Session 23: February 9, 2013
"I know exactly what to do. I kill people."

Nymm hides just as the red hulk knocks Thalie unconscious. Nymm sneaks back over to the battle and drags Thalie into one of the guard tower rooms and shuts the door, wedging her body against it.

In the mean time, Kalpa and Sam are knocked unconscious.

Nymm goes up to the roof to shoot. Gathalimay is dazed but manages to finish off the red hulk. Nyym drops a rope down from the roof and Gathalimay is able to climb up.

One of the grues starts dragging Kalpa away and Nymm is able to hit him. He goes back down the ladder to Thalie and tries to revive her.

Merielle kills the grue that was dragging Kalpa away.

Thalie, once conscious, heals Sam and stabilizes Kalpa, then trying to hit the red hulk.

With the hulks and the grues dispatched of the group is left to decide how to proceed. They decide to go into the hole and see what lies beneath.

Merielle casts a bridge of roots and climbs down into the hole, with the rest of the party following.

Kalpa takes the lead and starts down a hallway. Gatalimay gets hit with an arrow from the hallway wall – it appears that the walls in the hallways have holes in them at varying heights and are booby trapped. Kalpa continues down a long hallway and goes to turn a corner, and falls into a 10 foot pit. Sam uses Kalpa as a stepping stone to continue progressing down the hallways, now leading the party. Kalpa helps the party cross the hole and they pull him up out of it once they are past. More spears come out of the wall and Sam narrowly avoids being hit and then smashes through them. Soon he can see a light from around the corner.

As he peers around the corner he sees a wide open lit area. There is a red hulk guarding the area and a foul spawn of warp caller and mockery.

The red hulk looks down at Sam like he isn’t supposed to be here and ought to leave. Suddenly there is a blast of maddening burst that hits Sam, Kalpa and Nymm. One of the foul spawn moves out of view. The red hulk grabs Sam and drags him into the room.

For their efforts the party receives 700xp.

Session 22: January 12, 2013
He's long like a tuna can.

The party takes a much needed rest for 8 hours while Kalpa and Merielle stand guard. Approximately 3 hours into the rest the sun rod goes out. About 4 hours in Kalpa and Merielle hear whispers “isn’t that beautiful music?” “wish it could go on forever” followed by a groaning metal sound like plumbing from somewhere within the buildings. Merielle thinks it sounds like steam pipes and sees some slight steam venting and movement at the tops of the towers.

At the end of 8 hours the party awakens and Gathalimay wipes his drool off of Sam’s chest where he has fallen asleep. The steam is still venting and there is a low ambient glow. Sam ignites another sun rod.

Suddenly the party hears a crossbow and a spear comes flying in from a hill in the distance. Thag charges in the direction from whence the spear came and the ground gives way beneath him. He falls into a huge hole in the ground. Sam creeps to the edge to see if Thag is ok. Nymm sees a foul spawn, an albino goblin with sharp teeth and knives that resembles the ones back in the field, and pops into his shade form.

Merielle bounds across the tops of the buildings and kills two of the foul spawn.

There is movement along the far edge of the hole as Sam works to get Thag back out of the hole with a rope. Thag gets out and immediately gets hit by another flying arrow. Creatures teleport out of the hole, more ugly foul spawn. A grue also comes out of the hole and hits Thag who immediately falls unconscious. Two of the other foul spawn grab Thag and drag him back into the hole. Sam manages to grab the grue and throw him into the hole.

A figure appears in the hole and the grues all move back to make way for him. He appears to be an Illithid, a mind flayer, with the body of a man and the head of a squid. The party vaguely remembers the mention of this creature in Prothall’s letters and that they should run.

All of the buildings start venting like a steam organ making god awful atonal music.

A wall at the far side of the village drops down creating a bridge for the ballista to cross and two red hulks advance across it as well.

The Illithid wraps its tentacles around Thag’s head and the party is powerless to stop it from happening. Then Thag turns and walks into the tunnels as if thralled. Sam grabs a grue and throws it at the Illithid, missing him. Six more grues teleport out of the hole towards Kalpa and Sam. The Illithid leaves in the direction Thag went and Nymm manages to push one of the red hulks into the pit.

At this point the session breaks for the day and xp will be award next session. Total xp for session #22 at 1700.

Session 21: December 8, 2012
The Safety Dance

It’s a starry night and the party advances across the field with Thag and Gathalimay in front. About 20-30 yards ahead they can make out a figure squatting. They slow down and creep closer.

When they are about 10 yards away they see a glint of metal. The figure appears to be dragging a knife through some other form on the ground. Nyym sneaks closers and hears the figure chanting:

“Dark the sun will be
When Cthulu has the keys
to set himself free.
Then Lord Vecna will return to me.”

The party recognizes the name Vecna as that of an evil deity, but can’t remember what he has done. The figure continues:

“Must set things right
for that accursed night
that began my plight
When I sold my lord’s rite.

Vecna’s secret I should have kept
Into my soul greed and hubris crept
At the chance to defile I leapt
Ever since that night I’ve wept."

Nyym goes to shade form and creeps closer. He sees more beings shuffling around; what appears to be a zombie horde. The figure continues dragging its knight through what appears to be the body of a goblin chanting faster:

“You foul spawn stand in my way
Ignorantly keeping me at bay
But slowly steadily you come out to play
Adding to my Army day by day

When left of you are none
Then we’ll really have some fun
The small battle will be won
One step closer to darkening the sun.

The secret Vecna shared with me
And I sold to he
Will be the thing to set me free.
And bring Lord Vecna back to me."

Kalpa steps forward and proclaims loudly, “I’m a disciple of Vecna, here to discuss how better to serve.”

The figure stops what it is doing and looks up, reaching for his shield. Suddenly a 10 foot tall, 15 foot wide stone wall appears between the figure and the party. Nyym who has crept ahead sees the figure disappear into a hole in the ground.

The zombies begin to move forward and Nyym warns the party. Thalie shoots an arrow at the zombies and kills one. Kalpa walks around the wall and looks at the dead body on the ground and the hole. Merielle kills another zombie, Nyym kills one, Thag drops two and Gathalimay kills the last zombie. The stone wall drops away.

Merielle tries to loot the goblin body and Kalpa looks into the hole. He can see it is 5-10 feet deep and that smoke is billowing out of the hole. Kalpa jumps in the hole and sees a tunnel that leads off in the direction of the village.

The group decides to continue above ground and Kalpa, using his rope kit, climbs out of the hole.

The party moves towards the village and has gone a little further when it hears chains rattling. There are more open holes in the ground, and the sound of the chains appears to be coming from those holes – specifically 4 distinct spots. Sam starts stomping around.

Zombies pop out of the holes, held to the edges of the holes by chains. Merielle and Thalie try shooting at the zombies and the zombies fight back. The party decides to run through the zombie fields rather than fight. They receive very few hits and get to within 15 feet of the village.

At the edge of the village they approach a bridge that spans a moat and double castle walls. A guard tower abuts the bridge. Gathalimay taps across the bridge testing for traps. Sam busts ahead to the wall noticing that on the other side of the wall the ground looks different. Kalpa drops a rock on what appears to be a trigger plate and nothing happens. Nyym tries to scale the wall and falls in what would be the moat but is instead a pit fully of smelly muck.

Merielle is guarding the rear of the party when out of the corner of her eye she notices that the figure from before is watching the party from 20-30 yards off. She pulls out an arrow and aims at him.

Meanwhile Sam throws caution to the wind and steps on the pressure plate. Spears come out of the walls and graze him. Nyym climbs up out of the muck and comes face to face with a skeleton.

Merielle and Thalie are watching the figure, and another wall pops up in front of them, blocking the figure from sight.

Nyym manages to kill the skeleton.

Meanwhile Sam moves beyond the pressure place and goes into the doorway.

Merielle and Thalie creep around the wall and try to hit the figure again. Merielle’s arrow finds him and he is so enraged he rips his skin off and howls causing psychic damage to both. Nyym manages to kill the figure.

As they creep closer to the dead figure they find him laden with equipment. Kalpa takes his stonewall shield, Thalie his crusader’s mace, Sam his giant gloves, Gathalimay his wand of thunderwave. Nyym his Elakian crossbow and Merielle his displacer armor. There is also a book which is nonsensical but appears to be some kind of ritual capable of defiling the sun.

For it’s efforts the party earns 250xp.

Session 20: November 10, 2012
"Pulling Wood"

The group wakes and sets about dismantling the wood pile, dragging pieces back to the fireplaces where Merielle sets them on fire. This takes a few hours.

When the wood pile is cleared it reveals a large hole in the floor and a wrought iron spiral staircase leading down into a dim cavernous room. Nyym and Merielle creep down the stairs and Sam waits on the stairs with his axe at the ready. The staircase creaks and groans, and Nyym and Merielle walk closer to the center of each step minimizing any further sound.

At the bottom it takes their eyes a bit to adjust but they think they can make the glow of some campfires a couple of hundred yards away. It appears to be a walled village in the distance. Closer there are a few out buildings and farm fields stretch between here and the village. All of this somehow seems to be inside a cavern, like someone just transplanted everything here.

Near the bottom of the stairs there is an awful smell, something across between roadkill and outhouse. There are no lights in any of the outbuildings and no sounds save what Nyym and Merielle hope are bats. With the coast relatively clear, Nyym and Merielle signal the party and the group goes down stairs and gathers at the base of the stairwell.

Thag and Sam are curious about the brick outbuildings. They open the door to one and find it is filled with refuse and spiders, bats and terrible smells. Just then something in leathery wings comes out of the darkness. The party recognizes stirges, pernicious bloodsuckers.

Sam shuts the door to the brick outhouse, shutting himself inside. The first stirge attaches itself to Thag’s vein and feeds. Gathalimay uses impelling force to pull the stirge off of Thag and Nyym bloodies another one. Merielle barely kills one of the stirges when several larger ones appear out of the darkness.

Inside the brick outhouse something stirs from the pile of shit and with a tentacle reaches out and grabs Sam dragging him backwards into the refuse. Sam yells for help.

One of the larger stirges grabs Merielle while Kalpa invokes a hallowed circle.

Sam manages to escape from the brick outhouse and hugs Merielle, covering her in refuse which she does not appreciate. Another tentacle comes through the door and misses Merielle but grabs Sam again. Sam grabs the tentacle and then manages to break free. They repeat this again, but then Sam manages to kill the Otyugh (“the poop monster”).

Sam wants to check out the other brick shithouse but the party overrules him.

Nyym and Merielle start to scout out through the fields toward the village.

Shortly thereafter the whole party hears what sounds like a recorded voice and sees a glowing mouth in the sky: “All new students think alike. Go and pillage the village. Is this thing still on?” The magic mouth disappears.

A few moments later the party hears Merielle and Nyym scream. They run to join and find that Merielle and Nyym have been attached by death jump spiders. The party manages to slay a couple of the spiders, but others jump away unharmed. Clearly the fields are not safe to linger in.

For their efforts party members each earn 650xp.

Session 19: October 13, 2012
"Stuff to fight, stuff to loot, what's not to love?"

The party rests around the stairs with Kalpa and Merielle keeping guard. The next several hours pass uneventfully.

Then the group decides to head down the stairs. It is a long stairwell, approximately 50 feet, going round and round and it seems well maintained. When the group reaches the bottom they find themselves in a medium sided room, with a large stone desk in the middle. All around are crumpled papers. The room is lit with sconces that are flickering and seem to be magic. The party can make out a body behind the desk.

Slowly the party creeps around the desk and finds that whoever existed here is alive no longer. On the far wall there is a doorway and a table has been dragged into the room to barricade the door as evidenced by the drag marks on the floor.

The party gathers up the crumpled paper and Thalie reads Prothall’s Letters. They are various letters penned by Prothall, the dead man, about the mages magic and the illithid, a race from the Dark Realm that came through with Cthulu. The letters speak of a magic quill which Gathalimay finds on the desk and takes.

Kalpa searches the body which has been stripped down to a loincloth and appears to be run through with a sword – a self inflicted wound. However, there is a hole in the back of the skull where the brain appears to have been removed. Based on the state of the body it seems that Prothall has only been dead for 1 day or so.

Kalpa moves the table that barricades the door and feels the door and listens. He can hear nothing. Nyym creeps down the hallway and sees evidence that furniture has been dragged through the space – gouges in the floor and splinters of wood everywhere. As he advances down the hallway, the party follows and Gathalimay tries to map the area. It is eerily quiet.

Partway down the hallway the party ends up in a triangular room, of of which lead more hallways and alcoves. There are statues in the hallways that look like the statues outside the gate upstairs. The lights continue to flicker here.

Thag walks down one hallway to investigate and some follows him observing. At the end of the hallway, in the alcove there is a large pile of bedding in the center of the room. There are brackets on the wall where bunk beds seem to have been ripped way. Sam rifles through the bedding but finds only a few rats. Thag looks at the brackets on the wall and feels for any secret door panels. The party concludes that this was probably a dorm room for the initiates at one time.

The group moves on and finds more hallways, more flicker lights and another room. Again hallways lead off of this room as well. Down at the end of each hallway are fireplaces, which are cold. There is ash in one and what appears to be the remnants of wood and papers.

This room appears to have been a dining hall although the tables and chairs have been dragged out of the room. There are some stone shelves and bits and pieces of remnants of food eaten by the rats. Sam tastes some of the remnants and they seem like old grains.

Moving forward again the group emerges in a larger room. On one side of the room there are stone bleachers with some stairs. Opposite the bleachers are 4 podiums with books open on them, and a single door on the wall behind that. At the far end of the room, through a doorway, the party can see a huge pile of furniture – what appears to have been dragged from all these rooms and piled densely in a large pile as if to keep something down.

Sam throws a sun torch into the room and Merielle kicks him in the shin. Thalie ignores them and moves closer to look at the books on the podiums. She could swear as she gets closer she sees the books move.

Kalpa walks up to the door between the podiums and reaches out to check the door. All at once the book and podium become like a big fingerless hand and grab Kalpa. Sam runs up to the book and podium next to the one that has grabbed Kalpa and tries to grab it. He “grabs the shit out of the book” and then tries to rip it in half. Kalpa invokes a hollowed circle and hits all 4 books. The party gets drawn into the fight and Nyym makes the first kill. Thag kills the second book, Sam the third and Kalpa the fourth. When they are done all that is left is some ooze.

Kalpa steps forward again to listen at the door and hears rats. Nyym opens the door and hears louder noises of scurrying rats but doesn’t see them. The room is lit fairly consistently and there is a fire actively burning in the fireplace. He can see, through the door, a weapon rack and a rat’s nest along one side. Nyym creeps into the room, but as he steps through the doorway the floor falls away and he falls into a 10 foot pit. He notices 6 figures huddled back in the corner.

After helping Nyym out of the pit, Merielle builds a bridge of roots over the hole. Sam goes into the room and sees giant bipedal rats with spears and some weapons on the rack. Thag rushes in, gets bitten by one of the rats and gets filth fever. Thalie kills the first rat with witchfire and the party moves backward out of the room. The rat closes the door. Kalpa opens the door and manages to kill the second rat. Sam manages to critically hug another of the rats, and Kalpa tries diplomatically to get the rats to lower their spears, but they don’t surrender. He can see the weapons on the rack, some of which are rare in Adar and probably worth looting.

Kalpa talks to the rats and learn that they are not guarding anything, but just living here in their nest. They have had the run of the place before the books appeared outside the door. They don’t know what’s under the pile.

Having gotten all the information they could hope to, the party leaves the rats and decides to camp by the bleachers and rest. Kalpa investigates the pile of wood.

For their efforts party members receive 300xp.

Session 18: September 8, 2012

The party tears through the orchard and hears the alarm sound behind them. People come pouring out of the castle. They make it back to the inn and waste no time in gathering their belongings and heading out across the desert to Xephanan.

The trek across the desert, while grueling, is uneventful. As they approach the city, the party sees people traveling in and out of the city and there seems to be a fair amount of excitement. Gathalimay chats with a traveler and finds out that Shaquor has appeared for the first time in 70 years.

Gathalimay explains to the party that Shaquor used to allow people within its walls to become trained in the arts once a year and they would emerge one year later trained. One hundred years ago a ruler in Xephanan took the treasures of Shaquor for his own and Shaquor disappeared, only re-appearing once a year.

The party decides to keep going towards Shaquor. They join along in a caravan of people making the pilgrimage. When they get to Shaquor they find that what has appeared isn’t the Shaquor of legend. There is a simple outbuilding in the distance and people can be seen coming and going from the building. Surrounding the building on all sides is an area filled with silt, almost like a sea and the sea appears to be full of sharks. The silt sea is approximately 1 mile wide.

Kalpa starts asking around to find out if anyone has managed to crossed the silt sea. He finds out that there have been a few runners, but none have succeeded and it isn’t pretty. Kalpa walks out in the silt to see what happens and in just a few moments he sees shark fins circling him.

Gathalimay wondered if the key that the party has will work at all to hold off the sharks. Merielle tests the theory by walking out into the silt holding the key down at her side. With the key submerged the sharks seem to be avoiding her. Merielle, Sam and Kalpa decide to attempt to cross the sea with the key. They walk out and the sharks seem to stay away. Gathalimay stays on shore and preaches from the book of Gathalimay in an attempt to distract people. It doesn’t work – people notice the group crossing and talk excitedly. A few people run out behind Merielle and the sharks start pulling people down. Gathalimay is shouting “do not cross, I have blessed them!” He walks out into the silt and falls on his face to try and dissuade the followers. Seeing the commotion Merielle, Kalpa and Sam return to shore.

The party finds a fairly unpopulated spot and decides to wait for nightfall to attempt crossing again. Kalpa wades in again and tries to talk to the sharks. He sits down in the silt and the sharks come in and attack him. Kalpa tries to throw the shark that bites him onshore, but ends up shard swarming back to the group.

Night approaches and the party readies itself for the crossing. The group ventures out into the silt, all clustered together around Merielle who is walking with the key in the water. It takes a bit of time, but they traverse the mile without incident.

When they get onshore there is no one outside the building. It appears to be a stone building with one door and no windows.

Gathalimay knocks on the door. The door opens and a 5 foot tall surprised human opens the door.

Gathalimay: “We come in peace.”
Man: “Why are you here?”
Gathalimay: “We want to learn.”
Man: “Well we just got here.”
Nym: “Who are you sir.”
Man: “My name is Aron.”
Kalpa: “Where are you from?”
Aron: “Umtyfratz.”
Gathalimay: “How did you get across the silt?”
Aron: “What? We’re waiting for Shaquor.”
Gathalimay: “Can we come in?”

The party enters the building and finds 6 other people (4 men and 2 women) inside. Aron explains that they are waiting for the entrance to Shaquor which they have been told only appears to the worthy. Here they have found shelter and beds, and fresh food every day. There are 13 beds in the shelter.

Kalpa and Aron walk outside and the silt sea is gone. Now a hill slides into a valley and Kalpa can only see a forest beyond. He relays this to the party.

Thalie talks to the others and learns they come from small villages and lands and came to learn skills to defend their home towns. The first one to arrive was the blonde woman, Alano. Nym fist bumps her for showing up first. None of the people here knew each other before they arrived. Gathalimay decides to entertain the group with his lute. The rest head to bed. After a little while, Gathalimay crawls into Sam’s room to sleep.

Merielle trances for a while. Kalpa returns and sits guard in the doorway.

Night progresses. Aron comes out of his room briefly to relieve himself, and despite their suspicions, Merielle and Kalpa find nothing out of the ordinary.

In the morning the sun rises and the group dines on fresh provisions. The party decides that it is going to explore the forest and lands around the building. It loads its supplies on the kanks and invites Aron and Alano and the others to join the group. As they leave the stone building and set out towards the forest they see another building where there wasn’t one before.

Aron shouts “hey guys Shaquor is here!” He and the others take off running towards the building and stop just short of the door. The building is not terribly large. There are 4 doors. In each little room there are statues and a portcullis. There are gates, but no way to open them.

Aron says “is this it?” He sounds disappointed and unsure.

Meanwhile Nym and Thag explore the statues which are androgynous humanoids with long hair. Nym realizes the metal has a bit of give. One of the others starts shaking the gate.

All of a sudden the bits and pieces of metal flow around the statues. The party steps back and the metal becomes snakes unwinding from the statues. They start to bite and poison those they bite. Four of the 6 others die and the final 2 flee leaving the party to fight the snakes. It is a hard fight. Gathalimay runs between rooms trying to offer healing where he can. Thalie manages to kill one snake, Nym kills 2, Thag kills 2, Kalpa kills 2 and Sam kills 1. When all the fighting is done, Sam, Thag and Merielle are in varying states of consciousness. Thalie runs around trying to administer aid to those who need it.

The snakes coil back up around the statues. The gates open.

For their efforts the party members earn 350xp.

Session 17: August 11, 2012
"Just a little hug & poke." (The Return of Samuel Leary)

Party Members awaken in their inn rooms.

As Merielle, Gath, Kalpa, Thag, and Sam head downstairs for the morning they encounter a group of dragonborn beating on a silt runner. While being beating he keeps yelling “DON’T BEAT THE MESSENGER.”.
Upon sight of the group, he manages to wiggle his way out of the beating. He runs for us, drops a note at our feet, and bolts out the inn door.

Merielle opens the note:
“The wives of Giern cordially invite you to supper. Tonights menu will either consist of a human/elf stew or a spit roasted dragonborn. To help determine the mwnu, be at the arena at sunset.” – Giern

The dragonboarn noticing the events confront the group about the note and where their two friends are. The party has no idea what the dragonborn are talking about and they just received the note. During this discussion the party discovers that Nym and Thalie are missing.
The Dragonborn, displeased with the answer return to their table.

Kalpa approached the bartender inquiring about the missing people. Hesitant at first and denying what might be going on, he then signals the group to follow him outside where he’s disposing of the trash. There the bartender reveals that once a month, Giern (The wizard king of the city) kidnaps members of two groups of travellers and forces them to fight for his entertainment. The losers get feed to his 3 harpy wives, while the winners are released. The arena that they are forced to fight in takes place on a giant pyramid structure with deadly boobytraps.

After discussing this, the bartender nervously hurries himself back inside.

The party returns indoors to find the dragonborn randomly accosting patrons, and asking them the same questions “What’s with this note? Where are our friends?” While this goes on the party discusses what to do before their requested arrival that evening. With the realization that their friends could become dinner, they decide to head to Giern’s place and scope it out.

Upon arriving at Giern’s, they are welcomed by a 100ft wall and stone gate. Sam fails to convince the party that his mind-blowing climbing skills will get them over, and decide to walk the wall with the party. Around the side a alternate gate is open with slavers leading in packs on very dejected looking slaves. Inside there are several armored figures talking to the slavers.

Merielle sees a small orchard, and suggests the party sneak inside to there. To this Gath replies, “YEAH, I could hide in a tree and act like a fruit!”

Sam convinces the party that a distraction is needed. He picks up a stone to toss past the guards to create some noise, but instead clobbers a slave right in the noggin. “OUCH!” the slave yells, and with that a brawl breaks out among the slaves. As the guards and slavers rush to regain control, the party passes through the gate and sprints to the orchard.

As the hide in cover, the party look around and see lots of slaves and slave pens, but no Nym or Thalie. Gath moves to the end of the orchard, looking for loose slaves rags to use for disguises, but nothing is found.

The group decides to make their way to the nearest building. One by one they go.
As Gath moves across, a slave catches a glimpse of him.
As Thag bolts across, the slave does notice him and beging trying to convince another slave.
As Kalpa moves out and starts to shardsworm, he looks up to see a guard staring straight at him. He then walks straight up to the guard and says, “Giern summoned me here to watch the gladitorial fights!” The guard doesn’t believe him, meanwhile 6 more guards approach. Kalpa then says, “Look, you’re right. Please! I just want to see the stadium, then I’ll leave. I’m a big fan!” The guard, signally the others to back away says, “Ok, Let’s go take a look. Right this way.”
As they walk off, the rest of the group sneaks toward the row of buildings next to them.

Meri and Gath sneak down the row, but as Sam move down he hits the third building a slave steps out the door, sees him, then runs inside the building screaming. As Sam tries to slowly pull the door shut a Guard comes walking up to it inside the building. Same grabs the guard and they begin to rumble. Thag comes rushing in and attacks the guard. Meri is right behind him. As they attack the guard while he’s rumbling around with Sam, Gath come waltzing in right past the fight, eat some of the stew on the fire, and begins lightly talking to the slave.
Sams yells for Gath, he feeds some soup to Sam as he’s grasping the guard. Gath then throws a spoonful of hot stew in the guards face distracting him enough for the party to overwhelm him. Thag chops up the body with his axe, and puts in into the stew.

Back outside the party moves along into an open area when the pyramid arena is discovered. They also see a guard escorting Kalpa near the arena. The group moves into the nearest building to watch the outcome of everything going on.

As Kapla is walking along with the guard, he asks him general stalling questions about what the fights are like and how to get a job as a guard. The guard then reveals that some idiots try to sneak in, and those people become participants in the fight. Kalpa attempts to knock out the guard, failing he runs toward the group of 5 guards nearby. Before hitting the group he shard swarms past them and toward a deep ditch surrounding the arena and surrenders. He’s the escorted to the palace.

The rest of the party seeing all this, decides to sneak around the opposite side of the palace from the Kalpa escort. Merielle sneaks up a head and finds an open, un-guarded door on the side. The party moves in and starts sneaking down the hall. As Sam moves past one of the doors, it opens and 3 women walk out. As Sam fails multiple times to talk his way out of the situation, he then makes a leap to tackle one of them. Mis-judging his distance, he slams face first at the middle woman’s feet. As the woman laugh/stare in confusion, Merielle, Thag, and Gath rush and grab the women. The bound and gag them in a nearby room. Sam stand up declaring “Well that went acording to plan.” Merielle then hits him in his “jewel sack.”

The group moves down the hall further and right down a fork in the hallway, hearing footsteps and voices they move into the first door on the fork. Inside the turn around to find a well-dressed gentlemen at a desk.
“Who are you” he says. As Merielle flirts with him and Gath and Thag ask questions, it’s revealed his name is Alfred, and he’s in charge of the fighters for the arena and it’s preparation. As Sam fails to bluff Alfred into revealing where their friends are, he throws a powerful punch that sending Alfred unconscious to the floor.
Gath then puts on Alfred’s clothes, and he is left bound and gagged on the floor.
The group moves out and back down the hall to where the guards are on patrol.
Gath disguised as Alfred and yelling about intruders, lures the first batch of guards back to the office. The rest of the group pounces on them. One of the guards yells for backup.
As the group dispatches of the guards, Gath convinces the other guards it was a false alarm, and to return to their posts.

Once the fight is resolved, the group moves down the hall to find a room with two unconscious dragonborn, and an unconscious Nym, Thalie, and Kalpa. Not knowing what is wrong with their friends, whether it’s magic or a portion or something, the group decides that Merille, Thag, and Sam will play unconscious on the floor with the others while Gath gets the remaining guards back in here to awaken the others “for questioning.” Gath returns with the two guards and points to Kalpa saying “Revive him! I need to question him.”
The guards begin repeatedly keeping Kalpa until he awakens. Gath, panicing and realizing the ruse is up, yells at his friend to do something. The group subdues the guards and awakens their friends.

As most of the party moves back toward a side exit they had found to escape, Kalpa decides to leave a note for the dragonborn. It tells them the exit is the door on the opposite wall of the room. He kicks them until the start to come to, then runs for the party.

As the party heads into the orchard, a crowd starts gathering outside around the balcony at the front of the palace, where there are two angry dragonborn yelling “WHERE ARE WE!”

For their efforts the party members earn 250xp.

Session 16: July 14, 2012
"Some monkeys don't poop in the sky."

The party is still in the Feywild. It appears to be some sort of organic suspended platform woven of trees. Alanna has sent some of the eladrin guards to gather supplies. Stone proselytizes Gathalicism.

The group explores its surroundings and notices series of paintings on two walls. The first series of paintings is full of abstract images that sort of look like the members of the party. The party recognizes Merielle, Thag, Thalie, Gathalimay, Nyym, and Kalpa. Stone doesn’t appear in the paintings, but Sam does. Alanna explains that the paintings are of the heroes who are prophesied to save the world. The party realizes that it must resurrect Sam if it hopes to succeed.

When the party questions who is in the other series of paintings Alanna begins to tell a story.

During the dawn war the gods were against the elementals. Someone destroyed the living gate. Once destroyed, dark things could come through the gate. One of these things was Cthulu. Cthulu defiled the world and gains power, eventually becoming a god. The other elementals and gods tried to plug the hole and stop the dark things, but they were unable to do so. They did manage to trap Cthulu in a box. The box is the litch, and Cthulu managed to make a phylactery out of a piece of Lucy which enables him to exert his will over her.

Alanna also explains that Adar is one of the only places thus far ravaged by the defiling wizards. When the mortal races saw that the life was being depleted out of Adar they organized a sea blockade – thus the rest of the world is still relatively normal with Adar like a scar.

Alanna then continues and tells the story of two wizards, Kelbin and Elminster. Kelbin and Elminster came down to Saharabellum many years ago in search of Cthulu’s box. They fought, depleting the earth, water and all life around Saharabellum in their fight. Only 5 survivors remain today, and they all have some sort of shared vision. The five survivors depicted in the paintings are Alanna, Surrat, Lucius, Hamako (a goliath cleric currently in Imtari who can resurrect Sam), and Malish, the right hand to a defiler wizard in Luhar.

Alanna reiterates that 4 of the 5 survivors are dedicated to preventing Cthulu from coming into power, and still desire to close the gate. Malish, on the other hand, would love to allow more dark things into the universe and will work against the other four to make it happen. More worrisome is that as long as the party is with any one of the survivors, Malish also has a vision of where they are.

Finally, Alanna mentions that in order to close the gate, someone will have to retrieve the phylactery from Cthulu’s litch – it will require 4 keys. She mentions the name of 5 ancient places: Qram, Jaanar, Rouman, Sharqor and Uutkleza noting that the keys and the box are supposedly in these places, but she does not know which is where. The party doesn’t reveal that it has already found the first key in Qram.

Xantir and Hiney Ho return with the rations and supplies. The party strategizes where to go and decides that visiting Hamako in Imtari to resurrect Sam is the first priority. The eladrin are able to help the group exit the Feywild approximately a day’s journey from Imtari, saving them a long walk across the desert. The party thanks the eladrin for their hospitality and returns to the desert.

The party begins the 30 mile trek to the west to Imtari. After a short while the kanks become skittish. Kalpa, Gathalimay and Thalie are thrown off their kanks and are rescued by Thag, Nyym and Stone. Meanwhile Merielle spies an armor plated cat – a tembo. Everyone despises tembos who are ruthless. The party fights for its lives and eventually manages to slay the tembo. Thag skins the cat, and Kalpa takes its claws and teeth.

Exhausted, the group sets up camp and tries to rest and recover before finishing the journey to Imtari.

The next morning the party completes the journey – only three hours to the walled city. At the south side of the city, after trading the tembo hide and paying a 40gp entrance tax, the group is in Imtari. They enter in the commerce district, where there are small gardens. The streets are full of caravans. Nyym pays a beggar for directions and his silence and learns that the temple where Hamako practices is on the west side of the city, in the poorer districts. The party finds an inn where it can leave the mounts and equipment and heads out to find the temple.

After a short walk the group finds the temple in a run down part of town. As they enter Thag wonders what religion is practiced here; the temple welcomes all religions. The altar man alerts Hamako that his visitors have arrived (Hamako is expecting the group). Merielle gives Hamako Sam’s toe. Hamako asks for 24 hours to complete the ritual. Thalie wants to stay and learn from him, and Kalpa and Stone remain as well.

Gathalimay, Nyym, Merielle and Thag go back to the inn and spend the evening pursuing various activities.

Twenty-four hours later, Sam is resurrected. Thalie and Kalpa fill him in on what has happened since his death and introduce him to Stone. They all journey back to the inn. Thag gives Sam his possessions and walks off without comment. It is understood that resurrection is against his beliefs and worship of the Raven Queen. Merielle hugs Sam and Gathalimay pokes him with an odd curiosity – apparently he hasn’t seen anyone resurrected before. The party introduces Nyym to Sam.

Stone announces that he is so impressed with Hamako and his work that he has decided to stay in Imtari. He presents the Book of Gathalimay to Gathalimay with great flourish and wishes the party well before departing.

For its efforts the party earns 300xp, with 10% bonus for gold coins

Between Session 15 and 16
A trip to the Feywild

From Thag:

Friends I ask you to listen. I have a confession and request.

I have strayed from beliefs that I hold sacred. Pulling the sled due to unforeseen circumstances has given me time to ponder. To remedy my failure I have taken the head of Sam and removed all flesh from around and within and ground his skull to dust. This dust will be a reminder of who he was. His soul thread has been plucked by the Raven Queen and I dare not take what is rightfully hers.

In our time we have gone through birthing pains. It is time for us to grow or die.

Stone, welcome to our group. I hope you find what you seek under the tutelage of Gathalimay. He has been a fine minstrel during our time together. I’m sure you will pick up the slack where Sam left off. Please speak to Gathalimay about him and include his memory in your tome of Gathalimay.

Kalpa and Merile you do not work well together or with others it seems. Perhaps it is time to think of others rather than pursuing your ideals or lack thereof on a whim. Your goals may be achieved without so much effort to contradict everyone elses.

Gathalimay, do not let others push you in directions you do not want to go, but stay fluid and listen.

Thalie, Sam was a fine warrior, but he is gone and it seems we have far more at stake at the moment. His memory will service others greatly rather than bring him back as an abomination.

Nyym, you lack confidence. Our last battle is proof that you are greater than your expectations for yourself. In a desert with two suns it can be hard to find shadow, but you must dig deep for your strength.

It seems that we have all been brought together for a purpose. We were brought together by our aimlessness and this was to the advantage of those that used us to do their bidding. A defiler wizard has been wrought by our own doing. Sally came to us as a child and now is something far more terrible. We must destroy the beast she has become and at what full cost has yet to be determined.

Much of our time is spent squabbling and undercutting one another. This must end. We are greatter warriors than this and this continued behaviour does little to help us let alone the others we are attempting to prevent from undeath.

If we can not work as one, I will send my soul to the Raven Queen to service her in her realm.

From Merielle:

It’s been many years since I’ve had my own family, and you all have filled that void for me. However, seeing my own kind has reminded me that I may still have kindred in the world, so it seems it is time for me to continue my own quest to rediscover my homeland, Tashalatora. Travelling with, and fighting next to, you all has been a new and enlightening experience, however, I have always been better on my own. I knew eventually I would leave you, and now that I realize the burden I have become, I know the time os right. I regret that my solitary ways have caused you all grief, as that was never my intention.

Please give my kank to Nymm, so he does not have to share Gathalimay’s, and end up baptized.

Farewell my friends,

As Merielle turns to leave, a scout appears and announces,“Lucius was true to his word and has managed to rally his supporters and slay Talat. That threat to the vessel has been eliminated, but it won’t be long until shard slayers begin converging on Dyalya like locusts. Talat’s crystaline templar’s will fall quickly without his patronage.”

To this news, Hyneho responds," And from Dyalya the instinct for auto-genocide will eventually put those locusts on the trail of the vessel. The signs come faster than Alhanna’s visions made it seem." As he turns back to face the party, Hyneho speaks to the one you know as Randolf Scott,"You see Zantir? The mind of your matron may be more intact than you would believe. And these must be the ones that she has foreseen. The minotaur that would be the voice of reason from the form of a beast. The pathfinder who has led them to their true path. The guardian is of the same people as the vessel for the first time since the dawn war ended. Even you, the most skeptical among us, have to agree that this is all more than coincidence.

At this point, Hyneho addresses the party. “Come. We will take you to our refuge between the winds to get you fresh mounts and supplies to get you on your way. While we are gathering supplies, Alhanna can tell you what she has seen of the times that may come to pass.” Hyneho addresses Merielle directly, “How long has it been since you have seen the world of your origin?”

Thag asks, “Randolf, what is this prophecy of which you speak?”

Merielle says, “I have not spent much time in the Feywild.”

A twinkle comes to Hyneho eye as he hears the news that Merielle is basically unfamiliar with the feywild. He begins telling stories about how wonderous life is there.

Zantir rolls his eyes and turns to Thagrosh. “I think my little name joke at your expense is over given Hyneho’s loose lips, but thank you for humoring me. As you can well see, fairy tales are probably best left to him to tell, but I’ll tell you the tale that we were all raised hearing.”

“I’m sure you are all familiar with the destruction of the living gate and how that lead to defiling magic entering the world in the hands of a genuine monster named Cthulu. That beast ravaged the feywild using the life force there to power his war on everything living. He would lay waste to villages; killing everyone around, then turn to draining the essence from the feywild itself to raise the slain to undeath. When he made the move to turn the same attention to your world the gods and spirits put aside their petty war to stop him. Mind that neither did a damned thing to stop him cutting a swath across the feywild.

“Anyway, after he was finally stopped, wizards of the mortal races set about finishing what he started in Adar. It’s really them and their struggle for power that reduced Adar to the waste it is. Though it took them nearly three hundred years. Three centuries after Cthulu first entered the world, two of defiling’s most vicious disciples uncovered a means to tie the life force of others to their own. That is to say, if the wizard died, anyone that they had performed this ritual on would also die. This was the ultimate means to build armies of slaves that could not rise up against their master without also killing thousands of other and themselves in the process.

“These two wizards, Kelbin Blackstaff and Elminster, gathered vast armies and converged on the island where Cthulu’s prison was located. Kelbin was the first to arrive and the last true religious order in your world was completely destroyed for trying to keep him from freeing Cthulu. Before Kelbin could enter the razed citadel, Elminster arrived with his own intentions of freeing Cthulu from his prison. Both fools probably had delusions of being rewarded for helping elevate Cthulu to the divinity that he sought.

“The greatest and really last wizard battle in history took place that day. Both wizards wrung the life from their slave armies trying to best each other, then they turned to the island, and eventually the lake around. The battle ended in a meteor storm. Some say that one of the wizards called it down and ended up killing himself as well as his rival. Another story is that the storm was called down by the spirits of the clerics and paladins of the old gods that died there that day.

“In any case, this is where the story you asked about starts. It turns out there were five survivors from the order of the old gods. Those that are prone to such thoughts, Hyneho for one, argue that this is proof that the gods have not completely abandoned their claims on this world.

“The five survivors that day were a dwarf named Surrat, a human named Lucius, Hamako the goliath, the half-orc Malish, and… the patron of our clan my great-great-great-grandmother Alhanna. It would appear that death itself has no hold on these five survivors. That much I agree with as Alhanna is two hundred sixty three years old which is well beyond the life span of even fey races. The other four are of much shorter lived races and they are very much still alive.

As you walk and Zantir tells his tale, the heat of the day seems to fade away under a cool breeze. At the sensation, you all look around and would swear that you were walking toward a mirage; a forest looms as though painted on a wisp of fog. The fog seems to solidify and expand as you realize you must be ‘crossing between the winds’ and into the feywild. Trees a hundred feet tall and nearly as wide have suspended walkways running between them and connecting a vast city built in the branches. Three of the trees have had branches woven together to form a platform and grand building.

Zantir welcomes you to Odyssa and explains that you are the first outsiders here in two generations which for eladrin is about 120 years. As you look around, there don’t seem to be as many people as there should be for as many dwellings as there are. Hyneho interjects himself again and explains that most of the clan is away from the city a great deal of the time; patrolling parts of the feywild that have previously been breached by defilers to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

You’re lead up into the canopy and through the city to the central building where you’re introduced to Alhanna who doesn’t look any older than Merielle. Niceties ensue where you are offered food and wine. Eventually, Alhanna gets around to picking up the story where Zantir left off.

“The five of us awoke from a shared dream where we saw a being throw down and destroy Cthulu and then restore the living gate allowing the gods to return to the world. This being was revealed to actually be 7 people; the shield arm was a shardmind, the other hand that held a knife was a human, the level head from which came the voice of reason for the other was a minotaur, the legs and feet on the path laid before them was an eladrin, the heart that would beat twice was human, the spirit an elf, and the face was half-elf.

“In this dream this being that was made of seven distinct parts brought a crystal vessel forth to stain of Cthulu and tempted him to act again in the world. The crystal vessel acted as a lodestone and lead the way to Chulu. The hero in our dream was able to turn the vessel and leave Cthulu weakened enough to strike him down for the good of all.

“The vessel was restored with the heart of Cthulu to once again be the keystone of the living gate beginning the restoration that will finally fully block defiling from the world.

Session 15: June 16, 2012

The party begins to descend down the southern edge of the island. The zombies follow climbing down the mountain in pursuit.

The party spends the next 2 days riding to the wall of the lake. Near the edge is an oasis. Beyond the oasis seems to be some kind of natural docking for ships, long in ruin and an archway leads up. There is a small pond, and some trees and reeds are here. So too are skeletons, bones that look gnawed upon.

Stone takes a dip in the pond, while Kalpa, Nyym, Thag and Merielle climb up the ramp to the archway, approximately 80 feet in the air. All they can see in any direction is desert, hard packed dry earth. Thag sees the scant remains of a village, where walls have eroded away over time. Kalpa wants to stay here near the arch, with a defensible position against the zombies. The remainder of the party wants to rest for a short while and then continue on the journey. Other than Kalpa, no one wants to remain to fight the zombies.

The party agrees to make camp at the top of the ramp. Kalpa takes first watch, and Merielle trances and then plans to take second.

While the party sleeps, Kalpa tells Johnson to take the caravan and leave, and threatens to kill him if he doesn’t. Johnson seems to believe Kalpa, so he hurriedly leaves the party’s possessions and disappears with the kanks.

About 3 hours pass, and it is pitch black out. Suddenly Kalpa notices movement at the bottom of the bridge. He wakes Merielle who alerts the party. As the objects come closer they appear to be scorpions – 5 smaller ones the size of a large dog and 1 really large one. Kalpa and Merielle are arguing.

Gathalimay pushes several scorpions off the wall and they die in the fall. One grabs Stone and holds him. The big scorpion teleports up, tries to sting Stone and then teleports to a column nearby. Nyym manages to kill the scorpion holding Stone in the next. Merielle builds a bridge of roots to one of the columns and Thag rushes the scorpion there, pushing him to his death. Thag throws his great axe at the final scorpion and takes it out.

In the aftermath the party realizes that Johnson and the kanks are missing. They turn to Kalpa who argues that he was sleeping and that he thought the first watch was Merielle’s. The party refuses to believe Kalpa and they all argue further. Ultimately, the group decides that Kalpa should not continue with them.

Thag retrieves one of the scorpion carcasses which the group uses as a sled to tow their belongings. Merielle and Nyym take off, following the kank tracks to try and overtake Johnson. The rest of the party (Thag, Stone, Thalie and Gathalimay) follow, with Thag pulling the scorpion sled.

Kalpa teleports to one of the columns and waits for the zombies.

After several hours of hard running, Merielle and Nyym can make out what appear to be kanks in the distance. As they get closer, some of the kanks appear to be on their sides, and some are split open. Nyym is worried about Johnson who is nowhere in sight. Merielle starts to thinks he sees people in her peripheral vision, but when she turns to look straight on they seem to disappear. Both approach cautiously. In another 100 yards, a small figure is lying on the ground in between the remains of the kanks. All told there are 5 dead kanks, and the figure turns out to be Johnson. The other 5 kanks are no where in sight. Now Nyym is starting to see figures in his peripheral vision. Both hear a voice, which Merielle can translate from eladrin, “Strange bedfellows indeed.” Tracks from the remaining kanks lead east.

Merielle and Nyym decided to hunker down and wait for the rest of the party. They pile the kank carcasses and hide in the shelter. Soon more people appear on the edges of the area, standing and watching.

Two hours pass and soon the party sees a mound in the distance. As they approach they realize it’s a pile of kank carcasses. And they begin seeing people in their peripheral vision. Stone buries Johnson and the group pitches the yurt to stay out of the sun and rest. Merielle trances in the doorway to the yurt.

Meanwhile, back at the archway, Kalpa begins to see the zombies approaching in the distance. They are moving in ones and twos. Suddenly figures appear out of nowhere and hack the zombies down. The bodies start piling up in this wave of destruction. Kalpa hears voices. “Could this be them? No there should be more.” “There is another, the defender is back in the desert.”

With the zombie horde destroyed, Kalpa moves to head in the direction back to Saharabellum. More people materialize out of thin air. They appear to be elves and they block his path. “What do you want? Who are you?” Most of them back off and one creature approaches, “You must be the defender. Where are the others?” “They left me.” “Why would they leave you?” “Poor judgement.” “This is unacceptable. Go catch up to them.” “Why?” “You are the defender, start walking.” The elves thwart Kalpa’s attempts to leave, and Kalpa resignedly starts walking, following the kank trails and the party.

Back at the yurt, Merielle hears a voice say (again in eladrin) “The defender is en route, keep these here.” She cannot see anyone outside the yurt. After another hour or two she wakes the party up and relays the messages she has heard.

The party begins to pack up supplies and starts to Imtari. Thalie begins hearing a conversation and can repeat enough of it that Merielle can translate “they are making preparations to leave.”

Gathalimay speaks, “Shadowy figures, why are you following us?”

Three figures step out of thin air, and appear to be Eladrin. Gathalimay speaks again, “We would like to know why you haven’t killed us yet?”

One replies, “we’ve been ordered not to kill you until our clan leader gets here, the great Hiney Ho.”

Gathalimay asks what happened to the kanks and Johnson. The Eladrin replies, “They are dead.”

Thag begins walking, and Merielle and Nyym follow. More figures appear out of thin air. One right in front of Thag says “Please don’t leave, we don’t want to kill you yet.” Thalie asks how long the party must wait?

One of the Eladrin remarks “Are you the ones to destroy Cthulu?” Merielle asks if this is a defiler wizard.

Stone steps in front of Merielle. “Do you challenge the power that stands in front of you?” He gestures to Gathalimay, “Perhaps I can show you a defiling wizard.”

The Eladrin turns to the one next to him and says “These can’t be the ones.”

Gathalimay says, “Zombies?”

The Eladrin responds, “No zombies. We destroyed them.”

Faced with going nowhere fast, Nyym naps. Thalie sits and waits. Thag continues to walk away. Eight Eladrin go after Thag, and Merielle runs after him too to try and get him to stop. Three Eladrin hit him, and Thag tries to use his great cleave. Merielle steps in front of him and announces that the party will eat breakfast.

A couple of hours pass. Kalpa wanders out of the desert and approaches the party. A few other Eladrin approach. Stone walks out to Kalpa and yells, “I don’t think you are wanted here.”

The Eladrin talk amongst themselves. “Is the vessel with them?” “No she’s not here.” “Do they have the key?” “We don’t know.” “Go get that idiot and bring him here.”

The Eladrin bring both Stone and Kalpa over to the group.

One, who appears to be the leader Hiney Ho says, “Are you sure? This can’t be them? I was expecting more. Strange.” Hiney Ho turns to Stone and says “Where is the vessel?”

Stone replies, “What vessel.”

Hiney Ho points to Kalpa, “A little dude. Like him.”

Hiney Ho goes on, “She has to be destroyed, can’t let that evil back in the world. She is a vessel for evil. Are you familiar with the story of Cthulu? The girl they call Lucy is a vessel for his consciousness.”

Merielle interjects, “but what does this have to do with us?”

Hiney Ho goes on, “Phylactery is the remains of the living gate. The rest of the keystone was supposed to travel to Saharabellum. Cthulu, through his vessel Lucy, was supposed to get the keystone at Saharabellum. She is attempting to regain phylactery so he can be reborn. The people who delivered her would be the ones who would kill her and destroy him. Are you this group and will you be destroying this evil?”

The party ponders in silence for a few moments. The party explains that they wish to go to Imtari to resurrect Sam after which they might be interested in looking for Lucy. The Eladrin agree to give the party kanks and supplies to travel to Imtari.

Gathalimay asks Hiney Ho about the key. Hiney Ho replies, “The key? It’s a blue metal tube with caps on it. When the spirits rebelled against the defiler wizards, Cthulu was locked away in a magic chest. There are 4 keys, one for each element. These keys cannot be destroyed as this would weaken the chest, but the keys must be kept from Cthulu at all costs. If you can do that you may proceed.”

For its efforts, the party earns 350xp a piece with those with gold coins earning a 10% bonus.


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