Spiral of failures

Things started off a little slow after the planting of the tree in Hamilcon’s Shadowfell. Nute of the Labyrinth, Harramin Benson and Charisse Ambler went back to the Ambler’s to see if Sir Charles Ambler had taking the Doom Wine and had a vision. He was unwilling to share the information with them, even after having a few drinks.

The group retired for the night and Charisse Ambler spoke to her father alone about the vision he had in the morning. He told her that she was frozen, just like he had found her mother when she was a baby. He said that she had went to face the Prince of Frost. He made her promise not to do anything and she asked her father not to do anything stupid as well. She kept this information to herself.

Nute of the Labyrinth, Harramin Benson and Charisse Ambler then went to Abelurn to see how strong the militia had gotten and if there were plans to attack. Since everyone will talk to a little girl, Charisse Ambler found out the growth of the army (i forget the numbers, maybe John wrote it down somewhere) and that, as of now, the plans were to rebuild and fortify the city.

While Charisse Ambler was learning about the military movement, Harramin Benson decided to retire at the Golden Gander. He was at the bar, complaining to Phex about the beds when a man in black attacked Phex. Harramin Benson interfered, causing a half elf woman near him to attack him, insisting he not interfere with initiation. Nute of the Labyrinth and Charisse Ambler were on their way to the inn when they noticed the commotion and joined in battle.

After knocking out the man in black, the woman spoke some words and a glyph burned it’s way through the man in black’s head, killing him and making us unable use rituals to learn more from him. She later did that to herself (after getting thrown in a fireplace by Nute of the Labyrinth and Harramin Benson).

Phex then shared information on why he might have been targeted by the assassins. In his youth he joined a group that became corrupt that was supposed to help guard the primordials. Phex went to join the militia for safety and left the inn to Sharm.

In the morning, we all went to check on Captain Zarick. He was building a lightning skiff (i’m probably spelling that wrong). He was going to use it to fly in the elemental chaos and convinced us to help build and pilot the ship. We all pooled our greatest skills together and build the best lightning skiff the world has ever seen! We were on our way!

When trying to fly the ship, we learned that either Harramin Benson or Charisse Ambler botched the glyphs to protect the ship from getting damaged by lightning so Nute of the Labyrinth tried to fix them as the hatch he screwed on was thrown off. The ship continued to fall apart and when Captain Zarick tried to fix it, he was thrown off and unable to be saved by us. We had a surprise landing in a bog or swamp or something and Harramin Benson and Nute of the Labyrinth leaped from the ship leaving Charisse Ambler inside at the controls

Detective work, the sky is falling, an aromatic crab, and death threats

Watcher’s orb went absolutely nuts in the middle of the night, which in hindsight will surely be portentous of something or other.

We also met a changeling looking for the magichanical arm we liberated from the quicklings. I think he gave his name as Westin Forthright. Apparently the chained god cult had a reward out for the arm.

After an elaborate scheme, some middle-of-the-night sprinting, and a jury of Westin’s peers, we only achieved in burning his leg off with an acid orb and tipping off the opposition. The cult had a small operation going in Marden, but all we found was a threatening letter. Note: Westin is still out there and hates us. Can’t really blame him.

After our failure at tracking down and violencing the chained god cult, we returned to Abelurn to attend Prince William’s funeral. It was quite rousing. The sky split open to birth an astral dreadnought into this world. We met Captain Zarack, whose astral ship also came through the rift (and crashed). And Sharazar started a people’s crusade against “the enemy.” There are very few ways the crusade could go well. Best case scenario, they stop after sacking Constantinople. Note: the astral dreadnought wandered off eventually. It doesn’t hate us; we are like ants in its mighty shadow.

We met with Sharazar. There was some cautious back-and-forth about the crusade. He helped us get some glacial water and sent us on our way to a town 14 days to the north (which I shall call D√łglingur). We killed a giant crab, the only known member of its kind, and hauled it back to Hamilcon as fertilizer. Note: The thing probably had a wife and kids, who will hunt us down and rend our flesh.

On the way back to Hamilcon, Nute and Watcher visited Thelspar’s tribe. Nute paid his respects to the matriarch (forgot her name, I’ll call her Amalberga). Gifts were exchanged. The tribe is preparing for war against the river folk and Sharazar’s crusade. Nute hopes that Charisse can resolve the river folk altercation.

At Hamilcon, Charisse had a joyfully tearful reunion with dear old dad. Nute’s cask of lutefisk remained uneaten. The Prince of Frost is threatening the Amblers; we passed the Doomwine on to Charles in hopes he would see something helpful. Then we killed zombies and planted the acorn. Mayor Barrows declared it Barrows’ Arbor Day, to be remembered in perpetuity (especially the “Barrows” part). I may have made that part up.

Dinner and Sport
In which we eat a prince's food and watch him get killed

A horribly mutilated corpse was found stuffed into a cabinet at the Mostly Unseen University. Lockdown was declared. Watcher recognized it as the work of the missing 13th Seal Oni, and orchestrated a search through the school for suspicious behavior and unlicensed summoning circles. He eventually revealed that the Oni was masquerading as Sapphire, a student. The demon was then easily dispatched.

Harramin and Nute returned to Abelurn, but were stopped at the city gates to await the arrival of Prince William. The Prince extended a dinner invitation, which we accepted and passed on to Watcher as well.

We then remembered we had a box taken from the quicklings. Watcher opened the final lock, revealing a warforged arm much like his own. Nute spied some maker’s marks on the components. After questioning some blacksmiths, we believe a Chained God cultist (who carries a greatsword) ordered the work to be done.

The prince’s dinner went well, until he decided to have some sport. He apparently thought slaughtering chained goblins was heroic; we dissuaded him. He then revealed an animated dragon skeleton, which broke lose and attacked him. We disabled it, used magic to comprehend its speech, and learned that it only desired death. However, it quickly dispatched the prince with its breath weapon before submitting to assisted suicide.

Marl, William’s manservant, said he would say the prince died in battle against the dragon and keep the party’s involvement a secret. Marl and Watcher had a staring contest, in which Watcher learned that Marl is from the plane of dreams. We then left.

Nute decided to free the goblins on the way out, earning the friendship of Felspar (the shaman).

Watcher returned to his university, while the rest of us went to the Golden Gander. Harramin complained about the beds. Nute interrupted Sharm (who was having sex) to ask about glaciers.

Nature Walk
In which we fight the fey descendents of the Flash and tickle trout

We almost immediately set out to deal with the flight1 of quicklings Sharm told us about, but were distracted by the prospect of a self-propelled wagon. Which is to say, it blew Nute’s mind. Setting the wagon aside for the moment, we murdered some quicklings, but one got away. He shall be dubbed Zephuros. His days are numbered.

We then returned to Abelurn victorious. There was blowing of horns, brandishing of trophies, and painting the red stripes of triumph on our wagon. Nute tied one bell to each wheel hub as a mark of the team’s triumph in battle2.

Even though we didn’t quite finish the quickling job, Sharm seemed satisfied enough to give us a bottle of Doom-Wine3. For some reason, it seemed appropriate that Charisse drink it. She promptly fell into convulsions and glimpsed a portion of the weave of the world, which unraveled in reverse order before her eyes:

A great white tree stands in the Hamilcon commons. It grows from a sapling, revealing the bare ground. A monster from the sea, resembling a great crab, decays on the place where the tree will grow. A figure pours a vial of water on the planting, as the concept of a great glacier shimmers in the air. A chant to Pelor beseeches him to bestow his quickening light on the acorn, and the acorn is planted. In another time and place, the figure receives an acorn from an old tree formed into the shape of a woman.

We pick up on some of the vision’s meaning, and go off to seek an audience with the dryads living in Ulnar’s Forest to the east. But when we try to collect Watcher, we find that the Mostly Unseen University is in lockdown after someone was eaten. (Charisse and Nute pay for a sending to Watcher to establish this.) Since Watcher did not ask for help, we do not interfere and continue to the forest.

There, we are guided to Old Mother Sylvia by Windy and manage to sweet talk our way out of being eaten by Shroomy. We are presented with a test—survive two weeks in a strange wood with just a belt knife. Here, Nute’s experience surviving in the Labyrinth comes in useful, though he contracts the flux after eating some strange eggs. We also make another friend, whose name I cannot recall (she was a shapeshifter). I shall call her Brown Hair, the Rabbit Lady.

Sylvia seemed impressed by our performance and somewhat favorably inclined towards us. She gave us the acorn child we desired, but still discouraged the prospect of another meeting. However, she bears great animosity or fear (not sure which) towards the Chained God (who killed one of the great trees, Sylvia’s mother), so she may be a useful future ally.

To do list:
  • Mostly Unseen University people-eating. Nute suspects the minions of the Chained God and wants to storm the walls, but that’s normal. We do know that the customs of those who follow Bane, Vecna, and Gruumsh might eat parts of people occasionally.
  • Expand our gate library/look up Balthazar/forge working relations with the Keepers. I’ve lumped these together because expanding our gate library is likely to touch on the other two items if we work solely from our current knowledge.
  • Figure out what Watcher’s schematics have to do with the Chained God. Was his maker a chained one (follower of the Chained God)? Or were the chained ones conspiring against Watcher?
  • Start a general inquisition against Chained God followers (possibly ask around the City of Brass, or follow up on the cities neighboring Abelurn)
  • Continue on our vision quest.
    • Plant the acorn child and figure out some way to guard it and nurture it.
    • Pass the Doom-Wine on to someone worthy, as we pledged. Remember, we can’t use it again.
    • Sea monsters in north, resembling giant grabs, emit gas which bedazzles the mind.
    • Water & glacier
  • Follow up on evil people “twisting dryads into horrible undead forms.” Not sure if we’re talking about carpentry or tree-necromancy here.
Lower priority list:
  • Complaint department in the ninth circle of hell
  • Training seminars for death
  • Track down Zephuros
  • Wagon improvements!


1 In the same sense a group of crows is a murder.

2 One bell per wheel per victory. Them’s the rules—an adapted custom from Nute’s adopted tribe.

3 Made from droplets of dew falling from the Raven Queen’s loom of fate, collected on the summer solstice. (Doom is being used as an archaic synonym for fate.)

Witches are made of wood

After clearing the slaughterhouse of Chained God followers, we returned to the Golden Gander. Watcher set about learning Cure Disease to fix Charisse’s Slaad problem, while the rest of us fanned out over the city to collect information on the planar convergences and the Chained God cult. Turns out the convergences need deity-level mojo to set right. The Chained God cult is a few years old and widespread, although the related disappearances in Abelurn stopped about 3 months ago.

Choosing to postpone the investigation of Watcher’s creator, we returned to Hamilcon. The pyramid was being moved at great expense by its master; it would be convenient if such a large gateway remained in Hamilcon for our use. We also found a note from the slow keeper directing us to look up Sharm at the Golden Gander, a servant of the Summer Queen (who might be able and willing to help us with the shadowfell issue).

We then decided to find Thomas Patrick Finnegan’s stolen memories. As suspected, his widow turned out to be the witch—she eventually revealed herself by attacking Harramin after we conducted a mostly ineffective interrogation and illegal search. We then returned Thomas’ memories, restored Lilith’s inheritance, and summarily executed Widow Finnegan after a sham trial in which she was not allowed to speak in her defense.

Mission accomplished, we returned to Abelurn to talk to Sharm. He doesn’t actually have a direct line to the Summer Queen (in fact, he’s never seen her) but will help us out if we deal with some quickling bandits.

To do list:
  • Look up Watcher’s master, and what his connection to the Chained God is
  • Kill us some quickling bandits
  • Start a general inquisition against Chained God followers (possibly ask around the City of Brass)
  • Expand our repertoire of portal keys
  • Corner the market on interplanar commerce in Abelurn
Soul eaters
In which we travel to Abelurn, meet Headmaster Watcher, and fight soul eaters

Seeking a teleportation circle, we traveled north to Abelurn (following the footsteps of an unknown Shadarkai). The ice elemental traveled with us in the river, causing no end of consternation and incidental damage. The river overflowed its banks, boats were damaged, and the river bottom was churned up (destroying fish spawning beds and degrading water quality).

After arriving at Abeldburn, we told the elemental to wait outside the gates and met Watcher, headmaster of a magic academy. In due course we determined that a magic circle large enough for the elemental could be found on the premises of the Brotherhood of the 13th Seal (life/death).

Turns out the attendants ate souls. Who knew? It was a long and difficult fight, but Watcher eventually broke out his most powerful magic while Nute held the doorway. We limped our way into the basement and rescued a few prisoners. One, Bardil, said to meet him later.

We then traveled through the magic circle to the City of Brass, bought coordinates to an iceburg (possibly overpaying), and returned to usher the elemental home.

Loose ends:
  • The Shadar-kai
  • Pyramid
  • Fix shadowfell in Hamilcon
  • Fix astral rift over Abelurn
  • “Chained god lives” warehouse
  • Return ghost’s memories
Return to Hamilcon
In which we wander about town gathering information and stirring up trouble

Harramin, Charise, and Nute all entered Hamilcon individually.

Harramin came from the encroaching shadowfell in the east, spoke to an old ghost, and talked to the mayor. He learned of a rock monster attack and a recent incursion of a fiery pyramid. Apparently two years have passed since the paperweight incident, and strange planar events started occuring shortly after we were torn apart.

Also, the mayor still wants his paperweight. 50 gp per person.

Charise came from the river to help the wounded from the fire pyramid incursion. She was quite successful at doing so.

Nute also arrived from the shadowfell, starting in the cave where we fought the mind flayer. He spoke to the ghost also. The ghost apparently had his name stolen by a witch who sought his wealth—he still has one bit of secret wealth and is willing to give it away to someone who can provide redress.

Nute met with both Charisse and Harramin. Harramin and Nute started picking a fight with the fire pyramid. Two Genasi came out and were easily kept at bay by Nute while Harramin picked them off from range. Rosamonde helped some too.

After both Genasi were beat down fairly well, their boss came out and demanded to know why we attacked. Since he said he was trying to get his home back to the elemental chaos, we agreed to leave him alone.

We asked around town for information pertaining to the shadowfell or planar travel. Oliver told us that soon after the shadowfell appeared, a man with pale skin & black tattoos came out of it and met with the mayor. From the mayor, we learned that this man traveled to Abelburn. The mayor said there was a wizard there with a magic circle to teleport between planes, provided one knows the code for the destination circle.

An ice monster then walked out of the river, and we rushed outside to deal with it. The townsfolk fled in terror, except for Jack—he closed to fisticuffs and was turned into paste. The battle was protracted, as we could not effectively lock down the monster or deliver damage. In due time, the monster complained of having been summoned here; Harramin (who can speak primordial) talked it down. It agreed to give us three days to send it home before it would raze the town.

We currently intend to travel north to Abelburn, ice monster in tow, to send it back with the portal.

Awesome First Session
In which, against our better judgment, we challenge a mind flayer to retrieve a paperweight

Aldreth, Harramin Benson, Charisse Ambler, Watcher, and Nute were walking around Hamilcon on a surprisingly warm winter’s day when a group of thugs was spotted at the mayor’s house.

News travels fast, and the group (either bored or out of a sense of beneficence) descended upon the unfortunate thugs. Harramin picked a fight, and everyone else helped finish it. Nute, not equipped for combat, rushed in heedlessly to check on his father but was swiftly beaten to the floor. Meanwhile, one of the thugs teleported away with Hamilcon’s shiny black rock/paperweight (HASBROP).

The fight raged on outside, with Charisse fighting her way to the doorway, surrounded by several opponents. Aldreth’s and Watcher’s magical artillery quickly turned the tide as Mayor Burrows revived his illegitimate child with a dose of fine liquor.

Having won the fight, the group of strangers bonded over prisoner interrogation and tea. Nute and his father exchanged words. The interrogation pointed to a cave to the east, and the group of now not-quite-strangers set forth to retrieve the HASBROP—(with promise of a reward).

At the mouth of the cave, the unsuspecting group of not-quite-strangers (UGNOQUIS) found a corpse—unmistakably killed by a mind flayer. This find understandably triggered second thoughts, but Watcher (a brave soul indeed) strode into the cave, and the rest of the UGNOQUIS followed. Along the way, the UGNOQUIS was ambushed by foul psychic jellyfish creatures from the black void beyond reality (FOPSJECREBVOR), and Nute almost died. Again.

Everyone was having third (or even fourth thoughts) at this point, but they soldiered on. Faced with randomly shifting portals to the elemental plane of chaos, they simply ran through. (Amazingly, no one died.)

Finally, the HASBROP was in sight, but on the ritual table of the mind flayer! Sixth thoughts were had by all. The UGNOQUIS approached, but was ambushed by two massive rock creatures. Harramin went solo on one of the rock creatures, taking it out almost single-handedly (while Charisse and Nute bled on the ground from a dozen wounds).

Finally, the rock creatures went down. Watcher casually swiped the HASBROP from under the mind flayer’s nose, and Harramin blasted an apparently very important crystal. Reality took a vacation and the UGNOQUIS was painfully torn apart atom by atom—stopping the mind flayer’s nefarious scheme! Victory!


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