006 – Temple Basement – Recovering

At Za’lynn’s urging, we decided to investigate The Prism Theater in Mistside Cross. Boarded up and barred outside, we found the place to be sagging and deteriorating inside. Immediately Zeno could sense the presence of undead, many undead in fact. Some lingered behind the stage’s curtain, and many more gathered in the balcony.

This is when inspiration struck Zeno and he finally sorted out the 2nd rule of his code. “No one knows they’re hunting ghosts until they’re hunting ghosts. Be prepared.” It is not an entirely incorrect statement.

We investigated behind the curtain and found a wispy ghost with no legs that we think was a specter, and a female ghost with baleful eyes. We are now rather sure that she was a banshee. When she opened her incorporeal mouth to scream, most of us were confounded with an intense fear. This may have led to some less than valorous conduct on our part, but I am sure that was simply a consequence of being caught so off guard.

With some difficulty (mostly in lacking magical weapons and having only one silver weapon) we were able to vanquish the undead. Jade herself got the final shot on the screaming banshee. Beyond the stage, we found moldering piles of clothing and skittering insects.

It was super gross.

Zeno headed down the backstage stairs, for a look at the basement. The rest of us followed, fairly sure that we were headed toward another fight. Vigilant as always (except for that part where the stairs feel apart and he crashed to the floor), Zeno sensed another undead presence, now standing in the middle of the basement. Scorch marks marred the walls of the basement. Darkness coalesced into a black shape as a voice boomed, “Begone from this place!” The floor, covered in bones, began to clatter into a semblance of life as skeletal hands began to claw toward us.

The fight proved to be beyond us. However, with Tayanna’s ability to cower the undead, and Zeno’s control of the front line, we were able to retreat back up the stairs and out of the theater. We were a bit shaken, and have taken a little time to take stock of the incident.

The locals don’t really know why the theater is the home to restless spirits. That thing, that wraith, in the basement is likely the key to undoing it all. Though whether we need to destroy it or offer it aid has yet to be determined. But if we can get the wraith to release it’s hold on the building, it is very possible that all the other spirits will disperse as well.

We’ve made a trip to The Bronze Pixie to silver some weapons and do what we can to be better prepared for future incursions.

Zeno’s Code (updated)

  1. Never take the first deal
  2. No one knows they’re hunting ghosts until they’re hunting ghosts. Be prepared.
  3. Punch up, not down
  4. Open mind not closed fist

003, 004, 005 – Basement of the Mistside temple – Finally catching my breath

We arrived at the pirate cove, entering the cave via rowboat. Halfway into the cave, we spotted a dark blue circle beneath the waters. Twenty feet across, the shaft descended into darkness. Avoiding this strange feature, we took to the solid shore within the cave.

More disturbing than a mystery shaft, here we found the image of a kraken carefully carved into stone. The stone had been brought here, and the cave carved out to hold it. The kraken seemed to be a cultish symbol of worship and veneration. It is an old water, primordial force. Around this point when we realized that much of what we took to be sand around the base of the stone to actually be pulverized bone. Obvious evidence of sacrifice.

A secret door, leading into a narrow passageway was found. Zeno moved in first, soon followed by a flash of light as an alarm spell was triggered. As we entered the room at the end of the passageway, 6 seaspawn and a single cultist were gathered around a kraken statue. They were all dripping wet, and the seaspawn pooled into a sickening puddle of chum.

During the scuffle, the cultist called on the kraken to protect him. Out of the ditch of seawater that separated his perch from the rest of the room, he summoned a wall of dark tentacles. I could hear the sound of grinding stone from behind the wall, though I could see nothing through the mass of writhing darkness.

The remaining seaspawn surged forward, attacking quickly with their claws. Zeno went down, but just for a moment. As we dropped the last seaspawn, the wall of tentacles fell revealing the absence of the cultist. We searched the area, finding the ditch was actually a swim path, one end leading back into the grotto and the other out to sea. At the bottom, we also found a chest containing a luck stone.

We searched the kraken statue closely, finding yet another hidden passage. This short passage led to a small room holding only a teleportation circle that stood on desecrated ground. I studied the sigils of the circle, able to ascertain that the destination was somewhere within a 50 mile radius.

We covered our tracks that led to the teleportation circle, attempting to make it look as if we had simple found the luck stone and then left.

Returning to the city, we decided to let the cultist situation lie for a moment and instead turned to pursue speaking with Casta about taking care of Requiem’s warlock problem. At The Blossom we met Kyra, the middle-aged, dark haired bartender. She directed us to the second floor.

In addition to Casta there was a half-elf male – Ashran – reading a book about druidic orders. Casta explained to us that House Cargalane owned a manor house that is now occupied by a member of The Burning Oblivion (a mostly secretive organization, infernalists, heavy handed and controlling). The warlock has an unknown number of allies, including an invisible something that moves alongside him.

After some debate, we decided to take the job. We were offered 500gp for the job, with 250gp on completion, or no money, but we could claim up to 5 items from the manse. (Please refer to Zeno’s first rule) We settled on 5 healing potions in advance, and we would pick 5 items, with Requiem having a single veto on the items.

We traveled to the manor house, deciding to scout it out as much as possible first. Jade and I stealthed in. In front of the house stood 4 braziers of conjuration magic. The house itself was in disrepair and didn’t seem terribly secure. A garden and gazebo stood out back. There was also a backdoor and a bulkhead that lead to some sort of basement.

Jade and I reported back to the group, and we decided to move in as a group. Jade unlatched a window and we climbed inside, deeming it best to avoid the braziers out front. There were some less than steathly moments, and we soon attracted the attention of a tiefling and his imp. It was a tough fight, with Jade proving to be so effective that much of the violence from the infernal pair was focused on her.

After Zeno hit the imp with his silver mace, it turned invisible and tried to escape. I used my best cantrip to staple the imp’s corpse to the door. The imp’s master soon went down as well.

Upstairs, we found another set of braziers. We inadvertently set these off, releasing mud mephits. They restrained people, making fighting them difficult, but not impossible to fight. After we took them out, we explored the rest of the upstairs, finding a bedroom and a lab. There was a silver dust circle in the lab, as well as a table with all sorts of vials.

In the basement, we found an alchemy lab. There was some horrible things growing down there, but would be useful in making potions to make one resistant to poison. Casta seemed pleased with our finds. As payment, we each took something expensive from the manse, though Za’lynn took a dagger we found on the tiefling. It turned out to be a pact blade, which it seems Za wants to pursue making use of it.

Well, I’m going to get back to using my vast and impressive intellect to study and understand the intricacies of magic. Which I understand is a path only available to a certain few of us.

Zeno’s Code

  1. Never take the first deal
  2. tbd
  3. Punch up, not down
  4. Open mind not closed fist

Action Items:

  • research wand of everlasting tacos

002 – At Mistside Cross – Settling in at Da-Rin

The ship docked at the Mistside Cross, the former Thessalian section of Da-Rin, and I went in search of answers. Za’lynn accompanied me to assist with both his knowledge and imposing visage. I was lucky enough to find a priest of Athena at the universal temple who offered us use of the library there. Sadly, the place is mostly in disarray. Lydros, the Priest of Athena, after hearing what I was looking for, suggested that I might want to speak with Ellenmore the Old, the owner of a nearby sage shop. 

After making what we could of the information in the ruined library, I was able to ascertain that nothing of what we had encountered so far was in the pre-Arkyn texts. Though there was nothing directly on the conch, I did find a few entries that begin to make me wonder if the elemental nature of the conch is somehow linked with the Titans. This will take further investigation.

As Za’lynn and I searched through documents, Jade, Tyanna, and Zeno went in search of a drink. Arestes, the bartender at The Voiceless Fish, was full of information about the horrible things we’d seen on the ship. The deep ones, it seems, are a new problem in the last 10 years. It is assumed that they are some byproduct of the island explosion. 

The creatures do not seem to get along with sahaugin or lizard folk. They are often seen with sea spawn, the creatures that appear as drowned men with the sea beginning to claim their form. They maraud and raid, never straying far from the water as drying out seems to cause them to wither and desecate. Their tactics are not complex, simple shock and awe.  

Arestes also offered more general understanding of the area. The Old Fashioned Blossom is a higher class tavern, and if you plan to do anything illicit there one should either keep it secret or be very upfront about it. It is the haunt of The Requiem of Nobles, a very intense gang. They focus on obtaining wealth from the ruins of the nobility. 

That night, we attended the Beggar’s Feast at the church. It’s held once a week, everyone bringing what they can so all can share. It was a lovely time, with everyone eating and socializing. An old timer there told us that the sea creatures mostly appear at night, mostly. When they do, a song echoes from the ocean. It’s been a couple of weeks since their last appearance.

After the feast broke up, Jade walked over to meet the severe looking dwarven woman who stood at the edge of things. Casta turned out to be a member of The Requiem of Nobles. She wore her copper hair in a loose braid, fine vest over her leather armor, boots polished with jewelry worn in plain sight. She offered some professional courtesies and a job. 

A warlock lives in a manor house in some disputed territory in the NNW section. We can be paid for our time and turn over the loot rights, or we can arrange for a share of what is found.

The next morning, with plans to head out toward the pirate cove, we stopped by the Sage’s place to get a read on the conch. He promised to look further into things (both sea creatures and conch) and let us know if he found anything. Currently, he could only offer that it would surely open only a small portal, like a window, and was therefore likely designed for a specific location and/or reason. 

Da-Rin regions: 

  • The Stormside section of the city holds a church of Poseidon. 
  • Whitespire is the tower in the very center of the city. The clergy of Arkyn resides there. I will need to visit there eventually to see what they know about both these new creatures, and what happened here 25 years ago. 
  • Waveside is the home of a large cemetery. Make sure to stop by Mad Felicia’s and pay respects when visiting that section. She considers herself a caretaker of the dead and exploring her domain without her blessing is not advised. 

Action Items: 

  • Assist in recovering the church’s library
  • Is the conch linked to a Titan
  • Mending cantrip that adds fashion
  • Dehydration spell
  • Visit Whitespire
  • Recon with Sage

001 – Aboard The Turtle – Less than a day from Da-Rin

I was woken in the middle of the night to find Jade leaning over my berth, whispering of mutiny. It was unclear at first if I was being roused to participate or prevent, but as I gathered my senses a plan to warn Captain Ramone Vieranan of the treachery of his first mate, Two-Teeth Sutherland, took shape. The First Mate was offering a ‘pirate’s life’ to those willing to take part in the mutiny. 

Some finer points of how to respond were debated among my shipmates as Jade slipped off to speak with the Captain. She had not returned very long before the cabin door flew open and the First Mate stood there with his dozen or so mutineers. As weapons were drawn, Zeno found that he had to abandon his very fine ‘Archipelago of Friendship’ speech. (Must take the time to document this entire speech. Very moving.)

Two-Teeth demanded that we throw down down our weapons and offered to deliver us safely to port in return. Za’lynn was the first to leap to action striking at Two-Teeth before the mutineers pushed into the small cabin. Jade was the first to take one down (that tabaxi has claws upon claws) as Zeno tried to reason with those attacking us. “We’re all seamen together,” he pleaded, but it was to no avail. 

In what I thought would be the most terrifying moment of the fight, Za’lynn went down. Tayanna had him quickly on his feet again, however the brush with death must have heightened his awareness because he was suddenly quick to notice that Two-Teeth was not, in fact, bleeding blood as one might expect. Instead, sea water dripped from his wounds. As we called attention to this fact, trying to point out to the mutineer their poor decision making skills, that was when it screamed. 

The image of Two-Teeth shimmered and the creature beneath came into view. It opened it’s grotesque lamprey mouth and let loose a blood chilling scream that left most (not me, of course) frozen and shaking. While everyone (but not me) stood there immobile, the creature glared at us with its compound eyes, then turned into water as it leapt out of the porthole. 

Not sure what it was, we went off to search Two-Teeth’s quarters. There we found the usual accoutrement of a sailor: pipe, tobacco, cutlery, a magical mouth piece to a horn.  The piece contained some sort of weak conjuration magic. We also found the body of Two-Teeth in a chest. Zeno said he seemed a week dead, drowned, but his body was still wet. 

We showed the body to the Captain and discussed the details of the mutiny. He felt that the creature had likely been after a magical conch that he had recently acquired. He produced the conch (Jade had been holding it) and it too held conjuration magic. The Captain had picked it up in Thessalia with the understanding that it would assist him in gaining Poseidon’s favor. 

A burial at sea was attempted for Two-Teeth’s remains, however that did not go as expected. As his body hit the water, his eyes opened. Thinking him alive, Za’lynn dove in after him. However, Two-Teeth did not respond favorably to this rescue. Instead he opened his mouth wide and tried to bite into Za’lynn and pull him under. The marine, thankfully, was well trained and escaped this fate and made it back onto the deck of the ship. 

After deeper inspection of the conch, I was able to ascertain that it (when reunited with its mouthpiece and blown) will open a small elemental portal. The nature of that portal to be determined by the geographical location in which it was blown. 

So, we have a horrible sea creature with part of an item that opens an elemental portal. This cannot be good. I have agreed to research this conch when we reach Da-Rin. My real work is important, but I can’t pass up an opportunity to learn more about this incident. 

If my research doesn’t turn up anything, or maybe doubly so if it does, there is an outpost on the northeast approach to Da-Rin that may need to be investigated. It seems that this is where Two-Teeth was promising the bounty of a ‘pirate’s life’. There is a sea cave or cove in that area that could offer more information. I shall have to see. 

Action Items: 
Record Zeno’s Archipelago of Friendship speech
Research what Two-Teeth turned into
Research what dead Two-Teeth was
Research the conch