Little Girl Lost in the Woods

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Summary

Adventure: Help Wanted: Little Girl Lost in the Woods
GM: Miles Jackson
Session: Autumn 810 wk
Night: Wednesday
Level: Low-Medium

The Party
  1. Pug - A young Dwarven Beastmaster. Enjoys the Ice and dispatching those who kill animals needlessly (scribe)
  2. Skafloc valGalen – a naïve earth mage elf, with some understanding of military things
  3. Imri Athaliah - female sea elf, low celestial
  4. Veor - Human Ice Mage
  5. Falco
  6. Tallima
  7. Lady Hope
Employer

Grunstagg, a local dwarven clan shaman.

Mission

A young couple inherited their uncles estate in the north, and their daughter has gone missing. Our employer is Grunstagg, a local dwarven clan shaman. He wants the party to find her as they are getting the blame and things could get unpleasant as racial tensions are on the rise.

Payment

Grunstagg has deposited 30,000 SP with the guild. The parents of the little girl have posted a reward of 10,000 SP

Dear Diary

Day One

In the Guild Meeting Room

An ancient blind Dwarf called Grunstagg addressed us. He and his young companion Pip come from a plane called Kerrena. His small tribe of 30 had left the northern mines to try their luck at a silver mine the humans to the south said was exhausted. Knowing that humans were never very good at finding the treasures of the earth they thought their chance was quite good. They came to the mine only 6 months ago and almost immediately found fresh veins of Silver. Since that time they have been trading with the local town called Wolfsburg, with a castle called Kerrena.

We think it is unusual that the castle goes by the same name as the plane.

The dwarves frequently visit for market days. The town is also on the main trade route back to the north. The river heads north from the south and then forks to the north east at the township. The mine is near the north eastern branch of the river, about 10 miles from town.

Grunstagg explains as much of the town’s history as he knows. The previous baron had been a recluse for almost 40 years till one day two years ago he mysteriously disappeared. His servants came out and proclaimed he had been missing for several days, as was his want, but he hadn’t returned. Despite the townsfolk searching nothing was found to show where he might have gone to. Several weeks later his nephew by marriage arrived and took over the mantle of baron. Since his arrival the townsfolk have muttered about other strange things happening. By popular opinion the dwarves have been blamed, even though they only arrived 6 months ago.

The valley is called Howling Vale, due to the wolves which hunt in the night. It is generally not safe to be outside in the darkness. The townsfolk go so far as to close the gates at Dusk and don’t reopen them till Dawn. They still talk of a great Captain of the Guard named Kerst who single handedly killed all the werewolves in the region almost 200 years ago. Grunstagg believes the story is somewhat of an exaggeration. He mentions there is a reward on Wolf Hides of 500 SP each. He warns us though that they are over 5ft tall at the shoulder and many an adventurer has not been seen again

Lady Hope, Falco, Imri and Veor find all this history fascinating. Grunstagg then talks about Holly, the missing girl.

She is only 12 years old and has a penchant for disappearing, just like her uncle the former baron. 2 weeks ago though she disappeared and didn’t return. Rangers were sent out the next morning but couldn’t find any trace of her. The baron posted reward notices, including a picture, and the princely sum of 10,000 SP for her safe return. Grunstagg hands the poster over and we all do our best to memorise the image. Grunstagg says she is still within 200 miles of the town but she is being screened in some way that makes “Locating” her impossible.

Grunstagg can take us directly to his chambers in the mine through a portal but any magics we have applied will be stripped off before we exit the portal. He explains this is a security measure. He can arrange for his wife to give us a Rank 12 Greater Enchantment on 2 categories once we get through.

Our Backstory

Grunstagg looks at our racially mixed group and comments on how we will stand out in the town of Wolfsburg. We come up with a convincing story of how we come from a mercenary guild from the deep south in a town called Hamiltron. Grunstagg gives us enough information to make our story convincing by mentioning some towns we passed through on our way to Wolfsburg. We will present ourselves to the baron and offer to find the missing girl. As a side mission we will promise to kill as many wolves as we can, helping to make the countryside safe again.

There are 2 taverns in the town called The WolfsHead and the Prancing Imp. The WolfsHead is very upmarket and charges 10 SP per night for each single room. This is a little out of our league for the several weeks stay we are expecting. We decide to go to the Prancing Imp as it is only 2 SP per night for bunk rooms. It is of course a bit rougher.

Grunstagg also points out that flying is dangerous as the valley in almost completely forested and landing will be difficult. The weather is cold but not inhospitable. There are light snow falls each day. It should only take us 1 day to hike to the town from the mines.

There is also a small church to the wolf god in the town, as well as the normal human god church.

We ask about Pip, who has remained silent the whole time. He is very small for a dwarf. He is in fact half dwarf and half earthen spirit. He is the “Eyes of Grunstagg” and can keep in constant contact with Grunstagg through a telepathic link.

We do a little shopping and buy some spices and Grunstagg supplies 3 * 10 point healing potions each and 1 waters of healing each. Grunstagg returns with several large wooden barrels but he doesn’t tell us what are in them. We also discuss the party spells and items as many of us haven’t met before. Falco offers to cast Shadow Form on everyone for 32 defence points, which is better than Skaflocs Armour of Earth at 14 defence points.

Into the Mines

We arrive at 3pm in Grunstaggs private chambers. A very large grizzly bear sniffs us all and then settles down in front of the fire. Grunstagg points out we can’t leave the mine without a dwarf to guide us, so we should rest up the remainder of the evening and enjoy the peace and quiet. He leaves to organise food and beverages. His wife comes in bearing a large platter of sumptuous foods. She stays and casts the Greater Enchantments on us. She gives us 3 doses of sleep dust and tells us it is her bear resting by the fire.

Falco talks to her about the missing girl and the fact that she is screened. He suggests using the locate spell at lower levels to help narrow down the 200 mile radius. This works a treat and the old dwarf is surprised that she hadn’t thought of it earlier. The human girl is within 22 miles of the mine.

Grunstaggs wife confirms what Grunstagg had said earlier and adds some tasty morsels to the conversation. The proprietor of the WolfsHead could be a thaumaturge mage.

thaumaturgy means making and operating physical devices, based on early engineering principles, to produce an effect

The Captain of the Guard could be an elementalist. He is curiously called Kerst too, like his ancestor from 200 years ago. The main positions of power in the town are hereditary titles so it is quite common for fathers to pass down the same name to their sons. Holly is known to the dwarves and likes to adventure, seeking exotic items.

Legend has it there used to be werewolves but they were exterminated. Now wolves are seen in packs of 3 or 4.

Day Two

Journey to Wolfsburg

We get up at 6am and Grunstagg accompanies us to the surface. It is -2 degrees so Veor and Pug cast Resist Cold on the party. We decide to approach town from the south so people don’t associate us with the dwarves. The plan is to walk through the forest till we reach the river a mile from the town, then cross it, go further south, cross the main river below the town and then finally enter the town from the south.

We walk for 5 hours with no real concerns then we hear a commotion up ahead in a small clearing in the forest. Falco and Lady Hope go unseen and venture forth to investigate. They see 4 human hunters setting traps for the wolves. Falco signs to Lady hope that they should return to the group. Lady Hope is somewhat startled to feel a hot breath on her legs as she backs up. Glancing down she sees the long wet snout of a grey wolf sniffing her. It is a Sylvan Wolf and is semi sentient. The wolf looks at Falco too, which unnerves him as he is used to being totally unseen when he stands still. The wolf sits down and blocks their path back to the group. From the wolf they hear a voice saying “follow me”. Lady Hope says “where” and another voice enters he mind saying “to meet me”. They follow the wolf off to the side for about 150 feet and encounter a 19 year old female elf. She asks what they are doing here. Lady Hope replies they are looking for a lost girl. The elf says “you smell different”, quickly followed by “are you hunting wolves?”. Both Lady Hope and Falco immediately reply that they had no such thoughts. They are simply passing through with their party when they heard the commotion caused by the hunters. Mellon (the elfs name) says “Just as well. We are ready to ambush the silly humans”. Falco asks about a lost girl but Mellon knows nothing about her. Mellon has been helping the wolves as they have been persecuted by the humans for far too long. This small group of hunters, as clumsy as they are, will not be seen again in the town.

The rest of the group waits 10 minutes for Falco and Lady Hope to return. Just as the time expires the howls of wolves and the screams of men can be heard in the distance. The group starts running forward but stops at the sight of the wolves rending the humans. There are 7 silver wolves and 1 blackish/grey wolf. The last is sentient. The group retreats and is startled by an owl flying towards them. It changes form back into Falco and he tells them to come with him back to Mellon. Mellon becomes a bit nervous around Skafloc and Imri (both are elves) as the elves of her village never understood her and they eventually drove her out. Lady Hope allays her fears by explaining we are from another plane and belong to a guild from a city called Seagate. Our guild is dedicated to the peaceful resolution of problems

Mellon invites us back to her camp for a meal. She tells us how she has been in the woods for over 20 years and that she misses the contact with people. We offer to take her to the town with us but she declines, saying she is known in town and there may be a reward out for her. She has plenty of company from the wolves though as they have been meeting and forming into larger packs more often of late.

Only Veor and Pug decline to eat her food, which is a selection of wild berries, honeys and some form of bread. She takes no offense. We talk about Holly and Mellon recognises her, although it had been 3 weeks since she last saw her so she didn’t associate the “missing girl” with Holly when asked by Falco. The wolves have not scented her for 3 weeks.

Mellon warns us not to go too far south as the meanest Trolls live there and they are about 30 feet tall. There are some ruins in the forest surrounding the town though so we could go looking there for Holly.

Lady Hope offers to buy Mellon some fresh town food (cake and chocolate) in exchange for any news she hears from the wolves on Holly. Mellon says to come out of the town where Holly was last seen and Mellon will find us. We leave, promising not to attack any wolves.

Veor and her Icebergs

By 1pm we hear the sound of guards in the distance on the main road. There are 5 humans on horseback, each with long bows strapped to the side of the horse, and scimitars. We stay under cover and they pass by none the wiser. They don’t have any packs so they must be out for a short patrol.

At 2pm we reach the bank of the first river, to the north east of the town. Veor creates an iceberg and we all cross the river safely. Pugs polar bear, affectionately called Cujo, swims alongside the iceberg. We then travel through some more forest and reach the southern river, crossing that in the same way. We race to the town gates as we hear the bell being rung and the sun sets. We only just make it into the village in time.

Wolfsburg

The tanner and the charcoal maker are a few steps in front of us. Falco DAs them and finds the Tanner was last impacted by Consecration. That seems very odd but the guards are eyeing us up as we pay too much attention. They send us off to the Prancing Imp on the seedy side of town. We hire 2 rooms for 1 week. Pug insists on his polar bear sharing his quarters. Lady Hope pays extra and has a nice hot bath. After getting all comfortable we head down to the common room for dinner. Tallima sticks out, but the barman doesn’t refuse his money.

Falco buys some older men some drinks and a light meal and gets some useful information about the townsfolk. The new baron came from the south and had all the right papers and seals so no one questioned his authority. The werewolves were destroyed 200 years ago by the captain of the guard. There seems to be no doubt in the peoples minds that this is what actually occurred. The recent disappearances and local troubles are being blamed on the dwarves but it doesn’t really make sense to the older men. Holly is known to sneak out of the town all the time. She has little trouble evading the guards and the family members. Most of the cities industry is powered by the water mill under the city, although few people really understand it. Major roles in the township are hereditary, like Mayor and Captain of the Guard. There are two chapels in town, one to Gabriel and the other to the spirit of the wolf. The guards are quite good bowmen but not particularly proficient in the other skills.

After that we talk to the barmaids for a bit and discover that Kerst is the best tracker. He can be found at the guardhouse each morning.

We head back to our rooms to plan for tomorrow. We have already decided the “destroying the werewolves” is a fiction and needs further investigation. With the castle being the same name as the plane it would seem logical that something special existed here before. There is also not enough industry to support the level of noise coming from below the city. We decide to see the captain in the morning and head to bed.

Day Three

Discussions at the WolfsHead

At 3am Pug is woken by Cujo who is very agitated. It lasts only a few minutes before the polar bear settles down again.

At 6am we all get up and have breakfast. Pip doesn’t eat anything.

We head to the guardhouse by the north gate. There are 2 wagons leaving north filled with food for the miners. It will take them several weeks to get through. There is 1 wagon heading south filled with iron and minerals. The sergeant of the guard laughs as we ask about the captain, saying he is “on patrol” and will be back about 11am. He is always in a good mood on his return. Lady Hope and Veor offer the sergeant a few drinks at the better tavern and the opportunity for some stimulating conversation for the next few hours, to which he happily agrees.

The Wolfshead is a marvellous place. In fact it looks too good to be true. After meeting Bertrain we can see why. He is an illusionist and there are some rank 15 illusions all over the tavern. Never the less we enjoy the ambiance and the fine wine (Skafloc has apple cider) while we talk to the sergeant and the bar owner. It seems that Holly has been getting into mischief for quite some time now and frequently slips out of town. Aster, the head archivist, is the best E&E in town and even he can’t locate her. In ancient times the werewolves used to meet in a dell 25 miles south west of town. A hunter can be hired to guide us there if we wish.

The sergeant seems to like us and tells us of a proclamation being issued tonight by the captain of the guard to all mercenaries. We will need to prove our ability to support ourselves for a minimum of 2 weeks or be turfed out. Prove is obtained by way of a special permit costing 200SP. It is the captains idea to acquire a bit more money from all the visitors hanging around. We pay in advance to the sergeant.

At 11am the captain arrives and we buy him a drink. He tells us Holly was last seen in the early AM by the Tanner going south. She was carrying a pole with a tied handkerchief of goodies. She had been skipping along and looked quite excited. From her room a hairbrush and her dagger had gone missing. It is presumed she had them on her. This is very strange as the dagger was very distinctive (with a pommel shaped like a wolves claw holding a red gem) and Aster should have been able to locate that too. He continued every day for the first week. Her trail disappeared at the waters edge and didn’t reappear anywhere upstream or downstream.

We ask if the tanner had been questioned but the Captain just laughs saying “Hirst is a noble. His word is worth gold. Why would I question him?”

Pug asks about consecrated ground outside of the castle, pretending he is religious. Kerst says the only consecrated ground is in the church, where it should be. He also asks about any rumours of wolves forming in bigger than usual packs.

As we depart Kerst uses some hand signals to communicate with the sergeant. As we wander off to Asters (the archivist) we notice a man outside checking us out. He has probably DAed us.

The Archivist

Aster is an elf who looks about 60 years old in human years, so he is quite old. He confirms he has been here for over 2000 years. He immediately recognises that Skafloc has a major curse on him, although he isn’t strong enough to remove it. Skafloc doesn’t seem too perturbed but he does annoy the older elf by referring to him as grandfather frequently.

We find out that Holly visited often and was always reading about the lands history, the castle and the towns people. She was one of the few who read about the ruins dotted around the valley. One ruin was still where the dell of the werewolves was. Patrols are still sent there on a regular basis.

Aster confirms that he had been trying to locate both Holly and the dagger but with no luck. To his knowledge they were both last seen by the tanner.

He asks us to return tomorrow at 10am and he may give us some more information on what she was excited about. It will only cost 200SP. He says he needs to check us out with a friend before giving the information over.

Just before we depart Skafloc asks him about the water power that runs the industries below the city. Aster claims it was built by a binder before his time.

As we leave the city hall where the archivist works we notice a small boy following us. Skafloc, who also looks like a small boy, engages him in conversation. His name is Keren and he was sent by the captain of the guard to spy on us. He is clearly not a good spy which makes us wonder if he is just a decoy. Skafloc asks Keren what he does for fun, to which he replies “helping Holly to slip out of the city”. Keren and his friends Dorik and Olivia, all local street urchins, frequently helped her navigate the sewer systems and the water pipes. They would accompany her on the trips to the forest. His 2 friends, Dorik and Olivia, have disappeared too, just a few days after Holly. He is concerned for them but the local guards don’t have any interest in finding them. We promise to help.

Since we are planning to head out to the tannery and check on where holly was last seen, and Mellon mentioned she would see us out there, we stop at a local bakery to buy Mellon some cakes and chocolate. Lady Hope had promised to bring her some. We buy Keren a fresh meat pie and he almost inhales it. Veor asks to see the basement where the machinery is and she sees belts and pulleys and a vast oven. There is a magic around the oven and we note it is a very low mana area.

Pug also buys some butter for Cujo.

We head off to the tannery, leaving the small boy at the gate.

The Wolf Spirit

The tannery is about half a mile outside of town across a foot bridge. As we approach two ogres who had been operating the equipment see Tallima and make some very lewd remarks. Tallima, despite being pregnant, leads them around the corner of the tannery so the rest of us can get in to see the tanner himself. Tallima finds out the ogres were last impacted by “blood bonding” and that wolves don’t come here (probably because the ogres eat them). They claim to have seen Holly (that annoying little girl) only a few days ago but she is very aware of how limited the ogres counting skills are.

Kirst comes out and is very rude. He basically points out the path where he last saw Holly and then tells us to go away.

We follow the path for about 4 miles then the trail leads into the water and vanishes. Mellon, with a grey wolf, pops her head up from the underbrush and says hello. Lady Hope offers her the cakes and chocolates and Mellon is very grateful. She informs us that Aster has been to see her and asked about us. We ask how he possibly got to her so quickly. She says there is a magical transportation aura on the river at this spot. Aster comes to visit her occasionally, which is nice because most other elves want to kill her.

Tallima divinates the water surface and establishes the transportation was last used to go back to town, but can go to different locations. An item is used to trigger it. Mellon agrees and says Aster uses a staff with a wolf claw and a red gem. This confirms to us that Hollys dagger could also have triggered the portal. She also mentions that she has seen the 2 children with Holly in previous visits. In fact one of them had a carved stone in the shape of a wolf and they were very friendly. She offers to have the wolves search for Dorik and Olivia.

We talk about the ruins in the valley and Mellon points out the wolves don’t like her visiting the one we identify as being the place where the werewolves were supposedly wiped out.

We talk a bit about Holly and why she might have come here. Mellon knows why she was excited. Holly had found her uncles diary and Holly believed he was a great hero. She kept it hidden in her room back in the castle. We decide to check that out later.

Veor, for some strange reason, has been busy summoning an ice wolf. It is a ritual and takes some time. When she first started it Mellon asked if she was a “wild elf?”. She replied with no but this put her a bit at unease. Once the conversation dries up she departs.

3pm. As Veors ice form takes shape it takes on a life of its own. There is a very powerful spirit in it. Pip immediately looks panicked and disappears into the ground. The beast lets out an all mighty roar and we all run in abject fear, except Veor and Cujo. Cujo bows down to it. The wolf leaps towards Veor, who scuttles back onto her iceberg (she had enough time to cast it) and she dodges the giant wolf. In total desperation (and seeing the rest of the party running with their tales between their legs) she calls out “please don’t eat me!”. The wolf pauses and asks if she is a wild one? She replies with “Yes” this time. The wolf stops, sniffs her up and down a few times and then says “come with me”. Immediately Veor, the wolf and the iceberg disappear.

Veor is in the spirit realm and the wolf has transformed into a wolfman. He is clearly the great wolf spirit. Veor is invited into a simple log cabin. There are statues of elves and animals on every wall. The spirit asks what Veor is doing here and why did she summon him. Veor tells the truth about searching for Holly. She suspects Holly might be a wild one, even though she isn’t an elf. The spirit warns Veor to be careful in the valley of the wolf. There is great danger for the whole party. Wild ones were hunted down 200 years ago and killed. The wild ones were guardians of the forest and nature (They sound very similar to druids). They could shape change and defended the natural order above all else.

The spirit warns about the wolves gathering again. Veor asks about the wolf claw and red gem. The wolf spirit gets agitated and proclaims it to be a bad thing. It is used to bind the wolves spirit, forcing them to do unnatural things.

The spirit tells Veor to stay alert and sends her back to the valley. Veor awakes in the “church of the wolf”, much to the surprise of the people praying. They ask if she is a “Wild One”. She replies “don’t ask” and marches out of the church. It is quite dark.

4pm. The party returns to the spot where we last saw Veor. Needless to say we can’t find her. Skafloc claims the wolf was an immortal wild spirit, likely the embodiment of nature itself. No one argues with the young elf.

Conscious of the time we make sure we are back in town before 6pm and go back to our cheap inn, the prancing imp.

Tallima tries a ritual to set up a scry shield and fails when Veor walks in at 9pm. She tries a spell version and backfires twice. The second time leaves her 30 weeks pregnant (she was only 16 weeks before). She tries once more and finally gets the shield up, although she doesn’t appear to be protected by it. She goes for a drink in the bar instead while we discuss the next days plans.

Veor tells us about her conversation with the wolf spirit and points out the wild ones are aware of the totem animal in the spirit world. They are the equivalent of druids or nature mages and can change shape, ala werewolves. Mellon is clearly a wild one but she hasn’t come into her full power yet. In this place the elves killed any wild elves before they became too strong. This answers why Mellon thought the other elves didn’t like her.

Aster has been around here for a very long time. Skafloc postulates that he is an elven caretaker sent to keep the wild ones under control. He could have been in charge of the temple at the dell where the werewolves were supposedly destroyed.

Pug points out that Pip is now with us and we should be able to communicate with Grunstagg through him. We tell Grunstagg the common folk don’t actually believe the dwarves are at fault and that the rumours are likely being spread at a higher level. We tell him all our theories about the wild ones, werewolves and regular elves wanting to control them. We also warn about Aster being more than he pretends to be. Grunstagg reminds us that Aster is the one who validated the new lords credentials. In fact he was the one who sent for them in the first place. He is also the one in charge of the magical search for the missing girl.

Skafloc gets all excited again and postulates that Aster masterminded the “slaughter” of the wild ones (werewolves) 200 years ago (remember the common folk never saw any bodies). Aster may have made the old lord disappear if he had cottoned on to Asters involvement. Following this line of reasoning Aster is a baddy.

Falco tries to add a voice of reason but Skafloc is happy being in his conspiracy theory laden idea and pays little attention to him.

More quiet members of the party, like Pug and Imri, really don’t care if Aster is a baddy. At this point we need to gather more information and seeing Aster at 10am is our only sensible plan at the moment.

Veor, who seems to have been infected by Skafloc, would like us to sneak into the castle and search Hollys room for the hidden diary. We discuss various ways to get in without being caught as common thieves. At the end of it all we just get plain tired and go to bed instead.

Day Four

Visiting Aster

Shortly after going to sleep (about 12:30) Cujo wakes up and growls. Falco feels a tingle down his spine. Tallima wakes up and puts up a scry shield. The tingling disappears. Veor wakes up as a spider bites her. She calls out and Lady Hope quickly traps it beneath a large jug. Veor feels queasy. Fortunately she is wearing an amulet of carbuncle which protects her from the damage.

The spider is quite large, being about hand size, and has lovely black and red stripes. A quick DA shows it to be possessed, we suspect by a wicker. The poison is not recognised by Lady Hope (who has some skills in this area). The DA also reveals the bite was designed to transport the person into the Astral plane.

Tallima does a divination on the spider and finds out it was summoned 4 hours ago from it home plane. After the summoning it was possessed by a wicker and marched slowly over to our rooms.

The spider walks through the side of the jug at about 2am. A little surprised by this we all step back. Skafloc tries talking to it (he has some skills in this area). The spider tells us it was summoned and then sent against its will to our room. It eats spirits on it home plane and quickly sensed Veor had been to a spirit plane, making her a more appetising snack. Skafloc asks what type of person possessed it but the spider just shrugs saying “you all look the same to me”. Using a bit of ingenuity Skafloc identifies the height of the perpetrator as human sized. The spider didn’t like being possessed so it agrees to lead us back to where it started.

It only takes a few minutes but we are lead back to the town hall and the door to the archives. The door is trapped and Tallima isn’t able to counterspell it in time. The spider waltzes through the door like it isn’t there. It returns very quickly saying “yummy. That was a good one”. Falco gets in by Wall Walking and he finds Asters body hacked to bits, although it looks a bit over emphasised. He quickly figures out the axe and claw marks were delivered post mortem in an attempt to hide the try cause of death. The room has been trashed and the staff is nowhere to be seen.

As Falco returns a commotion from the town erupts. Guards and townsfolk are racing towards the town hall. We scamper off into the shadows and rejoin the crowd forming, as if we hadn’t already been here. Shouts of “Murder. The Dwarves did it!” echo even before the body is discovered. Falco slips aside and changes to owl form to observe the crowd. It is clear a skilled bard is trying to incite the bad blood between the townsfolk and the dwarves. Falco can’t identify the bard but he does recognise a few individuals as being pacted to chaos.

The captain of the guard sees Pug and Cujo and takes us aside for protective custody. The party follows. We are placed in a barracks room with 2 guards outside. He says he will return in the morning. He leaves to clear the streets of the rabble and ensure no shops are broken into. The spider enters the room with us and we hold an indepth conversation with it about Asters spirit (the one he ate) and how long he had been dead. The spider says the air smelt bad as if the spirit had been tortured before he got to it. The elf was not the person who summoned it.

Just as we realise we had been talking in common, and the 2 guards were just outside the door and could hear everything, the captain returns. He is not the dozy idiot we had encountered on the previous morning. In fact he is quite astute. The 2 guards with him are the only 2 people in town he trusts. We tell him the truth about why we are here and what we have discovered so far, with the spiders help. We don’t mention anything about Mellon. He agrees to take us to the town hall before the sun rises to check out the body, recognising the skills Lady Hope has in talking to the dead. But after that we need to leave town as there is likely to be a writ for our execution in a few hours.

Before we leave he tells us the dagger Holly had was a family heirloom. Various pictures in the castle will show its likeness. He has used a Namer in the employ of the silk merchant (Anna Claris) but he doesn’t trust him. There are 12 merchant guilds, each vying for power of the others. The baron can keep them in check if he is strong (like the old baron) but weaklings like the current baron end up giving the guilds free reign. About 2 months ago 2 foreigners came to guide the new baron. There were apparently “family friends”. He carried some exquisite weapons while she had a drowish taint and a very demanding attitude. The new baron gave the dwarves their writ to mine the area to the north east before becoming a recluse. In fact he hasn’t been seen for a while now. Legend has it the castle was the first building formed by the wolf spirit in this valley. The priest of the Wolf Temple is called Aron but he is not in the guilds favour at the moment. The temple to Gabriel is lead by a lady called Melanie. She is definitely in the guilds pocket.

It is about 4am when the captain takes us to the town hall. He uses some passages underground to avoid any watching eyes in the streets. We get into the catacombs of the archives and find some elves script written in blood on the wall. It translates to “They are lost with no way out. If we keep our minds we may find the path”. We search the area and find a hidden compartment. It used to house the staff but only holds 2 small grey stones. The spider doesn’t like them. They appear to hurt him. They are quite heavy for their size but Lady Hope and Veor pocket them for safe keeping.

As we wander Lady Hope senses for spirits who have passed recently. She comes across Doric. He had been captured and tortured after overhearing a conversation where Holly’s whereabouts was discussed. Holly is on another plane, presumably the spirit one. Aster didn’t know Doric was brought into the catacombs and killed. The spider is a bit hungry again but we convince it not to eat Doric.

We go to see Asters body and Lady Hope works her magic. There is a pin prick in the back of the neck. This was the cause of the death and was probably administered by a master assassin. The spirit was captured (rune magics) and tortured to find information. The alarm was raised when the spider broke the binding by eating the spirit.

At 5am we head back to our rooms in the pub, grab our gear and depart town. The captain lays a false path so any pursuers will get lost. Pip returns and we have a quick talk to Grunstagg. We then build an igloo to rest up for a few hours.

A Visit with the Trolls

At 5:30 a huge commotion comes thundering towards us. A troll by the name of Frostbeard strides into our camp and strikes his staff against the ground. Veors igloo vanishes. The staff has shrunken elvish heads, clearly marking him as a shaman. He demands to know why we have a abomination in our midst. We look around, wandering which of us he is referring to. We can’t recall doing anything to upset the trolls so far... HE helps us by pointing at the spider, which he calls a spirit devourer. The spider runs but he quickly strikes it with his staff. Instead of squashing it we observe a shadowed fight in the air where the spider grows to be almost as tall as the troll (they are in the spirit realm) and a vicious but short battle commences.

The troll wins and returns, again demanding why we had this foul creature. He commands us to follow him through a portal to the troll council. We quietly discuss our strategy as he creates the portal a small distance away. We decide to try honesty as it has done quite well for us so far, or at least or simplified and filtered version of the truth. “The spider attacked us and we are using it to locate Holly”.

We step through the portal and are confronted by a council of about 30 trolls. Veor has some history with trolls (she may be part troll ?!?) so she speaks on our behalf. She says we were searching for a little lost girl called Holly. We believe her spirit is lost in the spirit realm. Our enemies sent the spider to attack us.

A small skull on Frostbeards Staff says “She speaks the truth”.

We talk about many things for the next hour or so. Aster is known to the trolls. He was an unusual elf who “walked with a big club, but was quiet”, meaning they respected him. The previous baron, Holls Uncle, was also respected by the trolls. He often went exploring north of the human town. There were no werewolves, just wild ones, and they were destroyed 200 years ago. The temple where the destruction occurred was to the north west of the town, not the south west as the humans proclaim. Aster was not in the valley at the time of the slaughter. The south west dell and ruins are not liked by the spirits so little is known of it. Powerful Shamans can locate a spirit on the spirit plane. Grunstagg could too, as can the priest of the wolf temple in the town. Shamans can torture spirits but it is an evil thing. The trolls have sensed damage to the spirit plane coming from the town. The two grey stones we picked up from Asters secret compartment help to protect spirits and anchor them to the body.

Frostbeard offers us the rest and security of his village for the day. He will also get rid of Tallimas various curses, or as many as he can.

We rest.

Planning and Resting

At dusk we feel fully refreshed. Frostbeard tells us that to survive on the spirit plane we will need to strengthen our minds . The small grey stones will aid in this, as will the star ruby, which we surmise is the red gem on top of Asters Staff and Hollys Dagger. With them you can bind spirits.

Pip appears and shaman are reverential of him. They speak for a few minutes in a language none of us understand. Pip then opens some communication with Grunstagg for us to update him. He confirms we were very lucky to survive the spider encounter. He also knows some wickers are involved with the silk guild so we determine to check them out on the next secret town visit. He tells us the priest of the wolf temple is a shaman and a spirit guide. All the dwarves have left town as the tensions have run too high. We ask if Pip will help us on the spirit plane. Grunstagg replies that he won’t like the spirit plane but he might help us.

We discuss our various options. We can go back to the castle and look for Hollys diary, entering through the tunnels. We can go to the North West temple where the trolls say the wild ones were killed off. We can go to the South West Dell where the townsfolk believe the werewolves were slaughtered. We can go to the closest dell, north east of the troll town and south east of the human town.

We opt for the last option as it is the closest.

Frostbeard and his fellow shaman have been looking into the staff belonging to Aster. They believe it is currently very deep below the castle. They tell us of the wild ones. They were very erratic. They had “big clubs they didn’t control”. The older ones were a force for good though as they fought demons. The trolls know of Mellon. She is an apprentice Wild One but she doesn’t have a teacher. She needs to find a focus to centre herself, or she may be like the erratic wild ones. And that is not a good thing. Frostbeard warns against the dell we are aiming for. He gives us an item each which will bring us all back to the Troll home. Only one of us needs to use it for all of us to be effected. It looks like liquorice. It can even recall us from the spirit realm!

Day Five

The South East Dell

About 1am Frostbeard opens a portal to a location close to the south east dell. We step through. Veor immediately reports being quite queasy. Luckily she and Lady Hope have the 2 grey stones to protect them. Cujo doesn’t like being here. There seems to be a magic of drawing on the area and it has been here for a very long time.

Skafloc falls over as we feel something trying to pull at each of us. A divination shows there is a spirit well at the centre of the dell. It basically sucks spirits to it. We pick up Skaflocs body and retreat out of the area effect.

Veor tries to pull Skaflocs spirit back by forming an ice sculpture around skaflocs body in a similar fashion to what summoned the wolf spirit. It fails.

Pip speaks (a first for us) and offers to help. He disappears and returns a few minutes later. Skaflocs spirit is in a container in the central room. There are six more jars. There are several shadowy cloaked figures in the darkness too.

We divinate the area and decide Necromatic and Wicker counterspells will be required.

At about 2:30am we decide to send Pip back in for a reconnoitre. Within 2 minutes a flash appears in the sky. Pip returns moments later and says a human dressed in black portaled in. He left 3 glowing disks (about 6 feet in diameter each) stacked edge to edge forming a triangle around the central table. The table has glyphs and other unrecognised markings on it. He also gave the 2 shadowy forms some instructions.

The shadowy forms are likely to be spirits. They are chained and bound to the 2 central pillars.

There are 2 curved tables in the clearing on the east and the west. The west one has more than a dozen clawed wolf paws and gems. 2 of them are glowing. The east table has eight tall jars. Our plan is to use a mixture of Falcos shadow wings and Imri flying boats. Tallima, Pug and Veor will engage the 2 spirits (with spectral weapon cast on their various weapons) while Imri, Lady Hope and Falco DA the jars, pocket them and we all fly off. We take Skaflocs body in Imri’s boat.

Grunstagg pipes in and comments on not trusting the message written in Asters blood. He does suggest bringing the jar with Skaflocs spirit in it back to him so he can help rejoin the spirit and body.

Just as we are getting ready to start our attack a very loud and savage howl is heard in the distance. Cujo races to the nearest tree and climbs up as far as he can get. A spirit wolf rises from the ground next to Lady Hope and commands “RUN”. We don’t need any more warnings and we leap into flight. Below us we see a 15 foot (at the shoulder) shadow wolf. It races off to the dell. Fortunately we can fly a lot faster. We still think we only have a matter of minutes to get into the dell and get out again before the wolf arrives.

Just before we get there both Pug and Tallima slump over. The shadow wings keep them flying though. Veor, Imri, Lady Hope and Falco land on the eastern edge of the clearing by the 8 jars. One jar has tipped over. Skafloc is nowhere to be seen. Inside the inner courtyard are Pug and Tallima. They are not in the jars but walking around as spirits.

Skeletons appear from behind the main group. Veor throws up some walls of ice to block them while Imri races forward to DA the jars. Veor feels a pulling to a jar. Using ice projectiles he smashes it and his lost bit of soul returns. He also targets some skeletons and the glowing clawed gems on the far side of the clearing. Falco Shadow Holes some skeletons. Skafloc emerges from the ground. Lady Hope tries to destroy the table in the centre of the clearing with some spectral hands.

Skafloc had found himself in a jar 3 times his height. He raced from side to side till he tipped it over and then he scooted out of the top which wasn’t sealed. He then tunnelled underground till help could arrive.

Meanwhile Pug and Tallima decide to free the trapped spirits by trying to break their chains. Pug takes on the Elf and Tallima has the Orc. Both spirits repay our attempts to free them by picking us up and pushing us towards the closest disk to Pug. Glancing over his shoulder Pug can see Holly and her uncle in the image on the surface of the disk. Both Pug and Tallima resist the pushing but ultimately they both fail. Pug gets shoved in first. Surprisingly both Pug and Tallimas bodies fly through the portal too. Skafloc sees his body stand up and head towards the portal. He manages to take command of it and his spirit is joined to it again.

The world goes white and the group, minus Pug, stands in the toll home with Frostbeard. Holly is standing in the group seeming very excited. Tallima tells how when he entered the portal he saw Pug instructing Holly and the Uncle to share in his piece of liquorice. Glancing down he saw Asters body. He grabbed Asters body as he was yanked back to the troll home. Asters body didn’t come through.

Holly tells us how she and her uncle were trapped in the past. It was so far back to be almost prehistoric. Holly continues her story and we identify that the Tanner was involved in her capture, thanks to his unique smell. Holly also said her uncle had found out why the wolves were destroyed but he kept the details from her.

We decide the way to rescue Pug and the Uncle is to send a person with a linked life-force through the portal. This should create a path that can be followed back. Frostbeard opens a portal directly to the clearing and the group steps through.

Everything is gone! The portal disks are gone. The wolf claws are all gone. The pillars are broken and the Elf and Orc spirits are gone. Only 5 intact jars and two broken ones remain. The missing one we decide was linked to Aster. Imri figures out the jars are linked to each of us. She breaks hers but gathers the pieces. Grunstagg, through Pip, tells us he can’t open a portal to Pug or the Uncle. He points out that since Veors spirit was trapped in the jar (the little bit taken by the spider) that the jars must have been attuned to us earlier than that event.

Talking to Asters Spirit

We settle down and let Lady Hope commune with the dead spirit of Aster. He confirms the Tanner was involved in his capture. He was brought here and killed. A fake body was left in his home. He did write the blood message though. He confirms he is a Spirit Shaman. His captors were from the guild and a few people he didn’t recognise. We surmise the unknown people are the “friends” of the new baron.

He says the secret to knowing who the enemy are is to find out who owns each important property.

Aster recognised the Elf and Orc as being the personifications of their races. Grunstagg suggests they were bound in their places of power. The person controlling the spirit can control the whole race, or at least the weak willed ones. This would explain why there are very few Elves of Orks in the valley. The strong willed ones have left for safer pastures. Grunstagg says that Mellon came to this valley from another place.

Aster conveys that Archives, the Temple of the Wolf and the Old Temple in the North West are places of spiritual power. Physical control of the place doesn’t give control over the spirit though.

Grunstagg suggests we abandon this place and take the jars with us. Cujo arrives and Skafloc talks to him, telling him to return to the Troll home. The group flies off back to the Trolls.

Pugs Story

The group arrives at the Troll Home to find Pug waiting. Lady Hope berates him for using the liquorice but he shrugs it off. He saw how hopelessly out matched we were and once he saw both Holly and her Uncle he couldn’t resist using the liquorice in an attempt to free them both. Sadly both the Uncle and himself failed to be transported back. They conversed for a while as Pug practiced forming an ice shape like Veor had done to summon the wolf spirit. His plan was to ask the wolf spirit to keep the Uncle and himself safe in his Spirit home, in the form of statues like Veor had seen, till Pugs current time came round again and the spirit could free us to the Troll Home, where the rest of the party had been transported to. It took a while to figure out what the wolf ancestors looked like but the prehistoric wolf spirit agreed to the plan. For some reason though the uncle didn’t reappear.

The group is surprised by Pugs resourcefulness as he had been quite quiet up to now. Pug also mentions there was a strange mineral in the prehistoric times. He thinks it is like the small grey stones we have. The mineral is likely to be from off plane.

Pug asks Grunstagg if he recognises the other 2 portals from the dell but the old dwarf doesn’t.

We decide to leave holly in the care of the Trolls as she may not be safe back in the town.

Pug finds a scroll tube in his pocket. It is from the Uncle. It talks about the wolves as being able to find anything, whether it is cloaked or magically hidden. It would appear they can find something some powerful people don’t want found. Between the wild ones (largely Elves) not being controllable and the wolves being a threat the powerful people decided to wipe them out 200 years ago. Orks had disappeared about 500 years ago, according to a sidenote of the scroll.

It seems the Uncle had been freed by the wolf spirit 2 years before Pug and had given the vital information himself, before he was captured.

These time paradox scenarios give us all a headache!

Grunstaggs wife lets us know she can’t locate the uncle so we are at a complete loss to his whereabouts again.

Grunstagg and Frostbeard agree that controlling the spirit of the wolf would require a tremendous amount of magic. The wolf claws and gems used by Aster and Holly are very small versions of what would be needed.

Veor has memorised the two glowing wolf claw and gem artifacts we saw back in the dell from when he targeted them with ice projectiles. One of the artifacts is identified as being a control source for Elves. Both Holly and her Uncle are part elf and this is how they were taken captive then thrown in the portal back to prehistoric times.

Frost beard tells us we need to rest up and then leave as enemies are approaching. One of them is a giant spider. Pip disappears to find Mellon. Frostbeard offers to let Lady hope return at a later date and teach her some Shamatic Seer skills.

By Midday Pip hasn’t returned. Grunstagg communicates with Frostbeard and tells him Pip found Mellon but she wasn’t happy and basically “munted” him.

We decide to leave and try searching the temple where the Wild Ones were destroyed. As we fly Lady Hope and Falco are aware of a large dark presence in the forest below.

Battle in the Sky

We get about a third of the way to the temple before 2 strange clouds race towards us. Lady Hope and Falco are being targeted. If you get stuck in a cloud it solidifies and drops to the ground. Just before hitting the ground it becomes cloudy again the poor individual trapped inside becomes a splattered mess on the forest floor.

Lady hope has a lucky escape as Falco manages to Shadow Hole the cloud which has enveloped her. Imri and Veor are the only other party members who can cast while flying but their spells have little effect. The dark presences below become giant spiders who can shoot webbing several hundred feet into the air. We fly higher and try to evade the clouds.

Pug sees a huge disturbance in the forest below and the spiders run away from it. He swoops down to investigate.

Meanwhile a judicious application of sleep dust from lady hope gets rid of the last cloud and the party notices Pug is missing. They land in a clearing where trees have been tossed from the ground. The two spiders are found squashed so Lady Hope talks to them while Skafloc tries talking to some trees. The spiders tell us they were summoned in the temple we were heading to and sent after us. These are the same spiders who were approaching the troll home earlier in the day. They start offering us a bit too much information and it becomes evident someone is resurrecting them. A tree leans over and squashes them again. The trees inform Skafloc that Pug was picked up by a wild one who departed on the winds to the west. The wild one had commanded the trees to move aside so it could get to the spiders.

The group flies west to a cliff face but is opposed by very strong winds. A female voice floats out telling them to “Go Away”. Skafloc asks if Pug is safe. The voice says yes. Skafloc asks for proof, adding maybe cutting off a finger so we can DA it would suffice. A finger appears and yes it is Pugs.

Pug is somewhat upset about this

The voice says come to the troll home at 6am the next morning and Pug will be there. He is being trained to assist better in the mission ahead. The wind disappears.

The party debates flying north or returning to the troll home. They fly north and hide and rest till the morning. At 7pm a young troll appears called BigToe. He has been sent by Frostbeard. Pug will be portaled to their location at 6am. Skafloc give the finger back to the troll and asks if he can get it to Pug in time. BigToe promises to try but can’t guarantee anything as it is a long hike back to the troll home.

Day Six

Into the Temple

6am comes round and Pug and Cujo appear. Pug is not happy with Skafloc but he relates his story to the party. The wild one was Mellon but instead of being humanish she is now fully elven in appearance. She has come into her powers but is seriously lacking in any control. She really needs a mentor. The best Pug could do was calm her down so she didn’t wipe the group off the face of the plane.

Which he regrets once his finger gets cut off

She captured Pip because he is a bound spirit and should be freed. Again Pug convinced her not to do this yet and to seek help from the troll shamans. As she calms down she offers to help Pug identify the presence of the objects which focus the binding rituals on the elves, orks and wolf spirit. At the troll home she calms right down and enjoys the company of Holly for a while. She also enables Cujo to fly. This should last a few days.

By 8am we get to the temple. There is a path leading to the stone steps through a set of stone columns. We walk on the outside of it a while till some strange looking trees start shooting globules of gum at us. Veor gets hit and it quickly begins solidifying into amber. Lady Hope uses a solvent to break it down and free Veor, who by this stage was starting to suffocate. We walk down the middle where it is safe. We see the footprints of a female and a small animal.

The steps are trapped, as we would expect. We get passed them with little difficulty. Pugs ability to locate the binding objects leads us down two floors and into a large cavern. There is a portal to the past here again and a small pool with green water. There is a green glow coming from an object in the water. Pug points directly at it.

We take a few minutes to DA the area. As we do this we hear the stairway behind us collapsing and a female voice laughing.

Touching the object or the water surrounding it will summon something. We suspect it will be the Orc Spirit from the First dell we visited. Veor turns the water to ice and then breaks it to expose the object. It is shaped like a carved black bear statue.

We notice that the mana level has dropped away and we are unable to cast any spells. We seem to be in a pickle as the only obvious way out is through the time portal. Falco has some magical chi coins which will allow him to cast so we contemplate how to use them.

Pug keeps an eye out on the corridor but he isn’t particularly good at it. He barely sees a huge humanoid figure drop down the shaft. Fortunately Cujo is a little more sensitive to these things and alerts the party. Falco quickly shadow holes the party except for himself, Pug and Cujo. The bear statue is left behind. As the creature advances down the corridor everything around it starts to rapidly decay. With a prayer and a perfectly timed shadow hole the remaining three escape.

And Out Again

Falco, Pug and Cujo reappear in the darkness. It appears to be about 5pm, more than nine hours after the unsuccessful raid of the temple. The three fearless adventurers scout around for half an hour but find no sign of the rest of the party. They are getting quite hungry so they fly off to the dwarf mines where they are welcomed by Grunstagg and his wife. A sumptuous meal is provided and the three rest up till breakfast. The party is finally regrouped about 10am on Day 7. Unfortunately for the newcomers the really good breakfast foods have been eaten by Pug and Cujo.

The rest of the party appeared near the temple about midday, only a short time after the lucky escape from the temple. They search for Falco, Pug and Cujo but find no sign of them. They do observe the temple being flattened by 2 large creatures though. They are at least 20 feet tall with cloven hooves. They look like a cross between minotaurs and gorgons. The party wisely leaves them alone.

The trees surrounding the temple are rapidly aging and dying. The party moves out of the range of this nasty effect. They notice that the mana levels return to normal the further away they go.

Skafloc, being a bit of a ranger, wanders off into the forest in search of Pug and Falco. He doesn’t find any trace of them. He does see in the distance 2 cloaked figures chatting to themselves. They are quite happy with the outcome of their trap and the destruction of the temple. After a few minutes they leave the area. From what he could see and hear they were a male and a female. There races or identities are obscured by the thick black cloaks.

The party, afraid of being located, keeps moving westward for half a mile. Lady Hope uses her Hummingbird to do some remote spying on the temple. The 2 figures are still stomping away destroying anything in sight. The group keeps heading west.

At about 3pm the sun starts setting so Veor creates an igloo. Soon after a grey wolf appears and we talk to him. He asks if we have seen Mellon lately. The wolves have been giving her a wide berth since she went crazy with power and started destroying things. We tell him what we know and that she is safe with the trolls and Holly. We ask the wolf to locate Falco and Pug. He concentrates for a while then reports that they are not on this plane. The party assumes the shadow holes Falco used on himself and Pug must have had a longer duration, or he failed to cast it and they are now dead at the bottom of the collapsed temple. They also consider that they may have jumped through the time portal trap to escape but rule it out as being “just too crazy, even for them”.

We ask the wolf to locate the Uncle (Wolfgang). He appears to be with the wolf spirit in his place of power, under the castle.

Time rolls on and the party has a meal. The wolf joins in. At 5pm the wolf suddenly remarks that Falco, Pug and Cujo have reappeared. He offers to find them and guide them back to the party. At 7pm the wolf returns, minus any other people. He explains that they had already departed by the time he got there. He has now located them at the dwarven mine. The group decides to wait to morning before heading off. The wolf slinks back into the forest undergrowth.

Day Seven

On their trip to the dwarven mine they fly over the remains of the temple. It is completely flattened. There is nothing living within a small distance around it.

About 10am the group finally reunites, although some are not impressed by Pugs capacity to eat all the yummy food, leaving only the most simple foods for the arriving group. Stories and adventures are exchanged.

About 11am Grunstagg tells us he has had a message from a spy in town. The captain of the guard who helped us has been arrested and is sentenced for execution in 2 days time. It has been officially proclaimed that our party of evildoers has been vanquished and, asides from the dwarves, we have been blamed for all the terrible things to happen in the past 2 years.

As lunch is being prepared Grunstaggs wife kindly tries locating the bear statue we had to leave behind. She says it is in the town.

Lunch rolls round and the group has a hearty meal. Falco teaches us to use his chi coins.

A New Plan

We think it is time to use our “confirmed deaths” as cover to sneak into the town and interrogate some more people. First we fly to the troll home to get Holly to draw some maps of the town and sewer/catacombs so we can get around undetected. Then we ask the trolls to portal us close to the town so we can sneak in. To aid this Grunstagg offers the use of his spy to cast illusions on us but we have to meet him outside the town after dark. Once we are in the town we could get to Hollys room and grab the diary, go back to the archives and search for more information, or visit the tanner and get some info from him. Different members in the party favour each option more than the others so we decide to cross that bridge once we come to it.

Eventually even Pug is full from the lunch and we head off to the troll home. Frostbeard welcomes us with open arms. Mellon is less happy as she has lost all her newfound powers. She describes it as something wrestling her for the power and sucking it away. This occurred at the same time as the trap was sprung on us in the temple and the creatures were summoned to destroy it. It appears that casting powerful magics draws it from other sources in the valley.

Pug asks about regrowing his finger (he gives a not so subtle look in Skaflocs direction). Frostbeard says it is easy to do this. All we need to do is capture a Wolverine and sacrifice it to a ritual. Pug is keen to try this but clearly he has no concept of what a Wolverine is and how deadly they are. It takes quite some doing but Veor and Lady Hope talk him out of it (for the moment).

Frostbeard tells us he knows why the wolves were hunted down 2 centuries ago. They have the ability to find anything, no matter how it is hidden. He asks us if we know why the wild ones were destroyed. We surmise it is because they can’t be controlled, or that they were a competing powerbase.

We have a discussion about the grey stones. There are 2 types. One protects against mind control while the other promotes binding and control. Our two stones are of the first type. They both come from off-plane and they appear to repel each other. Forcing them together would cause some sort of cataclysmic explosion.

Holly, who has been drawing maps for us and listening in, decides she wants to come along. We try to dissuade her till Frostbeard argues on her behalf. She has some magic ability and can help us to breathe under water. She also mention the two people who advise her parents are sadists and snooty. They are also quite bossy and her parents are afraid of them.

At 5pm Frostbeard bids us a good trip and sends us to the outskirts of the town. We quickly encounter the dwarf spy and get illusions of being human hunter types. This takes a while.

Into the Sewers

We decide to find the tanner in his home first. We swim up the river and through the sewer entrance. Holly casts water breathing on us. Tallima removes the traps as we move up the tunnels. It doesn’t take long before we are under the tanners home. Even down here in the stench of the sewer we can still identify his home by smell alone.

The Tanners Home

It is nearly 8pm as Lady Hope and Skafloc climb up the long drop hole in the toilet. They emerge into a small room, as would be expected. They hear voices in the hallway of 2 servants discussing who is going to check the awful smell coming from the sewer. One enters and is quickly sapped. The other comes in shortly after and is sapped. Falco and Imri climb up as Lady Hope and Skafloc enter the corridor. These four lead the way and scout the house while the remaining people climb up, leaving Cujo in the sewer. They can hear the tanner and his wife talking in a room. Skafloc makes them all unseen and they sneak in. he has also cast some cantrips to remove the horrendous smell from the sewer travel. They sneak in. Lady Hope saps the Tanner while Imri hits the wife. The tanner drops to the floor but the Imris weapon breaks on the wife. The wife picks up a skillet and changes shape into a bear. She calls out for Artimus, who enters from a side room. He is large and hairy too and quickly changes into a werebear. The wife bowls Imri over and pins her to the ground. Both Lady Hope and Falco cast spells to free Imri but the wife resists them both. Tallima leaps forth to engage her but stops as she threatens to kill Imri. Imri is doing a good job of playing possum, bidding her time.

Lady Hope starts talking to them, hoping to gain the upper hand again. The wife calls out for Franky to deal with the magic users. A 15 year old scrawny boy appears and the magic leeches out of the room. All of our spells dissolve from us in his presence.

Things go better once we convince them we are not common thieves. It turns out the tanners family is neither ally nor enemy. They were only concerned we were in league with “those who sacrifice people”. Once we convince them otherwise we get into some serious discussions. They don’t mind when Tallima DAs Franky and discover he is a “wild Magic Abberation”. Magic is suspended when he chooses to use his power. The wife tells us not to trust our DA or Divinations on this plane as they can give unexpected results. There is a warp effect here.

She warns us about the friends of the baron. They shouldn’t be trifled with. It is obvious that the baron and his wife are just pawns in the greater game.

Franky checks out Pug with a ritual and tells us we can’t leave the plane unless we die. It is a curse but can be removed by Aster or the priest of the Wolf Temple.

They tell us it is illegal to possess the spirit binding metal and it is punishable by death. Baron Krastis made this rule about 500 years ago. Wild magic is only found in this valley. We talk about the bindings of spirits and find out that there is a spirit of magic. If this was bound you would have full control of every race. We discuss wild magic too and figure out it has no source. It seems to be a reaction to the use of magic in binding rituals. If there is a source for it, it is very well hidden. Pug makes a comment to himself about the wolves can find anything. Unfortunately he says it out loud and the whole room hears. This earns him a few disgusted looks from the party members, especially Lady Hope.

The Archives

We depart about 11pm and rejoin Holly and Cujo in the sewers. We head to the archive through the catacombs and sneak in. Lady Hope backfires a spell and suddenly has mermaid legs and gills. She can’t breathe the air. Falco turns her into a toad which seems to help.

There are several guards in the lower area and a sergeant and a prostitute in the upper area. We subdue the guards and trick the sergeant into coming down. The prostitute gets bored and leaves.

We go searching for scrolls of ownership. We find 2 boxes worth and have a quick read. There is something not right about some of the documents but we can’t figure out what. We keep searching the other rooms. Eventually we figure out there are no deeds of ownership for the Town Hall, the Tannery or the Church of Gabriel. There is lots of historical scrolls on church history and on the castle but curiously there is not a mention of the mine.

Day 8

Hollys Room

It is now 1am. We navigate through the catacombs to the castle. Lady Hope has returned to mermaid form. Holly does some spell to let her breathe air (lucky she came along really). Holly, Tallima, Falco and Skafloc venture up some secret passages to Hollys bedroom. The room is trapped by a death ward. Tallima does her best to counter the various wards and has a partial success. The wards flicker on and off. The group enters and find a “bogey monster” under the bed. As it comes out to attack Holly dives under the bed and retrieves her diary and 2 other books. Skafloc manages to evade the shadowy form of the monster. Falco and Tallima are affected by an overpowering fear and run away. Holly races from the room and returns to the party. Skafloc hasn’t returned yet so Veor, Pug, Imri and Falco go looking for him.

He is found standing naked in the corridor outside Hollys room. He is immobile and looks to have aged to about 22 human years. Pug get s feared and runs away. Veor sees the bogey monster and peppers it with ice spells till it dies. Its last action is to touch Veor and he ages by 10 years. Veor and Imri drag Skaflocs body back down to the catacombs where he is awakened.

When Holly is asked about the bogey monster hiding under her bed she isn’t surprised. After all doesn’t every child have a bogey monster under their bed?

We leave the town and move into the forest a few miles away.

What the Books Say

The 2 books are titled “The Origins of Wild Magic” and “Rituals of Binding”. We can’t read much else from them. The diary stars 15 years ago and describes some unusual occurrences which lead the uncle to start investigating the deeds of ownership to the places of power in the valley. For safety reasons he hid the diary behind a picture of the first wolfgang. This is where Holly later found it.

The whole valley is owned by the baron but each area is leased out to individual families or guilds. They can do as they please but they never officially own the land. This valley has a lot of spirit places of power because the barrier between the spirit realm and this plane is weakest in the valley. There is also a bound link between each spirit and a place here.

The original deeds were written by the ancient binder we keep hearing about. He bound them in a way that forgeries to the deeds can’t be made. Each deed has a tiny link to the spirit binding for that place. The deed for the mine is missing.

Wolf Spirit Binding

Pip arrived early in the day but at 3am he gets very excited. It appears that Mellon has gone off the rails again and has flattened a good portion of the troll home. There is a disturbance of the “spirit of the hunt” near town. It looks like someone is trying to bind the spirit of the wolf. This has resulted in Mellon feeling the wild magic again and her lack of control has resulted in some more chaos for the poor trolls.

Pip thinks the ritual will take about 3 or 4 hours to complete. It is being performed 2 miles away, under the Gabriel temple. A wolf appears from the forest and warns us he is being forced to hunt the uncle.

We know it is likely to be a trap but we head back into the sewers to prevent the ritual from completing. Pip disappears back to Grunstagg.

As we approach the town the mana drains away and we can hear a commotion going on in the town square. We get to the catacombs below the temple without too much hassle only to be confronted with a passageway with a small room at the end. There is a glow in there and a voice chanting. Lady Hope sends her hummingbird forward to scout. There are glowing runes on the floor and walls. There is also a constantly changing shape in one corner. It looks like the wolf spirit. We can see the word “WOLF” spelt in blood throughout the room.

The passageway is still part of the sewer system and water is flowing out to the sewers from the room. There is a central pool in the room. Cujo leaps into the water and swims forward to engage the figure. The figure shouts out in a spirit language to someone else who we can’t see and then pulls out some scimitars to engage Cujo. Strangely the ritual keeps going. Through the hummingbird Lady Hope is able to sense an illusionary wall on the side opposite the wolf spirit.

Tallima races forward with Cujo to attack the armed figure but is hit by a bolt of energy from one of the runes. Both she and the rune disappear. There are 11 runes left. Pug, at the rear of the battle formation, feels a disturbance behind the party. He turns to see the uncle striding forth. He is glowing with magic and righteous rage. He looks very similar to Mellon when she was using Wild Magic. We quickly get out of his way as he rushes to engage the figure doing the ritual. He calls out “how dare you try to bind the spirit of the wolf”. He is wielding a 2 handed sword with a glowing stone and wolf claw on the pommel. He calls out to us to banish the figure as it is a summoned spirit shaman.

Pug and Veor try to stall Wolfgang as this is clearly a trap aimed at him, not us. He doesn’t listen to us and strides forth.

Cujo gets an attack on the summoned spirit but disappears.

Pug looks back as he heard another disturbance. There is a swarm of rats coming our way. Imri manages to put up a dome shaped spell that kills most of them as they pass through. Imri is hit by a bolt of energy from a rune but the spirit stone she is carrying save her from disappearing.

From the hidden room we can hear a person shouting obscenities at the summoned spirit along the lines of “useless” and “can’t even bind the wolf”.

The mana starts flooding back into the area as the wolf spirit dissipates. Wolfgang attacks the summoned spirit but the return blow causes him to vanish. Falco casts a flash of light which makes the summoned spirit disappear. The hidden figure steps into view for a second, sees us and calls out “you bastards are back!?” before dropping a grenade and retreating into the hidden room. The hummingbird follows the figure up some stairs to the temple of Gabriel before returning.

We all dive into the water to escape the gas grenade but holly is a bit slow and the gas causes her to vanish. Falco changes to fish form and swims back to the catacombs while the rest of the party swims forward. We hold our breathe as long as possible before surfacing. Lady Hope casts some counter spells to dissipate the gas but the runes are still firing bolts of energy at us. Imri and Skafloc are hit and disappear. Pug tries to destroy some runes with an iron spike but get hit and disappear.

As the gas dissipates from the room (but not the corridor) only Veor, Lady Hope and Falco are left. They find 2 books in the hidden room. One is called “the rune names of spirits” and the other is called “Golash’s manual on Spirit Summoning”. Both are trapped by hellfire so we don’t open them yet. Falco checks out the gas and finds it transports you to the spirit realm and binds you. By concentrating on resisting the binding you can have a chance of not being bound, but you will still travel to the spirit realm.

After some heated discussion on how to rescue the team members the 3 touch the remaining gas.

Into the Spider Trap

Falco obviously didn’t concentrate hard enough as he finds himself bound with chains to a black column along with the rest of the party members who had disappeared earlier. Veor and Lady Hope are free and have taken on shapes that resemble their current mood. Veor is a minotaur while Lady Hope is a wolverine. There is a spider/human shape lording it over her captives. She looks like the spirit form of perversion and corruption. She is a little surprised when Veor and Lady Hope appear free of the chains. She is even more surprised when Lady Hope attacks her. Veor races to the chains and starts freeing the party, starting with Cujo.

Lady Hope is doing some massive damage to the spider spirit and in a last ditch attempt to save herself she casts a banishment spell on the party. Pug, Cujo, Tallima, Imri, Lady Hope, Holly and Wolfgang vanish. Only Veor, Falco and Skafloc remain. Veor demands that she return our party members or die. She starts quibbling over this so Veor kills her.

They do a quick search of the room and find a small blue crystal which seems to have some spirit magic effect.

Veor points out Imri has a linked lifeforce icon in her possession so they can follow this back to the rest of the party and escape this spirit realm.

Back with the Dwarves

It is 4am and Grunstagg is a little surprised to see us appear in his room unexpectedly but he is impressed by our ability to escape certain death in creative ways. Imri asks him to strengthen the linked lifeforce with Veor. He tries but it goes badly. A smoky figure materialises in the room. Grunstagg looks very worried and tells us we need magical weapons to hurt it. Since we don’t have many magical weapons things look bad for us.

Lady Hope tosses a magical staff to Pug so he can engage the spider/scorpion creature. He looks at it and says “this isn’t a battle axe” before turning to face the creature. The battle goes as badly as Pug expected. He has no particular skills with a staff and he quickly gets battered to the ground and poisoned. Within seconds he is near death. Grunstaggs wife (I really should ask her name) speeds us while Grunstagg backfires another spell. Tallima engages the creature while Imri casts a spell at it. Imri backfires and turns into a mermaid, just like Lady Hope did earlier.

Could things get any worse? Why of course they can!

Holly casts a lightning bolt at the creature which does some damage, but her aim is a little off and she hits Grunstaggs Wife. She is blasted across the room and crashes into the wall, falling stunned to the ground. In its weakened state Tallima is able to finally knock it down. Holly backfires a spell and her arm turns to a snake. Tallima kills the creature and Holly manages to cast air breathing on Lady Hope and Imri. Grunstagg quickly removes the curse on Holly so her arm returns to normal.

Veor, Falco and Skafloc appear and are amazed at the trouble we got ourselves into in a save haven like the dwarven mine. We all rest up and heal.

We explain what happened with the wolf spirit summoning and the spider trap in the spirit realm. Grunsatagg is impressed we survived.

Wolfgang tells us that the binding of the wolf was likely to fail as the wolf is just the current representation of the Hunter Spirit. By specifically binding the wolf they would never have gotten total control of the spirit of the hunter. He tries to explain that he had reappeared 2 years ago and left clues for his current self to start the search but it all gets a bit confusing for our little minds and so we gloss over it and take his word that it was a good thing. He did get captured though by some nasty spirits while he was trying to get to the wolf spirit (almost 2 years ago) but he had recently escaped. They were trying to bind the wolf to track him down again. He is a bit vague on where he was held and how he escaped but we have really gotten over his mysteriousness and just gloss over that too. The end result is he is free and able to help us on our quest.

Lady Hope tells us the hummingbird had chased the figure up the stairwell under the church of Gabriel. It appeared to be an old man with grey balding hair, but the voice was definitely a female. The illusion looked like the head of the household.

Hearing this reminds Pug that the jugs which contain our bindings to this realm were made near the Gabriel temple.

Wolfgang helps us to investigate the deeds in more detail and tells us more of the history of the land. The Tannery holds the spirit of Strength which is currently represented by the bear. This explains why the tanners wife and family are werebears. They are attracted to the tanner and his workplace.

The alien stones have the power to suck magic from the land but little is known about how that could happen. The weakness to the barrier between planes here is the direct result of a powerful ancient spirit who tried to invade the plane many thousands of years ago. The spirit was represented by the spider. The spirit was eventually beaten back by unknown forces.

It is now 10am and Grunstagg informs us the captain of the guard has had his execution moved forward to 6pm that day. The town is now under marshal law and the dwarven spy has been captured. It seems all executions have been pushed forward to 6pm today. We only have 8 hours to free them.

Grunstagg talks to the trolls to bring them up to date.

We get the blue crystal divinated and discover it has some translation effect and it can communicate to spirits. It is also linked to something else. Falco and Veor swiftly put it in a bag. Tallima tries putting up a scry shield again but backfires, making herself like a beacon to scrying.

Grunstagg has the deed to the mine and we figure out it is linked to a spirit of “life of the earth”, something which is similar to rebirth and spring in our understanding. We decide to fly past the other temple so Pug can check for a place of power. He strongly suspects the magic place will be here. Wolfgang and Holly will come with us.

We come up with a dangerous plan to make the enemies think we are somewhere else by summoning a spirit to take on Tallimas curse of location and sending it somewhere miles away from us. The spirit agrees but only if it can have free reign of a body for a day after the curse runs out. Pug rashly agrees. He asks Grunstagg if he can be kept safe in the mine while this occurs.

Pug goes to reassure Cujo and the whole party is surprised when Cujo starts speaking back to Pug in common. A spirit called Cundra has been inhabiting Cujos body since Mellon gave him the ability to fly. Cundra gives us some advice.

Embrace your true spirit nature and attack the bindings in the spirit realm. Destroy that and the binding in the physical world will also break.
Go to the spirit realm and find the place of power for the Hunter.

Grunstagg gives us a timer set for 24 hours. He warns us that the ancient evil spirit can’t be allowed to return to this plane and as a safeguard the valley will be “cleansed” in 1 days time. By cleansed they mean nothing alive will be left. We thank Grunstagg for adding the extra pressure to an already dangerous situation and we fly off.

Spirit Place of Power

It is about only 11am when we get to the old temple. It is a 6 story tall tower of about 150 feet in height. Pug immediately locates a place of power in the top of the tower. Cundra says it is the Spirit place of power. There is a portal here to the spirit realm. There are some obvious traps which we avoid on the first few floors. On the 3rd floor we find a female spirit in snake skin leather armour. She welcomes us as the guardian of the tower. Her name is Irenee. We quickly deduce she is a deception spirit. She leads us to the top floor (four guards appear behind us dressed in snakeskin leather also) and chatters about the great Lord Lebath. He is the spirit of Domination and it was him who tried to take over the world many thousands of years ago. He is ready to welcome us into his service.

The portal at the top has a sprite stuck in it. The sprite is the representation of the spirit. Lady Hope quietly talks to it while we keep Irenee busy. The sprite was bound here 2 weeks ago to keep this portal open. She lets us know that if we concentrate on a particular place as we step through we can get there straight away. Otherwise we will end up in Lord Lebaths clutches.

We all step through, concentrating on the hunter place of power. We end up in a maze, which is no surprise to Veor as she planned this. Being a minotaur she can navigate mazes easily and she was hoping to throw off any pursuers. As we race off we see the 4 guards step through with a large black wolf. They chase us, using the wolves ability to locate us if they get lost.

Veor finds the right door to the hunter place of power and we step through. The guards are only a 20 feet behind us.

On the other side is a forested area with a central clearing. There is a large pillar with three figures chained to it. They are the representations of the Hunter. Accuracy, Cunning and Speed. They are all armed with bows and wicked looking swords. Some shots are fired and the wolf behind us drops dead. This causes the guards to pause and reconsider chasing us. The four guards are armed with a black halberd, a flail, a two handed sword and two battle axes. We remind ourselves to pick up their weapons and armour once we have killed them.

An arrow strikes Skafloc and we suddenly remember the bound spirits are not here to protect us. They are here to kill anything that comes close. We engage them.

The Accuracy spirit is in the form of a mature elf. The Cunning is in human form and Speed is a goblin like creature. Wolfgang engages the human. Lady Hope and Veor engage the goblin but can barely touch him as he is so fast. Veor uses a minotaur leap to get passed and starts attacking the chains. Imri circles around and gets to the chains. Pug and Cujo attack the human. Skafloc and Tallima attack the elf. Falco creates a flash of light and the four guards disintegrate. He then successfully blinds the elf and the goblin. Holly casts a lightning bolt and hits the elf.

Skafloc doesn’t fare to well in his battle. In fact he ends up dead. Lady Hope is almost dead by the time we finally break the 3 chains. Cujo has the last swipe and kills the elf form. Cujo turns into the human form of the Spirit of Strength as the Hunter Spirit appears. They converse and reward us. The Hunter resurrects Skafloc and offers us a safe place to rest. He also fully heals the party. The Bear Spirit (Cundra) teaches Pug some new skills. We all get a choice between Boon of Strength (+10) or Gift of the Hunter (+1 Critical Chance and +20 Strike Chance) which will last for 24 hours.

The hunter tells us the spirits of Vitality and Knowledge (represented by the Orc and the Elf) are bound. Destroying their bindings would seriously weaken the enemy. Pug asks about the elven statues he saw in the Hunters place of power. They are the heroes from the battle who successfully defeated the Lord Lebath on his first attack on this plane. They are being held in the castle by the Lebath sympathisers. He gives us the “Breath of the Hunter” to bring them out of the suspended animation.

We debate which spirit to free next, the Knowledge or Vitality, while we have the element of surprise. Knowledge wins. Cundra stays with the Hunter. Cujo can still fly though, for which Pug is very happy.

Knowledge Place of Power

Lady Hope leads us to a swampy area. Pug confirms he can feel a place of power nearby. Veor creates an ice path so we don’t have to get out boots dirty. Almost immediately 2 large frogs jump on it and attack Tallima. She gets struck and looses a spell.

A huge slug bursts through the ice platform. It has hundreds of tentacles. A quick DA shows it is vulnerable to fire. The party attacks it but within the first pulse it becomes clear to Pug that this isn’t a battle worth fighting. He focus’s on moving the whole party to the place of power. He gives no warning to the party though. Pug disappears. Since he was at the back of the group it takes a few seconds for anyone to notice. Meanwhile the battle rages. Lady Hope and Tallima loose more spells and skills as the slug strikes them. Wolfgang, Imri, Holly, Skafloc, Falco and Veor are a little more circumspect and engage it from a distance.

Just before the creature is killed Veor creates a new ice path and vanishes.

Lady Hope, not feeling as powerful and in control as normal, allows Skafloc to lead the remaining party members. Skafloc focus’s on his perception of the what the Knowledge place of power would look like. The party is reformed in a Library. Pug and Veor look like very guilty children. They explain that they appeared in the library first and saw some glowing globes. With nothing else to do they gazed into them. Each globe contained one of the spells or skills stolen from the other party members which Veor and Pug instantly learn. Since they are both ice mages, who are clearly mistreated by Lady Hope, they saw no harm in continuing this process as more globes appear. Pug tries to explain that he had no idea where the globes were coming from and he thought it was a gift from the spirit of Knowledge. Lady Hope would have stabbed him for this recklessness, if only she remembered what the dagger was for. Pug smiles.

Pug gains Dagger (rank 9) and Scimitar. Veor gains Philosopher and Mind counterspell

We decide in this place we need only focus on the knowledge we want and we will be transported to that place. Skafloc thinks of nature of the corruption and disappears. Pug thinks of the knowledge to remove the corruption. Everyone else thinks of something.

The party is split into 3 groups.

Skafloc and Tallima end up bound to some stone slabs with 2 nasty looking beetle creatures poking and prodding them. The room is like a mad scientist or alchemist laboratory. Strange machines and devices are everywhere. They manage to free themselves and disappear to another room.

Lady Hope and Falco appear in cages. They manage to escape fairly quickly and then they appear on the top of a cliff. Presumably they thought of surveying the land before picking a useful place.

Pug appears in a room with many books. Veor, Cujo, Holly and Wolfgang appear next to him. They decided Pug has a better grasp of what is happening than Lady Hope or Skafloc and chose to follow him. They quickly discover that to remove the corruption they need to get rid of the creatures that have caused the corruption. The group thinks of a room where all the creatures are in the same place. Lady Hope and Falco appear in the room they just left in time to see the group disappearing again. Lady Hope swears and curses and blames the party split on Pug.

Falco and Lady Hope try to follow Pug but fail. Skafloc and Tallima appear and discuss what to do next.

Pug, Cujo, Veor, Holly and Wolfgang appear in the entrance to the laboratory. The 2 beetles are surprised to see them but quickly activate a device. Veor and Holly start spell casting but within 5 pulses Pug, Wolfgang and Holly are dead. It seems with each pulse, if you fail to resist, you loose a particular piece of knowledge. It starts with Talking and progresses through Walking, Breathing, Heart Beating and finally knowledge of Yourself, ie your soul is lost. Veor and Cujo are the only ones to resist enough to be useful. Skafloc, Tallima , Falco and Lady Hope reach the laboratory while the battle is going on. And manage to scare off the beetles. Of course they lose some knowledge too but don’t die.

Veor gathers up all the new globes her group just lost and they all focus on their own lost knowledge to regain them.

They now follow Veors lead (she has learned well from Pug) and they end up at the Well of Lost Souls. Along the way Tallima learns how to resurrect people in the spirit plane. The guardian of the Well is a scruffy looking old man but he wants a payment for bringing back the souls of Pug and Wolfgang. Lady Hope and Skafloc offer a day of service each and he agrees. We are all healed and ready to complete the final part of this puzzle. The Guardian tells us to return to the laboratory and destroy the item of corruption. He doesn’t tell us what it is though.

The party returns to the laboratory, but a safe distance away. Skafloc and Wolfgang volunteer to go in as the trap is triggered by entities from Alusia. They get in and start looking around. They find a black orb under an illusion. Skafloc slingshots it from a distance and it explodes. The trap is no longer controlled and resets itself. Skafloc looses Walking and breathing. Wolfgang only looses breathing. They get out and rejoin the group. Veor thinks of being where the new globes are but finds herself stuck to a slab where she loses her dagger skill. She gets off and grabs the 4 globes, returning to the group and fixing Skafloc and Wolfgang. As a group we discuss the items in the room and decide the bones and tarot cards are superstitious whereas everything else is scientific or alchemical in nature. They must be the corruption so Skafloc, Wolfgang and Veor go in again to destroy them. They arrive on the 5th pulse and only Skafloc fails to resist. He loses his soul but the corruption is destroyed. We go back to the Well of Lost Souls to rescue Skafloc. Lady Hope gives another day of service. The Spirit of Knowledge appears. She gives us each +5 to Willpower and Magical Aptitude.

She tells us about being bound nearly 200 years ago, but not by the original binder. The people binding her were trying to get knowledge of the location of the Spirit of Magic. She never told them though. She tells us there is an ancient evil which has plagued this realm. This Ultimate Enemy is not the Lord of Domination though.

Vitality Place of Power

The plan is for Veor to lead us to the Place of Vitality, then Pug will lead us to the Place of Power. We follow Veor. The Place of Vitality is a vast Oasis. There are many wonderful looking people of all races walking about. They all beckon us to them with promises of incredible adventures. Pug remains solely focussed on finding the actual Place of Power. He immediately identifies a large tent near the centre of the oasis. To be sure he moves about a bit and tries again. He quickly becomes sure it is the tent they need to go to. The group walks off to the tent, trying not to get distracted by the other people.

Outside the tent is very beautiful female human but we are aware she is really an elf. Lady Hope takes the lead and talks to her for a while. She invites us in to meet her partner. Pug leads the way in. As the last one gets in the Lord of Domination reveals himself and the young lady from outside changes into the snake skinned woman from the Tower with the spirit portal.

Lady Hope and Imri fail an awe check and begin lusting after our captor. They are lead through some curtains where they are to be dressed as his latest concubines. While Veor starts talking to Domination we can hear some hair pulling and slapping going on. It seems neither one of Lady Hope or Imri want to share their new master. We think it might be funny to see them both dressed like the two concubines already chained to the couch, gold collars and everything, but Veor convinces the Lord of Domination to bring them back if he wants our help in freeing Vitality.

Freeing Vitality?!? Yes good reader, he wants the same thing we do. 
If we fail to save this plane from the devastation planned by the trolls then there will be no spirits
to pander to his wishes in this place of power for many thousands of years. And he quite likes this place!!

He will provide us with safe passage to the pool in the center of the Oasis. There is a barrier around it which prevents Named Spirits from passing through. In the pool is a giant Squid which prevents others from getting to the binding. Wolfgang won’t be able to pass this barrier either so he decides to stay in the tent. He will offer us safe passage to the place of our choosing if we succeed. Veor asks about who else is seeking to control this plane. He doesn’t know who the Ultimate Enemy is (or he claims not to) but he fingers Perinex (younger brother of the original Wolfgang), the Priest of Gabriel (he has a combination of colleges) or Garnock (Denizen of the spider plane). The Lord of Domination wraps us in a cloak and we get safely to the edge of the pool. We all change into our spirit forms, except Lady Hope.

We step through the barrier.

The lake is crystal clear there are some bodies floating about which have been seriously chomped on. There is no sign of the squid. Holly casts water breathing on us all and Pug tries to focus on moving us to the place of power. He succeeds. All but Lady Hope find themselves in the water just below a cave at the bottom of the lake. There is air in the cave. There are Oysters and Pipis in the sand of the lake bed. Skafloc convinces Pug to eat one. Pug feels the extra Vitality flood into him. He also feels a bit nauseous due to now being pregnant. Lady Hope reappears after convincing Domination to let her help the party.

We go up into the cave and can sense a spirit to the north, just along a corridor. From the roof drop some nasty life draining mosquitoes. There are hundreds of them. Imri casts domes of light around us and they all eventually die. Tallima raced forward and got stuck on a sticky patch of the corridor. Pug had to rescue her before the second dome was cast.

Pug, Cujo and Tallima swim back down for some more oysters to remove the life draining. Pug now has twins, Tallima has “multiple souls”in her tummy and no one is too sure how many Cujo has. Lady Hope and Holly refuse the extra health.

Veor covers the sticky patch of the corridor in ice so we can get passed. As we approach the end of the corridor we see a small room. In the room is a potted bush. It has pretty yellow flowers and many different coloured seeds. The spirit is in the plant.

The plant shoots a red seed at us. The party dodges to the side walls, all except Pug that is. He tries to belt it back to the plant. He fails miserably and is engulfed in fire. It hurts a bit. The party retreats a bit while Pug tries again to reflect the seeds back.

He isn’t a fast learner apparently

The group reforms and plans to cast Ice Walls around the plant to protect us, Spectral Hands to start crushing it and Web of Darkness to damage it. This has an immediate effect on the plant but because it is bound to the Spirit of Vitality it keeps regenerating.

Pug Doesn’t Learn

Pug seems to be the only one who recognises the futility of this plan so he comes up with his own. He concentrates on being in the Vitality source and absorbing it. He succeeds. Now the plant is absorbing vitality from Pug who is being kept alive by the true power of Vitality. Picking up his iron spike from his backpack he stabs the first of four runes on the plant holder. This has an immediate effect of causing a detonation of life energy. The plant is now unable to absorb as much of the vitality from Pug. He calls out to the rest of the party to RUN AWAY, before stabbing the 3rd rune. This causes an explosion of fire. There are only 2 runes left so he stabs the 2nd one. This time a blast of ice fills the cavern. Unfortunately for Pug he fails to resist this explosion and he dies.

The first explosion kills Lady Hope outright. She doesn’t even get a chance to resist the life energies. It seems being a Seer is not all it is cracked up to be. Tallima and Holly also curl up their toes and fall over dead. The party hears Pugs voice telling them to run. They make it back to the pool and dive in before the fire explosion occurs. Veor gets an ice cover over the water which helps them to all survive. The final ice explosion sees them all trapped under the ice, except Skafloc who had climbed out and hid in the room. Cujo doesn’t make it.

The group waits for a few seconds, expecting another explosion. When it fails to come they decide Pug must finally be dead. Veor and Falco rush to the plant, which is still stunned by the unexpected dwarven assault, and lift it from the planter. This breaks the binding. They discuss why Pug didn’t do that. They decide he is just too stupid for words.

The Spirit of Vitality appears and thanks the party for freeing him. He gladly resurrects Pug, Lady Hope, Tallima, Holly and Cujo. He tells us he had been bound for many years but much more strongly in the last 2 months. In the past 12 hours he has been drained more heavily, presumably by the enemy trying to combat our unpredictiveness and for the final preparations. He gives us each an invested Trollskin and teaches us to detect people who have absorbed his vitality (within 100ft) in the passed 12 hours. We ask about the ultimate enemy of the plane and he tells us a little bit about the “shadow spirit plane”. There are reflections of this realm there but it is all ruled by Chaos. He doesn’t have a specific spirit in mind but he strongly suspects the denizens of that plane.

He offers to return us to the physical plane, which would be under the squashed temple. We decide to request the Spirit of Knowledge to join our discussions. Vitality concentrates and Knowledge appears shortly after. The two converse privately for a minute then tell us the enemy is homing in on the Spirit of Magic. The spirit has been in hiding for centuries but they can’t tell us where it is. We ask about the people we know of. Perinex, Katherine and Jaxom (the priest of Gabriel) have all disappeared. Knowledge gives us the layout of the town and the castle and suggests we enter by a portal to the kitchens. The whole area is formed of bound rock so it would seem like the safest.

In order to find the current location of our enemies we ask Knowledge to request the Spirit of the Hunter to join us. He appears a few minutes later. Veor focuses on Perinex and Katherine. The Hunter says they are in the Well of Souls. He can’t find Jaxom for us as we have not met him and can’t describe him well enough. Imri focuses on the enemy who has been hunting us. The Hunter shows us an image of a middle aged elf. He looks quite scholarly. Under his black cloak are some arcane clothing. He is currently under the city, directly under the pool in the center of the town. We ask about agents of the Shadow Spirit and are shown 2 elves racing to engage the trolls. They are moving very fast. They look like the description of the relatives of the current baron. One of them is able to drain magic, just like the young son of the werebear we met in the Tanners house. We check on her location. She is on the edge of the valley, preparing to leave.

We decide to warn the trolls but we need to get Wolfgang back from the Lord of Domination. Before we can depart Pip appears and tells us the Trolls are under attack. The female elf is incredibly fast. We change our minds and decide to go for the old elf under the town. We get Wolfgang with no difficulties from the Lord of Domination. The Hunter Spirit offers to take us directly to the pool in the town but this seems a little risky so we opt for the Tanners house. Clearly it will be empty as the whole family is leaving the valley. Tallima fails to comes through and we suspect she is trapped with the Lord of Domination.

Spirit of the Plane

From the tanners place we drop down into the sewers and make our way to the centre, which is very close to the Temple of Gabriel. As we get to the place where we battled the Spirit Shaman who was trying to bind the spirit of the hunter (but failed because they specifically tried to bind the wolf) we see a Dryder (giant spider with a Human male torso) approaching us. To our surprise Holly shimmers a little and the Spirit of Deception steps out of her and slides into the wall. The Dryder is about 60 foot away and there is a body next to it. Veor sneaks up on it and starts to stab it. The rest of the party stays at a safer distance and tries magical attacks. Falco eventually gets rid of it in a Shadow Hole. The body is identified as Perinex. It had been stabbed in the chest by the Dryder stinger. Lady Hope brings the spirit back and quizzes it. Perinex was not allied to the Shadow Spirit Plane but was working for his own gain. Jaxom began working against him so he came to confront him. And then he died. Jaxom is the elf at the bottom of the pool. He seems to be strong in Necromancy and Binding. There are 3 more Dryders waiting for us. Jaxom had just found out where the Spirit of Magic was hidden and he sent his 2 bodyguards after it. We surmise the spirit is in Mellon who is with the Trolls.

As Lady Hope releases Perinex’s spirit Pip appears and tells us the trolls are dead. Mellon has been captured by the enemy.

The pool below us is magically obscured so Veor dives in to see what is below. She takes an iron spike from Pug. She is attacked by the second Dryder. Pug and Imri dive in to help him, each armed with iron spikes. The battle is furious as the dryder spikes Veor on its trident before committing suicide by discharging a lightning bolt in to the water. We pick up the wand it used.

We go down the watery tunnel avoiding all the mechanical traps. As we reach the bottom and see a portcullis blocking the next corridor Lady Hope sees a hidden hole in the wall. It is quite tight and has adhesion on its walls. We decide to let Skafloc tunnel it to make it wider so we can get through safely. Imri leads the way, followed by Skafloc, Falco, Lady Hope, Pug, Wolfgang and Holly. Veor and Cujo stay by the porticullis incase anything happens.

Imri gets to the corner and peaks around. Suddenly she goes quiet and swims forward. Skafloc tries to pull her back but can’t quite get a good hold on her. As he turns the corner he sees a glowing sphere in a room about 30 feet away. We get into the room and Skafloc talks to Imri. She appears to be controlled by the mind of the original binder in this plane. Unfortunately the mind is quite insane and childlike. Imri is surrounded by a bubble of force so Skafloc entalks to her like a child. The binder seems to like him and pulls Skafloc into her bubble. The rest of the party gets to the room and can see into the next room through the one-way transparent wall. There is a doorway into the extra room. Imri keeps trying to gain control of her body back while Skafloc distracts the binder by tickling her.

In the larger room are 4 pillars covered in runes ( they stop the Lord of Domination from taking control of the plane), the binders slumped body (which is tied to a machine with lots of tubes going into her body), 2 Dryders, the elf we now know as Jaxom and the 12 elven statues of the guards who prevented the Lord of Domination from coming through all those years ago. There is a corridor in the opposite wall covered by a curtain. Jaxom is very close to it. On the floor around Jaxom and the binders body are a semi circle of runes.

Veor comes into the room saying that Cujo is swimming up the other corridor. Veor and Pug plan to go in and engage Jaxom and the spiders. Pug wants to awaken the elves but the group doesn’t like that idea.

Skafloc finds out the binder is called Kerrena, just like the plane. Kerrena wants to awaken one of the elves, as he is her friend. The spirit of Deception appears in the room and also encourages her to do this. Pug, Lady Hope and Falco try to attack her but she disappears. One of the elves becomes alive again and immediately attacks the closest Dryder. Kerrena is happy that her friend is back.

Jaxom is surprised by the elf awakening. He is even more surprised when 2 others awaken. Kerrena says the pretty Snakeskin lady did it (Spirit of Deception). Jaxom retreats through the curtain.

Veor opens the door but is petrified. Pug leaps into the room and sees the Deception Spirit through a wall, animating another elven statue. Unfortunately for her the Elf sees her and calls out “Kill the offworld scum”. One of the elves steps on the runes to follow Jaxom and dies. Another kills its Dryder and sees Pug. He starts towards him. Kerrena is convinced by Skafloc to free Veor. Veor sees the elf advancing on herself and Pug and calls out “kill the followers of the Lord of Domination” then immediately races towards the Deception spirit who is currently fighting an Elf.

Pug disappears again. Lady Hope curses again.

Wolfgang calls out in elvish and vouches for our party. Imri asks Kerrena to petrify Deception. Several spells are cast at Deception but she resists them all. Wolfgang commands the elves warriors to retreat to his side to get them out of reach of the Spirit of Deception. They obey. Unfortunately this leaves Veor on her own fighting Deception. Luckily for her she had picked up the trident the Dryder has impaled her on some time earlier and uses it to charge Deception. Deception is shocked by this action and even more surprised as the trident is pulled out, causing even more damage. Just after this Kerrena successfully petrifies her and she crumbles to pieces. Sadly her scimitar also disintegrates.

Pug and Tallima reappear just before the battle ends. Pug has a grenade which does massive amounts of damage to shadow plane creatures. He gives it to Skafloc as he has the best grenado skill in the party. They also know Jaxom and the 2 other shadow plane elves will be at the squashed temple. Jaxom left through a portal in the next room.

Tallima had been in the presence of the Spirit of Knowledge. Pug appeared there too when he tried to get close to the Spirit of Deception. Together they portaled to the 
next room and saw Jaxom talking to the 2 elves, commanding them to get to the ruined temple. Mellon was bound in metal shackles.

Pug and Tallima were not seen by anyone and when Jaxom stepped through the portal they opted to return to the Spirit of Knowledge and then go back to the main room where the party was. This meant they didn’t need to trigger any traps in the corridor leading out of the main room to the smaller room.

We talk to Kerrena a bit and asides form the fact that she has been driven slightly mad by isolation, she seems like quite a happy, chatty young girl. Imri convinces her to go back to her own body while Skafloc continues to amuse her. Pug has a private chat with her and he gets enhanced powers. He also grows some more hair and looks a little more bear-like.

The party debates how to get to Jaxom quickly. The group is split in three parts. Lady Hope and Veor really want to go through the portal that Jaxom used. Falco, Pug and Imri want to go to the spirit plane to get to Jaxom. Skafloc and Tallima want to fly. We finally agree to follow Lady Hope and Veor. Tallima casts some protection magics on them before she backfires and runs out of mana. Lady Hope, Veor and Pip step through the portal. Pip is instructed to return as soon as he has seen the room and to tell us if Lady Hope and Veor survive. Imri uses the linked lifeforce idol from Veor to monitor him too.

They step through. Pip returns in a few seconds. He tells us Lady Hope is severely wounded. Jaxom has 2 bodyguards in the room with him. The room is covered in runes. Things don’t look good for our 2 intrepid adventures.

Kerrena mentions she can bring the room here. This sounds like a good idea to the remaining party members, and with no Veor or Lady Hope to object, we opt for the new plan. Kerrena brings the room close to use and opens a corridor to it with one way transparency. We hear a rumbling from above us and Wolfgang says a part of the town may have dropped into a hole in the ground. Veors linked lifeforce idol almost shatters then returns to normal. The room is empty. It is at this point that we ask Kerrena if she transported the people in the room too. She replies “No. Don’t be silly. I can reshape the plane but I can’t move people.” Pip disappears and then returns. He says Jaxom is dead, as are his 2 companions. Lady Hope and Veor are in the spirit realm and have been captured by the Lord of Domination. Lady Hope is still critically injured.

We begin debating ways to free them when we notice the portal Jaxom used now shows Mellon and the 2 Spider Elf creatures about to transport into the room. They end up in our sealed room. Skafloc and Falco engage them in conversation, along the lines of “surrender or we will kill you”. They don’t seem too perturbed. They realise Jaxom is dead and offer to release Mellon if they are allowed to escape back to their plane. We accept this offer. As Mellon is unshackled we take some steps to calm her down.

She reveals herself as the Spirit of Magic. She had been in hiding for quite some time but is glad to be free. She informs us the timer for the destruction of the plane has been stopped and all will now be well. She offers us a single wish. We carefully construct a wish to return Lady Hope and Veor, whole and healthy, but just as we start to request this they both reappear. They both look stunned. They are carrying a small black box. It has a very high magical aura and will cause massive magical damage. With some very quick thinking we use the wish to return it back to where it came from. This should have a very nasty surprise for the Lord of Domination.

Strangely Veor and Lady Hope are not too pleased that we were about to wish them to safety. They claim to have had the Lord of Domination on the ropes and they could have killed him. We of course don’t believe this.

The Spirit of Knowledge appears and helps in returning the misappropriated skills back to their original owners. Lady Hope is very grateful to have her Dagger skills back. The spirit also offers each person an out of college magic spell at rank 0. Kerrena offers to build a mechanist/binder item for each party member.

Lady Hope, Skafloc and Pug all serve their day of service to other spirits. Pug is disgusted to find the old lecherous dwarf who had his body for a day engaged in all seven sins. He goes to a healer for some heavy duty curing... We head back to the Seagate Adventurers guild.

Miscellaneous

  • Marching Order
    • Tallima, Veor, Lady Hope, Imri, Pug, Pip, Skafloc and Falco
  • Watches
    • Pug, Falco and Tallima
    • Lady Hope and Veor
    • Imri and Skafloc
  • Treasure
    • Archives
      • 2 Grey Metal Stones
      • 2 sets of armour from the guards
    • Snake Skin Baddies
      • 4 sets of Chain Mail
      • Black Halberd
      • Two Handed Sword
      • Two Battle Axes
      • Flail
    • Spirit of Perversion
      • Small Blue Crystal
    • Spirit of Vitality
      • Invested Trollskin to each party member
    • Spirit of the Plane
      • Wand dropped by the Dryder
      • Trident

Skill Changes

  • Lady Hope
    • Spirit Shaman skills learnt in exchange for the more Death aspected of the ‘Seerer’ college
  • Pug
    • Location of Places of Power, taught by Mellon
    • Learns Banishment but loses Water to Ice.
    • New Skills taught by Cundra, the Spirit of Strength
    • Enhanced by Kerrena
  • Tallima
    • Learns Resurrection

Deaths

  • Pug
    • Dwarven Mine
    • Knowledge Place of Power
    • Vitality Place of Power
  • Skafloc
    • Spirit Place of Power
  • Tallima
    • Vitality Place of Power
  • Lady Hope
    • Vitality Place of Power

Treasure Rolls

  • Pug 95
  • Skafloc 20
  • Imri 74
  • Veor 100
  • Falco 47
  • Tallima 73
  • Lady Hope 03



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