Through A Mirror Darkly
- 1 Summary
- 2 Diary
- 3 Mil Sci
- 4 Loot
- 5 Calendar
- 6 Autumn
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Adventure: McDonald nee McAllister On Plane
Session: Autumn 817
- Pierre the Halfling
- Bear,Tiny, and a set of the Pottery twins.
Do some stuff in Caledonia.
Some craftsmen work.
Brian McAlistair from Caledonia. His sister, Fiona, got married to Godfrey McDonald, but her last few letters said her new husband was getting stranger and more paranoid. Then the letters stopped coming. Guild party required to investigate.
It was nearly two years since I was on adventure but Rowan and I decided to check out one announced by Brian McAllister from Caledonia. His sister got married to a MacDonald, but a short time later, her letters said that her husband was getting increasingly strange and more paranoid. Then the letters stopped coming. He decided that discretion was the better tactic so came down here to employ us as independents rather than risk a clan dispute. Well .... that was his reasoning and he was sticking to it.
As well as Rowan and myself, Pierre the halfling chef and a rather large Nordic woman, whom I later found out was Veor the Ice mage. Seemed he/she had come into contact with a curse or something. Brian explained his problem and we speculated for a while about what was happening. Brian had come down from Caledonia by ship with trade goods so we had a couple of days preparation. I spent the rest of day down in Slippery Rock to get a dozen restoratives as well as any amulets people wanted. I had an Amulet of Diamonds on my list.
The next day was spent organising supplies and doing research. Rowan selected Bear, Tiny and the Pottery Twins for Team Golem before we met the ship. The plan was to sail out before dawn.
The trip would take us nine days, mainly because the crew were skilled and the Captain was a water mage. I tried a couple of astrology readings in order to get a clue on what was going on. What I got back was the following:
Smoke and Shadows Worries plague Nightmare and Dream Plague worries A vow broken, Keep Safe. A promise unfulfilled.
About halfway into the trip we ran into a storm. It looked rather odd, and out of place, as if it had been summoned. We were then attacked by two air elementals. Veor created some sort of shield that kept the elementals at bay and they were banging at that while we were shooting at them. I couldn’t see through the storm but Veor and Pierre could and found out that there was an Air Mage flying out there. We took down the elementals and the Air Mage took injuries as well before flying off. The captain then increased the ship’s speed to get us as far away as possible although we were sure that the pirate would be going after easier pickings.
The next day, we went past Port Artz and left a message with the harbour master to warn them about the pirate.
Two days later, on the 12th, we finally reached the Bay of Pennygale on the south coast of Caledonia. Since the bay was shallow and muddy a smaller boat came out to collect us and the cargo to be delivered. While we travelled in, we debated on what could be put on the overhanging cliffs, ranging from lookouts, to defensive ballistae and signalling towers.
Brian took us to his manor by wagon. We met his wife, Mary, their children and Harold the servant.
Veor wanted to set up some wards around the manor to block anyone with magical abilities and wanted all the local mages to be there so they can be selectively excluded. Unfortunately, the local druid didn’t turn up until late and bounced against the ward circle. Meanwhile, I took the liberty of requesting an Amulet of Amethyst from the local witch.
Dinner that night was a rather delicious venison stew. Breakfast the next morning was oat porridge with fresh milk followed by sausages, bacon and eggs. We then left, heading up towards McDonald country and the town of Colds Norton. On the way, we delivered messages from place to place, which, as Veor commented, would be raising eyebrows and causing gossip as why, obviously powerful mages would be travelling by wagon and delivering messages, which was what we were actually doing.
Certainly, at our first stop, Castle Thrieves, being the seat of Clan Douglas, we were getting some rather odd reactions, especially when Veor used an iceberg to float ourselves and the barge across the loch towards the castle. We also had to reassure the guards none of us were allied with either the Old Woman of Winter, or someone called ‘The Banshee’. After being stared at by the local Namer, while we were staring back at him, we were put up in a bunkroom for the night and fed beef stew. Personally I thought the venison was better.
Next day we were given a pot of porridge before heading off towards Laketown, and yes, we were carrying mail from the castle to Laketown. There, we arrived at the Cock and Sparrow Inn where we had chicken stew and listened to the piper in the corner telling stories of the ‘Auld Country’. I didn’t get to hear many as Rowan started complaining of a headache when the piper started playing so I took her upstairs to bed. We did find out though, that the last courier to Colds Norton had been mysteriously turned back.
Headed off the next morning, again with a new set of messages heading for the small village of Coatbridge.
Left Coatbridge the next day, with our next stop supposed to be Colds Norton. The road we were on was the only way to get there. On the way, I probed ahead with a Crystal of Vision and managed to get the checkpoint on my first attempt. We watched as a wagon was stopped at the checkpoint and the wagon, with its supplies, were swapped for another one, and the original one driven onwards to Colds Norton by the people who had brought out the second one while the second one was ridden back by the person who had brought the first one. Granted, at no point, there was close interaction with people on each side of the barricade, but, proper protocol was to unload the first wagon, take that away, then bring up the second wagon, load the goods on that then return it to Colds Norton. Either they had already determined that there was no risk of infection from possible contamination on objects, or the ‘plague’ was a cover for something else and someone slipped up.
When it was our turn to encounter the checkpoint, we were stopped, and were firmly told that our assistance in dealing with their plague was not required and the situation was completely under control. This also seemed rather suspicious but they were very adamant about that so we backed down and headed back about half a mile to make camp and decide what to do next.
While the others argued, I got my ‘Dalran Special’ Crystal ball out and went probing to see if I could scry Colds Norton. My math must have been right for calculating it’s relative position that I got a view over the central square on the first attempt before backing off for an overall view then zooming in to the manor house. I estimated the population was roughly 500 and the town itself was surrounded by a semi-circular wall, except for the back where the town backed onto a large cliff on the north side, where the mine workings were. The main gate, where the road entered, faced south and the manor house was located in the north west section. Everything looked normal as far as I could tell, with the normal amount of guards around the manor and people were taking down market stalls in the square.
It was decided we should get official backing from the MacDonalds to get past this checkpoint so, at dawn the following day, being the 16th, we were on our way to Dundonald castle, arriving there on the evening. We first met Captain Reynolds who conveyed a message to her Ladyship Claire McDonald before retiring to a nearby inn, the Broken Kettle where we were served a rather bland and gristly mutton stew.
By contrast, the breakfast we were served at Dundonald Castle was the best I had in a long while. Upon arrival for our meeting with Lady Claire, we were conducted to a small dining room, where a buffet breakfast had been set up, enough for half a dozen people, or one hungry hobbit. We helped ourselves while Lady Claire was served by a servant. I later discovered that Lady Claire was an experienced cook in her own right and I suspect her and Pierre would be swapping recipes. Certainly I was considering reverse engineering the oatcakes.
Lady Claire knew about the plague and had sent healers but none had returned. She was rather concerned about the situation, especially the welfare of her nephew, Godfrey. He was the one who had married Fiona McAllister. She also told us that Colds Norton mined coal and there were kobolds there too.
Finally we left there with official documents and a large package of oatcakes. That evening was spent in Coatsbridge.
The papers got us through the checkpoint but they seemed rather reluctant ... like ‘on our heads be it’. I had been wondering where the mine tailings had gone until Rowan explained how the wall was built. It was rather fascinating actually, apparently the core of the wall is made up of stacked baskets full of the tailings, then the outer wall plastered over that. It meant that the wall could be easily repaired if necessary.
A bit later on, I was finding out about the plague, and it did seem like there was one. It was called Black Throat, and the initial symptoms were irritability, grumpiness and sweating. Later on the throat swelled up, turned black and death followed soon after that. Kobolds were immune to it but, as we quickly found out, many people thought they were carriers and spreading it. We had to intervene to prevent a lynch mob from hanging three of them. The guard captain, who had been stirring the crowd on, was discovered to have the disease. It was detectable as a magical curse with a DA, which was interesting, although it seemed to be only half of the problem.
Once we had rescued the kobolds and the crowd had dispersed, they introduced themselves as Delia, Stefan, and Markum. All the kobolds lived in Kobold Alley, and it was at the edge of that was where they set up a guest house, a two up, two down. The plan was to quarantine the alley, mostly to protect the kobolds. They told us that the afflicted were being treated in the Church of the Dagda, The first case was about two months ago and spread slowly so that implied is wasn’t an airborne infection.
Once we had settled in there, we headed off to the manor house. This was an octagonal building with a central courtyard and located close to the cliff. We were conducted, halfway around the house, by the majordomo Lawrence, who had no trace of the disease., into a small sitting room where Fiona was waiting. She wasn’t infected either. Neither was her child, a three month old boy with an MA of 15. She also wasn’t sure she could get us to meet her husband.
On our way back to Kobold Alley, we heard screaming. This turned out to be a woman who we were about to go to her assistance when she suddenly convulsed, then literally exploded with shadowy forms leaping out to attack.
There wasn’t time to DA them but whether or not they were shadows, spectres, wights .... whatever ... they were still going down. So I was adjusting the colour of my Rainbow Spray, (my adapted Bolt of Starfire) after every round, in order to find the frequency they were most vulnerable too. Rowan was firing fire bolts as well while Bear, and the other golems, provided a protection wall. Unfortunately, one got around the wall.
“I can’t believe I’m standing toe to toe with a shadow thing” - Phaeton
It didn’t take too long, fortunately, for us to blow them up. There was no magic on the corpse, but a physical examination told me that the woman had suffered from Black Throat. Does this mean that this was going to occur when a victim died? And had it happened before?
While I was doing my examination, Veor was questioning the guards about the guard captain. It turned out that, a short while ago, his twelve year old daughter, Olivia had vanished from their yard. Veor was able to obtain the address and a description of the daughter. By now, Rowan had preserved the body, so we took it back to Kobold Alley for a more detailed autopsy and divination. From the results it seemed that the affliction was part disease and part magical curse. It seemed like something I could easily shift with my modified Remove Curse so I was looking forward to giving that a go in the morning. I also created a vial of Holy Water as well, just in case.
However, I wasn’t to get the chance. We went to the temple and met the Priest of Dagda that was in charge. He was a Celestial with highest ranked spell Darkness. He also insisted that the Laird had given him specific instructions that they were to deal with it themselves. The two healers that Lady MacDonald had sent were still here and he claimed that they have had some success. I still wanted to get in there but Veor suggested that our efforts were better off investigating things. I acquiesced but, there was something about that guy I didn’t like. Besides, Veor pointed out that such disease curses could have been done by other colleges, such as rune or shadow celestial. Still made me suspicious of that priest though.
Back to Kobold Alley where we spoke to the kobolds and discovered that they had their own water supply and their own mineshafts.
We then went off to investigate the address of Captain Lucan Graeme and discovered flecks of candlewax in the yard. A trail of wax led to a shop, which turned out to be a chandery, that made and sold candles. So we went in to investigate. There was a person behind the counter that was under some sort of disguise illusion but the aura strength was lower than the usual sentient entity. Were we talking to a golem? We were told however, that the candle maker, Mistress Katlina, wasn’t there.
So we snuck around the back. Double doors were discovered at basement level so that’s where we attempted to go in. Rowan animated the doors to open but, in doing so, a vat of molten wax toppled over leaving knee deep liquid hot wax all over the floor. The vat had been rigged as a trap. Pierre flew in over it while Veor conjured up a snowstorm to cool the wax down quickly.
On the other end was a light based entity, halfling sized with wings, that started attacking with a light equivalent of Blackfire. Walls were put up to block it in while it pulled up the light level to try and blind us. Meanwhile, while waiting for the wax to cool, I tossed in a Wizard’s Eye, so I could see what was going on, followed by a Darkness that really seemed to annoy the creature. It also DAed as a ‘Lurker in Light’.
Pierre charged in and grappled the lurker in mid air as it tried to back out the door behind it. Meanwhile, I came to the realization that my Light spells were actually healing it so I had to change tactics. To what tactics, turned out not to be tested, as the next volley of fire bolts caused it to evaporate.
A quick look inside that door revealed a rather messy storeroom of candle raw materials, a woman’s dead body, some sort of arcane circle and two shadows which immediately attacked. Pierre beat a strategic retreat as they advanced while the rest of us poured magic into them. They didn’t last long.
The three side rooms held a total of five bodies, all of which were covered in wax, and had died of asphyxiation. The other two wax vats, held three more victims being dipped in wax. One of them was Olivia and all three were unconscious but alive. In the back room, the body was identified, by the guards we called in, as the Madame Katherine, the candlemaker. She had died of blackthroat. The arcane circle was made out of blood and fat, and divinations showed that it had been used to create a portal to some sort of
dark unseelie fae plane and activated by blood sacrifices. It had only been used once in the last ten weeks (a week ago) to bring in a creature. The sword that the light lurker had used was magical.
Stairs led up to a trapdoor, which was trapped with magical lightning – as Pierre found out to his shock. Beyond it was living quarters, behind the shop. Under the bed we found the lockbox. Inside we found a journal, the ledger, two magical candles and some coinage. I couldn’t see any irregularities in the ledger but the journal actually had instructions about making wax golems. Nothing about creating planar portals though.
While the guards cleaned up the crime scene, we went off to test all the water wells in town. There were six of them and all of them tested negative for the cause of blackthroat. Our next stop was the manor house where we discovered that the fountain pond in the central garden was dark, murky, and magical da'ing as being contaminated with shadow magic. It was permanent and matched the curse component of black throat. While Veor and Rowan did their divinations, I ran a wizard’s eye around the ground floor level of the manor, looking to see where the laird was hiding. No sign yet and we were concerned that the magic in the pond had been permeating the manor and being infused into the structure – which would make everyone inside paranoid. The divinations discovered that the water contained elemental shadow that was leaking in from somewhere. I tried tossing in a vial of holy water, which caused a small explosion, fortunately doing no damage.
The next morning, we went to see the guard captain, who was at home, along with his daughter. It took me two attempts but my curse removal, combined with Veor’s rune healing, cured him of the blackthroat.
It was then back to the manor house where we convinced the butler, Lawrence, to give us a tour of the manor. During the tour, we looked at the walls to see how strong the shadow aura was. I used my Wizard’s Eye in places we couldn’t get into to see what was there, including the Laird’s study, where he was doing research. A couple of the books left out were labelled ‘Umbra’ and ‘Sojourn into the Shadow Wastes’.
Down into the cellars and, just past the wine cellar, discovered a guard at a table below. Beyond were cells, all unoccupied except for one, a human who had been helping himself to other people’s purses. I checked him and the guard for blackthroat but both were clear. Through the other door from the cellars were the vaults and it was the vault straight over the other side from the vault alcove entrance that revealed a sharp peak in shadow essence. Inside, was a mirror with a crack in it that was surrounded by some sort of magical circle. Four torches, spaced around the circle, lit the room with magical light and the mirror itself was a conduit for shadow and was a portal to some sort of pocket shadow plane.
We joined her ladyship for dinner, which was a meaty venison broth. She told us that she knew about the mirror and it had been there for a long time. It was something not safe to go near and there were dark tales, and things of shadows associated with it. She then invited us for dinner and said she would attempt to get his Lordship to attend as well as it was getting obvious we needed to combine our results for the good of the town.
That afternoon, Veor and Pierre went to find out more about the local Caledonian Gods, mostly Lugh.
We dressed for a formal dinner. This was onion soup, followed by smoked trout. Main was a delicious rabbit pie, accompanied with mashed potato and leeks, finally being completed by a dessert of bramble berries, cream, and oatcakes. Lord Godfrey did join us for dinner. He DAed as a Namer and was probably DAing us as we were DAing him.
He finally told us, during after dinner drinks of whisky, what was going on. The manor had been built on an older building and the mirror had been already there at the time. The mirror had been constructed as a prison for unwanted fae some hundreds of years ago and there used to be more unseelie fae about. Godfrey then admitted that he made a deal with something in the mirror, presumably a dark fae. He wanted to get rid of his elder brother, in order to be in line, so he put his brother in the mirror but, allowed him to take the Lord’s place every nine years. At least that was the original scheme but it hadn’t happened. Presumably what was happening now was repercussions.
Godfrey wanted us to go into the mirror, get his brother out, kill the dark fae, and destroy the mirror.
Killing the dark faeDestroying the mirror prison required a shard from the mirror from this side. He also shared with us, the method for getting in and out. The mirror had been cracked for a long time so, obtaining the shard shouldn’t be too hard. Also inside, was the brother’s daughter and some kobolds. The dark fae was a Nicholsaur and very powerful while in shadow.
The entire next day was spent prepping for this expedition, which included investing my Rainbow Spray and me getting a magical dirk from Godfrey as I didn’t have an innate magical weapon.
The following morning we stepped through the mirror and found ourselves in a room similar to the one we had left. I soon discovered that, unlike the others, it was harder to cast and I also felt rather unsettled. Veor provided a light and we stepped into the equivalent of the cellar where Pierre opened a door and found himself confronted with 2 human headed skeletal snakes on the other side.
Those skeletons were bested rather rapidly and I used my Wizard’s Eye, combined with Mana Sight, even though my range was being reduced owing to the shadow-magic, to look into the room. What we could see were coffins as well as treasure and crumbling skeletons. The treasure was collected them we ascended the steps to the ‘shadow’ manor.
The first room I poked my ‘eye’ into looked like a library with a large desk, books, bookshelves – and a female entity that poked my ‘eye’ out. So Rowan disintegrated the door and Pierre leapt onto the table to attack. She retaliated by putting the lights out with a Rank 20 Darkness, so I put them back on again while the rest of the party went into the attack. The ‘female entity’ turned out to be a kobold but the GTN was subscripted with Greater Shadow.
Once she was dealt to, we kept going around the ground floor poking my ‘eye’ into rooms. We found a kobold and gave him directions to the basement. Another room was full of keys but I was just able to detect a magical aura. I was able to give Pierre directions to obtain the magical key. The following room was completely empty but the final room was large and had what looked like a nest with something moving in it. So Veor rune locked it.
Once we had completed the circuit of the outer rooms, from the circular corridor, we then started checking the inner rooms. We found the stairs to the top floor, a room containing a burning fire made out of black shadow, and a long room full of portraits. There was also an area in the center that had no entrances that we could find. Was it a void? An empty space. Or was there something in there and we had to figure a way in – perhaps from above.
So up the stairs we went. There was a room with a feather bed, lots of blankets, and a skeletal occupant, Formally living, human male, well preserved. There was also a child’s doll , with white hair and grey skin that Pierre claimed. A second bedroom had all of it’s surfaces covered in writing which I described as ‘cursive’, writing with a curse in it. There was another male human skeleton in here as well.
We met another kobold and got him to pass on directions to the basement to any other kobolds. We were also told that the ‘big bad fae’ and got directions to there as well. It was in the upstairs library where we found a woman and scribe and in a nearby room was the missing brother as well as the nursemaid and daughter. All the humans were also given directions to the basement.
Finally we prepared to face the shadow lord. Elemental Counters were put on and we identified the shadow lord as a long lived sentient fae, main category humanoid.
We charged in, he summoned two shades, I flooded the room with light, he then neutralised that with a darkness. While that was going on, the others walloped the shades with Weapons of Light (Veor and Rowan), and magical daggers (Pierre). The shadow Lord then got a Rainbow Spray to the face but that wasn’t enough to stop him retaliating with Blackfire. Rowan then popped a shade with a firebolt then popped the second one with another bolt while Pierre and Veor waded into the Dark Lord.
Once he was vanquished, we searched the hemispherical room beyond. There was coinage and magical treasure in there which was in addition to the magical boots, amulets, rapier, maingauche, and armour that the Dark Lord was wearing.
After everything was tagged and bagged, we headed back downstairs to the point in the lower corridor that was adjacent to the ‘void’ where we were sure that the Heart was. Veor also put a Wall of Ice over the opposite door where the entity with the nest was. The wall was then cracked with a combination of fire, ice & light spells which revealed a wall of solid shadow. More light and fire spells started melting it, but Veor had an idea for a faster method. She created a couple of ice picks then had me cast Weapons of Light on them. With those, her and Pierre had the shadow wall down within minutes.
What was on the other side looked like a large shadow heart with tentacles and a large mouth. No specific vulnerabilities, except the mirror shard, which Pierre had fashioned as a dagger. So we went in with everything we had to take it down as quickly as we could. Veor noticed it had regenerative properties and a hit from a tentacle rendered Pierre paralysed.
“I’ve got all sorts of things against being poisoned, except being pummelled by a malicious tree” - Pierre
He must had forgotten about his green creeping moss that he had, which quickly absorbed the poison and rendered him mobile again. Rowan then created a lake of lava under the creature while I dropped meteors on it. Finally Rowan set it on fire and it collapsed. That was when the place started to collapse.
We rushed out, after making sure the other occupants, who were now waiting in the basement got out. Veor then put a Wall of Ice around the mirror, expecting an explosion, but instead, there was an implosion. The mirror sucked into itself and vanished, as well as the wall of ice.
Well, that was that. Veor suggested to Godfrey that his brother be part of the MacDonald Court at the castle, which was agreed to. We were paid by several people and the local dwarves agreed to make us special weapons.
- Sleep/Camp 10 Hours (Warding with runes & elemental warding active during this time)
- Travel 8 Hours
- Meals 3 Hours (+6 FT + any En bonus per meal)
- Rituals 3 Hours
Rowan: Instilling flight
- Total speed: 46 mph
- Duration: 420 mins = 7 hrs
- Ft cost per duration: 2 per object.
- Effective travel distance: 310-320 miles
Caster & spell
- Total speed:
- Ft cost per duration:
- Effective travel distance:
- Phaeton - 7h sleep
- Rowan - 2h nap, 5h sleep
- Veor - 5h sleep, 2h nap
- Pierre - 7h sleep
- Buster & Buck
Buffs listed in the table don't need to be detailed, other buffs not on the table must be mentioned at the time they are cast.
Y means always on, N/- means never on, 'Sit.' means when the party has time for buffs before a fight.
Weapon Spells which weapon/s it is going on normally should be noted also.
Super Duration Buffs
|Durability (Ro)||13||+3Ft +1En to armour||8 days||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Greater heart rune (Ph + Ve)||11||Heal 11 En on En damage||12 days||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N||N|
|Disguise Illusion (Pi)||15||Similar to human form but different look||Week+||Y||Y||Y/Y||Y/Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
Long Duration Buffs
|Rune Shield (Ve)||11||+16% def, +2 Ft & En aura protection||12h||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N||N|
|Willow healing (Ph)||8||10 pulses of 3 En / pulse||16h||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||N||N||N|
|Ablative protection? (Ro)||10||110 ablative before armour/resistance||11 hrs||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y||Y|
|Resist cold (Ve)||20||-6 cold damage||21h||Y||Y||Y||Tal||Imm||Imm||Imm||Y|
|Witchsight (Ph)||12||Bestows witchsight||6.5||Tal||Y||Tal||Tal||Sit||Sit||Att||Att|
|Ice traversal (Ve)||20||+7 Tmr on ice||7h||Y||Y||Y||Y||Tal||Tal||Tal||Y|
Short Duration Buffs
- Coinage from crypts?
- Assorted value from Chest (Jems, Jewellery, Coins)
- Fall through on mirror destruction (Jems, Jewellery, Coins)
- Payments (Coalsnorten, McDonalds, McAlistair)
- Arcane Points?
- Shortsword (Magical)
- Golem (Wax) manual
- Family Jewellery
- Misc minor magic?
- Leather armour (Magical)
- Amulet (Magical)
- Misc goods
- Assorted items from the body/room?
- Rapier (Magic)
- Main Gauche (Magic)
- Boots (Magic, Potions)
- Armour (Magic)
Chest under the rug
- Potions (assorted)
- Misc loot? (Magic?)
Rowan:52; Pierre:56; Veor:63; Phaeton:83
|1||Guild Meeting||2||3||4||Left Seagate around dawn||5||6|
|7||Attacked by air mage;||8||9||10||11||12||Arrived Pennyghael||13|
|14||Threave castle||15||Dalrymple||16||Coastsbridge||17||18||Dundonald Castle||19||20||Coalsnorten|
|21||Chandlery fight||22||Preparation||23||Into the Mirror||24||Out of the Mirror||25||26||27|
|12||13||Back to Guild||14||15||Equinox||16||17||Seagate Autumn Fair||18||Seagate Autumn Fair|