Mysteries of Mastoria

Session 19 - TURN BACK : GRICK NEST!
"Whoever put up that sign is pretty smart."

Our heroes were mid-combat as of last session, and as the rest of the party found their way to either Torvak or Zoshia, four more grick emerged from the tunnel walls! The grick were slain, and the party found their way through the tiny tunnels to a larger tunnel once more. After their previous combats, the party decides to set up a hut and take a long rest. When keeping watch for the last four hours, Vanion hears odd clicking noises, but they get quieter. The party awakens rested, and moves forward.

They head down a long cave passage that turns left at the end, or there’s a room on the right beforehand. After peeking into each, they decide to head into the enormous room at the end of the passage, which was the Grick Alpha’s lair! Gricks were shredded by thorns, surprise attacks were made, heals were done, and Barty almost died at the hands (err, tentacles) of the Grick Alpha. It was a fierce combat. Once the heroes defeated the gricks, they decide to short rest (noticing however that the clicking remains), but are interrupted by the entrance of a large insectoid creature!

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Session 18 - Cave Narrows and Creature Cackling
"It points at you and...." *rolls 5 dice* "nothing happens."

Our heroes began by discussing their visions, and Vanion realized touching the crystals again would not provide a new vision. They head back out across the gelatinous cube pit, with Zoshia collecting her rope and pitons. They opted to explore into the room to the north, the room filled with large stone columns. With Barty leading, they got into a massive combat with cackling imp-like dust creatures. After a lot of sleeping and blindness, the party defeated the creatures, and investigated this room and the next.

It seemed the boulders and columns were deliberated carved, and the boulders were somewhat easy to shift around. The next room contained the bodies of three dead adventurers, possibly dead for several weeks. Torvak pulled off of them 27 copper pieces, and a potion of healing. They realized that the bodies had many slashing wounds, and the walls were covered with even larger slashes, larger than the dust creatures’ claws.

After investigating for keyholes and secret passageways, they continued on to the smaller tunnels they had seen previously. Zoshia and Torvak tied ropes to themselves and went down two of the paths. Crumbling rocks cut them off from their friends, and two Gricks came out to face them in combat, expecting easy meals. Levinia used her strength to move the boulders between her and Zoshia, while Barty shattered the rocks to get to Torvak. As the rest of the party began to squeeze through the help the others, our combat shall be continued….

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Session 17 - Stonethrower's Cave
Crystal Visions Galore

We joined our heroes as they took a respite from the now heavy weather into a large cave opening they believed to be their destination. Hearing chatter inside, the group schemed of what to do while Torvak scoped it out. There were bandits attempting to steal stone statues from a room deeper in the cave. Levinia was enlarged via Barty’s spell, and Vanion used his thaumaturgy to make it seem a great beast was stepping towards them. Cornered with nowhere to run as the other side of the room there was a massive stone door, they decided to fight their way out despite their terror. A scuffle ensued with the bandit captain in uproarious hideous laughter, and the two lesser bandits were dispatched with ease. They trapped the captain and interrogated him.

Zoshia went to check out the stone statues on the higher shelf, interested particularly in the one that resembled a wolf. The noise of the battle had attracted a stone giant who entered through the stone doors. The giant delivered massive blows to both Barty and the bandit captain. Luckily, Barty spoke giant and convinced him (Stonethrower) that they meant no harm, as Vanion used his unseen servant to begin placing the bandits’ stolen statues back. The giant smashed the bandit captain to pieces and spoke with Barty about why they had ventured here. He worked out a deal with the stone giant that they would eradicate the creatures that keep invading his cave, which are coming from the cave underneath his bed, and he would reward the heroes with safe passage, and perhaps the stone statue of the wolf. With that, the heroes delved deeper.

The party had to squeeze through a tight space. Coming upon a large cavern with a lake in the middle of it, the heroes stopped to check out the still water. Tying a rope to himself, Torvak was lowered into the water, which he believed might have special properties. He was fully engulfed, and pulled out, with no noticeable effects. Zoshia prodded to find the bottom, and once Barty had lit it up with dancing lights, Zoshia swam down and found a shortsword of magical capabilities, inscribed with a rune on the bottom of the hilt. The heroes refreshed themselves with a drink and moved on.

The party followed some twists and turns in the small cave and were led to a path underneath the previous lake, that led to a pile of boulders. The boulders had a sign crudely sat next to them that said “TURN BACK : GRICK NEST”. Some of the party recalled Grick as being worm-like beasts. They took down some boulders and pressed onward, coming to a cross in the pathways. Sensing what was in each direction, they realized to the right was kind of a clicking noise. Ahead were large boulders and enormous stone pillars. To the left was a pulsating blue light. They eventually opted to go left towards the light. Zoshia fell into a pit when part of the cave path collapsed. She quickly found herself next to a gelatinous cube, but she managed to escape by climbing out. The party made their way over the pit thanks to some ingenuity using rope and pitons. The next room they found was filled with large pulsating blue crystals jutting out from the walls, floor, and ceiling. Upon touching them, each party member had a special vision. To be continued…

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Session 16 - Bartering, Barrowbeach, and the Bleak Peaks
"Navigation Station, What's Your Elevation?"

We joined our heroes as they decided on a course of action. They decided to acquire a map if possible, and asked Roglak Battlebeard for a local cartographer. He told them about a fantastic apprentice mapmaker named Corbesont Quilacia, who works at a map shop not far from the center square in town. The players headed there and met with the young elf, who had a partially completed map of Dystomos he could sell them for cheap. Corbesont told the players of his dream to be the most famous mapmaker that ever lived. He works under Alwyn Holimion.

The players headed out to shop around for horses to make their journey a shorter one, as they had a Gala to attend in 29 days time. They met the stablekeeps from the northern (Decius Johnson), southern (Mercy), and western (Martobee Hilltopple) stables. Everyone picked out some horses (and Torvak a pony), but Zoshia had one in particular she wanted that belonged to Digits Farland, owner of the Pompous Potter. With a lackluster attempt at walking out with the horse, she and Levinia head to talk to Digits about the horse directly. Zoshia managed to convince him that animals should not be owned, and he gave them written permission to free the horse. Meanwhile Barty went to go pick up some general supplies (Mobley Hellander), including what he’d need to hopefully remove the curse from Jax Jameson, the carpenter.

Barty was able to successfully remove the curse, returning Jax’s voice to normal. He was ecstatic and promised future discounts on wood and flowers. The party then head out of town to the south, beginning their journey to the Bleak Peaks.
The first evenings travel was easy, and they came across many travelling merchants and adventurers on their way to Crestguard. They encountered a perfume peddler with a broken cart wheel. Barty was able to magically repair the wheel, and the peddler thanked them with two small bottles of perfume. They set up camp for the night at the top of a hill with a beautiful view of the city. Fireflies danced outside their camp as nothing eventful happened during the night.

On the second day, they journeyed through tall and numerous hills, encountering a toppled stone obelisk that pointed to a side dirt pathway leading east. Deciding it not important, they continued south, eventually emerging from the hills and setting up camp. It was a cold night thanks to wind coming from the hills.

On the third day, they could begin to see the mountains in the distance, Mezer chased some animals around, and Torvak found a rock that looked just like Barty’s face. They eventually by evening stumbled upon the town of Barrowbeach. Hearing raucous activity coming from town, they approached carefully. It was a town almost completely elevated off the sand by large wooden posts, and a wooden boardwalk made its way through the town as its main pathways. It was a bustling town at night, and Zoshia decided to play her viola to the music she heard. Vanion joined in with his lute, and they gathered quite a crowd. Zoshia caught a halfling trying to pick her pocket. She quickly hit him in the throat with her bow, knocking the wind out of his voice. He pleaded for her to let him go, and called out that they had a “filthy elf” in their party. Zoshia was enraged by this and stabbed him. As he was bleeding out he ran off into the distance. Some of the party noticed a well-built man in a brimmed hat and a proper gait walk up and ask what was going on.

They found out this man is Sheriff Charlie Fisher, overseer of Barrowbeach. He works under the Pirates Three, an anonymous group of leaders that dictate the goings on and workings of Barrowbeach. No one knows there identities but Charlie. Charlie warns Vanion that people don’t take kindly to elves here, calling back to their favorite folk story about a great hero of the town, Bilgewater Revan who with his pirates defended the town against a surprise Volkarsian invasion (consisting of mostly elves). He runs off and returns with some sea-soaked thick robes for Vanion to use to hide his elven identity. Charlie asks about the thief, and finding out he was not a member of the Thieve’s Guild, told the party that he deserved it. Thieving is a gray area in Barrowbeach, where it’s only really okay if you’re a part of the guild, whom has initiates practice on townees. He tells them about the undead problem they’ve been having as if it was no big deal, then goes back to his business, and the party splits. Zoshia and Torvak head to the desolate docks to steal the dockmaster’s logbook, which they do. Vanion waits outside the Doubloon Saloon and Barty and Levinia head inside. Zoshia and Torvak also join them inside.

The Doubloon Saloon appears to a big gambling den and pub. Deciding to challenge Torrask to an arm-wrestling contest, Levinia and Barty decide to psyche him out first. Barty disguised himself as a buff man, and lost to Levinia in the contest. Torrask and Levinia duked it out but Levinia came out the winner. As this went on, Zoshia stole Torrask’s coin purse, finding within it 50 gold pieces. Levinia gave some small change to him to get some drinks, so he left for the bar. The party left the pub after a bit and joined up with Vanion, and they decided to go find a place to put the horses and rest up. They head to the Wanderlust Inn and meet Music, a female tiefling that owns it. With only one room available, they buy it and rest for the night.

The next morning the town is very quiet, an enormous contrast to the night before. They head out right away, getting some waves from some townsfolk who seem to be drinking again already. They leave the beached area and the path leads them down around the mountains. Finally reaching the outside of the mountains they need to enter come nightfall, they sleep for a tiny bit in the light rain, but some rock crabs are noticed by Vanion trying to steal food from Barty’s bag. Zoshia kills one of the three, but Vanion casts Leomund’s Tiny Hut around the party, encapsuling them from the rain, and trapping the crabs. Barty had shrunken them but now waited until they grew larger, and they cooked them. In the morning Zoshia used her knowledge of her second favored terrain (mountains) to navigate them easily to the fabled cave that was their destination in the Bleak Peaks. The air now thinner, and with dark clouds, rain, wind, and mud, they hide within the cave entrance from the weather. Before they even had a chance to think about getting dry, they hear voices from further within the cave…

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Session 15 - A Hero's Rest Well Earned
Developments Galore!

We joined our heroes back in Crestguard. Zoshia visited Arken’s Smithy and sold some longbows and a greatsword. Barty headed straight for the Crestguard University Library, which was much more impressive than the public library. Heading inside, he was greeted by a bubbly gnome receptionist. Barty informed her he was there for some research. The library was meant for the University but she allowed Barty access for research if he donated some knowledge of his own. He donated “Dragons : A History”, and found out the receptionist was disorganizing the books due to her disbelief in many things, including dragons. She believed the book belonged in the fiction section and went to place it. As she did, an old man with a long white beard hobbled by Barty and tapped him on the shoulder. Following the man, Barty met Elizar the Sage, a major funder of the library, who has his own private section of the library. He listens that Barty is looking for a book on Gehenna. Knowing it would be found in the “fiction” section, Elizar took him there and got the book for him (entitled simply, “Hell”), telling him if he ran into trouble in the library to let him know. He played a little prank on Larima the receptionist by magically changing the bookcase label from “fiction” to “non-fiction”.

Vanion ventured to Alista the Warlock’s Apothecary, The Bubbling Cauldron to consult her about his poisonous wine problem. For a small fee, she performed some tests on the wine and found the Dragonblood Vineyard’s Finest to be poisoned with a poison that will kill a common man. He then went to catch up with Bepin Stoatplump of the King’s Tannery. Afterwards he went to City Hall to meet up with the others. Levinia, Zoshia, and Barty progressed to the City Hall along with Sly. Torvak made one final stop at Bepin’s establishment looking for an armor upgrade. When pressed, Bepin brought out his masterwork studded leather armor, and parted with it for a good price. Torvak feeling more protected, proceeded to city hall as well.

The party greeted Valerie, who was relieved to see them all in one piece. She told them to go ahead right in to see Ellion. A long conversation ensued with Ellion. They caught Ellion up on what transpired and the events in Shadowfel. Ellion had the Crestguard Knights give a retelling of what occurred on their journey, finding nothing of interest in the portal they found. They did however feel watched as they were in this other plane. They found no perpetrators and returned to Crestguard at once. The party decided not to tell Ellion about the key they received from Lord Bastion, at least not what it was for. Ellion asked a favor of the party, pertaining to a Gala he was hosting in one month’s time. Ellion asked the party to be security for this event as many important politicians and higher-ups of Dystomos and Volkarsis will be there. This Gala is meant to be a party to promote good relations between the continents as Dystomos and Volkarsis have had troubles in the past, mostly due to Volkarsis’ love for war. The party eventually agreed with several stipulations including some requested magical items, and Vanion was given the job of entertainment for the Volkarsis ambassadors. Ellion specifically asked them to keep an eye out for any funny business from Volkarsis, in case this is a ruse of friendship.

Before they picked up their payment, he let the group know that Professor Raster had been found missing from his cell, and they suspect someone else broke him out somehow. He has his rookie CSIs investigating. Valerie gave them each 400 gold pieces, and Sly thanked his friends for the amazing adventure but mentions he wants to spend some time back in Crestguard with his father for awhile after all that excitement. He leaves Otyp’s Book of Spells in Barty’s safe keeping, and has some heartfelt temporary goodbyes with the party, mentioned he lives upstairs in city hall and will be there if they need him, they are welcome anytime.

The party head out to the Dire Bear Retreat to celebrate a job well done and get in some relaxation. Greeting Roglak, Vanion pays for rooms for everyone and Torvak buys some drinks. Vanion drinks some Dragon’s Fire, a powerful tonic, getting him drunk. Zoshia challenges Levinia and Vanion to have a drinking contest with each other, they get a keg and go at it. Vanion gets quite sloshed and goes outside to urinate, then heading to Valerie’s, making it there successfully despite his state of mind, only knocking on two wrong doors first. She is worried about him but invites him in, and they share some wine and spend the evening/night together. Back in the inn, Levinia is declared the winner of the challenge, and Barty turns the remaining ale into a silver trophy for her. Many drunk shenanigans are had, and the party turns in for the night. During the night however, Barty has an incredibly vivid dream.

In this dream, he is standing in what appears to be the ruins of Crestguard, now a burning blaze. Colorful dragons filled the skies, breathing down fire every now and then and charring the land. Looking down, he had on some kind of arch mage robes he’d never seen before. Surrounding him was Marbo, Vanion, Obsidias Thorne, a woman with a cloak, horns and spear, and a tall lanky man in tattered clothes. An enormous green dragon swooped down at the party. Marbo cast a massive lightning bolt, the horned woman threw her spear, Vanion held firm with a halberd, the lanky man concentrated hard on something, and Obsidias was throwing daggers. Right before the dragon was to collide with them, he awoke, screaming out “DRAGONS”. Rushing after hearing the noise, Zoshia and Torvak come to see what was the matter. Barty tells them about the dream, and they ease his mind with logic. He goes back to sleep with no further dreams.

Come morning, he feels a mighty need to go downstairs. Tiptoeing down with the others behind him, he finds nothing special but Roglak with a prepared breakfast for everyone. Assuring them there was no metal dust in the eggs, they ate happily when a tall lanky man in tattered clothing came in and sat at a table far from them in the corner. Torvak recognized the man as his mentor, Vestidio Garand. Zoshia also recognized him, and asked for her glasses back, which he forked over. The rest of the party came over, including Vanion who had just arrived in the inn. Barty recognized this man as the mysterious man from his dream the previous night. They engaged in conversation with him about him being in prison previously, and He seemed to be checking in on them. Barty noticed he called Levinia by name of Caiaphas and he told Barty rogues need to know things. The party told him about their key. Vestidio told them he had something he wanted from the place he thinks they’re going. They strike a deal that they’d get it for him if he gave them the information of how to get to the portal. He mentions that to the south of Crestguard, there’s a large mountain range, part of which is called the Bleak Peaks. In the peaks, is an enormous cave. Through the cave are smaller caves that lead to the portal. Zoshia successfully bluffed to him that they had a key to a water related plane. He seems confused, and tells them he’ll meet up with them later, he’ll see them around, and leaves. They discuss what to do next… and it is to be continued…

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Session 14 - Bastion's Lament
Mask : Origins

Our party resumed their adventure in the chambers of Lord Bastion, with the Hooded Figure and Drack disappearing to outside the tower. Lord Bastion asked if there was a wizard or sorcerer amongst the party. Barty spoke up, and Bastion further inquired if he knew Feather Fall. Saying yes, he led the party down to the observatory where they broke out a window and plummeted at a safe speed down the tower base below.

Rounding the corner to the front of the tower, the party found scorched earth all around. Drack was left but a pile of burning bandages and ashes, and the book was found a pile of ash as well. The Hooded Figure remained ensnared by Zoshia‘s spell. With a crossbow bolt from Torvak, an arrow from Zoshia, and an attack by Levinia, the hooded figures’ cloak fell to the ground. The heroes observed an eight foot tall lanky creature with gray skin, and no facial features except his two large opalescent eyes. With an exclamation from Levinia, the beast was impaled and slain. All that was left behind was his cloak, longsword, and a pool of ichor.

Vanion approached and used a stick to move the ichor around. It smelled putrid. Bastion lamented the loss of Drack, and told the party about what is going on (thanking them for helping to save his life). This creature goes by the pseudonym “Mask”, but that is not his true name. He is fiend from the plane of Gehenna. When the party killed him, he merely returned there, but he doesn’t don’t know for how long. Bastion knows this as he used to work for Mask, and his organization “The Order of the Mask”. It’s a cult following that Mask has run for years, which funds his pursuits to find all the Books of Keeping. These books contain the true name of every fiend in existence (almost). If a fiend’s true name is known, it can be controlled. Mask fears this and wishes the books all destroyed. Lord Bastion isn’t sure how many have been destroyed already. He laments that Drack is not around to tell them more, as in addition to being his servant, he was Lord Bastion’s historian, with a wealth of knowledge.

He has an idea, and runs inside the tower urging everyone to follow him. Barty scoops up a vial of ichor and they all follow, finding the entrance room to be right-side up this time. Running through the door into the room with the circular table, he runs to the chest by the stairs. He opens it realizing that the Seance Ball is missing. Barty slyly informs him it was on the floor nearby, and hands it to him. Levinia and others move the circular table and set up chairs. Bastion places the ball in the center of the table, and urges everyone to sit around it. Using a piece of bandage that belonged to Drack, they summoned his spirit to the table, Drack appearing as if he was back to his old mummy self.

Drack told the party many stories about this Mask character. It is told in tales that there was a once an ancient called who called themselves “The Lariat”. They were some of the first in Mastoria to discover the existence of other planes and as such wished to summon a being from another plane. They summoned Mask from Gehenna, and he lived among them in their underground lair, learning all he could about the planet and its people. One day, he slaughtered them all. One of the members however, managed to shackle him down in the cult vault, dooming his existence. However, it seems at some point someone or something released him from his prison. Drack mentioned that if the Lariat member was still alive, that person would be unbelievably old, as it was ages ago. Drack reminds Lord Bastion that he has a key on his belt that can possibly open a portal. He gives it to the party, and leaves them the Seance ball and instructions on how to use it.

Drack went back to his eternal rest, and the party inquired about staying and resting before heading back. Vanion went to fetch a bandage remnant from Drack in case the party ever wishes to perform a seance with him again. Bastion is happy to house the guests as they helped save his life. Vanion suggest a celebration, and Bastion mentions his wine room upstairs. Wanting to stop Bastion from finding out he stole all the wine, he offers his Elvish Springwine from Volkarsis, pretending it is his own. Bastion heads up the tower to get some wine glasses from the dining area.

Fifteen minutes later or so, he comes back down with the glasses and hands them out. He tells the party that he suspects two people broke into his tower, drank all his wine, and in their drunken stupors got into a fight. One of them killed the other in the lounge, and the other escaped to die slowly of the poison Bastion placed in one of his wines. The skull also seems to have escaped in the Gallery, and something must have shook the glass shroud of silence off the pedestal. The party now realizes that one of the wine bottles Vanion took is poisoned, but they don’t know which one. They wait for Bastion to enjoy some wine, seeing nothing bad happened before joining in doing so. They bid farewell to Bastion and head back through the portal.

Coming out on the other side, they emerge to the drill site and find it’s night time in Astryer. Using rope and pitons, Levinia climbs up sixty feet and anchors in the rope. Slowly, one by one everyone climbs up, with Vanion slipping once but making a recovery, and Barty climbing the rope as if everyone else were muscle babies.
They walked the crack to the outskirts of town and headed back towards Crestguard, which was slightly over two days worth of travel. Both nights Vanion and Levinia kept guard and nothing interesting transpired. They made it back to Crestguard at about noon on the final day. Barty headed straight to the library. Torvak visited the Bowyer/Fletcher and purchased a heavy crossbow. He and Levinia traveled to the smithy and sold the damaged longswords for scrap. Having Mask’s longsword studied at the smithy and at Marbo’s magic shop led to nothing special about it being discovered. “Marbo” agrees to a trade with Torvak to study the dragon hilted dagger for a day to find its magical properties. Vanion puts on his fancy shirt and goes to visit Valerie at city hall. She is busy at her desk and is ecstatic to see Vanion, thanking him for the wine he had left. She vents about a goblin asking for a small business loan, and tells Vanion that the Crestguard Knights have returned but she doesn’t know what they found yet. She urges him to go get his companions before Ellion sees him here and yanks him into his office. He leaves and heads to the apothecary, having gotten directions from Valerie.

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Session 13 - Drack, Dragons, and Domination
"What Do Want With Master?"

We rejoin our heroes as Barty had noticed a painting with eyes that followed his movements. As Zoshia and Torvak looted the rest of the displays, Vanion discovered the painting could move, and took it down off the wall. Close inspection revealed that the eyes looked different from the rest of the painting and that it was an enchantment of some kind. Torvak stabbed his daggers through the eyes, and the enchantment faded. Barty put the poor painting out of its misery with a firebolt.

The party continued into the observatory. They marveled at the large telescopic machine, which was pointed out of one of the three enormous windows. Focusing and moving the telescope about, the party saw a large black dragon and some smaller black dragons off in the distance circling above a storm. This sparked quite the discussion about dragons within the group. In the end, they decided to press on upward.

Arriving in the dining room, the party found a humanoid creature sitting at a large wooden dining table polishing wine glasses. Drawing his attention, the party met Drack, mummy servant of Lord Bastion. The party determined that this Lord Bastion was not the Hooded Figure they’d seen before. They also discovered there used to be a kitchen, but it was remodeled when it was no longer “needed”. Pressing further, Drack revealed his master asked him not to talk about it, but informed them that Lord Bastion was upstairs and Zoshia convinced him it was best for him to escort the party up. He finished cleaning and led the party upward.

Upon arriving in Lord Bastion’s chambers, the party found Lord Bastion (who they believed to be him anyway) locked in combat with the Hooded Figure, fighting over a book. Zoshia saw a hatch up on the ceiling, meanwhile everyone all joined the fray. Drack hurried to his master’s side, and many glares and spells were cast in attempts to charm each other. All failing, the party hammered damage with blow after spell upon the Hooded Figure. Lord Bastion was frantically flipping through the book when he could and call out what seemed like nonsense words. The Hooded Figure made an enormous wall of flame that downed Mezer, and caused Bastion to let go of the book and flinch back in immense pain. Drack’s bandages also caught fire severely wounding him. Mezer was brought back to health by Vanion, and the Hooded Figure attempted to get the party to all leave while he pocketed the book. Some of the party fell to his charms and began to leave. The remaining party members gravely wounded the Hooded Figure and ensnared him. Drack (before leaving) managed to curse him with mummy rot. The Hooded Figure teleported (taking Drack with him) ending the combat. The wall of fire disappeared, however the party heard Drack scream out from somewhere below…. to be continued….

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Session 12 - Get Thee To A Winery
What Not To Touch

We rejoined our heroes as they stealthily ascended from the zoo.
They came out in a large mostly unfurnished room. On the ceiling twenty feet above them were many stalagtites. They found a locked door with a plaque next to it that read : “Create that which is so fragile, to utter its very name would break it.” The party quickly realized it meant silence, but they weren’t sure what they needed to do. Barty wrote silence on paper and ripped it in half. Vanion and others made lots of noise and then got quiet to see if it was noise then lack of sound that opened the door. After moments of uncertainty, the door clicked. Going to open the door however, they found it was still locked. Torvak and Barty cleaned off the dusty plaque and discovered that it now read “Knowledge is Power”. Eventually Barty was able to open the door by holding a book in his hand (several actually).

Within was a bit of a safe haven, a warm and welcoming fireplace and some seating arrangements. A locked chest picked by the party was full of some gold, gems, and healing potions. Vanion played with the fireplace, and Barty head out of the room. To his surprise, a stalagtite above him fell, though he was able to dodge it. It turned out to be a creature in disguise, and it tried to suffocate Torvak to death, but it was defeated. The party pressed upward.

The party emerged into what looked like a lounge. The furniture itself however looked as if it had been through the dragon wars. There was smashed bits of glass all over the floor, and a dead body in the corner with a ball of light floating above it. Zoshia went to investigate the body, discovering it to be human. She reached out and touched the ball of light, which became agitated and attacked. After it dealt some decent lightning damage, the party vanquished it. Inspecting the body, the cause of death seemed to be large glass shards to the back. The party pressed on to the next room.

This room seemed to be a large wine storage room. There wasn’t much wine left, but Vanion gathered what was there. It seemed to be wine from all ages, even some from Volkarsis. The party was able to put it together that the broken glass in the lounge and the glass in the dead human was from wine bottles. From there the party went into the Study. A large bookshelf drew most everyone’s eyes, but Torvak investigated a seemingly empty section of the room. Zoshia detected a trip wire that would have caused a fake ceiling to crush anyone below. Zoshia disarmed the trap, and took the wire for her pack. Back to the bookshelf, the party found a silver-bound book with a copper colored tree on the cover. They felt like reading it made them a bit smarter, but they weren’t certain of its effects. Barty found part three of his Unrequited Love book series, and Torvak pulled a book that ended up turning a mechanism that caused stairs upward to emerge from the far wall. The party climbed ever upward!

A gallery awaited our heroes. Torvak and Zoshia picked and smashed glass cases to collect a few longbows, damaged longswords, and a dragon hilted dagger. A glass shroud over a large skull was on a display, Barty removed the shroud, causing the skull to flame to life and attack! It hurt out party with a powerful fireball, but they were able to make it fall prone and defeat it with minor structural damages. The last occurrence, Barty noticed a paintings’ eyes following him…
To be continued…

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Session 11 - The Underground Portal
"Giga Drill Breaker!"

We joined our heroes as they kicked their clever plan into motion. To their dismay, the area around the central hole in the crevice was completely abandoned. Turning up the drama to include shouting, a drunken guard came out of a nearby tavern to check in on the commotion. Barty and Vanion who were disguised as guards, told him that “he was a rookie and should stay back”, “they would handle this”. Finding out that the woman he saw was Levinia of the Gotthard family, he rushed back to the pub to get more of his fellow guardsmen.

No more than 30 seconds later, four guardsmen emerged. Two of them were holding concerned citizen onlookers back as the drunken guard and another sober guard approached the crevice. The sober guard began rushing at Levinia, but before he reached any of them they all fell into the pit screaming on the way down (Zoshia as an assassin present to kill Levinia, and Torvak and Sly as townsfolk caught in the crossfire and taken hostage). On the way down, Barty was able to succesfully cast Feather Fall, allowing them to sail down at a safe rate and land softly on a metallic surface far below.

It was very dark being as far down as they were, and they realized they were standing on an enormous drilling machine. Torvak picked his way inside a hatch he found on the top. It was dark inside, but those with darkvision had no trouble finding some kind of control panel in the empty compartment. After attempts to fit daggers, arrows, and lockpicking tools into a key slot, Barty cast shatter upon the console, blasting a hole in it with sparks flying everywhere. Zoshia reached inside with a dagger and cut all the wires, killing all the blinking lights within.

From there the party opted to head into the cavernous opening that led to an enormous antechamber with stone flooring. Enormous tapestries hung from the walls with shadowy creatures depicted upon them. A dark doorway presented itself at the far end of the chamber. Even magical light seemed unable to light it, so the party pressed through, finding another light source thirty feet through the magical darkness. They came out in a chamber built around a stone portal with swirling purple light within, and stone bowls filled with fire lighting the room. A plaque on the wall warned to everyone of the dangers inside. First one hand was sent through the portal, then Torvak with a rope around his waist. He came back and told the party of what he saw, and they pressed on bravely, deciding to investigate why someone had drilled down here.

The party found themselves on a ragged chilly mountaintop next to a large stone tower. The skies were constantly storming and there was naught but fog below. Surrounded by trees reaching towards them, Barty found out the hard way that there was danger here. Opening the door outward the party entered the tower. The lobby room before them was entirely upside-down, with furniture hanging from the ceiling! Sly summoned a chill couch and with the help of strong-armed Levinia they got it over to one of the fifteen foot climbs to a doorway and made their way up one by one. Hopping down into the room they heard hissing and primal screams coming from below them. There was a hatch on the floor Zoshia had noticed, but try as they might to open it it seemed to be locked by some kind of powerful magic. Sly and Barty were unable to discern what was needed, but they knew it was magical indeed.

Making their way into the next room they found checkered tile, a large round table surrounded by eight chairs, and stairs leading upward. They took the table over to the fifteen foot climb to the doorway to confirm it was the first room they had come in through. Levinia found a chest underneath the stairwell, that was locked. Picked open by Torvak, they found within it a crystal ball, that Barty determined had magical properties. The crystal ball did not seem to effect the floor hatch, so the party pressed on upwards.

The heroes found themselves in a torture room filled with all kinds of horrible equipment. As they stepped out, twenty crawling severed hands came out from underneath the equipment to fight them! The party quickly dispatched of the claws with needles, fire, and some firm slashes. Moving to the next room, they discovered this was quite the odd place it was an observation room for the torture going on, and there were one way windows into the previous room, as well as seating arrangements. A locked chest was found that was picked and contained 100 gold pieces, and 20 silver pieces. The party pressed on ever upward.

Coming out into another observation type room, a window was found that looks into what might have once been a zoo, filled with terrariums, now mostly destroyed. Two tall stone statues of snakelike creatures stood next to the doorway to the zoo area. There was also a plaque on the wall that read “Poison can take you in, and poison can take you out”. Barty investigated the statues and found bowl-like receptables in their tongues. Zoshia filled them with drops of poison, and the door clicked open quietly. Zoshia cast “Pass Without Trace”, and the group managed to sneak through the zoo room while keeping an eye on the ceiling, as they had heard a hissing noise. They climbed up the staircase to the next floor quietly… To Be Continued…

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Session 10 - Welcome to Astryer
"I Love It When A Plan Comes Together"

We joined our heroes as they looted the fallen bodies of the Obsidias Thorne gang. Levinia obtained a note to Obsidias from a mysterious L. R. telling that Levinia would be heading North of Crestguard. After some deliberation, Zoshia held onto the note. Picking up where they left off, the heroes resumed their almost full night of sleep, with Torvak now keeping watch (thanks to his sleeping through the battle).

Come morning, they began their trek Northward towards Astryer. Bartholomew cast a spell on Zoshia to reduce her weight by half, and she rode on Levinia’s back, getting more rest as she had been the first of the nights’ watch. Sly mentioned the apparent recent lack of earthquakes. After about five hours of traveling, the party emerged from forested areas and over a hill to get a clear view of the city in the distance.

Vanion had been here before, though he was very blacked out drunk. Levinia being from here immediately noticed the enormous crack through the ground, carving through the center of the city as buildings slowly crumbled inward. They rushed towards town to find guards scrambling about evacuating citizens. The party asked Levinia about locations in the city, while as they were walking by a house they heard trapped citizens inside. They decided to aid the guardsmen is rescuing a couple trapped in their nearly completely collapsed home. Barty shrank Zoshia to half her size, and she slipped inside to give spears to the couple, and they began moving some rocks out of the way. Barty enlarged Levinia, who held up the roof as the guardsmen and Sly moved the boulders on the other side. Eventually a pathway was cleared, and everyone made it out okay. Levinia allowed the house to collapse after it was safe. As the party discussed a place to feed these hungry people, some guards escorted them away. A very helpful and friendly guard informed them that he’d never heard of “The Glory Hole” but that “The Bronze Rabbit” was down the street as far as pub/inns go. He also inquired about Levinia, and if her last name was Gotthard. It was revealed that the guards believe the Gotthard family was caught embezzling government money, and were therefore under arrest, but during the raid/capture their daughter had escaped. He told them they could find wanted posters for her at the prison. The party also informed him of the murderous Obsidias Thorne and gang and he went to go make some new wanted posters.

The party split, with Zoshia and Torvak heading to the prison where apparently the Gotthard family was being held. The remaining party members went to the Bronze Rabbit, finding it filled to the brim with folks who most likely lost their homes and need a drink or a place to stay. Sly summoned a couch, Vanion bought some drinks, and they sat to discuss. Meanwhile at the prison, Zoshia and Torvak meet with the guard down at the sub-entrance who asks for their weapons before they can meet with prisoners. He also handed over some Levinia wanted posters complete with nice portrait. They now see that this portrait is of their Levinia after all. As Torvak introduced himself to the guard, he heard a familiar voice say “Torvak, no shit!” from down the hall. As they went down to where the Gotthards were being held, Torvak recognized Vestidio Garand, his rogue mentor, in a prison cell. He was a lanky, pale, gray-haired human with black raggy clothing. Torvak merely passed him by, getting a smug “heh” from Vestidio as he was “ignored”. They went to see the Gotthards, running into an older couple (the mother and father), and their son, a young man.

An in depth conversation was had where the young man revealed to Zoshia and Torvak that the Bravarti family was in fact the one they had caught embezzling money, though they didn’t know what they were doing with it. The Bravarti family somehow found out and preemptively informed the guards that it was the Gotthards. Levinia had escaped during their capture. Zoshia and Torvak also discovered that Levinia was never really a capable fighter according to her brother, and they’ve been in jail here for weeks. The young man was very worried that Levinia was back in town, he had hoped she could prove their innocence somehow. Zoshia left unhappy with this new information. On the way out, Torvak stopped to chat with Vestidio. Vestidio refused to reveal why he was there, telling a confusing tale that he both wanted to be there and planned to escape. Torvak asked him about his issue with losing hours at a time, and Vestidio did not have an answer for him. Zoshia offered the sleazy man some eyeglasses, which he gracefully accepted and put on. Torvak (who was being called Jorvyn this whole conversation by Vestidio, which Zoshia did not notice) knew that that would probably be enough for him to escape, so he left the prison after.

The prison group came back to the Bronze Rabbit and met up with the others. Torvak tried to get a private room to talk but they were all booked up thanks to the evacuation. They relocated to a nearby alley to discuss the new information they’d learned. Zoshia confronted Levinia, feeling offended with lies, and Levinia (filled with many emotions) revealed that she was in fact Caiaphus, reincarnated into a young woman’s body. Barty had heard tales of Caiaphus before, and Vanion knew a song of “Caiaphus and the Labyrinth”. He was a mighty man capable of mighty deeds, and he was known far and wide. Eventually in his old age, he asked the gods for another shot at fame and glory. They cursed his arrogance, sending him into Levinia’s body at the moment of the raid on the Gotthard home. Levinia slaughtered ten guards and made an escape.

So many problems laid before the party; The Gotthard’s innocence, Sly’s Great Uncle, Keeping Levinia from capture, Vestidio’s encroaching escape, and the crevice caused by the drill!
Barty formulated a plan with help from the rest of the party. They would disguise two of them as guards (Barty and Vanion) who would be arresting Levinia near the center of the town at the crevices’ deepest point. Zoshia would pick up Mezer, Levinia would take a hostage (Torvak), and they would all fall into the pit in a struggle (appearing to kill them all). This would hopefully cause the guards to believe Levinia is dead. Meanwhile however, Barty will cast feather fall in order for them to make it safely to the bottom.

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