Fractured Realms

The Dark Magic Poisoning Sylus' Family Tree
Adventure Log 18

Darkmage by ketka
Post Goetherall Mansion wrap up:
Sylus is now aware of the existance of Justina Goetherall, learned when he found a discarded family portrait naming her. She is Sylus’ true mother. How much he tells the party is up to him.

The dark mage, Orton Belos (pictured above), hired by Sylus’ surrogate mother (pictured below) to deal with his real parents (Justina and Johan) created the teleportation system in the mansion so the family would have privacy during the pregnancy. The house was also warded to keep the mansion invisible to the denizens of the Shadowfell, but whatever was breaking the crystal ball was also breaking the wards. When the wards were breached by undead, the dark mage fled and left his servants to continue work.

His work consisted of keeping track of 1) a specific celestial event through the orrery (the device used to track the complicated dance of the cosmos, reflected in miniature like an illusion above you), 2) keeping tabs on a small number of people, 3) very recently trying to figure out who was breaking the wards.

The dark ones the party faced were servants of the Belos in charge of the mansion. From a log Belos kept, it became apparent that maddening wraiths had been driving the servants insane and turning them against the Dark Mage. The only dark ones to resist were the ones in the final fight and Nadir the butler. Nadir died to one of the corrupted dark ones. He was later raised as a zombie to continue serving the house. Nadir was the zombie that was throwing the contents of random shelves at the party and talking to you guys a bit.

After the fight with Nadir, the party found 6 potions that could not be identified during a short rest. After an extended rest the party can figure out that they are:
1 Attack: Area burst 1 within 10 (creatures in the burst); +9 vs. Reflex
2 Fire Burst: Ongoing 10 fire damage (save ends).
1 Cold Burst: 2d6 cold damage, and the target is immobilized (save ends).
2 Blinding Burst: 2d6 radiant damage, and the target is blinded (save ends).
1 Stunning Burst: The target gains 5 temporary hit points and is dazed (save ends).

Sylus mom
Sylus has a dream during your next extended rest. He is lost in a house full of shadow and fog. As he searches the rooms, each appears empy, barren even of furniture. Suddenly he hears a children crying. Running upstairs, he enters a room he feels is his own, though it clearly is not. On the floor of the room sit three figures. Two small boys are crying, kneeling before the third figure as if having just been scolded. They are Sylus and his brother Malthus. The woman has her back to Sylus, but he knows it is his stepmother. She turns with a hideous laugh and from her hands, eyes, and mouth sprout thick black tentacles that wrap around Sylus’ body and paralyze him. Trapped, the tentacles tighten their grip. Sylus wants to shout, but he can get no air to speak. Feeling no hope for breath and death imminent, he wakes up, gasping, sweating, and hearing his mother’s voice whisper in his head, “I’m gonna get you sucka!”

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Magical Haunts in Olde Roen
Adventure Log 17

Blue laser crystal
Moving deeper into the wooded park in the dreamlike realm they seemed to have entered after Redra cast her ritual, the party sees a blue light hovering amidst tombstones. Upon closer inspection of the light, skeletal creatures raised themselves up from the cemetary ground and attacked. Following them was a large demonic humanoid with a large flaming sword, a nightmare, a devil creature from a nether plane. It became apparent that he appeared from an extra dimension. Other servants of his ran into the battle from the seams ripped between realms.

“You aren’t who I am looking for. No matter, I will kill you anyway.”

The party circled the wagons, protecting Redra. The demonic creature went invisible, making it difficult to keep track of him. Federin and Varis focused their fire on the demon, searching the air with their blades. The rest of the party contained the skeletal minions, slowly dispatching them. Federin and Varis finally pinned down the demon. Ultimately, the heroes won it, destroying the demon and his helpers, setting free Redra from from her curse.

Redra was obviously releaved and thankful to Sylus after the battle. She hung on his arm all the way to her place, where they were expecting to say goodbye. Redra, in passing, made note of strange lights appearing in the old estate house of Sylus’ family. The party decided to risk one last diversion on their way out of Dodge.

At the entrance to the old manor house, the party ran into two wraiths as a welcome back to the psionics ancestral home. The wraiths rose from the floors of the building, taking reduced damage from attacks and becoming invisible upon being hit. At one point they dominated Andxor and had him attack Sylus, wounding the psionic as he’d not been in quite a long time. The heroes turned the tables on the undead, and Andxor was released from their control. They dominated the wraiths with their might and destroyed the creatures once and for all.

Deeper into the house, the party entered the central courtyard, a place that had become wild and overgrown. Ghouls were snacking on bodies and turned to make a meal of the party. They rushed through the opened doors, and the party waited in the hall, surrounding them as they emerged, senidng them to their ultimate doom.

Once inside the room, small thorn sprites began to attack the party, remaining unseen amidst the difficult terrain. Federin used his fey origin to teleport behind the attacking sprites as the rest of the party moved in. The sprites were found and put down. Some minor treasure was found and pocketed.

The party investigated a door connected to the courtyard. A man with gaunt, boney features greeted them worriedly. After a brief, tense exchange, he stepped back from the door, to allow the party entrance. Once inside, it was clear to the party that things were amiss. Those gathered inside seemed to up to something suspicious. A glowing blue crystal was set in a statue atop a small table. The crystal glowed and a mist hung about the object. All of a sudden, the woman seeming to lead the group broke the tension and attacked the party. Her men followed suit. The party focused fire and bloodied the woman before she could act, shaking her composure, in fact, driving her quite insane with rage. This shifted battle as their leader was taken strategically out of the battle. Those seeking to exploit the break between realms whose ground zero was in Sylus ancestral home quickly lost their cause to the heroes.

After the battle, the party took a quick rest. The party examined the crystal and found that the Shadowfell was creeping in. They activated the crystal to travel to the Shadowfell, but thick black tentacles burst out of thin air and grabbed the party. Federin was knocked unconscious by the shock of traveling between realms so suddenly. Brandis and Varis were put down by the tentacles, but Andxor and Sylus oversaw the victory over the tentacles of black magical energy.
589 evards black tentacles kpl01

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On the Run II
Adventure Log 16

Federin illiwynd defector duke of westwinal
Our heroes didn’t go too far before they decided to double back a bit to see what the Aeristhyde might do. In the wilderness plains, the group was confronted by the infamous White Cloaks, who Noddyl explains are an Aeristhyde special forces corps. They were able to fend off the small scouting party, but it was clear more would come if they remained. They headed will all speed in an indirect route to Roen. Once there, Noddyl left them …

The city was like a waking dream, where the seemingly world-shaking events of the past few weeks were erased. The busy commercial trade and traffic of horse carts and people distracted them from the terrible unease that had almost become their new normal. They were questioned by guards at the gate, but it was routine. They found a nice inn and tavern to rest their weary souls, The Purple Worm, and talked a bit with the owner, Skohl, a barkeep with a stump for a left hand and a large black moustache. He was of medium height and ably built. His missing member seemed to cause him no disability as he went about his job.

After securing rooms, the party went out to check in with one of Sylus’ old friends from magic school, Redra, or Red for short, to get the scoop on local happenings. She reported that the city announced a plague had erupted in the plains and taken over the city of Laranyss. That all who came from there were subject to paranoid delusions, a first sign of the impending sickness and death they would suffer. If the person was considered delusional, they were to be considered contagious and should be reported to the city guard or self-report to one of a few medical stations set up around the city. When the party told Redra that they had come from Laranyss, she grew frightened. They quickly assuaged her fears of the plague but replaced them with the horror of their own story and the eladrin army that had chased them here.

The party decided to chance a return to The Purple Worm only to find a pair of guards standing curiously near the door, and it became clear their escape from trouble was, to say the least, short-lived. Sylus asked Redra to go ahead and find out if the guards were their for them. Redra agreed, and she was able to find out that the party was indeed the target of the guards inquiry. They were seeking primarily Sylus, but they were also interested in those he traveled with. It was known that they were from Laranyss, and apparently that was of some concern to the guards. The party discreetly made their way back to Redra’s place, where she agreed to let them hide out for the night.

Unbeknownst to them, however, they had a trail. Federin Illiwynd, an eladrin praetorian of the Roen ambassador of the Winter Court (read Aeristhyde), Szerathin Elondorith, had them marked and followed the group to Redra’s home. Only a few moments after they had settled themselves inside her place, there was a knock on their door. Redra opened it and did a poor job of hiding the fact that they heroes were inside. Federin pushed past her and threw back his hood.

Brandis was about to hurl a vase he had poised above his head, when, surprisingly, the Aeristhyde knelt before the party, introduced himself formally and laid his broad sword at their feet. “Please allow me to join you in fighting the Aeristhyde.”

“Why should we believe you?”

“Because I have information you need. Your friend, Immeral, the half-elf, has been taken into custody. He sits in the dungeon of Roen to rot on behalf of the Aeristhyde’s lie. The plague is a cover for their murder of all the denizens of Laranyss.”

The shock of the news unsettled the party, but they could not be too surprised given their enemy.

“Why did you defect?”

“The Aeristhyde have committed a heinous atrocity. Their once noble aims have become defiled by the deaths of all who once lived in the town of Laranyss and the ridiculous lie they spread in Roen. I spoil my family name if I continue to serve such an ugly cause. I now see the true objective of this war we have been waiting centuries to wage once again, to dominate by any and all means. I can’t be a part of it any longer. Let me join you in opposing the Aeristhyde, for they aim to rule all this land with an iron hand and crush it into oblivion if the people of this realm refuse.”

Distrust hung in the air, and Brandis nearly let slip the vase.

“Keep my sword as a token of the truth I speak. Check me for magics. There is no divination cast on me or my belongings.”

Varis picked up the eladrin’s sword. “I trust him.” The others soon agreed, except for Brandis, who harbored an obviously justified suspicion. “I’ll be keeping this,” Varis said, smiling at the eladrin.

“We cannot stay here,” Federin stood. “In a few short hours, my superiors will wonder why I haven’t reported back. We should flee the city.” As the party discussed this possibility, Redra spoke up.

“Sylus, please don’t leave. I’ve been having dreams, nightmares. Ever since I was a girl, after my mother died. My mother had this very same nightmare, night after night. It was of a girl, sick and pale, coughing alone in the darkness. Her coughing became violent, racking her body until a vapor escaped her lips and formed into a spiked fiendish looking being. The being claimed the girls soul and destroyed her body. Every night my mother had this dream and for a while kept the terror of it at bay, but after years of suffering she began to give in to the terrible dream. Her body and mind began to waste away until she was no longer the mother I loved. One night, she ran deep into the city park and there she was attacked by terrible, large insectlike creatures with spiny jointed plates that cover the head, back and limbs, but have reptile like skin covering the neck, sides and tails. Kruthiks, they’re called. They surrounded her, tore her to pieces, and fled underground. Ever since that day, I’ve been having the same nightmare as my mother. I can’t help but worry that this might be some kind of sign that I will suffer the same fate. This is why I studied magic. I have found a ritual that I can perform to help me undo the curse that was on my mother and now haunts me. Will you please stay in the city with me?” Redra grabbed Sylus close. “Just long enough to help me rid myself of this nightmare?”

Sylus was too much the gentleman to refuse, and, as Federin chimed in, “You guys are heroes after all.” So, the party accompanied Redra to the city park with the intention of fleeing Roen once Redra had performed her ritual. She led them to the very spot where her mother had been murdered, near a crossing over a small ravine that was filled with briarbrush. She prepared the ritual, drawing a 50 foot circle on the ground decorated with arcane markings. After the performance of the ritual, Varis and Federin noticed a shift in the air. Something had happened, but they weren’t sure what.

“Did you feel that?” Redra said. “Something went wrong. The ritual didn’t take.”

At that moment, a gang of Kruthiks burst from the ground and attacked the party. Varis returned Federin’s sword and together, Shalanwode and Aeristhyde, they held off the frontal assault of the creatures, giving time for those in the rear to secure their position on the other side of the crossing. The insectoids proved formidable foes, but with the growing strength and numbers of the party, they were soundly defeated.

What had happened when Redra performed the ritual? Were they still in the Prime Realm? If the magic didn’t work to remove the curse, how might the heroes help save Redra from her nightmare? Should Sylus bag this babe, put her to bed and leave with the party in the middle of the night? All important questions that will be answered in the next installment.
Redra

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On the Run
Adventure Log 15

Lf
With snow falling in the late summer woods and an Aeristhyde airship having descended from the storm clouds, the Ihniko people were hurriedly packing, preparing to leave their homeland. All were, on some level, terrified by the threat of attack from an Aeristhyde army that hadn’t been seen in this realm for hundreds of years when the Ihniko people nearly suffered a complete and total genocide. Some were already leaving, determined to escape the snow and what it surely meant, death.

Our heroes were called into a meeting with the High Mage and First Council to the King, Falisar, the Queen Sharonaur, the Regent Coranyl, and Tenebron, the Keeper of (the Record of) the Hate. Noddyl, Pilindor of the Ihniko, also joined the meeting. All were trying to determine what exactly was going on and what should be done to help the Ihniko confront whatever threat was approaching. Brandis asked Falisar to divine whether they were entering the Feywild as had been suggested. Falisar obliged and determined that there was no great tear between the realms. Soon after, Noddyl’s scouts reported the snow fall was occurring in a 2-3 mile radius. Then came news that something was descending from the airship, a drake and rider. Andxor, Varis, and BGA went to meet the rider with Noddyl and six of his men. Meanwhile, Brandis decided to employ his experience as a leader of men and harangued (read intimidated) the elven masses with orders which kept their panic at bay. Sylus assisted by magically echoing his commands.

The messenger was a proud, pale skinned eladrin with hair so blonde it was nearly platinum. He wore a fine suit of chain with a white coat of arms that displayed the blue and black insignia of the Aeristhyde. He casually issued the terms of Ihniko surrender. “All Ihniko, the crown, the queen, the high wizard Falizar, and those mercenaries who were hired to penetrate the palace shall give themselves up to the New Aeristhyde Empire.” The messenger was snide enough to thank those who found a way to penetrate the magic sphere protecting the palace as they allowed the Aeristhyde to raid it. It was in this way the party found out the palace was now firmly in the Feywild.

Unkind words were exchanged, and tensions increased until BGA approached the messenger with violent intent, but the messenger directed his drake to take flight. BGA wanted him stopped and said so. Noddyl needed no more encouragement. He ordered his men to “Take down the drake!” The messenger was shocked that the party would act so poorly in their own interest. Without his drake, the rider could not return. This would surely mean their deaths (and his own). Things had been going so well, he thought. BGA quickly grabbed the messenger in a choke hold. In what he thought was a last ditch attempt to save his life, he blurted out, “The Ihniko people are lost, but you mercenaries might be able to save yourselves.” This got no play with the party, and he was knocked out then dragged to the Ihniko settlement where plans to evacuate to the town of Larenyss were in full swing.

With the party together again, they and the Ihniko bigwigs led the Ihniko east. As they fled, they heard intermittent rumbles of thunder. The snow, which had accumulated to nearly a foot began to taper off at two miles and stopped completely at three. While they admired the effect of transitioning from woods that were cold and snowy to woods that were more seasonably warm and snowfree they were confronted by the wintermad dryad who had left them in the cave of a cyclops. She demanded an explanation as to the cause of the disturbance in her woods. Though she was of winter, nothing enraged her more than the cold and snow, as it was a sign of the Aeristhyde who destroyed the forest of her people so long ago. The party explained that the Aeristhyde had returned and described the airship that, as they spoke, hovered menacingly above the abondoned Ihniko settlement. They also introduced her to the unconscious messenger they had in tow. Upon hearing the name of the Aeristhyde and seeing one of their kind, she screamed in agony and rage. She demanded the eladrin, but the party wanted to question him more specifically about the fate of the king before letting him go. The Queen Sharonaur and Falisar had expressed extreme concern that he’d been taken. She agreed to let them take him as long as the party left him at the edge of the wood for her. They agreed happily. The conversation with the dryad had certainly impressed those within earshot. Falisar himself was rather curious about how the heroes relationship with the dryad had developed and asked about this on the remainder of their journey out of the woods.

At the bottom of the depressed old Ihniko wood, the party members woke unconscious messenger and questioned him about the king. He agreed to talk if they would let him speak from 20 paces out. He answered that the king was alive, but they could discern that he was hiding the truth. They pressed him aggressively for information. Rather than give up details, he explained that the group could find favor with the Aersthyde leadership. “Breaching the palace was no small feat. We’ve been trying to do it for 500 years. Surely your exploits and talents would earn you your lives and perhaps a place at the table when this realm is again in the hands of the Empire.” This time the idea took more tangible shape in the minds of the party, enough to give them pause, but still they pressed the messenger to speak further about what happened in the palace. Instead of answering he ran. Varis promptly lifted his bow and let two arrows fly. The second one found a home in the messenger’s thigh, putting him face down in the dirt.

“You bastards, I told you what I know.” He was then forced to reveal the following: 1) no one was found in the palace, and 2) the Aeristhyde looted it and now occupy it, considering it a trophy that took too long to acquire, though in their eyes the timing couldn’t be better. Finally satisfied with the information provided, the party let the messenger go.

“She can have her fun with him now,” remarked Sylus. The messenger didn’t know what he meant by that, but he knew it couldn’t mean anything worse than what would happen to him upon his return to his airship, if he ever made it back.

As the whole group left the depressed Ihniko wood, great rumblings far off in the direction of the abandoned Ihniko settlement created tremors underfoot. Scouts were sent into the trees. They reported an unnatural and terrifying display of lightening crashing down upon the elves former home. The airship could not be seen but all presumed it hovered above the maelstrom. When the thunder and lightening stopped, an eerie quiet consumed the forest. The point had been made most clear, there was now no turning back.

Besides the howling of a few far off wolves, the rest of the journey to Larenyss was gratefully uneventful. There the Ihniko rested a mile outside of town while the party entered Larenyss and asked for a meeting with the Four Pillars of the town: Kelich, the very large blacksmith of the town, Druga, the dwarven armorer, Sognia, Inn and tavernkeeper, and Immeral, the half-elven scholar. The Pillars agreed and the meeting was held at the Golden Bough Inn & Tavern. Derrick the Reeve and Brother Rothsby, advisor to the Four Pillars also attended. Falisar, the Queen Sharonaur, Regent Coranyl, Tenebron, Noddyl, and Noddyl’s sister (at Brandis’ request) accompanied the party. Concerns for the threat brought to the town, for the people of Larenyss and for the fate of the once thought lost Ihniko people were the focus of the meeting. Kelich was unhappy about the sudden elven visitation and Derrick was upset about having to face an army he couldn’t fight. The party, however, was able to appeal to the humanity of the group by having Immeral explain the history of the long conflict that had seemingly jumped out of time to present itself at Larenyss’ doorstep. Sognia was first to support this move, and Derrick was able to see a way to defend the town, for a night. It was finally agreed that the Ihniko could find comfort and shelter in the barracks of the town for a night, but they would have to leave the next day. The Queen assured the Pillars, they wanted nothing more. She noted, “To stay longer would be far too dangerous to the people of Larenyss, entangle them needlessly in the vines that, for now, strangle only our branches.” Derrick’s men would watch the borderlands, and all families of Larenyss would be alerted of the potential threat. The Ihniko leaders were effusive in their thanks and sorry they had no gifts to offer. The irony that this small collective of human farming communities were now playing protector to the once great Ihniko people against a threat from which the Ihniko themselves had protected the all the other races of light so long ago was not lost on any of the Ihniko leaders present. The party decided they would go back from whence they came the next day to see if the Aeristhyde were still where they had left them.

As the meeting adjourned, Noddyl asked the party if he could go with them. Varis warmly welcomed him, saying he had already become one of them. Sylus asked if he could muster some of his men to join him, but Noddyl was doubtful. “Don’t they want to fight the Aeristhyde?”

“Of course, but they have their families to protect. Each man that leaves is like another plate of armor removed from the rusty suit the Ihniko people already wear.” [I don’t we didn’t have a poetic exchange like this, but I just can’t help but embellish at times. : )]

Sylus persisted, and Noddyl assured him he would ask again if any would join them. Noddyl then informed Varis that Evrayn Euskadi requested a meeting with him. “I’m leaving here tonight,” the old seer informed him. “And I’m not going with the other Ihniko. Those that cling to my words will help me in the journey. I will find you when the time is right. Stay focused and remember, ultimately, it is you who bear the burden of freeing Ursa Major from the storm walls and finally ending the arrogant power of the Aeristhyde.”

The party regrouped at the Golden Bough where they were spending the night. If they were able to fall asleep at all, their rest was quickly interrupted by Noddyl and news that snow was falling on the borderlands near the edge of the Bone Forest. The roughly 240 refugee elves were already leaving town. They headed in a northeasterly direction on the one road out of town for a destination unknown to any of the party or the people of Larenyss. Falisar, who had considered going with the party as a protector of the crown, decided instead to aid his people and protect the Queen. He left the crown with Noddyl for safekeeping, improving the chances that the Aeristhyde would leave the Ihniko alone.

The pillars were called together to decide what the people of Larenyss should do. They decide, upon the heroes suggestion, to go north a days travel and stay there. That would be far enough from the elves path for the Aeristhyde to leave them alone if they were serious in their pursuit but no so far north that they would be at serious risk of the attack from gnoll bands. Presumably, the Aeristhyde are after 1) the Ihniko, 2) the crown, 3) the heroes themselves, so the hope is that this move by the townsfolk will result in a successful dodge.

Some from Larenyss decided to head south through the storm wall and enter Roen. They were merchant types who could afford the rituals and necessary residuum to cast them.

The party decided to leave in a southeasterly direction on their own, so as not to present a risk to any traveling the trade route south. Immeral (and his library) and Durga are among these. Before they left, Durga provided the party with the necessary rituals and enough residuum to cast them twice. As the party left town, small flecks of snow began to drift softly down from clouds that had crept in and covered the stars and the moonlight above.

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The Return of the King, er... Queen!
Adventure Log 14

Ihniko crown
What had happened to the king now that his throne was taken from him? A look out the windows showed the palace still standing, looking eerily abandoned in the moonlight. It was the first time the party was able to gaze at the walls of the palace from the outside. Would it and the king return to the Feywild with the sunrise? Or had their removal of the crown from the head of the king and from the walls of the castle been enough to dispel the weird magical effects that protected and imprisoned those within between the 3 realms (i.e., Prime, Fey, and Shadowfell)?

Unable to know the answers to those questions the party gathered the spoils from the lich’s chambers with special attention to those materials that could aid Falisar in figuring out how to free the king from the magic he presumably was still trapped/protected by. They also took all of the Thizeroth’s scholarship that was created in his attempt to figure out how to recreate the destruction of the city of Ihniko. With all of that piled onto two floating discs, the group descended a spiral staircase to a lower level where there was a large room with high ceilings, benches askew, and broken remnants of statues that venerated the Raven Queen. Among the benches were coffins. There was a dais and an altar at the far end of the room. Clearly, this was a place of worship for the ShadarKai who had inhabited the city before Thizeroth came with his undead army and redecorated.

As soon as the adventurers began looking around the place a whisp of shadow that flew above them warned, “Go no further for those who have tried before you have died and remain here forever!” The mad wraith did not get the memo that Thizeroth was killed and adventurers were actually on their way out.

Skeletons emerged from the coffins and a battle ensued. The party dispatched with the various undead rather handily. Just as they were feeling the unusual joy that comes from a victory easily won, a vampire (once a ShadarKai) rose from within the dais. He addressed the party, “I am one who sought fortune and fame by attacking Thizeroth and stealing his wealth. Now you will join me in my eternal home, as my slaves!”

Thanks to some minor bruising from the previous battle, the vampire put the party back on its heels before they were able to pin the beastie down and dispatch him for good.

The party exited the old church and were considering their next steps when Noddyl appeared seemingly out of nowhere. He bowed deeply to whom he thought was the king and to the queen. Introductions were made and Noddyl was informed of the party’s exploits, of which he was terribly disappointed not to have been a part. He explained that he had been captured by Dhalglish, the ShadarKai who took them through the sewers. He was tortured and questioned before being given a break by his captors and left alone a brief while. He hid unseen on the ceiling. When his interrogators returned, Noddyl dropped down and took the weapons off of one guard, killing him and the other guard within seconds. He then closed the cell door, trapping his interrogator before running him through with his sword when the ShadarKai rushed the cell door to protest. Thanks to his miniadventure, Noddyl didn’t fall behind the party in level.

With no reason to remain in the fouled city, they all returned to the Ihniko settlement. There, they were received as heroes, though the celebratory mood was slightly overshadowed by everyone’s concern for the king and the potential for a war between the Thizeroth and the Ihniko. They would worry about that tomorrow though, as that night was spent honoring the successful return of the queen and Falisar, as well as the adventurers. A concert of elven song and a feast of elven wine, food, and even women (or men, depending on your tastes (wink, wink BGA)) was enjoyed by all who had a taste for it.

The next morning, amidst the slow recovery from a night spent awash in fermenting beverages, saw the temperature drop sharply and clouds begin to gather in the west. By noon, snow was falling, though autumn had not yet begun. It was a strange sight to see, snow landing on trees with green leaves. There was confusion and panic as the Ihniko began to discuss the possibility that Thizeroth was approaching with an army. He was a high level wizard after all and such an unnatural display was not beyond his capability they guessed, but a more likely scenario, proposed Tenebron, is the approach of an army of Aeristhyde, the eladrin empire of the Winter Court. “That,” Falisar adds, “or the magics of the crown have ripped the divide between the Prime Realm and Feywild further and we are actually entering the Winter Realm in the Fey.”

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do? Watcha gonna do when they come for you?…
Image0010

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To Kill a King (a Lich King that is)
Adventure Log 13

Queen sharonaur

The adventurers were separately questioned by Falisar, First Mage and Council to the Ihniko King. Each was asked to stand within a chalk circle and be the subject of a ritual that Falisar cast to discern the truthfulness of the adventurers statements. He asked each in turn their origins, their relationships to eachother, their relationship to any Aeristhyde or eladrin, and what brought them to the Palace of the Ihniko King.

The heroes told of where and whence they’d come, they told of their chance meeting in Laranyss and their first joint mission there in riding the countryside of a small goblin threat. Some included the groups battle with the wereboar that became your sleeping bard. Some also retold of your encounters in the deep Ihiniko woods, where you were tricked, betrayed, by a forest nymph, where you killed a cyclops and won the “cyclops eye”, where you met the Ihniko people and learned of their part in the history of the Prime Realm. The party even reported on their meeting with the Lich. Though they used him to get into the Palace, non pretended to be willing to fulfill the Lich’s wish of handing him the Ihniko king.

Collectively you gained the trust of Falisar with your honest answers. He was surprised, particularly by the cleric of Kord, in your willingness to submit to the ritual to prove your earnestness. He assured you, however, that your testimony, even coupled with his, would not convince the king. What’s worse was that Idranyl, the king’s son, would follow his mad father fanatically to the end. Furthermore, Idranyl inspired in his men the same level of devotion he felt for his father. There was hope, however; Falisar had the ear of the Queen and the two nephews, First Knights in the King’s Court. Last to the party was an Acolyte cleric of Corellon Lorethian, spiritual prodigy of the High Priest Elliodan, who died in the War of Three Forests.

Though under guard by Idranyl’s men, the party enjoyed the company of Falisar, the young priest, and the queen. In the final two minutes of their last hour before the Ihniko King’s execution decree was to be carried out, they decided Falisar should put the guards to sleep, while the queen separates the king from his crown, which contains the magical seed of the protective shell surrounding the palace, an artifact imbued with all of the magic and a piece of the soul of Uridan, King of the Ihniko elves.

Falisar knocked the gaurds out, and the Queen (rolling a 20 on her Bluff against the King) left the royal bed chamber, artifact crown in hand. Everything was going according to plan until Idranyl came rushing down the hall with Tildanyl and Rilyn, the officer nephews. The nephews were quickly snatched up to the side of the party, and Idranyl, reduced to a side of one could only try to tackle down his mother as everyone ran past him, british bull dog style.

Idranyl was successful and held his prey down, a Hamlet straddling his Gertrude, but then BGA, the brutish goliath, separated the Oedipal youth from his mother, and the party fled whole. They fled directly toward the portal, hoping the Lich would take their “king”, Falisar with the artifact crown on his head, with the queen at his side and a low level priest as manservant. The armored and armed nephews, they figured would pushing it. Those two agreed to stay behind and keep Idranyl at bay. They agreed to pay whatever penalty to pay for the others freedom. It was a very weepy moment.

You all huddled into the portal, electric blue energy snapped, crackled, and popped around you and through you, then suddenly you appeared in a different space, back in the Lich’s quarters. he bought your Bluff. Well done!

“I see you brought my gift. Please hand it over and proceed toward the exit. It’s been nice doing business with you.” The Lich was, in his mind, a man of class and manners.

Almost immediately, however, the party attacked. They faced a line of gravehounds, being directed by a skeleton legionnaire. As the party moved in, and Falisar rushed to the side to engage and lock down Thizeroth, a shadowy mad wight emerged through the table and launched itself at those in the front. As everyone held down a solid defense, hounds began to fall at the counterattack. Two mummies then emerged from crypts alongside a far wall. They entered battle and did some serious damage to the Ihniko priest. Before he could escape into a more strategic spot, he was put down, his spirit returned to his gods. Varis nearly joined the Ihniko elf, but isn’t it the story of these two elves communities, that the Shallanwode survive when the Ihniko die.

All foes were destroyed just as Falisar overpowered and slew the form that was Thizeroth for the time being. You could almost see the spirit leave the corpseform and fly back to its phylactery. Have you seen the last of Thizeroth, you wonder?

In his palace you discover some good loot, a fine ring (250 gp) on Thizeroth’s hand, a fine goblet (250 gp) on on the table. 6 gems, each worth 100 gp. 300 gp. … of shielding +2, an orb of …, and something else. Can anyone fill in the blanks in the comments? THere are also some rituals that pertain to protections, teleportation, and portals.

You look out the windows and see the palace firmly planted back on the hill. Some among you have not had the privelege of seeing the palace from this angle for 67 years, though they’ve lived in it that long. The queen is tearfilled, having left her husband, duped him into parting with his crown. What ill effects might occur when such a measure is taken? It is an artifact linked with his life spirit. She reaches into her robes and produces a finely made bow. She presents it to Varis.

“This is one of Idranyl’s bows. Take it as a token of thanks for freeing us and for bringing hope that there may be peace between our peoples.” She embraces Varis in a warm hug.

You feel like champs, you’ve just gained a level, but you remember, you are in a city full of undead, whose leader you just killed, but whose undead enough to come back and try to kill you again before you leave the city walls.

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Adventure Log 12.6
Adventure Log 12.6

Andexor launches into a narrative about the times he has heard from long ago when elves were the guides of men. Idranyl and the guards are stonefaced, but the robed man, Falisar nods at you and smiles, saying, “It is heartening to hear you recall the times when the elves stewarded the Races of Light in the Prime Realm. You know your history.” He seems to want to say more but stops himself and looks over at Idranyl.

Then, remembering etiquette, Andexor introduces himself and the party.
Falisar responds with a nod, saying, “We shall see how well met we are in just a short while. Until that time, I am Falisar, Primary Advisor and First Mage to the Ihniko King Uridan. This,” he gestures to the longbowman with the icy glare, “is Prince Idranyl, the only surviving heir-”

“That’s enough, Falisar,” Idranyl interrupts. “You don’t need to tell them any more than they need to know.”

“It will take some time to prepare.” Falisar goes off into a far corner of the room, while the rest of you wait. He will take Varis first, not because Andexor, but because he is of the Shalanwode. He will than go in the following order: Andexor, BGA, Brandis, Sylus.

Falisar beckons each you separately over to a corner of the room away from the rest of the party and Idranyl and his guards, so your conversation with him is not entirely private, but cannot be heard by the others. He motions for you to step within a small chalk circle he has drawn on the ground. Four magical runes mark the outside of the circle, each in one of the four primary directions. After your take your place in the circle, Falisar begins to chant and throws a handful of what seems like pollen dust over you. Falisar’s chanting becomes more intense and the specks of dust begin to glow with a golden light as they fall on and about you. You feel nothing from the sparks on your clothes and skin, but you can trust Falisar’s magic has taken effect as his chanting stops and he begins to question you.

Falisar questions each of you [AND YOU MUST SEND ME A SEPARATE E-MAIL WITH YOUR RESPONSES] about: 1) where you come from, 2) your relationship to the other members of your group, 3) your relationship with any Aeristhyde or eladrin, and 4) how you got to the Palace of the Ihniko King. Falisar remains stoic no matter your responses until the end of his questioning, when he says…[I’LL PROVIDE THIS TEXT FOR EACH OF YOU IN AN E-MAIL at the conclusion of your questioning. I’ll also post a follow up to this after everyone is questioned, so everyone PLEASE write to me ASAP, otherwise this stuff will eat into our time on Friday.]

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Adventure Log 12.5
Adventure Log 12.5

Okay, so you are all in the throne room of the Ihniko king. From the last post…

“The party were cautiously let into Uridan’s many columned throne room. Eight elite archers stood next to columns. Two soldiers in fine elven plate, ornately decorated with a vine and floral design as well as the symbol of the Ihniko, stood in front of the king. A young elf, his greatbow in hand, stood proudly on the dais at the king’s side. A robed elf with a long crooked staff stood on the other side. The king, hunched in his throne, wearing silks of various greens with platinum threading and a tall golden crown, looked, from under darkened brows, at the party. Though the party had won entrance into the room, the feeling they got was clear, they had not fully overturned the suspicion of those within it.”

The guards are watching you. The two in fine elven plate are whispering to each other; one, with thin features, even for an elf, and a long sword in hand, gestures toward you as he talks, the other broader with a thin, two-handed sword hanging loosely in hand, shakes his head in apparent disagreement. The robed elf with the crooked staff is eyeing you and the king, seeming to see who will betray more with their words and expressions. The king, and the young elf whose bow is still being held tightly in his grip, an arrow in the fingertips of his firing hand, are both eyeing you with seeming contempt. This young elf you realize is wearing a thin crown of silver vines. His leather armor is very finely made and ornately decorated with the symbol of the Ihniko.

Your words seem to only make those around you pause, though what you’re saying in all true of course.

“My lord,” says one of the elves in plate, a tall elf with a severe look and long blonde hair, a long sword in hand, “What these men speak of explains the sights seen from the balconies of the palace. We have all witnessed the invasion by the Shadarkai and the war that then ensued with the undead army of the lich general. It all appeared to occur in far too fast to be real. Their explanation gives reason to believe it was real and not an Aeristhyde spell to contain us in a prison of confusion.”

“Knave, you know nothing of the magic of the cruel Aeristhyde, and you know nothing of these men. Do not try to council me in this manner.”

“My lord,” interrupts the robed figure. “Permit me to cast a ritual that will discern the truth of their words.”

“The Aeristhyde have ways around such magics. You know this, Falisar. Why do you suggest this?”

“My lord, we have encountered their deceptions before, and I am sure I can determine whether the Aeristhyde have interfered with the minds of these men.”

“Very well, but you will not taint my hall with their lies. Take them to a lower chamber. Idranyl and his men will go with you as protection. If there is trouble, dispatch them immediately and return here and I will do it myself.”

You are then escorted out by the young elf bowman and the eight archers with Falisar at the lead. You are taken down a spiraling staircase to a lower hall. The room is large 60 × 40. The ceilling is 30 feet up. There is cushioned seating with endtables gathered in various places around the room. There are a few bookshelves along the two long walls. There are tapestries hung on either end of the room on the short walls. One depicts elves at play in a forest scene, nakes amidst trees and lakes. The other end shows a great battle, elves clad in armore and fighting alongside humans against giantkin, gnolls, orc and goblinkind. The purpose of the room seems to be one of casual entertainment.
-—————————————————————————————————————
Now, your arcana rolls tell you (I assume those who rolled share their information with the group): There is a way to enlarge the portal on your end, but there are two problems with this: 1) you can’t enlarge the portal on the other end, so you would end up with a funnel effect, where you could stuff all you wanted through the larger end, but it would all still have to squeeze out of the small end, and 2) you don’t have the ritual, and if you did it’s beyond your capabilities.
-——————————————————————————————————————
So, whatayado?

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Adventure Log 12
Adventure Log 12

Lich king

At once the hag lifted the skirt of her tattered dress and a poisonous vapor exploded into the air, searing the lungs of BGA and Varis. As she retreated, however, Varis led the party in a swarming movement toward the wretched fey, and BGA kept his eye on her, chopping into her with his enormous axe when she lashed out at a nearby ally.

The hag proved somewhat slippery, though, as she escaped being pinned down by teleporting a short distance away after an unexpected sonic blast, a scream of horrific sadness and pain, that erupted from her throat and tore through those that attacked her at close quarters. She was lucky as well, redeploying her poisonous vapors twice more, a feat unheard of for those studied in the combatant ways of the fey witches. The party was nearly overcome as they surrounded the hag and she released her toxin for a final time, with all the party having to escape the vicinity or continue to suffer harm. Brandis himself was rooted to his spot, seemingly destined to die (once more) in battle, a heroic martyr emersed in the sacred act of battle. Kord blessed his faithful servant as his swift strike crumpled the hag into a pile, and her poisonous cloud disappeared.

All that while, back on the roof of the store house, Noddyl was keeping the hulking zombie at bay. When the hag fell, the zombie fell upon the heroes. Where had Noddyl gone? Was he eaten by the zombie in one swallow? Did he hide? Or run away? Dhalglish still hasn’t turned up…

The zombie was dispatched as an afterthought and the party gathered on the roof of the storehouse to look for Noddyl. He was nowhere in sight. As the group discussed their next step, undead of different types, skeletons, zombies, ghouls, and some dark, shadowy wisp of a figure, emerged from the streets and alleys connected to the marketplace. An instant later, a cyclops skeleton with a blue-glowing eye and a large undead doglike creature emerged from the battlement, atop which the Lich King Thizeroth stood perched, vulturously eyeing all of you.

Expecting to be threatened or squashed, Thizeroth surprised them with an invitation to tea. Seeing no other option, the party, escorted by the Lich King’s guards (i.e., the skeletal cyclops and his dog), entered the chapel, the foyer of which contained nothing but a glowing blue teleportation circle. Immediately, the whole group appeared in Thizeroth’s chambers and were welcomed at a long table, ornately set, and served tea by an unseen magical hand.

Though the tea proved bitter, according to Brandis’ brave report, the deal the Lich King proposed was even moreso. In his gravelly voice, Thizeroth explained that he knew the parties intentions, as he had studied the stars and knew the myths of the Ihniko from those he had captured, interrogated and tortured. He had also studied the magics that created the original destruction of the city of Ihniko and caused the tear in the three planes: the Prime Realm, the Feywild, and the Shadowfell. He was close to backwards engineering exactly how it happened and would soon be capable of replicating the terrible effect, but he needed more knowledge, knowledge that only one who was there and understood better the magics that were at play on that day. For this reason, Thizeroth stated, he needed the party to bring back the Ihniko King, Uridan. Uridan is mad, Thizeroth assured them, but he holds the key.

“Bring him back alive and I will spare your lives,” Thizeroth promised.

“But what will you do with this power?”

“Destroy the world,” replied the Lich King, “This one, and the next one, and the next one, and the next one, until they are all nothing but an ashen void.”

“How will you get us into the palace?”

“Magic, my dear boy. I told you, I have studied these magics for 500 years. You don’t do such a thing without learning quite a lot about something.”

“Well, why don’t you go yourself?”

“Because there are protective magics much more destructive regarding necrotic energy. If I were to pass through the portal I would be disintegrated instantly. For you, I can provide some protection, and as long as you don’t retune the portal, you will be able to return here unharmed. I cannot promise that you will remain unharmed, however, that is, unless you have the King safely bound and ready to be handed over to me.”

In all, a wholly fair bargain in the mind of a 500 year old, undead, egomaniacal wizard, but somehow gaining a pass on their immediate deaths as trade for the ultimate weapon of mass destruction and planar dismemberment didn’t seem right to the party. But without a moment to rest, think about it, or even resist, Thizeroth had the party agreeing to go along with his plan, as, at the very least, it promised to place them inside the palace of the Ihniko King, where they wanted to go.

The party gathered in the teleportation circle and were teleported into a large, empty hall. Statues of Ihniko elders and heroes were set into the walls of this room and seemed to watch the party. Before the party could move, the grand double doors at the other end opened slightly. They were hailed in an archaic form of Elven, the dialect of the Ihniko. Varis spoke up, introducing himself and his purpose, but before he could finish, arrows flew across the space. One zipped by him, but the other slammed into his shoulder. The grand doors were opened only to an arrow slit. The party tried to calm the Ihniko guards, but their efforts only seemed to heighten the tension between the groups, and the grand doors were shut.

After a time, the doors opened again, and with more measured and thoughful responses, the party explained their purpose, to help the Ihniko and free their King. They explained that they were not aligned with the eladrin, that they had, in fact, been sent by the only remaining Ihniko in the Prime Realm. They mentioned the Ihniko’s Record of Hate as proof of their contact with their people.

The party were cautiously let into Uridan’s many columned throne room. Eight elite archers stood next to columns. Two soldiers in fine elven plate, ornately decorated with a vine and floral design as well as the symbol of the Ihniko, stood in front of the king. A young elf, his greatbow in hand, stood proudly on the dais at the king’s side. A robed elf with a long crooked staff stood on the other side. The king, old, hunched in his throne, wearing silks of various greens and a tall crown with a large amber gem in its middle, looked, from under darkened brows, at the party. Though the party had won entrance into the room, the feeling they got was clear, they had not fully overturned the suspicion of those within it.

They explained the passage of time, the occupation of the Lich and his army, the crossing of planes, and the faces of a few in the room betrayed their belief in what the party said. The king stolidly stared at the group awaiting something to convince him he wasn’t still fighting a war he had to win.
Wood elf king

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Adventure Log 11
Adventure Log 11

The adventurers had fought off a pack of ghouls and chased a creature down an alley to a sewer grate. It became clear that creature was most likely a Shadar-kai, one of the people from the Shadowfell, a race devoted to the Raven Queen, Goddess of Death. The adventurers decided to return to the house from which the ghouls emerged, but on their way saw a six-legged, panther-like fey beast with two wickedly barbed tentacles stalking toward them.

Varis ran for the protection of the house, while Bie Gae stepped up to buffer the party from the shifty displacer beast. As Varis entered the house, he saw two ghouls, too enamored with the feast of what turned out to be Shadar-kai remains to have attacked the party earlier. The ghouls descended on Varis, one acrobatically leaping over a table in its desperate attempt to get to him.

The displacer beast was backed off and ran away near dead due to attacks from most of the party, but then another emerged from a side street and pounced upon Noddyl. In the house, with the help of party members who had rushed in to the house having been outside fighting the first displacer beast, the battle was turned against the ghouls and the ghouls were destroyed. Then everyone was free to focus fire on the second displacer beast, dispatching it, from unbloodied to dead, in one round. Go team!

The victorious adventurers boarded up the house from the inside and searched through what remained of the ghoul’s meal. On the body parts of the decimated Shadar-kai that were strewn about the sitting parlor, 100s of years into its final decay, the adventurers were rewarded with the following pickings: a suit of leather, 2 suits of studded leather, 3 daggers, 2 long swords, a scimitar (which turned out to be a +1 Luck Blade(what luck! but no wishes…ah, 4th ed.)), and 60 gold.

The adventurers decided to hold up in the second floor bedroom furthest from the stairs. While they slept, a Shadar-Kai party crept up the stairs and began searching rooms. The adventurers awoke and stood ready for a fight, but prepared to parlay. When they opened the door, Brandis boldly hailed them and began to negotiate a partnership.

Shadarkai ihniko

The Shadar-Kai were a strange lot, with tattoos, scarification, and punk hair styles. This group of Shadowfallen was captained by Baylin Tor, a tall, muscular man with a pointed black-beard and a severe face. Upon his bald head, his neck and face, were scars, both from war and by design. He wore a suit of fine mail, clearly magical. All of his soldiers wore leather or studded leather armor with black coats of arms displaying the insignia of the Raven Queen, a raven’s feather.

In the discussion, the adventurers revealed their affiliation with the Ihniko elves and admitted their two aims: 1) finding the Lich’s phylactery and, 2) ultimately, entering the ancient Ihniko King’s Palace. Brandis’ diplomatic speech, wherein he detailed the successes of the party, most recent of which was the dispatchment of a group of ghouls who had dispatched a small platoon of Tor’s own men, compelled Baylin to accept the partnership, though he still placed one of his men with their group as a failsafe against the liability the party represented to his own agenda.

Dhalglish, Baylin’s man, was of average height, but very slender, giving him the appearance of greater height. He wore leather armor and wielded a short sword in his right hand, a dagger in his left. A light crossbow swung at his side, and a shoulder bag hung round his back. He was always almost totally silent, and often he would simply disappear into the shadows and reappear out of thin air.

It was Dhalglish who navigated the sewer passageways for the party, so that they could find the Hag in the southeast part of the city. The Green Hag notoriously roamed the old market place, right outside the palace walls that protected the Thizeroth’s chapel home, and the party thought they could maybe pump her information? The motive was vague, but the aim clear, “Find the hag.”

Dhalglish disarmed and reset traps as everyone entered and exited the sewers. “I’m glad we didn’t try to head down into the sewers ourselves,” Andxor quipped as they climbed below the city. Varis, ever watchful, caught a good look at what Dhalglish was doing on the way back up, giving him a +5 Thievery check when attempting to disarm or set these traps in the future.

The party came up in the southeasternmost corner of the city. Having heard the group surfacing, four skeletons, who were roaming aimlessly beforehand, found a purpose. Varis and Noddyl took to the roof of a small store house and began picking them off as they approached, while other party members supported at range. Just as the skeletons were getting finished off, a 12 foot tall, hulking zombie ran-shambled out from the northeast and a woman’s cry for help was heard from the west. With the choice of engaging one of the following-

Tank2
Nicole hag

-they chose the potentially hot damsel in distress, despite the fact that she was probably the hag they had come to threaten/kill/negotiate with/all of the above. How would fate repay their potential chivalry? Once they arrived in front of her, her clothes tattered to nearly revealing her sexy bits, the beautiful woman’s frown turned into a hideous, wrinkled grin. The magic facade of her beauty melted away to reveal a twisted, old face. The saddening sob of a victim perverted into the insane cackle of a killer as the hag came to the glorious conclusion that her trap encouraged you all to position yourselves perfectly in her blast radius! Oh yeah, and there’s a hulking zombie on your asses! Wait, where did Dhalglish go?
Hag1

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