Edge of Darkness: The Broken Circle

Session 34
Lord Knights, Carbuncles and Lizard Folk, oh my!

Sunreign 27 – The party meets in the Council Chambers of Firestorm Keep with Lord Sentinel Halt Wolfson, Lord Inquisitor Balon Demonbane, Lord Petitioner Marcus Lanternbearer, Warden Saber Voltarus and Antesignanis Sentinel William Wolfson about the situation in Trigonum. Demonbane and Lanternbearer have some doubts about the ability of the party to handle what they will face in Trigonum. So before they will agree to give the party the information they need they want proof that they can handle themselves. So it’s decided that the party must either face the dragon in the swamps near Dale or the Lord Knights will find someone else to send to Trigonum. We agreed and spent the rest of the day planning for the fight against the dragon.

Sunreign 28 thru 31 we traveled to Alaril, including adventures with Fey the first night. Sunreign 32 thru 33 we traveled to Dale. When we arrived in Dale we discovered that the abandoned town had been visited by lizard people. We stayed the night. Then we traveled through the swamp, Sunreign 34 thru 35. We tried to track the lizard folk, but in the swamp tracking was difficult. Eventually we found them, mostly by accident (yes I’m skipping our adventures with the carbuncle – it was weird).

The lizard folk serve the dragon. There has been a prophecy that one is coming who will show them a new path. It seems as though this might be Takeo. The leader of the lizard folk tells the party that his son was the one who made the prophecy and he’s been punished for his words. In the end it was decided that Takeo would face a champion of the lizard people in a fight to the death in order to prove to the people that Takeo has the blessing of their gods.

The morning of Sunreign 36 Takeo heroically defeats their champion and the party prepares to face the dragon…

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Session 33
not much to report

Sunreign 21-27

So we met with the “Grey Saint”/were-rat. It was decided it would be best if he left Alaril.

Caiden reported that his “sources” say that if we face the black dragon someone will die. The dragon is ready for us. The party decided it was time to head for Phoenix and see what re-enforcements we could get.

We traveled back to Phoenix and got to play with a fey on the journey.

When we arrived in Phoenix the Warden was “away”, so we talked to Will. He was hoping we were done with side-quests (incidentally so were we). He has work for us (in part because of Wren and Simon’s family connection to Duke Ashlane) in Trigonum. After much debate it was decided that the troubles in Trigonum sounded very dire and we should get there ASAP. The party is waiting for more info from Lord Knight Marcus Lanternbearer. He will arrive on Sunreign the 27th. Once we have more info we will head for Trigonum. It is a distinct possibility we will deal with the dragon before we go/along the way.

So we’re hanging out in Phoenix. We held court with Baron Crownguard. Ran some personal errands. Basically waiting on more info (also we got ahead of Scott’s plot so there’s that).

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Session 32
Who's the villain again?

Our ambush of the River Rats went almost according to plan. We found them in a bar they frequent near the docks, Takeo “convinced” the crowd in the bar to exit as quickly as possible.

Wren fired the first shot, and battle was joined. Four of them fell quickly, two permanently. The leader attempted to escape, but after a brief chase was knocked unconscious. She was brought to one of the Dameir’s interrogation rooms, and we attempted to find out more about their efforts and the man who seemed to be connected to them.

This is where our plan begins to fall apart. It turns out that yes, they were were-rats. They were turned into were-rats because they had been infected with the Black Scourge, a fatal disease spreading through Endaril and that had made its way into the Endaril refugee camps. Infection with lycanthropy caused the Black Scourge and other diseases to have no further affect on the infected.

The River Rats had been stealing from the AAG in order to give supplies to the Endaril Refugees and eventually back to Endaril once they were discovered.

She arranged a meeting between our group and the “Grey Saint”, as the primary were-rat who had been assisting the refugees had been called. We’re to meet with him on the night of the 21st.

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Session 31
Our "triumphant" arrival in Alaril

Sunreign 13 through 20

[excerpt from Wren’s journal Sunreign 20]

So we’re in Alaril now and (of course) things have gotten worse. We trekked through the swamp for a couple of days with Takeo leading the way. Then we managed to get to the ghost with the sword without major incident. On my watch the first night there were strange lights, but no one else saw them. Which has done wonders for my credibility. Even Dusan thinks I was imagining things. Our meeting with the ghost was short. He wants us to prove ourselves so we’re supposed to find and deal with a black dragon that’s somewhere in the swamp (I’m sure that will go well). In the end we decided we should head back to Alaril and heal up.

On the way out of the swamp we encountered 2 of Darkhome’s wraiths and several will-o’-the-wisps. It was a brutal fight. We managed to take down the wraiths, a pretty significant victory (which have been few and far between of late). I did a fair amount of damage to one of the wisps and then they all got pissed and kicked my ass. Once again Caiden stepped in and kept me from dying, but it was close. Dusan intervened on my behalf with the wisps and convinced the wisps to retreat. So in summary the only useful thing I did ended up meaning I needed to be rescued. Sounds about right. After the battle Caiden was in need of major healing. He has almost no concern for himself. I worry that one day he will do too much and we’ll lose him.

We got out of the swamp and met up with residents of Dale. They had lost more of their number so now we believe there are about 15 wraiths out there. We traveled with them to Alaril and luckily we were not attacked again. Once we got to Alaril, I went and reported to the local Knights. It went really well because we’ve brought nearly 100 refugees into a place that’s already full of refugees. Also we managed to allow several wraiths to break free from all control and they are increasing in number and probably headed this way. The local knight in charge was thrilled! I sent a message to Warden Voltarus and I’m hoping he’ll be able to send some Knights Lumina to help us. I’ve also been trying to help with the fortifications the knights are putting in place to defend against the wraiths. In all reality though the situation is bad and I feel useless and entirely responsible.

Simon and Caiden got healed. Caiden has been helping out with healing in town. Dusan has been trying to bolster the morale of the people from Dale and Simon has been trying to help make a place for them. There are already so many refugees in Alaril that resources are in short supply. There’s been some intrigue involving the local guilds and solving their problems may help increase resources. Simon did some investigating and apparently there are some were-rats causing supply problems. We’ve offered to help with the situation and armed with silver weapons that’s where we’re heading tonight. I am praying it goes better than usual, because usually we fail on an epic level.

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Session 30
Sunreign 9-12

I thought I would give everyone a break and take a turn with the adventure log for this week. Happy Easter. Yes, you will still receive XP credit for writing it this week.

The party set off on Sunreign 9 to recover the item of power mentioned in the ancient piece of parchment. After some math and calculations, it was determined that the party would save a day by going cross-country through the forest instead of taking the roads to Alaril and then going back to the town of Dale. The party had one random encounter with a hungry pack of wolves. The wolves were interested in seeing how the party tasted, until Takeo proved that he was the alpha male and was not to be messed with. After a particularly ferocious growl, the wolves disappeared into the night and did not trouble the party again.

When the party arrived in Dale in the late afternoon on Sunreign 12th, the party discovered that their hated enemy Negus Darkhome had returned to town a few days before. He had arrived at night and his wraiths killed four men as they slept, transforming them into wraiths as well. Negus abducted 4 women and 8 children, threatening to kill them all if the townsfolk called for help. He left a message in the town. If the young man that had followed him to Dale returned, they were to direct him to the Garstred farmstead. Negus had spent several days wondering around the swamp. He was frustrated that he could not find the ghost mentioned in the archives in order to dominate it and force it to reveal the item’s location. He was angry that someone else had apparently beaten him to the ghost and probably learned the whereabouts of the item and vanished before he could intercept them. Since Negus was not a skilled woodsman, he could not track down those that had the item. So he hedged his bets, returning to Dale, the only civilization within several days and hoped that when the stranger returned with the item that he would come through town where Negus could confront him.

The party set off after Negus, arriving on the farmstead about an hour before sunset. They found the barn boarded up, and Takeo did his big bad wolf impression on the door. The door was very impressed.

Inside the barn, the party found the women and children huddled against a wall and surrounded by a wraith and its spawn. A brief diplomatic effort took place. Upon discovering the party did not yet have the item that had caused so much trouble, he gave them 24 hours to recover the item and return it to him. Once the item was in hand, he would release his prisoners and disappear. The party whined about 24 hours not being long enough. Negus considered this and agreed. He extended the timeline to 36 hours. The party whined some more.

Former Baron Darkhome lost his patience. He was tired of endless wet bogs, hidden ghosts, irritating peasants, and whining, meddling adventurers. To make his point, he ordered a wraith to kill one of the peasants. The party leaped into action. No more words, only violence.

Takeo cut down Darkhome within about 12 seconds, permanently ending the tenure of the misguided half-elf on my list of recurring villains. Sadly, he did not do so before Darkhome cast a Black Tentacles spell, which captured and started to crush Wren and Caiden. Also, unfortunately, it caught all of the surviving hostages and began crushing them as well.

The wraiths quickly learned that the party was not susceptible to their attacks, so they focused on Simon (who lacked the deathward protection) and the peasants that were being squeezed to death. Caiden used all of the power he could with his bursts of lifegiving energy to delay the inevitable. By the time the tentacles were gone, the wraiths had fled and all of the hostages were dead. This part will probably be edited out of the bardic tale of the exploits of these heroes someday.

Knowing that the wraith was injured and hungry, and was now uncontrolled since Darkhome was killed, the party returned back to town and convinced the townsfolk to camp out in the middle of town where they could be protected. A little after midnight, the wraiths made their move. Pandemonium ensued as the peasants became aware of the attack and scattered everywhere. There was a brief battle, in which the party managed to kill the wounded master wraith before the wraith spawn were eliminated.

This caused an extremely unfortunate and unexpected problem; the wraith spawn instantly became full wraiths the moment their master was slain. Hungry from the damage they had taken, and realizing the party could hurt them and were a little too much trouble at the moment, the wraiths beat a strategic retreat. They split up, each heading after a different band of panicked and fleeing peasants. There were screams from various parts of town as the wraiths sated their hunger to restore their strength (and create more spawn, now that they were full wraiths and could now create spawn of their own). What followed was relatively brief. The wraiths consumed enough people to restore their energy, then fled into the night with their new servitors. The surviving townspeople of Dale were gathered into town square again. Of the 120 citizens of Dale a few days ago, only 96 remained after the wraith attack. The party urged the civilians to leave their homes and flee to the safety of Alaril a day and a half distant. Simon made a noble and gallant gesture, giving the new refugees 4,000 decar to start their new lives. The townsfolk huddled together and wandered down the road towards Alaril in the darkness, herding their animals and packing all of their personal possessions that they could carry.

The party spent the rest of the night in the new ghost town of Dale. No wraiths or other creatures attacked during the rest of the evening. When dawn of the 13th broke over the horizon, the party was faced with decisions. Negus Darkhome was dead. Four wraiths and about 12 wraithspawn now lurked nearby. Caiden and Simon had been injured by the touch of the wraith, draining some of their vitality permanently. The party could press on into the swamps to accomplish their agenda before Darkhome’s failure and death was noted by Rashid. Or the party could return to Alaril to purchase the diamond dust and healing necessary to restore their lost health.

Which path will our intrepid adventurers take? How long until the mob of wraiths gets hungry again? And, come to think of it, where are the original three wraithspawn Darkhome went seeking the item with? Are there yet more free-willed wraiths wandering around the wilderness somewhere? Or were those spawn somehow destroyed before Negus had his wraith create new ones out of slain townsfolk?

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of When Side Quests Attack.

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Session 29
The Party Scatters

Everybody (including enough Brightguards to blind an ox) was in Phoenix for Lauren’s Knight Trials. Even Lord Knight Aquilinus Brightguard and the Warden returned from the South at last, ahead of their troops.

They went well, other than the conspicuous absence of her father. She became a Knight. After the trial it was revealed that Aquilinus had been there all along, in disguise so that his presence wouldn’t interfere. Afterward much ale was drunk, it was a good time had by all.

That night, Nightstalker returned and left Wren an egg. Which is funny. Because a Wren is a bird.

Anyway, the next day the party received the Silver Star of Valor for their service at Revenant Keep. It was a day full of announcements. Ser Will Wolfson was to be engaged to the Duchess. Ser Derek was made Baron of Brackenwood, despite an Imperial command that had long barred the Crownguards from holding titles.

After which, the party went each their separate ways, with little knowledge of what the others were doing…
-Takeo: (to be filled by Jarrod)
-Wren: Went back to Albalara for a couple days to celebrate her knighthood with her family and friends there. She came back to Phoenix on the morning of the 5th. She also spent the time off re-training and now she’s a real paladin (as opposed to a Holy Tactician). One the 5th Squire Karinda Okoro, Wren’s roommate, also passed her Knighthood Trial and people went out drinking again – which led to hangovers for the ladies on the 6th. In general Wren has been enjoying her time off.
-Dusan: (to be filled by Chris)
-Caiden: After catching word of the recent death of the last remaining potential oracle of Rozerus, Caiden spoke with Will and let him know he would be leaving North on a project he’s been working on for awhile. Though honored by what we would be getting, being famous will not help him currently. Quietly, he and Sam left with a cart full of supplies to venture north.
-Simon: After having Takeo’s man translate the piece of paper they’d found in Revenant Keep from old Daeni to Common, which detailed an ancient weapon with the powers of the Watchers, hidden somewhere in the Cotin River valley, Simon decides that researching the weapon is a good excuse to get away from the hustle and bustle of Phoenix and return to Alaril for some quiet study (which would necessitate avoiding his family). However, upon arriving at Alaril’s modest library, he discovers that he has, apparently, already been there doing research for about a week. Looking over the notes, which add little to his knowledge, except for the possibility of weather control powers (Ostliel, surname of the original owner, meant “Stormlord”). He goes down to Stablegrounds, the Dameir family estate to study there. After a short, but surprisingly cordial conversation with his grandfather, the Count of Alaric Cotin, Simon consulted with his grandfather’s Romdian Chaplain on the subject of ghosts.

Fearing the worst, he headed back to Alaril and sent a message to the rest of the party before heading out to the Ostian swamps. Once there, he heard word of lizard men prowling the swamps and a ‘half-elf’ traveling into them before him. Fearing the worst, he hired a guide (“Cold Willy”) and lit out. At the ruins of Ostia, he contacted the ghost of Miles, last servant of Filar Ostliel and asked about the weapon. He was told that Miles’ purpose was to find a new, worthy, wielder for it, “A warrior, strong willed, with good hand-eye coordination”. He also warned Miles about Prince Rashid and his minions. As he was leaving, the half-elf arrived, turning out not to be Rashid or a doppelganger at all, but Baron Darkhome and old enemy. Simon just barely avoided detection by the Baron and his quartet of wraiths and fled back to Alaril, where he teleported to Phoenix to tell the party. They decided to try their luck at the weapon next time…

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Session 28
Return to Phoenix

Greenleaf 35

After healing up, the party did a quick sweep of Revenant Keep, searching for survivors. None were found, but in Rashid’s private room, a small piece of paper was found that referenced a lost sword from the Cotin area of Luminairre/Davinguard.

From Revenant Keep, the party made their way to Markess. There, the party split, with Caiden, Takeo, Will, and Derek making their way back to Phoenix and Simon, Wren, and Dusan staying in Markess Keep overnight. Will and Derek were brought to the Temple of Mirala’ana for healing.

Greenleaf 36

Simon, Wren, and Dusan hire a wagon to bring them back to Phoenix. When they get there around nightfall, they are asked, along with Takeo and Caiden, to make their way the next day to Ashar, site of a mausoleum filled with Knights killed when the orcs overran Ashwick 120 years ago. The party agreed.

Greenleaf 37

The party rides to Ashar. After the Knights Arcanum bring down the wards on the mausoleum, it quickly becomes apparent that the mausoleum had been sacked. The bodies of no less than 600 Knights are now missing. Further, the body that had been associated with the villain known as “The Hand” was found in the ruined sewers of Ashar. The party returned to Phoenix with this dire news.

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Session 27
Module S3-1: Return to Revenant Keep- Part 4

Greenleaf 35 – the day that never ends!

So we went back into the room of darkness. This time Simon cast Daylight and that made it possible for most of the party (except Wren) to see (either because of racial abilities or because of Dark Vision). We made it to a larger room where we found Corpsecrafter and her pet zombies. While we were fighting her, Stalker and Slayer came up behind us. So we fought the zombies (who explode when you kill them) and the assassins used us as pin cushions. Takeo got taken over by some sort of spell that made him attack randomly. The only good news was that Corpsecrafter bailed when Stalker and his darkness made it so she couldn’t see. Still we’re taking major hits and if we survive it’s gonna be close.

Then all of a sudden Rashid comes in and tells his minions to stand down. Then he tells us if we’ll gather in the center of the room he will negotiate with us. We gather and he offers to take one of us in another room to negotiate terms. Both Caiden and Dusan seem likely choices, but Caiden is told it isn’t his place. So Dusan goes into a room with Rashid and the rest of the party is told to stay behind. We are warned that any action will negate the truce and result in the immediate death of Derek, Will and Dusan. Rashid and Dusan disappear behind an energy field.

A few tense moments pass and suddenly the energy field disappears and the party immediately rushes into the room. There we find Derek (recently released and trying to stand), Dusan (facing a shocked Rashid) and Will (who has apparently used his smite ability to bite the hand off of one of Rashid’s lackeys). Rashid is clearly amazed that we’ve been able to get into the room. Tumbler convinces Rashid it’s time to retreat and they are gone before we have a chance to stop them.

The good news: The entire party survived! Will and Derek are both alive!

The bad news: We’re still in Revenant Keep. We don’t know what happened to the other knights that were taken with Will & Derek. We have 2 horses and have expended most of our spells and resources.

The plan: Get back to Phoenix!

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Session 26
Module S3-1: Return to Revenant Keep- Part 3

Greenleaf 35.

Still.

Picking up where they left off last time, the party… STILL IN THE HALLWAY! THE HALLWAY! HAAAAALLLLWAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYY… [Music by HALL and Oates and Gerard WAY] HALLWAY! THE SAME FLIPPIN’ HALLWAY, OH SWEET MERCIFUL ONDORA WHY, WILL THIS NEVER END?!?

And then they found an invisible door that wasn’t locked and a dark room they couldn’t light and Caiden died… except that he didn’t. And it turned out the mage had a spell against darkness after all.

Its been that kind of day for our heroes so far. Afternoon does not look like picking up.

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Session 25
Module S3-1: Return to Revenant Keep- Part 2

Takeo/Wight sandwich. Ninjas, darkcreepers, animated armor, shadows.

Waded through minions, expended resources.

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