The Still Night

A new dawn

We fight with Wantad and his crew. Unfortunately, this crew now seems to include Giro who joins in the dancing – to the effect that the gathering magic gains intensity. The lights in the room get brighter and brighter until they become almost blinding. Even the smallest magic effects becomes incredibly destructive.

The intensity of magic gathers to a crescendo whereby some items explode, including the parrot. Then all magic ceases to function and a wave of force knocks most people off their feet. The room is now only lit by 3 green nimbus’ of light from glass chambers. A small amount of time later magic returns but of a normal magnitude. Charity falls a number of times. We summon Valadrin Grovesong, the angel. Valadrin brings much needed curing and a pleasant aura …

Tar sets about rusting the metal tubes that connect the chosen children to the greater ceremony. The pressure within each of the glass chambers ratchets up to the point where they’re ready to explode. The dancers continue to flail themselves even as their bodies rise in to the air, their bodies flying around in a circle. Wantad continues to grow as he’s enthralled in the ceremony.

We eventually get Charity up to Wanted with the Kalcicaro. Charity smashes the Kalcicaro on the black hand that Wantad is standing upon. The chaos foes all fall to the ground, blood pouring from the eyes and ears. All of Wantads diabolic minions expire though Wantad himself survives, as does his mage. A visage of Orcus appears and screams his anger and fury at Wantad. Orcus claims that the Night of Dissolution will still happen even if he has to “wake from his slumber himself”. Then Orcus glowers at the rest of us, and his gaze rests upon Red: “You have returned …” Orcus screams. Orcus claims to have banished “the Winlords” once already and that he shall do so again. The implication is that somehow we’re the reincarnation of these “Winlords”.

As Orcus put his gaze towards Red the ex-feather glows silver and seems in some way to be antagonistic towards Orcus, in some way wanting to assail the great demon. Could it be that when Orcus put his gaze towards Red and mentioned "You have returned … " that it was actually referring to the silver wand?

During the final stages of the battle, where Wantad vents his anger on the party, Red gets dragged through the blue portal and into another world, or at least another city. The city is ring shaped and seems to exist on the inside of a spokeless wheel. Through the middle of the city is a giant stone column, possibly several miles across. From within the pillar appears a giant face surrounded by blades of a similar colour and texture. The faces seems to start straight at Red.

As Red watches on, enchanted by all the new sights, a black skinned figure passes a message on to Red before climbing up some vines. “The means to return will drop into your lap if you want to learn more of who you are. Ask the pillar of skulls for the key to Sigil.”. Red returns through the portal, back to the party.

A few of the figures in the tubes are children but one is the barbarian king who the army outside the city has been looking for. As Wantad rises as a revenant the King puches his way out of the glass chamber and joins the fight. As the fight draws to an end we make our way out, through part of the city and to some sewers. We travel close to the city walls to where we can send the King back to his people.

We head back to the guild to collect our chests of loot. It seems there’s trouble in the guild. Jesingar (the Night Master) and Jamil (the old instructor who had used the All-Key) have been murdered. The mages accuse the guild and the guild accuses the mages. Seems like we’re being roped in to trying to figure out who did what. We go to the murder scene.

It’s an apocalyptic scene … Red’s chest seems to have been looted. It looks like the Red’s chest is empty other than a jar.

From examining the body of the Nightmaster we see a small pin prick in the back of her neck. Her body has some tell-tale signs of poison.

Jamil seems to have had the life drained out of him. Red’s working assumption is that Jamil used the All-Key on the chest and that the chest drained the last of the life out of him.

One of the chests appear to belong to Slab and Wookie.

Javica tells us a story about her lost arm. A dark elf approached her and gave her a chest, very similar to the ones we have. In exchange, she was given our chests and asked to keep them secret. Javica was told that when the right people come along she was to give the chests over and that it was obvious that we were the ones. The arm Javica has is a form of primal chaos and Javica has to force the arm to reform in to the tangible form of an arm that it is today.

During the interview with Haydn he tells us there’s something wrong with Sam and Anna Gill … and Nobby has been behaving oddly. Barin (a cleric of Olidamarra) also, apparently, has no spells left and had to be allowed in to the guild through the use of a coin, rather than being able to make it through the portal himself. We go to talk to Barin and expose him for the treacherous dog that he is.

…. after many hours investigating, searching and interviewing we corner Barin with greater certitude over his suspicious activities. The game is up! Barin changes into a large dinosaur and rushes for the exit. We chop it down, eventually, after it’s changed in to a large spider and then back to its dinosaur form. Upon its demise it transforms into a humanoid form the like of which we’ve never seen before. It also regurgitates some green chaos liquid that Red then transforms in to a hat.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t link Barin to the Green Man so, for today at least, the Green Man remains a criminal in waiting.

The following day we go to the Commissars who rewards us with the deeds to Pythoness House, complete with chaos tint and ghosts.

We then travel to the Cathedral of Pelor to get some ailments treated. Apparently there are a number of high ranking members of the cathedral missing and that a reward is being posted for information leading to their recovery.

We return to the guild and open our chests.

We speculate upon our purpose in the universe. A Tar-ian theory suggests we may be the weapon that Orcus so covets and fears …

We go to Pythoness House. We seem to have a ghostly butler in the making. As we wander around our new abode Gabe disappears. We follow through some kind of portal. On the other side is a red canvas of a sky and a smell of sulfur. We appear lying down with some strange blue lattice effect. It turns out that we’re in Hell, at least according to a diabolic creature we encounter. Apparently we’re in the first layer of Batur. In one direction lies the Great Road, another direction are some mountains. Another direction is a river of blood.

Asking about the Pillar of Skulls the devil suggests we talk to the Old Witch, a planes walker who may know, though the creature does suggest it’s heard about the Pillar. “Over the river of blood is a cave where the hag hangs out”.

Balls of fire burst from the floor as we make our way through a basalt rock laden plain. Temporarily protecting ourselves from fire we make our way to the river and jump/wade/fly our way over.

View
The Night of Dissolution

Charity notices that one of her axes, the one that creates steam, has been replaced with another axe, two headed, that seems to bleed. Charity believes she’s seen it before and that it’s the axe that was chained up in one of the bane warren rooms. It’s likely the increase in magic has allowed the axe to escape its bonds and has chosen to take control of Charity. We decide not to ask ourselves any awkward questions and just rejoice in Charity’s good fortune.

Moving on we encounter:
5 brass humanoids – these obey Gabrial’s commands, presumably thinking Gabby is Deynar.
Small, circular iron chest – green, iron bracer in the chest. Gabby picks up the bracer. Charity feels the item should be left behind and reserves the right to say “I told you so …”.

We get waylaid by some gnolls, a minotaur, a couple of other beasts and a not-so-fiery, and now naked, woman; and a creature called “Greneris”. The fight initially goes badly with Gabby ineffectively headbutting the naval area of a large bear. It starts to look bad as we think about retreating when the caverns natural inhabitants start to attack each side. There’s some antagonistic conversation (“You should not have come here… the Kwarn will betriumphant.”) between the caverns leader, a large cyclops named Tamas, and the not-so-fiery female figure. During the fight one of the creatures gets thrown in to a large pool of gloopy liquid. Weirdly, at this point, the anti-magic affect now drops.

The fight continues. Tamas turns in to a white dragon and moves to attack the fiery lady. In anger, the fiery lady casts an enormous fireball killing Red stone dead and collapsing the bridge some of the party were on. As Red dies the cursed hat falls to the floor. Two of the feathers are completely destroyed and one now resembles a long straw/wand.

After a long and painful fight, in which Gabe also nearly dies, all foes eventually fall, including the fiery lady (Iladras?). After the fight, a fleeing drow is seen moving through a portal between some stalagmites. This creature has been seen before, perhaps the same one we encountered in the graveyard many moons ago. Talking to Varris about it later he mentions that the portal leads to the City of Doors.

We also pick up the 3rd part of the key to the bane warrens from the body of the white dragon. However, the second part has been destroyed by the magical flux and is now in two…. doh!

Moving away from the area we encounter Yashala playing with the little helpers – hopscotch. “The lady [Jevica] said I had to go to sleep but that’s boring”. Yashala suggests that locking the warrens is easy and that all she needs to do is to close the main door. Though to get her help we need to play her game.

We leave behind all the banes other than Sir Varris.

Sir Varris suggests the bane warrens will be destroyed on the night of dissolution.

We decide to leave the warrens. Yashala stays inside the warrens and seals the door behind us. Yashala insists that the hand remains with us. Just beyond the main warrens door are the Pelorians. We agree to give them access to the warrens in exchange for a resurrection on Red and plenty of other curative spells. We then condemned them to an eternity in the bane warrens.

We’re given the Kelcikaro – the breath of the last emperor. It can be used a single time. Break it open and the breath is release. It’s something akin to a massive explosion aimed solely at chaotic creatures. It may be useful in our attempts to stop Wantad.

= we all go up a level =

We go to get our chests from Jevica but it turns out the snickleways aren’t available.

We travel to the Temple of the 53 where we believe Wantad is performing the last rites to invoke the Night of Dissolution. The ‘53’ are the gods of chance. We expect the lost nomad king to be part of the ceremony.

On the ground level of the temple are a couple of initial guards, one of whom sounds the alarm via a large bell. We find a way beneath the temple via a secret passageway and encounter a “what’s the password” issue. We fight a couple of large demons and some little minions. Problems include:
– big loss of strength
– demons not affected by elemental magics and also have spell resistance

We make our way down some stairs and in to a major ceremony area. Three levels of elevation with caged archers, an enlarged Wantad, a cat woman, a large, heavily armored female humanoid, a mage and a couple of other minions. Wantad is now a huge demon-like creature.

Charity has a wander around with her big lollipop.

View
The Sword of Lies

There are 3 groups with us within the warrens:

1. The Pelor priests + 9 armoured figures . Sister Marrow Von Witten – who had been beaten back by the Betrayed. She’s prepared to assist us if we return the sword. She’s made the same offer to two other groups. She offers to exchange the Kelcicaro (the item in the altar) with the Sword of Truth/Lies.
2. The fiery lady
3. A group of humans with a Minotaur, accompanied by some lovely ladies.

A warrens repair creature skitters in to view with a piece of paper: “The ward generator has now been completed, as instructed”. This infers that when the front door to the warrens has been closed, that the ward generator will stop the door from being opened. So …. all we need to now do is to get the part of the staff of power and leave, closing the door behind us, while leaving the Sword of Truth in the warrens.

Moving to the corridor to the south, we believe a minotaur party had ventured this way before us. We find a weapon room with a plinth for 5 special weapons, one of which is likely to have been for the Sword of Truth. The plinth is empty. There’s also a book that has a passage circled. [https://the-still-night.obsidianportal.com/wikis/book-found-in-the-banewarrens-inner-area ] – though someone had scribbled out the four winged angel section and written ‘Malificient’ in its place.

Travelling through the melted cavern to the next corridor, we find a carving of a man in robes, touching a dragon headed rod to some runes of sealing, protected by angels with bows. Beyond one of the doors is a large, 4-armed skeleton that waylays us.

We traverse through to another corridor where we encounter Kel Recent. Kel informs us that Sister Marrow is planning to waylay anyone that attempts to leave the warrens, just in case they had they had the sword. The ambush place would be the entrance place. He also gives us a gift from the mages guild lackey (Balock (?)) with the message"success and failure". The gift is the haft of the dagger, wrapped in cloth. Kel does provide a couple of cure-diseases and some further healing before trying to find his way out of the warrens.

Upon examining the haft of the dagger, it’s very ornate, golden … and glowing green. Now all we need is the final part to complete the staff.

Info : The magical cave would seem to have some kind of relationship with interdimensional/teleportation meddling having been performed on hit. Perhaps this explains the presence of the demonic toads.

Checking down another corridor is an Earth creature uttering the word “food” at us and an angel crucified, upside down, and burnt against one wall. A corridor with electricity blasting down lies between us and the angel. Yashala has informed us that the third part of her lies in that direction.

The earth creature proves of little use, even after we throw it some metal to chew on. Instead, it starts to chew on some gems that have been placed in the glass cabinets in the room. Ignoring this we move to examine an angel that’s been pinned upside-down to a far wall. Tar frees the creature who changes from a singed, almost skeletal creature in to a winged angel. The creature, Callin.

Callin informs us that Woof is a “mono-drome”, a “modrom” from one of the planes of Law.

Callin regards Charity with some disgust. It turns out the vial of liquid Charity has been carrying for some time is the essence of an angel, captured and placed in the vial. We empty the jar on the ground. Callin dispels the corruption binding the angel and another angel appears.

Angel ‘B’ turns out to be -REDACTED— who we can call upon to serve us once. We just need to mention her name 3 times.

We’re informed we need to go past the hall of statues and beyond another chamber of one of the creators to find the Sword of Truth.

We’re waylaid by a group of invisible undead creatures, though we open up with an ill judged fireball and quickly dispatch the group. A hell-fire wielding tiefling irritates us through a set of wards. When Dog gets to the creature we’re not if it was just an illusion or not though we decide to move on at this point and continue the search for the “room of statues”.

Tar finds an open doorway and interferes with some binding runes keeping the Winter Harrowden in check. A brief and chilly encounter later and Dog is frozen solid. We’re told by Sir Varris that there’s an answer in this place to remove the frozen element though dangling Dog in the cavern is likely to kill him. We ponder a while.

… and finally give up. We ask Sir Varris for the answer to Dog’s predicament. We’re to drag him to the item destruction chamber and place him on the platform, activate level ‘B’ and pull him off (oo-err) before he gets squashed. This knowledge would seem to cost us one of our lives over the next hour.

After bringing Dog back to life we move to the Hall of Statue’s where we use the tale of Daynar we found in a book to tun the statues in the appropriate order. A couple of figures appear with hammers and break down the layers of the prismatic wall blocking our passage. It’s clear from the footprints in the room that many figures had beaten us to this point.

Throughout the day we’ve been through a number of magical spell/item enhancements or explosions. Some spells are re-learnt, some are learnt too often and explode.

We pass through the “lair”, passing a plinth with a crystalline cylinder upon it, scintillating gases swirling around it.

Within another chamber most of the floor is cover in a frosty glass. Within the glass is a large draconic figure (Sagarintius – a figure who Yashala used to play with). High above the floor is a floating throne, fit for a large humanoid. A large dragon motif forms part of the ceiling.

Gold, bronze, silver, iron, marble, wood (oak) disks float in a secret chamber off the dragon glass. There are another 4 rows of invisible discs.

Moving on, we find a room with a fountain in the center. In the center is an male elf. The figure turns to regard Gabriel “What does it mean to be good”, it asks. The figure bows to Dog and a secret door opens leading down some stairs.

Moving down the stairs is a deep cave. A bridge used to span the chasm but is now broken. Tar changes in to a bat and goes for a scout but encounters an anti-magic area, and falls 90ft. We move to find our lost scout and encounter some hostile, grey-skinned creatures. We kill them.

View
Numquam Utilis

The fight with the large, gut spewing demon continues. We try a blunt weapon, which also fails to damage it.

We hear a word of power, “Zog”, in our minds. Perhaps a coincidence, but our magic increases in strength at this point and some of our green tinted items explode.

We cure the creature, which seems to have some effect as part of its skin turns black and falls to the ground. The demon shrieks in anger and pain which sets off a series of magic item explosions. The fight proves very painful, not just for the number of people down at the end of the fight, but also for the loss of items – especially the big cure wand. The final death of the demon, after 4 large cures, results in some kind of mind blast that renders everyone unconscious for several hours. We also slay the 8 legged dwarf during the fight.

We eventually awake.

We find several notebooks penned by the dwarf detailing the workings of his large chaotic device. The device is there to gather the chaos within the world with the purpose of then utilizing the gathered chaos. The notes suggest the machine was months away from completion.

We move on up the apparatus to some of the other levels that we’d previously missed. In one of the rooms, we find some Abyssal writings. One of which states:

“The moon shall return, it brings the night”

We rest the night, unexpectedly learning new skills – the universe compensating us for the lost baubles perhaps. After a bit of curing, we use some of the scaffolding poles to pierce the chaos device. The device rumbles, groans and eventually starts to explode. A mad dash to the surface ensues.

On the way we meet Nobby who claims to have arrested all those upstairs, dragging out the locals hypnotized by the game of chaos. We make our way back to the Snickleway, encountering a few giant insects as we go.

When we return to the Snickleways, we’re asked to see Jevica Nor and Haydn. It seems Jevica and her mages are settling in to the northern quarters on floor three. We’re informed that we fought one of the ‘vested’- a Zorg. Jevica is surprised we’re still alive. The Zorg is, apparently, one of the weakest of the Vested. The curing we put on the creature were unusually effective. Previous combats have resulted in people fighting a Zorg for hours with positive energy, with little effect.

Some more information on the crystal : The one that generates the wraiths that we encounter on entry to the Bane Warrens, is the crystal that Wantad was searching for.

Info: The flaming, naked woman entered the bane warrens this morning.

Info: The altar had a lingering presence of Law – indicating it’s of the strongest essence. Woof is also of the strongest essence of Law… suggesting it’s of an artifact level.

Info: There are some boxes, called the Verdant Chests, linked to the green moon, cannot be opened, even by a wish. The boxes occasionally have images on them that briefly appear. The current images suggest the boxes are linked to each of us. One of the images, for example, is of a small child leaping over a crack in the floor. This could represent dog.

There was a time when mages were hunted down and killed by a sword they call the Sword Of Lies. This sword was termed the Sword of Truth before it was corrupted. Jevica wants the sword kept in the warrens.

Sister Marrow Von Witter – one of the priests of Pelor, complete with a substantial force of paladins and clerics have entered the warrens, seeking the Sword of Truth.

Another group has also entered the warrens. Little is known other than they “bend magic”.

Jevica has suggested that she and her apprentices enter Quarn to recover the third part of the bane warren sealing item while we retrieve the second.

Jevica suggests we’re just a few days away from the Night of Dissolution.

We describe the watchers to Jevica. She seems extremely dubious about our description of a portal which she describes as a “planar portal”. She describes this event as impossible. Perhaps the ‘watchers’ are whoever created the prison plane we exist on.

Jevica mentions that Yashala is still suspicious of us and thinks we may be nasty, due to imprisoning an angel. We suspect Yashala was referring to Daynar, rather than ourselves given she would have mistaken Gabriel for Daynar at the time.

Travelling back to the bane warrens we encounter no wraith – the crystal having been moved. We travel to the second level without incident. It’s clear that many of the bane room are now empty. we follow a trail that others have blazed, with opened room and scattered contents. We descend to the third level, with the statue of the pegasus to continue our search for the dragon shaped handle of Yashala.

We pass by a few rooms. The first room has a ghostly hand. The second contains an air elemental. The third contains a skull within a cage. “More visitors” the skull pipes up. The skull confirms that the priests of Pelor came down here hours ago, followed by Flame Tongue. Following flame-tongue was a group of humans and a minotaur, accompanied by some lovely ladies. Sir Varis is the name of the skull, apparently locked up for being a skanky old pervert.

Sir Varis lets us know that the retributive strike from the separation of a staff of power is what killed Daynar. The Staff of Power being the three part item we’re after.

We conclude our conversations with Sir Varis and look to move further along. Just around the corner there’s a visage of Daynar imploring us to go no further, lest we release some of the greatest of evils.

Sir Varis provides a clue as to disarming the traps, that there’s a word associated with Daynar that if we utter the traps will go off. We eventually mention Estalada and the traps go off. We take Sir Varis with us to help as we go.

One of the great doors is open. Sir Varis suggests this is due to the green moon removing magic.

Info : Daynar became Malagoth when he became evil.

We enter a preparation area, where items were sanctified or classified for imprisonment and shortly afterwards we meet Kel Recent and other members of the Temple of Pelor. Their group has met with a vampire, one of the ‘fallen’. The creature whispers evil into the minds of Pelorians which makes it difficult for them to continue.

Info : The Fallen. One of Daynar’s friends was a follower of Pelor. When Daynar fell, Daynar corrupted him (?) and he became a vampire, particularly powerful against the faithful. The Betrayed are those who have been turned away from their god and who are now bitter and twisted.

We move towards a temple area and are beset by wights, skeletons and the vampire. Gabrial and Charity are turned, fleeing in to the distance. Red and Giro slay the vampire, turning it in to mist. We follow the mist to a black pudding filled vault, slaying the pudding and locating the misty vampire in a small box. Pouring holy water in the box, we seal the box with wax and remove it from the temple. We look for the priests of Pelor to hand over the box but they seem to have retreated somewhere.

Info: Warden Valacor
Info: Malagoth used to sign himself with a simple black skull. The Sir Varis informs us that the area we’re in now isn’t part of the original bane warrens.

Continuing our search we come across a large cavern. created, we presume, by the eruption of the staff of power as part of its retributive strike. Within the cavern is a large crater, likely at the epicenter of the blast. From within its fiery center emerge 3 slaad demons that attack. We slay them but Red (once) and Giro (twice) are afflicted with two burrowing eggs that worm their way around bone and tendons.

View
A lump of purest Green

When we wake in the morning there’s a large degree of commotion within the guild. Turns out the moon is now green – they’re calling it the Valis Moon – the Moon of Magic.

Dog hears a rumour that the nomad army has appeared outside and is erecting siege equipment.

The chap in purple sends us a further message. Jessica wants to meet us for breakfast at the Temple of Deep Chaos.

We travel to see Jevica, meeting Knobby along the way – robbing a bookcase as he goes. Knobby suggests he knows a way out of the city should we need it. Knobby points the way to The Lost Way pub where Jevica is waiting for us. Progressing to the pub we’re let in by the landlord and told to go to room 12. Meeting Jevica, she’s missing her magical glass arm.

We’re informed the Valis moon makes magic more powerful but more unpredictable. When the moon is full then some spells may be considered ‘maximized’. When items start glowing green. that’s when they’re becoming unstable.

We’re given the services of Eric, an arcane archer.

Jevica encourages us to look out at the window and look out across the city. Across old town there’s an enormous, inverted pyramid hovering above old town, approximately 1,000 meters a side. At the height of the green moon it’s possible the Inverted Pyramid may explode, or the the magic keeping it in the air may fail, leaving the pyramid to fall to the ground.

Jevica produces another image, that of an elven lycanthrope who she claims is the person the nomad horde is looking for. Perhaps if we find this person and toss him over the city wall then the horde will leave. This elf has various tribal tattoos on his torso and a birthmark on his left cheek – of a crescent. This is the same birthmark as the children who would become giant insects.

Wantad was waiting for us to leave the Temple of Deep Chaos and entered as we left. The Kelcicaro (the lawful artifact): The fiery lady was greatly perturbed that it was missing and, in its place, a crystal was found. When Wantad struck the crystal an undead creature emerged that had to be fought. After several iterations of striking the crystal and fighting the undead, Wantad made off with the fragments. The fiery lady blamed ourselves for the loss of the Kelcicaro though clearly it wasn’t anyone within our group. This perhaps suggests that there are conflicting groups within the chaos cults.

A chaos machine, 200 foot tall. A gambling game where chaos seems absent. There’s a gambling establishment that Jevica believes the chaos machine is underneath, somewhere in south market. This game is Mrathrach. The place is called “The Vast”, in South Market. We’re urged to venture to The Vast and destroy the machine. We’re expecting the fiery woman to be there also.

Jevica refers to the Green Man as the “upright man” and reveals that the guild have never been able to scry or locate him, and is therefore something of a celebrity within the mages guild. Jevica also asks for asylum for her and her guild, asking to be able to hire some space from the guild, for the cost of 3 green-bound-chests.

The broken one the dagger referring to Monty when she mentions this? Apparently this comment is directed at Red. “I (the dagger) keep on talking to the broken one but it never answers back”.

Returning to the guild we make the Jevica’s offer which is instantly accepted and then continue to The Vast, encountering a few insects along the way.

In The Vast there’s a gambling house where there’s a game of chance involving spinning cylinders. The game doesn’t seem to lose or win people much money, with people ending up pretty much even over a long period of time. It’s suspicious that the purpose of the game seems geared to removing the chance element of the game and to encourage people to just play the game over a long period. We suspect the game is powering the chaos artifact underneath.

We move to the sewers to find a way around the casino. We encounter a troll, which we subdue but don’t slay. Moving beyond the sewer to a nearby door we find a trap door down a large shaft. 150 ft later we find an exit to a short passageway leading to a very wide and deep shaft. Multiple horizontal platforms, connected by vertical ladders, lead down to what we hope is a control room – from which we hope to be able to destroy the apparatus. Within the control room are some humans and large insects. Even further below there is an undead demonic toad, complete with entrails weeping from it’s stomach. On the same level is a ram headed creature with a flaming staff.

We travel to the next level of interest, slaying a few insect creatures as we go. Beyond that are salamander creatures with repeating crossbows and some wraiths. Dog throws a spanner in to the contraption which screeches as the machine rotates. Further below is a dwarf in an 8 legged spider-like harness.

Tar sets off a large white dragon/stone giant/chaos thing that demands a password before then attacking. Multiple combats ensure as Charity falls a few levels to the ground. Demonic, horned creatures with fiery staves shoot cones of fire and walls of flame across our path. The fiery angel figure and the dwarven chaos-tec creatures retreat to the back of their caves as we finally slay the horned creatures.

We then move to engage with a hideous winged demon. The creature has its guts half hanging out and seems impervious to our attacks; we’ve tried normal damage, fire and magic missiles – all to no avail. The fight continues …

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Stoned!

An old codger from the guild pulls us to the side for a chat and tells us there’s a bloke in a purple dress knocking at the front door looking for us. The codger complains at the lack of secrecy around the guild since we showed up. The chap gives us a message “my mistress is aware of your actions, all of them. She wants to speak of the Qwan”. The dagger pipes up. “I know all about that place. It’s very smelly.”

We’re also informed there’s some general difficulty in magic at the moment. We’re advised to shun anything that has a connotation of ‘the green’. i.e. the third moon is rising and the consequences for magic could be drastic. [DM Addition – Clue No1]

Jevica would wish to borrow Yashala for a while and offers the following as a lenders fee. In addition, Jevica offers to let us know what information she manages to extract:

A small bottle – a potion of flying
A small round container with a screw lid – two doses of ‘stone salve’

We try some items using the ‘green’ braided hair item that perform the ‘identify’. One of the items explodes and another catches fire. We decide that the ‘green’ items are now affected by the third moon and are becoming corrupted in some way. [DM Addition – Good Pickup on Clue]

We move to the house above the Temple of Kaos and make our way down, through some underground passageways and traps to eventually arrive at the multi-coloured chamber. Moving through to the chamber with the tower we encounter some harpies, rats and a frothing dog.

People notice some of our potions are getting hot and bubbling. [DM – Clue 2]

We make our way in to the tower. The lower chamber has a ceramic figurine of a green figure with tentacles coming out of its head. A small metal bell is in its hand. The bell has a small crack in it, denoting it’s from the Tolling Bell cult. Opening a chest with the dwarfs key we find some gold pieces. Beyond that there are only bedroom furnishings on the ground floor.

On the upper floor there’s a spider abomination, with arms, too many legs and mandibles.

Red hears a creaking beneath the table and bed. Shortly after, the bell rings in the statue Charity picks up the statue and almost immediately falls unconscious, the statue crumbling to dust. Charity had a vision whereby the huge demon from an ancient time (balor) crushed her beneath its massive fist.

Moving through the far door we enter a another large cavern with a square building 40 foot beyond. We get assailed by large insects. Driving snow blinds the party but the insects seem unaffected. Pffff. Didn’t Red do Well?

We destroy the final bowl of lightning guardian. A lightning cloud is released, shooting lightning around the party. It eventually dissipates. We then wait a couple of hours to get some curing back. In the meantime a number of our potions boil and explode. [DM – Clue 3] One of Charity’s tongues is also getting hot. The suggestion is that there’s something related to the rising third moon, and therefore anything ‘green’ that could be causing the effect.

After resting [DM – Listening to people wandering around outside the door for 2 hours] , we venture out [DM- without taking any precautions whatsoever], and get hit by a rune of weakness . There’s another rune between the two broken statues which the rune master diminishes, allowing the party to pass. Passing down the corridor, there are scintillating colours at the end. We pause for a moment to open a chest and get shot by 2 large rats, one with a handful of grenades.

Battle ensues, joined by a medusa, and some of us can’t help peeking. One of the giant rats falls but the other rat, together with the medusa retreat. We return Gyro to flesh and press the attack. We eventually slay the medusa, together with her rat guardian and a couple of huge, giant, winged half-demon centaurs. A chaos beast is released from the alter, which we slay. As Dog kills the beast his sword gets destroyed. Gyro and Tar are returned from stone.

Moving to one of the bed chambers beyond we find some notes. These notes suggest there’s a lawful artifact within the body of the chaos beast that emerged from the altar. Returning from a storage room with a barrel full of apples we’re set upon by a frightful creature with a large mouth and several rows of teeth. Dispatching some more insects we return to the task of searching through the goo of the chaos creature. Alas, there’s no lawful artifact within the creature.

Moving down a set of stairs we locate the source of the insect creation. A fiery, female figure stands upon a floating platform. Child victims dangle from chains beneath. As the chains bring victims to lie on the platform, the fiery figure stabs them with a knife to which a cocoon appears around them. Some “mercy” killing fails to make it into the notes A small child is horribly murdered by “The Evil One” Red. A wall of fire appears across our path and we decide to make our way back to the guild.

We brief Hayden and get a little curing. After resting we are honoured by the guild
[Its a good job the guild had only received the edited highlights] and given our own rooms on the private level.
Identifying some of the items [Having (correctly) identified the item of the green as incredibly dangerous…. we decide to use it anyway – See clues above], several magic items explode leaving Gabe (Gabriel). a little the worst for wear.

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Death to Insects!

Jacks – from the guild of scribers – there’s both a prison and a jail in the city. Jail is at water level and from here people can just disappear or, for a price, get released. The prison is on the third level of a building but people here tend to get to trial.

The Temple of Deep Chaos is where the permanent insectoids are coming from. Jack details this is above ""old town" (an area that sank during the cataclysm).

We travel to the prison with a view to killing any insect creatures and chaos cultists we find. Breaking in to the prison we find some resistance from human guards, some of whom are, we assume, purple knights. We find further resistance from insects and Dog. Bad dog. Gabrial is rendered unconscious.

The streets are largely empty other than a mercenary band and a group from the Sisters of Silence.

We encounter a couple of large insects as we pass to the prison. We test a ludicrous theory that the insects won’t attack anyone in purple. It turns out to be true. A piece of information to pass on to the guild perhaps.

REMINDER : the invading army is likely to use tunnels to pass in to the city. We let the guild know – hence absolving ourselves of the responsibility.

Above the prison we find 2 entries. The first is a small port hole that smaller, more nimble people could navigate through. The second is through a portcullis. The portcullis can be opened, we presume, by a one of a pair of levers in the prison guard house.

Dog is NOT a scout.

We rescue Dog from himself after he free dives in to the ocean and then gets stabbed up after wedging himself in the porthole.

Giving up on the prison for now, as we’ve made a hash of a stealthy entry attempt we move instead to the Temple of Kaos. We travel down beneath the house and down a ladder, exterminating a few rats on the way and in to a painted chamber with various chaos runes. We pass on to a tower in a large cave, guarded by a dwarven cleric, a massive rat and a large crocodile like creature. A tough fight later we retreat from the complex and return to the guild.

We travel to the Temple of Pelor and meet Kel Recent. He’s cautious about meeting anyone as a group from the temple were waylain and killed by a large group of insects. Is this the first time we’ve heard of insects being so organised? We receive some disease/restoration healings. Kal also volunteered to help us some time in the future.

We return to the Ghostly Minstrel where we’d arranged to meet Jevica the night before. Clearly we’d missed the rendezvous, apparently to the great annoyance of Jevica. Oops.

We do a bit of shopping in the undermarket – break enchantment, enlarge, etc.

We return to the guild and rest the night.

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Monkey Business

As we wander through the corridors beyond the unicorn we find a statue of Estalada – was a nymph who was one of Daynar’s companions. Beyond this chamber is a small room with two lever’s and a glass door. We speculate Estrada herself lives in the water beyond the glass door.

Wandering back and through an area of darkness is a small chamber with a suit of armour hanging in the air above a pit. Lightning guards the path along. The soul is that of Tyranith Inveer who wants his soul removed from the armour. Tyranith was left here to rot by Daynar.

Down another corridor we’re set upon by hard hitting ape’s, perhaps guardians of a statue of Gaen, a rarely worshiped goddess of light, the Provider, that stands in a chamber at the end of the corridor. Giro is slain. Badly beaten by the apes we stay in the chamber over night in the hope of a miracle and the reincarnation of Giro. Towards morning (dawn?) 4 large apes appear as we sleep. Slowly waking everyone we move towards the creaky door though Tar stays close to the altar and to relearn spells. We make it out of the room but not before the monkeys awake and attack.

During the fight another group, including a mind flayer and a yuan-ti, appears and stuns Charity. As we finish off the monkeys a spider descends and teleports off with Tar. Charity is rendered unconscious from the combat. The mind flayer leaves a note indicating that unless we leave the warrens then Tar will have a slow and lingering death.

Venturing back to the city it’s empty of citizens. Meeting Nobby on the way back it seems all the normal militia have been killed by the insects and Nobby and his company (of the red leaf) are now guarding the city. Moving to the Snickleway Kal Recent passes through, unexpectedly. Turns out Tar has inhabited Kal’s body as Tar was taken by the spider to the Spire whereby, somehow, Kal’s body became available for habitation – given it was effectively empty. Tar’s mind was probed for answers on how to proceed in to the warrens.

We get Giro raised from the dead but need to go to the Pelor priests to get the lost levels removed. Moving out of the Snickleways we encounter a couple of giant insects.

We meet sister Delaney at the temple of Pelor. We learn that some in her order want to retrieve a specific sword.Sister Delaney considered this folly. During investigation in to Kal/Tar Kal collapses briefly. For a moment Kal see’s the body of Tar is being torn to pieces by those who took him. Kal see’s his body is kept in a high building with the sound of water. Directly above Tar’s body is a wooden spire complete with Bells – a church perhaps. Temple of St. Thesina in Rivergate?

We seek the advice of Jessica at the Ghostly Minstrel but she’s not available – though we leave a message. We then head back to the guild to seek advice on the location of the tower where Tar is being tortured.

Locating the temple in Rivergate we enact a plan to get Red in through the door as he pretends to be a wandering adept of Pelor looking for sanctuary. The plan works as we bluff our way past a halfling minion.

Climbing the staircase we encounter a funny looking lizard that turns Charity to stone and then further up we encounter Brother Heth, the priest of Pelor – so the Hicksien conspiracy theory turns out to be true. On a torture device, strapped down and manacled is Tar – or what’s left of him. Various tubes connect the torture equipment to Tar.

As globes of flame are exchanged, the door of an oven in the room falls off as spells are removed. A bloody fight ensues. As fire is absorbed in to Charities picture frame, and time passes by, the resulting expulsion of fire around Charity is partially absorbed by an oven which again explodes and takes down the last of Brother Heth’s minions and also rips the tubes attached to Tar. Tar becomes conscious and escapes from his bonds.

We eventually put Brother Heth down. Turns out he has another holy symbol other than just Pelor’s. Brother Heth’s minions had the symbol of …. on their tabbards.

We hear the sounds of a young girls voice goading us to finish Brother Heth off more quickly. Turns out the voice i coming from Nershala – a dagger! Who informs us that Brother Heth was one of the ‘Kwarn’ (a place – the pack Lords used to live there before they became gods. The bone rings we found are symbols of the order – they fuse to the bone and allow the order to track the individual. The second holy symbol worn by Brother Heth we’re later told is of “Father Claw” (an ancient man who became a god).

Healing Kal Recent brings him round. Turns out Kal’s mind was in Tar’s body and hooked up to the torture equipment.

Nershala informs us that the Yuan-ti female leader walked past us and through a portal that exists on a thin ledge on the outside of the building. Nershala’s fading presence suggests the rest of her is in the Spire – either at the top or bottom. Kal finds some evil within Nershala.

Note: the oven was referred to as the ‘un-maker’. The top of the hilt of the dagger is of a skill and time lost in time – priceless.
Note: Nershala recognizes Gabriel as Daynar. On showing Nershala Daynar’s hand she goes quiet for a while. Nershala is a Dragon ‘part’ – part of the rod. There are 3 parts to the rod:
1) bane warrens (perhaps Nershala could point us in the right direction here)
2) in Kwarn – through the portal (need to be much higher level)
3) Nershala is the third part

We return back to the church of Pelor. We regale them of our tale. Some had their suspicions of Brother Heth.

Purple Knights – may be using the Jail as a breeding pit and releasing more insects. We may need to break the prisoners out of the jail.

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To Daynar's Lair

Haydn appears from behind a gravestone and invites us in to a mausoleum. We detect some fading teleportation magic on the entrance. Haydn is suspicious as to why our group has been asked to keep guard over the graveyards. Haydn surmises that some individuals of great skill were testing us and viewing our progress, or perhaps out skill set. Haydn spotted the watchers creating a blue portal through which they passed to escape.

Haydn used the phrase “ward pact” to describe the type of coercion the Commissar is leveraging over the guilds.

We travel back to the guild but find a guild member standing outside where the snickleway was supposed to be. Apparently there was a box, complete with legs and teeth, blocking the way in. We’re directed to the new location of the snickleway but the box has followed. Turns out the box is ‘woof’ and has found its way back.

We meet Kal Recent the following the morning. Kal mentions that he’s been expelled from the guild by Brother Heth. Brother Heth believes that an artefact of Pelor is down in the warrens (?) and is creating a force to venture down there. Kal Recent has been attacked by an Ogre Mage and Mind Flayer but managed to see them off. Kal offers to join us in our journey to the warrens.

We journey back to the warrens. In passing down the scree slope we spot a rune with what we presume was an alarm spell – so someone knows we’re here. We pass through to the spiral stair room and open the large double doors with the use of the skeletal hand. A set of stairs upwards await. A single set of footprints going up the stairs mark the dust – many days old.

As we try to wedge the door closed by gathering broken material from the main chamber we’re attacked by a big monkey and a gnoll archer. Abandoning the notion of securing the main doors we clamber up the stairs, leaving the gnoll archer alive in the chamber.

There are a few options up the stairs:
1. Wall of force protecting a triangular shaped room. Touching the hand to the wall of force removes the wall and we descend along a couple of corridors protected by secret doors. Beyond a sunken pit with some amenable mechanical crabs and a gas trap lies Gerius Astronimus – the architect and builder of the complex. Gerius is a mechanical humanoid trapped beneath some stonework. We ask about the dragon wand. We’re informed that we need to proceed from the outer warrens to the inner warrens by passing south. The dragon wand is within a vault. We need to pass beyond the blue stone plug by activating the lights in a NW, NE, SW, SE order. Gerius suggests there was a corruption about the creator of the warrens. Gerius suggests the warding rod should have been used to seal the warrens completely.
2. A bone-chillingly col corridor – wraps around to the back of the wall of force protected corridor.
3. Cocoons behind a glass wall. Lever at the end of the corridor. – Unexplored
4. Metal cage that takes the victim on a flight to the bottom of a long shaft. Beyond the trap lies a complete artifact, throbbing with power – a complete version of the lollipop shaped, giant creation in one of the earlier rooms. Flesh Golem. Mechanical spiders. Slicing room with 3 levers.

We recall that the creator of the warrens was associated with a bronze dragon and winged horse.

Monty the parrot …

We’re momentarily attacked by a large hag and a gnoll archer before turning tail and hiding behind the wall of force and a darkness spell. The night passes uneventfully.

Activating the lights in the circular room and then pulling on the teleporting lever removes the blue stone wall behind the wall of force. Passing through the now open corridor we pass to what may be considered as the inner warrens on the way to the vault.

We pass three small rooms, complete with magic items and pass through to a chamber with what we think is a petrified pegasus on a pedestal. The room gives us a feeling of well-being. A statue, (Daynar – robed figure with a wooden staff) sits in a corner with the following words written in Celestial:

“I see a future day when evil has gone … "

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Temple of Deep Chaos

Travelling through some more chambers we encounter some goblins and drow, which we combat. When we start the fight against the 3 drow one of them turns against the others, dispelling many mirror images with his sword. Turns out the drow is in deep cover and was expecting help sent from the Commissar. The area we find ourselves in is the Temple of Deep Chaos.

We’re informed by Vokan, the helpful drow, that when the insect creatures attack others the victims become cocooned and within 24 hours they’re transformed in to insects themselves. But the insects are there just to create chaos and to prepare for the Night of Dissolution. The Tolling Bell are in charge under Wantad, and it’s Wantad who’s in charge and is trying to bring about the Night of Dissolution. Wanted wants to be created in to a demonic servant of the demon lords. Wanted himself is half-demon. There’s a large device that’s been absorbing chaos from the city that will be powered by a chaos item. Apparently the first creature we’ll meet is a dwarf in a tower, shooting people. He’s a member of the Tolling Bell. Many more rats also exist beyond the current chamber. There’s also a woman in an iron mask, with snakes for hair. She’s feared and everyone avoids her.

One of the crime lords is funding the playing of a game of chance in which people are playing the game and winning a lot of money. The theory is that by playing a game of chance the amount of chaos that be used is increased.

When we return home we find that Vokan may not have been who he seemed to be and that we could have been played.

The Green Man returns from the Commissar and asks us for an audience in the third level. We’re told:
– there was magic involved in the summons with the Commissar activating an ancient binding among the large city guilds compelling the leaders to attend.
– It’s possible the power of the binding goes a lot further than just compelling people to talk. – Guilds are being asked to prepare their troops to rally against the 50,000 foes marching towards the city
– The guild has been asked to track, locate and eliminate the insects and the chaos cults
– We’re also asked to look after the necropolis and keep an eye on it, dealing with anything that tries to get out

Sagely learnings: The wolf tabbard is associated with werewolves. There’s an ancient order. There’s a hint of a house in Ptolus associated with it.

Sagely learnings: Ancient armour – it pre-dates the gods.

Sagely learnings: There’s an organic element – chaostec – to the items we have. These items seem to be pre-history. The All-key is of a similar vein – chaostec. To learn more we’d probably need a legend lore. The feathers in Red’s hat also seem to be chaostec.

We travel to the ghostly minstrel and have a meal with Jevica. We provide an update on our activities. She wants us to continue our search for the key to the seal in exchange for further trinkets which she pulls from various places as if she was already aware of the choices we’d make. All very suspicious!

We travel to the noble district, complete with well lit roads and large manor houses. We scout the house we’re after and discover:
– It’s surrounded by an 8 foot stone wall
– guards at various points on the outside walls
– packs of dogs roam around the woods
– werewolves look after the dogs
– a guardhouse- 2 floors
– a secondary guardhouse – smaller in scale
– 3 story manor house protected by invisible protective wards

We return to the guild and go to see Gideon – the man with the plans (“master of the rolls”). Gideon resides on the third floor. He shows us plans that suggest a basement level only accessible from inside the house. We meet a guild member who remembers a Knight of the Cord who got tortured by House Vladem. The Knight used to hang out in the Rising Star. Perhaps that’s worth a visit. The Knights have a temple in the Jordon Temple Hall in Old Town. The person were looking for is Nikolon Regellis though he hasn’t been seen for a couple of weeks and is believed to be outside the city at the moment. It’s unknown when he’ll return.

The following morning we travel to the Rising Star to seek out Nikolon. We’re eventually given a note by a street urchin that suggests Nikolon will meet us back at the inn at 7pm. So in the meantime we travel back to the Vladam manor house and have a look around. The only other pieces of information we glean is that many of the dogs in the kennels are lifeless.

Talking to another knightly order we also glean that House Vladam has dealings with demons but that they aren’t undead in any way. The owner of the house is supposed to be abroad but that the son and daughter are still living there.

Updates on the state of the city today:
– The docks have been shut down for a couple of days after a couple of insects ran around and killed 10 people
– A second outbreak of insects has happened in north gate. The two creatures were taken down by the commissars men.
– A catastrophic event will precipitate, or be precipitated by, the sacking of the city

We travel to the Rising Star to meet Nikolon.
Nirvana Vladam was the one that tortured Nikolon. Nikolon escaped by jumping through a window and then over the cliff. There were runes Nikolon triggered when he tried to escape; fire, lightning, confusion, dizziness. Nikolon volunteers to guide us to the house and aid our endeavors provided we only take a single item.

We agree to meet Nikolon the next day and traveled to the Vladem manor house. Travelling through the woods and through a broken window we make our way down to the saferoom – as indicated by Nikolon. Through some doors and traps we find the key – in the form of a skeletal hand – and look to make our way out via the window and then over the cliff. Nikolon then transforms in to Nirvana Vladem and, together with her brother, seeks to take the hand from us. We just manage to escape over the cliff edge.

Rumour has is within the guild that 3 people had escaped from Madoths Ayslum.

We guard the graveyard and encounter a number of tough undead.

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