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A Journal Bearing the Adventures of Pathfinders

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Draxthious

Post  MrPrettyPretty on Tue May 02, 2017 8:53 am

2 - 2 - 4715

Well shit.

During the last fight what appeared to be a ghost like entity somehow appeared from Elle. It looked like a little girl and what I was afraid of was true. It seemed to be her friend from her childhood. She nearly broke, and did break down crying. I was immediately there for her of course, holding her and letting her know she wasn’t alone though the ghost thing did attempt to attack me as I got close to Elle.

I wanted nothing then except to take the time to let Elle heal or at least calm down but Colin insisted we keep moving and in hindsight, he was right. Keeping her focused, her mind off of what had just happened was the best idea at the time. Still, he could have been nicer about it.

So inside this room are two of those snake portals and we manage to activate them. Of the two we chose the one closest to the bed to try first. Stepping on it one by one we were all magically transported somewhere else yada yada.
This is a horrifying room. A red mud caked floor connects what appear to be slimy pink walls. Like slimy slimy. Shelves line the walls with trinkets of all shapes and sizes but there is only one that holds my interest. A triangular shaped shard of red metal. Only my promise to Elle prevents me from grabbing it as soon as I see it. I can almost feel the thing calling to me. So I direct my attention elsewhere.

Like to the debate on to who will grab it. Yes, I know right now she’s not entirely in her right mind what with the ghost thing and all, but it did hurt a little when she offered to take it. Long story short Colin lost a die roll to Jasper and now the crazy guy has it. This is either the greatest idea or the worst one. Let history decide.

We search the room while Jasper becomes light headed. A plethora of goodies await us including a collection of spell books, bags of gems, a bag of what appears to be holding, a sphere of consumption brought out from inside that bag of holding.

We head back to the bedroom and move to the other teleportal snake thing which takes us to the ballroom. Neat. We collect our prisoner who is still out and as we are moving Jasper starts to get “really warm” and strips out of his armor. He also seems to be eyeing the prisoner and Elle which is I guess only to be expected.

Elle activates a wand of detecting secret doors and passageways while we search but finds nothing. Even back in the room we first came into here is nothing. Every way we can think of is either blocked or dead. We have but one option left and no, just living here now is not it.

We need to wake our prisoner up which makes Jasper really happy since he gets to touch a beautiful young woman. Just to be on the safe side I stand between him and Elle. He heals her and she (after some discussion and a promise to leave her there) tells us that the north alcove of the initial room is a teleportal in itself without a snake platform thing on the ground. It works.

Short version we make it to the beach and the boats, now two, and divide ourselves up for the trip back across the water. Colin Elle and I in one and Pyraxis and Jasper in the other. We start out and all we can hear is Jasper talking about how amazing Elle is. He’s right of course but when he says it, it seems….creepy. Elle is uncomfortable so I again make sure I keep myself between her and Jasper. I want to take the shard from him, it does belong to me but...I will not break a promise to her, ever.

As we are moving, quick as we can, through this place Jasper continuously attempted to flirt with Elle who shot him down each time in a beautiful fashion.

We finally get back to where he had to swim and Elle insists on going first so she can dry off before Jasper can get through. We all finally manage to get through, make to the sandbar and find magical returning boats. Cause the ones we used earlier to get here on our way in are now back where they started from. Verified by Colin checking with detect magic. A useful ability to be sure. Super short version? We shoot a grapling arrow up into the open hole and climb out. Freedom from this accursed place.

Through the swamp, bypassing the witch, and making it to my ship in the early evening. Pyraxis locks Jasper up in the brig and I have to say, that man is not looking well. Eh, he’s always not looking well, now he’s actually looking worse.

Elle and I talk about what happened and she seems to be doing better. The conversation goes much more smoothly than I thought it would. We are however, no closer to solving the riddle of what that was. Nor of why it looked like her dead friend. She spends the rest of the night inventorying the stuff in her new bag of holding and gets no sleep. I doze in the corner of the room.

We make it back to Magnimar the next evening and Colin, Elle, and I head back to the compound. After initial confusion and much surprise, Sheila believes that what happened to Elle was a bit of a cloning thing. Wrong or right now only time will tell. Sheila then hands Colin a rust red ioun stone, the counter of the Lust shard. I always did like red.

Elle collapses on her bed while Colin returns the stone to free Jasper who I hear immediately looked better once the stone’s hold on him was relinquished. They bring the shard back and give it to me while asking Sheila for sanctuary for Jasper, so the kook can heal. She grants it.

Pyraxis settles Jasper down for the night while Colin goes off drinking. I can only hope that means alcohol but he does now have the taste of man in him. Elle…..

I sit with Elle all night as she tries to sleep but, her nightmares are getting worse and more frequent. Sometimes just a touch on her shoulder is enough to calm her down, sometimes I have to hold her and remind her she’s not alone. Once morning came she seemed...playful and serious at the same time as she threw me out of her room to make breakfast.

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Re: A Journal Bearing the Adventures of Pathfinders

Post  Magyc on Sat May 06, 2017 9:46 pm

On our first full day back in Magnimar, I spent much of it selling off the large amount of equipment and items we had liberated from the Lady’s Light.  Elle told me how much to ask for the spell books, which brought in a massive sum by themselves.  After selling everything, I met with Drax and Colin back at the Lodge. (Elle was still resting.)  We divided up the the proceeds, and with the coin fresh in their hand, I made my case for contributing money to help Jasper- by seeing if his madness could be undone.  Colin, though initially reluctant, did recognize what Jasper had done for us all the way to the end, and he made a sizable contribution.  Drax could not be persuaded- I believe he could not see past his visceral dislike for the man.

I then retrieved Jasper from the inn that Sheila had set him up at, and took him to find help.  It was quite an ordeal to find a temple with a priest who was able to help him- the temples to Cayden and Erastil both were of no help.  At the larger temple to Desna though, we found someone who was able to cure him.   After paying the steep price, Jasper’s sanity was restored.

With his mind returned to him, Jasper was able to relay what had brought him to the point where we had found him raving in the streets.  He had started as an acolyte of Pharasma in Kaer Maga.  His studies and interests led to him being cast out as a heretic.  Not letting that deter him, he continued his studies, teaching himself Thassilonian and trying to discover the truth about a legend calls the “Doomsday Door”.  His research identified Groetus as a primary Thassilonian diety.  In his research he was drawn to the Lady’s Light, where he found the name of a priest of Groetus- Kandermeras- who was said to protect the door to this day.  Jasper took the name in tribute for himself.  When Jasper realized the door could probably never be found- likely under the sea- he gave in to madness, and ended up in Magnimar.

I profoundly thanked Jasper for the help he had given us even in the depths of his madness.   Believing it was our duty to repay him by setting him back on a course of respectability, I took him to the baths and the haberdasher.  He did insist upon retaining his beard.  After he had been fully cleaned up, I took him back to the manor house.  Although the reunion was a bit shaky, he did demonstrate that the madness had passed, and he relayed some of his story again.  I made sure that Drax and Colin saw him whole, as if we wanted to enlist his aid again, they would be far less resistant knowing that it would not be entirely the Jasper they had come to distrust.  I set him up with 500 gold to get him started in the city, and floated the idea what we again work together in the future.  He seemed agreeable.

Before we set out for the next Shard, we decided to use our windfall to better equip ourselves.  Colin bought a weapon that would allow him to fight incorporeal beings…apparently the little ghostie that touched him has him…spooked.   Drax bought some Ioun stones that made him even more vigorous.  I bought an Amulet that will turn my fists into Flaming Adamantine.  It’s what I have always dreamed of.

We also collected on the Succubi rubbings, and Sheila’s patron seemed pleased with what we gave her. Colin tried to identify the remaining unidentified items, and one in particular remained impenetrable.  “The Minds of Monsters” was apparently an extremely powerful magical item.  We consulted Sheila as to whom we could trust with identifying it, and she provided us with a name.  This resource needed the book for several days before we got it back, Colin’s and my own suspicions about thievery thankfully not coming to pass.  It is a Tome of Clear Thought, and studying it will increase one’s mental capacity.  It can be used over and over, so in time, we could all benefit from it.  Time unfortunately is one resource we are perpetually short on, and we thought it best if we could have our brightest member take her turn with the book first.  

After we finished our preparations, I instructed Drax on how to use his Shard to locate the next one.  He immediately got the image of a hexagonal city that we were all familiar with- the Shard of Glutton resides in Kaer Maga.

We set out on Drax’s boat- an 11 day journey to the closest port, well in the interior of the gulf.  On the fourth day, during the night, the ship was assaulted while Colin was on watch.  Boggards began clambering over both sides.  The crew fought valiantly, and while Colin and I tried to repel the assault from the left and right, Drax attacked their presumed leader who came up on the front of the boat and appeared to be a spellcaster.  He managed to kill the leader but was picked up by a gigantic dragonfly and dumped into the sea.  Drax was able to swim back and I cannot fault him for his failure to stay aboard, as the same thing quickly happened to me.  As soon as my feet left the deck I lacked the leverage to resist, and I was dropped into the sea as well.  Colin and Drax had dispatched the creature by the time I made it back.

Nothing more of not happened in the seven days to Palin’s Cove.  Upon making port, we set off on an 8 1/3 day overland journey to Kaer Maga, which also proceeded peacefully.

We arrived and took the Halflight path up, paying the Duskwardens their extortionate fee.  This trek up went much smoother than the last one….we were not ambushed.  As we entered into the city from the Warrens, a large group of children rushed the our group, offering their services.  One in particular drew attention to himself, a lad of 15 years.  He offered his services as a guide for 5 gold a day.  Even though we had been here before, remembering how useful our prior guide had been during our last visit, we opted to engage his services.

Not sure where to start, we decided that we would check the library, and asked for us to be taken to an inn there.  He told us that would be no problem, but if we wanted to visit the Spire…that might be a problem. The doors to the Spire had been locked, with no reason given, and it appeared to be inaccessible.  
We settled on an Inn called “Freedom House”, it at least promised better lodgings than the one we started with in our first visit.  

Our young guide suggested we visit an Augur. We have avoided that unpleasantness in our first trip to his city, but as leads were slim, we decided to try it. The visit turned out quite unexpectedly. The augur told us of her brother, whose capabilities in prophecies exceeded all of their kind-apparently his gifts were extroardinary. We could not consult him regarding our task, though, as he had been kidnapped so that his abilities could be harnessed for one person's ends. The perpetrator of the kidnapping was a name we were well familiar with in Kaer Maga- Ardoc. Thankfully, it was not the Ardoc we had dealt with before, but one of his younger brothers. The Augur promised that if we liberated her brother, they would do all they could to aid us. It is a undertaking we will have to proceed with very carefully.
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Kaer Maga

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri May 12, 2017 4:40 am

Calistril 28, 4715

Well, this was an interesting turn of events. The library is closed and the trolls are on strike. Knowledge is non-existent in this city unless we get the wheels rolling again. Vargun (a particularly hideous thing) hired us to retrieve her brother from Berkanin Ardoc. This is probably a bad idea. The Ardoc’s aren’t someone I want to cross after last time… but this one seems particularly evil and we may be able to talk our way out of any trouble if it gets the city back rolling.

So with little convincing Gav started leading us to Ardoc’s place when he called out to a red headed dwarf walking around in a huff. Apparently this Otar has no love for Berkanin Ardoc and was on his way to ‘settle his ledger’. I wasn’t too keen on inviting unknown strangers along on a… highly illegal home invasion. However, once it was pointed out that there were only two of us… and he was a wizard… I quickly conceded.

Two things of note here. One, I’m not sure where Elle and Drax snuck off to. I can narrow it down to two possibilities… they either went off to burn something along the lines of an undead brothel… or one of them is currently crying and the other is coddling the other. Either way, I was very disappointed that we are about to storm known golem makers without full strength. Apparently I’ll be getting my money’s worth out of this new golembane scarab.

Secondly, Otar had an octopus with him! I was fairly fascinated by that idea as I had looked at prices for octopi back in Magnimar, but had no idea how to make this feasible. Otar was carrying a strange looking chain around his body with a glass globe on the end that seemed to solve this problem. A fascinating concept, and I’m more intrigued than ever about owning an octopus. Or a parrot… or maybe a monkey.

Otar seems dedicated to the cause of messing with Berkanin. Usually I’m against personal vendettas… but for  a 30,000g debt, I’m sure we can use him. When I asked him his skill set, he claimed Transmuter… I haven’t worked with one of those before. Given a choice, I prefer Abjurerers or Evokers… but Transmuters can be formidable. When I jokingly asked what his octopus USED to be… I seemed to hit a sore spot and made the conversation awkward. I let it drop, but my curiosity is running rampant.

Like most of the wealthy in Bis, Berkanin had his home carved into the wall and about forty feet high. Going in blind is not my prefered way, but such is our circumstance. There seemed to be two ways in, one was a narrow staircase and the other a some kind of lifting mechanism full of gears and levers. Not entirely trusting that, we went for the stairs first. Once we approached, this sing-songy voice called out that visitors weren’t welcome and the stone eyes popped open.  Sensing that there could well be a trap… the kind where giant stone fists smash you off the stairs.. We decided to try the lift. Well… I’m not sure if the lift was trapped or if it broke, but when we got about 40 feet up, it collapsed and we plummeted to our doom, or would have at least if Otar hadn’t had a ‘feather fall’ spell prepared. Once on the ground we took the stairs with no ill effect.

When we reach the main floor there is a cobblestone pathway that leads through a nice garden. All in all, this is a fairly nice little mansion he has and I almost feel bad about how we’re going to mess this place up. Then I remember  that he kidnapped the troll… Then I remember that  I’m rescuing a troll… and I’m terribly confused. Still not a fan of Kaer Maga.

As we enter the front door, and alarm goes off alerting anyone listening that we’re here. The Foyer had an opaque glass door (we later found led through a small garden) a set of double doors with an Arbiter (flying winged eyeball planar familiar thing) perched and watching us and two statues that started moving. My scarab gave no indication they were golems. Apparently there is a difference between clockworks and golems… Otar used some grease to drop them to the ground and we started smashing them. Otar also turned himself into a some kind of faceless doppelganger for some reason… and did the same to his octopus which then waded into combat with an adamantine pick-axe.  We chose not to kill the Arbiter since we were on a questionable legal ground as it was… and it would be better not to leave a trail of ‘real’ bodies behind us. Mechanical things sure… but not actual bodies.

Moving through the double doors, we found a trophy room of sorts. I recognized a magical injection spear like the kind we looted off the Derro under Magnimar. I wonder if it’s the same one? I’ve never really considered what happens to the weapons we loot and sell and where their journeys may take them.  About that time a small mannequin thing attacked us. Apparently he just had a Tupilaq sitting around. It went under the chair, so I tried to smash it with said chair… to no results. For such a small thing it certainly was vicious. I was bitten in the face with giant jaws and when I woke up the monster was defeated and Pyraxis was pointing a ‘cure light wounds’ wand at me. Fortunately Otar had his own method of healing that brought me back before Pyraxis finished what the Tupilaq had started.

We searched around and found little of interest. There was another door to the small garden, and a food pantry. We found some marble busts of Berkanin that Otar took great pleasure in smashing them to pieces and marking off his ledger. Next thing of interest was a dining room with a pair of terracotta soldiers… who are also constructs, but not golems. My theory about really getting my money’s worth from this scarab seems to be entirely wrong. They attacked, I retreated, Otar created a pit with acid in it in front of the door… and caught one. The octopus/doppelganger lept over the pit and with some effort grappled the remaining soldier and forced it into the pit. Meanwhile with the statement that the pit would be there long enough, I was ready to move on and let the magic do the work. In the end the pit did do the work, but just barely. The pit was disappearing and the last soldier was rising to the surface as it finally melted to nothingness.

The kitchen… was peculiar. Lots of metal arms all around and I’m assuming was automated in some fashion. I’m curious what Drax’s opinion would be. Would he consider this fascinating and useful… or outright insulting? I could see it going either way really.

From the dining room there was a door that led back outside. We didn’t spend much time out there before, so we did this time. I saw a gazebo that I chose to examine. I joked about the legend I heard of a party having an epic battle with a gazebo once all due to a misunderstanding. Inside was a large amount of gears and assorted parts… and then I was violently swallowed by darkness. I think I screamed out “The LEGEND is TRUE!!!” before I lost consciousness.  When I woke up, it appeared that there was a Lurker Above hiding in the ceiling. A common problem in Kaer Maga… but not one I want to face again.

Carefully we ascended to the next floor. At the top of the stairs was a shrine to Brigh, goddess of inventors. There were tapestries involving Brigh lifting a man to glory, who coincidentally appeared exactly like Berkanin…. The ego on this man is immense.

The next room consisted of what I would call… a nest? Feathers everywhere? Perfume and animal stink. A thoroughly offensive room. We did find a locked box with a human skull in it along with a masterwork ukelele and a golembane scarab (I suspect it’s owner also realized it’s limited value here) and a journal that Otar didn’t want to waste time reading. As with most wizards I’ve worked with, I suspect his spells were on a tight time schedule. Rather than split the party, I simply skimmed the last few entries. It was written in a very poor form of common, as if the writer barely understood the language. It mentioned attending the manor and making Berkanin a nest mate. I’m not sure I want to know more…

Leaving that room led to a bridge that separated the two towers of the upper level. A winged harpy appeared and shot me twice with arrows as she screamed something about us having no business here. Technically true, but why get hung up on details. The Octopus/Doppelganger changed shape again to a Charda! Some kind of subterranean 4-clawed fish monster. I’d heard of them, but never seen one. I now understand why asking what the octopus’ original form was, was such a difficult question!!

Not wanting to be a target, I raced across the bridge. Pyraxis followed and by the time Otar got there, the bridge was wobbling treacherously. Still he somehow managed to fling a tanglefoot bag at the Harpy gumming up her wings. As I was about to enter the other tower, thus taking the fight inside, a were-tiger opened the door for me. I dislike lycanthropes nearly as much as undead, and she attacked me, threatening me with her vile disease… so frankly the idea of not leaving bodies kind of went by the wayside.  I stabbed her with a silver weapon and Pyraxis hurled her off the roof. Surprisingly she actually DID land on her feet with no harm done. While she was climbing back up to us, I killed her to death with my sword. The Octopus/Charda tore the harpy apart most violently. Apparently we are going to be leaving EVERY body behind us today…

It took some work but we looted both bodies and continued to the next tower. The next room was a large bedroom with a connecting lavatory. This is good I suppose since I was wondering if they really needed to cross the wobbly bridge and go downstairs every time they needed one… This room however seemed to be full of little clockwork cleaners and they swarmed out. Now, I’m not sure what the Transmuter had… as I said I  prefer Evokers.. But right now I was especially missing Elle and Drax. I have zero ability with damaging a wide area at once. The little metal swarm engulfed us and we scattered. Pyraxis went back the way we came, I went forward and up the stairs.

That was another mistake. While I was regretting my choice of golembane over swarmbane right now… our tactics aren’t so well honed with half our group gone, a rookie replacing them and our warriors scattered. While I had hoped to bypass the cleaners and let them clean the mess of the harpy, that wasn’t articulated and I found myself alone on the next floor with two clockwork soldiers a troll locked in a torture machine, a man with fake wings and a tiny little metal dragon that had a wand in it’s mouth.

Forget the octopus…. I want one of THOSE!!! It was really my last thought in that combat.

Not that it really matters. Berkanin claimed I was here to die or be experimented or some such insults.. I counted well verbally, but when the clockworks attacked I was outmatched quickly. The rest of the battle is hearsay. Apparently after destroying the swarm the others came up the stairs. The two of them worked on the clockworks, though Pyraxis fell too. Otar then became some kind of giraffe-dwarf thing with a wicked long neck and bite who destroyed petey the metal dragon… which makes me very sad…. And of course Berkanin himself. Apparently even while unconscious, I could have been killed by a black tentacle spell… fortunately it died with Ardoc. I have a feeling that Otar has been paid back in full now.

On a separate note, three times I’ve lost consciousness today… and in NOT that great of a time frame. That can’t be good for my long term health.
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Re: A Journal Bearing the Adventures of Pathfinders

Post  Magyc on Mon May 22, 2017 12:13 am

I came to back to consciousness just as Otar was leaving, having considered the debt to him paid in full, and then some. This left Colin and I alone in the now completely empty dwelling- save for the barely conscious troll bound in an infernal contraption, his hands and feet pinned with nails. The device constantly tore at his flayed torso, opening horrible wounds, while acid periodically dripped on him to forestall his total regeneration. Wires that were inserted in him led to a stylus that scrawled onto a piece of paper.

Colin and I began to work at freeing him, bending back the restraints and pulling the nails holding him down. He fell down and though we told him we were friends sent to rescue him, he was beyond comprehension due to the horrors he endured- and he moved to attack us. Trying to keep him alive, I only hit him with my flaming fists once, and then tripped him. While he was on the ground, Colin applied his prior experience with troll-grappling to great effect, managing to pin him while Elle, who had finally caught up with us, got out her silk rope to tie him up. It took two full ropes to keep the troll properly restrained, but they did hold. I dragged him through the estate, and upon discovering he was too large to take down the stairs, we sent him out the broken lift with Elle’s ring of Feather Fall, letting him slowly waft to the ground.

Not wanting to drag a troll the streets of Kaer Maga, Elle procured a cart. Colin used his shard to make the cart appear as though it was holding a pile of soiled laundry to keep questions at bay, while we made our way through the streets to deliver the troll to his sister. As we proceeded, Elle said she had been distracted by an Ioun stone merchant.
The troll’s sister took custody of her brother. She asked were to go to the Augor’s temple to rest for the night and receive our reward. She seemed very interested in the writings we took with us from Ardoc’s and offered us a reward for them. I was very suspicious, as it seemed they valued the writings very highly and if they suspected we read them, they may not want the contents to get out. Elle and Colin decided this troll was worthy of trust, and as always, I ceded to the majority will of the group. We made it to their temple and accepted their offer of hospitality. They put us in a front room and warned us to go no deeper into the temple. Their offer turned out to be genuine and we were able to request a palatable meal. I suspected poison, but Elle assured us she had a long history of building up tolerance to poisons. Colin reminded her that the immunities rested with her prior body. After a few moments, she declared it was a question of mind over matter. She was not entirely convincing.

On my insistence, we did each take turns on watch, but nothing transpired.
The trolls, Varium (the sister) and Augustil (brother) woke us up in the morning. The feverish and wild troll we rescued was gone and he looked prim and proper, as much as a troll can. Varium turned over the monetary reward for the writings, and then made good on the offer of help. Colin vaguely told her what we were looking for without going into details. At that point, Augustil fell to the ground having a seizure, and emitted a very long line of gibberish. Elle told me it was a language named Aklo, and she immediately committed his words to memory, which she later relayed to me as this:

“The owl will seek but will not find, but the Spire of Knowledge pays in kind.”
“In secret kept, in secret keep, in forest dark, and cavern deep,
The abby of the glutton moon, will flow blood this wind in time”
“To finish that begun before, and open wide the Doomsday door. “
“The Shattered Star with seven shards, for 7 lords with 7 swords, The Queen of Blue in distant skies will kindle new the ancient wars,
The seas will rise and men will drown, and what was lost claim the crown.”

After Augustil finished, he relaxed and opened his eyes and stood. Varium remarked: “What you have just witnessed is genuine prophecy. To the best of our knowledge, this is the only genuine prophecy in Golarion.”

She told us of the Council of Truth-a group of scholars and arcanists that vanished many years ago, and has recently returned and reformed. They have been leaving their symbol in strange places around the city, and now the Spire has closed its doors. She stated that there was a rumor the Council has put together a team of adventurers to go into the Undercity- an illegal expedition. They are said to be in search of a Runelord’s shard. She did not know who they selected. We were dismayed that we may now have to be in a race, and the shard’s existence was so commonly known.

Varium said she could at least get us an audience with the Spire’s librarians, and told us to make ready to go. Varium made her exit, but Augustil stayed behind briefly and asked us for another favor. “If you are searching for the Shard-then you may be going to the Undercity. There is a river in the Undercity with similar properties to the River Styx. Please bring back a vial of this water. I will pay you in magical fly.” Upon questioning, he stated the water we would help blunt the horrific dreams he has. We agreed to help him, and only after he left did we compare notes and realized none of us knew what “magical fly” was…something we all had chosen not the reveal to Augustil.

We readied our equipment in preparation for meeting up with her, we discussed the prophecy as length. Most prophecy I have heard of is incomprehensible, but these verses had many specific phrases that were relevant to us, including the reference to the Doomsday Door- the topic of which had driven Jasper mad.

We met up with Varium and proceeded to the Spire. Varium knocked and summoned a librarian. I am unsure about how their relationship works. Varium can order the librarian to talk to us as long as we want, even the though the librarian clearly does not wish to- but Varium does not order her to open the Spire to us. I do not understand their relationship.

The librarian was quite prickly. We tried to persuade her to let us in to seek knowledge. We tempted her with our valuable books. We tried bribes. Every avenue was rebuffed, but with Varium there, the librarian did not leave the door. Finally, Colin hit upon it when he mentioned the cult- the Council of Truth. Whereupon she opened the door and invited us in.

She told us what had transpired to close the library. “Are you familiar with the history of this city? Kaer Maga was here before the Runelords. We librarians are not the oldest in the city. The creatures I speak of-its difficult to say how old they are. Far below us dwell a race of extraplanar historians known as the Caulborn. When they find an area of immense interest, they settle there and gather all the information possible. The Caulborn here far predate the Thassilonian Empire.”

“In recent years, librarians have made contact with Caulborn, we were seeking answers for a price. Weeks ago, Caulborn contacted us- an unheard of event. They offered to help surface dwellers recover a Shard from the Dark Forest. They told us something else as well- that our Tower had a secret door, leading into the Undercity, leading to Karzoug’s workshops. If we sent adventurers to meet them, they would transport them to the Dark Forest to retrieve the Shard. They would provide no further information. “

She went on to say the librarians put together the “Council of Truth” to get an expedition going. The group was supposed to be gone only a few days-they have been gone ten. The librarians are fearful something has gone wrong. They closed the Spire to avoid discovery of the unauthorized expedition. Apparently poking around in the Undercity has in the past stirred up great trouble for Kaer Maga, and expeditions were prohibited. They did not want their actions to come to light, and made us an offer. If we went into the Undercity and made contact with the Caulborn, we were to see if they had been harmed or betrayed. We were to see what happened to the first group and make sure there would be no problems due to whatever happened. In return, we had total claim over anything we found, including the promised artifact.

They gave us details on the group they sent – a Monk named Hessaril, Perotis, an Halfling rogue, Lewonen, a Gnomish bloatmage, and Slazny, a wyrmfolk. If we could retrieve the group, they would give us 2000 gp if they were alive, 1000 gp if dead.

They refused to let us go out to retrieve Drax, but they did allow us to send a messenger out to have him meet us at the Spire, hopefully he makes it before we have to proceed to the Undercity.
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Kaer Maga

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri May 26, 2017 2:19 am

Pharast 1, 4715
 
Well, Pyraxis has lost his mind…. As we waited for Drax to feel better and join us Pyraxis apparently has a new preparation. He cuts his hand and shoves a powdery substance into it. I’m not sure what it is… something like Dreg...Dung… Zerg… or something similar. Something that the gladiators use he says but won’t elaborate. Looks like the Flayleaf was a gateway drug after all…
 
After waiting for Drax as long as we could, Koifa led us to the lower levels of the library. I wasn’t too impressed by what I saw there. There were several tables turned into a barricade toward an innocent looking section of wall surrounded by at least a dozen stout librarians brandishing wands and staves at it. I half expected them to turn on us until they saw Koifa and refocused their attention to the wall. It’s been ten days since the other group was sent down, and nothing had come back up, yet they stand here like a firing squad.
 
Frankly it makes me a little concerned that they will blast us the moment we stick our heads back through. The others don’t seem to share that concern. Regardless I think I’ll switch back to the Brooch of Shielding for this adventure…
 
The path through the hidden door led us downward quite a ways through tunnels of earth. So not an extension of the library so much as something else…  The corridor lead us to a ornate stone door. It was untrapped and unlocked so we entered.
 
I’m not sure what happened next. There was some kind of head-sized oozy blob of energy hovering in the center of the room. My first thought was that the Council of Truth had been through here and taken care of it. Then it spoke to me in rather pleasant female voice. It asked me to ask a question… so I did. I asked “What is this place?” Then it shifted into a rune and blasted us.
 
Pyraxis seemed the most shaken by this and visibly weaker. Refusing to ask any more questions, we scoot out of the room and Elle feeds him a potion or two that seem to make him feel better. I don’t like leaving things like that behind us… but it doesn’t seem capable of chasing us so it is, what it is…
 
The hallway lead to two doors facing each other. Neither one trapped, so I went with the one on the south first. Inside… were three blue skinned women, who were rather lovely to look at, yet dressed in tight leathers and chains… I believed them to be Kytons. Some kind of bondage devils from either the plane of shadows or the hells. They seemed glad to see us and invited us into play… Not something I suspected would end well. I asked them politely if they had seen any of our friends, hoping they didn’t ask any questions about the Council that I had never actually met… and again they asked us to come in and talk about it. I excused myself and backed out shutting the door.
 
Elle wanted to kill them all. Myself? I’m not sure what I wanted. My head still rings a bit from the beating yesterday, and Kyton’s aren’t an easy opponent. They’re resistant to damage, though Silverfang would bypass it, they can attack with those chains around them, and probably the spiderweb of them all along the ceiling… and the unnerving gaze that causes them to appear as loved ones or enemies… and Elle has enough trouble with that. So frankly I was okay with avoiding it… but Elle shamed us into ‘not leaving devils to harm others…’ Shrugging a little I opened the door and the fight was on.
 
They weren’t wearing much, but those chains somehow kept blocking my sword thrusts. Pyraxis had better luck, though Elle hit me with some bomb damage again. Sure enough the chains on the ceiling attacked us, and I was decent at dodging them. Yes... they used their gaze on me. Next thing I knew I was staring into the face of Llyandrthyl. Even after all these years I recognize every curve of her face. There have been Women before and after, but it wasn't a surprise that she was the form that the Kyton took. It wasn't real though. I knew this trick coming in, and with a twinge of regret I shook it off. Llyandy is gone... Has been for years. Despite the fact I still missed her, I didn't want to meet her again today!

Once I bane’d my weapon up, I was better at hurting them, but Pyraxis got the final hit on all three. We took some time to heal up, and found a few magic cloaks and a robe.
 
The door to the north was also unlocked. Inside was decomposing red curtains and a seven pointed star carved on the ground. Also, a huge disembodied snakehead hovering above the circle… The head had blue feathers on it, and resembled a Coatl. I don’t know much about them, but they tend to serve Good deities and such so I assume this is some kind of trophy. Elle thought it moved… then I saw it move. It’s eyes narrowed dangerously at me, but then Elle walked in and it actually spoke to her.

Once again something was mistaking her for ‘Mistress Sorshen’. From what I gathered, she hadn’t been down here in ages. It wished for news about Karzoug. Wondered why she was here if she didn’t know anything about Karzoug…  Elle did fairly well this time around, but still didn’t convince the snake. This time in our favor.

Apparently it hated Karzoug. Hated Sorshen. It had been instructed to kill anyone who entered without Thassalonian power, and Elle was ‘close enough’ for a loophole. Karzoug had bound it to service eons ago and freeing it was not a simple procedure. Anti-magic shell and Disjunction were the recommendations and I almost laughed in it’s face. That kind of magic is so far beyond us it...  and always would be knowing my allies leanings.

Those were the easy methods… the nigh-impossible one however, that was a different story.  Apparently Karzoug sealed the circle with a powerful Thassalonian artifact and that may help release the spell!! Well… My first thought was that we needed the one that he did the spell with… probably down here in this lab, or we needed something of the opposing school which would be the one Drax had. Still, I gave it a shot with my own. I pulled it out of the boot dagger slot and entered the circle, placing it on the ground and followed the directions saying “By the Power of Thassalon, I release You!”. The runes on the ground flashed and disappeared and we had a very happy Coutl.
 
It became completely visible, which was a sight to behold. I was intimidated by anything that could swallow me whole… but Elle seemed smitten with it’s beauty. I wonder if that’s going to be her thing now…
 
It reached behind itself and pulled out four feathers for use in summoning a Planar Ally. If we cast it, Tsikinal would come. A powerful ally indeed, though I have no idea how we’ll be able to make this work. Eager to be home it departed.
 
We followed a smooth curved wall to another door and found a very large room with a giant Orrery in it. It appeared to be our own solar system and accurate to the current day. All in all that was pretty impressive. We could think of no way to move it home and no place to put it… so disappointing.  The other side of the room was a door and it was decided to check it out before going back to the main hall.

Inside that room the walls seemed to be an organic honeycomb of paperish material. On the other side there was a dead halfling and the female sweettalker. It figures that the first one we found would have her lips stitched shut. Elle was convinced he was still alive and rushed in with the wand. Pyraxis tried to diffuse her by telling her the library sent us to rescue her. It didn’t work. I thought the halfling whispered something about us trying to kill them… but I can’t swear to it. Either way in moments She was trying to kill us and Elle was trying to shove the body in her bag of holding.
 
On this note… I have had to fight more women… and kill more women in the last year then I have in the previous 129 combined. Cat Burglars, knights, kytons, now monks?? Perhaps I still have a chivalrous streak in me, but I don’t like that…
 
Pyraxis knocked her to the ground a few times, but that didn’t seem to impede her very much… and then the body exploded in a swarm of wasps that covered us all stinging like mad. I could feel that I was poisoned and impeded and we all tried to get out of the room as quickly as we could. Pyraxis was the first out the door and I was right behind him. ….
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Draxthious

Post  MrPrettyPretty on Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:55 am

1 - 3 - 4715

After my encounter with my father I finally make it to the library. The trolls, thankfully, let me pass, showing me the way into the undercity where my friends are.

I enter the first area, passing by a strange purple orb that speaks Thassalonian and wants to know what my question is. I don't speak Thassalonian enough to trust my answer and fortunately it doesn’t seem inclined to stop me, so I just remain quiet. See Colin, I can learn. Then I head down the hallway to the sounds of combat.

I find Pyraxis and Colin just inside a room with a huge sculpture thing of what looks like the sun and planets. They are screaming about monsters and I don’t see Elle. I start moveing through the room as both a strange monk and Elle come out of the room on the far end of the planet room. Elle closes the door behind her and the monk hits Elle stunning her.

Pyraxis returns the favor to the monk and a swarm of wasps slide out from under the door and move to surround Elle and Pyraxis. I immediately charge into the swarm and attack it.

Of course the swarm is fire resistant but it does flee from me to continue chasing Elle and Pyraxis

This swarm is HELL, poisoning most of us which makes our bodies feel slower, clumsier.

I finally kill the swarm and the monk attacks me but thinks better of it when she burns herself on my lava skin. When she tries to move past me I kill her. I then follow after Pyraxis who carried Elle down the hallway away from the swarm.

I heal up Elle with the last of the strongest healing potions I carry and she wakes up. Her smile upon seeing me is beautiful. She is able to use a wand to heal us of the effects of the poison and of what health the others are down.

Elle and I talk a little bit (private stuff, deal with it) while Pyraxis and Colin search the room the swarm came from finding among other things a number of books in Thassalon about the Caer Maga undercity and related things.

I am brought up to speed on things including the prophecy and I share what information I know about the River Styx as it seems to be the “River of Memory” in the prophecy. Never put much faith in those but even I will admit the trolls seem to be unusually accurate.


We go back into the south room and Colin opens the door to the south east. It leads to a hallway that angles to the north east and a doorway directly across from this one.

That room is covered in sand and discarded weaponry and a cage hangs from the ceiling, thankfully empty, while a balcony with an ornate throne/chair sits on the far eastern wall about ten feet up. The ceiling of the room is 20 feet high.

There are three things in the room. The two on the ground are a horrid mass of flesh and teeth with eyes everywhere and the creature on the chair is a brain shaped mass of quivering ooze with two tentacles on either side of it.

We enter the room and move to destroy these things. I recognize them as gibbering mouthers. They have a sound attack as well as the ability to spit acid and can envelope a person whole. Here’s hoping they try it with me, I have a feeling I won’t be nearly so appetizing.

The thing on the throne tried to magic me to attack Elle. Like that would ever happen, magic’d or not. It then told me not to attack anything that doesn't attack me. I am ashamed to say it was then that I fell under it’s influence. Then it tells me to attack Colin and I’m sorry to say I don't resist that one as much. Even after Pyraxis tosses Colin down the hall I chase after him.

Colin runs from me down the angled hallway opening the door at the end. Which leads to a large round chamber with a tiered dias in the center On the top of the dias is a dwarven bloatmage.
He yells something about being vast at Colin, then flips a lever which causes the floor around the dias to spin faster and faster. I tear Colin up with my fire whip then the voice in my head says Elle is in danger and I have to come and protect her. Apparently Pyraxis has received the same instruction because he is attempting the same thing I am. I attempt to grapple her to keep her safe as well as though I miss horribly. Pyraxis does not. Elle is not amused.

After the gibbering mouths are dead I am mentally dominated to keep the door closed and not let anyone through. Elle attempts to punch me into submission, bless her heart, but it doesn't work. Though she does hit me once.

Elle finally manages to open the door, and Colin rushes past me into the room. I am now instructed to stop Colin. Pyraxis is apparently supposed to be still keeping Elle out of the room.
Colin, despite my best efforts to stop him and drop him, manages to kill the creature while Pyraxis chases Elle around the room. I, in my efforts to catch the dhampir, almost make an amazing leap up to the balcony but just miss it, my fingers slipping off the ledge.

Once it's dead the magical effects on Pyraxis and I vanish. I spend the next few minutes apologizing for my actions while under the influence of the brain tentacle monster. We never did figure out what that was, did we?

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Re: A Journal Bearing the Adventures of Pathfinders

Post  Magyc on Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:04 pm

Again, our band had intra party havoc.  This time, my free will was taken from me as I followed orders to exclude Elle from the room.  This was different from the last time in the cornfield when I chased Elle and Colin, in that on that occasion, I fully believed in what I was doing (to this day my actions still make sense to me).  This time, I was under a compulsion and the rightness or wrongness of my actions were irrelevant- I complied without thinking.    Thankfully, my instincts always run to the more pacifistic side, so Elle suffered no more than a few awkward grips and shoves.  Colin was not quite so lucky, as Drax drew the assignment of containing him… and Drax has little to no compunction about using lethal force when NOT under compulsion.  

I need to find some solution to this reoccurring problem.  Since our group has no spell weavers like so many other Pathfinder groups, I think I must turn back to a chemical solution.  I will ask Elle to see if she can uncover or concoct something stronger than the Flayleaf to make my mind more difficult to tamper with.

After Colin smushed the brain ooze, and its fellow abominations, we searched the room.  Elle identified a Seeking Crossbow and some human bane arrows that Drax wanted to destroy.  I would hope we have enough faith in the group to make sure they don’t end up in Elle, but after the events of the past five minutes, he may have a point.  Still, human bane arrows are probably worth the risk given the ubiquity of human enemies.  Now if they were Oread or Dhampir bane arrows…I would agree with him.  Although we have recently run into another Dhampir….

We decided to try to take the Bloatmage Colin had discovered alive.  Preparing ourselves and opening the door to the room, we found the room was spinning extremely fast, and for about a second we could see through one of the three doorways to the room as it whizzed by.  He remained on the non-spinning pedestal in the center of the room, maniacally proclaiming himself to be a diety.  We decided to back off for a time to see if another entrance was available, or maybe in time he would stop the room from spinning.  

We proceeded back to the hallway and started checking doors.  The first door we opened seem to be to another world, as where the ceiling should be, there was a night sky with two moons.  The room was dominated by a gigantic plant.  Elle said it was a Moonflower, a carnivorous plant capable of movement.  We decided to be thorough and clear the room, and with time to prepare, Drax went in first, took careful aim, and let loose a burst of lava that completely scorched through the base of the plant, killing it in one stroke.  This was a level of power we had not seen before, and thankfully he had not loosed it upon Colin.    We looked through the room and saw it appeared to contain glass cells, which were currently broken.  There was nothing else of interest and we closed the door to the alien landscape.

We found the second door to the spinning room, and the Gnome continued to issue his rant.  Colin wanted to delay the confrontation again, seeking the third door.  We continued to the end of the hallway to the last remaining door.  Opening it, we were nearly blinded by the daylight that issued forth.  Elle went into the mirrored room and was quickly attacked by the something we could not see.  Drax moved in to help her and asked her to leave the room.  He filled the room with a fire burst, and probably killed several of what we later identified as Lurkers in the Light.  They came into the hallway to attack us as well, becoming partially visible in the process.  Even after Drax filled the hallway with lava (another remarkable new power)  the Lurkers still kept coming.  Eventually we entered the room and starting busting out the mirrors. As the mirrors were destroyed the light level lowered, until the remaining Lurkers were completely visible and then dispatched.  Nothing else of interest was in the room.

We searched the entire hallway network to see if there was anything we missed.  Finding nothing, we had no other option but to confront the Bloatmage.
We tried to reason with him, but he was fully convinced he was a god and no amount of cajoling or flattery would get him to leave his perch.  Colin eventually shot him with an arrow through the spinning doors.  He can be a crack shot with the bow when he has to be.  The gnome took great offense to this, and upon Colin’s second shot, he turned invisible.  We all entered the room at that point.  The gnome, to his credit, took pains to exclude those who had not attacked him from his wrath.  That ended for me after I gave him a wallop, and I went down to one of his fireballs.  I awoke to Elle healing me, and the Gnome bound in manacles, the first of his group we successfully took alive.  

After the beatings we had already endured today, with several of us being close to death more than once, we decided to sleep for a time in the room with models of planets.
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under Kaer Maga

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:59 am

Pharast 1, 4715 cont.
 
Well, this was awkward. Elle wasn’t very happy with our current group cohesion. Not something I disagree with. However I don’t think this is the appropriate time for everyone to sit and air their grievances. Elle disagreed and forced Drax to come over and apologize for trying to murder me.
 
Yeah…. So that happened.
 
In a spirit of cooperation, I expressed my own doubts about not only our mission but our specific roles in it. Color me insubordinate if you’d like, but I don’t want to be part of an apocalypse. Finding these shard pieces is exciting and fascinating… but I’m still unhappy with the non-answers we get about what happens with it next. I don’t trust enough of the Pathfinders to just hand over something so powerful on a simple say-so and that’s been bothering me of late. Now there are the prophecies.
 
I of all people remember that prophecies aren’t what they used to be. However this one has me concerned. Jasper I found easy to dismiss when talking about the Doomsday door, but then the Troll said the same phrase…. I’m not a huge believer in coincidence. Drax has been a concern even before he attacked me. He seemed to revel in the idea of burning entire cities or being a ‘worldburner’. He’s getting more powerful too. He nearly destroyed me in less than six seconds and I don’t think he was even trying hard. What was once small fires is becoming hallways full of molten lava. Today I also found out that he’s the son of Moloch a Devil-lord of Hell’s armies…
 
So yeah, our friendship has been strained the last couple months. My mind has gone to dark places occasionally. Memories of staking Colleen and Dagmire; two other friends and allies to prevent them from becoming monsters. If Drax is destined to become some Harbinger? What would I do to prevent that?

One bright spot was that the only one more or at least AS concerned about Drax right now was Drax himself. He no longer finds the title of Worldburner humorous and is intent on resisting any plans his Devil father has in mind for him. That I find encouraging.
 
Elle on the other hand still seems upset with me. She feels that I have no connection to the group and don’t care about the people inside it. That stung more than I care to admit. . I personally think I care too much and certainly never wanted to project the opposite. She seems to think I see her as an immature child… and between our comparative ages and certain impulsive decisions, I found myself unable to refute that.
 
We’ll have to see if baring our souls during the middle of an adventure helps… personally i doubt it. I suspect Pyraxis would agree.
 
After we rested for a while, we debated what to do with our prisoner. If we brought him with us he could die or keep trying to kill us. If we left him here he could starve to death if anything happened to us. Finally I just suggested taking him and his corpse allies back up to the library. It was only about 20 minutes away. So we did that.
 
When we returned  we tried to make progress. On the far side of the spinning room was another door. The door wasn’t trapped, however the room itself was. Inside the room there was about 2 feet worth of water. In the center was a cage containing a grodair.  Grodair are truly baffling creatures who are basically large fish with tentacles used for tripping. Which quite literally makes this particular room the ONLY place in existence that such appendages are useful. They also have a control of water and explode when dying but really it’s the tentacles that confuse me the most.  Finally there was a line of runes around the room that Elle determined to be an electrical trap.
 
Now despite our earlier conversation about immature and impulsive decisions. Drax insisted on standing next to Elle while she disarmed it. Despite the fact that 1) He offered her no protection if something went wrong. 2) Any unnecessary damage he took would just be a drain on resources and 3) Elle didn’t want him there. Feeling a little snarky I pointed out how this was a prime example of a foolish and immature decision. In ‘compromise’ Drax finally took one step to the right of her, still entirely too close to the door and well within the ‘death zone’. Fortunately Elle disabled the trap without incident, but that doesn’t negate the bad decision.
 
The fish was in a cage as I stated, and I really saw no reason to kill it. They can talk ‘in theory’, but no language I can speak. Nor Elle. Nor Drax. So I was content to walk past… but as soon as Elle, myself and Drax all entered, a steel door slammed shut on both sides locking Pyraxis out and the water started to rise. Now we had reason to kill the fish. I could hear Pyraxis pounding away at the steel slab behind us as the water filled the room. I stabbed it once and Drax literally broiled it. Once it was dead the water fell back to original levels and Pyraxis burst through the wall. Then he started on the next door and we left the chamber.
 
The next room showed us the last of our previous targets. The Naga. I could sense that it was evil, however at the same time 1) It was a caster and our group is very low on magic ability. 2) we had just discussed our ‘lapses’ when it came to deadly force. If it could play nice I had no problem working with it. It was determined to finish it’s quest and refused to return back the way it came.
 
The room had two murals on it. One consisted of a forest valley with a black castle and creepy peering child faces. The other was a subterranean city full of domes and bridges with humanoid figures that had no eyes, but two mouths. These must be the Caulborn we’ve heard so much about. Horrifying looking things that will undoubtedly haunt my dreams…
 
Finally there was a door blocking the path and had stopped the Naga in it’s tracks. Now, I was behaving… because I really wanted to make a comment about the Snake being stopped by a door and how I imagined that is a common problem for their types. I was good however and kept silent. Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if they had mage hand spells, but the idea still makes me smile
 
The door had a polished onyx stone and the seven sided rune we knew too well. The top point was greed and the door showed evocation magic. That didn’t bode well. Drax tried the onyx keystone on the door and set off a chain lightning effect that caught us all… except Pyraxis who seems adept at getting out of the way. The Naga wasn’t pleased. Pyraxis’ quickness got him volunteered to keep trying the door while the rest of us waited in the fish room…. In hindsight I’m not sure standing in 2 feet of water was very wise…. I gave Pyraxis my ring of electrical resistance  and a coded message reminding him that he held the shard of greed and may be able to use that to get through, same as I used my shard to free the Coatle. Hence my reasoning for serving him up to the door. I didn’t want the Naga to know we had a shard… but  it turns out I was too clever and Pyraxis didn’t get my meaning. Regardless, he did quite well by drawing the rune of greed on the Onyx and the door swung open.
 
Elle then said something the Naga found offensive and it predictably did attack us. I heard it casting a lightning bolt and stepped up to stab it. Drax blasted it really well and it turned itself invisible. I cast a spell that could still see it and told Drax where to blast again and it died.

It had a ring of Mind Shielding which I over reacted and threw to… actually, AT Drax. Elle informed that it didn’t do what I hoped and wouldn’t protect him from being dominated… only in being able to discern his thoughts… That was disappointing.
 
We continued through the door and eventually found a sculpted stone bridge with distorted faces in it that went over a dark river. Elle went to check it for traps, but it seemed really well built. Traps should be smaller than that. Anything THAT big and THAT hard to reset wouldn’t make a great trap. Especially if it’s a pathway to somewhere else. Now it could be rigged to drop like I’ve heard dwarves like to do, but that’s more of an ambush in my opinion.

Regardless we didn’t get the chance. Two Hydrodaemon’s lept out at us and started spitting foul things at us. This… is the reason I chided Drax for not keeping his weapon. Hydrodaemon are vulnerable to silver and cold Iron and resistant to fire. Elle and I fought one while Pyraxis and Drax fought the other. They liked to grapple and that made life more difficult, but we finished ours shortly before they finished theirs.

One final note about Hydrodaemon’s…. They are immune to the effects of the River Styx. Which again… I’m not a fan of coincidences. This makes me REALLY glad we didn’t go into the water. Now we have no way to test if this the River of Memory that we were told to try and get some water. We aren’t 100% sure what will happen if we went in… There are conflicting myths from losing your memories and personality… physical death and soul floating to Pharasma and becoming invulnerable. I don’t mention that one because I suspect I’d be the only one on the shore as the rest cannonballed in. Pyraxis and Drax for sure…

Instead we play it safe. We use my ‘Anytool’ to form some tongs and Elle fills a few vials for later.
 
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Draxthious

Post  MrPrettyPretty on Mon Jun 26, 2017 9:52 pm

1 - 3 - 4715

Oh hey, deamon frogs. That was fun

We discuss what to do next, conncluding that this river is probably the river of memory.

Elle is able to get a few vials carefully and makes sure they are secured where they won’t accidently spill.

We start moving ahead into the next part of the cavern, a small rounded room with an eight foot high column of stone with forests etched around it. In front of that is a floating brain between what appears to be two cullborn.

I won't describe them, but they are hideous. Look to the etchings or descriptions of others.
As we approach we hear voice in our heads of which sounds like the buzzing of a million insects.
They offer to help us get to the shard since it "aligns their needs with theirs". I don’t really trust them, as they won’t tell us exactly what their needs are, beyond something about killing the things that dwell in the keep.

They want us to assault the black keep where the black rider dwells (along with a number of various undead apparently).

The brain thing, a krestimeth, says he can get us to the keep from the stone behind them. Apparently it's a portal stone, though the trip is supposed to be one way. We can come back but it might be painful. Oh, and when we first go through we will be attacked by black worm swarms.

I offer to go through first and take the swarm but both Elle and the brain thing tell me that would be bad and we all should go through at once.

So we do.

Honestly, this trip I’ve seen so many different planes it’s not funny. First Hell, now what ever this is.

We arrived in a place completely different. It appears to be a massive cavern of stone with a glowing ceiling, fog everywhere, greyscale landscape, and a small forest nearby. A black fortress which just looks....menacing, stands off in the distance.

A few seconds after we come through we are swarmed by writhing white worms spawning from the menhir. That’s the portal stone thing. Apparently it has a proper name.

Everyone is able to get of the way and I fill the area with lava. Unfortunately I misjudge the distance needed and got myself with my lava. It hurt a lot and a lot and I almost died.

Not my finest moment. I’m still getting used to the power upgrade my father managed to somehow bestow on me.

Colin, having been attacked before he was able to get out, was being eaten from the inside as some of the worms had managed to burrow into him. We spend some time healing Colin and then I try and convince us to move on.

Elle refuses to move on until I'm healed (and Pyraxis as well).

We come up to the fortress, and the huge arched doors. They aren't trapped and lead into a large rectangular room with a marble staircase on the opposite wall, suits of armor made to look like a headless horseman sit in four alcoves around the room, and two doors, one on each side wall to our left and right.
After we enter the doors slam shut behind us and green mist comes out of the armor from the suits near the stairway. To our right a female winged skeletal figure states that we were expected and then made some vague threats against us.

The mist that was coming out of the armor seems to have skulls and emaciated faces in it. Creepy as all get out.

Combat starts.

Side note, when the mist hits Colin it heals him. He seems very happy.

We were finally able to defeat them and I insist that Elle does some healing on herself. If she can insist that I get healed up earlier, I can do so now for her.

Pyraxis, demonstrating a really neat ability, looks through the wall close to us finds a large empty room with a stairway leading up to a landing. At the top of the landing are three large dragon like creatures.

On the other side he looks through and sees a stable with a dead woman dressed in a wide brimmed hat, with pistol like weapons on her hips.

Elle then proceeds to give us buffing magic and we enter the room with the undead lady
who spins toward us, draws her weapons, calls us "rustlers", and says we "stole her buckeye".

I have no idea what any of that means.

Side note, she's resistant to magic.

Side side note, she can shoot like crazy (dropped Elle rapidly) but the ammo doesn't seem to do much individual damage and has a hard time hurting me.
Geez, she even dies wrong doing some weird imitation of being hit by her own weapon.

I am able to give Elle a couple healing potions and we talk about healing Colin. I suggest resting, and in fact insist on it.

Pyraxis looks through the walls and sees both the outside and a room with a fancy decorated carriage in it. We then debate both resting and what carries the carriage.

We attempt to rest for a night. We only get an hour and a half before four wraiths come into the room through the wall, Colin wakes us up, and combat is joined.

Side note, these things heal Colin when they hit him too.

We defeat them and decide to keep moving on, opening the door to search the room with the carriage in it. We find a carriage. That’s it.

We head up the stairs in the main entrance room to a wide marble landing with another set of stairs leading to a set of double bronze doors, with two wooden doors to the corners and one wooden door to what we assume is the south.

Pyraxis looks through the wall and sees a dining room behind the bronze doors with six huge mastiffs and massive rotten meals covering the double tables.

A voice suddenly comes from the side door to the south as a short needle covered creature, a pugwudgie, comes out and tells us it's no good to be standing where we are. He asks us step away and to not interrupt the feast.

Abriget, the keeps castallon, says his master is in but doesn't want to see anyone. We question him about other ways to the back of the keep and he says the only way to get through to the back is to go through those doors.

We talk with the little guy for a while, which frustrates me horribly. Before coming in here I thought it was generally agreed upon that everything in this place was a; a threat and b; should be killed. Yet here we are talking to this porcupine with legs.

Not only that, but during this discussion, it seems that only my opinion is not wanted. No, not by Colin, that would make sense. Elle is the one who essentially told me to shut up.

Honestly, ever since I told them who my father was she’s been different to me. Colder, more abrupt. We are going to have to have a talk, she and I. Preferably sooner rather than later.

Back to the pugwudgie. He says he can try and get a message to his master, when ever the thing leaves he will try and talk to him, but he can make no promises. Or we can talk to Melegast, a visitor from far away who has been staying in the keep for some time.

Our final option is to speak with the masters consort, someone named Olana. Both of them are reachable from the doors to the south and north respectively. As long as we don’t intrude on the mastiffs. You can’t see it, but I’m kinda rolling my eyes right now.
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Black Keep

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Jun 30, 2017 3:23 am

Pharast 1, 4715 cont.

After some discussion, we decided to try Malagast’s door first. If we want someone to help us in any way against the master of the house… a simple ‘guest’ will probably have less loyalty than a consort.  Unfortunately when I knocked on the door there was no answer. Then we tried the consort.

Olanna appears to be in as she verbally assaults us through the door.She is busy, she has no interest in us and leave her alone. She certainly doesn’t seem to a friendly. Drax offers to open the door. First we had to set a matter straight. He wanted to know ahead of time if this gave him permission to kill whatever he found behind that door. I told him no. He seemed frustrated. I had to explain in no uncertain terms, that I would NEVER give him a free pass to murder anything behind a mystery door. If he opens that door and finds Olanna about to sacrifice a kid or dealing with innocent hostages… he does NOT have permission to murder them. Olanna? Yeah, we pretty much wrote her off… but I expect him to use some judgement before laying waste to a room.  Downside here is that killing a guy’s consort pretty much is going to guarantee we aren’t getting out of here without a fight…

When he opened the door we were in for a sight. My first thought was just how horrendously ugly Olanna was… the second was that maybe the rider didn’t mind since he had no eyes.. She was a Nuckelavee. Imagine a centaur… but with both the traditional person torso and head… but also the horse's head. It’s like her body was melding to the horse she was riding. A dead and rotting horse and rider… but in reality Nuckelavee are actually fey who are the manifestation of pollution and decay. They also look like undead and spray a cone that causes painful welts to appear… Something I caught the full effect of. Since she was fey, I used my cold iron arrows and missed four shots in a row. Elle tagged her with some bombs and Drax set her on fire… and she died. Her longsword was high quality but non-magical.

The room itself was disgusting. Stagnant brown pools were just the highlights. I really didn’t want to rest in here. Elle worked up a few extracts and I found a secret door in the wall. When we were all ready, we opened it up. It was a strangely small room considering the size of Olanna. Inside it seemed to be some kind of shrine to the Dark Rider… inside was an enchanted longsword (another Undead bane to add to the collection) and a Stalker’s mask. Useful for sneaking up on people… but made up of flesh pieces that are frankly just distasteful regardless of the bonuses.

Nobody wanted to stay here, so we decided to try Malagast’s room again. This time when nobody answered we entered anyway. Inside was something I never expected to meet. An undead creature with a huge bulbous head that I recognized as  a Bone Sage of Eox. A planet that turned to undeath when their world was destroyed… I believe Penny and I talked about it once The idea of this place makes me nauseous. Not only was it a Bone Sage… but it was a simulacrum of a Bone Sage. This tells me two things. 1) It hasn’t gained in power since it was created and therefore weaker than the original, and 2) It is still a powerful spell caster!

While I was trying to determine the right time to strike, he engaged Elle in a philosophical discussion that made me want to kill him even more. His basic philosophy is that you need the negative to have the positive and it was impossible to destroy all the undead without destroying all the life too… Elle seemed to be buying into it, or was playing him along to buy time… I wasn’t sure. Considering she was talking about ‘good’ undead a short time ago, and she hasn’t been as dedicated I think since her dead friend started haunting her….

Malagast on the other hand had some useful information we were able to get out of him. He’s been studying the Shard for eon’s… Ever since Karzoug brought it to the Black Forest for safe keeping and arranged for the Dark Rider to guard it.  The shard powers the Black Keep… and that is apparently what is sending the undead against us. I hate living houses… it’s difficult for me to anticipate the motivations of a house….

One useful bit I snagged on. The Dark Rider is beholden to a greater power. There is a naming pool that sends him on missions and hunts giving him his targets. That means that we may actually survive this. If he hunted for revenge, than there is nowhere we could hide from him… I do believe that. If whatever higher power this is doesn’t care about the shard or… Olanna now, then he may not hunt us without getting our name. It’s a thin hope, but it’s there. Legendary creatures who walked since Thassalion? I just don’t see us overpowering him when nobody else ever has… Complete the mission and escape? That’s a manageable goal.

While Malagast is obviously dangerous, our resources are getting low… and I really didn’t want to fight him now… If he wasn’t an evil undead aberration of life, he may have been a decent fellow. Unfortunately he also has to try and stop us. His amusement with us at an end… the battle began. Elle started with a thunderstone that deafened him, while Drax started off with Lava. I believe Lava is both blunt and magic… which is exactly what a bone sage needs to die. Malagast could still cast even deaf, and caused Drax to vanish. Elle was naturally upset, but did well to bury it and focused on the task at hand. She started bombing him to excellent effect. I wasn’t sure what the spell was, but I didn't’ want to see another one. He was undead, but I think his true threat was that he was caster…. A silence spell stole his bite. He attacked with his claws which hurt… but compared to Elle’s wrath, he didn’t last long after that. He exploded against the back wall into a pile of snow… which the lava heated wall quickly dealt with.

Elle wanted to know what happened to Drax and I was at a loss. She didn’t like my suggestion of a Disintegrate… and since there was no dust, that did seem off. Possibly a teleport or banishment? About that time Drax came storming back in the room almost disappointed there was nothing left to burn. Apparently he was ‘dismissed’... Something I’ve seen against enemies, but never against allies… but then I usually stay on my home plane.

Our resources are getting critical at this point, so we try to rest again. There are two doors in this room, but it may be as good as we get. Unfortunately this is the second rest and we haven’t gotten past the room with the dogs yet… I don’t like the lack of forward progress…

Elle and Drax have another lovers talk while I am thankfully able to sleep through it. However it seems the house won’t let us rest. Three Mohrgs enter the room on Elle’s watch and immediately paralyze her. Mohrg’s remind me of Ghouls, they have that paralyze touch create spawn when they kill… which almost ended disastrously. They are also traditionally serial killers and mass murders who rose from the grave with even more disdain for life then they had when alive…

So that happened.

Elle was paralyzed and we woke up fast, but not fast enough. Before I could rise, I joined Elle in complete helplessness. Drax on the other hand seemed able to resist their licking. I couldn’t move, but outside my field of vision I could see the glow and feel the heat as he fought three of them from his back. They tore into him pretty well, but when the battle ended, They were piles of ash and he was a bloody mess. He had already forced Elle to take all his potions earlier and that was costing him now. I was able to assist Elle in stitching him up and I suspect he’ll do for now. He’s still weaker than normal, but for Drax that’s not really weak.
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Re: A Journal Bearing the Adventures of Pathfinders

Post  Magyc on Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:45 am

After the alien necromancer was slain, we debated about how to proceed. We survived yet another encounter by the skin of our teeth. However, as we has already seen, there was no safe area in this place to rest and heal up. We had to press on.

Trying to avoid the Pugwudgie, I tried to break down the wall by ramming it with my crowbar. The wall didn’t budge, but it did bleed, which was ominous. We went out to the main corridor so Elle could take a peek at the mastiffs in the next room directly. While we did so, we heard our Pugwudgie host talking to someone. Amazingly, it turned out to be Otar and his octopus. It turns out he found out what we were doing, and he had some business with the Dark Rider. I’m wondering if there is anyone in Kaer Maga he does not have a grudge against. He wanted to know what we were doing here. Colin told him we were here for altruistic reasons.

Otar seemed to be getting along well with the Castellan- he was perusing the books in this small library. The Castellan obviously seemed very proud of his library, so I asked for a book as a courtesy when offered, earning some quizzical looks from others. Once it was determined that the Dark Rider might be months before emerging from his lair, it was obvious that we would be going in after him. The Castellan would obviously oppose this- thus far only with words, but we had seen them in action before. I did not want the Castellan, who had only treated us with politeness and hospitality, to come to harm. Elle suggested I knock him out, but I thought even that was excessive. I asked the others to exit the library and said something about checking behind the bookshelf. In a couple heaves I managed to pull the entire shelf over to block his main door. This agitated him a bit, but I did not have to listen to his whining as I exited the remaining door and jammed it shut.

With the Pugwudgie quietly imprisoned, we turned to prepare to invade the dining hall. We readied with Otar casting various spells and turning his octopus into a faceless humanoid. We opened the doors and the fight ensued. We mostly kept to the doorway, as the mastiffs slipped in and out of the shadows- they were hard to pick out before they attacked. One of the hounds bayed, causing a very brief panic response in some of us that caused a temporary retreat. We had been fighting for a few long moments before the doors at the back of the room burst open, and the Dark Rider himself on his steed charged into the room.

Otar tried to position a pit under him, but the horse was able to fly. The Rider threw a decapitated head at us which exploded in a wave of negative energy, hurting several of us. He wielded a long whip made out of a spinal column, and an axe. He hit Elle with the whip, wounding her badly enough that she had to leave the room and close the door behind us in order to attend to herself.

Otar then turned his pet into a horrific, badger like creature which lept on the Dark Rider and held on. The Rider could not shake it, and it began raking its long talons into the Rider. After furiously raking, the Rider finally toppled, and his body dissolved into mist. Otar later said that a new Dark Rider would be created to replace this one soon.

After mopping up the hounds, we looked around the Dark Rider’s abode. There was a small well in the center. The area hummed with a vibration. The well was identified as being immensely powerful. Elle found two secret doors. One contained some kind of magic machine. In a room directly beyond the well, the shard we sought was suspended over a statue of the Dark Rider stroking a lyre made out of a corpse. Taking a harp off the wall proved to be an error, as even this far into the Castle, an arrow trap was placed. With nothing left to explore, I went to release the Pugwudgie from his temporary cell. He was somewhat put out, but still quite polite. We informed him his master was dead and he was free. We offered to escort him out of this place, but he decided he would take his chances in the forest outside the walls. I think it is a mistake, but he has the free well to make up his mind, and we let him go.

We then tried to determine whether the carrier of the shard should be Elle or I. They mused about the various ways gluttony could be expressed given our personalities. I however, have found the shards to be quite direct and not prone to irony. Greed did not turn Penny into a voracious knowledge hound- she took gold and jewels. Lust was expressed only as ….lust. I volunteered to take this shard, and I expect only that I will soon be consuming vast quantities of food. I don’t believe this will have consequences for my drug experiments, but if she was right about that, I would have to give Elle credit for her prediction. I donned the flying wings and prepared to go recover the shard.
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Black Keep

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Jul 22, 2017 4:09 am

Pharast 1, 4715 cont.

Well, we have the next shard, but not freely. After some agreement we decided we would do what we could to destroy the horrendous angel corpse tower that shard rested on. First however, we had to get the shard down. After all… without it’s power source, the Keep had the potential to eat us or collapse. Pyraxis used the wings to… flap up there and snatch it. The Keep didn’t collapse, though it did shudder and the angels themselves screamed and dissolved in front of us. Which, since the angel corpses were my main disgust with the pillar, I considered it destroyed enough. A wave of cold shot out from the pillar striking all of us, but Elle got the worst of it.

A shot of fear went through me as I looked at her. She turned pale and and sickly… her skin turned gangrenous and she exuded an aura of cold… and a stench that would curdle paint.I thought for certain she was turned into a Ghoul or ghast. Perhaps a delayed reaction to the Morg attack would be likely. Knowing the connection this shard had to necromancy, I was sure she was lost to us. A second look stirred an old memory though. She was still technically alive but suffering from a rare curse called ‘Living Death’. A vile curse that simulates undeath even to the point of needing negative energy to heal her now. Something I was quick to point out before accidents happened. Fortunately she traveled with a Dhampir and we have wands  of that nature.

Pyraxis at this time was well in the throes of ravishing hunger. He took a swing or two with his adamantine fists and did manage to damage the pillar… but decided it wasn’t worth the time it would take. We all felt the deadline now and tried to walk and talk as much as possible. We retrieved Drax and Elle fed him an extract that made him backpack size. I offered to carry him. I like to think this gives me more protection from errant bombs… and I’m not 100% sure Pyraxis wouldn’t eat him.

When we reached the main parlor we heard a large roar and thunder that shook the house. Still concerned that the house would eat us… we were now concerned about what awaited us outside. It definitely sounded like it was coming from outside the front door… So we ran to the carriage exit and hoped for the best.

The moon was gone. If it weren’t for our darkvision, we would have had a difficult time finding the portal out of this demiplane. The source of the roars became quickly apparent. As was what Pyraxis meant when he described ‘draconic things’ in the tower. Wyverns. Three of them. Large…

This is not something I wanted to deal with and we try to run for the pillar, but aren’t fast enough. Before we know it the battle is on and we’re surrounded by swooping poisonous monsters. To make matters worse as we are fighting, Elle goes stiff and stops moving. I can hear little buzzing voices in my head and notice the two caulborn and the krestimeth that was supposed to be keeping the portal open for us.

This… is not a good thing. I really wanted to foster a relationship with these guys. The knowledge of the ages long past is tantalizing. All my questions answered… but they betrayed us. They were pleasant enough about it, but it was still a betrayal. It wasn’t even that they were refusing to let us leave with the shard… which is bad enough. I’m still on the fence about combining all the pieces and having these enigmatic creatures hide it in their forgotten realm… that I could be persuaded… They also insisted on wiping our memory of any of this…. And at this age I value my memories way too much to trust someone to rout around in there on their word alone. It wasn’t even an option. The others? They didn’t resist as well as I’d hoped they would.

The battle was now 2:1 odds I was flanked by both a Caulborn and wyvern… I dodged and blocked fairly well but I was still in trouble. The caulborn would touch me and I could feel my memories jumbling, but I kept resisting. Then something weird happened. My cloak… the one found in the tomb in Osirion. The cloak of the Vizir, Nekauba. It did something new. In my time wearing it I’ve felt it… adapting to me. I suspect it’s been getting to know me these last 15 years. I’ve seen it stop swords that it shouldn’t have and actually seem to wrap around enemies as I grappled them. At first I thought I was imagining it, but this time I actually did see it snake out and swing at a Caulborn while I was hurting. It missed, so the magic isn’t infallible. Still, on the second swing it did hit the creature and I saw pain on it’s face and felt a rush of life. Something similar to the Vampiric Touch spell I suspect and I’m beginning to understand why it has both a reputation of darkness AND one for keeping it’s wearer alive!

The cloak could only do so much though. Despite actually reversing the grapple on a Wyvern that was biting me… I couldn’t keep it up. Soon the Caulborn switched tactics and tried to knock me out… and succeeded. But not for long. Still the world I woke to confused me. Pyraxis was carrying me toward the portal and  Elle and Pyraxis were both afflicted with the shard curse… exactly the thing I was trying to avoid. The Wyverns were dead, but one of the Caulborn had the shard floating over his hand and the others were okay with it. Miserable enchantments!!!

As soon as I got down from Pyraxis’ arms, I immediately kept the combat going. I considered trying to snatch the shard out of the air, but I reconsidered. They are quicker than they look and notoriously hard to grab, so there’s no reason to think I’d succeed there. Best to loot them after their dead. Besides… I REALLY don’t want that curse. Now however it was closer to 4:1 odds. When they tried to get Elle to stop me, I quickly reminded her that I had Drax in the bag!

I have zero issue with manipulating these two with their newfound ‘love’.

Pyraxis tried to please both parties by separating the combats, but eventually their hold broke. Elle was only charmed by one, and still ended up splashing them both. I got past them with my tri-point sword and we eventually killed all of them

This I can only imagine will come back to haunt us… metaphorically. Now that we had two ravenous party members we hurried back to the library bringing back the Naga body with us. Elle took great offense when I reminded them of the libraries working relationship with the Caulborn and to not mention that we killed them.

When we told them our tale Pyraxis almost immediately mentioned they got what they deserved… Sigh.

I was able to spin things and play up the enigmatic nature of the Caulborn. I didn’t know what they wanted… I don’t know what they did.. I don’t know what happens next… Very vague creatures…  Pyraxis and Elle nearly started eating books, chairs and the librarians themselves as they waited for food to be brought. Constantly badgering our contact while I tried to tell the basics of our adventure. While hungry like this they are also easily distracted by food…. Or the idea of food, probably even the implication there is food behind them. Of the curses, this is both very annoying, and the least problematic. I can work with this I think…

Once the tale is told they quickly usher us out, happy to be free of us. The library should reopen in a few days and we’re sworn to secrecy… Which I’m fine with.


Pharast 3, 4715

Today we leave Kaer Maga. First Elle and I return those vials of water to the Troll Augustil. He is quite pleased and gives us the ‘magic fly’. (It turns out that it will grow to pony size and can be ridden… Awesome). Elle makes arrangements for any research on the water and the memory potion to be sent to her in Magnimar and then we get out of town. We bought a donkey and more supplies than I would have expected… and there are at least 4 stops between here and Palin’s Cove. Pyraxis is going to be expensive to feed.

Pharast 13th 4715

We reach Palin’s Cove and rejoin the crew of the Wayfinder. There is some concern about Elle’s appearance and stench… but we convince them it’s… well, ‘fine’ isn’t the right word. This isn’t going to be cheap to cure, and she’s hoping that some of her prestige with the Pathfinders can help here. All I know is it will be a long trip back. Now to try and keep Pyraxis from eating the ship…

Pharast 22nd. 4715

Magnimar is on the horizon. We should land today.
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Re: A Journal Bearing the Adventures of Pathfinders

Post  Magyc on Tue Aug 01, 2017 4:48 pm

When we hit port at home, we decided to split up. Famished from the long sea journey, I strongly suggested to Colin that we pay a visit to the Captain's Club, an establishment of epicurean delights that Elle had introduced us to. They had upgraded their menu to such an extent that I could not settle on just one meal, and decided to carefully sample all they had to offer. It was only fitting that we reward ourselves after the great trials we had just undergone. (A reminder that Drax should reprimand his ship's captain for insufficiently provisioning for the journey, as supplies were running quite low by the end.) Colin, perhaps still somewhat seasick after the long ocean voyage he was no fond of, declined to partake in much. I was forced to finish his portions as well.

While we ate, Elle went to take care of the odoriforous curse that she had been struck by. Some say it was enough to induce nausea, though I didn't find it bad enough to turn down my share of the rations. Luckily she was able to find someone to handle it and came back her old...well her new, old self. She brought with her the stone to end the "curse". I had been concerned as this was the first time I had carried a shard without a stone, and I'm glad to have served as a model on how bear it with dignity and grace. It just needs a focused and determined mind to eschew the impulses that the shards induce.

I paid the tab we incurred, even though they clearly were gouging us. No reason to quibble over the extra entrees that they had padded onto the bill when we have world shaking matters to attend to. Elle took possesion of the shard for now, and we departed for the manor.

Sheila was pleased that we had acquired the stone and reminded us to turn in detailed reports of what transpired. She assured us that Penny's team was making great progress in running down the next stone.

22nd of Pharast
We debated about who the Shard would most benefit after we determined the extent of its powers. Elle determined it would be a better fit for him.
That night Colin used the Shard to determine the location of the next Shard. It showed him a seaside abbey in ruins. After some research we identified it as Windsong Abbey-though last we heard, it was fully intact. Elle was able to find a verse of Augustil's prophecy that seemed to refer to it.

We talked to Sheila about this discovery and she told us that she heard it was attacked, about three weeks ago. She had little other information, but she heard of a Varisian Harrower (Pelia) in Sandpoint who may have been a witness to what happened. She had been chased away by a giant.

Through her connections, Sheila knew the Desnan's and Calistrians wished to speak to us before we headed there. We visited the Desnan temple and entertained their request: that we Find out what happened to the Abbey and who was responsible, and that we clear it of hostiles so that repairs can be attempted. They promised us some scrolls as a
reward. The Calistrian's request was far simpler- to obtain a sliver of the Chair of Calistria from the Windsong Temple Chamber.

Elle interrogated me for some time about my feelings about the missions- essentially, I did not think we should offer free troubleshooting services to a wealthy temples. It was a moot point however, as in this case they did offer payments.






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Draxthious

Post  MrPrettyPretty on Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:16 pm

23 - 3 - 4715

I was up earlier than the others, not to cook this time but to do some testing.  I’m still not sure why I passed out for so long nor why my powers seem different.  Using some of my abilities seems to hurt more than it did in the past.  After a few hours, I have some new bruising and a better understanding of how I currently work, if not the reason why.

Once everyone is up and fed (and Elle is placated about my bruising, she is so beautiful when she’s worried about me) we head to the library to see if we can find anything out about the chair the Calistrians want us to recover a shard of.

Kill everything in there and make it safe I can understand but a simple piece of a broken chair seems like…..well, a trap to be honest.  All we can do is move on.

Our research yields little, only that the chair is one of many in the main meeting room of the Windsong Abbey.  As far as we can tell it has no special characteristics.

In the early afternoon and we decide to split up for the day, we will leave for the Abbey early afternoon tomorrow.  While out and about Colin attempts to find out more about the attack on the Abbey but is unable to find anything.

That evening and Elle and I are heading off on our date.  An actual honest to Cayden date, not talking on watch, or at her mothers.  Just the two of us.  I’ll be honest, I’m a bit nervous but excited at the same time.

When we meet up at the manor entrance she immediately takes my breath away.  She is wearing a purple dress with flower designs on it that clings to her form.  Her green eyes shine out from the halo her hair forms around her face.  She is truly the most beautiful woman in the world and it’s not just her looks.  Her smile, her brains, her kiss, her laugh, everything about her is beautiful.

I gave her my arm for escort and we head off to Ping’s Tian Cuisine, an authentic Tian place in the Naos district that is famous for it’s food and a golden dragon fountain that is said to give anyone who tosses some coin in good fortune.  

The food was incredible, second only to the company.  During our meal we talk about a great number of things, toss some coin in the fountain and move on.

And now is when I became the happiest person in any land.  Cheesy as it sounds, it’s true.

About halfway to the dance hall we entered a small park.  A tiny pond reflected the moonlight causing the trees to almost have two shadows.  The moon itself was full and bright, as if it agreed with my decision.

Standing there in the moonlight, I asked the only woman I’ve ever loved to marry me.  To com-corn yanuvia with me to be precise.  She said yes.

Some time later we made it to the dance hall, smiling ear to ear the both of us.  Nothing could ruin this night.  Though something did try.

A while into the night I step away from Elle to get us some drinks.  While I was gone an arrogant Lt. in the city watch approached her and started to flirt with her.  Even took my drink from me (and tipped me a gold piece for it) when I came back.  When he found out that she and I were now engaged, he became….even more of a racist.   He then spent some time trying to insult me based on my heritage but it was nothing I hadn’t heard before.  Plus I had Elle with me and she had agreed to be my wife.

Then he made a comment that was an offhand insult to Elle and before I knew what happened, my fist was sore and he was bleeding from the lip.    The Lt. Sir Treman Calos (I call him Sir Soontobiteit Gonnadie) insults me some more, threatens me, then takes his leave.

Elle and I dance a few more dances just to prove that we aren’t beaten before heading home. We then proceed to pretty much giggle all night long.

In the morning we inform our friends (after I make breakfast) about our engagement and about the altercation with the city guard.  Colin suggests we inform Shiela about the incident, so Elle and I do.  Shiela responds (after congratulating us) that she will pay any fine incurred and then gives us a carefully worded warning about watching our behavior.  Dutifully chastised we depart to finish getting our supplies.

We do make a quick trip to her mother’s place to give her the good news.  Though a large part of me wants to go ahead with the ceremony now, Elle wants to wait until all of our friends, Penny included can be informed and possibly present if they should so choose.

We leave just after noon on the Wayfinder and make it to Sandpoint in twenty five hours.

25 - 3 - 4715

We head into town after paying the docking fee and find Piela (the rumoured survivor from the Abbey attack) in a tavern called The Rusty Dragon.  She’s an older Varisian woman and she looks the stereotype.  White blouse with red skirt and bandana as well as large gold hoop earrings.

We introduce ourselves to her, Elle doing most of the talking, and ask her if she can tell us what she saw at the Abbey.

She says she was in the area some time ago when she saw smoke in the distance.  She went to check it out.  While approaching she finds a strange red cap on the ground.  Colin, Elle, and myself all recognize it as belonging to a fae called appropriately enough, a Red Cap.  Fast little buggers, heavily resistant to physical damage but not magical.  They have these horrible steel boots they use to give their kicks extra power.  They are also very leary of religious symbols.  They have been known to flee the symbols of deities known to be of good alignment.

Piela continues saying that as she was looking at the cap a large boulder came flying in narrowly missing her.  To hear her tell it the giant who threw it was forty feet tall.  Colin believes she was exaggerating a bit.  I’m inclined to agree.  Piela makes the comment that whatever is driving the Red Caps to the Abbey must be frightening them more than their fear of religious symbols.  Again, I’m inclined to agree.  She finishes off by telling us that there is a small pier up closer to the Abbey which is wonderful since we won’t have to walk all the way their.

Before we leave Elle asks her for a reading, since Piela is an harrower.  Most of what she says is useless gibberish however she does “read” that the attack on the Abbey is religious in origin.

We then sit for a while to talk about our next move.  Elle remembers that the Abbey, during it's creation, had only one god that didn't have a cleric show up.  Rovagug. After 4606 AR the deity Arodan died and during that time a cleric in the abbey rose up attacking the others and killing a number of them. It was believed that it was a Pharasman cleric who did it. The reasoning at the time being that the death of Arodan was a conspiracy thought up by Iomedae to discredit Pharasma.  After that incident a greater number of the clerics didn’t come back which was, in fact, the start of the decline of the Abbey.  At least until it’s apparent destruction now.

Our conversation now turns to the prophecy that the group seems to believe we are following.  Elle believes that we have fulfilled the first two couplets.  

Owing to the fact that Grotus is close to Pharasma the idea of bringing Jasper along with us comes up.  I am hesitant, but his knowledge could come in handy and he does have his sanity back now.  That should help, as long as he doesn’t refer to me as world burner or harbinger nor to Colin as being a vampire, we should be ok.

And this is now where my stress comes in a hundredfold.  We debate, we vote, we get no where.  Honestly I was never a fan of the voting system to begin with and now that we have an even number of people it works even less.  Someone has to take charge.  Colin and Pyraxis won’t so, I do.  I take charge and make the decision.  We are going back to Magnimar to convince Jasper to come along with us.  I have a feeling this will not be the last time I am forced to make a decision that others don’t agree with, but again, the voting system is broken.  We can argue all day or we can listen to my decision and actually get stuff done.  Thankfully Elle seems to be overjoyed by me taking charge.
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Magnimar/Windsong Abbey

Post  Colin Marcus on Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:25 pm

Pharast 26th 4715

Well, we’re back in Magnimar on a fool’s errand. I admit I find nearly everything about this extremely frustrating. I trust I have not been subtle about my feelings concerning Jasper. Would healing be useful? Of course. That’s why we just spent a fortune in money and prestige to load up on wands. I think Elle herself is carrying forty potions… Do we truly NEED more healing? I don’t discount the possibility, I just don’t believe it worth the risk. It’s bad enough that we brought an outsider into limited knowledge about our Shard quest… but it was fairly obvious what Shiela thought about us letting him hold one! Now, despite the fact that we seem to be approaching the ‘Doomsday Door’ that was this man’s life mission to throw open (and I distinctly want it to stay shut), it seems whatever Elle wants, Drax is going to blindly follow. Ahhhh Blind stupid love… As the crew follows him and it’s his boat, my opinion was summarily disregarded. This whole thing is going to cost us a week on what I used to think was an important time-sensitive quest.

When push comes to shove, I don’t trust Jasper to be on our side. He is a servant of Groteus and despite his apparent sanity still sees us as Harbingers. Drax of all people should know what happens when you get between zealots and what they see as their god’s will. This was a bad decision.

To make matters even better, the whole thing was Elle’s idea and then she abandoned us to play plumber for her mother… so since I’m the only one left who can smile at a person without implying I will hurt them badly (ironic I know,) it falls to me to actually FIND the man. I admit I don’t try to hard, but unfortunately he wasn’t hard to find. He has opened up a shop called ‘The Apocalyptic Moon: Scrivener and Scriptions’. He greets us as Harbingers much to my annoyance, and to Drax’s credit he immediately set that straight. He offered him a place on the mission (kind of vague to my liking, hopefully just this one), but told him not to use words like Vampire to describe me or Worldburner for him, or Harbingers at all. He was fine with the first two and claimed to recognize me as a dhampir now that he was ‘sane’, but Harbingers wasn’t a result of the insanity but his vision… That made me feel sick to my stomach.

Regardless, despite any protestations to the opposite, he felt he owes us for curing him and will accompany us to Windsong Abbey. Without going into details about the prophecy, I did have one question for him. Once the Pharasman conspiracy and the breaking of Prophecy came up, I was curious what he thought about the Trolls of Kaer Maga. After all, that’s where we heard about the Doomsday Door. I’m torn on how specific it is, but I know as well as anyone when prophecy became unreliable. Jasper’s opinion... I’m not going to say it put me more at ease, but it was good to hear at least. His opinion is that they are frauds the same as any other soothsayer and Varisian.  Well informed con-men with agents gathering information everywhere, but con-men all the same. I’m not sure I believe that about Augustil.. But I really hate being involved in a prophecy. Granted he seems to dismiss any idea of the prophecy, but puts faith in his Harbinger Vision. I never was too certain about the differences between ‘prophecy’ and ‘vision of the future’... and I don’t prolong the conversation.

He says he’ll meet us at the dock in an hour and I decide I’m going to need more alcohol for the trip. I dipped into my savings for a few bottles of Oldlaw Whiskey. Something older than me will make the trip a bit more pleasant.

Pharasma 28th 4715

We approach Windsong Abbey under cover of night, but can still see some bonfires in the distance. The pier we were told about is surprisingly close to the ruins, so we have one of Drax’s sailors row us to shore in the dinghy and row back to the boat. Presumably this is how Elle will join us later. Apparently the problem with the plumbing was so bad that she had to bring it with her on the ship and now it threatens to destroy the whole ship ‘if not dealt with’.

Sigh.

Jasper can not see in the dark. A not unusual inconvenience but one I had hoped we’d moved beyond with this group after Elle picked up her night goggles. Drax hangs back to lead him as we move a little closer. In the distance we could hear a deep guttural laughing and talking that nobody can understand, but I recognize as Giant. Drax has the best chance at stealth, so I tell him that I’ll take care of Jasper and to scout ahead quietly. He agrees without any kickback and Pyraxis and I wait and watch for any (undoubtedly obvious) sign that he needs our help. As I expected he soon returned with some disappointing news. There were three campfires and only two were occupied. I hope the third group isn’t patrolling right now… The other two cook fires are manned by giants. Two ‘normal’ giants and three with two heads… Ettins. I haven’t fought them before, but I’ve heard that they are expert at two-weapon fighting, which means a world of pain. I suggest to Pyraxis he may want to focus on disarming them if he can.

There is a wall that is outside the light of the fire, but a wide open field before we can engage them and any warning will bring all ten of the beasts down on us… which I don’t relish. After some discussion, Drax remembers a little infernal trick he has to cause fire to extinguish and smoke out, blinding everything around it…. That has potential. I have a silence spell that will help us sneak up. Jasper will stick with us as we go up to the smoke and then get somewhere he can cast spells, while we pick off the giants as they come out of the smoke. At least that was the plan.

It started smoothly enough. Once the smoke was pouring out and a large cloud settled the area, We all charged up near the smoke and the first Ettin that came out was quickly dispatched. I signalled to the others to work our way around and started to round the cloud. I saw one Ettin coming out of the cloud to the north, and charged him with my silence. Drax did not follow. Pyraxis was slow in following as if torn on which to follow. The battle was well engaged by the time Pyraxis came in to help me finish the second ettin and I could see flashes of light around the side we’d come from. I assume that someone was seen and the alarm went up bringing the other camp over. Admittedly the silence/smoke strike wasn’t going to last long, but I’d hoped we’d get more than two…

Drax did well on his own, but there were still four Giants and ettin down there when we arrived to even the odds. I did well for a while, but that last giant got a few good hits on me and Pyraxis was tore up quite a bit when the battle was over. Jasper channeled and we were ready to move on.

By now I would estimate it around 5 in the morning. We approach the Abbey along the side with the destroyed tower. My theory is that they may be guarding the front gate and be less concerned about the seaside attack… or if it’s full of fey and giants they may not be worried at all. Still, I didn’t like the front entrance.

The rubble was annoying. Unstable, awkward and a pain for all of us to move through. Drax resisted the idea of jumping ahead so we all moved in together. Just as we entered into the tower proper, we were encased in a solid acidic fog. I heard Pyraxis attacking something, so I activated a lesser used Judgement. Acid Resistance. The fog was no longer burning me, but I was blind and unsure what direction the fog went. In my stumbling I found Jasper and helped lead him toward the edge, and when I emerged I saw something I had never seen before. Some kind of tentacles coming out of a body… I don’t really know, except it was really aggressive and was tearing Pyraxis apart. When he started to retreat before I had even attacked… this doesn’t bode well for the fight.

There were two of them.


Last edited by Colin Marcus on Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: A Journal Bearing the Adventures of Pathfinders

Post  Magyc on Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:51 pm

The fact that there were two of these abominations is what sealed the outcome. Jasper was rendered virtually helpless by the fog of acid and could do little to assist the fight. I myself was near collapse after being ripped apart the instant I got within range of one of them. My tactic of retreating and firing my new bow at the thing was ineffectual. I had to toss it aside after the arrows appeared to do little to my target and launched myself at it from twenty feet above. As Jasper went down, there was a brief cause for hope as we finally destroyed the first one. However, our rally lasted only briefly as the second one tore into Colin and made certain, unlike the still breathing Jasper, that Colin would not be returning.

I took several more hits leaving me barely able to stand. Draxious and I managed the fell the thing before being utterly wiped out. We managed to revive Jasper who did what he could for Drax and I, and we faced yet another dilemna. Already days behind because of our decision to retrieve Jasper, we contemplated returning to Magnimar to see if our contacts could have the priests call upon their dieties to bring Colin back- again. Yet, we were mindful of the impact that further delay could have upon our mission.

Ultimately, we decided to entrust Draxious's crew with bearing Colin's body back to Magnimar and seeing that it was placed within trustworthy hands- either Shiela or Elle, (though Drax thinks she may unknowingly cross paths on the sea). Meanwhile, Drax, myself, and Jasper would press on, redoubling our caution (for all the good it did us). While I fervently hoped that we would my friend Colin alongside us again, we had to focus in on the task in front of us.

We continued down a hallway in the partially ruined abbey. At the end of the hall was a large set of double doors. I was able to peer through the stone to see four two headed giants drinking from a cask of wine and destroying the furnishings in this dining hall. Drax and I had a plan to aggressively enter the room, yet that fell apart when the enemy reacted much faster than we expected. It worked out however, as we were able to fight them from the entrance to the hallway, staying closer to Jasper. They hit hard, yet in a way we were familiar, unlike the tentacled monstrosities we had just faced. Through careful combat, we were able to deal with their threat.

We continued on to the next room which had more doors leading out, stairs leading up, and a trapdoor leading down. Faced with these options, we chose to go up. We ascended two flights to the top of the Windsong Tower, and we found it led to what looked like the room we had been told about- the room with a seat for each diety’s representative. In this room, we finally saw the redcaps as they took potshots as us, behind three shambling undead things and a single-minded axe wielder who kept proclaiming he could not feel. The redcaps came in close quickly, and seemed to dislike Jasper intensely, constantly trying to get at him despite my attempts to protect. After our entire trio suffered greivious wounds yet again, we managed to down the last of our foes in the room.

We examined the chairs in the room and were able to identify at least some of the chairs, including the ones belonging to Calistria, Iomedae, and Cayden. We decided to barricade this room and tend to our wounds for a time here. One of these times, our barricade has to hold. I insisted we leave one route of egress lightly barricaded so we had the option to escape, even though it was out to a balcony. I took a splinter from the Calistria, despite Drax insisting Elle could shrink and take the entire chair. His insistence puzzled me, as she had yet to make it to the abby, let alone make it up to this room, and we might have to vacate quickly if the room were invaded by an overwhelming force- it was clearly the best option to complete the ancillary task right now, while we easily could.

We rested in chairs for a time while Jasper mended our wounds with bandages quite effectively.
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On Ship to Magnimar

Post  Colin Marcus on Thu Aug 31, 2017 12:11 am

Pharasma 28th 4715



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Draxthious

Post  MrPrettyPretty on Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:05 am

29 - 3 - 4715

I wake up with a start, Elle’s familiar weight on my lap. I am able to calm her down yet the thoughts in my head are anything but. I met my father again and he was…..nice.

Elle gives us a once over and we move into the passageway to the tower over the bay. Stained glass windows line the hallway bridge in it’s entire length. Pictured are the outer planes and the homes of the gods of the world.

On the far end is a set of double doors but before them, in the middle of the hallway, are a couple winged creatures, with talons and a piercing beak. They are Vrock's, a deamon type. I manage to erase one from existence as the other one covers himself with a multitude of images that seem to mirror his actions. He then wades into close combat casting an unknown spell against first me then Pyraxis.

The spell is apparently telekinesis as the Vrock manages to affect me with it, tossing me out the window where I fall about a hundred and twenty feet to the ground. It takes me awhile to get back to the group as I have to run all the way back up the cliff and through the keep.

By the time I make it back to the group the last Vrock is dead. The group comes and meets me in the chair room. On my way through the hallway, I see the courtyard and notice two hill giants and three ettans. Tempting as it is to stop and take care of them on my own, I bypass them and head up into the chair room.

We talk for a minute then head to the doorway on the far end of the hallway. Pyraxis looks through the wall and sees a stone and tile room with a large stone bath in the middle of the room. On the far side is statue of a woman with a long blade in her hand, a fierce look on her face, and on her hip is what look to be an aklys. Also in the room is a giant with a boulder in it’s hand, however a wall inside the room blocks his vision from the rest. Pyraxis then looks in the room from the other side of the hallway. Here he sees a female and a redcap. Pyraxis describes the woman as having a mass of snakes for her hair. Great. A medusa. A creature that can petrify someone with a gaze anywhere within thirty feet of herself.

When we do open the door the medusa is gone and the giant's boulder misses me. I put up a firewall, an ability I recently learned from my father. The wall forms between me and the giant. I then finish off the red cap as the giant comes through the wall, catching himself on fire and throwing another boulder. This one also misses me. We then continue to fight the giant who, at one point in time, is covered in water putting the fire out. Once Elle kills the giant (after getting a hit on herself) I step into the room and tell the medusa to surrender then get ready to blast her. She pops into view after casting confusion on the group, though for once we all resist. During the fight she "suggests" I search the chair room for a hidden key which does work. Jasper heals me of the effect and I charge back in however, Elle has already been turned to stone. Despite the medusa running away I chase after her and incinerate her.

We then search the room, desperately hoping for something to undo the statue effect. I search the medusa’s body collecting all the stuff I find.

Jasper is able to tell what is magical, though not what it does, and Pyraxis says that the statue in the back of the room is Koriah Azmeren, one of the women with Penny’s group.

We then do many experiments with the potions on Koriah, to no effect, though Pyraxis ends up taking a potion of eagles splendor on himself.

I finally use the vial of oil the medusa had on Elle and it works turning her back to flesh. There was only enough of the substance to treat one person however.

My love is then able to determine that the unholy symbol we found was of Mestama, the mother of witches.

We take some time for Elle to ID both the stuff we had found here, and the stuff we found earlier and hadn’t gotten to yet, including the crown with the veil on it, the chainmail, the punch dagger.

Elle starts to search the body of the giant, makes an offhand question about it being able to tell it what happened to Penny's group and to everyone’s surprise, the giant answered. It’s answer though was in giant speak so we have no idea what was said, though it was almost as if it couldn't understand. After we discuss what happened for a minute my love tried the ability with the Redcap and it too responded. Questioning it got us the knowledge that Koriah was here less than a month and was in here alone. We also ask and are answered with the name of the master of the place, though I couldn't understand what he said then. Ever so smart, Elle says it’s the name Ardathanatus, otherwise known as the Pharasma priest who did all the slaughtering when Areden died, and his location is apparently "toward the hells".

We move back to the chair room and head around to the far side at the Northwest corner and Pyraxis looks into the room. In it he sees a stairway down and a chair but no enemies, so we move into the room. Between this room and the room with the stairs we took climbing up here is another room, the one where Pyraxis tried to look through the wall earlier and found only wood. We enter into that room and it's covered in wood with table in the center and a stained glass window.

As it’s relatively safe, we take a small break before heading back down the stairs.
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Re: A Journal Bearing the Adventures of Pathfinders

Post  Magyc on Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:08 pm

The next room we entered had a table and bookcases- it appeared to be a small library. Drax said it contained books with poems about demonic affairs, as well as one written in Celestial. He found a handwritten one that Elle said was about a being called Mestonia. I didn’t see anything in this that was relevant to the Pathfinders or our efforts.

What was relevant was the need to clear the abbey, both as part of our mission and to ensure Colin had a safe landing when he returned. Drax told us about the other giants loitering in the courtyard and we resolved to eliminate them. We attempted to surprise them, but they were very quick to react and it quickly dissolved into a typical brawl. Drax continued to exercise his newfound powers and destroyed three of our five foes, while Elle and I ended the other two. Jasper continued to aid us both with keeping our wounds tended and muddling the minds of our foes.

We took one door out of the courtyard and Elle abruptly stopped us, pointing out that continuing down the hallway would trigger an explosive glyph. She was able to quickly disable it, but we found the hallway simply led back outside. The room after that led to a ransacked pantry, with nothing of interest. We then checked a door that led to the former guesthouse, which was now mostly charred ruins.

Here we were engaged by redcap playing an instrument and five dust mephits. He managed to blind me with a glitter spell, but I based on what I was able to hear, at least several of the dust mephits quickly perished in a crackling roar. The redcap did not play for long.

After my sight returned, we searched the former guestrooms of the Abbey, but found nothing of interest. We moved back to the courtyard and the large white Tower placed there. The walls were magical and this was another place I could not see through. Elle said it had the symbol of Groetus, which Jasper confirmed, and that it was magically trapped. Elle was able to disarm it and the door beyond it. Drax rashly entered the next room without pause, and almost fell into a pit trap as the floor gave way. He endured a few sharp words from Elle regarding his sudden boldness.

We proceeded to the next room and found that four redcaps. They appeared to have set up a boulder trap that would fall on the front entrance to the abbey, which was directly below us now. As we fought, one rather foolishly (if not impressively) jumped over the pit to get at Drax. It was a grand move that was destined for immediate failure. The remaining redcap ran up a set of stairs, and we pursued into an expected ambush, as six redcaps were waiting to attack us on this next floor. One was particularly skilled with a scythe and I had to be very careful in engaging him until Drax and Elle could come to bear on him, lest I share Colin’s fate. After I suffered several more severe wounds, we were able to put the creature down.
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Bri'ellyith Hunithurdrenn-Quink Parts one and two

Post  TRU on Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:49 pm

The Watch

It’s the night of the 29th of Pharast. We have cloistered ourselves in what was once the abbey’s kitchen. Even though it is unkempt I resist the urge to clean every inch of the room. I have faced worse messes already in my short time as a Pathfinder. Many a place I have wished Drax would unleash his unadulterated rage on because, in their putrid state, they were no longer fit for existence. But doing so, while it would satisfy my particular eccentricities, would also be a waste of time and energy. And I have managed to find rest covered head to toe in the most horrendous of smells, not to mention the times I’ve slept in the rooms where the blood of our enemies lay congealing on the floor. So in the kitchen defiled by giantkin I will stay and not complain. Maybe I’m going soft… Either way, according to Pyraxis, this room in much more defensible than many of the other rooms we have come across, and that alone makes it worth pushing aside my penchant to clean. Though I’m pretty sure we’ve taken care of any threat this level and above. The only unknown regions are behind the two locked doors, the one being the impenetrable ivory tower, and the other protected by the unholy symbol of Groetus. I fear no threat from either of these-that is, until we have unlocked them. I do not know what will open the tower. It seems to be built for keeping things out. I do not think even my skills as a lock pick will be enough to gain entrance. As for the door locked (and magically trapped, I may add) behind the soulless eyes of a laughing skeleton moon, I believe I hold the key to its entrance. It is the key with the very same symbol on it that I identified earlier after my companions freed me from the stoney paralysis granted me by looking too long at the medusa.

This key is the Doomsday Key. One of many that open secret places in the cult of Groetus’ hidden temples, as well as being able to open Doomsday Doors. Yes, I did write “Doors” in plural. It was not a mistake. Maybe I was naive in assuming there would only be one Doomsday Door, that there was one door with all kinds of abominations behind it just waiting to be unleashed and therefore bring about the end of the world. Now you must know that I write this with some sarcasm for I don’t believe that such a thing, even if it did exist, would have enough power to end all of life on Golarion. One such cataclysm did happen in history and somehow both my very own mother as well as Colin survived it. As did the very ground beneath our feet. Sure there was destruction of vast extent, but Golarion survived. And should something like that be attempted again I am sure Golarion will continue to survive. Thus I take this whole idea of the Doomsday Door ushering in the obliteration of all with a healthy portion of salt. Even more so, now that I know multiple Doors exist. To me it seems to be a simple matter of splitting the power up over a multitude of portals. While they may be devastating if all opened at the same time, they should be easier to tackle one by one. Thankfully ridding our world of such a threat is not our mission at this time, though who knows what may be asked of us in the future. Great and awesome power are not things I believe the Groetans to possess, but at least I can no longer accuse them of putting all their eggs in one basket.

Unlocking doors, however, is not all this unholy key can do. It has the ability to strike fear into the marrow of one’s enemies with a simple twist in the air, causing them to shake before you, and it can be used to curse someone, as well as protect from curses if it is worn around the neck. It could be a useful tool if handled correctly, but I am very hesitant to put it in the hands of our grandfatherly Groetan cleric. From what I gathered from the others, after they cured Jasper of his insanity, he spoke at length about his life’s goal to find and open the Doomsday Door. When I first heard this, I admit I believed it merely to be the false hope of a sweet but doddering old man who had spent too much time with his own brand of crazy. But now that I hold an actual key that is to unlock such a place I find myself a bit more cautious of Jasper’s zealous search. It was this very topic I broached with Pyraxis when he woke me up to switch watches.

Seizing the opportunity while Jasper was blissfully asleep I informed Pyraxis of what the key was and what it did. To my surprise, our dear, mystifying rockman questioned why I would want to keep this information from Jasper. By probing him further I found out that he now considers Jasper on par with the rest of us, as one of his allies. And as an ally, Pyraxis was willing to aid Jasper in his quest to open the Doomsday Door by any means necessary, even to the extent of going against the wishes of anyone else in the group. He also claimed that it wasn’t out of our way to do so either and politely made it very clear that he would help Jasper open the door whether I liked it or not. I found a few points of contention in this, not only involving our current situation but bringing up decisions he has made in the past whose logic I’ve failed to see. It was probably somewhat unfair for me to dredge up the past once again, but at the time I found it to be justifiable in my attempts to understand the enigma that is Pyraxis. I got a little passionate. I need to be careful about that. I find that it does not get me far when trying to reason with the stoic rockman.

By the time we finished the conversation I had discovered three things. The first being what Pyraxis understood the Doomsday Door to be. When he spoke of aiding Jasper in opening the Doomsday Door (because it was the right thing to do for an ally, as well as being convenient) he was referring to the door we had found locked with the Groetan unholy symbol. In the end I had to agree that I also wanted to open that door, though not for the same reason. I, for one, do not believe that the same said door could be a Doomsday Door. Why would the Groetan’s have put it in plain sight like that? And if it were a Doomsday Door, why hadn’t Jasper found out about it yet? No, it was obviously not a door that ushered in the oblivion of everything, but it was a door of significance to an unholy cult, and in keeping with our deal with the Desnans, it too must be cleared out. So even though our motives were different, our goal was the same.

The second thing I discovered is that Pyraxis puts less stock into the tenants of Groetus than I do. This seems to be because he does not consider religion to be something of consequence in the grand scheme of things. This is an interesting insight into the impenetrable man. The third thing I discovered, or at least I have pieced together from this and other previous conversations, is that Pyraxis does not adhere to any moral code at all as I had assumed (this fits in with his disregard of religious things). In fact, as far as I can tell, Pyraxis orders his life via an interesting, but not uncommon hierarchy. I believe it goes something like this: Pyraxis and his personal reputation come first, then come the privileged few that call he calls his allies, then everyone else-to be dealt with in severe fairness and absolutely no charity. Still, as I write this I am unsure how that last tier of Pyraxis’ personal hierarchy works. I have seen the man mercifully knock combatants unconscious, and persuade bandits and thieves to give up their ways and pursue a better life. And yet the idea of offering charity to the Deseans was protestable… It must go back to his low opinion of religion in general.

When it came time to switch watches with Drax I told the same information about the key that I told Pyraxis. My beloved responded in typical fashion with the initial suggestion that we burn it. I couldn’t help but laugh a little at his suggestion. As for my proposal that we keep the true nature of the key hidden from Jasper as long as we can, he was in agreement. I must confess I do find great pleasure in the fact that we are understanding one another again. We have seen eye to eye on a great many things since the day we met, but I had let frustration build up for so long that it put us at odds with one another. But now, after some work, we are back to the old way… no, a new way of understanding (and a burgeoning respect on my part), and I quite enjoy it. Alas, now is not the time or place to count all the ways that I am learning to love that man. My dear sister would be appalled at all the trivial nonsense with which I have filled my official report to the Pathfinder Society. I just say they should be glad I’m not writing them in the style I had originally planned.

The talk with Drax turned from what, if anything, should be done with Pyraxis’ desire to aid Jasper on his lifelong quest to my desire to not undermine his authority in the role he has newly undertaken as the Vanguard’s leader. That he has risen to taken this position makes me exceedingly proud, and thankful. Ever since Penny was moved to another group I have felt the need for someone to be a leader in our little group. Now that Drax has stepped up to do so I feel we will find the stability we have needed for so long. I was concerned that some of my suggestions the previous day had been made in too demanding of a manner but Drax assured me that they were not. Then he proceeded to ask me, very bluntly, to stop him if it ever looked like he was making a questionable decision as leader. I promised him I would.

Then the subject of Drax’s father came up again. I made it abundantly clear to him that I didn’t think his father was worthy, or even safe enough to be trusted. I also impressed upon him my belief that his father’s new found niceties were merely a ploy to further manipulate Drax into one day becoming a conduit of his power. Drax still seems reluctant to totally accept the manipulation for what it was. I think that despite his better judgement, somewhere deep inside of him Drax wants some kind of affinity with the one that sired him. I just hope he can shake this desire before it gets him in trouble. I will not stand idly by and watch as he gets fooled into doing the very thing he does not want to do.


The Tower

Blissfully we all get a full night’s rest, something that so rarely happens when we are out in the field. Waking before sunrise on the 30th of Pharast we gather our things and begin to prepare for the day ahead. I started something I should have began a long time ago-taking requests from the group as to which formulas to prepare to aid their abilities. I have been thoughtless toward my allies for too long. Holding back on my capabilities hasn’t been doing us any favors. See, mother, I am focusing on the task before me.

After an hour or so’s work we were ready. The sun still had not risen, but I could see through the arrow slits in the kitchen’s outer walls that the sky was getting lighter. We left the protection of our evening’s barricade and stood once more before the ivory tower. Pyraxis generously offered that I “take a run” at it before he did. I knew he meant for my to try and pick the lock but when he said the word “run” a ludicrous image of my gem studded shoulder connecting forcibly with the wall presented itself to my imagination. I couldn’t help but crack a slight smile as I stepped up to the door and everyone else, at my request, stepped back. If the doors were trapped I did not wish anyone to be hurt should I fail to disarm it. I worked on the lock for a couple of minutes, pulling moves that should have been successful in the most intricate of mechanisms, but to no avail. So I stepped aside and motioned for Pyraxis to do what he does best-make a door where there is none. I confess, we tease him often about the fact that he’d rather enter through the wall then go a more conventional way. But all teasing aside, he is a mighty boulder of a man and his feats of strength are quite impressive, not to mention his persistence.

After putting a couple of shoulders into it and getting nowhere, Pyraxis decided to try a different tactic-he began to whale on the thing with his fists. Even though I had taken a step back I could still see that his fists were far more successful than anything else we had done. Still, it seemed a bit of a shame to mar such a beautiful, perfectly smooth structure. Thankfully there is magic that can fix such things.

In the midst of his third swing at the door Pyraxis hesitated and suddenly seemed to be speaking. When I asked him if anything was wrong he replied that someone had spoken to him, telling him to stop. After a moment or two more of his peering intently at the door he turned and walked back to where the rest of us were waiting, asking that we huddle together so he could tell us something. He proceeded to tell us of the voice that spoke to him, asking him to stop breaking the door and telling him that it would be bad if he were to continue to do so. He then shared how he felt inclined to reply back audibly to the voice even though he had received its message in his head. His reply was to assure whoever was listening that we had come to clear this abbey of any current threat. Hoping to receive another word back from the voice Pyraxis had waited, but nothing more had come. We were about to discuss what we should do next, listen to the voice whose true intentions we did not know, or proceed as before, when the tower door opened. Inside it’s threshold stood a half-elven man with vibrant red hair. He wore a full set of metal plate armor of some kind and his hip was graced with the Varisian Star Knife. Both the markings on the armor and the weapon bespoke his allegiance to Desna. The immediate knowledge that we had found an ally, that there was still a survivor in what I originally thought to be complete and utter devastation brought such relief.

The cleric, still somewhat reserved, made motion and cast what looked to be a detection spell-specifically detection of chaos. His explanation for doing thus followed when he asked if any of were goodly aligned, saying that there were protections on the doors that made it so only those of good, chaotic natures could pass through. Anyone not of those natures would come to harm if they tried to enter. In effort to clarify what he was saying I asked if there was an exception for neutrality-that being the very bent of my nature. The Desnan ginger grimaced and walked back into the tower, leaving us waiting without explanation for the second time in our short interaction (he was indeed the voice in Pyraxis’ ear, or so we found out later). Moments later the Desnan returns, saying how he has been observing us and the work we have done to rid the Abbey of threats. He admits that he believes we are to be trusted, looking slightly askance in Drax’s direction. My beloved is a little rough around the edges, yes, but there is no guile in him, and for that I am thankful, though I do know that his fire and fury can be a bit off-putting. First impressions are not his forte. Mercifully the half-elf had not judged us based solely on Drax’s lack of charismatic pull. He tells us to enter we must speak the word “Pharas” as we cross the threshold and we will be able to enter the tower unharmed.

Pharas, as we are told later, is the first part of the tower’s full name-Pharas Pharasmae. And it isn’t just a tower after all, but a lighthouse above, and an entrance to the dungeon’s below the abbey. Dungeon’s with levels farther than the religious inhabitants of the abbey saw fit to explore. I must admit, this information stirs an excitement in me. I can’t help but wonder which level the shard of Envy is on. I hope we get a chance to explore some unknown territory.

Through talking with the Desnan cleric, Casmir (a name that took us way too long to ask for-sometimes I cringe and how lacking our social skills are) we are able to put a few more pieces together to form a better picture of what happened here. But first, before I delve into all of that I want to note something. Kyriah-the half elven warrior, Pathfinder, and explorer of the Dark Lands-the ally of my sisters whose petrified body we found in the room with the medusa-just so happens to be Casmir’s daughter. When all hell broke loose here and Cas barricaded himself in Pharas Pharasmae, he used a message spell to call her to his aid. Alas, what help she was able to provide was cut short when she was turned to stone by the witch-cleric of Mestama with snakes for hair. Cas was very disappointed when we informed him that our capabilities were not of the kind that could turn his daughter back to flesh. But after promising to provide aid as soon as we could once we returned to Magnimar his spirits lifted somewhat.

According to Cas, Ardathanatus-the self same Pharaman priest who went on a crazy murdering spree when Adordan died-led the attack on the abbey. There was a priest of Nethys, Zolarim, who fell under the seduce of the Mestaman medusa and betrayed his fellow clergy by letting the forces of Ardathanatus in. Granted, the medusa was disguised as an elven princess at the time so I’m sure the seduction took no effort at all. The unabashedly evil, strong, and ancient Ardathanatus somehow caused an the earth to quake at precisely the moment of his attack sending the inhabitants of the abbey into a frenzy. He then moved the vast majority of his forces down into the dungeons below, where we must now follow that we may root him out (and subsequently find the shard of Envy).

We grilled Casmir for every detail he could tell us of the two dungeon levels that the clerics had put into regular use. It seems that the first level is mainly storage. When he mentions and brewery and a cellar for spirits my eyes lit up and met with Drax’s. His expression showed the same glee. I politely asked if we might partake of some of the stored spirits and Cas says to take what we will, just as long as we continue to root out the evil below. While I have no plans to become drunk in this dungeon-doing so would be inadvisable-still the idea of drinking a glass after a hard fought battle does sound appealing. Drax has a flask for moments like those, and I think Colin may as well. Perhaps it’s time I join their flask club.

The second level was much more difficult for the Desnan to describe. He spoke of it having places like divine rooms that weren’t really associated with any particular god or goddess. This level is where the Windsong temple resides, the source of the musical phenomenon of which the abbey’s name is derived. Cas asserts that there are many useful, powerful clerical items housed in the Windsong temple. Hidden items, many of which he was certain Ardathanatus had already found, though should some be left we may find them useful in our endeavors. Perhaps this is also where we will find the shard. There are also an apothecarium, and many shrines to what Cas hesitantly referred to as “aspects of nature”. Some of his descriptions struck a chord with Jasper who perked up, claiming that some of the places Cas had described sounded like specific Groeten places of worship. He spoke specifically of a shrine to the Empty Places, and a shrine to the Ruins. This led to Cas admitting that the abbey seemed to have been built on an old Groeten temple, something that existed in the subterrane. The proof of this lay in the existence of many destructive Groeten locks all around the dungeons. Cas explained how dangerous it would be if one tried to open these without the Master Abbot’s key, talking of explosions if lock picks are used, and the off chance that one gets sent to another dimension with no way to return. Thankfully I believe we have this key in our possession.

As we make plans to go below it is suggested that Cas use his sending spell to speak with Sheila. We added up the time we’ve been here and it came about that the very next morning Colin’s body would be arriving in Magnimar. Maybe, just maybe we could enlist our lodgemistress’ help and get our friend and ally here that much sooner. And maybe Colin could bring the stone salve we need to help restore Kyriah. If Sheila agreed to help, we will have quite the debt to pay her upon our return. The idea of waiting for Colin did not sit well with either Drax or Pyraxis, as both of them wanted to start clearing these dungeons as soon as possible. Drax felt that the extra 2-3 days time it would take Colin to return by boat were too many to sit around being idle. Though I can see his point I still feel we would be better off if we entered the next phase at full strength. I use this and other arguments to add to my persuasion, adding that I would be able to brew very useful potions should I have a few days on my hand. Cas also puts in that his map making skills will also take a little time, so if we are wanting a map of the two known dungeon levels we will have to wait. Not to mention the time it will take him to rest and re-memorize his sending spell. Ultimately I look to Drax to make the call, trusting that he will make a wise one. He decides that it would be good to wait, at least until we hear back from Sheila.

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Windsong Abbey

Post  Colin Marcus on Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:53 am

Pharast 31st 4715

It was an intense reunion to say the least. Things were said, perhaps not as diplomatic as possible, but hopefully points were made. Once tempers had cooled we decided to go through the Groetus Door and continue our search for the shard. Elle came clean about trying to hide the key from Jasper who seemed to barely control his excitement. He’s not getting the key himself, Elle will be holding it, but I don’t think that matters to him. My only consolation is that apparently this door before was a Groteus door… but it did not fit the description of a ‘Doomsday Door’... though honestly it still seemed ominous to me.

Elle used the key, but apparently needed some kind of combination to open. Fortunately she remembered something in the veiled abbot's room about Infernal poetry containing a list of directions… and I felt fairly lost. What sparse recap I’ve received didn’t included that…

The stairs that led down stank of old beer. Elle was distraught as she saw the temple’s tap room in shambles. Barrels and tables were destroyed and spilled everywhere. Before we go too far into the sizable room though we could hear something coming towards us. It was some kind of a construct though quite the damaged one at that. What’s more, Elle saw something that seemed to blend in with the wall. Pyraxis had a potion designed to fight constructs so I drew my sword and headed toward the mystery foe.  The construct however still took a swing at me that would have gone right through my old armor. I’m still not too sure about wearing this armor, with that niggling feeling that someday the old owner (or a new incarnation) will come looking for it… but I need the protection and it came in handy against the construct.

The Skulk as I quickly identified it was less effective, and against it’s five other friends it wasn’t much help at all. I’ve heard of these things before, but nothing too much of note other than they are known to blend in the walls (which I could see for myself) and they don’t need anything special to kill them.  The arrows that they fired at me though… those were something new. They passed through metal armor like butter… no, not butter. Like the metal wasn’t there at all. The only bonus I had was my magic enhancements and my cloak which is getting active again. I think it missed me while I was dead…

The battle took more time than I’d have preferred with all of us playing our parts. The construct fell first with Elle doing her speciality against them. Pyraxis moved on to some of the archers in the beginning, but soon moved back to the construct and between the two of them took it out fairly quick. The skulks on the other hand… they could take a beating. In time we had whittled a few of them down to where they felt they should run. My Hunga Munga stopped one cold while another ran down the hall and tried to hide. Pyraxis and I followed quickly and  somehow I passed it before I saw it and took a swing. Not liking the fact that it was flanked, it retreated down the hall for aid.

This concerned me. There were at least three maybe four hallways that we were running past in our pursuit. Lot of potential enemies… lot of potential traps… I prefer our orderly clearing than just charging ahead… but I also don’t want this thing to regroup. Ehhh… I’ll call this a draw. We caught him just as he got in a room with six more of his kind.The room had painted fresco’s on the walls of multiple clerics of various faith’s singing, but I didn’t have much time to study them.

At this time, I activated my judgement surge. I probably should have used one earlier, but I still don’t like activating that ability in the first room of the day… I have a spell that would have let me activate some healing on Pyraxis but our movements didn’t match up this time. Too many enemies too many repositions… but it all worked out for the best. I will say the one who needed the healing the most was me again. There’s something about arrows that pass through metal that just make my new full plate irresistible as a target. I gave Elle some cover as she prepared a Haste, but that first volley… was painfully accurate. All six pierced my armor, which I can only imagine is going to be bear to remove later.

Not counting that volley, this battle went a bit smoother. Elle switched to her morningstar with some glee and worked in some flanking with both me and Pyraxis at the same time and we took these seven down much faster than the first five. Still not loving the unexplored dungeon between the entrance and us, we returned to the tap room and looted the bodies. The arrows aren’t magical and I could swear I’ve heard of a metal that can pass through armor but for the life of me, I just can’t recall what it was… probably a starmetal like Adamantine (which I still need to get… Too many constructs need that). It may come to me later, but we have near 60 of the things. On the bodies we found unholy symbols of Yamasoth… a Qlippoth Lord known as the Polymorph Plague.

I… don’t know why THEY would be involved down here…
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