Mysteries of Mastoria

Session 23 - Talking to Rocks
Tomb of Urxis, Magic Book and Key

Our heroes were last locked in combat with the colossal Stone Golem!
Having grabbed the robe, Zoshia called for a retreat from the looming and seemingly undamaged golem. The party made it’s way out (some members slower than others) into the nearby halls. They formulated a plan for sneaking back in to get the book from the pedestal. Jorvyn used his disguise kit to disguise himself to look like Urxis, or at least the statuette whom he believed was of Urxis. He went back into the chamber and convinced the golem (that spoke Gnomish) that he had come back to life, and his job of guarding Urxis’ tomb had come to an end. He gave the golem a new mission to return with colorful gems. With that, the golem destroyed the back wall of the temple and exited into the elemental wasteland.

The party quickly acquired the book, as well as some weaponry. The key from the Xorn did not seem to open the magically locked book. Some of the party delved down the stairs the golem was previously guarding (while some stood guard), finding Urxis’ actual tomb. A boulder in the corner sprung to life just like the one with the sword in it’s back that Barty and Vanion encountered before. It spoke Terran and it was revealed that he is also guarding Urxis’ tomb, and wished for nothing to be disturbed. Jorvyn with help from Zoshia was able to convince the Galeb Duhr that Urxis was back to life and needed his staff to stop an evil necromancer who was trying to raise him for evil. The Galeb Duhr handed the staff over to Jorvyn, and then since his guard job was finished, Jorvyn also gave him a quest to collect colorful gems. The party who were standing guard watched as this creature came up the stairs and then out the same enormous hole in the wall of the temple.

Discussions were had and the heroes went off to potentially find the magical key that would open this book, as Vanion noticed it looked similar to the Book of Keeping they had seen in Shadowfel. Going back to the room with the elephant, they found it caught in a net. Zoshia freed the elephant and calmed it, directing it to stand on one of the large pressure plates by the door. That combined with Barty using gaseous form the move over all of the pressure plates and stand on the other one, seemed to open the doors about 3/4 of the way. With the help of Mezer, the doors were open, and the party found a room filled with thousands of keys. Eventually through Arcana a particular magic key was found, which opened the book. Inside it was filled with endless lists of names written in infernal.

Further discussion was had about whether to now leave the temple or to find what Zoshia’s key went to. Barty also felt a strong magical presence elsewhere in the temple. The heroes found a stone room with a stone golem (or at least the head and shoulders of one) embedded into the far wall. It kept repeating the word “TWENTY” but the group couldn’t determine what it needed. Some of the group parted off to see if there was a room behind the golem’s wall, but only found a room further down the hall, that turned out to be a small bar. Jorvyn took up barkeep and inspected the alcohols behind the bar, pouring Vanion some Djinni Firewater. Paintings of booze lined the walls, and meanwhile Zoshia was pondering the issue of “Twenty”. To be continued…

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Session 22 - Cursed Gems and Colossal Golems
"Can we address the elephant in the room?"

We joined our heroes in the Food Storage room with a Xorn who had just eaten the key on the table. Zoshia was able to negotiate with the creature to exchange five of her onyx gems for the key. A trade was made, and the creature burrowed away. The party checked out the statue (that Levinia recognized as a miniature version of the one that smashed the man in her vision, and that the party deduced is resembling a famous wizard) but ultimately decided to leave it be.

Exploring further, they discovered a reading room of sorts. Vanion took the carpet on the floor and draped it over an uncomfortable chair made of stone, while the party investigated the heavy metal door on one end of the room, and the paintings on another wall. Torvak discovered the paintings weren’t real, and Barty, Levinia and Torvak pushed through the wall into a hidden library, followed by the rest of the party. They found a few choice books (though no Book of Keeping or books on this plane), and after Vanion was satisfied with no hidden passages, they left (including leaving another statue on a side table in the hidden library). They explored through the metal door to an odd room with what turned out to be strawberry jam on the floor. There was also a decent sized dent in the floor. The far door did not open. The party decided to maybe come back later, when Torvak closed the door with everyone else outside, telling Levinia to open the door in 30 seconds. The ceiling began to move downward onto Torvak, but he hid in the dent in the floor, and the ceiling eventually raised back up. The door across from the party unlocked, so Torvak went out, looked around, and followed one of the hallways back to the party who were relieved to see him alive.

Heading around the bending hallways above, the party found their way to some wooden doors. Entering, they found five pedestals, each with a gem on it (Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst and Diamond). Torvak was the first to touch one, and soon enough each party member except Zoshia had a curse upon them, and Torvak had two! There was a magical shimmering physical barrier keeping them from progressing. Eventually, Vanion’s curse was guessed by Zoshia, and the doorway’s barrier changed to the color of his gem. He was able to pass through, the gem turned to coal, and his curse was lifted. The party helped each other overcome their curses (All words of less than 6 letters, shouting over others only, no pronouns, only being able to speak 3 words without pausing, and cringing upon hearing the letter F), and they were all able to progress through the barrier.

The heroes split up after this room, with Zoshia followed by Levinia discovering the enormous room from Levinia’s vision that housed the Stone Golem, Book and Robe. Vanion and Barty ventured into a nearby room that had a boulder surround by smaller rocks. The boulder had a sword jutting out. Vanion attempted to pull it out like the legends he’d once heard of, but upon doing so the boulder awakened to reveal itself as a Galeb Duhr, with the sword emerging out it’s back. Realizing the creature was defending itself, Vanion and Barty went to aid Zoshia and Levinia as their battle began. Torvak explored his own room, where he was hit by an elephant that dropped from the ceiling. Deciding this room was dangerous, he also went to join the fray. Zoshia was able to get past the golem and grab the robe. Our heroes remain locked in combat, who will win?

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Session 21 - U R X I S
"What's in a name?"

In the midst of deadly combat with a Dao and his summoned earth elemental, the heroes focused on trying to break the Dao’s concentration on his conjured ally. Through relentless attacks the party was able to destroy the Dao, though it was a tough fight. The Earth Elemental chose to retreat after the Dao had fallen, and Torvak set about freeing the slaves.

They found out the slaves were all from other places, including a man who was an adventurer from Barty’s town of Brevin who had left for an adventure 40 years ago and never returned. The two earlier freed slaves had made a run for it, their fates uncertain, but Levinia drew a map for the five remaining slaves to find their way to the portal. They were given instructions to wait there, Zoshia gave her water-skin to them and her rations as she could forage for food. Zoshia collected the crystalline dust, the large robes, and the maul the Dao had left behind. One of the slaves tipped them off that more Dao could come, so the party bid the slaves a temporary farewell, and pressed onward.

After about another half a day’s journey, the party arrived at their destination, all too familiar to Levinia. The tower they sought entrance to was 30 feet up a rocky cliff face. Barty ascended the distance as a gaseous form, while Levinia climbed up and attached rope. The rest of the party climbed up, and they decided to leave the rope there in case of a quick escape. Zoshia noticed gargoyle statues carved into the tower, overlooking the main doors. She called out to them in Terran, and they attacked defending the tower, but we’re quickly dispatched with only some minor scrapes and cuts to Barty and Levinia. Reading the letters U R X I S above the door, the party thought it might be a name of some kind, though Zoshia didn’t recognize it as a name of a famous elemental.

The party swung open a large door quietly and scouted out a small room with four pillars, two doors on opposite walls and large plaque. The plaque read “It is a place of hidden riches, it is a wall against all foes, it is a grave for the greedy.” While the party pondered on a potential riddle, they found out the doors led to… one another! A fireball sent through one door collided with Levinia out the other, much to Barty’s dismay. Vanion flipped coins through it with markings to confirm. While Zoshia looked for fake walls or hidden passages, Mezer drew her attention to a trap door on the floor that had her falling through the ceiling! Luckily Barty cast feather fall to ensure a safe journey back down. Through some cunning thought, the party secured a rope in order to climb through the door in the ceiling, which took them out to a new hallway.

Exploring each way, Barty found a beautiful mahogany door, while Zoshia discovered a beaten down oak door. The party decided to head to the oak door (single file as the hallways were a bit cramped) and check out what was inside. They found sacks of dried foods, and at the end of the room a table with a small key and a stone statuette on it. Levinia recognized the statuette as looking like the hulking stone golem that smashed the man in her vision. As Zoshia and the party began to enter, a hulking Xorn emerged from the floor and ate the key right off the table! To be continued….

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Session 20 : Enter The Elemental Plane of Earth!
"They're miners, not minors!" "...You lost me."

Our heroes began by studying the umber hulk that had walked into the room. Barty warned the party that those that survived encounters with this beast are fabled to have not remembered a thing. With a sneak attack by Torvak combat had begun, and the hulk used its mesmerizing eyes to try and have everyone do its bidding. The heroes dispatched of the creature with Zoshia dealing the final blow with her magical short sword.
The party took a short rest, and Zoshia studied her short sword revealing it as Corellon’s Short Sword of Blessed Water. Barty spent time copying the spell “Locate Object” to his spell book, erasing the scroll. Scouting ahead after the rest, Torvak and Vanion discover Vestidio awaiting them in the portal room. A lot of discussion goes back and forth about how he arrived there, why he is there, and why he won’t come with them to the Elemental Plane of Earth. Vestidio claims it’s something they must do on their own, and asks them to bring back a robe, promising it is for the greater good. He promises to guard the portal best he can, and bring something back for Zoshia to use to help her track someone down. The party takes a long rest, with Levinia ensuring Vestidio is true to his word, and they all wake up safely. A cruel prank by Vestidio on Vanion involving a fake keyhole aside, Vanion puts the key into the portal opening, turning it and opening a swirling light brown magical portal.

Heading through, Vanion leaves a mage hand behind to flip off Vestidio. The party discovers themselves in a smaller cave in a plane of darkness, stone, and faintly glowing gemstones. Concerned about finding their way back to the portal after they’ve left, Torvak allows Barty to study one of his playing cards (a Joker) to become familiar with it so he could later cast Find Object if need be. Levinia recalls the map from her vision best she can, with Zoshia feeling confident in her geographic recollection skills to return them, and they set off on two-day journey to the fated temple where Levinia saw a man be crushed. The party feels a more intense gravity but resists the effects, and several earthquakes of varying sizes shake the world beneath them. They see an entire mountain get up and walk away. Thanks to Zoshia’s favored terrain and traveling luck the party did not meet any opposition on their first days worth of travels. They came to a large fissure and took a short rest. Levinia and Torvak began feeling sluggish from the gravity, but Barty used his transmuter stone and a spell to have them feeling themselves again. They continued their journey on the second day by going around the fissure (that seemed to drop into nothingness) and passed by an elemental mining gems on a mountainside.

This elemental had a torso, but below was swirling sands. It had an enormous maul, could burrow through rock without it moving, and fly. Zoshia wanted to talk to the elemental despite the party’s pleas to move on, but upon getting closer Zoshia found there were slaves mining that were chained together. She talked the party into trying to free them, or at least finding out what’s going on since none of the heroes are familiar with how anything works in this plane. Getting his attention, he calls out to them “Ah good! More slaves!” and flies towards the party. Combat ensued with some swipes of his maul and fist, and he has conjured an earth elemental. The party got some damage in via shatter and Torvak has freed one slave so far. To be continued…

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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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