Silanya

Expedition 117 -- Useful Herbs and Worrying Words
Peregrin is fighting the Siltheart now?

Party:
Raevori, Wizard 6 (Raevori), log-writer.
Quincy, Fighter 6 (Battlemaster)
Silverleaf Moonshadow, Druid 6 (Moon)
Aythe, Bard 4 (Glamour)

Permanent Character Changes:
[This expedition had to end abruptly due to IRL reasons, so we used the ‘roll on the drop table to get home’ mechanic for the first time. It resulted in a trio of positive temp injuries]
Raevori’s darkvision is now 30’ longer (up from 70’ to 100’)
Aythe has +1 to Dexterity
Silverleaf Moonshadow has +3 HP (from dropping to the thunderbirds), and mayyyybe +1 Wis (DMs need to talk about it)

We’re heading to the Broken Forest to collect some herbs to make Taelis not a baby. He cries a LOT (it turns out being haunted by eldritch horrors from beyond the veil of reality is extra rough when you are 1 year old), so this will be an improvement. While there, we’re also going to talk to the Cavers about the events of Expedition 112, where Sovan spoke Druidic to them and they got REAL pissed.

Day 1:
Aythe rocking my Black Velvet Glove of Stealth today, and sort of pulling it off. Quincy has his usual walking magic arsenal. I load up my sweet sweet javelin and our trio is off. We head into the rainy plains (Quincy smells a bunch of wolves running away from us, it’s so cool to be rolling with him again) and get to the portal in 4.13. Silverleaf Moonshadow is waiting by the portal in the plains, somewhat obviously, after a few days of diplomasizing the Wardens after the end Expedition 115 last week. I’m not relieved to see her, because of course she’d be fine. We head down into 5.13 and pop through into 7.16. Damn these things are convenient. I hope the n00bs appreciate them.

The Broken Forest was pleasantly chilly (ever so slightly below optimal), and the skies are clear. When we pop out of the portal, we notice two things. First, the barren patches between mesas have been filled in with new riotous growth between mesas, sort of like the Harvest Mother caused a bunch of growth or something (see expedition 112) … along the petrified forest was completely unchanged. The second thing we notice is a bunch of two headed giant goats that are headbutting into things and goating around. There’s a small crumpled body of a Caver under one of them. I suggest we go check it out, since we are going to talk to the Cavers later today anyways. Most of the head of the Caver is gone. It’s just a low-ranking Caver. Near where it was knocked over we retrieve a small pouch with 80 gp of ore that it was burying before it died. I also miraculously find its hat (green hat, yellow feather, very low rank).

We start heading to the temple mesa (where there is a patch of special plants that can be brewed into a Potion of Greater Restoration that we will use to make Taelis not a baby anymore). Along the way we meet a red-hat Caver guiding 3 blue-hat cavers. The red one is characteristically twitchy. “Hat on the ground! Hat on the ground step back! Don’t make this something it doesn’t have to be!” We give it the hat and they pick it up reverently and carefully stow it. The red hat sasses Silverleaf Moonshadow in Druidic about something. Silverleaf Moonshadow is characteristically unruffled.

When we get to the temple mesa, there are strains of beautiful flowers all over the stone of the temple. We carefully head into the tunnels under the mesa (where the plants are located) and Silverleaf Moonshadow and Aythe’s grossly cute familiar Liebling hears a grinding rock sound up ahead. I think the marks on the tunnels indicate that many things were grinding / tunneling through it. We proceed stealthily. We creep like ghosts, but the ground erupts under our feet anyways (thanks, tremorsense) and we are assailed by a quartet of huge spiked stone snakes (presumably the ones that were tunneling).

Combat starts. One snake wraps around me, digging into me with spikes. Quincy blocks an envelopment. Silverleaf Moonshadow dodges. Aythe’s Sanctuary field fails and she is also enveloped. The two snakes that missed sunk back into the rock with a grinding noise. Quincy springs into action attacking the one constricting Aythe, deftly avoiding the snake’s defensive spikes by keeping a 10’ distance initially, then closing with his hammer to attempt to push the snake back. Silverleaf Moonshadow turns into an acidic snake and strikes the one constricting Aythe. Yeah. I’m fine. Just wrapped in a giant snake over here. I’ll take care of myself.

The snake around me fails to penetrate my Shield, and the one around Aythe can’t penetrate her Sanctuary this turn and lashes out at Quincy. I Misty Step to safety, and cast Haste…which is actually an invisibility spell. Freakin’ Jumble. Quincy pounds the snake wrapping Aythe into dust. Combat continues. Silverleaf Moonshadow as a snake is enwrapped by one of the other snakes, coiled around and around eachother. I wait until a second snake pops up, and land a sick trick shot, nailing both snakes and arcing away from Snake-Silverleaf Moonshadow. This seems to drive them off. The remaining three snakes all leave. Investigating the remains of the snake we destroyed, we find that the parts that were acid-hit by Silverleaf Moonshadow’s acid snake form were starting to crystallize. If we had more acid, we could maybe scavenge an elemental heart from them. (NOTE TO SELF: CARRY ACID IN BROKEN FOREST).

We hole up, bind up our injuries, drink a potion or two, and get a light healing massage from Aythe, then we proceed to the plant patch. It has also been influenced by the rapid growth, so there is extra herbs but also a lot of weeds. We stay here overnight to allow us to do a TON of weeding.

Day 2:
Silverleaf Moonshadow is getting spooky good at tending to this patch, and even though we were expecting to only get 600 gp of herbs, we get 1300 gp. I determine that this was an intentionally created space at some point, which explains why there’s an elemental magic conduit to help the plants grow here. There are also runes, many faded, to make it hard for things to find this place.

We head through the tunnels toward the mesa of the Siltheart in 8.17 from the temple mesa in 7.16. We meet a mole-folk (terramole) in the tunnel (they have little black wings). After we do the welcome whistle, I start prestidigitating it to clean it up. It hops around happily and attracts a bunch of its buddies, who form an orderly queue. I do a pretty good job cleaning the group. They are…adorbable [sic]. They bring us back a tidy pile of emeralds for our efforts. Total value, 750gp. The terramoles and us are both incredibly pleased by this bargain (since prestidigitation is free for us and emeralds are free for them). (The Siltheart calls shiny rocks carbuncles, useless excretions of living earth, Beth has mentioned to me.)

After this, the mole-folk draw a symbol of a hat, and a frowny face, and a stick figure that’s sneaking very carefully. The mole-folk put to us, and then the figure. We think they are telling us to be careful.

We head through the underground cathedral of stupid animal chalices that make people stupid. See Expedition 99 for how terrible this room is. We keep going.

We carry out through further tunnels uneventfully and get to a room with decrepit signs of “The Most Important Safety Concerns Are” and people falling. This room has a perpetual updraft and the last party could jump over the gap to get across. We tie ropes and ‘hop’ across the 100’ gap. I sail across, doing a few barrel rolls. This was fun. Aythe was respectably maneuverable, with Silverleaf Moonshadow’s help. Quincy is deft and disciplined as always, and Silverleaf Moonshadow is great at it (unsurprisingly).

Once we make it across, a deep voice says “Hmm. That was well done.” A thin weretiger, speaking Gnomish and wearing robes (a monk like *%$#ing Eadgil?). Silverleaf Moonshadow greets him. “I’m going the other way.” He leaves and heads the other way. He wasn’t carrying anything magical.

We finally get to the path up to the top of Siltheart, and we also hear low quiet singing outside. Silverleaf Moonshadow things that these aren’t the pan-types, which often attack people trying to speak with the Siltheart, but instead are some different kind of music. Curious. We’ll talk to Rubble first. We emerge into the mesa in the top left of 8.17 which is the home of the Siltheart. Rubble is taking a ball of worked earth to play very skillful and aggressive racquetball with the wall of the place.

“Thank you for coming. Is Beth with you?” Unfortunately no, she’s busy in town. “Well, I hope to talk to her one of these days.” Silverleaf Moonshadow gives him the 7 books that were in the languages that he speaks (280gp, paid by Silverleaf Moonshadow). We spend the day+night here to keep Rubble company.

I challenge him to racquetball. He makes me an ok paddle. It quickly escalates from a normal game of racquetball to me flying and Misty Stepping and him jumping up on earth pillars. I just barely edge him out He gives me an earthcrown that is fancy and has advantage on athletics checks to play sports. Liebling spends the evening trying to imitate Quincy and does a terrible job but Quincy is a good sport. “I wish I had…more swords…to cut people…who try to take my women…or my gold…” (Liebling speaking).

Rubble clarifies that the Cavers are proud people, stiff people, but not bad people. Silverleaf Moonshadow (the only person in the party who can speak Gnomish) tells him about the fey outside, and he stops, reaches out, feels the fey outside, and says they are aggressive (but not pan), [I thought he said that they weren’t aggressive? – Shona] so be nice. They are gardeners. He asks again if Beth can visit. Silverleaf Moonshadow insightfully notices that he should have noticed the fey outside and that something is vaguely wrong, so Beth should visit SOON even though Rubble doesn’t say it’s obvious.
Day 3:
We head outside the mesa. There’s a lake that is nearly dug off the side of the mesa, with a waterfall pouring off the side of it, and a profusion of trees growing around it, and a collection of figures that seem like moving terra cotta statues with vines growing all over their heads. They are happy and say “New growth!” They are really beautiful and great and awesome and speak in elven and say “Won’t you tell me what’s in there? I don’t know…” and I start to answer but get hit by the glove of silence, so my long detailed explanation is lost to 10’ silence bubble. They separate Quincy (who is also charmed) from the bubble and start talking to Quincy. Silverleaf Moonshadow moves to intervene. “What are you doing here?” “We are tending! Much growth came. Gifts of the Harvest Mother.” “Has the

I wander off and down in an inlet by the lake we found some more restoration plants, about 800 gp worth. That’s freaking convenient. I start to harvest them.

Outside the silence bubble, the gardeners offer to swap the information of what’s in the mesa with Silverleaf Moonshadow for the restoration plants I am currently harvesting. Since I’m in the silence bubble (and charmed, but whatevs). Silverleaf Moonshadow finally tells them that the Siltheart is inside. They say “Oh. Found it.” They all turn and look at the sky. There is a flash of wings and the Peregrin (who we met on Expedition 108) lands, says “Thank you for finding it for me.” Then she blurs up in the sky and heads into the mesa. The charm effect lasts for 24 freaking hours. So…if they are fighting in there, we do not want to be there. Good luck Beth. In our defense, Rubble knew those gardeners were outside and didn’t tell us not to tell them anything about him.

We head to the Mesa of the College (in the middle of 8.17), and find that they’ve done remodeling on entrance ways because the old way is gone and the paths are all smooth, like fresh-sanded wood. We find a new way in. Along the way, there’s a pool with a quartet of beautiful iridescent hummingbirds (a few inches long each) drinking from flowers around the pool. Thinking that the hummingbirds might be magical crafting reagents of some kind, I try to magic missile one of them. It, amazingly, absorbs 12 points of force damage without dying. The quartet then vibrates, glows, and dashes off at incredible speed, throwing a wave of thunder damage at us with their passing. I dodge and take 25 thunder damage. Every else takes 50 thunder damage. Silverleaf Moonshadow and Aythe drop, and Quincy turns into a wolf. I get them back up with potions.

So, I was right that the birds would be very valuable crafting components. I was wrong that a single magic missile would do it. If the rest of the party had followed my lead, we probably would have dropped one and gotten something exceedingly valuable. We use a bunch of potions and press on.

We round a corner and a bunch of cavers shoot darts at us before being stopped by their leader. 12/15 of them fired. The leader gestures Silverleaf Moonshadow to come and us to stay. Well, it’s her funeral.

She goes and comes back and tells us we ain’t cool but will be once we kill a bunch of skeleton jerks.

I spoke with Aster. Cleansing their mine will regain their good will. A yellow-hat, Briar, was lost. Probably dead, not confirmed. Aster wants her found.
- Silverleaf Moonshadow

On her way out, SM also sees the red-hat wearing the sunglasses that JL gave him. The one next to him is wearing a crude replica pair.

Between the ominous news from the Cavers, the fact that there was an ongoing rumbling and shaking sound coming from the Siltheart, and the fact that we already had all the plants we needed to make Taelis not a baby, we decide to cut the expedition short and head home.

The trip is uneventful, apart from me getting smacked in the eyes with the hooves of a giant two-headed goat, Aythe getting impaled by the trident of a wandering moth-fey, and Silverleaf Moonshadow getting trambled by a passing mega-elephant. Amazingly, all three of those injuries healed well: my darkvision is now 100’ (up from 70’), Silverleaf Moonshadow’s wisdom seems to have improved…somehow…and Aythe’s Dexterity has increased (+1).

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Expedition 115 - Cats, the Musical
Dancing, Laughter and Confusion

We depart on a nice day. Sil makes Rae and Regis to make a jungle promise to not use their access to the Oubliette [/ also Eastern base? since that’s apparently where we were going to meet them] to fuck with the wardens [or use anything they learn this visit to fuck with the wardens in future, or give that intel to anyone else]. Night won’t do that in the jungle but does it in a zone of truth so that’s cool [she doesn’t actually have to do the ZOT either because Bugle personally vouches for her]. We pass the melty ruins

Outside the portal there is a small camp with dried meat hanging around, Fionn is sitting by the fire and has been instructed by the weretigers to duel any warden who wants to cross the bridge. Linna circumvents this by sneaking across the bridge and the rest pass without incident.

We continue along and apparently someone stole one of my daggers at one point. As we continue on, the castle in the sky sneaks up on us and shoots a lightning bolt directly at Linna and chains out for 47 damage to everyone. Regis and Sil drop and try out the cool new injury table.

Linna starts off and brings Rae back up, goes invisible, then moves away. Night opens wings and casts darkness, noticing that there is someone in the sphere of darkness. Rae casts haste, which triggers a magic missile (quirk) which blows the head off of a monkey. Rae feels something casting and counterspells it. A skinny green cloud giant appears, tries to counter Rae’s counter and gets countered again. It shares some intel about our magical support and flies up. Another lightning bolt shoots at Linna, but she dodges it. She then activates her bra and shoots the floating giant for 40 damage.

Sil summons some giant vultures who maul the giant in the sky. Night flies up to the giant, gives him a sky kick and flies away to give vision. Rae magic missiles him, he teleports, knits some of his wounds, then turns invisible. Another lightning bolt shoots at Linna and she dodges it with resolve. She then drops her gun and grabs her longbow and preps a shot for when she has guidance on where to shoot.

Sil sniffs at the air and smells the dude. Linna shoots at where the bear points and the arrow whizzes through the air. The vultures, on the other hand, swarm the area and finish off the invisible casshole. Rae, without regard for ligntning bolts from the sky, walks up to the corpse and starts rifling through the dude’s pockets. She finds a bag of star metal, magic armour, magic bracers, and a magic staff. Linna’s knife is also there and hooked up to his goggles somehow.

We strip off his accoutrement and sneak off, sending the vultures in the opposite direction. The vultures are then destroyed by a huge blast of cold.

We take a short rest and heal up. After the rest, Opal (a flowing one monk) appears, gives me the requisite dirty look and tells us that the cloud giants are fighting up top. Opal asks Night aboutsome sort of invitation to visit, and checks out Raevori’s whole setup.

We take a long rest, and on the second watch Regis sees a figure in plate mail sneaking up. Regis tries to wake Linna up but it does not work. Out of the dark jumps a dfigure who cries out “BATTLE !” as Uthgar jumps out of the darkness and attacks Regis. He knocks out Regis in one hit then says “oh dear” as he sees Rae, Linna and Sil standing around. He then heals Regis for 20 health. He nicknames Regis “Butterman”. We long rest and meet back upwith Uthgar in the morning.

Uthgar briefs us on the cats. Apparently we have to kill the king of the cats, and notifies us that it likes the thrill of the chase. Apparently, a buffed up Night may be quick enough. We get to the gate and Uthgar gives us an introduction lacking all subtlety. Uthgar then scratches an arch and lets us into a high, snowy mountain range.

We make our way into the snowy area and as we continue mist begins to obscure our vision. We see small figures moving outside of our vision. We do not see any tracks from the figures. We approach a statue pointing to the sky, surrounded by piles of bones. We then hear a loud crack and mewing.

Around the corner is a tree branch over the egde of the cliff with a kittendangling from the edge. Linna saves it with mage hand and it tries to befriend her. Regis then makes a small laser pointer out of flame and plays with it. The kitten then licks him, leaves a mark on him, smiles, and disappears.

We then reach a large main coon style cat beside a bowl licking it’s paw. We present the cat with a treat that we put in bowl. The cat takes a taste but does not seem super impressed. Rae presents a silver shard, which the cat then eats. The cat then taps Rae and a pawprint appears on her face.

We reach a bridge and halfway across the bridge dropes everyone except Linna and Raevori (who gave the maine coon something). When Linna and Rae try to save others, the bridge opens up under them. We then fall into thick, goopy, icy mud. Wait. It wasn’t all mud. It was cat shit. Gross. Regis shapes the mud to make us a nicer platform to raft us over with. On the other end of the cespool are a large number of cats sarcastically egging us on. They are not there once we get to the other side.

We hear the sounds of scuffling and fighting up ahead. Underneath a tree is a young wererat in an Ebon Bank uniform being beaten up by cats. Rae tells them to chase soming
more interesting and blurs into the cats. Cats see and run in. One hisses. Ray Cha save fail. Feels crappy (under bane effect). Other 3 pile on Rae and miss her. Rae goes to feed a potion to the wererat. but it turns out that it was an illusiones spiky doll that deals 16 poison damage to Rae.

We continue through the mists and Sil notices that we aren’t making any progress. Rae makes an investigation check and finds that we are being led in circles with the land moving around us. Rae guides Sil through and the cats just start messing with us by egregiously moving the terrain around. They then mock us with statues until the get bored.

We reach the bottom of a plateau and Linna almost falls off a cliff, but manages to make a DEX save to not do so. We walk up a staircase to the plateau and reach a plynth with a chess set and a white kitten. Linna sits down and with some heavy help from Rae manages to draw the cat, even though the kitten cheated a lot. The cat gives Linna the white king and she gets a mark on her forehead.

We are greeted by Grimalkin von Uberwald the 4th, a misty voice coming from a king’s statue. Night speaks to it and tells them about our baby problem. The cat tells us that we have done alright in being judged, and askes Regis what is in his barrel.

The cat offers us a game—we have 10 minutes to find him in the palace and admit that we have caught him. We immediately longstrider some members and split into two groups. We enter the castle and go into dark corridors. (The next part of the log will be higghlights because it will be too confusing otherwise)

Regis and Sil:
See a cat the size of a small pony. Sil fails a WIS save and gets confused. The cat departs the room. Sil runs into the back of the room and dodges a small pit. Sil presses against a wall and finds a secret door, continuing to the other side.

Regis tries to follow Sil but can’t physically find the secret door (rolled a 0). Sil uses dispel magic on herself and opensthe secret door to let Regis through. Sil summons giant weasels and they guide her towards a peephole. On the other side is a room full of many cats in a literal harem. There is one leader cat that noticed something near the peephole and Regis takes a small amount of psychic damage.

Sil and Regis enter the room and talk to the leader cat who tries to send them to the throne room erroneously. Sil calls the cat out on the lie then immediately starts dancing. The leader cat dissipates into the king, goes invisible, then leaves the room. Regis tries to stop it with a wall but it does not get trapped.

Sil attempts to stop dancing, and Regis leaves her behind. Finds the whole kerfuffle in front of the throne room.

Team 2:
We all go invisible and start sneaking through the halls. We go through a room full of mummies with a picture of a regal striped cat. One of themummies is a cat underneath an illusion. We retreat out and head down the centre.

We find a staircase leading to a large chamber. Night crosses a body of water and checks out a room, which turns out to be the throne room. Night sees a small cat in the corner of the room. The cat attacks Night, who then gives it a treat, and tries to trick Night into hiding under the throne.

Outside, an invisible cat chuckles and runs by Rae and Linna. Rae casts web and Linna misses a swing with her whelmblade. Rae falls to the ground in laughter and Linna is hit with psychic damage. It then lands in the throne room beside Night. It gives Night a swat. Linna takes a good swing and falls in the water, and begins to float away.

groups together
Linna swims out of the river toward the throne room. Regis jumps as far as he can and ends up in the river. Night goes into the throne room and sees a corridor at the far end, but gets scared and runs out of the room by magic. Linna sprints in like a maniac and the chess king in her pocket begins to vibrate. The king appears in front of her in the throne. Linna misses with her whelmblade and it is unable to go invisible again.

Sil and Regis enter the room and the cat gives an aoe claw attack. Sil can no longer see the cat after she is hit. Night runs into the room and smacks it directly through a shield,, but is unable to stun it. The cat then tries to confuse everyone in the room and only gets Linna. It runs away and Linna crits it with an aoo. She tries to track it with the whelmblade but loses the opposed INT check, and is unable to hide from the cat.

The cat climbs up the wall and onto the chandelier. Sil summons large vultures and Linna shoots the cat with her gun. Night gives it a hit and a trickle of blood comes down from it’s eye. It psychic shrieks and batters everyone in the room except Linna who manages to only take 4 damage. The cat climbs across the wall and dodges a very good swing from Night. It then growls at the room and stuns everyone who fails the save. Regis falls unconscious and has a fractured leg that may benefit him in the future? (?)

Rae finally finishes laughing and sprints toward the throne room, misty stepping over the river. The cat on the wall leaps and jumps through the double door. Linna runs in the opposite direction because of her confusion. Rae enters the room and casts haste, busting afog cloud into the room. Rae then books it out after the cat. Sil heals up Night while Regis is bleeding out on the floor. Night flies out of the room halfway to the cat, healing itself up.

The cat, confidently makes Rae make an INT save, which she passes. Rae then shoots a lightning bolt at it and the cat completely dodges it. Rae then runs onto the bridge and punches the cat, which then shields the punch. The cat swings back and misses the hasted Rae.

Night flies in and misses the cat. The cat then jumps gracefully into the water and rides the waterfall down. Linna runs onto the bridge and notices there is no cat there. Rae dives off of the waterfall and scrapes herself on the way down. Rae then runs as fast as she can but can’t catch up to the cat, and gets stuck at a fork in the road.. Night catches up to Rae and picks a direction. Rae runs into a room with a sandy floor which turns out to be a litterbox. Rae sees a tiny white cat and pulls out a magic sack from an earlier expedition, and dives straight into the litter and captures the king cat.

Rae, Regis and Linna are given boons for showing kindness earlier. Rae and Linna get 10ft of slowfall per expedition and Regis cannot be attacked by felines unprovoked. Rae also gets something later and the chess piece is a useful item.

As we leave, Uthgar presents us with a whisker and reveals himself as a 9th life cat. He also reveals that the cat’s name was actually Morris which is hilarious.

We then head for the Eastern Warden base. Regis hears fighting but we ignore it. We take a long rest and make it to the base. The base inspects all of our stuff. -—this stuff to be added later———

Linna remains in the jungle for “promotion.” On the way back, Rae investigates the melted fortress and we ignore some stalkers having a fight.

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Expedition 114 - Murder Party
Also we chatted up a lich

Day is bright, sunny, crisp and cool. There was a blazing banner fortress in 5.12 (near 4.13) and the stone on the front appears to have melted. Beth checks it out—it looks like there was a mudslide, but the melted, muddy front is as hard as stone. The cobbles in the stone are even still there, but are all muddled and out of order. There are a couple of dead blazing banner in the stone. Their deaths look painful, but not everyone died. We loot the place for gold and a small necklace then head on.

We go through the portal and appear in the jungle. We see some tracks in the ground but ignore them. Around the garden, our vision begins to distort and everything goes black and white, dropping into an out of body experience. We are suddenly looking at the oubliette, which is surrounded by coils of black scales. The oubliette buckles under the weight of the coils. This is a travesty. An outrage. Bugle tells me to stop worrying. I move on without question. (Later we will learn that we now follow the modron chain of command. Beth>Martin>Bugle>Linna).As we continue, there is a depression in a rock face, but Beth tells us to keep moving. We make it to the next portal.

We pass through the frog jungle into the regeneration jungle, and there are large amounts of activity. We see a group of very injured tigers and Bugle and Linna take the most injured one down. Beth Bonfires it and Bugle skins the pelt. They are less valuable because they’re all tumory and gross, but we grab it anyway.

We hear an angry shrieking in unison from a large group of mystery creatures, then a huge green creature with extra offset heads and 6 arms and 3 legs. It looks like a troll whose regeneration went completely wrong.

The troll moves extremely quickly and thrashes around in the middle of us. Failed dex saves take 38 points of damage and passed saves take half. This troll is followed by a bunch of our tumorish human friends. It cleaves a tumor man but whatever, because they’ll just regenerate it. It then takes a huge swing at Beth and heals despite being on fire. MAster Bugle does heavy damage to it and I follow up with a flame arrow. Martin crushes the hardest hitting guiding bolt I’ve ever seen. Beth dodges and drops a mirror image, but is taken down by the troll anyway. Luckily, fearless leader Beth gets an epiphany where when if an attack would drop her while she has mirror image up, it will hit an incorrect image instead once. Bugle finishes it off. Beth and I apply fire to the wound and it goes down. (CR13 btw no big).

The tumor people are relieved that we survived. Apparently it killed some other soft ones (likely Cuprosians). The tumor men bring us to asafe resting place and Martin helps us heal up. The troll came the jungle and rampaged across the entire area. Bugle asks about the treasure (The rock god told Bugle about a treasure around here) and finds out that the area is perceived as more dangerous than even the troll that we just fought.

We make it to the next portal and appear in the small dragon lair. We make it to Cupros and find out that the massive troll came from underground here, as the Earth shifted and let it out. They have been sending us to come help them fix the tower. The conversations with Silesse have helped them make actual progress on their tower. They will need our help to repair the wizard’s tower, and invite us in for Master Bugle to give it a look over. In a side corridor near the tower, Bugle notices a Black Raven sign.

The tower is in bad shape and is visibly sparking. The Cuprosians guide us around wards up to the wizard tower. Inside there is constant activity and makeshift bunks, with a bunch of wizards working their ass off. Linna offers to bring the soothe stone next time we visit so that they can rest better. Martin uses enhance ability and helps Bugle inspect, but it proves fruitless.

Beth finds the hidden path to the bound creature. Bugle speaks in COMMON to share the information. They let us explore reluctantly. In the corner on a bare stone chair is a dejected humanoid surrounded by shimmering energy. Detect good and evil sees celestial neutral good.

Martin speaks to the humanoid and Beth commands him to cast protect good and evil on himself. The humanoid’s eyes fizzle and it attempts to communicate with us. We quickly begin to communicate in writing. It identifies itself as a lesser Deva. It tells us not to release them—it’s power sheltered them slightly from the corruption. There is a bit of them left. It tells us that there is something around like it that is the threat. It is an abberestial that would rather see Cupros destroyed than altered. The name of this good celestial is Xori.

The celestial that came here was one of the greatest denizens of law. Greater than a solar or a god. One is from ‘beyond,’ and one is from ‘without.’ The beyonder would hold the world together from it’s own folly, but only from the pure. The without would make itself other and all of us along with it. Together, they tie the world together preventing inroads and planar collapse. And there is another coming called by the beyonder, presumably to finish it’s work.

This person doesn’t know about Sil—sees them as more of a mortal that is trying to fix things in their own way. This tower is disconnected from the network. It’s power influences elsewhere. If we connected this place to the network, it would be very bad locally. We would have to be absent and those around will be exposed to the wrath.

The secret steel is from the far realm, but should not harm us. To be real nice chaps, Bugle performs a beautiful mass in celestial that he once heard before he killed a bishop. He offers to being some beautiful Sovan music to play when this tower is activated and inevitably destroys everything close to it.

We speak to the captain about how nice the guardian is and he is visibly upset and unccomfortable. He immediately switches the subject to Bugle’s whisperplate to stop the conversation. We take a long rest and move on. Bugle berates Martin for commanding him and Linna berates everyone for seeing the Oubliette in a vision.

Martin sees a young blue/green dragon nearby looking at us. and we attack it. Bugle shoots it and it deflects it by casting shield. The dragon then takes off and flies away as fast as it can. and Bugle and Linna shoot it. Bugle gets the last shot off and finishes it. Bugle gets a great extraction and we get a bunch of dragon stuffs.

We approach a large clearing, and it is pristine. There are well cut lawns, statues of copper dragons, and a large mansion. While the original plan was to sneak up and check it out, but the mansion looks like it should be inhabited by dragons and you couldn’t payme enough to do that.

Martin blind fires CLairvoyance – 9 – food is pristine in a big storehouse, much covered by dust except for same sections. No sound. 10’ area of warm light.

Light surrounds statue – You are not of Blood. Begone. (In Draconic.) The only way in is if one of the blood gives us an amulet. Bugle mumble-signs something about Sappheira and we evacuate.

We proceed with the mission objective. The forest is full of injured and unhappy creatures who don’t bother us. The portal hurts real good and deals 9 damage to us. We short rest and move into the fast plains. When we were in hex 20.16 we briefly found ourselves standing elsewhere where there is a patch of Earth and a vast expanse of nothing. Bugle shoots an arrow and falls slowly down into nothingness. Martin casts detect magic and there seems to be no magic. Linna tries to cast light and we learn that the light level cannot change.

Near us, a pair of eyes open and a large frog face appears in front of us. It pulls back into nothingness. We all attack it. Bugle crits it and nothing happens. It drops a fireball on us, which is no good. Bugle shoots 2 seeking arrows at it and the arrows stop and hang in midair. Linna crits and the arrow whistles by the hovering arrows. When the creature comes back the arrows hit it.

It reappears and casts another fireball. It looked a bit mended up. We prepare a barrage of attacks and Martin heals Bugle. Beth Earthen grasps it and we all fire at it. It throws out another fireball. Luckily it does not disappear again.Martin group heals and finishes it off with a spirit weapon. It leaves a shimmer behind it with other bodies. We collect weird eyes off of it and go through the shimmer—returning to the fast plains. After an arcana check, Bugle could probably teach us how to check for a trap like this in the future.

We reach a new hex, which is jungle. There is a giant pillar with formless, a frog creature like we just fought, and a couple winged creatures basking under it. Martin casts detect magic and sees the pillar as transmutation and conjuration. Beth and Linna approach to communicate and the formless. It is a procreoception and it is super laid back.

We are invited to take a short rest here. Bugle is too paranoid to come into the radius of the warmth of the pillar but the rest of us chill and talk to the formless. The speaker is in the mountains and is [unintelligable.] and audition. The speaker of procreoception is in the hills. Those who rested within the area of the pillar are sunburnt and have damage vulnerability 1 as a temp injury. Linna sheds her skin so that she is no longer sunburnt and eats the skin to heal.

We continue walking through jungle and run into. The jungle is odd and fleshy and Bugle climbs onto Martin’s shoulders. We see a bunch of becoming—7 formless and one seen. We talk to the seen and get permission to cross the fence, which is apparently been built to keep in abberations, so that’s cool. They travel in horrible, gross groups.

We cross the fence. Beth fails athletics and face plants over the fence. The seen walks up, picks Beth up, and places her upside down on the other side of the fence. Bugle follows that up with an incredible acrobatics check (24) and walks away, nose in the air. Linna, unseen by Bugle as he walks away, performs an even better flip over the fence (31). Finally, Martin walks around the fence because it is not yet completed.

As we continue, a huge, white, featureless abberation appears 60 ft away then suddenly appears beside us. We hit it with a barrage of attacks and it uses an AOE attack on us, prone-ing Bugle, Linna and Martin then attacking everyone who is prone. Bugle shoots it and it vanishes into a powder. An arcana check from Bugle and detect magic from Martin shows that it is similar to the banded , but there is no magic trail.

We take a short rest but while we rest we hear a shrieking sound and a large number of 2-legged mouths appear and start attacking us. Bugle psychic shrieks them and half disintegrate and half take no damage. They attack Beth and Martin, latching onto them. Linna jumps down from a tree and thunderclaps around Beth, killing one and nicking Beth. A bunch miss Linna because of shield. Martin casts spirit guardians andkills a bunch more, and a softly weeping abberation with 5 blades for arms comes out of the trees and locks glowing eyes with Martin, attacks and misses. When Beth approaches it, it uses a reaction and hits Beth hard., but Beth hits super hard back. Martin almost goes down and takes a temp injury that gives him exhaustion for the rest of the expedition. However, we finish everything off.

We get close enough to the destination that Beth has a perfect sense of where to go. As we approach, we feel a sensation of being close to a fulfillment. Bugle overcomes it and wants to slow down, but the rest of us want to go. Bugle slows us down and Martin notices that the area looks different—the tree is an illusion. We learn that we are on a large, empty flat, blasted plain that looks like the dangerous area of the grey hills. Above us is a horrible, tentacled, tendril-mouthed abberation.

It shrieks at us and blinks 60 ft closer to us. 6 walking mouths fall out of it and walk towards us. Linna hides in some trees behind us and casts flame arrow. Bugle uses seeking arrow and sees that it has not moved. and psychic shrieks it. Beth smokes the little guys with a shatter. Martin casts bless and nothing happens. The creature teleported Linna below it and grabbed her with a tentacle, and lifted her 5ft off the ground. Linna gets out then it drops 6 more small guys and disappears again. Bugle seeking arrows it then ducks behind a tree when his next arrow misses.

The creatures pile on Martin, hitting him hard, and Beth uses shale to kill the small creatures but also hurt Martin. It then teleports Bugle 15 ft into the air, to which he slowly floats to the ground. It doesn;t like that very much and lashes at him with tentacles and a tendril mouth. Linna shoots it but then it attacks Bugle again. Bugle squirms free and drops to the ground, then the creature disappears. Martin uses his belt, takes 2 levels of exhaustion and casts healing word on Bugle from max range.

Nothing happens for a couple turns then bugle teleports 200 ft away. It attacks Bugle, but he finishes it off with a big arrow.

We make it to the building. The materials used to make it are remarkably strong. It is old empire and there is a large doorway in front. Inside there is a huge spiral staircase going into the depths of the ground with various platforms along the way. It goes about a kilometer down. We back off to take a short rest nearby.

We hear a snuffling grumbling sound and Martin somehow pulls out the greatest, exhausting stealth check. A large amount of walking mouths and a large, hunched spiky creature with a long, stretchy skin arm. We rest and walk back to where we came from and take and make it to the guys building the fence. We collapse on the ground and literally pass out at their feet. Nothing happens overnight.

Battered and beaten, we head home and see someone unbearably beautiful walk up to us. It is a euphoric and Bugle hands over a long list about the grievances of the taking of Tabby’s staff. It disintegrates the letter and tells us to keep on moving. Martin offers it a lozenge, which the euphoric shoots 100ft away into the side of a tree. It asks for another one, which it shoots in the air, then loses interest. Beth has a nice conversation with the euphoric, who is trying to tell us something about far, fast and soon. It is happening tomorrow, which is not far away. It then teleports in front of us and slaps a frog creature out of it’s pocket dimension. Which is nice.

We make it to the fast plains and we make it all the way to the portal by the tower. It follows us and pokes the portal, telling us that it is not ready yet. It introduces itself as [unintelligable]. In front of us, a skeleton in a robs and staff appears in front of us.

“I am the voice. I am the speaker.” Bugle recognizes it as a lich. Bugle sits on his hands, upset that he can’t complete his dream job from his past life as an undead hunter.

“Because of my nature,I am able to have a different arrangement with the abberestial.”

Bugle asks it’s strongest spell it knows and it just responds with “wish.” Martin then casts calm emotions on Bugle and it calms down.

The lich states that it is here to make sure we get home. The portal is a bit broken right now. The lich has been ensuring that the portal works, and notifys us that the portals have been helping us out because they see us as a tool that they can use to meet their goals, and figure we’ll burn in fire when everything goes to hell. The lich is a tool as well.

What we did was very important for helping it out, but we will have to go underground to complete the journey. That creature will not come back.

The lich notifies us that there is a basic pattern to the list, letting us know which nodes to connect and which to sever. The list is actually 2 lists. The lich claps and we appear outside Cupros.

We continue home a fair way until 4.13 where we see a large amount of featureless abberations meandering around on the edge of the grey hills. They look like small versions of the white abberation we shot earlier. Bugle shoots them from 600ft but they run away.

We make it home.

View
Expedition 113 - Two Strange Houses
In which Tests are failed that others may be passed.

On time; all participants get +0.1 HP; factually complete, prose to be finalized


Participants:

  • Jean-Pierre du Vayrir de la Grand Contumace Saint-Emilion (Cleric (Forge) 6)
  • Archer Steele (Bard (Valour) 3)
  • [Night’s Mistress + Others] (Monk (Shadow) 6)
  • Virgil White (Paladin 1)
  • Aythe von Dusthafen (Bard (Glamour) 4)

EXP:

  • 1082 XP per participant if updated on time.

Cash:

  • 491 GP per participant with donating to the LMF.

Changes:

  • All party members got +1 HP from JP’s Perfect Croissants.
  • [Night] gained + 1 Corruption but Resistance to Necrotic from overcoming a Wraithseed. She also can stack subsequent Stun DCs by continually Stun-locking one opponent after a masterful Kata in the Mausoleum of the Forgotten.
  • Jean-Pierre gave up the Phoenix-Heart, was taught Hard Wisdom (+ 1 WIS, got party tossed out of Oracle’s Gauntlet), but reaffirmed that Peace is his Happiness (+ 1 Resolve on expeditions after he kills no intelligent non-Extraplanar creatures.)
  • Aythe learned advanced Funerary Rites (+ 1 Resolve next expedition after she consumes memory from a creature of CR 2 or more over her Character Level.
  • Virgil White levels to 2, loses -3 Max HP from ripping his own heart out in the Oracle’s Hall of Judgment, but is a Bearheart (Componentless Warding Bond 1/Expedition.)

Loot:

  • PoI Gold – Giant Ape’s Nest (175gp) 175 175 PoI
  • Giant Ape’s Dollhouse Silverware (85gp, claimed by Aythe)
  • Steady Squeeze, The Hit Warden Game of Cunning Advancement (150gp, claimed by Linna)
  • *Secrets of Old Empire Food Branding * (100gp, claimed by JP)
  • *Long-Lost Sourdough Sample (extra sour) (100gp, claimed by JP)
  • Empowered Phoenix Feather (1500gp, claimed by Night for Tabby potion)
  • *Metal Golem Ear (100gp, claimed by JP, LMF can loan w. permission)
  • *Fela Crafting SIlk (Armor-Grade (1000gp)

Log Proper

Day 1

We began on a clear morning, intending to visit a zone of mysterious exhausting mists in the Dark Forest Canopy (that had already claimed the lives of several Stalkers) and then ask the Oracle about how we might bypass the Purple Worm en route to the Lurkers’ stronghold under the Forest.

Our party consisted of myself, Ms. Steele (Sovan’s apprentice), [Night’s Mistress] (who received a few bits of advice from [Bugle] as he ‘stopped by coincidentally’ as happens so often when she is on Expedition) and young Master Virgil White, a newly minted dragonborn Paladin. Ms. von Dusthafen was to join us outside the Wall from a sojourn in the Garden of the Heart.

When I made his crossbow magical through the light and life of the tree [+ 1 from Forge Cleric] and complimented him on his preparedness, he had a quite….elaborate monologue about how ‘of course I found it remarkable that a White-spawned dragonborn could be a good or prepared person’ which I attempted to answer while not denying his right to feel hurt.

This sort of…very intense self-expression was a theme for the rest of the expedition, so I shall not detail each instance of our explaining as patiently as we could to Mr. White that his rights were not being violated by various Guild routines.

Regardless, we headed out and picked up Ms. Aythe (our second Bard! How jolly!) from the Jungle Portal. She seemed wary and tense after 5 weeks with the Keeper. I can hardly blame her. Pure ‘Goodness’ can be a harsh medicine.

We continued.

I moved in front. The Bards surrounded VIrgil in the middle. [Night] took the back.

As we moved, Aythe and Archer discussed their bardic philosophies. Periodically a small…being….erupted…from Aythe’s neck. And talked. In Celestial.

It is a wonder that this Guild does not have higher rates of alcoholism than it does.

On our way to the Forest, a black mist erupted to our right as we traversed the plains. Virgil’s Divine Sense felt strong Undeath from within, but no specifics. When I approached it, alone, it swirled to avoid my Phoenixheart aura of Protection from Evil. I ‘upped the ante’ with Spirit Guardians and the mist resisted the impact [Caster Check 20] before giving way with a brief glimpse of withered arms and near-skeletal spectral hands recoiling.

As I looked into the now-clear space, a Wraith appeared from underground and assailed Archer, reducing her vitality immensely [-16 Max HP]. A range of readied attacks hit it, all but Virgil’s Cold damage striking true, the Cold being resisted.

Simultaneously, the mist turned into a cloud cover to block the Wraith from sunlight – 8 beings that resembled ghouls stood revealed where the mist had been. 2 groups of 2 flanked us and charged the back line, while 4 stood in a loose row in front of me, just outside of Guardians range. The 4 (2*2) chargers were battered by the Guardians; 1 died, none reached our junior members.

[Night], seeing Archer’s plight, exploded in a precise and deadly Flurry of Blows and managed with repeated strikes to Stun the Wraith with her ghost-punching fists.

Aythe joined her, causing us to run safely out of combat with her Mantle of Majesty. Most left the Wraith’s orbit, while I charged it – but saw my Guardians hit a bubble of protection surrounding it and did not try to force it through lest I leave us, standing in _Guardians_’ aura, exposed should the spell collapse. Aythe also filled Archer with thoughts of her own Heroism, boosting her vitality. The neck-parasite – named ‘Liebling’ – emerged and….waited to help.

Virgil missed the Wraith with his Forge-magic crossbow; Archer literally climbed up his body and Shattered the Wraith.

[Night] managed to renew her Stun of the Wraith. Meanwhile, the Ghoul we destroyed began melting like ooze into the ground. I derived [Religion 21] that it had actually been some kind of Spectre. Aythe threw a Chromatic Orb at the Wraith and inspired [Night] to keep her efforts going.

At this juncture, my 3rd-Level Guiding Bolt exploded the Wraith where it stood. The rest of the ghoul/spectres melted away into the earth, beyond Virgil’s Divine Sense range. After a pregnant pause, we advanced, [Night] readying actions to riposte with the time her enhanced speed allowed her while keeping up.

An hour later, with no more attacks, I touched Archer accidentally while pointing out a landmark and my Protection aura flared. Analyzing her aura (Religion 25), the Wraith, when it sucked out her life essence, implanted a seed of itself that let its ghoul/wraith servants track her. If she died, I realized, a new Wraith would spawn from her corpse.

This I kept to myself for the moment. Her panic and suffering would help nothing.

I moved, instead, to help her. Casting an Aythe-inspired Protection From Evil on Archer, she resisted (Disadvantaged WIS Save; Resolve = 22) and the black necrotic energy left her briefly but then re-entered her body. I saw a way to possibly transfer the energy – before I even had time to speak, [Night] saw my look around the group and volunteered on the spot.

Such a brave woman.

I pressed the two into close proximity and again Protected Archer. Her resistance easier this time (Flat WIS save = 23), she expelled the Wraithseed and [Night] wrapped it in Water-Formed Ki to enclose and absorb the dark. Her skill (WIS check 25) allowed her to near-effortlessly transfer the dark energy into her own Ki well.

Knowing that this Wraithseed would fade with a night’s rest if at all, we considered our options, deciding to bunk down in a moderately secure spot in the sun. We found one (Survival 22) but Archer was unable to get to sleep as birds swarmed overhead and a Crested Skull scout tried (and badly failed) to stare down [Night], so we entered the Dark Forest to solicit aid.

We went to No-Spider-Den, where the redoutable Vliblin heard of Tabitha’s plight and lost his proverbial mind. “Wait – so her hands, twice as big as mine – are now, like, TINY hands?”

After 30 or 40 of these comparisons, Aythe was kind enough to let me share a zone of Silence she created. Virgil joined us in the ‘Peace and Quiet Bubble’ and we all felt a renewal of our kindred spirit status – we are Good, or so we like to think, but not always Extroverted Good.

Vliblin eventually ran out of ways to explain his desire to see Tabitha and be, for once, ‘The Bigger Bud’ – a process assisted by [Night] helpfully reciting an elaborate list of rules Ms. Flora had publicized regarding her conditions for transferring temporary custody of Tabitha’s person.

Later still, Archer ran out of Inspiration after assisting an aged Fala in destroying Vliblin at a game of Fala Handball. Taking that as a sign, we left, leaving Archer out of range, with the intention to bait and exterminate the ghoul/specters in the hidden Secret Room further south near the abandoned Library.

As we headed there, we found the corpse of a badly mangled giant elk. [Night] scouted and found no hostiles. Our investigation (Medicine 13) found that the likely cause of death was the giant being’s decapitation and clawing. [Night] and I, looking around, found only one giant footprint – a Sasquatch of incredible size – leading nowhere. We thought about the Roc itself fleeing from such a beast in one far-off duel we overheard; we thought of a statue beneath the ground, a vast Sasquatch idol worshipped by Lurkers, and we shivered…and moved on.

We arrived at the refuge. After 2 uneventful watches ([Night] + Aythe, Virgil + Liebling + Myself) we belatedly found out that Archer had fought off the Wraithseed (22 WIS with Advantage) found but that [Night] had failed to expel the remainder she had taken in [15 CON] and she was temporarily slightly drained [Max HP -5].

Knowing that the ghoul/spectres could thus likely still track [Night], I stay up (my Paragon powers halving my sleep requirement) with the tireless Liebling to watch [Night] until morning.

We failed in our watch – [Night] was ambushed through the floor by a flurry of 5 spectre-blows (42 damage, -16 Max HP) from ambush. The other 2 (of 7) surrounded Aythe and she was injured less badly (10 damage, no HP loss).

First to react, [Night] flung open the shelter door and Teleported out, running as far as she could while quaffing a Greater Healing potion. 4 of the 7 beings – now entirely spectres – followed her. Virgil, next to her, finally woke up.

The still-surrounded Aythe gave herself a Sanctuary and used Dissonant Whispers to drive one spectre away, while Liebling attacked another. The last flew out, leaving a clump near [Night]. I used the power of Dawn to incinerate 1 and gravely injure the other 6.

[Night] kept teleporting, retreating near us in a defensive position while grabbing her spear. Virgil joined her with his battleaxe. Aythe sent [Phantasmal Force] into one’s mind, and it began to die from the inside as the 6 surviving undead retreated en masse.

Seeing the folly of sleeping near enough ground to allow an immaterial approach, we traveled to a nearby Well of Transformation site – a canopy-suspended platform on which to lie while contemplating Infinity. From there, we imagine, we will be able to perhaps see incoming attackers. On the way, I Sent to my trusted Stalker mentor Mirrionath, who responds simply that “Help is coming.” Arriving, [Night] flies up to the tree cover and sets up rope for us to climb up with relative ease.

As we finished setting up camp, 6 of my fellows from the Well arrived – young Seekers After Truth In Change like myself, led by Elizara, a dear friend and comrade with an almost-[Bugle]-like plethora of throwing knives strapped to her chest from a Rogue-ward transformation. They informed me that Mirrionath had found an Elder from the Well of Fate nearby and was bringing her to us in 6 hours.

I was finally able to sleep and restore my stock of spells as the Transformation Stalkers ( I heard when I arose) used their keen senses and fine markmanship to drive off an exploratory assault by the spectres.

Day 2

I awoke in time to help drive off a second abortive spectre attack – and to watch as 3 Phase Spiders winked into existence nearby, saw our assembled forces, and left back into the Ethereal. [Night], waking some time after I did, had regained her vitality [Max HP restored] but not banished the Wraithseed.

Luckily, at that time an Elder from the Well of Fate arrived with a powerful magic gauntlet. I thanked Fate for bringing her here, which she very graciously acknowledged and reaffirmed.

The Elder offered, equally kindly, to help Night if she could – as our destruction of the Wraith had been a great good for the region – but warned that if the attempt failed, her Well would consider [Night]‘s possession to be Fated and withdraw all Stalker aid, encouraging Transformation to follow her example. Our Well is independently-minded, but I knew that not even Mirrionath could disregard an Elder’s urgings lightly. Nor could I, come to that.

Luckily, as Aythe inspired [Night] and the Elder with a tale of a long night where the Moon burnt so bright that the lack of Sun was no detriment to those who loved and lived beneath it, they came together, touching the Elder’s gauntlet to [Night]‘s chest, and with her heroic effort (WIS save 22) the Wraithseed burnt away into the night air. [Night] gained a tiny fraction of the Wraith’s powers – Resisting Necrotic energy, but gaining 1 Corruption.

In my overjoyed enthusiasm, I had the temerity to offer the Elder a biscotti, which she seemed to enjoy. (It was perhaps, I reflected later, a trifle dry. Next batch will incorporate more lipids.)

[Night], newly liberated from her burden, asked the Elder what her Fated status might be. The Elder answered only: “You will not fall to these undead, likely not to any others. We are glad this evil will not rise again. It, unchecked, would have been a wave of darkness, covering the plains.”

With this sobering pronouncement of thankfully unseen possible futures, the Elder left. The other Stalkers soon followed, with our heartfelt gratitude. We swung by No-Spider-Den, picked up Archer, and headed to the exhausting mists that were our first objective.

As we arrived, the mists loomed ahead of us, silvery and sinister. [Night], under Pass WIthout Trace, moved 60’ through the mists, taking 2 levels of Exhaustion to do so. She found a vast Ape nest inside the 200’ diameter clearing revealed inside the 60’ mist wall. This nest was woven of the canopy, surrounded by swarming Homunculi. A huge hole for waste carved open the bottom; two entrances (one Giant Ape-sized, one for the Homunculi) broke up its exterior. It is a Point of Significant Interest.

[Night], on Sending consultation, decided to explore further. The Ape-sized entrance revealed vast sleeping quarters and a Homunculi-focused area in several large rooms – immense collections of various objects scattered throughout.

Deciding that it was too exposed to safely infiltrate even with Shadow Teleportation, [Night] moved on to the Homunculi entrance and found a 20’ hallway with frond-shaped doors on the right side and at the hallway’s end. She moved in to explore.

Opening the side door first, [Night] found an area of many rooms and low ceilings sized for the small Homunculi, and collected bits of metal scattered throughout. She took one, which the wizards later identified as a part of the apparatus used to make more Homunculi.

Continuing to the frond-door at the hallway’s end, [Night] found a collection of humanoid scaled rooms. The First was a comfortable living quarters with fine table and chairs, with one of everything – clearly designed for a sole occupant, albeit with stepladders and small entryways to facilitate service by a Homunculi staff. [Night] found what turned out to be very fine silverware (85gp) set up at the table and took it all; Aythe bought it, then very kindly gifted me some of the dessert forks later.

Moving on, [Night] found more doors leading further in – straight or to the right. Hearing nothing with listening at the doors, she went right into what appeared to be a great Dollhouse scaled for an immense being. Exposed rooms with furniture, fixtures, and architecture all opened on one face to the living area of the Giant Ape who seems to play with this vast plaything it has created – only a thin barrier of fronds in its way, that it could doubtless sweep aside to move things around in its Dollhouse.

I recalled prior discussion with one of the Homunculi of the ‘Brides’ of this being and shuddered internally. Slavery by any name still smells as rank.

Returning to the dining room and taking the other door, [Night] finds a games room with multiple cultures’ collected amusements and an array of tables. One was a first-edition deluxe copy of Steady Squeeze, a game of cruelty, political intrigue and betrayal popular among the Wardens. Why, I certainly cannot imagine. It would likely be worth 150gp – Linna bought it instantly on our return to the Wall.

A further door out of the games room led to a small library where a LUA officer in fine clothing looked up from a book.

TAKE ME OUT OF HERE” he stage-whispered.

[Night] waved cheerily and teleported out.

To take an expression from my dear love Sovan’s phrasebook: “FUCK the LUA.”

Regrouping, we headed South and made our way to the Oracle. Archer, knowing that we needed a refuge in which to sleep, began to sing a song about a “Song That Gets On Everybody’s Nerves” until I – not ONLY to stop her making that sound – found a very secure new Secret Door left over from the Old Empire (Survival 35). We slept there uneventfully.

Day 3

Arriving at the Oracle’s, we found ourselves in luck – the ticket was available for us immediately on a printed sheet of fine vellum. Ascending the ramp past the mummy doorkeepers, we found the Couatl Secretary waiting for us under the always-diverting display of the Celestial Sharks in their floating tan. I made it through the formalities with dispatch (Bureaucracy 25) and we entered the Gauntlet.

The first room the Test of Might, consisted of a bare space guarded by a huge construct with a huge hammer. A vast bell decorated with scenes of war and conflict rested beside it. Two doors leading onward were securely locked.

Aythe’s deceptively thorough poking around (Investigate 26) found a hidden inscription advising us to take the construct’s left ear after defeating it.

Challenging it to single combat, I bested it without much difficulty, claimed the ear – good for “One Rephrasing of an Oracular Query or One Free Bypass of an Oracular Test” – and we advanced through the right door and into a large bakery.

And what a bakery.

The mastercraft fixtures! The unknown foodstuffs! The great lists of suppliers and wholesalers that I can use to answer long-simmering – to pardon my jest! – controversies in the field of Food History (records worth 100gp)! Here was a vast and fascinating hidden discipline of culinary science written! Here were titans of the fields of baking, roasting, saucing brought to the pinnacle of their arts! MULTIPLE SAMPLES of ENTIRELY UNKNOWN VARIETALS OF SOURDOUGH STARTER were present – with careful effort (Cooking 26) I managed to harvest 4 individual tiny amounts of magestic, extra-sour, sweet-tinge, and shining sour. Lee-Jean had long had contemplated the rumours of majestic-grade sourdough, and our ongoing correspondence -

[ADDENDUM: EXTRACTED FOR REASONS OF TEDIUM AND TACTICAL IRRELEVANCE.]

- so we shall SEE what she has to say about THOSE apples. (AGAIN with the food puns! I am a giddy schoolboy!)

There were also 1320gp worth of gear here

’[ to be stolen – but only the worst of vandals or lunatics would in any way deprive such an unbelievably beautiful kitchen of one iota of its stock that is not self-replenishing. Anyone with any claim to moral -

- I mean -

We left the goods.

It became clear that a baking task was part of proceeding. Aided by the others, I stuck to the classics – a 3-day full preparation of white-flour croissants. It went marvelously – Archer and Aythe inspiring us as Night’s dextrous fingers, Virgil’s cooling of our dough and supplies, and my best efforts at supervision made what I can confidently say are the best croissants of which I am possibly capable. (Cooking 32).

Day 5

On the fifth morning beyond the wall, preparation, chilling and baking was done.

Eating the croissants, we all had a shared moment of perfection as the buttery flaked texture settled across our tongues. We felt inspired and enlivened, our constitutions permanently strengthened (+1 Max HP) as we suddenly wavered and vanished from the bakery.

We found ourselves in a new and dimly lit room that we knew, in that mysterious way that Oracular rooms announce themselves, as the Mausoleum of the Forgotten. All around us brickwork walls, curving in a ring to our left and right, were lined with epitaphs, each with recesses beneath containing skeletal remains.

Despite a very good effort (History 29) I could at most bring the historical reputations of the named deceased we saw to the tip of my tongue. A very disagreeable feeling!

You see? Pride. Pride and resentment of fallibility.

Meanwhile [Night] attempted to circle the room and found only an infinite loop with no further progress possible – either a strong illusion or a spatial warping magic. No doors were visible.

Searching what we could access, we each found a recessed gravesite that seemed to speak to us personally. With a careful survey we found signs of the faiths and backgrounds of the fallen, if not their personal deeds.

I honoured a Tree-Sister of times past with our inspiring ritual song “To Celebrate The Dead Is More For Us Than For Them Since They Likely Do Not Know Or Care That We Do So, But It Is Socially Constructive To Memorialize Past Heroes And Inspirations, So Continue To Do So.” It went well (Religion 31).

Archer sang a ballad (a very loud ballad; a very loud ballad) to one who seemed from their gravestone to be a great folksinger and troubador of a bygone era. She did not seem to find favour with the spirits. Somehow (Perform 11).

Aythe found the secret signs of the Fallen Aasimar and performed for their forebear. Her music, limpid and slightly, ethereally morbid, echoed and hummed through the stone. (Perform 24).

Virgil performed funeral rites for a prior White Dragonborn but was unfortunately interrupted by several loud stated caveats to the room at large, detailing the many ways in which his observances were his own choice and not forced upon him, and that White Dragonborn were more complicated than our prior misconceptions of same, so he did not quite ever get finished. (Religion 9).

[Night] found the tomb of a martial master and performed a near-flawless kata (Attack Roll 28).

As we all neared our efforts’ close, we heard a creak – investigating, we were suddenly able to see a section of corridor in which an obvious door had opened up.

Leaving, Aythe realized that her funerary rights had applications for her consumption of ashes (+ 1 Resolve next Expedition after consuming Creature of CR [Level + 2] or higher). I reaffirmed the peace and non-violence that, were this world not in such desperate jeopardy, I would embrace with all my heart. (+ 1 Resolve next Expedition after no killing blows on intelligent non-Outsiders).

Would I? I had my chance -

kata, and her recent success in managing to stun the hateful and powerful Wraith, suggested to her a way to chain her blows and thereby see her capacity to stun foes with injections of her ki much improved (cumulative + 1 to Stun DC for each subsequent round of stunning).

We left the mausoleum into a familiar sight – a corridor of flame, a fire giant in paladin’s armor at its center. The Great Scales.

She greeted me – “Phoenixheart” – and offered to wave us through, trusting in our goodness. Virgil immediately bristled, furiously asking why she assumed he was not good enough to bother testing. As she attempted to convey her actual meaning, his anger seemed to only grow until he demanded, enraged, to be tested, because he was “just as good as anyone else, and not about to be judged by the colour of [his] scales.”

I accompanied Virgil to the testing room. in his haste to be judged, he reached into his own chest when the fire giant magically opened it and tore out his heart, flinging it at her in a fury and almost causing her to drop it on the ground.

WIth some asperity, she placed his heart on the scales, where Virgil’s very personal moral code (Neutral Good) and his….contentious nature caused his scale to spin wildly when a typical Lawful Good feather was placed upon it. Consulting a large tome, the giant was pleased to see her error and adjusted – putting a wolf claw on the scale (Virgil’s heart was lighter) and then a bear claw (balanced immediately).

Our new Bearheart received his blessing, though it was taxing upon him as his slightly dented heart was sewed back into his chest. (-3 Max HP; cast Warding Bond without components 1/Expedition.) Only one of us was able to be Weighed that day – the system being much strained by Virgil.

Knowing that Tabitha needed a special potion reagent – perhaps a phoenix feather – to be restored to adulthood, I rather delicately asked if we might take the one against which my own heart once balanced. The fire giant paladin thought hard about our request, acknowledging that it was selfless, and that Tabitha sounded worthy as few are of such an honour, but that to meet our request and donate the phoenix feather would destroy her apparatus. We hesitated, unsure of what was right to do.

As if anyone is ever truly, confidently sure beyond a doubt?

A thought occurred to the giant and she retreated to a back room, returning with a filthy, bedraggled phoenix feather gingerly resting atop one hand. She explained that it was an old one that she had worn out, but that might still work, which she could certainly give to us. We took it (400gp value at that time)

Looking at me, she suggested that were I to pour my Phoenixheart blessing back in, the feather might be restored to full power. I demurred; the power was one that had saved lives before and might again.

I should have instantly -

I should not have hesitated -

I ought never to have -

At that time I did nothing but tuck the feather into my armor’s secured inner pouch. The giant matched my pensive silence, then – looking over one shoulder – advised us that the next room would test us as none have before.

I wanted to learn from what was in there, perhaps to grow through the purgation of the test -

Or I was nosy and selfish. A matter of perspective.

We did not skip it with my construct’s ear. We entered, and found a granite grotto, the center holding a fizzing structure that we knew to be the Fountain of Wild Potential.

We all fell enforcedly silent, and all knew that the first to claim a blessing after 30 seconds’ silence would be given a permanent physical boost.

I thought about it – I imagined a great penalty would fall upon the one who took the proffered poison fruit. i thought of my turning wheel of abilities, of the Transformation Stalkers transforming themselves into ever-different, ever-growing iterations of themselves. I thought of the Sundered Apple – the corruption. The Power.

I spoke instantly when the time had elapsed. My divine powers strengthened (+ 1 WIS). We were instantly in the waiting room, in front of the secretary. As she condescendingly reassured us that many fail on that room and then asked us to leave, I was…suddenly certain that this act, at least, had been a selfish one.

“This, Liebling, is why I warn you not to be a Greedy-Guts” Aythe whispered, a little too loudly, to her parasite.

I felt perhaps an inch tall.

We departed.

Our trip out proved uneventful until we reached Fela territory. A deputation led by Decider-of-Beverages Amei (Third-Draught Fela Chosen, chooser of who received Fela Draughts and the accompanying Chosen Promotions) came to ask us for advice, defaulting to addressing me as leader.

As I rather glumly opined that I trusted my judgment a little less today, the Phoenixheart within me flickered – its bonus radiant damage suppressed.

Not when I did the selfish thing I did – but when I admitted and felt shame for that thing.

What does that say about the morality of the Phoenix Flame?

Moving on, I covered my dismay (but also my giddy realization of what I had to do) and went to speak to Chosen Amei in private.

She discussed a recent population boom since Silverleaf’s Plant Growth in their fields. Discussed the flood of new children – even after, as we had heard rumoured before, those named for the “False Prophet Jean-Lee” were summarily executed.

I restrained, with effort (WIS save 22) an impulse to being shouting or perhaps express more physically my severe disagreement with that policy.

Chosen Amei continued, dubiously, regarding the efforts of new Chosen Valerian and Hadley to educate 12 lower-caste Fela children into Chosen candidates. In her opinion, these childrens’ aptitude and prospects were, from their blood to their skills, inadequate and doomed to failure. She asked me to convince Hadley and Valerian to stop “wasting their time” with these…I suppose the best translation for her words is “peasants”.

I thought back to my time in the monastery, of how hard we all worked to advance ourselves; of how grateful we were for the chance to live a better life than our parents had. [Bugle] once complimented me for my capacity to, as he put it, “GET THROUGH CONVERSATIONS WITH THESE PEOPLE WITHOUT PUNCHING THEM IN THE FACE.”

Gripping my hammer-handle under the table, I understood as never before how such restraint might be found legitimately praiseworthy.

I spoke haltingly, burying anger under slightly stiff politeness, of my faith in the judgment of Hadley and Valerian’s ability to gauge talent – one the finest archer in our Guild -

[ADDENDUM: THIS IS FLATLY UNTRUE AND DISPLAYS A WORRYING IGNORANCE OF THE NATURE OF MARKSMANSHIP. A PRACTICAL DEMONSTRATION WILL BE INBOUND SHORTLY.]

- and the other a strong contender for our deadliest rogue.

[ADDENDUM: ALSO FALSE. VALERIAN IS A FINE KILLER BUT LT. LINNA IS THE FINEST STEALTH OPERATIVE I HAVE EVER HAD THE PLEASURE TO COMMAND.]

My clearly tense demeanour seemed to leak through my politesse and Chosen Amei was clearly unconvinced, but acceded to a compromise – at the end of October, I will come to observe Hadley and Valerian’s charges put through their paces in a formal test for Chosen Advancement rights. If they do badly and did not show promise – according to my independent assessment, I took pains to clarify – I would make a strong attempt to convince Hadley and Valerian to cede to their superiors’ wishes.

[ADDENDUM: I might hate to admit it, but such is to some degree fair – while my heart goes out to the children, and I cannot believe that Hadley and Valerian are both such poor judges of character as to mislead children into seeking to do more than they were capable of, the Fela are our allies and a local government – we should not lightly attempt to flout their authority in an important matter such as this.

I still believe that I will see what Hadley and Valerian see and so not have to speak against the young Fela. So I hope, and I pray, that the point is moot.]

In gratitude for my promise, which was obviously sincere, Chosen Amei provided us with 1000gp of Armor-Grade Fela Crafting Silks. On that topic, Chosen Amei suggested that we could very well resume Fela convoys soon; I offered to Send to her later to confirm our readiness, at which she gently corrected me – on matters of convoys, I ought to speak to 2nd-Draught Chosen Speaker-for-the-Lords Rekk.

How embarrassing! My bureaucracy is far better than that most days.

This accomplished, we left. Right outside of Fela territory, I retrieved the bedraggled feather from Beausoleil and – heart pounding with sudden certainty – I poured the Phoenixheart Aura into it with a wild abandon.

As my protection faded and melted into lines of fire down one arm, the feather restored itself to splendor and glory and heat; the light danced down its pinion edge, refracting in prisms that sparked like the heart of an inferno. A Full-Power Phoenix Feather (1500gp) sat in my hand.

We made it home safely.

[ADDENDUM: It was beautiful, giving that up.

I remain, in the eyes of many here, a boy – likely beardless if not dwarven. Perhaps judgmental, preachy, precious; perhaps inflexible, smug, thoughtless in my newfound power and reputation.

For some time, I believe, they were likely right.

I came here with nothing but a wild and misplaced sense of destiny, barely able to speak Common, proselytizing instead of conversing, preaching instead of listening. My pacifism, paper-thin, exploded into a flame-power, a war-power; I accompanied the Guild on great battles and only once took anything resembling a serious wound. I grew, and grew, and concentrated and focused my power, my divine fixation – and ultimately I became a shining point of certainty and purity and Light.

That boy was found to be a Phoenixheart.

That boy never took a Corrupted Apple. Never walked into a Well and came out a different person. Never loved someone capable of terrible things as he is of wonderful things, and never saw that the capacity for the former – and to transcend that former – made the latter all the more precious, beautiful, powerful, real.

That boy didn’t understand what he had gained in his capacity to befriend the quietly protective Druids for whom the Guild was like a garden to be cherished if corrected as necessary. Burnished a shining reputation til he all but drove off a reluctant Paladin performance artists of pain who became a dear friend and a public foil. He judged and dismissed the helplessly homicidal Kenku warrior and suspected the worst of the cheerfully doomed Necromancer who, at their most tempted, put us first.

That boy didn’t realize the extent to which goodness with one’s body and mind and effort and learning is, in his heart, more precious and meaningful to him than some grand sign of cosmic favour displayed from on high.

The Phoenixheart is built for someone pure. Someone strong. Someone Good, capital proudly thrust like a burning brand down the throat of Evil.

I hate Evil no less; I consider Good no less vital and powerful and beautiful and warm and compassionate; but I am perhaps realizing that I am at least for now more fit to be compassion’s object than its bestower. I will change, and I will grow through change; I will do my part, as the Tree sees fit to allow me, through the strain of my body and the focus of my heart and mind, and if one day I feel in my heart of hearts that a Phoenix rests within my heart I might in all humility ask to be weighed again.

Until then, my heart is my own responsibility. I am a Dwarfheart; I am a Forgeheart; I am a Guildheart.

I am very happy and relieved, and very worried that I will be eaten by vampires.

But I walked up to the baby Tabitha, and I saw the light of the restored Phoenix Feather flash and refract from her wide and beautiful eyes, and I was completely certain that I had acted as I should – that I had, perhaps, only ever been a courier.

There will soon be a full-grown Phoenixheart in the Guild once more, and it will not be me.

I am going to go home to Sovan, the Eagleheart who gave his own Heart’s powers away to fix a broken girl without a second’s hesitation, and I ask that all my mail be held for me at least a week.

[ADDENDUM: ANY DISTURBING THE CONSORT IN THE COURSE OF HIS DUTIES WILL BE MET WITH THE SWIFT APPLICATION OF KENKU JUSTICE.]

Signing off,
Yours – all of you in the Guild – entirely, happily, yours until death –
Jean-Pierre du Vayrir de la Grand Contumace Saint-Emilion.

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Expedition 110: An Abyssal Rift Closed
We persevere, through the grace of various gods and the assistance as well of sundry non-divine forces

September 23rd, 2018

[Posted on time, participants get +0.1 HP]

PARTICIPANTS

  • Bugle (fighter, arcane archer, 6)
  • Jean-Lee Challenges-Debicourt (cleric of Shirana, war and light, 5)
  • Jean-Pierre du Veyrir (cleric of the Tree, forge, 6)
  • Martin van Horne (cleric of Elyra, life, 6), log-writer
  • Raevori (wizard, unique, 6)
  • Sovan Dareshin (bard, lore, 7)
  • Tieldanae (druid, moon, 4)

CHARACTER CHANGES

  • Raevori and I drank demonic draughts provided by our Abyssal Guard allies. The beneficial effects have worn off but we have been warned that there will be negative effects in due course.
  • We have each been placed under a curse by the demon woman who spoke with us last time. If we do not retrieve an as-of-yet undisclosed item for her (from a glabrezu’s fort) within six months, there will be consequences. If we do, there will assumably also be consequences, although not necessarily borne by us.
  • Sovan and Raevori each drained some of their life essence casting blood magic _[3 and 5 max HP, respectively].

MAP UPDATES

  • There is a stable portal from 4.16 to the Demon Plains. We planted a Sundered Sapling there which provides secure and hidden shelter.

XP

  • 1508 xp/person, including sheet update

GP

  • 18 gp if donating, or 21 gp if not
  • 18 gp to the LMF

MATERIAL REWARDS

  • Demonslaying Glaive, worth 700 gp, and left with the Abyssal Guard for the present to aid them in keeping the forces of evil at bay (owned by the LMF, available for expeditions with notice)
  • Various religious artifacts worth 650 gp, presented to us by the Abyssal Guard
  • Pledge of service: each member of this expedition can request a five person Abyssal Guard squad to assist on a mission

EQUIPMENT PROVIDED BY THE LMF

  • Temporary rations x 7
  • Titan hearts x 2
  • Sundered Sapling x 1
  • Fire giant potion x 1

LOG

Our mission today was to seal the demonic rift in the southern plains. Too long has that portal been a danger to our Guild, and a blight on our world generally. Some time ago, we had learned about a ritual that could close the rift. Sovan had been learning blood magic to prepare for the arduous casting, and was ready. Raevori, the only other person capable of using the ritual, had originally not been intending to join us but had a change of heart at the last minute and selflessly committed herself to the dangerous, but vital, work [a.k.a, Tieldanae wanted to come so Rae had to come along to protect her]. Jean-Pierre, Jean-Lee, Tieldanae, Bugle, and I tasked ourselves with keeping the demons at bay long enough for them to finish their ritual. We set out with hearts full of determination and a strictly manageable amount of fear.

Our travel through the Felar Wood was uneventful, and the group as a whole too focused to dally at any rate. We met with a group of seven Abyssal Guard, as arranged. Their leader confirmed that a squad each of Eastern and Western AG were to be deployed elsewhere as distractionary forces. Our allies outfitted the group with as many arrows and javelins as we could carry, having been treated with demon ichor to increase their effectiveness [+2 dmg v demons and ignore immunities].

They also offered us two ichor infusions. These draughts provide (temporarily) fire resistance and an increase in strength and constitution, but at the cost of a long-term detriment. We suspect it will be corrupting. Jean-Pierre reported that, on downing an ichor shot previously, he felt briefly more aggressive. Raevori wanted to drink one, the rest of us did not. She suggested that I take one, and Bugle wrote a careful note [telling Martin in no uncertain terms of his place in the guild, which is somewhere below the cooks] which reminded me of my duties to the Guild. Elyra forgive me, I agreed to take one.

Bugle searched for a portal and found one relatively quickly. We emerged at a semi-sheltered rock formation. We could see the heat of the demon portal rising off the plateau only about an hour’s quiet travel away. The portal appears to be stable and permanent. We also managed to bring the AG with us. They watched carefully as Bugle opened the portal and were able to follow us through, but we do not think they would be able to open it themselves.

We immediately planted the Sapling, sparing only a brief thought for the potential consequences. We all felt energized and each of us could harness that in a way of our choosing: to increase our personal resources slightly [one additional use of each short rest ability], gain more energy for spell-casting [one additional spell slot of your highest level], or fortify our bodies [+10 max HP or +20 THP]. Raevori, Sovan, and I focussed on our casting, Bugle on his martial abilities, and Jean-Lee and Tieldanae on their fortitude.

The AG group snuck ahead of us with instructions to find the nearest patch of cover to the portal and wait there until the fight began. We waited an appropriate amount of time to allow them to do so, then moved forward ourselves. Tieldanae cast Pass Without Trace and we were admirably quiet despite my occasional clanking [23 stealth, with Martin using resolve].

About a third of the way to the rift, we caught sight of a tall, black, multi-limbed creature – a Night Terror. It was wandering around aimlessly so we ducked behind a bluff to wait it out. It began to slowly amble away from us when suddenly! its head snapped up, and it turned directly towards us and then disappeared.

Jean-Lee and Tieldanae prepared to cast Faerie Fire, then Bugle fired a seeking arrow which curved back around towards the party and thunked into something directly adjacent to us [30 dmg]. Jean-Lee cast his spell and a shimmering, strobing outline appeared on the demon. Bugle shot it again [25 dmg]. I cast Sacred Flame and the radiant damage [11 dmg] burned it badly [x1.5]. Sovan cast Dissonant Whispers [8 dmg]. Raevori cast a critically effective cantrip, whose force damage [6 d,g] seemed effective but whose fire [18 dmg] appeared to be largely wasted. She also punched it [7 magical bludgeoning]. Tieldanae sank an ichor-infused arrow into it [15 dmg]. The creature’s injuries began to knit back together as we watched – about a quarter of its wounds, all told. Then it spread its arms and a wave of darkness passed over us that left us wracked with pain [38 dmg, or half on a pass]. I hit it with a Guiding Bolt [13=19 dmg], then Jean-Pierre hit it with a much larger Guiding Bolt [crit for 37] and destroyed it utterly. [10 ft reach, AC 16]

We immediately fell to drinking potions and a voice spoke to us from thin air – familiar to Jean-Pierre and myself. It was the scantily-clad demon woman who had made diplomatic contact with us on our last mission here. She greeted me and Jean-Pierre, Jean-Lee greeted her back rather more warmly than seemed strictly appropriate. “Good job!” she said. “You almost got it before it hurt you at all. Now, I know why you’re here and I actually don’t mind. I’ll let it happen, but you’re going to want to work with me. I doubt you can defeat me faster than I can alert every demon in this place to your presence.” Keeping our eyes focused strictly above-the-shoulder, we began our interrogation. She claims that the demon portal is not the only way onto this plain, just the easiest, and that blocking the lazier demons from easy passage will allow her more influence over the area. Hence her willingness to stand by while we close the rift. She also wanted us to fetch something for her, currently being held by a glabrezu in a nearby fort. She offered to leave us to complete our mission here today in return for our submission to a curse that will trigger in six months, if we do not fulfill our service to her by then. She admitted to having marked me and Jean-Pierre on our previous meeting, which is how she knew we were here and where to point the Night Terror – “just to give us a taste of what might happen” should we refuse her offer. We tried to ascertain what, exactly, it is that we will be retrieving for her — and how bad the potential consequences of doing so would be — and she refused to answer, as she recognized in Jean-Pierre at least the kind of steely will which would potentially submit to a curse rather than release evil into the world.

Seeing no other option, we agreed to her terms. She kissed our hands and a weight settled upon us. Jean-Lee cunningly pointed out that we will be doing no service for her if we should all die today, and she gestured towards the portal and the ring of flame around it died down, revealing the rift itself.

We finished drinking our potions and began to sneak again with a renewed Pass Without Trace from Tieldanae _[16 stealth]. We had no further misadventures on the way. We saw two demons – one a flaming horse and the other a blobby thing with many, many teeth – but avoided them. We reached the portal. It was a rift torn through the air itself, with red gas leaking out. Reality appears thick and almost jelly-like in the opening. Traversable, but with difficulty.

Sovan cast a Major Image to cover us and we prepared for battle. Bugle stuck two silvered rapiers in the ground, 50 feet to either side of us, to be animated and turned on our enemies. There was some concern that they would attack us, but they proved to be stalwart aides indeed. Sovan and Raevori each consumed a titan heart. Bugle activated his gem. Jean-Lee drank a fire giant strength potion (I have been importuned to ensure that this log memorializes that he got, resultantly, “even thiccer”). Raevori and I drank our ichor draughts [fire resistance, +2 str, +2 con]. I began the long casting of Magic Circle.

About halfway in, the others spotted something heading in our direction – a large, ugly hulking thing with a gaping, many-toothed maw. A hezrou. It was sniffing around but didn’t seem to notice us specifically. I continued to cast, the others waited. When it drew nearer, they released a volley at it [Rae: 10 fire, 4 force, JL: 12 dmg, Bugle: 27, JP: 14 radiant. Radiant is normal, fire is halved]. It broke into a run towards us. Bugle shot an arrow at one of the rapiers – dubbed “Lil Stabby” – and animated it, then shot the demon twice [25 dmg, AC more than 14]. Jean-Lee blessed himself, Bugle, and Jean-Pierre. Sovan used Vicious Mockery [7 dmg], and Raevori a firebolt [6 fire, 2 force]. Jean-Pierre marched forward and cast Spirit Guardians.

The demon started closing [taking 15 SG dmg]. It headed straight for JP and tried to maul him but missed twice [it would have been all advantaged, but it’s just flat because he’s got a permanent Protection thing going]. Its final attack would have hit but Jean-Pierre Shielded at the last minute as he remembered that this sort of demon gets much more lethal as it approaches death itself.

[I didn’t have the time to actually narrative this and Martin isn’t suuuuuper interesting to write from anyway, so have fun with my notes y’all]

Martin continues casting Magic Circle and is on round 9.
Lil Stabby goes, hits twice, and does 15 silvered but non-magical dmg. Bugle shoots it (22 dmg) and it dies.
Bugle activates Lil Stabby the 2nd, which also does not go berserk.
The Magic Circle goes up, everyone huddles in it, and Sovan and Rae start the ritual. They each do a round of blood magic, which costs Sovan 3 max HP and Rae 5.
The AG start to move up, once they see the Major Image drop. They are about 4 rounds away if they hustle.
At the end of the round, as the ritual has begun, the air starts to shake and shimmer and we see a gigantic, red eye – the size of someone’s head – open up on the other side of the portal.
Bugle tries to shoot it, but the arrow melts as soon as it hits the thick, jelly-like space within the rift.
At this point, we also see a chasme flying towards us (above 3 rounds off). Bugle shoots it, hits on a 16, and does 21 dmg.
Jean-Lee throws an ichor-javelin at it but misses on an 11. (We have the javelins stuck into the ground between him and Martin but we didn’t even have time to bedazzle them or anything :( )
Lil Stabby II is flying towards the chasme on an intercept course.
Sovan drops a 4th level into the ritual, but fails.
Tilly misses the chasme.
Suddenly a creature appears – bouncing off the circle, which it had apparently tried to teleport into. It’s got four long, coiling tentacle-like arms (two of which are holding a long glaive) and a nasty toothed mouth. (Takes 8 SG dmg and is slowed).
Raevori puts a spell in, uses the coin and inspiration, and gets a success. (⅙ successes, and 16 levels of spell into it).
JP hits Tentacle Boi with a Spiritual Weapon (6 dmg), but his Guiding Bolt misses on a 17. The thing looks pretty dexterous.
The AG move up and start shooting the chasme (7, 7, 7, 8 dmg).
Martin casts a 3rd lvl Enhance Ability on Rae and Sovan.
At the end of the round, another Tentacle Boi forces its way in (and passes SG save). Also, the eye on the other side of the rift is now accompanied by a large claw which is trying to rip its way through into our world.
Bugle keeps going after the first Tentacle Boi (22 dmg). He briefly ducks out of the magic circle to fire a line arrow on both of them (19 hits, he does 32 and 27 dmg), then fires a last arrow at Tentacle Boi I and kills him with 24 more dmg.
Lil Stabby hits Tentacle Boi II and does 12 silvery dmg, which seems to be working okay.
Lil Stabby II continues flying on towards the chasme.
The remaining Tentacle Boi breathes a horrible gust of toxic air across everyone in the circle and even JP, who is outside the circle trying to aggro the demons away from us. DC 11 con save, which we all pass and therefore take only 10 dmg. We also all manage to keep our various concentration spells up. Raevori, however, turns into a rat.
Then three more Tentacle Bois teleport in, although again none of them manage to get into the circle.
(There are currently four Tentacle Bois and the chasme, plus the Large and Scary thing on the other side of the rift).
Jean-Lee passes another con save on his turn (the noxious gas is lingering) and smacks Tentacle Boi for 16 dmg, which kills it. The gas dissipates as it dies.
Sovan drops in a 4th lvl spell and gets a success (2/6), and inspires Rae again.
Tilly turns into a bear and bites a Tentacle Boi for 11 dmg (she does magic damage using Sil’s dagger, but it’s immune to the acid).
Rae drops in a 3rd lvl spell but doesn’t get a success.
JP guiding Bolts the Tentacle Boi that Tilly was mauling (16 dmg). There is also SG damage still going off (8 last turn on a passed save, 11/half this turn).
The AG all miss their shots on the chasme – normally you would expect 15 to hit, but this one is a bit tougher and is AC 16.
Martin misses which his Guiding Bolt and Healing Words JL for 7 hp.
The rift-demon has managed to jam a second claw through.
Bugle shoots and hexes a Tentacle Boi. The necrotic dmg doesn’t seem effective.
Lil Stabby does normal dmg (16) on the Tentacle Boi.
JL steps outside of the circle to smack one (11 dmg) and kills it. He has the choice to get back into the circle or attack again, and attacks again (13 dmg).
The chasme is still flying towards us, and takes an AOO from Lil Stabby II who has just caught up with it.
Another Tentacle Boi goes the noxious gas spell.
Another attacks JL twice but misses.
Sovan gets another success at rift-closing (3/6) and HWs JL.
Tilly hits a Tentacle Boi with an 18, for 19 dmg. She is a Large bear, so she no longer fits in the circle.
Rae puts another spell in, using inspiration and maresh, and gets another success (4/6).
JP guiding bolts one of the Tentacle Bois, who has been injuried, and crits (51 dmg) and kills him. He also does 8 hammer damage, and SG is a 22 this round. He moves forward so that he gets the chasme within SG too.
The AG fire a volley at the chasme (13, 7, 6, 14 dmg) and kill it! And then keep moving forward.
There is one remaining Tentacle Boi at this point. Martin sacred flames it (13 dmg) and HWs Rae (10 hp).
Three new demons appear – Drinkers. They are carrying spears with protrusions that they suck on to drain blood on a hit. Also a Large, four armed (two hands, two pincers) demon appears – a glabrezu. (The glabrezu teleported the Drinkers in). All of them take some SG dmg.
At the end of the round, the rift-demon is now starting to force its head through the rift. It won’t be long before it gets through. JP can now see enough of it to make a religion check and recognizes that it is a “Death Bringer.” They are a fighter/caster combo and sometimes have Disintegrate.
At this point, Rae and Sovan have put in 28 levels of spell.
Lil Stabby does 24 dmg to the final remaining Tentacle Boi and kills it.
Bugle starts shooting Drinkers (hits with a 17 for 22 dmg, plus 3 necrotic dmg which actually works on these guys).
The glabrezu tries to Dispel the Magic Circle, but Rae counterspells it. Then it closes with JP. It does two pincer attacks on JP but misses both and is non-plussed and frustrated to have succeeded at nothing that it has done this turn. It orders its minions to go after JL. They do. He uses warding flare but gets hit for 24 dmg (each of the three Drinkers does 2 attacks). One of them also drinks his blood through its spear-straw and heals a bunch of the SG dmg it had taken.
JL uses Radiance of Dawn (14/half dmg), which will catch all of the demons, and does extra because of being radiant dmg. (The glabrezu fails its save and takes lots of dmg. It’s having a bad day.) He also heals himself 11 hp.
Sovan gets another success (⅚). He uses his lyre to poison the glabrezu (Its day started bad and has not been improving).
Tilly shifts back into her humanoid self and casts Guidance on Raevori, who then puts a spell in and gets our last success! The rift is closed! As it shuts, it slices the Death Bringer’s claws and face off. The majority of its body, however, was still in hell so we LEGIT KILLED IT since most of it died in ehll.
Rae then casts Hypnotic Pattern and 2 Drinkers fail. (The glabrezu passes, which is basically the first thing it’s done all day that wasn’t a complete abject failure).
JP hits the glabrezu with an 18, for 5 hammer dmg and crits with a guiding bolt for 35 dmg. (SG goes off and does 20/half dmg, which unfortunately breaks the Hypnotic Pattern). One of the three Drinkers dies. (So there are currently 2 drinkers and 1 glabrezu left).
The AG volley at a Drinker (15 misses, 18 hits) for 6, 7, 15, 13, 6 dmg and kill it. Then do 7 dmg to the final surviving Drinker. And they move forward. (They still have not quite reached the melee.)
Martin HWs JL (14 hp) and does 24 (x1.5 since it’s radiant) dmg with a Guiding Bolt.
Suddenly, five more demons appear. Four are flaming horses, and one is a floating, robed figure (with a long, gross tongue lolling out before it). The glabrezu has also reeled in another hezrou. (The glabrezu is bloodied at this point, and still poisoned. The worst day.)
The Lil Stabbys stab the one remaining Drinker 4 times, including a crit, for 32 dmg and then Bugle kills it. He then shoots Robes for 26 dmg (he hexes as well, but it’s immune to necrotic).
The Glabrezu heals itself some and goes for attempt number 2 at dispelling our circle. Rae counters it with Leshanna’s Oversight. Then it tries to Power Word Stun Bugle, who passes the save. It ignores JP to go attack JL and actually manages to land ½ blows. 21 dmg and JL is grappled. The glabrezu also heals itself some more.

Robes shoots a Lightning Bolt at Bugle, Tilly, Rae, and Martin (30/half dmg). Only Martin fails. Rae turns into a rat. Each of us also has to make a con save and on a fail, is disadvantaged at everything for the next round.
Then Robes heads over to JL and licks him even through a warding flare. JL passes his con save with a 14 and takes 20 dmg. He is now up at 3 hp!
JL smacks the glabrezu real hard for 29 dmg, then smacks it regular hard for 15 dmg and re-bloodies it.
A flaming horse starts galloping over to JL so Sovan uses Veillantiff to jump ahead in the initiative. He heals JL for 11, drops a healing inspiration on him, and casts Hypnotic Pattern. (but HP is delayed so it doesn’t go off yet).
One horse hits JL through a warding flare for 13 dmg, so he’s up a 1 hp!
Another horse misses him, and another can’t get near enough to attack him and misses Sovan instead.
HP goes off. There is only one demon outside of SG and he is now hypnotized.
Tilly turns back into a bear and bites Rae to de-rat-ify her (with 7 rollover dmg, oops), then claws the glabrezu.
Rae, freshly not a rat, Shatters 3 horses and Robes (20/half thunder) and then misses the glabrezu with a punch.
JP crit misses with a SW and drops the spell. Then he guiding bolts the glabrezu for 18 dmg (x1.5). SG does 20/half dmg to everyone except the one hypnotized horse.
The AG volley at the glabrezu (12, 7, 12 dmg) and kill it. Then they do 14 dmg to Robes, with a 24 that hit it through Shield. Then they move forward again (they still have not reached melee).
Martin channels divinity and puts all 30 pts into JL.
Bugle hits and the arrow makes a huge burst of cold. Robes is immune, but he does 8 cold dmg to two horses. They are vulnerable and one dies. Then he misses Robes with a 22 (because of Shield).
The Lil Stabbys swarm the hezrou (16 hits, so they land a bunch of attacks).
The hezrou can’t move without taking AOOs so it tries to break the Lil Stabbys. It kills them both, snaps them in pieces, and discards them. (JL is not sure if he should Behb but eventually decides that they don’t have souls.)
Then it moves up to be adjacent to Rae and JP. They make con saves on their turns v poison from its stench.
Robes dominates Rae and telepathically tells her to dispel the circle (but she’s out of slots for it anyway).
Robes also licks JL again, who makes a 15 con save and takes 13 dmg. (He also gets a nat 20 for the third time in a row on his concentration check for Bless. He is just really really focused on #blessing us.)
JL successfully casts Dispel from his sword on Rae. He HWs himself (12 hp). Sovan HWs him too (9) and feeds him the gourd so he’s back to 55 hp (from 14). This is good because two horses attack him and do 14 dmg. He keeps Bless up but then it’s duration runs out anyway.
Tilly charges Robes and hits once through Shield (10 dmg).
Rae does 6 force dmg to the hezrou (he is immune to both fire and cold) and moved back into the magic circle (he misses his AOO).
JP stomps and the ground explodes at Robes and ⅔ horses (28/half dmg). He also does 11 SW dmg to Robes. His SG does 18/half and kills Robes and a horse.
The AG volley and kill the final horse and the hezrou.

We closed the rift very very quickly and no one even dropped!
(And a glabrezu and a Death Bringer had their Worst Days).

We go back to the Sapling with a 20 stealth (Tilly PWTs again). (Before we go, Bugle gathers up the Lil Stabby remnants for their hero’s burial.) We see two chasmes, a hezrou, and several Tentacle Bois heading towards the rift. Possibly they had been drawn away by the distraction forces, or maybe just couldn’t get to us in time.)

We sleep at the Sapling. It is a Very Secure location and it’s even shrouded a bit such that even things looking for it might not be able to find it.

We take the AG back through the portal. (There is a party and JL scores.) The AG commander who fought with us gives us a Demon Slaying Glaive. (He didn’t bring it with him today because it’s very important and he thought we might all die.) We carry it to the wall to redeem our xp and then have a change of heart and decide to indefinitely loan it to the AG, since they’ll still be fighting demons.

They also give is some Old Empire religious relics, which they no longer need because we have delivered unto them this day the miracle they had been praying for. (JL is now Jesus x 2). They are a mishmash of stuff from a bunch of gods (including one very fashionable emerald necklace).

The AG also pledge service to us. Each member of this party received one promise of service (non-transferable) which can be redeemed for some service from a squad of 5 AG (one leader and four mooks. Not as strong as the grizzled veteran types who came out today).

On our way back to the Wall, we swing by the Necrozone to set up the equipment that will collect Clinging Darkness for us.

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Expedition 109: The Caver Mine

September 16, 2018

[Posted late]

CHARACTERS

CHARACTER CHANGES

  • Silverleaf: +2 hp from Anton, died and was raised, can wildshape into a swarm, limited dire bear wildshape
  • Aa’li’naa: +2 hp from Anton, druid tattoo: flame arrows 1/day
  • Beth: +2 hp from Anton
  • Neaxiii: fused with a pactkeeper rod
  • Jean-Lee: +2 hp from Anton, druid tattoo: wind wall 1/day, deception proficiency
  • Anton: died and became a tree

MAP UPDATES

  • rift with structure (between portal and temple mesa)
  • glowing lake in temple mesa

XP

  • 1455 xp/person, including sheet update

GP (not including items bought)

  • Silverleaf, Aa’li’naa: 706 gp
  • Beth, Jean-Lee, Anton: 588
  • LMF: 354 gp

LOOT

  • restoration plants, 900 gp, bought by Silverleaf
  • diamond from molefolk, 100 gp
  • rubies from molefolk, 480 gp
  • molefolk feather, 150 gp (earth glide/shape reagent, writes on stone), bought by Silverleaf
  • goodberry bag, 1500 gp, bought by Silverleaf
  • Caver flowers
    • Conjure Woodland Beings
    • Spike Growth
    • Protection from Energy
    • Skywrite
    • Tidal Wave

SUMMARY

An earthquake revealed an underground structure on the way to the temple mesa.

The snake temple attacked us. It sensed Beth’s rod. Its eye rays are deadly.

If we don’t replace Husk, there will be more fire elementals. Might be a magma explosion. If we stop the emberheart, there will be destruction. Someone powerful and stubborn and devoted could replace him. They would be trapped. They might die.

The Caver mine was full of undead. We destroyed some. There are more. They take your bones so you can’t be healed. The Cavers think they’re being hunted. Anton Gannet died. So did I. Aster raised me.

We found a glowing lake. It sang in celestial about fire, purity, and just war.

LOG

No trouble reaching the portal. The ent wants company.

While we walked to the temple mesa there was an earthquake. A fault opened. The top of the rift looked natural. A hundred feet down the walls became man made. Panelling, sconces. We didn’t investigate.

Birdfolk were doing combat drills near their mesa. In groups of five, one dive bombs and tosses up a target, the others shoot it. They were accurate. A group approached us. They spoke Auran, then stilted common. Hard to understand, not impossible. They told us to demonstrate strength. Beth threw an axe. Approved. Anton Gannet Lighted a stick. Not approved. [The guy looks at Anton with a ‘show us what you got’ type expression. Anton looks around helplessly, then casts Light on a stick and holds it out, his whole expression saying ‘….this is what I got’. The guy takes the stick, chews it up, spits it out, and then turns away.] Jean-Lee danced and flirted at a birdfolk. Approved. [JL, having watched the thing with the stick, is visibly turned on. Without waiting for invitation, he starts dancing (very obviously at that specific birb), and plants his greatsword in the ground and gyrates around it in a way designed to show off his glistening and sweaty muscles (27). The birb is INTO IT — throws a javelin at him, perfectly in sync so that it embeds in the ground and he can seamlessly spin around and pole-dance off the javelin instead. Then birbfriend bites his own hand and smears the blood down JL’s face and gives him an “any time” gesture and points up at the aerie.] While we talked a Caver body fell near us. A blue-hat. They say he was spying. [JL: the only thing I wanna spy is what’s under all thaaaat.]

I harvested some restoration plants. There’s a trick. Talk to me before you try. I also cast plant growth.

We heard a voice down a side passage in the temple mesa. Aa’li’naa snuck over. There was a glowing lake. A human-ish creature with water flowing off it and around it floated over the lake. Likely speaking Aquan [, the elemental language of the plane of water].

When we reached the snake temple, the statue’s eyes were glowing. One blue, one green. Beth’s pact keeper rod vibrated. The statue’s eyes flashed. She heard a mental voice. Didn’t know the language. The eyes shot two beams at her. She would have dropped without Aid. A skeletal illusion displayed across the pyramid’s front. It pointed at Beth, then the rest of us, spoke to us, tapped its temple, and disappeared. She thinks it meant that it will remember us. We ran. It shot her again but much weaker. We went the other way.

Some pixies were hiding in a tunnel. Invisible, half a dozen. They tried to polymorph us. [Everyone passes the save except Sil, but she’s a shifter so it’s fine.] They tried to run when it failed. We killed them. [Linna kills one, then JL radiance of dawns and gets the rest. Not a lot of HP among them.] We were carrying the corpses to harvest pixie dust later but the siltheart destroyed them. Fey aren’t allowed near it.

We reached the Molefolk. Beth spoke to them in Terran. [B: “Hello, mole people.” M: “Okay, hi…I mean, mole people I guess covers it…hello, person person.” B: “I’m dirt people!” M: “Oh! Siltheart! ……you look different. We tend the earth and keep it strong!” Then they asked if anyone has prestidigitation, since they very very much like getting magically clean. Beth checks with Linna, who is very begrudging and reluctant, but the moles sort of twig that Beth was looking for a response from her and get all excited and presumptuous so she gets swept into it anyway. Beth uses mold earth to make one of those velvet-rope-queue things, and JL sets himself up as the bouncer to keep everyone in line. One of them tries to slip him a little diamond to get ahead, which works. (JL: “Oh, I have bribed SO MANY bouncers, this is turn around.”) Anton uses Light to set up pretty lights to make the queue fancier.] Aa’li’naa cleaned them. They paid in rubies and a feather. They report many recent earthquakes. Enough to shift the gem veins around here. They’re still mapping it. [JL also tries to teach them the joys of napping and we learn that they don’t sleep, or have any concept of sleep except as…practicing dying? Which they’ll do anyway eventually? So it seems weird and boring to practice.]

We passed through the cathedral. Nothing happened. [It’s glowing faintly. The floor is covered in intricately placed bones – laid down so carefully that they form a continuous jigsaw layer. Rough animal masks line the walls, and a crude stone dias stands in the centre with a stone cup on it. Linna expresses interest in getting the ability to turn into a snake, but last time we were here the whole party had to drink and Sil isn’t down, so we just go through the exit on the other side without touching anything.] The next room opens onto a promontory and a 50 ft wide chasm. [There’s a sign, in elvish, mostly rotted away such that “Warning:” is the only bit left.] There is a constant strong updraft. We dropped a stone down. It fell, then rose again to hover at our level. You can fly across it. [We tied ropes to people and they flew across one by one – dex check to manage the updrafts, then dex save to avoid getting blown into an outcropping if you mess up. Sil does super well and gets some barrel rolls in, everyone else is functional and we all get across without incident. There is a sign on the other side in draconic, elven, dwarven, and pictorials saying “Enjoy the magic of flight, part of the Wild Land excursion experience! The next stop is (next bit has been scored out and over it in rough dwarven is written) WELCOME TO THE CATHEDRAL.”]

We reached the siltheart. Rubble looked exhausted. Husk’s intervention got the siltheart back to sleep. We told him about Husk and the emberheart. He is upset. He says it’s an honour to serve. It upsets him that Husk is bound and wants to leave. Rubble didn’t realize how trapped he is.

[We discuss what happened when Rubble – only briefly! – tried to step outside (he would never leave permanently, duty is duty and it’s an honour to serve, but he just wanted to see the sky again…..). His hand started to Corrupt and he had to stay inside. Linna creates a silent image of a nice blue sky, some interesting clouds. Rubble says that it looks a bit flimsy….good to know he’s not missing much, can’t believe he almost risked losing his post for an upside down lake.]

Each heart differs, but Rubble helps regulate things. Elementals come through and he diverts or placates them. If Husk leaves, there will be more destructive fire elementals. Emberheart will be able to do some things without Husk but not everything. There’s a vein of magma that the silt and ember hearts control together. Rubble could manage alone for a little but it isn’t stable. The emberheart will be safer with a guardian.

There is something like a life stone but stronger at emberheart’s core. Someone powerful could try destroying the emberheart but there would be backlash. Like what happened to the earthheart near the portal.

We could replace Husk, maybe. Needs someone with power, respect for fire, willingness to serve. The emberheart can forge them into what it needs, if it wants. If someone jumps into the fire, either they will die and their soul will be consumed or they will become the guardian. They should be pure and unyielding. Fire consumes what it can so they should be strong willed. Husk was a paladin, before he was Husk. He gave himself willingly.

Rubble doesn’t know the way to the Sunless Sea. Just keep finding routes down. You need waterbreathing. There are sea monsters. There are night storms — sudden darkness and the shadows attack you.

He said the flowheart shouldn’t be where we saw the lake. There were eight hearts. Four above, four below, all around the tower. The tower’s gone so things are shifted but he thinks the lake is something else. The flowheart has a glowing reef. He lost contact with it long ago. They weren’t close. He struggles with water and air. Too changeable. Fire and earth both create.

Beth entered the siltheart briefly. Neaxiii fused with the pactkeeper rod. [Rubble gestures and an arch forms. Beth steps forward and her body explodes into motes of dust that fall into the pool. She hears a low rumble. S: “You have returned.” B: “Is there anything you need me to do?” S: “Uphold earth. Honour earth. Grow.” Beth asks it to combine the rod of the pact keeper into her Neato-battleaxe (not a mechanical thing, just for that #aesthetic). She doesn’t really exist physically, but the image of the axe and the rod come together, and the rod winds itself around the axe and the blade flares with inlaid runes. Then she sees a vast, jet black eye before her, opening wider and wider, and the brown and red pupil snaps to a slit and suddenly she is yanked backwards and the earth motes come together again to form her – Rubble has been watching and pulled her out before the heart could wake up. She is filthy but her axe is gleaming.]

Rubble wants books. He’s bored. [He’s babbling about how he’d love a few books to read, pass the time, he’s devoted of course, completely devoted to the siltheart but he’s not a saint — actually, it would be quite offensive to claim sainthood, to various elemental religions, etc etc, and he starts trying to get into an in-depth theological discussion with JL. Rubble: “Have you ever thought —” JL: “Not really.”]
[Rubble also keeps wistfully mentioning our prior visit, when we played tag………..Linna offers him another game. Sil enhance abilities him, so it’s alllllmost even although Linna wins in the end. He falls exhausted into an earthen bed that materializes around him as he collapses and starts loudly snoring. JL spoons up to him (as the jetpack, obviously) and it feels like an earthen waterbed and they have a fantastic nap.]

The next morning we went to the Caver mine. [We’re asking for basic layout information and they mention the 200 ft ladder: ”I hope you’ve all brought climbing shoes and…… (looking at JL)…….sensible apparel.”] The entrance was sealed with leaves. A red-hat undid the wards. He tapped each leaf and it glowed and he pulled it away. The inside layer was blackened and pulpy and scratched. Claws the size of shortswords.

The air was rank. [We enter and they repack the magic leaves behind us and suddenly all noise cuts off. It’s super fucking ominous. They’re gonna use divination magic to know if it’s us and they should open the door back up.] There was a 20 by 20 room at the bottom of a 200 ft ladder. Many blue and green hatted Cavers dead on the floor. [The room is very smooth and well-shaped, nice vaulting……JL doesn’t have stonecunning through so his comment is “It’s damp down here and there’s bodies all over my dancing shoes.”] Anton Gannet examined them. They looked normal but their bones were removed. Sometimes so carefully the flesh hadn’t collapsed yet. [JL: “Looks like they just want to get BONED.” Anton squeaks with laughter, then goes red.] One tunnel led forward, then branched. Made for Cavers. We had to crouch [difficult terrain]. We heard skittering but couldn’t tell where. Followed it as best we could. I conjured spiders and sent them ahead into a room. Six of them died in one burst of attacks.

The creatures are undead. Made of bones and black shadowy tendons. The eye sockets of their skulls glow blue. Their limbs are stretched and elongated [10 ft reach]. They climb like spiders [40’ climb, including across ceilings]. They attack four times with their claws. They try to latch their claws into you [STR save, DC somewhere between 12 and 16]. If they do, they grapple you and will keep twisting that claw to hurt you . Radiant does normal damage. They are immune to poison. There were six at first. We killed four. Jean-Lee made the other two run. We tried to rest. They snuck back. Six of them. We didn’t see them in time. They killed Anton Gannet and then me. When he died, they glowed red and were harder to hit. They started taking his bones. Not mine. Aa’li’naa, Beth, and Jean-Lee killed them and a larger one that followed.

[Combat notes here if anyone’s interested, but the take-away is: On his last turn of the fight (shortly before getting dropped), JL gets a crit that weakens the final monster juuuuuuuust enough that Linna can kill it on our very last action (Sil and Anton are dead, Beth is stable but unconscious from having taken a bunch of attacks to try to save Sil’s life, and JL is bleeding out). At this point Linna is up at 2 hp and there’s a claw jammed into her that will auto-hit, and because of damage vulnerability she is incapable of taking less than 2 dmg, so if she hadn’t killed it with that shot, guaranteed TPK.]

[The three of them head back up the ladder (200 ft and the reason that Running The Fuck Away was never an option) and knock on the leaf-ward and eventually the Cavers open it. In the absence of a Sil to translate, they summon Aster, who casts Tongues. They ask after Sil and, on hearing that she’s dead, ask if we want her back (answer: yes, please). He places his hand on his retinue and stands up straighter and straighter and grows until he’s 6ft tall (and actually pretty handsome) and the retinue are standing pale and twitching and immobilized. He blazes his way down the ladder and Linna leads him over to Sil. He takes out a large diamond — after making sure we understand this is part of our payment today — and crushes it and sprinkles it over her, she convulses and regains life (consequences TBD).]

Aster raised me. He couldn’t raise Anton Gannet. He was missing bones. They might be willing to raise someone again, if that person had done them a service.

They resealed the mine. There is another level. Aster offered it as another mission. They are worried. These creatures confirm kills and mutilate bodies. Like they were designed to kill Cavers. There was one larger one. It looked hurt already when it came. Looks like the skull was still fusing. Maybe some little ones merged together to fight us. We don’t know.

Aster had drawn power from his attendants. He was tall and strong and they were weakened. Now, he shrunk and collapsed into his usual size [and asked wistfully if we had any milk for him, the Cavers are Weird and Gross forever]. Aa’li’naa carried him back up.

He offered us our choice of reward. Loot the mine or get gifts from the Cavers. [He offers that we could come upstairs and get boons or WINK WINK he could maybe leave us down here alone in this mine and OH MY HE IS BEING DELIGHTFULLY WICKED maybe look the other way if we happen to find anything to pick up on the floor.] We chose gifts. [They are super focused on Sil but she gets a 19 persuasion — literally the highest CHA check she can make — for him to pay attention to the rest of the team too.] They offered items or boons. This kind of boon doesn’t corrupt you. They can drain your body to strengthen your mind. Or teach you new skills. [JL: “oh, you can’t drain this, this is thicccc.” Leading to a detour into the concept of a person being JUICY.] I did wildshape training. They gave me a bag that makes special goodberries. Aa’li’naa received a tattoo and a flower. The tattoo was for flame arrows. The flower is conjure woodland beings. The siltheart didn’t want Beth to accept Caver magic. She took two flowers instead. Protection from energy and spike growth. Jean-Lee took a tattoo for wind wall. He also took a boon. He’s a better liar now. [He wanted persuasion expertise, and got close while trying to guide it but 16 wis save didn’t quite do it.] They gave two flowers for Anton Gannet’s estate. Tidal wave and skywrite.

They did funeral rites for Anton Gannet. They buried him and a tree grew. Blossoms fell onto us. One fell onto each of our noses and strengthened us. [+2 max hp each. He was a good good healing boy and he became a good good healing tree.]

In the morning they were adding leaves to the doorway. Aster says the underlings have heard there is true death there. There’s a labour strike. I don’t know how much power the labourers have.

We returned to the siltheart mesa fine. [Beth gets a little mental high five for not accepting the druid magic. The flowers vibrate a little but the siltheart doesn’t make too big a fuss.] Avoided some giant scorpions. Flew over the chasm again, no trouble.

The path to the lake was glowing very brightly. Aa’li’naa snuck up again. Light poured down from a crack in the ceiling. She heard celestial song. Jean-Lee approached. [His heart feels this thrumming resonance, like when he was almost dying, and hit that sweet sweet crit, and divine power flowed through him, victory over evil, etc etc. Miiiiiiiiar?] The pool pulsed. His sword started to vibrate. He cast Tongues. The voice spoke of purity and violent justice. [COME. TAKE UP THE BANNER. PURITY THROUGH FLAME SHALL BE OURS. JL: “Hey, do you know Miar?” JUSTICE IS BEST SERVED THROUGH THE RINGING CLASH OF STEEL. JL: “Oh yeah dude, that’s cool, I have a friend who’s gonna LOVE that, do you know Tabby?” OUT THROUGH THE SKY LEAP THE LANCES OF HEAVEN TOWARDS OUR FINAL DESTINATION JL: “Cool cool cool, neeeeeat, I’m just gonna head off now, ttyl.” THE SCREAMING OF OUR FOES WILL CARRY US TO REDEMPTION. JL: “Mhm, yeah, I’m gonna just tell Tabby about this, totally her deal, byyyyyyyye.” (This is all a little too intense for our good good party boy)] He backed away. The sword stopped vibrating. Aa’li’naa and the siltheart felt queasy. I didn’t feel anything. The pool flickered and went dark as we left.

No trouble travelling home.

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Expedition 108 - A Promise in Blood
We find the Forge of the Emberheart, and make expansive promises

[Posted on time]

Summary:

  • Tieldanae Perrin, Granddaughter of Leshanna levels to 4
  • Spike Glass levels to 3
  • Ashley Eish levels twice, to 3 from 1
  • We’re a little tighter with the Cavers now because we killed a mega-elephant for them
  • Found the Emberheart in 7.16
  • Pledged to Husk, the Attendant of the Emberheart, that we would help him get Midnight Coral from the Sunless Sea. Tieldanae pledged 4 HP, Ashley 1 HP, Valerian 2 HP, Beth 3 HP, Spike 3 HP, Silverleaf Moonshadow 3 HP
  • Spike Glass was lain low by the explosion of Husk’s servants while Communing with the Emberheart. He lost 1 point of Dex and 1 point of Cha.
  • Spike Glass’s eye can now shoot fire 1/LR. This fire-eye is so rad.
  • XP/GP via spreadsheet

Details:

Expedition 108!

So, I know this is, like, only the second time, I’m going out, but I’m somehow not the baby of the expedition and I am so pumped for that. In our company:

Greataunt Silverleaf Moonshadow, elven high druid and definitely the best
Uncleaunt Valerian Primrose, elven assassin, so stealthy you can only spot them around town if they are wearing 5+ brightly colored scarves (happens more often than you might think)
Aunt Tabitha Loress, human ex-wizard now-warlock? Apparently in being warlockified she upset the balance of pants somewhere and we’re trying to make it right.
Cousin Spike Glass, human ranger. I don’t know how someone who’s only been past the Wall twice manages to be so grizzled, but dayumn. Bottle that up and sell it.
Cousin Ashley Eish, red dragonborn barbarian. She’s completely new and seems nice.
And ME of course! Tieldanae Perrin, Granddaughter of Leshanna. 100% artificial lifeforms, 100% awesome.

We set out over the eastern plains, and the weather is like, chill. Nice and medium. Average.

I hear a weirdly quiet fight off in the distance. An exchange of arrowfire. I use a Pass Without Trace spell to cloak the party in a veil of stillness (I’m learning so much from Silverleaf Moonshadow! Higher druid magic is so sweet) and we advance. Ashley was doing her best but still pretty noisy.

We advance over the lip of the hill and see 6 or 7 Crested Skull launching arrows hopelessly into a swirling mass of blackness advancing towards them over the ground. It is a WRAITH, with an attendant retinue of undead. This was just an HOUR FROM TOWN in 4.13. Silverleaf Moonshadow says “Not our problem,” Beth defers to her, so we just, LEAVE? …

We get into 5.13 and meet Treefriend! “I assume you want the portal.” We stop to warn him about the Wraith and chat for about an hour. He is as cool as I had read. He has all sorts of neat facts about growing things, and I spend 15 minutes learning the name of one of his plants. He refuses to translate plant names into common-ish so the name is ahem rustle-ruSTle-RustlE-swish-RUSTLE-rusTLe-…y’know what, I’ve already forgotten it.

We go through the portal into 7.16, emerging in the petrified forest. It’s sad what happened here. On my first expedition I learned from Rubble (Siltheart dude) that a heart dying caused this. Aunt Beth messed up the Siltheart somehow (Rubble tried to use it to heal her but it got super messed up in the process by sucking all the Corruption out of her) and we’re trying to fix it so something like this doesn’t happen. We are heading to the bridge mesa over the river on the border of 8.16. We intend to kill some megafauna near the there before we go looking for the Emberheart as a favor to the Cavers in the College that Silverleaf Moonshadow and I talked to last time. Valerian plans to do their interpretive dance that attracts the megafauna when we get there, while Silverleaf Moonshadow plans to do some tracking.

We get to the base of the mesa. This mesa is a pair of sandstone pillars that stretch up and over the river. The river is slower here, deep dark sparkling blue. In a webwork, between the two pillars, there seems to be a giant spiderweb or web of some kind, with sparkling white lights. There are cavers in the web, and some cavers on the ground yelling instructions.

As we get closer, we see that this is a dragnet and they are collecting things that have drifted through the river. We openly approach the red hat on the ground. “Oh ho! Stay right there. Trying to surprise us, are we?” Silverleaf Moonshadow: “Hello, we spoke with Yarro in the College. We are here to try to kill some large being near here.” “I see…hmm…well in your story you would have a plant token of his, would you not?” We show him the two mistletoe tokens. “Oh, clever clever clever. I see I see. It’s an honour to meet a few guests of the Great One.” He’s mean, but mean sassy. Mean sassy is actually funny sassy if you think about it!

We discuss plans of hunting. There is some oversized elephant (we think) nearby and the red hat wants us to kill one (just one — they can’t handle any more than one, I guess?) where they are and come back and tell us. Silverleaf Moonshadow asks if casting lightning from the sky will attract the Roc. The red hat replies “The Skymother and her consort often don’t respond to artificial lightning. While they are august and imposing deities, they are also the form and appearance of a bird…without critical thinking skills. I mean no disrespect.” Which, I mean, sick burn.

“I’m so happy to await you and your valuable companions all coming back alive and well.” (Hiss) Then he turns back to the salvage operation. “No no no that’s been in there for WEEKS! That’s not good for eating. Put it back, put it BACK!” at the blue hats trying to stuff a rotten dog corpse into a bag. So like, maybe the lower ranking blue hats aren’t the smartest? Although there are other things in life that matter than smarts (oops don’t tell my mom I said that).

Walking briefly into the forest, Silverleaf Moonshadow’s amazing Survival skills find the giant elephant’s footprints almost immediately. It actually seems like it’s a group of three, and they’ve been actively shredding trees (like elephants do…nature in all its splendor, city-dwelling bebes who are reading this). We follow them for a while, and hear them trudging up in the distance. We pause to consider how we might be able to separate the herd. If we had a Major Image it would be easy to separate them. They also respond negatively to fire and may well scatter in response to it. We’d need to panic them to separate the herd.

Silverleaf Moonshadow plans to use Call Lightning to separate the herd, specifically the bull, and then track it down. I like this plan, because my mom isn’t here so fighting three at once would be sort of hard. Valerian Primrose and Silverleaf Moonshadow stealth up (Valerian to help Silverleaf Moonshadow stealth) to the trio.

The first bolt of lightning flashes down as Silverleaf Moonshadow effortlessly demonstrates once again demonstrates why she is the most powerful druid in Silanya (I didn’t actually see this part, but c’mon. Tell me it didn’t happen exactly like this). The two females startle but stay in place, and the bull makes a break for it and heads for the northwest. So, like, super convenient. The females trumpet a bit and then go back to their tree shredding. Silverleaf Moonshadow and Val get back to the group and we all follow the bull elephant. After about ten minutes, the tracks transition from maddened to calmer. It was moving 100’ a round for nearly ten minutes, so it’s at least two miles away from the rest of the herd now. We can strike.

We finally catch up to it, and I catch my first glimpse of the beast. It is HUGE. Well, actually gargantuan (woooo first fight with a thing the size of a house). It’s 30’ tall, over 40’ long, and it has bonus bony protrusions sticking off other parts of its body, in addition to its highly formidable main tusks. So………………………big.

Valerian lines us up to do an archery volley. I was supes nervous, but this drill was a great way to start. Plus, I have to look cool for Ashley since it’s her first time and I don’t want her to be freaked out. She only has a javelin though so she can’t participate. Spike Glass has his big-ass crossbow. Silverleaf Moonshadow and Beth also have bows. We breath. We’re ready.

Valerian’s unerring shot strikes for 31 damage, I hit!!! for 10, and Spike hits for 13. Silverleaf Moonshadow’s and Beth’s arrows bounce off its stony hide. It trumpets and charges us. We are engaging in a large expanse of grassy / dirt ground. Valerian misses then hides. Spike misses. I hit! Again! I feel like I’m really getting the hang of this. Ashley holds her javelin and readies an action to watch the elephant move towards us. Beth hits with her pact weapon Neato (which can reshape into a variety of different forms), currently as a longbow. Ashley was too psyched to watch the elephant, and accidentally focuses on a distant mesa instead. She decides to move up. Ashley!!! The important thing was that she was trying really hard. Valerian breaks hiding and leads us on a volley. I miss, Beth hits, Spike hits, Silverleaf Moonshadow misses. The elephant surges forward. Val hits it with another arrow then hides, Spike misses.

I turn into a stonetiger (my first time wildshaping outside the wall!!!) and stand between Ashley and the elephant, signaling for her to fall back. Ashley hits with a javelin! She’s doing well. Then falls back. Silverleaf Moonshadow’s arrow bounces off its hide. It’s thick (>15 AC). Silverleaf Moonshadow takes a cavebear form. Beth moves up to be slightly behind the bears because her first Earthen Grasp of the day has a VERY high DC (21, 2 from Hex, 2 from Vicious quirk, 2 from rod of the pactkeeper). The elephant surges to within 30 feet of us and bursts through the DC21 earthen grasp in a frightening feat of extreme power. It towers over us two druids, our bear and tiger forms tiny next to it. Have I mentioned how big it is? Too big.

Valerian bursts from concealment and acrobatics up the side of the beast, climbing its spines and landing lightly on top of it, and they jam their shortsword into the massive beast’s neck for 17 damage, and stays there, balancing on its rolling back (not relying on their weak weak arms…it’s a whole THING). Spike’s quarrel bounces off. Letting my predator’s instincts take over, I pounce between its front legs (it is more than 30’ long), clawing into its back leg for 5 damage (failing to knock it over, unsurprisingly). I end up wrapped around one of its back legs like a domestic housecat around a scratching post.

Ashley rages and uses her breath weapon for a whole 2 points of damage. She is so brave. So ineffectual, but so brave. Her breath weapon is only 15’ long (a cone), so when she backs up a tusk catches her for 42 damage. She doesn’t drop thanks to barbarian rage and the blessings of JP (I’m sure he’ll make me write ‘the Tree’, but c’mon).

Silverleaf Moonshadow demonstrates that efficiency and straightforwardness is the heart of druidism and does 20 damage clawing and biting in place. Beth comes up and Eldritch Smites it uses her trusty handaxe. She slightly nicks the tusk, and then silt and earth pours out of its mouth and all other orifices and it collapses in a massive heap. I disentangle myself from the back legs just in time to see Valerian Primrose dancing down the side like they are strolling through the park. They’re showing off and I love it.

Silverleaf Moonshadow plants her mistletoe in the corpse and empowers it and a thin line of magic traces back to the mesa. We head back that way. On the way back to the mesa a flock of majestic silvery white birds pass overhead. On closer inspection they look like identical copies of the same bird. Beth calls to them in Sylvan. “Hey! Birds!” (but like, a high charisma version of that…have I mentioned how PRETTY Beth is? She has this…presence. Hard to believe she used to be a wizard like mom).

The birds freeze in place in the air and a tall blond fey woman who is naked except for a cloak of white feathers appears in front of us. “Well you are very forward.” Spike Glass activates his modron eye to look at her in truesight. Her unglamoured form is taller, more birdlike, and she has a silver and teeth crown, she has a bird-beak, and is hiding a tall bone spear behind her. Spike Glass tells her she can stop hiding the spear. She starts talking in common. She reveals the spear and turns it into a silver and gold tree. I greet her. She says “You can call me Peregrin, I suppose. I don’t see many of you around here.” I point out that I’m one of a kind. We have a brief discussion of my heritage and druidic connection. “I can’t quite decide what I think of you, which is unusual.” Valerian hits on Peregrin and gets rebuffed with a white feather that if you rub it on your face it is the essence of being alone in a dark storm and lost and knowing your way back to your flock.

Peregrin is impressed and surprised that Silverleaf Moonshadow is clean (corruption free). “I like to control when I change.” SM says. “That is a great deal of wisdom,” Peregrin replies. “If you ever want to get in touch with me, that one’s feather should be able to.” Peregrin tells us to tell the cavers that we saw a group of large exgenus birds that were not migrating but were flying south. “That will set their project back 6 months. I enjoy jesting with them this way.” Peregrin suggests that the Cavers are “When you’re around until the place closes down, you want to leave some ‘Here Be Dragons.’ “ She warns us to contact her more politely the next time, probably coming bearing gifts.

When we get back to the cavers, the smaller ones have put up a giant banner that says “Congrats on a successful hunt!” in Gnomish. They are aDORable! They’ve set up a bunch of tables with cured meats and gloopy cheeses etc. The red hat dude greets us. “There was a big scary lady and then she was a bird and she warns that if we went outside the sky will rain fire.” He’s been charmed and messed with. Silverleaf Moonshadow wipes it away with a Dispel Magic, but that turns all his hair into white feathers. The red cap examines himself in a pool. “Oh! It appears we have been visited by a Great One. We accept their little pranks as business goes on.” This guy’s name Pine. He is surprised we all survived (nyeh!). He tells us that the mistletoe hides the corpse from predators. Cool cool cool, good to know.

Pine tells us that we’ve earned trade credits, which we can redeem for ores or gems or the College. We tell him we want to redeem it for gems. He also tells us about rest of the mesa. The top part is their community, which is off-limits for us. Like, fair. We are allowed to go down but not up. There’s something high up they still don’t want us to interfere with and/or we might be accidentally ambushed by border guards higher. Silverleaf Moonshadow tells him that if they end up in your tunnels it will be an accident and we will leave. It’s so funny that she thinks she’s not the leader.

We head underground by the route that goes SW, since the SE route goes to the mines and the W route goes to another caver settlement. That route splits and we pick a direction at random. We find a huge midden heap dozens of feet high and on top of it is a giant maggot that has a human mouth and has half metamorphosed into a fly. It asks “Do we have a body?” We don’t. It burrows back into the midden heap. We return the way we came and hear a vast rustling sound ahead of us. We send Valerian ahead to go scout. They find that there are a selection (>10) of large snakes loosely heading in our direction. We head back to the midden heap. The maggot is still there. “Still no body?” “We have a bunch of snake bodies coming here.” “Good, yes, yes, thank you.” It burrows back into the heap. We keep to the edges and wade through the gross midden heap. There might be more than one weird maggot being, or the same one where it forgets the conversation like a goldfish. As we proceed against the middenheap we hear the snakes starting to fight something. Valerian is able to glide across the top without getting their spiderclimb boots dirty, somehow. We call this place “The Great Midden” and it’s a minor point of interest. Not sure where the food is coming from.

We get to the point where there is a set of stairs down, and the path continues up ahead. We walk down the old stairs. They are so old the middle has been worn down slightly by countless footfalls. Ahead of us is a chamber that is slightly lit, and there is a well in the center of the room with a winch on it, and a statue on the side of the room and the statue has a finger on its lips to indicate silence. We leave (without making a noise, duh).

We proceed down the path. After we go a few hundred meters we hear a low susurrus of conversation from several hundred voices in a dozen languages echoing ahead of us. Valerian stealths ahead to check it out. It’s an empty room. When Valerian gets into the room they see a huge glass tree with a bunch of apples hanging off of it. The apples seem to be vibrating and the sounds are originating from the tree. When I listen to the tree I hear my mother say that something "isn’t fair” in a surprisingly sad, not angry, tone. Valerian hears the last thing Virtue said to them before Virtue left for Silanya (“Nice hat, dickwad.”). Silverleaf Moonshadow heard Bugle while the two of them were training. OTHER PEOPLE HEAR THINGS THAT THE DM WILL FILL IN LATER.

Past the glass tree we get to a vast round chamber lit by an orangey glow lit from below and there is a pit in the middle of the room with smoke rising out of it and up into a cylindrical space above us. This is probably a vent above the Forge, we think. Investigating the room, Valerian spotted that there is a lot of traffic through this room. One of the other three entrances to the room is where a lot of the traffic came from. We go that way and hear the faint sound of hammering. We take the time to put on our dirtcrowns from the Siltheart, even though I have to TAKE MY HAT OFF to do it. It’s fine. It’s not like it’s less fashionable or anything. We get to a room that is 80 feet across and 20 feet high and there is a lake of fire in this room. The fire is being stirred by these deer elk beings that amble through the pool, lapping up the flames and pouring it back out.

As we enter, one of them sees us and lowers itself into a charging posture and emits a challenging grunt. Rude. Silverleaf Moonshadow address it in all her languages, and gets some response in elven. “We spoke with Rubble by the Siltpool. He asked us to come here and get the tender to help him.” The fire elk charges and we all try to scramble out. I get scooted out of the room by Val, one fire elf gores, knocks prone, and stomps on Silverleaf Moonshadow. Double rude!!! Silverleaf Moonshadow then turns into a massive elk and backs out of the room, pushing Beth with her antlers. The fire elk doesn’t take an attack of opportunity on Silverleaf Moonshadow.

We regroup and realize we have two other ways to try diplomacy. The first is Beth rides back in on elk-back (riding Silverleaf Moonshadow), her uncanny Siltheart charisma boosted by an Unearthly Chorus. Beth rolls Persuasion (24). “We have been asked by the Siltheart to come here and treat with the Forge. If you don’t want us to pass, we won’t.” She is so fly. Like she’s running for president of the world and the world isn’t a collection of horrible tyrannic oppressive monarchies and it’s fine some scribe will edit this before it gets to the mainland anyways. The elk look to the door, and on the far side a rumbly voice in Terran says “Yes, yes, let them in.” The elk drink from the pool until it the level lowers and a path is revealed through the middle. The elk glow so so brightly, containing most of the pool in themselves. (The second way was going to be Speak With Animals).

The interior of the Forge is HOT. So hot that it is tiring to move. The rest of the party (who actually sweat) are doing way worse than me. The Crown of Light keeps me from overheating too badly. The elk eye us angrily (but not Beth, because she pretty). Inside the glowing stone door, we find a massive stone forge with all the implements of stone and a bunch of half-finished stone and metal projects around.

The attendant of the Forge is a 14’ or 15’ tall figure with fiery chains wrapped around him. He’s beefy.

He speaks in a deep booming voice. “Did you kill Rubble? Did you take Rubble’s place?” No he’s ok. He asked us to come, Beth replies. “Oh, he was always good at surviving.” He pauses temporarily and there’s a bulging of his features. He laughs, but like, an angry grim laugh. “I used to be a lot prettier before everything went to shit up top. How’s he doing.” He’s…more or less intact, Beth informs him. “Some people get all the luck I suppose.”

Beth tells him what happened (how she had suffered a tremendous head wound that was going to severely interfere with her ability to do magic and Rubble plunged her into the Siltheart to heal her but it changed her into a warlock and washed away all her corruption and made the Siltheart really…something. Angry? Roiled?). The attendant laughs again. Genuine amusement, but cruel. “He had a clean source and he dunked one of the strays from the outside right in the middle of it?” Yes, that is an apt description of me, Beth says. “Happy as I am to hear that there’s someone else who’s trapped in my ass-awful position [he means unable to leave the heart], what’s that got to do with me?" We tell him that Rubble said he could help somehow.

“You want me to wake up the boss, and have my boss tell your boss to go back to sleep?” He asks incredulously. I think that’s what Rubble wanted, Beth replies. “So you woke up your Dad on Saturday morning and you now want me to wake up my Dad to put your Dad back to sleep.” Yes.

“So as a hypothetical question, how sarcastic do you think you might be if you hadn’t left a room in 700 years.” Like a +9? Beth replies. “I see why the Siltheart chose you. You’re a…….well." He pauses to think.

“If I help you right now right here I can give you a task to get some very particular things for a very particular project…it’s a way to get out of here. I want out of here. I need out of here. I’ve been chained to this old sinking rock of a broken thing and I cannot bear a second longer.” What do you need to leave? “We’ll discuss that later. If I wake him up, a bit of him is going to come through and you’ll need to deal with it. How tough are you on a scale of 1 to Skymother?” We think we could probably take it. “Alright, let’s do it.”

He makes us promise to get those ingredients in the future by putting our hands on the Forge. I promise and lose 4 max HP. After a beat he prompts the rest of the party to make the same promise. Ashley loses 1 max HP, Valerian loses 2 max HP, Beth loses 3 max HP, Silverleaf Moonshadow loses 3 max HP, and Spike loses 3 max HP. Our hands still feel warm, and seem to glow imperceptibly, depending on how you look at them.

When we ask if he has somewhere we can nap, a detritus pile shifts and there’s a small storeroom that’s heat insulated. The other 5 members of the party head there to rest and I stay with Husk (the attendant of the Forge) for the day and talk to him about his projects. Because he’s keeping the Forge less hot and I have some spiffy unique anatomy that lets me stand the heat, this is a fun 20 hours. He starts and discards or resumes half a dozen projects, constantly pushing for…something. I feel like I learn a lot about fire magic based stonework, although if that relates to anything outside of this room, I don’t know man.

The next day, we prepare for the fight. He’s going to have the Emberheart in him and not be in control of his body while he communes with it, so we’ll have to subdue him or hold him off. Silverleaf Moonshadow fills the room fill of wolves and is an acid cavebear. Taking her cue from the last fight, I am a stonebear instead of a stonetiger. Bear by bear. Ready for anything. We hide the people who can’t turn into bears behind us.

Husk starts invoking the Emberheart and his body bulges so the chains are constraining him and his eyes are fire. He grabs a hammer and flame leaps across it and to all his four dwarf sized metallic servants, and we are fighting (we have to subdue the flame in him).

He swings twice at Silverleaf Moonshadow, missing once, and dealing 20 damage. The four servants charge me and SM and damage us both out of our bear forms with a flurry of powerful blows, and Husk slams the floor and chains spring up from the floor, ensnaring me, several wolves, Ashley, and a few other people. The wolves fall on one of the servants, rending and tearing, and Beth finishes it off. I turn into a bear but I’m still ensnared. I claw at some things. Ashley tries to break out of her chains but can’t. Silverleaf Moonshadow turns into a giant acidic snake and constricts one of the small servants, who Valerian then shoots. Then Husk whales on her twice. The small servant that is being grappled lashes out at her, only hitting once, but then the second servant hits twice. The wolves wink out of existence. The last servant knocks me out of my second bear form. Husk raises his hammer up, and his eyes bulge and 25 fire damage bursts out of Silverleaf Moonshadow, but she gets an EPIPHANY instead of passing out.

Beth smites down a second servant. Spike deftly scoops up the healing gourd from Ashley and patriotically dives into the deadly melee of titans and succors Silverleaf Moonshadow. Ashley axes the servant belaboring Silverleaf Moonshadow. Silverleaf Moonshadow summons another pack of wolves, and the third servant falls and the other and Husk take damage.

Husk somehow missed Silverleaf Moonshadow twice. Seeing the situation slipping away, the last servant charges Silverleaf Moonshadow to try to break her concentration. He barely breaks through the attacks of opportunity and deals some damage, then Husk raises his hammer and the three fallen servants explode in flame. Silverleaf Moonshadow, Spike Glass, and I all drop. Ashley passes both her saves (she needed a 14 both times and got 14! Good thing for her +1 Dex mod!) and only takes 7 damage (half damage from passing save, half damage from fire from being a fire dragonborn). My temporary injury is disadvantage on investigation. Silverleaf Moonshadow gets a SECOND epiphany and doesn’t go down. Spike Glass gets a permanent injury after eating the brunt of the explosions and going from full HP to dropped, losing 1 Dex and 1 Cha. Ouch.

Beth brings me back with a potion. I cure wounds SM and healing word Spike Glass. Ashley misses with her axe. Silverleaf Moonshadow summons a THIRD pack of wolves, and they also get to act immediately! (Twice we’ve gotten lucky on 1/3 chance of wolves going). The wolves only get 1 hit on the last servant (who was healed in the fire explosion), but 4 hits on Husk. Husk manages to hit Silverleaf Moonshadow, finally, and the last wolves vanish, but Silverleaf is still standing until the last servant charges over and knocks her down with a critical.

Then the flame flashes in from the forge and Husk comes back to himself. “Ohohohoho. I kicked your guys’ asses. Feels good to have that much juice running through you.” He offers to put some flame in Silverleaf. She declines. He whispers in her ear in druidic “It’s for the best. This is no kind of life.”

He then tells us that Emberheart and him were able to wrestle Siltheart down temporarily. So….the Emberheart is alive, but asleep most of the time? Weird. He mentions that the Emberheart wanted to fry everyone in this room until they weren’t flesh anymore, but he stopped it. I mention I’m not entirely flesh. He nods approvingly. "Whoever did you did some good work. I’ve been trying for years to make some sort of organic hybrid. A lot of homework went into you.” He’d probably like my mom.

“Rubble will probably sleep for the next three days now that he can finally take a break. Silt has a message for you [Beth] the next time you go to sleep.”

“I’ve done my thing for you, and I acknowledge that the timing is less than ideal. On the level below here is the Sunless Sea. Water as far as the eye can see. Dark dark dark. If you look around far enough you can find something called Midnight Coral. I want to try crafting with it. I need enough of it to make a good medium size breastplate. It might help me with a problem of mine. We’ll try that. If that doesn’t work, there’s one more thing. If this doesn’t work, I’ll send you to go get the second thing. If it does work, I’ll tell you about the second thing so you can go looking for it yourself if you want.”

SM – How will the Midnight Coral help you? Response is a string of words that doesn’t make sense.
SM – When you leave what happens to this place? “Not my problem, not your problem. This place existed before me. I think it can last ten minutes without me sititng here making these useless piles of shit.” Throws plate against a wall.

Hints for surviving the Sunless Sea? “Breath water.”

“Do you have anything I can tinker with?” he asks me. (I think he likes me because I kept him company).
I ask if he can make my leather armor stone studded leather armor (and thus druid-wearable). He examines it. He breaks some stone spikes off of a nearby half-finished massive stone axe and adds it to the armor, humming as he goes along. When he finishes, it’s upgraded from leather to studded leather, and now fits like a glove. The armor now counts as +1 versus elementals and once per expedition when I am attacked by a flame attack I can use my reaction to absorb the flame and instead heal for half the damage dealt. I still have the old +1 vs ranged attacks and can dodge 1/expedition as a bonus action.
+800gp magic value

He also offers to improve something else. When Silverleaf Moonshadow offers her shield, he immediately starts work on it. “I don’t do this for just everybody, but I feel bad kicking the shit out of you. Not a violent person by nature.” Silverleaf Moonshadow bore the brunt of his aggression.
SM’s shield, if you wear it when you turn into a wildshape it’ll add your wildshape AC to your wildshape, but you’ll have to make a concentration check or it’ll mess up the wildshape somehow. This is worth +800 gp.

He breathes heavily. “I have juice for one more thing.”
Spike asks Husk to modify his eye. “This’ll go real well or real bad.”
The eye can now do a 6d6 fire damage attack once a Long rest, but it does 2d6 to Spike.
SPIKE IS A CYBORG COWBOY WITH A LASER EYE

“Ok, I’m pooped. I channeled the Forge, I channeled the Forge somemore, now I’m out.”

Once we get out, the fire lake is very low and the elks are all huddled together for warmth on one side. We short rest in view of the elk.

We make it back out, we find out way back through the Glass Tree, past the weird well, wade through the poop room (which has a bunch of snake corpses near one side of it). The weird maggot beings are talking to the dead snakes.

We bypass them, get back to the mesa, get 2000gp of Diamonds from the Cavers, and go salvage the elephant bones (150gp) and tusks (200gp). Then we sleep over with the Cavers.

The next day we make it back to the portal uneventfully and decide to romp around the plains a bit and see 7 direwolves sneaking up on us. I spotted them slightly before Silverleaf Moonshadow, but she was slightly faster on the draw than me and summoned 8 normal wolves and turned into a cavebear. The direwolves charge Silverleaf Moonshadow (in imposing bear form) and she takes a bunch of damage and loses her wolves. The wolves have surrounded us and Valerian took a TON of damage (37) but didn’t drop, but is prone. I turn into a stonebear and murder one of the wolves on Valerian. Valerian slips away into the tall grass. Beth rips another wolf apart. Spike hunters marks one of the wolves on SM, and SM almost finishes that wolf off.

The two wolves facing me race. I snap at them but do not follow. The three on Silverleaf Moonshadow are enraged and tear into her. Ashley misses but was in it. I lumber over and chomp into the injured wolf, but it still stands. Valerian launches an unerring bolt in from hiding to almost drop a healthy wolf. They are so cool. Beth’s axe fells the wolf I bit. Spike takes out a wolf with an arrow, then slightly singes a wolf with his new fire-eye. It needs some work.

Then we make it home.

Good trip! I hope Ashley sticks around. She was on the fence about this whole guild thing.

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Expedition 107 - The Last Survivors

Posted on time

Summary:

  • Taelis levels to 2
  • Found a pre-cataclysm city with “survivors”
  • XP/GP via spreadsheet

Details:

We departed, moving through portal by the Ents, and emerged in Broken Forest. Before reaching the bridge, ambushed by four saberteeth. Dispatched them, Linna was polymorphed into a Brotosaurus and we dropped of 600lbs/1200gp of stuff at portal. Trying again, swarm of large wasps began emerging from ground. Plants were grown and ice thrown to slow their emergence. That combined with a spirit guardians kept them out until we reached safety and the swarm dispersed.

A few portals later, we emerged to the (formerly) dragon lair. A short trek south leads to a magically protected tunnel. While smashing it down, a mouth appeared and told us off for thinking with our fists, directing to a different location.

A bunch of dudes in inadequate armor met us at the location. Bugle brought up some relevant observations about their defenses, which was not well received on their part. They revealed that there were either descendants or original inhabitants of Copros. THeir tower had survived (though barely), protecting them from the rest of the destruction. After revealing our nature, they hesitantly let us in.

Apparently, the rules of hospitality required feeding us. Of the city, only the Foundry, Market, and E-living halls remained as major sections of the city.

Important People:
- Marius: The head guard who let us in.
- Ardak: The head priest?
- Delos: The high druid (420)

Ardak cast on non-clerical Zone of Truth, and we promptly pissed him off with our random shit. We eventually swore to do no unprompted harm to them, and then began providing assistance. We also got a tour of their foundry, and met their pet acid-breathing dragon. In thanks for the first round of help, they provided Sovan with one of their fancy shields.

We then went off to their mines to help clear out some baddies. Turns out those baddies was over a dozen trolls. We managed to dispatch 5 before asking the Copros-ians for some backup. With their assistance, we slew all twelve trolls and their overly large leader (though a Coprosian and a handy hatchet were lost). They offer more of their armory as thanks.

<some>

The druids cast an expediting spell, and we briskly returned home. (Nothing happened because IRL timing)

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Expedition 106 - Clearing Out Some Banded

September 1, 2018

[log posted on time]

Characters
Tabby – sorc 6
Night – monk 6
Quincy – fighter 6
Martin – cleric 6

Character Changes
Tabby and Martin +1 corruption

XP/GP – See Spreadsheet

Notable Items
2 Earthstones (200 gp each) – Can be used as a crafting component. If held, user can spend an action to tunnel 5’ through earth (not solid stone). Does not require attunement to do so.

Manual for an Astral Gate Ritual (100 gp) – Instructions on how to create a portal to the Astral Plane at the Monestary of the Planes in 8.11

A Treatise on Planar Encroachment (50gp) – book detailing how a concentration of planar creatures causes aspects their home plane to manifest at their location.

Log
On our way through the plains, we saw smoke in the hobgoblin camp in 5.12. Sneaking over to check it out, we saw a fiery creature attacking the hobs. We left them to their fates and continued on.

Further on, we noticed that a bunch of boulders seemed to have been specifically placed there. They seemed to form a rough arrow towards the river, so we followed it. Quincy smelled some magic across the river, so we followed it to a crevice with a small glowing stone orb inside.

On our way through 7.11, we went to the GrosQua fort to take a short rest, but none of the QG who recognized us were there, so Martin cast Tongues on Tabby and she talked our way in, and chatted with the GQ while we rested.

Apparently most of the GQ who like us have disappeared; they just left one day a few months ago, taking some of the stuff but not enough to indicate a long trip — they brought what they would need for a short excursion, but just never came back. Apparently the shaman who came with them had been fighting with the new people (sometimes in the winter new people show up, we assume they’re falling through from the rest of Silanya, where ever that is), so it’s possible the GQ left because they’d been fighting, but no one really know. It wasn’t any particular coherent group who left, just random people from various family groups, many of whom were leaving other family members behind.

As we travelled onward, we noticed that a hill seemed to be wobbling a bit, like the earth was unsteady. When we went to check it out, it turned out to be a group of GQ including a few earthbenders, who attacked us. (Strong ones were AC 19, 40ish hp, plus some weaker ones and a shaman. At least some of them have tremorsense.) We dispatched them fairly easily, though the shaman escaped. Quincy searched them for valuables (one of them carried another glowing orb) while Tabby made sketches so we could ask the fort GQ to identify them, and Martin examined the bodies. They seemed to be somewhat sickly, perhaps with something akin to a vitamin deficiency, although the symptoms didn’t match any specific vitamin deficiency that we know of. We took one of the bodies for Martin to autopsy in town.

(The autopsy indicated that there was some kind of magical energy that these GQ had previously been exposed to and then deprived of, and they seemed to possibly be in some kind of withdrawal, causing them to whither and go a little crazy. We hadn’t seen any extra magical energy in the main GQ forts, so these guys probably came from somewhere else.)

We found a place to long rest, and overnight we saw six collectors (winged Banded) dragging an unconscious millitaur and an unconscious earthmover. They didn’t notice our camp so we let them pass.

The next morning, we ran across a BB hunting party on our way, but did not engage with them. We crossed the dragging path of the collectors again, they seemed to be headed NE.

The magical fallout zone around the former Felltower seems to be fading; it’s down to about 1/3 to half from where it started.

When we got to the door, the place didn’t smell very good magically. Detect Magic showed transmutation and necromancy. We went inside and cleared the place out, fighting more than two dozen Banded, including two casters, and an air elemental. When the air elemental died, it exploded outward with magical energy, and Tabby and Martin failed saves and each took 1 corruption from being caught in the blast.

The building seems to be a church to Vos, a god of the planes and in between places. Vos’s domain extends over the Astral Plane and the borders of the Outer Planes. If the place were fully functioning, if could possibly be used as a portal to the Astral Plane (75 Arcana research points to understand the instructions in the book we found on how to open it).

We wandered around the north part of 8.11 but didn’t find anything interesting, there doesn’t seem to be much there. On our way back, we saw a large number of giant ants emerging from a newly excavated burrow (POI, new ant burrow), which we avoided.

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Expedition 105 - Mud Bath
Also have you heard that the Keeper is amazing? He can do no wrong and stands for all the good in the world and is just a real neat dude.

Attendees:

Camille de la Fleur du Plusieurs de la Lumière et du Noir
Beth (Limus Tabitha)
Silverleaf Moonshadow
a CPC – Martin van Horne

Aythe von Dusthafen (joined to stay with the keeper)

Character Changes:
Camille is cured of all permanent injuries and regains all 29 hp lost by poison fruit. Gets +2 CHA and an annoying sense of righteousness (adv on socil check with celestials and super LG creatures, dis with everyone else)
Camille eats another poison fruit and gains +90ft darkvision

Beth… uh… we’ll get to that.

Loot Collected:
Goat Hides – 80gp
Goat Horns – 240gp
Book 1 – 150gp Claimed by Beth
Book 2 – 10gp
Book 3 – 10gp
Cold Iron Ingots (Anti Fey/Elemental) – 1000gp (50 each)
Earthen Bomb Heart – 450gp Claimed by Sil
Restoration Plants – 600gp Claimed by Sil
Fire Spider Heart*2 – 300 each Claimed by Sil

Log:
We leave city. Weather boring. Me bored. Eat plant growing out of my skin and feel good. (rolled a 20) Walk a while and see Blazing Banner in field. We too strong and cool to need to deal with them. Keep going to magic transport thingy and go to jungle. Mean snakes stuck in weird stasis now gone completely. New small weak bridge built over river.

We get to garden and masterful amazing keeper gives me tasty fruit and makes me stronger. Camille happy to be so blessed. Meanwhile small weird bard go with keeper and cherub. Great decision. Keeper is the bestest. Keeper even teleport us to Shelly so we no need to walk.

Snakes freak out when we appear (they think we black monk snakes) but stay cool. Shelly takes Sil to do errand too secret for Camille and Martin and invites Sil to be snake diplomat. Keeper no like snakes so me no want to hang out with them anyway.

Head out and see monk snake (Loam) beating up poison spawn and trapping them with ki. Fighting with a lot of style. Me admire. We move on though and see slow tree man (ent). We no have time to chat so we go through fast circle (portal).

When get through portal there are 4 2-head goats. Me have not killed anything yet so we attack and destroy goats. Collect warm pelts and horns that increase sex prowess probably. During fight Beth fireballs self. Is pretty hilarious. (Beth rolled a 1 on a beard leaf fireball).

We see small buried box. Me remember when I open box before and kill bat. Get Beth to look at box before I open. Beth says box is cool to open. I open box and ring of fire engulfs us and burns entire area. Beth misty steps box out, Sil turn into animal and walk through, Martin and Camille walk through fire because we cool. (Me just joking. Martin not cool.)

There was flower in box but it burn away. Me see many cold iron balls below box and me carry as many as I can. Also 3 books in box for nerds to read. We rest for little bit because of ouch fire.

After rest, ground shake and small pathetic rock men attack us from below. When me hit one for the first time plant I ate earlier makes it super strong! Thank you keeper! When rock people take damage they get bigger and cooler. We kill 2 and last one gets very humongous big and asplodes. Does damage but leaves neat soul thingy. It getting late so we go to sleep. Me dream of the keeper.

When we wake up, pretty circles drawn all around us. Beth uses big brain to find out it tracks us if we walk through. Beth makes snide comment “we prefer to be asked where we’re going.” Turns out fey drew the circle and hear Beth and invite us to follow them. They play nice music and we follow, but they trick us and shoot Beth for talking back to them. Man with big axe also walks into the open. They say we smell like Siltheart and they don’t like that smell. (If only they knew we going to smell much more like Siltheart after ha haha ha!)

One man plays very scary music with horns and I run away. When I get back (After sticking used loincloth in ears to mute sound. Me still smart.), Sil is up tree, Beth is knocked out (-5 INT permanent injury) and Martin is being nerd. Luckily, before cowardly running up tree Sil made some wolves. The wolves go bye bye quick but did good damage. Together we fight well enough that main fey with axe gives us chance to surrender. We accept then he laughs and says we would have killed him. Very sad. Me throw spear at one guy running away and miss. He tries to take spear but Sil shoots moon attack at him and he dies. Never take Camille’s spear. (It was McDonald spear but me make McDonald offer they could not refuse.)

We go to Mesa and snake building has glowy eyes. We stay away. Me see farming bird person and call him loser. He obviously terrible bird to get exiled from cool birds. He no seem to like Camille and swears revenge. It no matter because he imprisoned and also Camille could kick the shit out of him and his silly rake. Me think about clobbering him and all of a sudden time flies and we at Siltheart.

Man in room speaks Dwarven. Me no like but at least we can understand. His name Rubble. Me tell him about time other Sil come and tell us about universe tearing apart and maybe ending soon. He no like that but he tells us about forest towers. They hold elements together (Earth, wind, fire, water) and are protected by team of guardians. He is brain and pool of dirt is brawn. Camille could beat up inanimate pool of dirt for sure. One brave man absorbed corruption to keep Rubble safe, and is locked in tower. JP tell Camille not to open towers. Camille have pamphlet. We leave tower alone.

Rubble sees Beth is injured and offers swim in dirt to make all better. After long brain think, Beth accepts and is sucked in. When Beth comes out, Beth is suddenly a dirt wizard (warlock) and dirt pool is all mad. Rubble is very upset and says we need to go to forge to talk to fire heart and get him to tell earth heart to calm the fuck down.

Before we leave, Rubble makes our crowns not smell (siltheart smell angers Fey and werejackyls) Beth swears she will fix heart problem.

We leave and explore more of mesa. While moving, 3 hot spiders come out of ground and attack us. Ground also starts turning into lava and hurts a lot. Spiders surround Camille which is bad idea because Camille best at standing in lava for prolonged periods of time. We kill spiders and 2 of them drop small fire balls into lava, but Camille is strong and angry and picks them up before they fall too far in. We travel little more and see a building full of snakes. We look at dirt wizard Beth, lame Martin, and tired Sil and say “fuck this” and head home.

The End.

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