Mysteries of Mastoria

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.

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…

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!

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…

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…

Session 31 - Uncertain Combat
The Death of a Warrior

We joined our heroes locked in epic combat with a hag and her spider minions, with Torsten still under the geas of Madame Zolis. With Barty and Vanion locked outside the portcullis. A webbed Levinia was picked up by the charmed Torsten, who tried to get him out only to find the portcullis closed, and he was quite confused. Levinia kicked him and forced him into dropping her back onto the ground. Hag Zolis broke free of her paralysis, banishing Torvak to a prison demi-plane. She gave Torsten a new command… throw Barty and Vanion off the cliff into the abyss below, just like her helmed horrors.

Torsten stepped outside to try to hoist Barty into the ravine. Barty shrunk him, but his small size did not stop him from picking him up and misty stepping. However, this led to only Torsten beginning to fall to his doom in the ravine. Luckily he had feather fall and was able to anchor himself to the wall with his shield, slowly making his way back up and the spiders were giving our intrepid heroes quite the battle. Levinia got free of the web and slashed two of them to pieces!

Vanion himself also visited the prison demi-plane but escaped early. Barty and Elizar used slow, fireballs and bolts, and enlargement to aid the party in their combat. Elizar eventually became quite weak and turned invisible to avoid the enemies, disappearing from the party’s sight. Four of the six spiders were vanquished, with one exiting the gate the attack both Barty and Vanion. The other turned toward Levinia who had been caught in webbing. With many bites and slashes, Levinia succumbed to the spiders attacks. Despite Vanion’s attempts at healing her, it seemed she had met her doom.

With Torsten once again grappling Barty to toss him off the cliff, the hag had tried to bargain with Torvak for his friends’ lives. Torvak offered her a game of chance, with his deck of cards. If he won, she would have to forfeit her soul bag and stop stealing souls forever. If she wins, Torvak would have to forfeit his soul.

What will happen next time? Things aren’t looking up for our heroes!!

Session 30 - Helmed Horrors and Hags
Never Underestimate The Power of Gravity

We joined our heroes as they locked themselves in ferocious combat with two Helmed Horror guardians. This battle proved difficult due to their resistances to magics, but through some ingenuity, the party was able to send the armored horrors to the depths below.

Approaching the hollowed out skull, our heroes were surprised to find Madame Zolis, who claimed to be the Senior Librarian of the Crestguard University Library. Elizar was taken aback as she seemingly charmed young Torsten into following her commands. Acting quickly, the heroes put her and Torsten in a state of paralysis, and combat began. Spiders emerged from the cabinets within, and a portcullis slammed shut separating the wizards from the rest of the party!

What will happen next!

Session 29 - Undercity Adventure
"Be Very Very Quiet, We're Hunting Hags!"

We joined our heroes as they managed to peacefully resolve the situation with Charlie Fisher. Satisfied with the groups’ answer that the logs were with someone back in Barrowbeach, he and his posse headed for the Pompous Potter at Vanion‘s suggestion for some drinks. Torvak and Barty headed to the Crestguard University Library to check on Elizar, whom had found his office ransacked in the night! The ritual book had been stolen, but he theorized that with enough magical power they could still complete it, to find Mask’s true name. They considered using Torsten once they later found out he possessed magic, or Sly, or Marbo the Magnificent. They also needed essence of the fiend, which they remembered Vanion possessed, and a soul bag. Elizar informed them that soul bags are horrible evil bags stitched from flesh that hags use to carry souls.

Meanwhile, Levinia paid a visit to the Temple of Lathander, to check on the slaves and Dorificus. Finding the slaves well adjusted and feeling better, he learned that one of the slaves is almost ready to make the journey to his hometown of Brevin to see if he can’t find his family. The acolytes at the temple were thankful to have the extra hands around and thanked Levinia for her donation once more. Dorificus was no longer present at the temple, so she headed back up towards the market district to see the smithy.

Vanion and Torsten spent time at city hall gathering information on the guests who will be attending the gala. From Ellion they found out his older brother Tassarion, as well as the King of Volkarsis should be there. Also the Duke of Greymont, the Mayor of Bluedale, Branic Tarhaven (Leader of the Culinary Council of Crestguard) and the Volkarsian Ambassador, who has an embassy in town. Vanion was surprised to find the embassy was nothing more than a tiny shack with an image of the ambassador which spoke on a delay to him. Vanion inquired about entertainment preferences and the guests.

Everyone coincidentally met back up in the center of town, where they spoke about their need for a soul bag. They decided to go hunting for a hag the next day using Barty’s locating spell. A night of revelry was had at the Dire Bear Retreat. Torsten enjoyed some drink, and Vanion played a set. Karrl the night guard came to hear the set and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Dorificus also stopped by and asked for entertainer tips from Vanion. Vestidio chatted it up with Torvak, and seemed incredibly confused at the presence of Torsten. Levinia spent some time dancing to the music, and Vestidio and other patrons headed out for the night as it got later. Vanion made some good tips, and after unsuccessfully finding Valerie at her home, he slept in the eastern gate’s stables. The rest of the party slept at the inn. Levinia suffered from more night terrors that left her waking up feeling worse than before.

The group had some breakfast as Vanion rejoined, and they found Elizar waiting outside the retreat for them, dressed in his own special version of “adventuring gear”. Barty activated his spell, and it detected a hag about 200 feet underground, and 400 feet to the west, moving slowly west. They went to the alley next to the Dire Bear Retreat and Torsten removed a sewer cover. They climbed down, with both wizards falling on the slippery ladder, and headed down the dark sewer tunnels, lit by Elizar’s dancing lights. Partway through some of the group heard a “ploop” sound from behind them with a flash of light, but they continued onward. Eventually the sewer began to curve off to the left, but there was also a metal door. Torvak was able to pick the lock, and beyond it was a carved earthy staircase, leading down to the left, and up to right.

Sensing the hag still below, they went down the stairs, only to find the stairs split off into left and right. The left path seemed wetter, and they decided to go to the right, which eventually leveled out and the hall went on for 250 feet or so. The carved pathway led into an open cavern, which was lit by some kind of gash in the earth far far above the heroes. There was a seemingly bottomless valley below, covered only by a rickety wooden bridge. Tying a rope to himself and giving the end to the party, Torvak was able to cross safely. Unfortunately, Torvak didn’t notice glowing red light coming from the skull lair’s eyes. Two suits of armor with glowing red eyes leapt down from the skull’s eye sockets with a heavy thud, and withdrew their longswords! To be continued…

Session 28 - Enter Torsten
"Sometimes Barrowbeach Comes To You"

We joined Vanion as he wrapped up a night of unsuccessfully finding Valerie. Our other heroes awoke in the Dire Bear Retreat to different circumstances. Barty had another strange vision during his sleep that had his brain wrestling itself during breakfast. Levinia felt strangely sick after her dreaded night terrors. While having breakfast, Vanion arrived and joined them. And then, another strange man. Calling himself Torsten, he introduced his story to the party and how he was following them to kill them for stealing his vengeance. On the way, he ended up deciding he should thank the heroes.

After much discussion, it seemed this Torsten would accompany the group on a trial-by-fire to prove himself as trustworthy. Torsten seemed to take a liking to Levinia, and showed a distaste for books, quite the opposite of our dear Barty. The party decided what better trial than tracking down Valerie, so they headed out to City Hall before the Library as it was so close in proximity. Vanion was surprised to find Valerie sitting at her desk, and she told him she had personal business she attended to the previous night. The party also visited Ellion who was in his office working on paperwork. The heroes inquired about the crime-scenes outside, and Levinia gave some good advice for improvement of the Blame Game Initiative.

Before heading out, Valerie warned the party that a strange man in a long coat and weird hat had come into town looking for their group specifically. They head out to visit Jax Jameson in the Market District, where Vanion negotiates to have a new basement door made for Valerie’s home, asking for the bill to be sent to Roglak at the Dire Bear Retreat to give to Vanion. Jax informed him that his wife has decided to stay gone, however he is hopeful about finding love once more with his normal voice. Torvak, who was sitting outside the shop with Levinia and Torsten, noticed the strange hatted man talking to some goblins down the road. He went to investigate dressed as Urxis, and was caught by the man snooping. He left and came back as Torvak now that he recognized him as the Sheriff of Barrowbeach, Charlie Fisher. Charlie interrogated him about the missing dock logs, asking if he’d read them. Torvak was curious now, and Charlie asked him to lead him to Zoshia, as Torvak claimed Zoshia had the logs.

Torvak slipped a secret note to Vanion as he, Charlie and his entourage walked past Jax’s shop. Torvak did not find Zoshia or her mother in the Dire Bear Retreat, and his plan to leave out the window was foiled by some of Charlie’s lackeys waiting in the alley behind the inn. He left the window open and came down explaining that Zoshia had escaped when she heard him coming. Charlie asked further about where she would go, and Torvak mentioned the Marshwood Forest to the east of town. A struggle ensued as Torvak refused to lead them to the forest. One of Charlie’s lackeys grappled Torvak, just as his allies arrived. Barty readied a stick of butter, and Vanion cast Tasha’s Hideous Laughter on Charlie, causing him to erupt in uproarious laughter! To be continued…

Session 27 - Ferra's Story and an Untrusting Zoshia
Everybody Has A Job Lined Up Apparently

We joined our heroes in the wake of a battle with Banderhobbs in Serenity Square. As the party learned of Ferra’s story, Zoshia decided to withhold her spear from her until she was sure she could be trusted and was telling the truth. The Crestguard Knights emerged from City Hall and inquired about what had happened. They decided this would be a good test case for their new crime scene investigators from the Blame Game Initiative. Particularly to find how one of the citizens was murdered (and subsequently burned). Levinia was asked by Francis Bucknaw of the Knights if she’d ever consider joining come the day they need a new member.

The party decided to head to the Dire Bear Retreat for some drinks and food. Elizar meanwhile headed back to the Library. Vanion paid for meals and lodging for Ferra and Shimmer, as well as the party. Thanks to a tip by Levinia the TMI Bard was arrested and Vanion was able to play, much to Roglak’s delight. Ferra and Zoshia discussed and caught up in the corner while the others had a round of drinks on the house for being the heroes of the day. Vanion discussed with Roglak the possibility of Dorificus becoming House Bard for the Dire Bear Retreat in the future. Vanion made some good tips and when everyone retired for the night, went to seek out Valerie at her home in the River District.

She appeared to not be home, and with the help of a bridge guard known as Carrl, investigated her home. Suspiciously, it didn’t seem like she had been active in her home recently. Carrl broke open the basement door with too much force and was injured, but Vanion helped him back on his feet. They investigated some empty crates in the basement to no avail. They decided never to speak of this again but Vanion told him to visit him at the Dire Bear Retreat the next night if he wanted to hear some more of his music.

In the middle of the night Barty had a strange vision of meeting with Sly on the second floor of City Hall. Barty instructed Sly to hold onto a special book for awhile. Sly told him “anything for you”. The vision promptly ended. Also of note, Levinia suffered from some dreadful visions, and she woke up feeling a bit less healthy.
Vanion headed to City Hall to see if Valerie had been working late. To his dismay, it was vacant. Calling out using an Ellion Starros impression, he awoke Sly who came downstairs confused. After some bargaining he convinced Sly to accompany him to the Pompous Potter across the way to help him look for her.
To be continued…


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