A Darkened Mystery

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Summary

Adventure: A Darkened Mystery
GM: Anne
Session: Summer 820
Night: TBD
Location: Birdlands, Massey.
Level: Med

Party:

Employer:
Roland, Head Councilor of Talville (plane of Seratos)

Mission:
A messenger by the name of Felix has turned up at the guild on behalf of his council, requesting a party to aid them in a problem they have recently discovered with a trade city. Scouted out by Felix himself they discovered a large count of creatures that only moved at night which they have concluded to be some form of undead. They would like some people to come and work out exactly whats going on here.

Pay:
10,000sp each and any loot you salvage

Diary

Scribe will receive an EP bonus if the notes are up to date more than 24h before the next session, and the in game dates are correct.

Day 1

Our party employer, named Felix, came from offplane and told us about a village covered in fog and encounters with undead when someone went to investigate. So I ended up in Meeting Room 4 with the following:

  • Elderan – a fellow air mage
  • Kerry – human female Dark Celestial and shape shifter
  • Minerva – human female Solar Celestial and a merchant with connections
  • Lim – elven male water mage and alchemist
  • Rayne – human female air mage who’s more into birds and can’t fly under her own power
  • Carrie – halfling E&E, and the reason I’m only the second shortest in the party.

I’m Aurora, female elf airmage, reporter for the Seagate Times, and a specialist in flying spells and the bow. I’m also a high ranked courtier and spy after spending a lot of time in the Western Kingdom.

Felix told us that commerce between his town and it’s neighbour consisted of an exchange of wagons every two weeks. The towns were roughly 56 miles apart and the trip took three days. Suspicion was raised when their cart didn’t arrive on schedule. So Felix led a team to find out what was going on.

Just short of the town, they discovered several houses that were deserted. They then spent the night in a barn and were attacked by zombie dogs (Carrie called them zogs). Those were easily dealt to but, upon arrival at the town, they discovered it enveloped in thick fog and there were bodies in the streets. Some of them Daed as undead (Felix was an earth mage). That was so strange that they pulled out and returned where he was instructed to come here and get some ‘adventurers with unusual talents’ to come and deal with it and were offering 10,000sp each for the assignment.

After dismissing our party employer we settled down to who was doing what. Bossy Minerva became the Military Scientist, the more sensible halfling was volunteered as the Party Leader and when the subject of Scribe was brought up, there was so much silence, one could hear a pin drop, then a round of ‘Not me’. I finally pulled out my notebook and offered my services – after all, someone has to do it, and I guess if I do it I can then cover up most of my mistakes.

Next stop was Greaters. Carrie was able to cast them but needed quite a lot of black myrrh for the ritual. So Minerva took us all to House Sulis to meet her uncle and, after a bit of negotiation, Carrie got what he needed for only 40,000sp, enough for us all to get Rank 11 Greaters over all areas.

While he started on the rest of the party, I slipped off to do some research. First I searched available records on the rest of my party members, including past scribe notes in order to find out more about them – and no, my intent was NOT to dig up some dirt for the Times, but if anything stuck .... well .. .not my fault if it got out. I then realised I didn’t know what Plane the employer came from so I sought him out and asked him. He was from Seratos, and, after searching through more records, I discovered that this was a Plane that the Guild had not contacted before. So I resolved to collect as much information about it as I could.

After getting a Lesser from the Guild Earth Mage, I sought out the rest of the party. They had been trying to negotiate cheap wiccan amulets but weren’t having any luck so it looks like we’re going to have to fly down to Slippery Rock first thing tomorrow morning after all. Elderan offered his Cloud, which he said had a Dragon Spirit in it and would eat anyone who offended it. Lim also handed out four potion bottle sized waterskins each, two marked with blue, one with green, and one with purple, all four filled with fresh water. He explained that if necessary, the blue ones would be Waters of Healing, green was Waters of Strength, and Purple was for Restoratives. He also wanted to know if we wanted the mild Restorative or the strong one. I asked for mild – never did like chilli in my restoratives.

Day 2

Next morning, spent the day at Slippery Rock getting some amulets. I went for one to keep Undead well away from me, another to do the same to Demons, as well as one for getting better sleep, one for detecting traps etc, and one for help against poison, just in case (Amethyst, Jet, Jade, Beryl, and Carbuncle).

When we got back from Slippery Rock, that afternoon, we decided we were ready to start our assignment. Felix was removed from the Guild Bar and he took us into the nearby forest where we found a tree that had grown a natural hole, i.e. the trunk had split apart then reformed further up. I suspected fae interference, especially when latent magic was detected in the gap.

Felix did his ritual to open the portal, while we buffed up. We then stepped through the portal, emerging in a very similar tree in a park located in a city, the city of Talville. I was a little concerned about children jumping through the hole and accidentally going ‘elsewhere’. Felix reassured me that only a few people knew the key for opening the portal and, sometimes, a swing was set up in the hole for children to play on.

On top of the tree a large bird peered down at us. Felix told us this was ‘Pebbles’ a trained Haast Eagle. He then asked Pebbles to fly to the Council buildings and let Roland, the Council leader, know that we arrived. We then were led out of the garden and into the city which we were told had a population of fifty thousand entities.

When we reached the Council Building, we discovered that there were statues to town heroes which we paused to admire and read their plaques before going inside. Inside, he led us to a set of double doors which he knocked on, then flung open before any acknowledgement was issued. Inside was an older gentleman, who was wearing armour under clothing. This was Roland.

He told us there was a large undead problem in the neighbouring city of Ordulin (not a town as Felix had said). Even a mile from the city there was no sign of people. The fog was part of the city’s defense system and only really covered the centre of the city . Most of the corpses found Daed as formally living with only a few being undead. They didn’t know what sort of undead they were but suspected that they were only active at night. Also the first sign of trouble was a week and a half ago.

He also told us that he had heard that Keran, the leader of Ordulin, had sent out troops because the farmers were having problems. It was also said that Keran had been acting odd for the last month but there may well be valid reasons for that.

I was wondering if any other towns, or cities had been affected. He said no, but he did say that the affected city was to the east of here. (We’re on the coast). The other cities were roughly equidistant to the north, south and southwest. Since the task was bigger than we were told, he offered us more pay.

Roland had arranged for us to get durabilities, healing runes, etc, and once we had those we flew out to have a look at the affected city, using a mixture of wings, air flight, and cloud, to get there, taking an hour and a half to get there. We were navigating by following the road though so it wasn’t quite a straight line.

Upon arrival, we took stock of the situation. Ordulin was built on a hill, where the city centre was then spread out to the surrounding plain. Around the edge was a wall. The fog covered the centre area completely, and all we could see was the top of the spire. The depth of the fog then decreased as it spread further out, becoming ankle deep as it touched the wall. Out this far, bodies could be seen lying in the streets. It looked rather eerie actually.

After flying around the city, we swung out into the countryside and landed. The entire area looked completely barren, and there was a prevailing aura of death and decay. I couldn’t see any birds or insects A few daisies were brave enough to bloom but all the rest of the plants, including the corn fields were dead. The plants had been waterlogged so badly that the roots had rotted.

Finally we entered the town itself and examined the bodies lying around. Most of them had been dead for days but we soon found one that had died yesterday. Both of them had an aura of ‘formally living’ and would rise at night as a ‘night-ghoul’.

A bit later, we found survivors, in the Church of Uriel. What had kept the undead at bay here was the fact that the building was consecrated. Of course the barricades across the doors and the boarded up windows would have helped too. We were let in and discovered that the whole thing started when the entire populace, including those in the surrounding area, had gathered in the city for a festival. Out of nowhere, the fog had blanketed the town and, something had happened. Unfortunately they weren’t sure what had triggered this but, every night since, the fog receded and the undead roamed the streets, killing everyone they could catch. Every dawn, the undead would collapse and the fog would pour out from the clock tower. No one had any idea where the night-ghouls first came from.

Daytime wasn’t safe either. Presences had been detected in the fog and it was suspected that they were vampires who kept themselves hidden in the fog. Months ago there were reports of blood drained cattle in the opposite direction from which we had come.

That recently fallen body had been caught out and clawed to death by the night-ghouls. Fortunately the children he had been trying to save had been successfully saved. We were able to retrieve the body and it was fresh enough for Rayne to resurrect.

A plan to get everyone out of the city safely was cooked up. Near to this church, in the same street, was the churches of Raphael, Gabriel, and Sammael. The Michaelines were somewhere in the military district. Interestingly enough, the Uriel priest was named Sammy. He was the youngest priest and more receptive of the plan of all the church priests working together. The plan was to fly out the priests, and what useful artifacts they had, and have them set up a consecrated area about ten miles or so from the city. Meanwhile we’d escort the people in all four churches out during the day so they can be safe in the new consecrated area at nightfall. We could then help them get to Roland’s city. We just needed to warn him that two thousand refugees were on the way.

It took some arguing and planning but, finally, the plan was accepted. That afternoon, we flew the more seriously injured to Talville and reported. On the way out, we saw a strange figure in the fog.

Day 3

The next morning, we watched as the night-ghouls, all human, collapsed in the streets and fog billowed out of the clock faces on all four sides of the tower. The day was spent, finding enough horses and carts to move two thousand people. That evening everyone was camped out ten miles out on consecrated ground while we were a bit closer to the city in Minerva’s hut.

We spent most of the evening speculating on the situation. Were the plains we were currently sitting on past battlegrounds between the city-states? Would skeletons rise during the night? At least the refugee’s camp was consecrated but ours wasn’t.

    Minerva - “Maybe we should trade in one of our air mages for a necromancer”
    Aurora - “I don’t think I could be a necromancer if I tried”

Fortunately, much to my relief, we weren’t assaulted by battle hardened undead during the night, but I did see a figure far in the distance. Was a vampire watching us?

Day 4

Next morning, there was more shuffling of refugees, ending up moving them another ten miles and a random twenty people, mostly the old and infirmed, all the way to Talville. At Talville, Rayne and I went to get parts to make specialised arrows. I was hoping to get hollow heads for putting holy water in.

Once we were done, we returned to Ordulin and attempted to scry for the Michaeline Temple using Crystals of Vision. We were able to find it but there wasn’t a Michaeline in sight. The temple itself looked to be in pristine condition but it was completely empty. Lim then used Waters of Vision and got an image of two identical looking people, one of which was chained up to a wall in what looked like an attic. Were we dealing with twins or a doppleganger? Lim then spoke to the refugees and obtained a description of Keran which matched what he saw. However, there was no record of him having a twin brother.

We then investigated another of Ordulin’s gates. There were lots more bodies piled up here. No traps were found but the gate house door was locked, which didn’t slow us down much. I followed Lim up to the wall and discovered bodies of guards that had been killed by blades. There were no wards against flying but wards were discovered that were triggered by assaulting the area, which would activate defensive spells.

For some reason, I was asked if I was able to handle a hand and a half sword.

    Aurora - “I’ve got a claymore. Does that count?”
    Elderan - “That’s a hand and a half that goes Och Aye Laddie”

Maybe I should wear my Caledonian outfit, including McLoad tartan kilt later on.

Rayne was the best of us at conversing with the winds so she did so. The winds said that there were six people in the high city but lots of people in the low city. I hoped that the wind wasn’t counting the nightghouls as people. So we did a search and found ten more survivours hiding in basements. One of them was Harold who had his grandfather’s hand and a half sword, and knew how to use it. He told us that they had gone to Market Day and Keran had set the nightghouls on the city under the cover of darkness, maybe caused by big black clouds. We then flew our new refugees to the refugee camp and spent the night watching over them.

Day 5

Next morning we assaulted Keran’s manor as it was suspected that was where the vampires were. So we buffed up and flew in. The manor was a three story building with a left wing, right wing, a central part and a dome connected to the back. Our assault started with dropping rocks on the place to make entry holes. Attics were discovered in both wings containing rows of coffins so a lot of staking occurred. The central part didn’t have any coffins, or an attic, and below the dome was a dining hall.

We started by searching the top floor of the manor, kicking down doors that were in the way. Most of the rooms were dedicated to storage with two of them packed full of paintings. Kerry and I reached one set of stairs going down and encountered three ghouls and a rather surprised vampire, wearing peasant garb, that was coming up the stairs, The surprise look was probably because Kerry was in anthropomorphic cat form and wielding a very large battleaxe. At the other end of the mansion, a similar scene was playing out with Lim and Elderan, except there was no vampire. Meanwhile Rayne found a rather mentally deficient Keran. Rayne managed to cure the mental malady but he was still frightened. He was later evacuated by eagle to Talville.

On Lim’s side, he managed to set the ghouls on fire while, in our wing. Kerry chopped into the lead ghoul with her axe. A brave ghoul threatened Lim but only succeeded in attacking the doorway. Lim swiftly dealt with it. I blew up a ghoul with a thunderclap and damaged the rest while Kerry dealt with the vampire. Once I had destroyed the rest, with Minerva’s help, Kerry had forced the vampire to flee in mist form. Fortunately Elderan saw it coming and staked the vampire in it’s coffin.

Now that this floor was cleared, we headed down the stairs. Carrie put a weapon spell on my claymore while I cast flying on those that needed it. We then prepared to search the third floor.

We made our way through the servant’s wing, found a drawing room with easels, paper etc, an armoury with at least two magical weapons, green & cavalier themed drawing rooms, the dining room under the dome with dead Michaelines, two live(?) Michalines on a balcony, another balcony that would make a great launch and landing platform, a brown and egyptian themed drawing room, a library with lots of books, none of which were magical and the main staircase going down, which the Michaeline vampires, previously seen were guarding.

Those vampires were quickly destroyed then we headed down the main staircase. Below the dining room in the dome, we discovered the ballroom with a grand piano in it. Also there was a throne with vampire Keran in it. Either side of him was a heavily armed man, presumably his bodyguards.

Lim went over the balcony to engage the vampires. I don’t really remember what subsequently happened but they did succeed in defeating them.
Note from Lim: Fake Keran put out an aura of magical fear as we entered, several people had bad effects to this despite the precautions we had taken, but not much could be done. Fake Keran was cut down on his throne and his two bodyguards also, however he wasn't destroyed, and Kerry & Rayne took off in pursuit of his mist form.

Rayne and Kerry went after the retreating mist of Vampire Kerrin, a bit later on, while Carrie, Minerva and I followed. Down below, Lim and Elderan were securing the ballroom. We followed vampire Kerrin to the master bedroom where the coffin was resting on the four poster bed (Aurora - “Called it”). Rayne plunged a flaming sword into the coffin and I followed up with a shortsword. Kerrin shoved the coffin lid off in an attempt to fight us off but much stabbing ensured resulting in him being dusted very quickly.

While the others checked the remaining rooms I literally flew back to see how Lim and Elderan were getting on. By the time I got there, a large group of vampires were fleeing out the front door and turned into mist before I could thunderclap the lot. Only two were resisting and they too went ‘poof’ very quickly. Presumably they had already received the news of the master vampire being killed So the three of us engaged in staking the vampires.

    Minerva – Where are you going?
    Lim – There are vampires to kill
    Aurora – We’re having a stake out.

Coffins were smashed, the manor searched and loot obtained. All the ghouls were properly dead now because the head vampire wa no more. A locked box was discovered in the master bedroom cupboard which had a magical trap on it. Nature of Magic was “Quick, painful death” and the required Counterspell was “Fire Special”. Lim managed to survive the trap and got it open. Inside were maps of this city, the sewer system below as well as maps of the neighbouring ones. Was he planning a takeover? Also in there were sacks of coinage and gems, plus a silvered hand and a half sword that would hold a weapon enhancement until used.

Down in the basement, we found a barricaded door. It was nailed shut with several boards on the other side. Once we got it open, we found a corridor with doors on the sides with either storage rooms or servants quarters behind. One of the rooms had a painting hanging on the wall, behind which was a hole containing several assorted weapons, including a silvered dagger.

We then found the survivours of the household staff, ten Michaline Knights, and Lady Blackhurst and her three children. I went to speak to her but she wasn’t too helpful. However, Lucius Blackhurst, the eldest son, knew what his father had been up to. He told us of the secret library and alchemical lab that we had missed, so Lim, Elderan and Kerry went to check it out. He also knew of the documents that his father had been hiding as well as how to disarm the magical fog. He struck me as being a rather ambitious lad and he also admitted he was ‘waiting for his father to slip up so he could take over’. He turned out to be a Namer. The second son, who had his nose in a book, was a potential water mage and was described by Lucius as a ‘pathetic nerd’.

Anyway, we needed him to get rid of the fog, so I pretended to ‘butter him up’ and he agreed to help us. Presumably he was expecting us to help him take power over the city once we were done. Up at the top of the clock tower was a crystal on top which showed the entire city without the fog. As I watched, Lucius opened a panel, pressed a sequence of runes that were hidden behind it, and the fog stopped flowing out. Rayne and I then blasted the fog away, she from the bottom of the tower, and me from on top.

Day 6

So now we had a relatively empty city. I flew over it searching for more survivours. People were becoming to come out of their hiding places and making their way up to the manor. Still, it was painfully obvious that this city was no longer viable as there weren’t enough people to keep it running and provide the necessary infrastructure and support. Clearly, this place was either going to have to be abandoned or help had to come from outside – which meant that there was going to be a lot of delicate negotiations and politicking involved. Certainly the situation was very volatile and any wrong move could lead to war. Also, there was no quick fix as years would be required for this city to grow and survive again.

It was finally decided to fly the Blackhursts, the remaining Michalines and the household staff back to Talville in order that a meeting could be set up involving Roland, Kerrin, and Felix in order to figure out what should be done.

Kerrin had to step down as he had really annoyed at least two of the neighbours and any treaty with his name on it would not last. However, the Blackhurst name had also been tainted by Kerrin’s actions so the eldest son lost his birthright. His .... annoyance at this was clearly visible. I later recommended to the Michaelines that they’d better keep an eye on him. I was told that they already were and he had attempted to poison his father at age ten. Yep – not the type of person I would like to have running a city. In fact I started wondering if he had been responsible for the vampire invasion.

Anyway, the leadership of the city was passed to the churches – all five of them. I just hoped religious differences and intolerances would not tear the church leadership apart.

Note. We forgot to get checked for any curses. Should get that done in the morning.

Day 7

Next morning we were greeted with the news that Kerren and Lucius had died sometime during the night, although murdered would be more accurate. Their bodies had been found in their room, each stabbed by a different weapon and the room itself had been trashed. Also a poison gas had been released in the area which had caused the youngest daughter to suffocate. She had been resurrected but the two Blackhurst males were irresurrectable, mainly because their souls were gone. A DA on both of them told us that both of them were pacted; Lucius to Malthus and Kerrin to Asmoday. The blades had killed them before the poison gas had been released and the only other thing of note was that the window was open. No footprints outside though as there was stone under the window.

The best theory that we could come up with was that one had killed the other, the appropriate demon showed up who then killed the killer causing the second demon to show up and the two had a fight. It was either that or a vampire had come in through the window, to assassinate both of them, and started that chain of events.

Day 8

We also discovered that both Lim and Carrie had been cursed with ill-luck (Carrie) and ‘Death by whom you most trust’ (Lim). We suspected that the likely cause would be Lim’s horse. So we had to get the Namers to fix that and it was going to take the best Namer in the City to buff himself up a lot to fix Lim. That’s why I spent the next day sightseeing in the city while Lim spent all that day getting de-cursed. Interesting enough, the curses were bestowed upon them the night before last, after we had returned to Talville. That implied local vampires, or some had made their way here, so Michaeline vampire hunter teams, which included a vampire sniffer necromancer, were set up to hunt them down.

Day 9

Next day we headed back to Ordulan to warn the vampire hunters there about the possibility of death curses. They had only just arrived there by the time we got there so we delivered the warning before stopping off at the bank’s vault to make a .... rather large withdrawal.

The next thing we decided to do was to find out what happened to those troops that ‘fake Kerren’ had sent out to the eastern outlying farms. Twenty miles east of the city we encountered a forest and the obvious tracks of the military force had gone in .... and not came out. Fey involvement was theorised, and confirmed when my messenger bird came back with a message saying ‘Play with us’.

So we entered cautiously, but instead of the fae court of pixies etc I was anticipating, all that was there were five dryads that had been ‘entertaining’ the hundred or so men that were there. While I spoke to the dryads to find out what was going on, the others were sobering up the men and finding out why they were here.

The dryads told me that they could only go a mile away from their trees and occasionally they would be visited by children from the nearby settlements, who would play with them. They were not malicious, and the children would go home with favourable impressions.

Meanwhile the others discovered that these men had actually been sent to negotiate good relationships with yet another city further east. Once they were sorted out, they were instructed to head back to Ordulan then on to Talville. I then had a quick fly around the forest but the dryad’s grove was the, discovering that the entire forest is a high mana zone, but there seemed to be no signs of any other fae in the forest. We then continued heading east, following the road through the forest, spending the night in a clearing.

Day 10

We spent the following day searching the forest in the vicinity, some for herbs, some for wild animals, and I was searching for signs of more fae. Didn’t find any, not even a faerie circle. Still doesn’t mean there aren’t any, just none in this area. As the sun was going down, we flew back to Talville.

Day 11

Early the next morning, during last watch, there was a disturbance outside our door. While Lim went to investigate, Minerva woke the rest of us up. I went over to the door and found a letter had been pushed under it. After carefully opening it, I discovered that it was signed K Winfell and we were being offered a job, and discretion was required.

  “We’re missing a Lim”

After breakfast, we went looking for him. I also had his breakfast with me. On the way up to the Winfield Manor, which was located on a hill, we spotted Lim in an attic window. I flew up to tell him what was going on and offered him breakfast. It turned out he had already had some so I ended up sharing it with Carrie.

It was decided we would head up to the manor in covert and overt groups. I went overt, along with Minerva and Kerry. We went up to the main gate, I spoke to the guard, and we were led up to the manor past well manicured lawns and very well kept gardens. Inside the manor we were conducted upstairs and into a study where a male bearded dwarf was waiting. This was K Winfall but he wouldn’t say what the K stood for. He also knew that the others were sneaking around his manor and refused to tell us what he wanted until they turned up. I did manage to find out he employed elves as gardeners and halflings as cooks, something I decided to implement back at Highpoint Manor.

Once the others finally showed up, Winfall told us he was a merchant who ran a trading business. He had expected some rare and valuable items last week but they hadn’t arrived. There was a chalice, a pair of dragon figurines, a staff and a large pearl. He offered us 4,000sp each per item recovered.

The only item he had a rough location on was the figurines. He knew that the person he had employed to bring it to him had arrived in Talville but hadn’t reported to him yet. We obtained drawings of the objects before leaving.

Lim used Vision spells to see what he could find out. There was no sign of any demonic powers associated with them, much to our relief and all he could determine that the chalice was in a sack, the figurines were on a shelf, the pearl was behind a gate with a creature guarding it and the staff was in the process of being handed from one person to another.

No clues to the location of the figurines could be found at the employee’s address and it also looked like most of his possessions were missing as if he was doing a runner. Near by the address was a bakery so, while I purchased some fruit tarts to share with everyone, I asked whether or not the baker had seen the employee. Nope, hadn’t been seen for two weeks. I got the same answer from the bartender at the nearby pub.

While the party members who had ‘connections with the nefarious underworld’ did their thing, the rest of us waited in the bar. A few hours later, they had discovered that the figurines had been sold to a local pawnbroker but, by the time we got there, the figurines were gone. Fortunately the pawnbroker was ‘persuaded’ to tell us who had bought them. We also discovered that he had a rock that emanated magic, not that he knew and we brought it for a pittance. He thought it was just some sort of weird rock or maybe petrified dragon dung. Whatever it was, we got it cheap.

The plan was to sneak in to the manor that night and lift the dragon figurines while Felix was ‘entertaining’ the owner. So we prepared for a stealth mission, which meant I finally got to wear my black skintight assassin stealth armour.

  “I have elven leaf armour” - Minerva
  “What? Krff?” - Carrie
  “I can tell you about several types of krff, but I’ve never heard it called that” - Lim.

Anyway, we snuck into the manor, avoided the guards, and made our way into a secret trophy room which was magically trapped, warded, etc – which we were able to bypass – and contained quite a few magical artifacts, including the figurines. It was decided to take all of it, and leave the now empty cases exactly as we found them, complete with locks and wards.

We weren’t sure what the figurines did but it was possible its magic would interact with Elderan’s dragon cloud in a way we couldn’t predict. Also Rayne was constantly petting and stroking them. Seems she has a ‘thing’ for dragons.

Day 12

The following day, we headed out of town where Elderan’s ‘dragon cloud’ was lurking. It was easy to find as we just had to find the only tree outside of town that was enveloped in fog. Minerva enlarged her house, brought out the Rosetta Stone and the flying carpet, and used the stone to read the draconic inscriptions on the base. There were two names: Gormah and Frogdreth.

The plan was to try and speak to these dragons so I went back to town and persuaded the Namer that had removed the curse on Lim to come join us for the attempt. We then retreated out into the wastelands and the others did some sort of ritual. At the end, there was a flash of light and two strange voices were heard coming out of Elderan.

We asked if the statues should be taken to the merchant or we should keep them. “The statues go where they need to be”. We then asked how do we get the dragon egg to hatch. “Time, and the application of heat”. They also said it was their egg, made so by the summoning. “Cloud will change and it will change Cloud”. Out of the egg will come a descendant of the Great Old One. Rayne was very excited by this and wanted to know it would be a rainbow dragon. I had to admit, that would be really cool.

The Pearl was revealed to be a mana fatigue store, the Chalice can grant Talents temporarily but they couldn’t sense the staff. When they gave us the offer to learn draconic, we all accepted, even the Namer. Elderan then fed his dragon cloud an ice cube. To our surprise, the cloud reached out, absorbed a quarter of the gold bars we had used to build the altar for the ritual, then cocooned itself in ice. Lim then got a vision of a large, white, dragon hatching from the ice cocoon in summer, and the area was surrounded in trees. So we went to plant some, mostly willows, but I added a few oaks nearby. We also created a pool with a spring and a stream flowing out of it to the nearby river. All of this took us the rest of the afternoon.

We spent the night in Minerva’s cabin and it looked like the new trees were growing rather fast. My plant empathy told me they were very healthy. We had been worried it might take several years before Cloud would emerge from the cocoon, but Minerva’s divinations seemed to indicate that it might be only a matter of weeks, if not days. I think we all wanted to be there when it happened.

Day 13

The last known location of the Pearl was a city roughly fifty to sixty miles north of our current position. So we flew out there on Rayne’s cloud and headed for the Mage Academy there to see what we could find out.

Once inside the Academy, it was a matter of finding the person we were looking for, an expert on magical gates, Names, and illusions. I also wanted to use their library to find out what new Air spells I could learn or even some Fae stuff that could be useful. I also had to use my diplomacy skills to smooth over some ruffled feelings that Lim and co were causing. We did find out that the previous owner of the Pearl was the Head of the Illusion College, an orc. I also found out that another illusionist, a young boy, had been working on the spells I was interested in researching. When we finally tracked the orc down, we found that he had sold it for a very good price to the two employees. As far as he knew, they had left town with it still in their possession.

They had stayed at the nearby inn and the innkeeper told us they had paid for a couple of days but had left the following day. He did tell us though that, they had a clandestine meeting in a dark corner with a scantily clad, tall, female figure. We originally thought that the orc illusionist had stolen it back but after sneaking over to his house, putting him to sleep, searching his place, then heading to the Academy and searching his office, we couldn’t find it.

I then checked the Academy Registry to see if there was anyone else who could cast an illusion that good and the only one I could find was the boy I was thinking of checking out later. So, it was suggested I charm the pants off him (maybe literally) and see if he did it. As it turned out I had an interesting night. Rayne and Kerry were there as chaperones as well. But no, he didn’t have it either.

More night sky reading was done and the answer to the question “Where is the Pearl” was “Through the gate and off the Plane, where it shall remain”. We came to the conclusion that the culprit was a disguised succubus.

Minerva: “I think the question is ‘What College is a dragon?’”
The Party (including Minerva): “Any College it wants!”

Minerva (summoning creatures of light): “The animals are coming two by two…”

Day 14

Minerva had also done a reading that told us where the gate was so, the following morning, we followed those directions and found ourselves at the bottom of the hill that had a cave in it. So, we went in, and, after a short trek, we found a shimmering wall at the end of the tunnel which led to Hell. Several jokes on the lines of ‘we can now tell people who tell us to go to hell that we’ve already been’ followed before we stepped through, finding ourselves in another cavern that had a burnt curtain over the exit. Going through that found us in a large, decorated room, inside which was the woman we were looking for, complete with horns, bat wings, and tail and wearing some rather skimpy clothing that I was wondering where she got it.

We discovered that she was a Mind Mage and she said that she, and a group of others, were intercepting these items in order to stop them falling into the hands of cultists of the Infernal King. For various reasons, we decided to vacate the room and discuss the matter on the other side of the portal Lim then collapsed the cave entrance. After some discussion, we traded quite a bit of other stuff for the pearl.

The next object we decided to go after was the chalice. We knew it had been stolen by bandits so we flew to the city it was last seen at. The plan we came up with was to hire a driver and carriage and act as ‘bait’ for the next bandit attack.

We set off. Four hours on the road, and we were passing some high cliffs on one side, and the sea shore on the other. I flew ahead a bit and discovered a spot where the cliff briefly curved away from the road. Bushes filled the gap and, at the back of the bend, was a fissure extending into the rock which had steps on it. A perfect place for an ambush. I even spotted two people watching the road, waiting for the cart.

I guess they weren’t expecting to encounter a bunch of adventurers with magic as the fight was relatively short and rather one sided. Their illusionist boss was found and the chalice retrieved. By this stage, I was beginning to wonder if returning these items was a bad idea.

Day 15

The ex-bandits, now known as “Lim’s Mercenaries” were sent back to Talville while we figured out what next. The last object to find was the staff which had been last seen in a city to the north. Upon arrival, we visited the group who had previously possessed it and managed to gain an appointment to see the relevant person tomorrow afternoon. Plus, we were making it known that we weren’t doing too well, given that we were planning to retain the items as we didn’t want an evil cult to get them.

Day 16

So, that afternoon, we saw Trademaster Rubio. He told us that the staff was called the Runeforged Rod and it was believed that it could hold multiple spells and release them all at once. He also told us that two men had picked it up, then two days later, the same men had turned up claiming they were here to collect it. Another case of deception by illusion? Or was it a case of hypnotism or other mind mage tricks?

Day 17

Lim had also put in a request for a three foot diameter crystal sphere, presumably for a crystal of vision, for the place he was planning on which made me consider Highpoint Manor a bit more then had me trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I spent next day’s flight back to Talville thinking about it.

The reason we were going back to Talville was Minerva’s reading the night sky rituals, made the previous night.

  “Where is the Runeforged Rod”? - Broken and lost
  “What happened to it”? - Someone took the stone out.
  “Where is the stone?” - Located in a safe in a Talville hill with a man with no good will.
  “Where is the staff?” - Same place as the stone.

On the way back, we swung by the grove where Cloud was in its cocoon. The trees were nearly full grown now and the ice on the cocoon was about a foot thick. It seemed to us that there was still a few days at least to go so we continued on with out investigation. It was late afternoon by the time we reached Talville so we retreated to the inn where we were staying. During the evening, Lim pointed out that I need more practise if I was to be a proper spymaster. I had to agree with him – assuming that was what I wanted.

Day 18

While Lim made enquiries in his way, I arranged to have lunch with Felix on the pretense on seeing how things were going. I then steered the conversation over to ask if he knew someone that could be classed as being of ill will. He gave the name of a merchant who was basically obsessed with obtaining money and hoarding it. It may not have been his real name but he was known locally as ‘Scrooge’. His manor was heavily guarded and he was known to be extremely paranoid.

By the time I got back from that, Lim had also returned with much the same information as well as a person we only knew as ‘John Doe’ who had been casing the manor for the last six months. With his information and our magic we believed we had a good chance of pulling this caper off. So, that night, that was what we did.

With a combination of sleep dust and knockout gas, we neutralised the guards. Wards of Dark Web, Light Web and Increase Gravity were detected and countered and soon we were in. Finding his bedroom, ‘John Doe’ lifted the appropriate keys although he had to steal the key he was wearing to open a drawer that contained the actual key we wanted. That got us into his office and then past the full length painting of him, where the actual loot was kept. There was the separated rod and sapphire as well as a rather large supply of krrf and other illegal drugs. In a secret compartment of his desk was all the evidence linking him to the city’s illicit drug trade and other criminal activities as well a letter from Mr Winfield to his employees detailing the retrieving of the Rod. All this evidence was removed and deposited at Felix’s house, even if we had to wake him up to do that.

Day 19

It was tempting to hang around to observe the resulting consequences but it was decided that we should make ourselves scarce. Besides, Cloud could come out of the cocoon any time soon so we decided to head out to the grove and wait. We also returned Mr Winfield’s deposit, telling him that all the leads had gone cold and we were unable to fulfil our part of the contract.

So after saying we were ‘retiring to commune with nature’ we prepared to stock up to do just that. I ended up stocking up on incense and crystal rocks intending to follow some ancient elven pagan traditions, some of which included meditation and frolicking sky-clad among the trees. Basically I was hoping for inspiration from the ancient beliefs.

So we went to the grove and waited. Minerva put up her cabin but I wanted to curl up in a tree. I also spent some time cavorting in the pool as well as doing aerial dances at night.

Day 45

It was midday on the Summer Solstice when the cocoon finally cracked. I was sitting in a tree when that happened and fluttered down for a closer look. What came out was a hungry white dragon who quickly devoured the oxen and pigs we had previously acquired. He said his name was Cloud and Elderan was part of his horde. We also provided him more things for his horde as well taken from the things we had accumulated. He planned to travel although this would be his home. Hopefully it would be protected for all time.

Well that was it. Not long after that, we returned to Alusia and finally sorted out what we had acquired.

Epilogue

People

  • Felix; A sort of Corporal, in charge of a squad of 10 specialist rangers. A type of Earth Mage. Breeds very large eagles.
  • Pebbles; A very large (but still 1 hex) Beast Mastered Eagle attached to Felix. Speaks common.
  • Roland; Head of the City Council.
  • Keran; Leader of the neighboring town (Name given by Roland). Minion of Asmoday. was assassinated shortly after returning to Talville. Not ressurectable.
  • Lucius; Kerans son. Assassinated shortly after returning to Talville. Minion of Malthus. Not ressurectable.
  • Fake Keran; A Greater Vampire, may be a minion of Malthus, currently suffering from a sudden attack of adventurers and feeling extra dead and dusty.
  • K. Winfell; Dwarvish merchant of Talville. Powerful, probably richest man in town. Suspected to deal with demonic cultists, though may be ignorant of this.

Roland's Provided Information

Astrological Reading

'Evil has taken harvest,
Bodies devoid of life in the moonlight stand tall,
Havoc and death take buzzards form,
The Earl shall consume us all'

Requested list of Powers

•	Astharoth: The Terrible Duke
 Nastiness: 10/10
 Appears as a Dark angel all black with a bloody mouth
 Minions: Black Dragon, Fallen Seraphim, Spectre, Mamba
•	Bifrons: Earl of the Dead
 Nastiness: 5/10
 Appears as either as an insubstantial horned monster, or a handsome young man.
 Minions: Succubus/Incubus, Half-devil, Wraith, Bull
•	Bune: The Dragon Duke
 Nastiness: 9/10
 Appears as a small green dragon with 3 heads, 1 human, 1 dog and 1 griffon.
 Minions: Green dragon, devil, Half -devil, Spectre, War dog
•	Eligos: The Knightly Duke
 Nastiness: 5/10
 Appears as a Knight in black armour, riding a dark war horse.
 Minions: Devil, Half-devil, Dire wolf, Asp
•	Furcas: The Reaping Duke
 Nastiness: 9/10
 Appears as an old man with a long-plaited beard, dressed in pale armour, riding a pale horse.
 Minions: Greater Vampire, Devil, Half-Devil, Spectre, Rat
•	Malthus: Earl of Death and Havoc
 Nastiness: 8/10
 Appears as A huge filthy buzzard
 Minions: Greater Vampire, Devil, Imp, Harpy, Vulture
•	Murmur: Duke of Thrones
 Nastiness: 4/10
 Appears as a warrior in green armour, riding a gryphon.
 Minions: Fallen Erelim, Devil, Half-Devil, Gryphon, Hippogriff
•	Samigina: Marquis of Dead Souls
 Nastiness: 4/10
 Appears as a small ass
 Minions: Devil, Half-devil, Wraith, Donkey

Things we might want to get or find out

  • Quick Cast Potions, or components + a namers time. For counter-spells vs. vampires / necromancers.
  • What's different for a Greater Vampire vs a Vampire as far as these guys know.
  • Any ancient legends of the area, tombs, crypts, that kind of thing.
  • Maybe we should generate some kind of map of the region, so we can get our head around where these towns are, and where running water is.


Mil Sci

Mil Sci will receive an EP bonus for ensuring Combats run smoothly and quickly
Primary Mil-Sci: Minerva Secondary Mil-Sci: Carrie

Crazy combat thoughts

  • Flash Flood down the main streets. Pro's. Normal vampires can't cross running water, what happens when they are in the middle of it. Cons. Not well ranked at all in it.

Daily Pattern

  • Sleep/Camp 12 Hours
  • Ritual 1 Hour
  • Travel 8 Hours
  • Meals 3 Hours spread through day * 5 meals.

Default pattern, vary as wanted by party

Watch Order

Provisional watch order, needs completing & confirming.

 1st.  Carrie, Rayne
 2nd.  Kerry, Elderan, Aurora
 3rd.  Lim, Minerva.
  • Lim doesn't sleep, but does need rest.

Travel Magics

Plan A. Wings of Eagles

 Minerva + Kerry on Celestial wings.
 Elderan, Rayne, Carrie, Lim on Eagles.
 Aurora on Air Wings.
 Dire Wolf on Flying
 * Total speed: ??
 * Duration: ??
 * Ft cost per duration: 6 Casting Ft + ? / hour of travel each.
 * Effective travel distance:

Plan B. Dragon Cloud.

 Elderan, Summon & Bind Cloud
 * Total speed: 
 * Duration: 
 * Ft cost per duration: 0
 * Effective travel distance:

Plan C. On the winds.

 Aurora, Flying
 * Total speed: 50 mph 
 * Duration: 20.5 Hours*
 * Ft cost per duration: 16 Casting Ft + ? / hour of travel each.
 * Effective travel distance: 400 Miles a day.
 Travel per day limited by travelling time, not spell duration so can be extended if the party pushes.

Marching Order

General traveling.

 Front scouts: Lim?/Carrie?
 Main body front: Lim?/Carrie?, Kerry
 Main body rear: Minerva, Elderan
 Tail Guard: Aurora, Rayne

Formations
Open field combat.

 Carrie --- Lim --- Kerry
 --- Minerva --- Elderan ---
 --- Aurora --- Rayne ---

Buffs

Buffs listed in the table don't need to be detailed, other buffs not on the table must be mentioned at the time they are cast.
Y means always on, N/- means never on, 'Sit.' means when the party has time for buffs before a fight.
Weapon Spells which weapon/s it is going on normally should be noted also.

General notes.
Restoratives & Healing are available to allow people to cast all the buffs.
It is suggested that people drink one if they are lower than half Ft after casting.

Long Duration Buffs

Magic Rk Effects Dur Mi Au El Ke Ca Ra Li Di B1 B2 B3 B4
Waterproofing (Lim) 10 Waterproof Entity & Possessions from Harmful effects of water. 63 Hours* Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Water Breathing (Lim) 15 Can breathe water via gills, & see through water mage fog. 26 Hours* Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Witchsight (Minerva) 12 See in Dark & see invisbles. 11.5 Hours* Y Tal (??) Tal (14) Y Y Y Tal (14) ?? ?? ?? ?? ??
Enchant Armour (Carrie) 13 +28% Defence, +1 Ft AP 12 Hours* Y Y Y Y Y Y Y ? ? ? ? ?
Coruscade?/Shadowform? (Minerva?/Kerry?) ? ?? ?? N N N N N N N Y? Y? Y? Y? Y?
Greater Enchantment (Carrie) 11 +12% to areas selected 3 Months All All All All All All All Sta/Ski/Res Ski/Res Ski/Res Ski/Res Ski/Res
Vapour Breathing (Rayne) 9 Protects from harmful gasses etc. ?? Y Y Y Y Y Y Y ? ? ? ? ?
Feather Falling (Aurora) 10 ?? ?? Y Y Y Y Y Y Y ? ? ? ? ?
?? (Caster) ?? ?? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
  • Assuming Rank 10 Enhance Enchant on Duration.

Short Duration Buffs

Magic Rk Effects Dur Mi Au El Ke Ca Ra Li Di B1 B2 B3 B4
Enchant Weapon (Carrie) 10 adds 11% Sc and 4 DM 15 mins ? ? ? ? ? ? Hand & 1/2 ? ? ? ? ?
Waters of Strength (Lim) 20 (D-2)+20 PS 105 minutes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
?? (Caster) ?? ?? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
?? (Caster) ?? ?? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
?? (Caster) ?? ?? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
?? (Caster) ?? ?? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
?? (Caster) ?? ?? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
?? (Caster) ?? ?? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Employer Buffs

Buffs provided by the Employer when in the City

Magic Rk Effects Dur Mi Au El Ke Ca Ra Li Di B1 B2 B3 B4
Durability 20 2Ft 2En on Armour Permanency Available ? ? ? ? ? ? Y(p) ? ? ? ? ?
Willow Healing 15 3 En per pulse for 17 pulses 30 hours ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Greater Heart Rune 15 10 En 16 days Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Heroism 14 15 Def, 15% vs fear, 15% reaction rolls Permanency Available ? ? ? ? ? Y(p) Y(p) ? ? ? ? ?
Strength of Stone 20 20 PS or EN 21 hours ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
?? (Caster) ?? ?? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
?? (Caster) ?? ?? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Other Casters are available upon request of college. These are the ones that they will advertise to you.

Map

Loot

SP

  • A percentage of recovered loot value from four five major temples. May be paid in specials rather than silver.
  • One Town Vault, or at least the portion that was valuable enough to be worth the weight plus all the coinage.
  • 8k each now, 8k each promised. From second employer for recovery of some items. Returned due to failure to deliver items to Mr. K.


Items

  • Vampire Dust, Teeth, Heart?, Greater Vampire Dust?
  • Kerans secret papers & loot.
  • Assorted armour and weapons. Vampires.
  • Assorted Manor loot. Kerans Manor.
  • Occult Library.
  • Mistletoe from Dryads trees.
  • Mystery contents of a vault room.
  • Dragon Stone

Recovered but not returned

  • Two Dragon statuettes.
  • One large Pearl
  • A chalice
  • A staff (can it be reassembled, or are the two parts now their own items with separate powers)

Gifts

  • Elderan. gifts from Cloud.


Purchases

  • 6 * Quick Cast potion components. Consumed.
  • 4 * Eagles (Bought with pooled party funds)
  • Multiple barrels of Greek fire. (provided by employer for use, not for keeping if not used)
  • Some disguises.
  • Significant costs for information.
  • Taxes to relevant "authorities"


Calendar

Summer

  Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon0.jpg Beltane
Meadow (1)
  1 Guild Meeting 2 Travel to Talville. 3 Flight to the Ordulin. 4 Evacuation of the Temples. 5 White Lotus
Finding more refuges.
6 Seagate Light Festival
In main town(Talville).
Moon1.jpg 7  Into the Manor 8  Expected refuge arrival. 9   10   11   12   13  
Moon2.jpg 14   15   16   17   18   19 The Castellan Borderers Ball 20  
Moon3.jpg 21   22   23   24   25   26 Seagate Crafters Ball 27  
Moon0.jpg 28   29   30    
Heat (2)
  1   2   3   4 Seagate Guildmasters Ball
Moon1.jpg 5   6   7   8   9   10 Seagate Races 11 The Duke of Carzala's Summer Ball
Moon2.jpg 12   13   14 Midsummers
 Eve
 (Faerie Day)
15 Solstice 16   17 Seagate Summer Fair Day 18 Seagate Summer Fair Day
Moon3.jpg 19   20   21   22   23   24 The Castellan of Brastor's Summer Ball 25  
Moon0.jpg 26   27   28   29   30    
Breeze (3)
  1   2  
Moon1.jpg 3 Day of Death 4   5   6   7   8   9  
Moon2.jpg 10   11   12   13   14   15   16  
Moon3.jpg 17   18   19   20   21   22   23  
Moon0.jpg 24   25   26   27   28   29   30