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A Journal Bearing the Adventures of Pathfinders

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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.
Colin Marcus

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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. ….
Colin Marcus

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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.
Colin Marcus

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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.
Colin Marcus

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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 Yesterday at 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.
Colin Marcus

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