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15. Session
Nachdem uns die Kunde ereilt hat, dass Restov keine Nachrichten mehr von Varnhold erreicht und uns deshalb die Swordlords von Restov damit beauftragen nach dem Rechten zu sehen, machen wir uns sofort dorthin auf den Weg.
Wir machen bei Oleg's Trading Post halt und unser Orakel befragt seine Götter, ob und wenn ja welche Gefahren uns auf dem Weg nach Varnhold erwarten, wir sollen uns vor großen Steinen in acht nehmen.
Am darauffolgenden Tag erreichen wir ohne Zwischenfälle das Gebiet Nomen Heights und wir erspähen am Horizont ein Fort, von dem wir noch nichts gehört hatten. Natürlich müssen wir das genauer unter die Lupe nehmen. Navarion erklimmt die Mauern des Fort in der Manier der Ninjas und öffnet uns von Innen das Tor. Das Fort selbst war recht langweilig, es ist verlassen, da es durch unsere Anwesenheit im Südwesten keine Gefahr mehr aus dieser Richtung droht. Außerdem hieß es anscheinend Fort Serenko.
Kurz darauf machen wir uns auf den Weg nach Nivakta's Crossing, eine mittelgroße eher heruntergekommene Stadt, aber dort haben wir ein trockenes Bett nehmen können. Begrüßt wurden wir von Sheriff Lorin Caven und nachdem wir ein paar Einkäufe erledigt hatten und eine Gruppe Zwerge für unsere Schmieden in Oakport angeworben hatten, machten wir uns am nächsten Tag auf nach Varnhold.
Kurze Zeit nachdem wir Nivakta's Crossing verließen erspähen wir einen Hill Giant, welcher irgendetwas mit großen Steinen anstellt, genauer erkennen konnten wir das nicht. Gewarnt von unserem Orakel versuchen wir uns an den einzelnen Hill Giant anzuschleichen, allerdings tauchte während des Anschleichens ein zweiter Hill Giant auf, welcher im nahegelegenen Fluss offensichtlich gerade Fischen war. Prompt entdeckt dieser unseren plumpen Fantir, woraufhin er auch den zweiten Hill Giant in Aufruhr versetzt und ein kurzer Kampf aufbrandet. Navarion wird sehr unglücklich von einem großen Stein getroffen, woraufhin einige seiner Knochen brechen, allerdings nichts, was Fantir's Magie nicht heilen konnte.
Weiter des Weges entdecken wir dann Varnhold, schon von weitem vermuten wir, dass die Stadt verlassen scheint, da wir nirgendswo Rauch oder andere Aktivitäten erkennen können.
Wir erkunden langsam und vorsichtig ein Haus nach dem Anderen, finden aber anfangs nicht wirklich viel, außer ein paar riesige Wildschweine, die sich an verwesenden Hausschweinen gütlich tun und uns attackierten, sobald sie uns entdecken. Im Brauhaus können wir ein Rezept für cheerful delver stout. Bei der Gerberei entdecken wir, dass die Bewohner von Varnhold anscheinend ein paar Zentauren getöten hatten, da sie dort deren Felle gerbten. Beim Flussübergang entdecken wir einen Chuul, mit dem Mephisto kurzen Prozess machte.
In dem Seahorse Inn entdecken wir einen Striggan, der mit gespaltetem Kopf aufrecht mitten im Raum steht. Wir erkennen, dass er durch das Buch, was er in der Hand hielt in einem Zauberbann gefangen wird, da er augenblicklich zusammen sackt, als wir dieses entfernen.
Wir entdecken außerdem noch ein Hektisch in Holz eingeritztes „Nomen“ und lesen etwas von Maegar Varn, welcher der Gründer von Varnhold ist.
In einem der Zimmer des Inns entdecken wir einen Brief von Maegar, an Maestro Pendrod, welches kryptisch von Vordekai's Island und einem Armreif auf einer gewissen Insel erzählt.
Bei den Ställen werden wir von einem Schwarm Krähen angegriffen, die mir für kurze Zeit das Augenlicht rauben.
Das nächste Haus scheint einem gewissen Willas Gundarson gehört zu haben. Er führte sehr gewissenlich ein Tagebuch von dem wir erfahren, dass er anscheinend ein Armreif gefunden habe und dass die Stadt Varnhold in einem Scharmützeln mit verschiedenen Zentaurenstämmen verwickelt ist.
Nach einer 24h Rast haben sich meine Augen wieder so weit regeneriert, dass ich normal sehen kann.
Vor einem der Häuser finden wir eine ziemlich dürre Katze, von der wir durch Magische Zungen erfahren, dass die Menschen während der Zeit der roten Sonne dem Gesang des neuen Vogels gefolgt seien, was das auch immer bedeuten soll...
Als nächstes nahmen wir uns das Fort vor, welches von weitem verlassen scheint. Navarion erkundet allerdings das Fort wieder mit Enterhaken und erspäht einen Spriggan, welches sich mit 4 Wölfen gerade an einer Kuh gütlich tut. Der darauffolgende Kampf, in dem noch einige weitere Spriggans auftauchen und ohne große Mühen niedergestreckt wurden, ist recht kurz. Nur der Anführer der Spriggans, ein gewisser Agai schafft es unseren Waldläufer nahezu KO zu schießen.
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Epic!
Day 20: We pulled back fr...
Day 20: We pulled back from the house of Gaunt Cadaver to re-spell, and camped under the protection of Unwrapped Harmony.

Day 21: we fought our way through the front room again, this time against a strange zombie. In the back room, we found Gaunt Cadaver and 3 more of his odd zombies. Between the spellcasters, GC went down quickly. In the central courtyard, we defeated two carrion golems.

Unwrapped Harmony thanked us, and passed on two bits of information. One was that a figure wearing a golden mask was seen near the Marid's Caress shortly before the "ka pulse" that released the mass of undead. The figure was seen arguing with something in a brass cage. We recall that the guardian statue under the Erudite Eye had been wearing some kind of mask before it was robbed.

That figure dropped a piece of parchment: a star chart of the summer skies over Wati.

We walked to the site of the last Elegiac Compass, which turned out to be in an underground tomb. This one was newer than the Plague, and belonged to a wizard astronomer named Menket Maatya. Amestri was pleased to investigate another tomb. The sarcophagus inside the lone chamber was trapped with a fireball that nearly killed Ostog.

The Compass' frame was inside, but the crystal and the mechanism had been removed. Someone had been in this tomb, but not recently.

We returned to the Ghoul Market, hoping to ask the 3 guys hanging around the Windward Oils shop if they'd seen a gold mask in the last 5 days. Instead, we found the 3 humans dead, and a ghast lurking in the back room. The ghast we fought, suspecting it had killed its human associates? We found that the back room was a lab for the production of mummia, and the 4 dead were all members of The Fading, another drug-smuggling gang.

Next items to try:
- visit Shartizard, ask her about someone wearing a gold mask in the last week.
- re-try the lone working elegiac compass. Consider dismantling it to re-mount in some of the other sites.
- exit the Necropolis to R&R in the city, and update the Temple on our findings so far. Someone with connections inside the temple may have been sabotaging the compasses?
- re-enter the Necropolis, to conduct a house-to-house search around the tomb of Menket Maatya: can we find the rest of the Compass?
- search around the Ghoul Market: ask about gold mask, search for source of ka pulse or compass parts.
- question the lamia cult at the Cenotaph of the Cynic: gold mask, ka pulse, compass parts?

Session: Game Session 12 - Saturday, Apr 14 2018 from 6:00 PM to 1:30 AM
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Are we lost? (...A selection of thoughts from Pace's head during the infiltration of Iris Hill)
Great, yes, a hole. Let's go down a hole. This can't possibly be a bad idea. Well, not going down the hole is still probably worse...


Wow, I didn't realize Havak could jump like tha--Oh, horsefeathers.

My brother is thirty feet underwater in a three foot deep ditch. I wonder if it's more because of Havak or because of what's happened since we woke up in that asylum that this doesn't surprise me.

...blub.

Pace, when you have a moment to breathe...yes, breathing would be nice, wouldn't it?...you really need to consider whether you would have jumped in here for anyone else or not. Also, LEARN TO SWIM.

Oh, good, everyone's still alive.

I wonder if the garden will attack us again.

I wonder if the main house knows we're here.

Oh. So that's what happened to the horses. Come on, Ivy, focus, yes we need to do something about that but we've got to get through all this first...

Oh, no. That was supposed to make sure he wouldn't wake up and join in the fight...I think it killed him.

Oh, look, people who actually look like they might be from around here. I wonder if they're real.

Why isn't Havak pushing these guys much? And where did Quullup go...oh, she's on the wall. Of course she is.

Right. Move on before the spell runs out...we're short enough on spells as it is, don't want to waste what's left of this one...hopefully none of the things in here are going to attack us...

...And of course one of them is a guy stuck in a trap spell...

Undead. Really creepy undead, at that. And...one of those hound things.

Well, Quullup seems to be confident here, let's see if Havak and I can go deal with the hound...if I can get him to run over it and keep it hemmed in from the hallway, we can...oh. Fog. Well, that complicates things...

...Good, we're all still alive. Again. Still a lot of house to cover...I hope we have enough left to handle it...
Session: The Thrushmoor Terror, session 7 - Saturday, Mar 31 2018 from 7:00 PM to 1:00 AM
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Epic!
Through the Looking-Arch
My head swims with all the various events shown to us by the portal, and I take the earliest opportunity to retire to some privacy. I begin conjuring illusions from my memory, and then comparing them against my journal to see which relate to events in our past. Hopefully I've gotten my mind into some sense of order now:

* A Red Woman is sorting through gems, and handing them over to Drow
* This reminds me of Vaniffer - a half-demon dancer\concubine from Greyhawk city.
* Before the timeskip, she led the Eternal Flame cult, one of the four factions serving the Elder Elemental Eye, AKA Tharizdun. The gems had to do with a ritual to free Tharizdun.
* She led the gnolls of the Hellfurnace Mountains (banished Longtooth, whose band wiped out Ganaway), and was involved in the kidnapping of Taggus' uncle.

* A meteor hits a dome (the World Shield), and drow are picking up pieces of meteorite.
* This also happened before the timeskip - we were assisted in gathering meteorite pieces by the sage Quizlat, who used a magic telescope to put together a map of where they had fallen.
* Back then, Vaniffer's gnolls were trying to gather the meteorite pieces, as part of the cult's plans for freeing Tharizdun.

* A sinister, hunched-over figure in dark robes, leaning on staff with tentacles, leaves the ruined dwarven city (Besilmer?) from a side room.
* This was the long-forgotten kingdom of the Blusterhelm clan - known for mining mithril. Their king, Torhild Flametongue, was known for a magical axe - Orcsplitter.
* Before the timeskip, the ruined city was being used as the current site of the Temple of Elemental Evil - dedicated to Tharizdun.
* We fought the various elemental cults, and disrupted their plans to harness the power supply of a trans-dimensionally stuck device (ie: Tardis) to break through the World Shield. The dark-robed figure is presumably a high-ranking cultist or one of their allies.
* This is where Oscar got his Iron Fang (aka Sonic Screwdriver)

* A Red Woman sits in a well-decorated throne room speaking to people in red-inscribed black robes and 'black thorn' necklaces.
* These cultists are a faction of the Scarlet Brotherhood called the Black Thorns - before the timeskip, they attacked Varis in Hokar.
* Apparently, during the timeskip, the Scarlet Brotherhood took over the Sea Princes region. It's unclear what happend to the previous leader - the Plar of Hool.

* A vampire follows us out of the portal from Barovia; Later, he is in a dungeon, speaking with Black Thorns cultists.
* It's unclear if he's allied with the cult, or simply sharing information (about us?)

* In regards to the Storm Giant King Hecaton - Oscar (during his time as a fire giant) is holding a key and is locking a big portal door. He takes a jeweled cask and sneaks away. As he leaves the Hellfurnace Mountains, a Drow watches him go.
* This is presumably from the time of Oscar's engagement to a Fire Giant princess, and the chaos he caused on his way out (pissing off Snurre).

* Wierd fire giant rods/flails have inscriptions of tentacles
* We encountered a group of Fire Giants with these rods in the Barrier Peaks - they are presumably now involved with Tharizdun as well.

* King Snurre stands over a huge metal figure in pieces with indentations for gems (something about the number 333). It is apparently an Ancient Suel construct. A wizard in ornate robes floats in the distance, surrounded by demon lackies, controlling the construct as it crushes armies.
* The only ancient Suel Wizard we're familiar with is the Plar of Hool (a Suel Lich), who hired us to clear out the Temple of Elemental Evil.
* We ended up in Sigil & then Barovia before we could get paid for our efforts (10,000gp each). We still have a fingerbone he gave us - if crushed and eaten, it takes us to his teleportation circle in Hokar (again, probably under the Scarlet Brotherhood's control now).

* Tharizdun (the Chained God, Elder Elemental Eye, etc.) - shown as a cloud contained within the World Shield. Down under the world; a circular chamber with chaotic faces (happy, crying, etc.) - slumbering, but waking.
* Tharizdun is an Elder Elemental God - The current Gods locked him within the World Shield by turning his own power against him (a partial trap he weaved around himself). He can influence the world, but can't break free without aid.
* We may have stopped the plots to free him pre-timeskip, but he's constantly recruiting new followers and making new plans, and it has been a long time.
* It's unclear if the circular chamber also refers to Tharizdun, or something else related to him.

* The Snow Queen's Iceberg fortress - The Snow Queen holds a black pearl, and a giant kraken rises up and grabs the iceberg.
* Possibly she's using it to move her fortress?

* Mordenkainen - in a study somewhere, head in hands; other wizards nearby & upset. We see a wizard walking into the wastes (of Suel)
* Presumably this was someone trying to retrieve Suel artifacts (which seem to factor heavily into Thazridun's plans).

* Blackened circle of stones in Valley of the Mage - Valley Elves kneeling in front of Thing in circle.
* This may explain why they are shunned both by light and dark elves alike - the first thing that comes to mind would be that they aided Tharizdun.
* However, Tharizdun may now have Drow working for him in addition to the Valley Elves? It's not clear yet.
* Battle of Em-radin Meadows? Original Temple of Elemental Evil?
* The door containing symbols of all the gods likely has something to do with all of the gods joining together to trap Thazridun.

* Petrified Tree\Tower in Valley of the Mage - was around & alive during the age of the Dinosaurs

* A villiage surrounding a tower is wiped out by a huge landslide. Cultists enter tower and leave with Black Orb (like the one downstairs?). A Black Orb hovers in a stone circle, with black-robed cultists around it.
* The Black Orbs may be a sort of power source for various Ancient Suel Artifacts (the mephit touching the one downstairs seems to have partially-activated the Arch).

* Zepheros - in his tower drinking tea.

* Storm Giant King Hecaton - in warded room, banded up & unconscious; This may be in the Hellfurnace Mountains - specifically in the mountain keep near Kusnir and Ganaway, which we defended from an army (Fire Giants leading Gnolls, Hobgoblins, etc.). Bands of fire giants are maurading in the Sea Princes region.
* Pre-timeskip, we saved Gerd, daughter of the Fire Giant Bloodfyre. She had apparently been kidnapped by an Ogrillion wielding an arifact called the Gauntlet - with the intention of starting a war.
* Gerd was trapped in 'The Prison', a magical book with 36 compartments controlled by black and white gems (located deep within the keep) - this could be where Hecaton is now?

* Suel Empire Dragon Sword - A Knight comes from the shadows and stabs a powerful wizard (the one controlling the construct from before?)

* Ancient White Dragon from the Snow Queen's Fortress - Female, and meeting with weird dragons; A war is starting? Dragons are no longer being controlled?
* This may be retaliation agains the giants, an attack on us to recover her eggs, or both. If we have some way to return the eggs unharmed, it might be a good idea.

* Someone is trying to poke a hole in a barrier to get in. A Fire Giant cleric tries to cast a ritual to break into Barovia, while King Snurre watches impatiently.
* This was from when Snurre was trying to reach Oscar, after his flight from the engagement, and the resulting chaos.
Session: Valley of the Mage! - Wednesday, Feb 14 2018 from 1:00 AM to 4:00 AM
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Aftermath of the fight
The fight is over. Everyone is alive but Bad Wolf and the sailors Oscar brought with. We notice two giant chests, and some white dragon eggs frozen in ice near the Ice Queen's throne.

Theron casts a Teleportation circle to take us back to his home in the Valley of the Mage. We manage to gather up the eggs and the contents of the chests before we leave (the eggs are melted out of the ice block, but later re-frozen and put into a cold room).

We retire to Theron’s reception room and inventory the loot:
  • Coins: 1000 sp,1200 gp, 110 pp - out of this we give 100gp to Theron, 600gp to Varis, and 300gp to Corin for spell components (teleport, revivify). The rest is divided up, and everyone gets 187gp
  • Carved Wooden Staff (25 gp), Feathered Talisman (25 gp), Rabbit Fur Ribbon (25 gp), Ceramic Orb (25 gp)
  • +1 Rod of the Pact Keeper (uncommon, dmg 197) (+1 to warlock attack spells and save DC’s; can regain one warlock spell slot as an action while holding the rod - usable once per long rest)
  • Amulet of Proof Against Detection and Location (uncommon, dmg 150) (wearer is hidden from divination magic; can’t be targeted by divination magic or perceived through magical scrying sensors)
  • Gauntlets of Ogre Power (uncommon, dmg 171) (Strength of 19 while wearing - no effect on PC with Strength 19 or higher)
  • Scroll written in magical code
  • Orb of Dragonkind

The Orb was apparently created during a series of giant vs. dragon wars. Some wizards trapped evil dragon essences into the orbs during their creation. We discuss whether to destroy it, but decide to rest for the night first. In the morning, Theron casts Legend Lore finding out the following:

The orb contains a black dragon essence (Boivontenth). It requires attunement to use it - it will test your worthiness. It was custom created by a particular mage - each orb has individual properties the bearer can use.

Miri tries to attune with the orb (24 Cha Save) - finds out the properties:
  • The orb has 7 charges and regains 1d4 + 3 expended charges daily at dawn.

  • Spells - If you control the orb, you can use an action and expend 1 or more charges to cast one of the following spells (save DC 18) from it:

  • Cure Wounds (5th-level version, 3 charges)
  • Daylight (1 charge)
  • Death Ward (2 charges)
  • Scrying (3 charges).
  • Detect Magic (0 charges)

  • Call Dragons:

  • While you control the orb, you can use an action to cause the artifact to issue a telepathic call that extends in all directions for 40 miles.

    Evil dragons in range feel compelled to come to the orb as soon as possible by the most direct route. Dragon deities such as Tiamat are unaffected by this call.

    Dragons drawn to the orb might be hostile toward you for compelling them against their will. Once you have used this property, it can't be used again for 1 hour.

  • Destroying an Orb:

  • An Orb of Dragonkind appears fragile but is impervious to most damage, including the attacks and breath weapons of dragons. A disintegrate spell or one good hit from a +3 magic weapon is sufficient to destroy an orb, however.

  • Random properties - some were re-rolled, so still confirming that these are all correct

  • Sentinel - when within 120’ of dragon, the orb will glow

  • Can activate the orb as a beacon - it creates bright light within 10’, and dim light for another 10’ (unlimited duration)

  • While attuned to the orb, pc can use an action to cast a 5th level spell (from his\her spell list?) and then roll 1d6 - on 1-5, can’t cast it again until next dawn

  • While attuned to the artifact, non-magical flames are extinguished within 30’ of pc

  • The orb imprisions a death slaad - each time pc uses one of the orb’s properties as an action, it has a 10% chance of escaping, appearing within 15’ of pc, and attacking them

After we have rested and taken stock of our situation, we discuss what our goal is now. Peck seems to be the best one to use the Gauntlets of Ogre Power, and we decide to give Aramil the "Amulet of Proof Against Detection and Location". This will hopefully prevent him from being tracked down again by the Frost Giants' magic, in their search for the Ring of Winter.

Ultimately, our goal is to find the Storm Giant King (Hekaton); Someone disrupted the Giant court, and he is now missing (causing the rift which led to each side running wild, trying to gain an advantage over the others. Some leads we have to look into include the mage Mordenkainen (assuming he has regained his sanity) and the Cloud Giant Zephyros (assuming he's willing to reconsider our worthiness after recent events). It may also be worthwhile to make a stop at Greyhawk City to do some further research in the library, or to pick up any needed supplies.
Session: Circle in Time? - Wednesday, Jan 24 2018 from 1:00 AM to 4:00 AM
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