The Firseid Sandbox

The Dream Cage, Part 1
A cryptic call for aid arrives on your doorstep . . .

Adventuring party: Fiona, a motherly powerful sorceress, once the guardian of a Illanëan temple; Zeril, a Silver Dragon Disciple and Mindbender, once a social outcast but now one of Freiburg’s most respected experts on magical and planar lore; and A’ne, a rougue/duelist, weilding a rapier of mythic origins, who runs a rogue’s school in Ketan and a “procurement” company out of Arasha.

Three of the most powerful individuals in all of Firseid have arrived in Freiburg, the largest city in Letania, at a serendipitous moment. The Lord Mayor summoned them to his palace (a sumptuous marble palace with manicured gardens) to request their help investigating an incident at Cinder Mountaintop, a Ketani monastery in the mountains to the south, which was recently attacked by something called an “etherial demon.” The monastery serves an important peacekeeping function in the mountains as well as guarding a rift to the etherial plane. Two hundred years ago, a war with these same monsters destroyed the City of Wildflowers in the mountains, and the blight ravaged by the war left magical scars all over the mountain.

The Lord Mayor confesses his ignorance of the nature of the creatures attacking, but impresses the importance of their success on the party—their homelands all touch on the mountain range, and an invasion could bring destruction to any of their nations.

The monastery is connected to the palace by the Gate Stones, small discs about one foot in diameter. The court mage explains: “It is paired with its brother at the monastery. An extravagant gift from the monastery for our nation’s help in the war. It can only transport about 100 pounds each day, but that’s usually enough. You just lay a object on the stone, speak the command word, and whatever’s on one of the stones will be teleported to the brother stone. We sent aid to them in the form of a powerful scroll to control the weather during a particularly brutal blizzard a few years ago. Even taxes have passed through this. If there’s anything Friburg can send to you, we can provide it, though only if it is to be found readily in the city, of course. The command word is Toliver—that’s me.”

++++

The party’s first step, uncertain of the danger ahead, was to find some help. They consulted with Royal Armorer and were referred to three powerful locals: the captain of the guard, Rayf, a mighty fighter; the former captain of the Freiburg guard (and now an important diplomat), Eldum, a powerful paladin; and Firseid’s most famous living bard, Henri, whose puns are legendary. Rayf was off “somewhere to the northwest” according to the deputy captain, Nystal, at the palace. After a bit of discussion, the party decided to track down Eldum at the capital.

To save time, the party decided to teleport to the palace at Woodlake, the capital, where Eldum was on an important diplomatic mission negotiating with the Northmen Tribes.

Trouble was, they’d never been to the palace capital. A bit of further inquiry at the mayoral palace led them to the royal cartographer. They arrived at the cartographer’s shop (filled with piles and piles of parchment, and run by a deaf and dumb gnome of astounding artistic talent) and purchased a painting of the royal palace after scaring the crap out of the poor gnome.

++++

Fiona teleported the group northward, much to the shock of the palace guard, who was rather shocked to see three people appear directly in front of him. Eldum greeted them and was rather quickly persuaded over a nice duck dinner by Fiona, with whom he was considerably smitten.

Eldum has some considerable historical knowledge as well as a family connection to the Mondastery (an ancestor having been the protector of the City of Wildflowers) and he related the history of the monastery: An outlying Ketani monastery, the Cinder Mountaintop has guarded an etherial rift for two hundred years ago. The demon Ka’nacht led an invasion of the material plane that left in ruins the City of Wildflowers, a proud outpost of the Ketani civilization. Only the monastery survives, having been rebuilt in its original location with the Etherial Plane rift directly in the center of the monastery complex behind a great cold iron gate.

He also tells them that the recent attack indicates that something must have happened to the head of the monastery, who is always a wizard of great power. The monastery’s leader is one who has completely given up his personal power to maintain a single great spell, the World Seal. The greater ritual is cast once each month during the full moon, with incremental upkeep spells cast every week.

++++

The party teleported south and passed the night in Freiburg, then made their way to the tiny Ketani church in the Ketani neighborhood of Freiburg, where the monk there described, in a monotonous and dreamy voice, Cinder Mountaintop so they could teleport to the adventure location.

++++

The arrived at their location and note the following: The monastery is a large stone enclosure on a mountaintop. It is quite cold at this altitude. A path snakes down the mountainside through the ruined City of Wildflowers. Except when they near the monastery, there is little vegetation. Some smaller buildings inside form a complex that taken together looks like a single very large building. The monastery is in a highly defensible position from the outside, but its more peculiar aspect is that it appears, upon entry, to be designed much like a prison. The inner and outer doors are both reinforced iron, which is fairly unusual. This unique position came about because the monastery is meant to keep something in as well as out. A great wall surrounding the monastery encloses a courtyard where anyone crossing would be destroyed by ranged weapons in short order. There is nowhere to hide inside the walls. The fortress shows evidence of gnomish handiwork. A close inspection of the ramparts reveals cannons that can be fired either outward or inward.

++++

They are greeted at the doors of the monastery by Yanchka, the interim head of the monastery, who tells them what has happened in the same monotonous, dreamy voice as the monk the met in Freiburg. “One morning, when Master Huda did not attend the morning prayers, his assistants found him still asleep in his room. His body lay perfectly at rest, still breathing, but they were unable to rouse him. They knew he was not dead, however, because his spirit would have chosen a successor, as has happened countless times in generations past.

“Two mornings ago, a creature from the void entered the monastery through the rift. It banged on the iron doors, and two monks were slain by the creature when the monks opened the doors. A collective effort brought the creature down. This is but a harbinger of the greater danger that awaits us. The legions of another reality might be more numerous than our forces could handle.”

++++

The party made their way directly to the portal chamber, where they observed the blood stained stones where the two monks were killed, and observed the strange glowing (but apparently closed) portal in the center of the room.

Fiona noticed a mild gravitational pull toward the portal, and she warned the party not to get closer to the rift, but A’ne’s curiosity got the better of her, and she moved closer to investigate the pedestal. Just then the room filled with light as the portal expanded to a large opening. Wind whipped through the chamber, and there was an ear-splitting whine that slides down the scale to a deep, bowel-shaking rumble. A claw reached out and grasped the edges of reality, then pulled a hideous shadowy head through. An Etherial Demon Lieutenant emerged, followed closely by a second.

The “demons” are huge, eight and seven and a half feet tall, respectively, and dressed in shadowy armor. Their outlines are difficult to pin down. The larger lieutenant brought his sword down on A’ne, wounding her considerably. He then raised his sword in the air and screamed something that might have been a battle cry, and the room filled with ear-splitting Greater Shout, deafening the party and rattling their bones. The second seemed to cast a silence spell, but it had no effect on the party. During the battle, Eldum got too close to the portal, which seemed to knock him off his feet with its pull.

With a concentrated effort with their spells and swords, the party brought the creatures low and drove them back into the portal, but not without taking significant damage on their own. Just before retreating, the Greater Lieutenant cast a Sonic Wall right on top of the paladin. Zeril moved him out of danger with telepathy, and the party took a moment to breathe and ponder their options.

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The Dream Cage part 2
Stepping through the portal, our heroes find themselves in a strange ethereal landscape

The heroes backed away from the portal, which shrunk to a faint glow.

A visiting monk from the monastery burst into the chamber, only to find that he was too late to take part in the fight. He introduced himself as Lorenz and offered to aid the party in their investigation. Lorenz is a completely hairless dwarf, but clearly a formidable ally.

An urgent message from the capital, however, has informed Eldum that the Northmen are threatening to leave the talks without his presence, and that another raid took place on the border towns the night before. Eldum excuses himself and leaves the party, heading north in the hopes that he will not be too late to help the country avoid war.

The party decided to check in on Master Huda to learn more. In his office they found a strange smelling cup of tea and an incomplete illuminated tome describing the history of the war in which the City of Wildflowers was destroyed. Nothing else of interest was found in the room. The headed to the library to see if they could learn more about the plant. Believing it to be poisonous, they hoped to learn if there was an antidote.

The librarian took them to botany section, where they found that the plant was sometimes called “dreamer’s weed.” A bit more poking and prodding in the library and they found a full copy of the tome in Master Huda’s bed chamber, but it was falling apart with age. It does appear to describe the rituals that hold the portal closed.

The party went back to Master Huda’s chamber, and Lorenz decided that, since he was immune to poison, he would drink the tea to find out what happened. He took a small sip . . .

and collapsed on the floor.

Twenty minutes later he woke up and described a strange ethereal landscape, filled with glowing trees and a black sky, with a black tower in the distance. He also noted that he was shockingly naked. (Especially because he has no hair.)

The party decided that they needed to head through the portal.

The first thing they discovered was that there was no air on the plane, although they were not suffocating. This was fairly bad news for the party’s spellcasters. However, the mindbender’s telepathic communication certainly came in handy.

A patrol of ethereal demons spotted the party on their treck toward the tower and attacked. After a group of scouts fired a volley of arrows at the party, Lorenz used his abundant step ability to appear behind the group. While the rest of the party closed the gap, Lorenz tore into the scouts.

Zeril and A’en charged into battle. Zeril used his breath weapon, but it was not ideally effective against the creatures. The lieutenant leading the patrol tripped A’en and followed the trip up with a mighty blow with his sword. He also attempted to use his sword’s sleep ability on Zeril, but the half elf just laughed it off.

Fiona meanwhile, though unable to cast spells, took advantage of her high armor class to create a distraction and flank enemies so that A’en could sneak attack them.

The liuetenant called for help using a magic horn that cast a mighty gust of wind and knocked the party over. Then they started to retreat: but the party was too fast, and a collective effort made short work of the creatures.

Among the dead, they found a set of large iron keys, the liuetenant’s magic greatsword, and his horn.

As they neared the tower, the party was assaulted by cannon fire from the walls. Two huge constructs stepped away from the walls and engaged the party. Although the constructs were clearly quite dangerous, the party used magic and the monk’s mighty fists to bring them low to the ground.

Then they opened the door and set off an alarm.

They snuck in through the courtyard, which seemed curiously empty, and slipped into the tower, which as a ruined example of the same architecture in the Kentani monastery outside. After exploring a little bit, they encountered the tower’s guard, a handful of scouts and their captain, a huge ethereal demon wielding a greatsword that cast a gust of wind each time it hit someone. The scouts seemed more frightened of their captain than they were of the party, but that changed when Zeril shapeshifted into a dragon and started trampling them.

Lorenz was able to defeat the captain single handedly, and the captain retreated using etherial jaunt to escape through the floor.

The party explored the main floor of the tower further, finding some cannons at the top of the spiral, a portal (activated by a command word) in the captain’s complex, and eventually some stairs into the basement, where they encountered some guard dogs. The captain walked through the wall and attacked the party again, having healed himself somewhat, but he was quickly bested. Before he died, though, he laughed at the party’s feeble attempts to stave off the invasion, hinting at a large force poised to enter through the monastery.

Also in the basement was a cage, seemingly made of diamonds, in which was the incorporeal ethereal projection of the sleeping Master Huda, completely naked.

The party discovered that Master Huda did not recognize his surroundings, as he appeared to be dreaming he was in a peaceful grove of trees. He was able to speak (and cast simple spells) but could not leave the cage.

Zeril used silent spell to transport himself into the cage with Dimension Door, but since he couldn’t touch the old master, he couldn’t bring him back out.

The party scratched their chins. Would they have cut through dozens of the world’s most fearsome enemies, only to meet their match when faced with a magic riddle?


Here is what the party knows about the Dream Cage:

1) None of their weapons seem to damage the cage. For all they know, it could be indestructible.

2) Master Huda is incorporeal on this plane. He appears to be on a sub-plane. The ethereal plane has layers of reality like the astral plane. However, they are reasonably certain that one enters the plane he is on by drinking the tea.

3) Master Huda appears to be audible and able to cast spells.

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Hard to Port (Nester's log)
a brief excerpt from Nesteruk's Journal

Half up front! it was standard in the mercenary game, but Nester usually let people slide, usually ended up being a bit too generous with his gold, and quickly ended up with as little or less gold than he had started with. now he had enough for a bed without fleas and bread without worms, and that was enough to make him a happy half-orc.

At least until he actually showed up for the job. it was supposed to be a nice easy bodyguard mission for some blowhard VIP with more money than sense (Captain Felipa), but then someone blew the hell out of the stage. Normally he wouldn’t have thought twice about someone trying kill Lord Mayor Ian Ashby and his court wizard Toliver, as they represented a system that Nester felt perpetuated many of the evils he opposed in Freiburg, but this time he was being paid to protect one of the targets, and worse by his own standards, the wanton nature of the explosions hurt civilians.

After the explosion, Nester helped the injured in the crowd to their feet away from the blast while an oddly happy seeming gnome healed he injured. Nester went along with the guards as they corralled everyone into the nearest guildhall, where he tried to introduce himself to his client, only to be rebuffed by his client and to discover that Sgt Preis(or Reese), the man who hired him, had not informed her that Nester would be there to protect her(unnecessarily, it would seem). In the encounter with Nystal, deputy Freiburg captain, Nester met Neowyn, an Elven magic user, and the the Gnome turned out to be named Fleetfeet and suffered from some kind of attention deficit disorder.

after being forced to wait in a queue to give an ungrateful Guard captain some vital information about the attack, and was grouped with Fleetfeet, Neowyn (With his silly looking cat), and Lia Amastacia (yet another elf, this one a druid with a wolf, who’s name Nester never bothered to learn, instead calling it fluffy).

They ended up scouring the alleys and streets of the merchant district for what felt like days, but was actually just hours before Nester and his less-than-merry band discovered a basement with Portho Reece and some street thugs. Luckily the four of them were able to subdue the thugs(‘accidentally’ killing one in the process), Unfortunately, Sgt.Reis absconded in the process.

After alerting the city guards as to their progress, getting a cheque for 120GP and then set off to find a place to bed down for the night. Luckily the Topmast Tavern is in a part of town Nester could be comfortable with the distance between him and the nearest member of the guard, while the weird elven Druid slept in a tree. Somehow representatives of Sgt.Reiss and his criminal associates found them anyway in the middle of the night.

In the tavern there was an overdressed poncy guy, and to Lia and Fluffy there was a gender ambiguous, probably elven, hooded figure. both brought the same message: Meet at Old Stoneface at dawn for a civil conversation. luckily a barkeep woken in the middle of the nigh told them that old Stoneface was the the statue of King Arkas I in the old abandoned keep north of city, luckily that is just over the river and through the woods.

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Hard to Port (Fleetfeet's log)
In which our exceptional Fleetfeet describes to her parents the wonderful time she has been having in Freiberg

Dear mammy and pappy,

You would really like Freiberg. It’s full of really, really tall doors and people who don’t kick you nearly as much if you yell a lot while you walk down the streets.

Oh! And things explode sometimes, which is really cool. Third-cousin-twice-out Hallbert, who’s apprenticed to the alchemist, would have really liked seeing it. The ship I had told you about was pulling up to the harbor so we could all talk about how cool my friend Felipa is, when the stage just happened to explode! The mayor seemed upset. I think he doesn’t like being exploded on.

The guards brought everyone there into a big big big room so we could all have a nice chat about it. I made some new friends there because the guards yelled at them a bit and they all decided to go find this Mr. Reece, who sounds like a very nice man who maybe might have made something happen to explode. My new friends are Nestor, Lia, and Niowin, and they’re all really super-duper nice and haven’t kicked me at all. And Lia has a doggy!

So we all went around the alleys in the area looking for Mr. Reece, and we found him pretty quickly! He was in this cellar basement, but he didn’t seem very happy to see us, and I accidentally shot someone. I made him better, though! But then he caught a little bit on fire, and that was no so good for him. And then Mr. Reece made a big cloud and we couldn’t see him at all, and I assume that he ran away and I ran after him and he ran through a bookshelf and I ran through a bookshelf and then I kept not seeing him and there was an open sewer grate so I got go to down to the sewers and it was AWESOME. They are the stinkiest, grossest thing I have ever seen. I wonder if all of the sewers are as stinky as that place. I should do a survey.

Anyway, I couldn’t see Mr. Reece any more, so we gave up and were all sleepy so we went to this charming little cottage tavern with the nicest barkeep who gave us food! And somewhere to sleep. But while we were sleeping, this very rude man popped into our window and told us we had to go to Stoneyface or something to talk. Why couldn’t he have just talked then? He was talking anyway. I don’t understand tall people sometimes.

I think this mysterious person we have to talk to at Stoneyface is a baker. But he doesn’t bake, or something. I don’t understand human naming conventions. It’s like a riddle. When does a baker not bake? Maybe he’s a pâtissier. Maybe he will bring us eclairs during our talk. That would be nice; I haven’t gone on a picnic for a while.

I will let you know what happens.

Much love,
-Fleetfeet

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Fleetfeet's Log
In which our heroine explains the importance of crumpets in proper adventuring

Dear Cousin Bekith,

It turns out that humans are even weirder than you warned me. Not only do they call their crime lords Baker, but then they turn out to actually BE bakers, and also called Mister even though I understand that title should only apply to male humans. They are very confusing.

Does it count as baking if you use magic to summon things? Food things? No matter how tasty and warm they are, I think it is only baking if you actually bake things, not create already-baked things out of thin air. They really should call her Ms. Wizard for accuracy.

But the important part is that after reaching the big stoney face that we were told to go to, we had a nice, warm, scrumptious breakfast before going into an old castle full of ghosts. It is much easier to face ghosts after you have scones. This castle had fallen down into the ground so we were on the top floor only it was the BASEMENT and there was art and a library and stuff, and the human’s old King was there and he was a GHOST and I was very surprised at how sleepy ghosts get.

We spoke with King Arcus and he was pretty nice even for being a ghost because I thought they were supposed to be mean and spooky and stuff and he was mostly just drowsy and told us that he couldn’t wander around the castle like he used to so we went to go look for his wizard who probably knows more about wizardy spelly stuff only we couldn’t find him and the dwarf who lives next to him gave us a nice big hammer for hurting other ghosts with and there was this really really cool song coming from another room but then something tried to EAT US while we listened to it and I liked the song a lot more than the being eaten part.

We were looking around the castle which went down into MORE basement parts and a gooey thing tried to eat my friend’s leg and there were locked doors so we wanted to look for a key and the dwarf said it might be downstairs in the servant’s quarters but instead there were ZOMBIES that also tried to eat us and what IS it with all the eating things?!? And then there was a GIANT SPIDER and I got caught in its web and it tried to eat me in particular and now I feel pretty bad for flies.

So now we are in this SUPER-BASEMENT of the castle looking for keys so we can look at the rest of the castle and try and figure out why the ghosts can’t walk around any more because we’re nice and want to fix ghosts’ problems even though it seems to be taking a while and we might want to just go to the sewers to find the bad guy we want to find anyway. But it’s always worth taking a bit of extra time to help people, even if they’re dead, because that’s not their fault.

Hugs ‘n’ kisses,
-Fleetfeet

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Lia's version of things
12/12 adventure

We started in the dining room, where the party members asked me for information about the spider we killed. The spider was a fully grown adult female black widow spider. I know that these are solitary creatures. Other party members note that they hear more diffuse scritching, but nothing is really done about it, nor is it further addressed.

I opened the door in the room that should lead to the kitchen. The door opened into to a hallway with no doors up or down the hall, but one was at the end of the hallway. We head towards the door, open it and we find out that it is the kitchen. We note “Cookie”, the only person in the kitchen. She’s peeling boring, possibly ghost-like, potatoes. Niowyn tries to peel potatoes and play with the stew, but gives up after we learn that the butler, and not the housekeeping staff as we’d been told, has the keys .

We headed out of the door outside of the kitchen, and we find a hallway. We went left because Fleetfeet wanted to go left. After negotiation, we come to find a motley crew of ghosts and other non-living humanoids in the room we’ve tried to knock down.

We met the man in charge (Timothy the butler), complaining about goblins, stating that he’s been stuck in the room with others for 2 weeks. This man gets angry when we ask about having the keys. He doesn’t trust us with the keys. Fleetfeet negotiated well and she is entrusted with the keys. We thought and talked about goblins but we decided not to do anything other than use the keys for good. :-)

We went back upstairs to the kitchen. “Cookie” is missing a knife. We went through the dining room on our way to the throne room and I hear more scritching. Niowyn investigated for spiders and things that go scritch in the dark. Niowyn looked up the fireplace and gets in trouble. Something crawled onto his face.

We defeated 4 centipedes in combat.

We went back into the throne room again. I really don’t like the throne room. Niowyn tries to drink from fountain of light healing. Niowyn is unlucky, receiving damage. Nester also takes damage. Fleetfeet unlocked the door to the “Chancellor’s office”. The room turns out to be full of skellington soldiers. We continued to look for the library.

We entered an office of disarray, having belonged likely to a wizard. There are scrolls with gold printing, although they are drafts, not final copies. Several writing implements and notions are discovered. Book cases show books with similarly spotty damage as before but less damage than we’ve seen before (similar to Arkus’ room). Books are primarily arcane or magical in subject. Fleetfeet finds floorboards under a rug. This is suspect and Nester tries to roll up the rug, unable to get the whole rug rolled up. After ~20 minutes, with aid of the whole party, we managed to lift the floorboard enough to see a light source underneath. We found 2 scrolls, speak with dead and banish undead.

We go back downstairs and saw torchlight and the awesome, spectacular, amazing, shiny library. This room looks immaculate. No dust, no decay, no disarray. It’s also very quiet. Fleetfeet yells “Tallismo!!!!” Tallismo appears, dressed blue robes, with a not quite alive/dead owl on his shoulder and a staff in his hand. We spend much time speaking at length with Tallismo. Niowyn is interested in helping Tallismo find some spells, looking for scrolls which may help clear the castle of this magic that has been placed over it.

The rest of the party wants to go upstairs and does so, back to Telismo’s study. We head back once again to the court. We heard more unpleasant sounds, similar to those that belonging to things that go “bump” in the night.

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The Journal of Nesteruck Called Falsetongue
for the date of 2013-12-29

Two days in this sunken castle and I am now convinced that not all of us will leave this kingdom of death alive. I am committing these words to paper in the hopes that it helps you escape or destroy this place. If any of my companions make it out alive, I suspect that the elves will kill me to help secure their escape.

The Spirits that infest these halls are as useful as inebriated infants, they can barely focus on who they are and the times that they do know, they are incoherent as to what order events happened in. And those not dead, the immortal Mad Wizard Tallismo who will exchange a useful scroll of yours for a useless scroll of his own, and the magical index of the Treasury and Armory(two separate planes of existence in a single location).

Here are the notable occurrences in the last couple of days. We seem to have finally cleared the throne room of beasts and monsters. My mind still feels as though it were under a haze from the diseases I’ve been stricken with. We are searching for a spell book that belongs to Tallismo, which will restore this collapsing ruin to the eternal hierarchy that it was before.

We may have, accidentally, stolen a few items from the armory in our search, with the assistance of Tallismo. We also encountered the queen, who amongst these unpleasant wraiths, I’ve found to be second only to the singers.

Beware the singers, they wail in a way that makes them appealing to you and then drain you of your very essence.

In the depth of this place, beyond the kitchens (where you may still find giant millipedes) you will find the cowering servants, and beyond them, the cowering spirits of fallen servants. In the southern reaches of this part of the castle we discovered a contingent of goblins and Bugbears who are trapped here. They are cornered here by a beast that has driven them from the Freiburg sewers. Worse than that, at the time of my writing this their supplies are being looted by the same criminal we are here to apprehend. If you do not attack the Goblins, they will not attack you. I hope you speak Gob, who knows what they will do if you don’t.

My only hope is that the Elves die before me.

-Nesteruck Falsetongue(left under a paperweight in the office above Tellismo’s Library)

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Niowin's Log - The Exploration of Arcus the 1st's Afterlife

I was advised by my few, though trusted, adventuring mentors to keep a journal. Dates, at least. In that effort, here’s my impression of things and how they have gone so far.

So, we’ve been in King Arcus’s sunken castle for two days and I’m just starting to get used to the place. I suspect that with Telismo’s magic operating correctly it would be magnificent. Still even in its reduced state of functionality, it is a marvel.

(Note To Self: Normally extraplanar beings (Gods) kind of run afterlifes (afterlives?). I wonder if this afterlife that Telismo created kind of encroaches on territory that has traditionally been a ‘Gods Only’ thing to do. I wonder if someone is put out by this amateur afterlife?)

Anyway, we’ve been exploring and exploring. We’ve seen some wonders. The Armory and the Treasury, pocket dimensions that are accessed via the same gate. The true marvel there is the custodian of records that exists in both planes. Well, I guess it is a marvel. It does the same thing as my Handy Haversack, only with sarcasm and moany dialog. And why only one custodian for two spaces? It would probably have been easier to have one custodian per space. Oh, and it can be fooled. How annoying is that? The thing failed to realize that there are four different King Arcuses. Can’t detect lies (Maybe? Probably.). Can’t tell if what you say something is is actually that thing (I know this is confusing, but I’m making these notes for myself and I know what I mean.) in that I can check in a stick and say, “Magical Sword.” When asked what is in the spot where my stick lies, the custodian will say, “Magical Sword,” even though it is a stick. The security the custodian brings to bear is strong though. Try to break in and it attacks pretty powerfully. The easiest way to get things out of the Treasury and Armory is to ask people who have authority to remove things to give you a thing that they don’t care about. That has been very successful so far. We’ve managed to score a few magic weapons and some very nice armor by asking. We’ve discovered these things via trial and error, and I suspect my companions are growing tired of me asking non sequitur questions that are allowing me to put the pieces together. Hopefully the ‘loot’ we have scored will pacify them for a while.

Oh, and the afterlife we are exploring is falling apart, did I mention that? Maybe not falling apart so much as it is being sabotaged. In the treasury, there was a spell book with in which resides the spell that created and maintained King Arcus’s afterlife. Someone who identified themselves as King Arcus (not sure which of the four did this) took out the book and we (with Telismo) discovered that the book that was returned in it’s place is, in fact, a forgery. And not a great one at that. Certainly not magical. Not even totally written in. So now Telismo is obsessing on that, instead of trying to find his spellbook, which would make him a useful magic user again.

I have given myself the title ‘Lord Niowin’ with the skeleton guards. They seem put out with me because I called upon them to do their duty, which is to guard the castle and kill a bunch of oozes. Ah, well. What is one to do?

What else? We wanted to talk to some of the other King Arcuses that reside in the castle here (#2, I think) but we can’t find the crypts. I can’t imagine misplacing crypts… We met some goblins and bugbears. They are trapped here by I thing that Nester says translates to ‘monster’. Nice. Very generic. Bugbears calling a ‘thing’ a monster. The good news is that Reece (we suspect) has made it past the ‘monster’ and is griefing the goblins. Stealing food from the starving. How sad is that, Portho Reece? Maybe if you would ask I would feed you just to find out what is going on.

So, the the adventuring party. Things are going well. I’m not feeling a strong need to abandon anyone in a well, at least. I knew back home at the temple that my only real path to wealth and power would be via adventuring (Do I want power? Maybe just wealth and security for myself and my friends and family? Is power security? Have to think on that.). I never realized what it would take to get me there, though.

Our group up to this point:
Lia? Still a mystery. She doesn’t reveal a lot but seems dedicated to our effort.
Fleetfeet? Could we have a little more mystery? She’s very excited about, well, everything. Very clever, too. I want her touching and poking everything.
Nester? His disagreeable nature seems to be some kind of defense. Probably the result of a childhood filled with beatings and scorn. There for a bit I thought his dislike of authority was going to eventually get us killed but now I think it will just get us tossed out of any nice inn or tavern we walk into.

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A letter from Nesteruck Called Falsetongue
On rescuing Damsel's in Distress

Growing up, we moved frequently, often under the cover of night. One of the few consistencies I had were the stories I was told of the dashing heroes whose deeds litter the histories of this kingdom.
The realities, I have learned from painful experience, are much different from stories.
Our in depth exploration of the castle had led us to an ancient temple underneath the stones. After an inspection by the elves of the party, they discovered that there was a hidden door in the floor of the temple. Of course, with our luck the devices that controlled it were broken, so we had to physically lift the stones and descend into a shaft that, it was revealed, led directly into the crypts of Arcus I’s Castle, where we slew our way through hordes of undead and in the deepest bowels of the restless dead we found the shade of Arcus II, the tyrants even more tyranical son, whose disposition was NOT improved by his demise.
Luckily our plucky halfling cleric was able to cast a spell that made us invisible to the dead, allowing us to cross into the veritable vipers nest, rescue the damsel who was being tormented by those undead things, and nearly make out escape undetected. Unfortunately on our way out of the crypt we encountered a finally group of undead, with the help of our rescued damsel, we vanquished them and escaped the crypts. After sealing the crypt door behind us we breathed a sigh of relief now that we were free.
Just like the stories you always told, Mother. Except that our Damsel was a goblin cleric and leader of his tribe. Not what you led me to believe.

Your son,
Nester.

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In which our adventuress Fleetfeet discovers a common interest in shiny objects

Dear Cousin Hephzibah,

I hope this letter finds you well. I remember you were always interested in dragonology and Advanced Dragonomatics, so I wanted to be sure to share my recent experiences with you.

I’ve been exploring this weird now-it’s-underground-but-it-didn’t-used-to-be-and-also-there-are-ghosts castle with my new bestest friends who I met while being interrogated by the police. And you would not believe what we found on the lowest level after saving a goblin cleric from some evil undead and returning him to his goblin friends! (I apologize for saving a goblin. But they were actually much nicer than the evil ghosts.) We met a dragon!

So there was this big empty storeroom, except instead of being all empty it was full of rubble and stuff and a translucent mushroom ran away from us towards this other room behind it which had moss and a pond and a dragon named Mosseyface! Our wizard told us that he is a moss dragon. The dragon, that is, not the wizard. He wasn’t claiming to be a moss dragon himself. That would just be silly.

The moss dragon liked big shiny things. I like shiny things too. But he also liked eating goblins. That seems gross. We gave him a shiny thing to ask him to not eat goblins any more and also let them escape and then he could escape too, because after not eating goblins there wouldn’t be anything at all to eat for dragons except maybe me, but I was very opposed to that idea. My bestest friends made lots of jokes about how delicious I am to dragons, because they only ever think just the best of me and recognize my many abilities, including that of being delicious, but we managed to work ‘no gnome eating’ into the Dragon Rules as well so I think I should be okay.

We also traded another big shiny thing for a knife that the castle’s ghost cook (that is, a cook who is a ghost, not a cook who cooks ghosts, although she also does that) had been looking for with which to chop up her ghost venison (that is, venison that is a ghost). She was very happy to get it back. I like making people happy. Everybody is much nicer when they’re happy.

We also saw a little bit of a kerfluffle where this mean guy we have been chasing was running away from a goblin. We couldn’t quite catch up to him though because he is all SNEAKY and stuff and ran through these hidden stairs that lead just EVERYWHERE. We need to find this guy so that the police can interrogate him instead of nice people like my friend Fillippa about what exploded when and why and I also feel bad about the guy at the gates who let us through when he really wasn’t supposed to a few days ago and I hope he’s not in trouble and maybe bringing the bad guy back will be enough to have made his decision a good one retroactively. I don’t think he can get out of the castle though, at least not the way we came in, because it’s kinda broken.

So after the goblins leave and the dragon leaves all we need to do here is also find the spellbook for the wizard and not the fake one we found but the actual one but we don’t know where it is because the castle’s magic is crumbling and that’s sad because it’s a pretty neat place and also catch the bad guy because of all the aforementioned reasons.

I have included a sketch of the dragon for your reference:
IqxjV4A.jpg

With love,
Fleetfeet

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