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Strange Aeons
Previously, in Strange Aeons...
As you were finishing breakfast at the Sleepless Detective Agency, the group heard a commotion. Investigation revealed that some townsfolk were upset/scared/freaked about the artwork of a abandoned city showing up around town. Being logical, they assumed that Lelwyn Hasok (ed. I spelled it Hasik in previous notes, but it is Hasok), a half-elven painter recently hired to renovate the temple to Pharasma, was responsible. The adventurers broke this up (Lelwyn's argument that the art wasn't his style or medium was having no effect) then talked to Lelwyn.

Lelwyn got excited when he realized that the adventurers who had "rescued" him were in his dreams and he had been painting a portrait of them in a triptych as a side project. He wants the group to come back so he can use models instead of hazy half-remembered dreams. In return he gave the group a bag of holding (type I) and 500 gp. The sharp-eyed and insightful among the group realized that this was all that Lelwyn literally owns, except for his paint, brushes, and clothes.

The group did some rumor gathering and learned the following:

1) At night, when the clouds hide the moon, strange humanoid figure dance in strange eldritch lights around the Star Stelae that lie around town. No one knows what the dancers are doing or worshiping, but any who see the dancing get caught up in the forbidden music and dance with the others through the night and have no memory but bruised and bloody feet the next morning.

2) Just before the kidnappings started in Thrushmoor, a local fisherman named Toli Remsatter noticed a glowing light in a small cave along the shore a mile out of town. Caught up in the fear sown by Elgrior Nasmeth (see below), the fisherman realized that the Briarstone Witch has returned to once again take everyone in Thrushmoor into the waters of the bay like so long ago. Toli recounted this theory over drinks and cards at the Stain, spreading the fear to other patrons and thus throughout town.

3) The Star Stealae are a pair of ancient, 12-foot-tall, semicircular menhirs atop Thrushmoor's hills. Each stone is etched with unidentified, non-Kellid runes and a misshapen star. The runes seem to face a common point in the town's center

4) Elgrior Nasmeth is a well-known figure in town, and has always been eccentric. He is obsessed with the Thrushmoor Vanishing, and is convinced the recent disappearances in Thrushmoor point to a coming recurrence of the event that led to the town being depopulated overnight. He is usually clad in shoddy clothes and wearing a signboard across his shoulders, Elgrior walks through town during the day shouting, “Doom is coming! The second vanishing is upon us! Pray for your salvation that the Briarstone Witch doesn't take you!” Elgrior can be found in numerous places in town as he wanders about spreading his frightening propaganda. Most often, he wanders near places where many people gather, such as the Silver Wagon, the Stain, or one of Thrushmoor's markets; something that most shopkeepers hate but put up with. (By the way, talking to Elgrior is a frustrating activity, as the man tries to link anything said to him to the idea that the Briarstone Witch is going to come back to Thrushmoor at any moment and take everyone away into the depths of Lake Encarthan.)

5) The Thrushmoor Vanishing happened long ago, in the first decades of 4000 AR. It occurred on the night before the Band of White, a mercenary company overseen by one of Ustalav's infamous Royal Accusers, planned to attack and subdue the rebelous town. (Thrushmoor was the centyer of a fledgling rebelion that happened as Ustilov was being unified). When the Band of White found Thrushmoor empty. Only a few gory spatters suggested what the ancient magic had wrought. The village's structures, though, were untouched. Not a single survivor was found and, their work complete, the mercenaries hurriedly withdrew. Almost immediately, Thrushmoor gained its reputation as a cursed place, and rumors began of something lurking in the nearby waters, a legend that would come to be known as the Watcher in the Bay (which actually has nothing to do with this adventure, so don't get sidetracked here).

6) Dark rumors, always whispered and never spoken aloud, claim that the Smokehouse's proprietor, Lysie Brilt is a green hag and is responsible for many of the disappearances. Depending on the alcohol level and depravity of the person relating the story, Brilt either seduces them and then either eats the victims, or uses them as brood mares in the swamps east and north of town. Lysie Brilt is a goggleeyed 50-year-old woman who started working in the establishment at the age of 10 and never left. Brilt arrived in Thrushmoor from Illmarsh as an orphan, but she was found in the streets by Count Haserton III and has been on good terms with the Lowls family ever since. She is, however, a very harsh boss for her young subordinates. In general, she is not a well-liked town figure.

Deciding to investigate the lights in the cave, the group headed out along the lake's shoreline. This lead to finding a cave, guarded by an assassin vine, an invisible fungus, and several fungus-invested wolves. After dealing with those threats, exploration found a wooden worktable holding a wide selection of containers and vessels to aid in cooking all manner of concoctions. Jars and tins held reagents and materials to produce various poisons, drugs, and potions. A small tin pot sat cooling on the edge of table, and was filled with a nearly complete batch of id moss. Additionally, the equipment on the worktable can treated as an alchemist’s lab. The crate near the worktable holds six potions of cure light wounds, three potions of barkskin, two potions of hide from animals, 4 doses of belladonna, 6 doses of bloodroot, 10 doses of flayleaf, and 1 dose of malyass root paste. A folded note also sat on the table: a request for “more of your dreaminducing brews, as well as more of that oil,” signed by a person named Melisenn.

A backdoor was found in the lair, and following that trail, led along a path through the countryside. The path passes an abandoned house, and into a pumpkin patch where you were attacked by several jack-o-lanberns and a scarecrow.

The group continued on and then met three people along the road (who you later found were carrying unholy symbols of Hastur), Conversation was had where they said that they were out for a walk and got lsta dn were now trying to find their way back to Thrushmoor. Someone started to cast a spell, and one of them paniced, and combat happened. Afterwords you found the holy symbols and they also had nightdrops, which for whatever reason they were using instead of a torch despite the fact that they were considerably more expensive (and only granted low light vision, rather than darkvision). We have no idea what they were doing.

Tracking the three back you found another cave, this one a lot more "developed" that the lakeside cave. Investigation found more fungal wolves and a female druid, who were not at all friendly and attacked. Exploration of this cave found that it had a more shop-like quality to it than a living quarters feel. The group headed upstairs (or rather Pace did by himself), where he was attacked and munched on by a carnivorous plant. The group rushed to support, and Mina was killed in this battle. (The plant was supported by a druid/hunter leshy.)

Negotation allowed the group to leave, the leshy and his plant letting the group go.

The adventurers returned to town, where they let met Keldrin Mon, a stevedore who works the fishing docks of Thrushmoor. Apparently Pace was once friends with Keldrin. Though Pace doesn’t remember Keldrin, Keldrin and Pace used to meet once a week for a few mugs of ale, a game of cards, and casual conversation. Since Keldrin was running late for work, he offered to buy Pace an ale that night at the Stain. Keldrin rushed off. The perceptive among the group realized that Keldrin was a bit weirded out by the strange behavior, but not so much that he would avoid Pace and his companions.

As the group learned either from talking to people in town and Cesadia Wrentz, Magistrate Padgett has been missing for days, and many of the mercenaries protecting the fort defected after not being paid for weeks. In response to the lack of protection and the missing magistrate, second-in-command Constable Barawyn Cesyll ordered the fort closed and hasn’t allowed in any visitors. Wrentz has urged the group to look into that, as it is exceedingly odd in her opinion.

The only entrance to Fort Hailcourse is a set of 10-foot-high double door located on the south side of this large stone building. Tarnished brass door knockers carved into the shapes of perching birds hang on the doors, and the hatch for the spyhole remains shuttered. The first knocks on the main doors don’t immediately draw a response, but after a few moments of persistence the spyhole opens, revealing a harried-looking Constable Barawyn Cesyll. She tried to politely settle any of the concerns, but when she was asked what’s going on and why the fort is shuttered, she stated she’s just following orders from Magistrate Padgett, and only a command from Count Lowls could supersede that.

When pushed father, she went on to explain that the fort can no longer perform its duties after the mercenaries defected, and Magistrate Padgett left her in charge when he left town. She also claimed the disappearances in town have everyone on edge, including her and the few retainers left in Fort Hailcourse. Exasperated, she continued, explaining she has spent sleepless nights trying to come up with a plan to deal with the situation, and that she sent messenger pigeons out days ago seeking reinforcements, but as of yet no one has replied. Eventually, she grew agitated and slammed the hatch closed after shouting, “Look! I’m taking care of it the best I can. Why don’t you go talk to the Sleepless Agency and see what they’re doing about all this?”

As a side note, a person skilled in knowledge (local) (I dont remember who, I think Samuel), realized that Cesyll was right-handed, but the person who answered the door closed the spyhole with her left hand.

So I think that's it. Its a lot, but I probably included information you didn't know already. So once you read this, you should be set to go tomorrow. Let me know if you have any questions.
Session: The Thrushmoor Terror, session 2 - Sunday, Nov 12 2017 from 12:00 AM to 8:00 AM
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Out of the Dragon's maw... into another's !?!
So we can add 'Dragonsbane' to our list of honorifics - although, I got a strange sense of Deja-vu about that. The gargantuan white beast took out many of Draven Thornbolt's fine crew, though Varis and I were able to bring two of them back from the brink with a little Divine intercession. That eases my mind to some degree - this isn't their fight, though I noticed their cook acquitted himself quite heroically.

We continue on, and the lookout yells ‘sails’ - this turns out to be a a wrecked ship (the 'Wander', apparently - a whaling ship). We pass close enough to hail the ship, and get no response. We notice marks of a dragon attack, and no lifeboats left on it. As discuss whether there's anyone left to rescue, Blackwolf smells human & chickens on ship.

We grapple onto the ship, head to the front with ropes, and my blade quickly de-ices the doors. We open the passenger area, and find no one - it was looted (by giants, no doubt), but they left behind an emerald (worth 300gp), 20 silver pieces, and two pieces of scrimshaw (worth 10gp each).

Continuing on towards the back of the ship, in the hold, we find chickens, 4 goats, and the cook (Bor Medred). He is unconscious, and suffering from hypothermia. Varis is able to cure this, and we take him back to our ship. Apparently his vessel was having some difficulty with their hunt, due to giants in the area also taking whales. They must've ended up too far afield in their search, because they encountered a giant longship with a shackled dragon (sounds familiar) which wiped them out & looted them. Bor heard in bits and pieces that the dragon apparently didn't come back to the ship after the fight, much to the giants consternation.

We keep going, and were able to get in a long rest unhindered. On a sleety day, we again get a call of ‘Sails’ - a giant longship! They pass us by (possibly aided by some impromptu magic to hide us), and seem to be following a guiding device parallel with the shore to deeper waters (looking for another of Aramil's family?) Further out, we see a bigger iceberg, with a huge hole down to the water-line (with a giant black chain hanging out from it, and a giant frosted face above it). Our ship anchors at an iceberg and lets us off. Draven is only willing to stay for 24 hours - if we're not back by then, we'll have to find our own way home.

We come up with the following plan to surprise the giants: Anton casts water-walking, and we head straight there single-file (behind a minor illusion I keep up, of the area behind us) As we get closer, we see large arctic owls - might be dangerous if hostile. We get a better look of the giant face - a depiction of a giant ocean god. We get a bit of a scare about the possibility of giant sea creatures swimming below us (the area is known for them), but we make it safely to the iceberg (off to the side of the opening)

Around this time, a SECOND huge white dragon flies out of the cave in the direction we came from. We hear signs of battle, and then see it come back with Draven in its claw. I'm not optimistic about the rest of his crew, but it looks like we've got someone else to save. We use two upscaled Invisibility spells along with a Locate Object (targeting Aramil's signet ring), and then head into the cave (using ropes to stay together).

Peering around the edge, we see a large harbor inside with five giant longships and 1 normal ship (possibly of elvish make?). A giant staircase of ice seems to lead up to a huge ice castle, and below that is a wide, bloodstained beach (covered with whale bones). We cut across the bay inside the harbor, up the beach, along the edges and up the ramp towards the castle.

Peck squeezes under a door on the ramp, and finds three people frozen solid against the wall (no one we know). With a combination of Wildshape, Polymorph, and Dimension Door, we're all able to make it through the door quietly. We replace the invisibility spells and pass through another door, narrowly evading an axe-wielding Giant sentry. He seems to hear us, but we're able to sneak past him and then flatten up against the wall.

We make it to a 4-way intersection, leading to a kitchen and various shut doors. With our options seemingly limited, we continue straight (following the locate spell) to a locked door.
Peck picks the lock, which attracts the attention of the giants inside (note to self - good time for a Silence spell). We decide that the time for stealth is past, and engage the pair of giants in the room. The fight seems to be going well, but their yells of pain are attracting further attention. I square my shoulders and prepare for a long fight.
Session: Did that iceberg move? - Wednesday, Dec 13 2017 from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM
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Adventures in Astaria
Session 1 Summary - Arrival and Shadow play
  • Lark arrived in the small town of Brimhaven, greeted by jovial scenes of the census celebrations, after a day of good work, she retired to a lively tavern in the northwest of the town square.
  • Rhyzan travelled into town arriving early evening from the south-west, stabling his horse, and finding a room at the same tavern, where he attempted information gathering to no real avail.
  • Serenia arrived after nightfall, seducing a drunken man into buying her a meal, before having him escort her home only to murder him in his house.
  • All three party members experienced a violent assault on the senses following a falling sensation.
  • Awakened in a room of slate floors and smooth black obsidian walls. Along one wall were desks of strangely filled vials and peculiar laboratory equipment, the others with tall bookcases filled with writings of a runic language
  • Escaped from a fire through a door of solid obsidian by finding two parts of a "key" in the possession a badly dismembered corpse.
  • Fought off a horde of rotten "zombie" robed humans.
  • Upon defeating the majority of the horde, their remains rapidly rotted and were dragged to the floor below.
  • A strong necromancy magic force was felt by Lark as these were assimilated into a giant abomination, the flesh a rotten writhing mass of eyes and venomous ooze, the bone into giant scything talons.
  • A magic barrier that contained the party was entirely destroyed by a stealthy mage who disappeared as fast as she came, though she left a lasting impression on Rhyzan, who saw her run ahead.
  • A focused beam of light fired by Lark forced back the black mist emanating from the creature, burning back its rotten, writhing ooze, and revealed an emerald green crystal embedded within the core of the beast.
  • Following use of light magic, the beast focused intently on the caster, eventually leaping high into the air, cleaving the then flying mage almost in two with a cross-slice of talons, rendering her unconscious.
  • Though incredibly powerful and surprisingly fast, the beast was eventually slain by the assault of heavy blows and light magic, which seemed exceptionally effective, destroying the last of its mass with a final pulse of energy.
  • Serenia seeing the crystal fall, heard a crazed and frantic voice once more from her daggers, urging her to take it to the fallen girl, which upon contact, healed them both fully.
  • Again experiencing a lurching sensation and blurring of senses, each character experienced a vision.
  • Lark - an elegant, beautiful pair of emerald green eyes, a tear falling.
  • Rhyzan - the face of the stealthy mage, flawless pale skin, long black hair and lurid purple eyes.
  • Serenia - lark, first wounded, healing, then smiling gently.
  • The party return to the dark interior of their rooms to find nothing changed except an after-burn of what was once their wounds.

Acts of greatness:
  • Lark - Repeatedly calling forth the magic of peace, she expertly guided ephemeral shields of light to deflect wave after wave of strike, claw and bite, keeping her unlikely allies safe from harm.
  • Rhyzan - Leading the assault on the oncoming zombies, he falls the first with a single surprise punch, before falling two more simultaneously in a ferocious display of strength.
  • Serenia - In a moment of heroic bravery insanity, she defied her crippling fear, leaping across a crumbling gap in the walkway, before scaling the face of the abomination using her daggers as climbing axes, riding it as it leaped mid-air, before tearing it lethally apart, leaving it open to a final magical assault from the unconscious Lark.

Key information:
  • None.

  • 50 silver and rations (Serenia)

Intrigue points:
  • The Dark sequence (party)
  • The visions (party)

  • Cultist activity on the plains (Rhyzan)
  • The other half calls (Serenia)
  • The magical census (Lark)
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Confessions of Ishketh Gloryheart - Whispers in the Dark
Kelemvor keep my soul, for I have now seen the darkness that lies beyond the stars, and what awaits me upon my death should I fail...

My Lord's Alliance brother, Revekeus, and I had a simple task: travel to Fort Beluarian to acquire our Charter of Expedition and to connect with my contact, Liara Portyr. It proved to be anything but simple, and has shaken even my stalwart faith.

Where to begin? I know that you, Judge of the Dead, watched over me in my travels and witnessed my deeds. I will not waste your time, Wise Kelemvor, with the details of that 5-day trek through the wet grasslands guided by the good-hearted Qawasha. We saw many strange creatures, a giant snail, some gentle dinosaurs, and some not-so-gentle, enormous insects. None of these challenges, both of my temperament and my steel, proved difficult for two men of faith in a strange land. Not even the grizzly remains of a man butchered and tortured by indigenous goblins could phase us.

The plants and animals of this place make me wonder which gods had their hand in their design. Plants that can eat a man, wasps the size of a wolf, curious sprites that play games and dislike metal. I shall consult the high priests in Baldur's Gate should I ever see that glorious city again.

Arriving at the keep was a blessing, and I thanked not only you, Keeper of the Gates, but also Helm for his protection. To have a dry bed and a roof over my head was such a boon. The ordered nature of the fort reminded me of home, and the mission that I am on. All the world should be so housed, safe and secure.

Commander Portyr was able to provide us with our Charter, free of charge, in exchange for taking care of the local undead threat. As if I needed payment to partake in such a quest! We gladly accepted, bringing Qawasha and 6 fine soldiers - some Chultan, some from Baldur's Gate like myself. We are lead by a strange, and treasonous little frog-person named Wadumu. The little worm - I hope your judging hands find him soon.

Our small company is lead into the jungle and toward the ruins of an ancient city, Bulobo. It was easy enough to find - our guides were quite skilled. The center of the ruin had an obelisk and several small pillars, each with a panel and symbol. We were provided a riddle, a series of descriptions informing us the sequence we must press. Fortunately, the puzzle was simple enough that even someone of mental ability...could solve it.

While investigating the ruin, Revekeus discovered remains of several dead men, which came to life! These were not ordinary dead - a sinister plant creature had animated them. We struggled against these monsters, and the intoxicating pollen of the sinister plant, all while trying to press the sequence to complete the puzzle.

The noble soldiers we brought fought well. The numbers of the dead seemed endless. I held the faith, I brought the light. Revekeus and his Omega Squad proved deadly and vital - while fending off many dead, they started enacting the puzzle sequence. It fell to myself and Bo'ana, a former coconut tree climber turned warrior, to press the last buttons.

We did our duty. But Bo'ana and one of Omega squad fell to the dead. They sacrificed themselves so the rest of us could make it into the fain below the ruin.

The fain was a den of evil. A vile sorceress and servant of Dendar the Night Serpent, Shasskatar, had made it her lair. Her evil magics had been animating the dead nearby, making them aggressive. She attempted to turn me against my allies, to confuse my mind - but my faith was stronger. While Revekeus attempted to distract her and rob her of her power by stealing gems from the nearby edifice, I stood toe-to-toe with the creature, along with our noble allies.

We eventually won the day, but at a terrible price. The sorceress claimed the lives of all but myself, Revekeus, Qawasha, and one soldier, using her terrible dark magic. She also gave me a horrific vision - a consuming sight of Dendar the Night Serpent's coming. His power was overwhelming, his victory all-encompassing.

It was in that moment, Kelemvor save me, that my faith faltered. The darkness that I saw sits with me even now. It's like a chilling fog twisting its way through the early morning streets of Baldur's Gate.

I must not let this darkness crush me. We are all the mortar that strengthens the bricks of the Walled Garden. The soldiers that died thwarting the sorceress, and any others that die on this journey, and even myself - it cannot be for nothing, it cannot all end in darkness and madness. I fear that I will toil my whole life to build the Walled Garden, just to watch it topple and burn.

Kelemvor, Helm, Torm - watch over me, and us all. Dark times are upon us.
Session: Off to Fort Beluarian - Saturday, Dec 09 2017 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
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Epic × 2!
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