Dreamscape

Act 2 - Session 72: Campaign Re-titled "Sarcophagus and Friends"
"Do you faggots even praise the sun?" --Tharious

The following is not written coherently. I’m currently very, very tired and have little or no plans to rewite later. Be glad there even IS a summary.

Head to town, bringing Freddie and Mercury on top of the sarcophagus. The ground, oddly, is compeltely torn up. giant pits and gorges in the ground, and the dirt is churned as if by an enormous plow.

They notice the dragonborn skeletons to the east heading south, they are out of the way of their march.

Soon they pass the somber scene of a battle. Dozens and dozens of skeletal remains are littered among a huge torn up earth, and hundreds more Lere corpses on top. Injured, moaning men are all about. The skeletal army that engaged these men long gone headed south. This was an awful battle.

The party uses Tree Travel to make it straight to Lere, and head to where they left Toro’s grandmother, but she’s not there. “…. fuck!” toro says. They ask around and discover Toro’s grandmother drinking in a pub. She asks for a recap, tells them they did good, and that she needs to at some point talk to Toro alone. They also discuss that the sarcophagus IS the great darkness and threat she came to address. It needs to be hidden in a place or way that no one could ever find it. It was buried and protected centuries ago, and that simply did not prove to be enough.

Soon a fanboy/messenger arrives with a song of their exploits, hoping he’s right in guessing they are the Heroes of Zahran rumored to have saved the city from the flying fortress. He says other houses are claiming that honor through different means, but the stronger rumor is about their group, though it’s only just spreading. He says he knew where to find them because they’d been identified after they walked through a tree, beat two men into submission and adorned them on the top of the sarcophagus Toro carries on his back. Emon had also left it outside, bound it closed with rope and scattered caltrops around it when they went in. The messenger tries to regale them with song, but having rolled an 8 out of 20 on the roll, he did so terribly and cursed himself afterward. Pretzels were almost fed to the prisoners, but I think everyone forgot. The messenger had brought a scroll from Shiek Aashir requesting an audience with them after their heroic victory, and they acquiesce.

First they head to the war tent Aashir had been using during the assault, but since it was over, they were directed instead to his proper residence.

Arriving at Zahran Manor, they’re greeted by Aashir. When they’d arrived Aashir and Junayd had been arguing intently, red, angry faces. Junayd then smiled left and Aashir tells them how grateful he is. He will certainly reward them. However he’d like just one… more…. thing.

See, Lere is without its barrier. And the financial trading Lere did with neighboring nations was used as leverage to keep the peace. Without the king, and without the barrier, Lere loses a bit of its value, and absolutely loses a bit of its leverage. However it is still a valuable gem, and now vulnerable while the houses fight amongst each other. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the undead. One house needs to rule, and having the Heroes of Lere on Aashir’s side might be the necessary aid in pushing popular support to their side (even though the houses themselves won’t agree). Lere needs one leader, for everyone’s sake. So he asks them to at least think about it. In the meantime he provides them with wonderful bedrooms and… company. Torinn accepts! Tharious and Emon do not. Nor does Toro.

In the night Emon investigates a secret tunnel that leads to a cistern from his room. It also contains an illusory wall from the cistern side. He informs Torinn about it, spreads caltrops inside the illusory wall, and waits. No intruders come.

Tharious meets with Glorin, the neat-bearded dwarf of the Stonebrook Acropolis’s temple of Pelor. He asks about Eris and assures Tharious that if Eris is cooperating with the cultists, it could only be under duress and coercion. Tharious MUST get Eris back, she is important to both the order, and many priests personally, including Tharious. He retrieves his horses and card. And most importantly, his candles.

In the daytime Toro seeks out his abuella. She’s eating and informs him that he must undertake a quest to the Firestorm Peaks and perform the Javier Bardem, an ancient and mystical performance which renews the pledge of the goddess of music, Jet, to provide power through song. Without this covenant, music will cease to be a medium for The Weave. What the ritual itself is, however, Abuella could not say. It will be for Toro to discover on his own. It is an ***incredibly*** important burden, and Abuella herself is unable to fulfill the duties, as the journey is arduous and dangerous.

After that they discuss the sarcophagus, the cultists, and the giant. The sarcophagus must be hidden, for the cult while incredibly dangerous with their ability to channel, will still only seek out the coffin as a means of completing their true purpose. Resurrecting the old god Skemmdavargur. As for the giant, he is a creature that does not belong. And it is somehow his presence here that is allowing Mana to exist, and be channeled. This is extra important for it’s only with their ability to channel that they pose a threat to the gods and can resurrect the old god. If the cult is ever to be stopped completely, this giant “Dryjhna” must be either stopped, or killed if he has to be. All this Abuella learned in the druidic ritual, but was too exhausted from exertion to relay before rest, drink, and food. She intends after a time to travel back to the native roaming lands of Tirothil.

The party meets back up. They shop a bit, before skipping time to meet with Aashir, his fine robes, gilded ornate sabers, and headdress’d horses. They head out together to attend the conference of the heads of Lere. They arrive and see the grandest display of wealth and power in one spot that any of them have ever, ever witnessed. Even in Barumila.

Aaand we wait until next week.

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Session 71: Enter the Dragon
To be determined...

Raziel uses his FINAL form from the power granted to him by the mysterious, gnarly claw statue in the flying temple.

But what of the indifference of “Vosk” and “Dryjhna”? For something so critical, why would they take the risk?

The dragon approaches, exhuming a deathly breath that takes Tharious legit down to 1hp. So, there’s that. Toro summons an air elemental and begins climbing up the statue to retrieve the gems.

The dragon knocks Torinn out and is about to go for the kill. Tharious screams madly, flailing limbs to save this new friend he’s made, and then retreats to his cubby hole. Emon is playing stabby stabby, poking many holes into the dragon, out of which is pouring the black stuff.

Torinn gets up and fuckin books it to the cubby hole. The dragon intends to follow, having rolled a 6 on his recharge, and with everyone in one single spot. But as he moves to engage, Toro’s air elemental gets in the final critical strike necessary to end the campaign on… that note.

The dragon suddenly hardens and begins cracking, pieces peeling away like an orange or banana peel. The hand begins violently quaking, and the already precipitous floor begins to collapse, everyone in free fall.

Tharious quaffs his flying potion. Toro grabs Torinn. Emon flies to where the chrysalis of Raziel is breaking apart and leaves nothing to chance. Stab stab stab.

Off in the distance, a large army of skeletons march away from Wamor.

After they land, Toro eats the dragon egg. More on that in later sessions.

Torinn begins gathering up the remaining pieces when a strange sight comes floating down like a gay mary poppins. Freddie and Elton, the two cultists, hand in hand. Oh yeah, turns out they’re wizards and freefall is like a level 1 spell. Any channelers they dropped would have burnt up from channeling by now, but Freddie and Mercury never initiated it (however that happens).

They question them about the nature of the world, and Tharious asks about Eris. The cultists give Tharious some distressing news. She not only wasn’t captured, they saw her helping the cult. Tharious refuses to believe it, and sets his mind to rescuing her still.

They also reveal another distressing fact. The ritual’s true intent was to lure Pelor to the temple, and entrap him in the sarcophagus. Only then would the ritual be complete, and Skemmdavargur be reborn.

Thankfully they thwarted the ritual. But now they’re carrying an older-than-time sarcophagus in a muddy field surrounded by skeletons, with two prisoners.

They try to put the prisoners in the sarcophagus, but opening it floods their mind with hate and terror. So scratch that plan.

Until next session…

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We played Dead by Daylight.
"Grudgey DM bullshit crosses over into other games."

And it was good.

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Session 70: Rumble in the Temple
The Grudgey DM Strikes Back

Entering into the chamber after making final preparations, the party attempts stealth, after Toro is clocked by the strange, large individual, and flies up to avoid drawing attention to the rest of their party. Emon attempts stealth, and masterfully evades all possible physical senses, but it seems their adversaries employ mystical means of detection.

Vosk begins to monologue, while the leader of the assassin’s guild puts down his swords to take on some strange power, what Vosk called “the first trial of a grand experiment, that Raziel has agreed to demo for us all.”

The fight begins by Raziel surrendering his physical form to conjure a number of the most profoundly alien and powerful looking beasts. 5 with onyx skin rippling with muscles. Truly these were the models for the hounds the cultists had summoned. The cruel facsimiles those crystals could command were based on these things, beautiful in their ominous way. Two more, rage incarnate. Reddish brown skin roiling with licks and ripples of pulsating red energy just beneath the surface of the skin, and eyes that burn with a smoldering hate. Finally, one larger creature, with two enormous tusks so large they practically dominate his face, and though it bore a single eye, that lone eye had multiple pupils that dodged and zagged, a most horrifying visage.

These creatures the party slowly and methodically dispatched. Many being flung outside the fortress.

The cultists and channelers, it would seem, are timid, even reluctant, to enter the melee. Perhaps they have been given orders, but whatever the reason, they are with single-minded purpose focusing on seeing the ritual to completion, even ignoring the party completely.

Meanwhile, Toro has begun flinging cultists outside of the temple as well. Having made a circuit around the ring, he heads for Vosk. Vosk seems unconcerned, however, as he calls for aid from his large companion, apparently named “Dryjhna”. Dryjhna stuns Toro into complacency for one round and says “No, old friend.” Though when he comes to, Toro grabs him instead. The giant man does not fight back. When they plummet, the strange humanoid opens a portal that swallows them whole, careens them over a strange burnt landscape, and then up back into the temple. Stoicly and without any demonstration of emotion, the giant coolly walks back to Vosk’s side. Toro is shaken a bit by the experience, but sensing no immediate threat (in fact, a vexing familiarity instead) from the giant (and not feeling that Vosk is the type to lift his own fingers to get dirty) he heads instead to aid his friends.

Finally the last hound is dispatched. However it recalls Raziel, who in humanoid form launches his assault on Emon. Torinn has begin snapping (mostly ineffectively) at the cultists channeling the ritual. It is proceeding, but not terribly quickly. It cannot be risked, however, that this be allowed to proceed. Expertly dodging the assaults, Emon is able to survive in time for his friends to come to his aid and they are able to stab, bash, maim and stomp Raziel into submission.

His assassin’s composure has been compromised, it would seem, by his current form. He is overtaken with rage, and instead of slipping into death, manifests himself as a dragon. A terrifying final form. The real fight, it would now seem, begins.

Um, what? (Logan coming back to hear the description of Raziel’s assault)
“I can show you the world!” Dancing cultists

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One-Shot 3: Past is Past
sad blub

A depressed black pudding, an elf-dwarf ettin and a chivalrous red dragon walk into a bar….

Roughly 5,000 years in the past, the Ghiscari army descends to Tirothil. Having conquered the entire massive continent of his self-named Ghiscar, Ancalagon the Black sets his army’s ruthless gaze on the Giant homeland, Tirothil, now mostly ruled by dwarves.

Fighting in the land bridge between the two, rumors circulate that Ancalagon has been missing. One or two month excursions have always been common, but it has been more like 6 months now without word or notice from their black wyrm tyrant leader.

Amidst that, three traveled adventurers seek a cure to a curse that has been thrust upon them by a mysterious quest giver. The search for this giver and the artifact bring them to a small fishing village you won’t find on any large map. The town of Rhory. Searching for a man named Ninki.

Being worried about being judged for appearances, they come to a small hut on the outside of town first for assistance, and after fending off a butcher’s knife from some mother, they get help. The postman/sherrif lends his aid, and eventually his boat to get the party where they need to go (for payment, of course).

They make it to Caer Wynn, which in a few hundred years will be colloquially (and eventually officially), Anghiscar’s Reach, meaning “Lord Ghiscar’s Reach”, for it’s at this tower’s location the Ghiscar empire is finally stopped and pushed back, the farthest they ever make it. Anghiscar’s Reach is known to be a pretty but crumbling and mundane tower of no interest. Plundered beyond use, all that remains for the majestic monument is the fall.

However, in this time, still old and overrun, it’s known to be a place of death. An inescapable trap. And they are headed inside. Because those are probably just stories, right? And the only cure to their curse may lie inside.

They ascend the steps, and begin their trek into the tower. Closer now, Ninki immediately affects an air of possession. First speaking to the air and performing weird mannerisms, but also displaying inexplicable knowledge of the tower and its…. inhabitants.

They fight their way through floor after floor of increasingly corporeal haunts or poltergeists. Bloody body-like phantasms that warn them at every turn to head back or die.

Suddenly, reaching another lower floor, the support gives way, and the party plummets into a black depth, gazed upon from above by the surrounding horrors.

Out of the ghostly frying pan, and into the eldritch horror fire, they find themselves in a pool of water beneath the tower surrounded by sleeping Aboleths, the most terrifying and ancient horror one could imagine. Dozens, dreaming…

There we left them…

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Session 69: Mess in the Mess Hall

Torinn comes to on the spiral staircase, confused and concerned over his visions.

However, they have naught to do but carry on and get to the center of the temple to stop whatever it is the cultists are doing.

Following down they come to a large mural hallway, just like the rest, only this one has been turned into some kind of mess hall, with wooden benches and tables, and campfires cooking meat.

And about 30 cultists and assassins.

They’re about to execute their plan to sneak past them when another stranger, enemy of the assassins and cultists, approaches from behind. An agent of the church, he has also snuck aboard looking for answers and more.

No time to argue or discuss, they proceed together. Using Pass Without Trace, and an oil in a campfire distraction, they make their way steathily and silently around the pillars of the mess hall, and through the door on the other side, whose grating stone sound is muted by the sphere of silence that is Pass Without Trace.

Down another hall, this one with a gaping hole below, they’re able to see the world below them. Moving. The fortress is flying in the air, and it’s headed south.

Through the next set of doors is a large foyer sort of hall thing I couldn’t think of the name of. But there are cellar-like doors in the center, another big blue crystal directly overhead. And two guards playing cards in front. Emon easily gets the drop on them, killing them quickly. Looting they find the same basic loot. And in one third dream cultist’s robes, a locket and letter, evidencing a loved one waiting back home.

Toro used the crystal to enhance his sight into the next room, and what he saw would shock you. Stay tuned.

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One-Shot 2: Fey Gone Wild (Part 1)
Trust strangers in cloaks

Seilder and a few others escort a village out of their homes at the request of a dryad. It takes a bit of convincing, and lying, but they get the town to agree on the player’s better authority when Seilder says that a bulette mating swarm is headed their way.

The journey through the feywild is odd, with nothing appearing exactly as they might have supposed. A churning, slithering, massive tangle of giant roots cover the floor of the fey realm, the trees barren.

Leaving the forest they come to a gentle valley, going through it is a caravan of otherworldly creatures. Amongst them are elementals, fey and even demons.

They cross the path of the caravan and begin ascending the opposite side. With a view from the cliff they see what was the destination for the bizarre circus.

A throbbing tumor on the surface of the world. Teeth, eyes, tentacles and malice. Sorcery and war engines assault the boundaries of the pulsing and undulating unnatural growth. Where it dies, it regrows. It takes a constant, cycling effort by the strange allies, and still it seems to have minimal effect. The most efficacious is a pale, young women with a red violin. Strokes of her bow producing more than a haunting melody. Waves upon waves of dark sorcery flow from her deadly instrument and crash down below as she soars in smooth patterns on a black fog above the tumor. Where her power meets the tumor it dies, shrinks and turns to ash, only for tendrils to burst from the necrotic mass of flesh, and bulging pustules to burst new flesh over the wounds, swallowing the fruits of her labor whole.

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Session 68: Legends of the Hidden Temple

Entering into the temple proper, the group is met with a message in a language they cannot properly read or parse, but can intuitively understand. Venturing further in through a grand hall they come to a cracked stone door, the opening of which nearly costs Toro a head. In awe, the group finds itself facing a temple with an ambient yellow light, with no obvious source.

Further in they travel. And further, and further, and further, and further. Until they’ve well and truly traveled farther than should be physically possible. Exhausting all natural means of investigating the source of the enchantment, Torinn finally casts Detect Magic to find that… there is no magic. Or rather, none that he can detect. It’s clear that Mana is at play here, magic from the elusive “Warrens”.

Emon recalls the sensory and self “expansion” he felt when he used the stone, and he intuitively connects the possibility that use of the warren stone could avail him in this warren-cursed hall. (Again, my bad, guys.)

Again, Emon experiences the dispersion of “self” to his surrounding area, and finds again he’s able to see and feel around him. It takes a force of spirit he is not accustomed to using, and while he’s able to will the enchantment away, there is a cost. He is psychically nauseous for several minutes. Worryingly, this is considerably longer than the mere moments of dizziness at his last failed attempt to control the magic of this strange other plane. What does that mean?

Inside was a large room like a church, but empty of any pews or chairs. Two doors on either side, and a dais with an open arch at the far end. Attempting to split up and explore, Torinn trips on his own feet and either shits himself or yells or barks depending on whom you ask. In any case, it attracts the attention of a Third Dream member who calls out for Kemed. Toro slam fuckin’ dunks the impression of Kemed having heard him yell in pain before death once upon a time.

The cultist comes out to be suplexed into the awaiting caltrops Emon had lain on the ground. Tragically, this kills the cultist.

The party attempts to venture inside, but Emon is quite unfortunate when he runs into the chest of one of the cultists coming around the corner. And interrupting the card game currently in progress between a third cultist, and a proper assassin from Emon’s old guild.

They do dispatch of the three, with some elaborate and intriguing but ultimately fruitless maneuvering by the assassin in the grip of Toro.

In the chest/dresser room they find dozens of robes, and trinkets belonging to the cultists, as well as a locked chest containing

220 Copper
120 Silver
50 Gold
10 bottle(s) of common wine (2 gp)
1 set of navigator’s tools (25 gp)
12 gallon(s) of ale (2.4 gp) (immediately consumed by Toro)

The assassin also had

17g 8s 7c

3 ass pois vials

Anyway, past that is another hall, as tall (25ft) as the rest of the sunken temple, depcting woad-tattooed figures in stances resembling the lettering before. Again, baffling but somehow comprehensible. More like remembering than understanding. Their dances, in concert with the background, tell a tale of a great calamity that befell a peaceful, pastoral society demanding a call to arms and the raising of a particular group to combat the fel influence on their people. The story ends there. The tone is quite somber.

Further past is an enormous chamber, taller than everything else so far, with a number of pillars arrayed in a circle around a downward spiraling staircase. Littering the floor are straw beds and cots, and in one a sleeping cultist. Whom they ambush for answers, and knock unconscious. He tells them the rest of the cultists can be found below. The go to descend when Torinn falls unconscious, again taken by visions. He’s caught by Toro when we fade to black.

To be continued next week…

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Session 67: The cave beneath the temple

Descend into the water. Go through fracture in pillar below temple, fight through, see shakes, see holes, make it to end. #WhatEvenHappenedWePlayedForThreeHours

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Session 66

Come back, try to make more plants, get impatient, head straight for docks, fight ensues, polymorph again

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