office and set up in wait, with Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum and Non Detection spells abound. Much much later in the day, a humanoid chitinous plated insect creature walked into Elizar’s office, speaking Abyssal. Barty knew Abyssal and conversed with it as it moved to speaking only in Barty’s head. It was revealed to him that this creature was to retrieve the Book of Keeping for Mask.

The party decided to try to appeal to the creature’s potential want for power by offering it to keep the book itself. It seemed uninterested, but Barty offered to show the creature the Book’s true power. Barty tricked him and launched a fireball at the creature, singeing it. The bug-like creature looked quite perturbed…. tune in next time to find out what happens with our heroes and the pickle they are in!

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Session 33 - Divination and Levinia's Struggle
"Sewer Whispers, Hellish Visions"

We joined our young and old heroes alike as they were scattered across the city of Crestguard. Torsten awoke to find a strange pair of eyes watching him from a sewer grate. Pursuing the watcher, Torsten caught Whispers “the Whore” as he is so lovingly named, a famous eavesdropper around town who spends all of his time in the sewers. Torsten recognized the value in having him as a friend and convinced him to come top-side to the Dire Bear Retreat for a drink, where Barty and Torvak were discussing what to do for the day.

Meanwhile Vanion awoke, did some early morning business, and returned to find Valerie awake. After having a talk, he walked her to work at City Hall, on his way intercepting a message that Levinia had awoken at the Temple of Lathander.

Levinia awoke even more confused in her room at the temple, conversing with a young cleric there, who tried his best to comfort her wandering brain. Levinia had much to question about lost time, her family, and endless other thoughts that plagued her mind. The cleric sent word for her friends to come by, though Levinia had no idea who these friends were.

Barty, Torvak, and Torsten headed for City Hall to try to find Vanion, finding him there with Valerie at the front desk. Vanion told them that Levinia had awoken, and Torvak went to the Library, and the rest of the group to the Dire Bear Retreat, to see where Elizar had gone. Finding him with a hangover upstairs in the pub, they quickly gave him the hangover cure drink from Roglak, grabbed Torvak from the Library, and headed in the direction of the Temple of Lathander.

Once there, they met with puzzled Levinia, and made many attempts to inform her of what had happened, and about her family. The story of her faked death, her families’ imprisonment, the Bravarti family, the ravine in Astryer, the adventuring weeks, the slaves she had brought to the temple, and so on. The heroes decided it best to give her some space, and they sought out a place to perform their ritual to find Mask’s true name.

It was at this time that Torvak revealed his identity as Jorvyn, tired of his name being confused with Torsten’s. They debated for quite some time, but the heroes eventually decided to try and find an open field east of town, away from wandering eyes. Elizar drew out the magical markings on the ground, and protected the area with Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum, so there would be no interruptions. Vanion and Barty weren’t 100 percent sure about trusting Elizar’s ritual, but Barty studied the markings and determined this was in fact divination magic, and not conjuration. Vanion, still unsure, erased part of the magic lines. The ichor, soul bag, and Book of Keeping were placed in the center, as Elizar, Barty, and Vanion stood in circles nearby. The ritual began but failed as part of the circle was incomplete. Vanion fixed it and they resumed.

Those standing outside the sanctum (Torsten, Jorvyn), saw white light pierce high into the sky! Inside, the casters vision was whited out from magical energy, and they received visions of Gehenna, seeing creatures just like Mask, and the supposed General of Gehenna and his armies. Once they had come to, Elizar dispelled the sanctum, and the ichor and soul bag were now gone. The Book of Keeping however was open! Vanion grabbed it, and it was decided that Mask’s true name must be somewhere on the two pages opened. Elizar warned the party that speaking a fiend’s true name summons it to you, but knowing a fiend’s true name gives you absolute power over it, so that’s why they are guarded so carefully.

The heroes debated about the best course of action…

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Session 32 - Greenteeth, I've Come To Bargain!
"Under Cold Moonlight"

We joined our heroes as Torvak and the Hag Turtleback Ethel Greenteeth worked out a wager, and played a game of cards. Thanks to Torvak’s sleight of hand he was able to defeat Ethel. Being true to her word, she used much of her magic to revive Levinia, and gave the soul bag to Torvak. She ordered Torsten to throw Barty off the cliff, but Vanion stopped him with a Hold Person spell. Ethel banished the heroes from her abode, instructing Torsten to follow them and ensure they don’t spread the word of her presence underground willynilly. The party was surprised to find that instead of being greeted by a friend, Levinia seemed to be incredibly confused about what was happening, and Elizar managed to cast Sleep on her, as they carried her up and out of the underground.

Torvak, Vanion and Torsten took Levinia’s body to the Temple of Lathander in the southern residential district, as the sun began to set. There, Acolyte Dirk gathered up a room in which she could stay, and the heroes warned him of her current state, and to inform them at the Dire Bear Retreat right away when she awakes, and if it all possible, keep her at the temple.

From there, Torsten and Vanion went to City Hall. Finding Valerie at the front desk a sight for sore eyes, they paid a visit to Mayor Ellion. Vanion explained that they’d been busy and investigated about if there was to be disciplinary action taken against the gnomish woman who worked at the front desk of the library, as they had discovered her tossing “fictional” works into the sewers. Ellion assured him, and got assurance back that the heroes would still be attending the gala in 13 days time as security and entertainment. Heading out, Vanion got a wishywashy answer from Valerie about seeing her later in the evening. They headed to the Dire Bear Retreat, where Torvak had just gone.

Meanwhile, while the rest of the group had gone to the temple, Elizar was storming to the Crestguard U Library despite his injuries, with Barty following close behind. He tore the front desk gnome a new one, firing her on the spot and sending her packing. In a fit of rage he destroyed the “Fiction” sign hanging about the section about dragons and planes and ranted about removing the public access bathroom.
They went back to Elizar’s office to cool down. While clearing papers off his desk to find the ritual notes he had written, he accidentally discovered a magic note from Mask. The note spoke that if Elizar did not bring him the Book of Keeping by sundown in two days time, Mask would return to kill him. This sent Elizar from furious to anxious panic. They decided the ritual should happen sooner than later, and rushed off, meeting everyone at the Dire Bear Retreat, where Elizar pounded down some ales.

Vanion bought a room for Elizar at the Retreat as he didn’t feel safe returning to his office. Torvak and Barty got rooms for the night, while Torsten opted to sleep outside. Vanion snuck out to stalk Valerie, to see what she was up to at night.
Seeing her exit city hall and head east, he trailed her to the Crestguard U Library, where she unlocked the door and went inside, locking it. He peered through the window to find her heading into the restricted section. Using an unseen servant to let him through the window, he followed her, not finding her in the restricted section any longer. He went to the doors he had seen in his vision, and went through, finding them unlocked, and finding a staircase that led down hundreds of feet.

Heading deeper down, he came to familiar sight, the stairs that led to the hag’s lair, and footprints leading there. Going back through the dirt tunnel, and across the rickety bridge, he called out for Ethel to meet him face to face. She hopped down out of one of the skull’s eyes, and Vanion bargained with her for Valerie. Vanion struck a deal, and Ethel returned Valerie to him, in exchange that Vanion would bring her the soul of an evil god. He helped the seemingly dazed Valerie out of the cavern, out of the library, locking it, and to her home in the River District, where he placed her in bed and waited in another room, with sword nearby.

To be continued…

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