Scions of Tomfoolery

Lava and Lambtaur

We discover to our horror that Flibbertigibbit lied to us. He is not a goblin, but is an imp. He lets us know that Henry is coming.

We don’t know who Henry is, but we assume it’s all bad news. Nel and Molniya dive into the meat pit, while the rest of us hide in conspicuous places. Fortunately the guard patrol keeps going.

As we explore the rest of the building, we come to a huge set of double doors—the entrance to the cafeteria. Flibbertigibbit listens at the door with his huge not-a-goblin-but-an-imp ears and then bursts the door open with no warning. The interruption definitely puts the 30 large demons inside off their dinner, and they come after us.

We flip over to the right-side-up. Flibbertigibbit grabbed hold of Mabar as soon as he saw the amulet and flipped with us. On the right-side-up we threaten Flibbertigibbit with death and dismemberment and have a generally harsh come-to-the-Flame talk with him. I think the entire party is starting to understand why he was beaten so often in the upside-down. He agrees not to be an asshole like that again.

Don’t Piss Off the Necromancer

We make our way to the ground floor and exit the building to see the paladins and clerics of the Silver Flame battling with members of the Carrion Tribes, many of whom carried chunks of metal as weapons. We also saw our old friends, the demon bats.

Fik’s patience clearly ran out at that moment, and he became a nexus of darkness, cackling and pointing at all mooks on the battlefield at once (like Mona Lisa’s eyes). They pretty much all dropped dead, then rose again as ghouls, turning on their (few remaining) comrades.

Bri intercepts a final mook who throws his sword to the ground screaming “I failed you!” The big offscreen enemy decides not to even bother and books a lovely Xen’drik cruise instead.

The Finger

The door of the tower known as The Finger is intricately carved with images of cat-people destroying dragons. When the door opens, a blast of heat rushes out in our faces and we enter to see a lava waterfall stretching over 5 floors above our head, with platforms beginning above that to ascend. In the upside-down are stairs leading up to the platforms but rather than a lava waterfall there is a whirling storm of needles and blades.

After steam-cooking ourselves because the GM does not agree with Player perception of physics, we swap to Kythri (upside-down) and ascend. At the top, we enter into a labyrinth—and exit fairly quickly because we all knew to keep one hand on a wall at all times. The next room is a dark room filled with mirrors so Molniya casts Light.

It hurts us, precious.

Not only does it hurts us, it teleports us back to the other side of the labyrinth. Pissed off this time, we make our way through the labyrinth, back through the mirror room using only natural light this time, and out onto this strange floating island chain in the middle of ???

There’s an outhouse on one of the islands, a nice rustic cottage, and a creepy looking temple. We of course head straight for the creepy looking temple, because that’s what adventurers do.

Enter the Lambtaur

Moments later, the temple doors bust open and a pony hairless centaur midget creature with insect mandibles and bony scorpion tail and whose arms are bone-claw-pincers bursts out. He yells, and purple-black lightning strikes twice nearby, leaving behind two monster dogs. Rounding out the sudden surprise attack are two mutated ogres and two ogres with obsidian axes.

Nel, being a badass, throws one hellhound completely off the edge of the island. The scorpion-centaur whiffs terribly as it tries to smack down Bri, and is suddenly enveloped in a lovely cocoon of fine cotton fluff. Mabar shoots live rams into several nearby enemies and Fik scares the shit out of one of the hellhounds with an image of Mabar coming to snuggle it. The lamb-taur whiffs terribly again, and its cocoon of fine cotton fluff intensifies, leaving it significantly hampered. For the rest of the fight it just… misses. Everything.

With these goons out of the way, someone turns out the lights and from the darkness comes the rather annoyed voice of that asshole, Duke Newcombe. Clearly, we’ve caused enough of a bother that he’ll have to deal with us himself. Oh goodie!

Quotes

Toph: “Shit fuck fuck shit fuck.”
Kelvin: “Don’t do that, you’ll get an infection”

Cassie: “Can you repeat that a few more times?”

Jen: “I’m sorry hang on, are they throwing the salamanders?”

Kelvin: “It’s organic, vegan fire.”

Dylan: “Weird penthouse of The Finger.”

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Into the Upside Down
Black Sun Rising Session 8

We leave the Professor’s home with Knight Regent Sergeant Pepper, a paladin tasked with protecting Khorvaire from the creatures of the Demon Wastes. He will be our guide on this leg of our adventure. The plan is to:

  1. Depart on the airship High Wind, chartered to take us out past the Labyrinth and Carrion Tribes and land us on The Finger.
  2. Don’t die.
  3. Use the necklace (and Mabar’s deep, dark soul) to shift into the elemental plane of Chaos.
  4. Don’t die.
  5. Find the evidence that Duke Newcombe gathered/is manufacturing that would restart the war between Breland and Aundair.
  6. Don’t die.
  7. Shift back into Khorvaire.
  8. Don’t die.
  9. Hightail the High Wind out of there.
  10. And finally, don’t die.

Traveling Tales

We make it over Lake Galifar, through the Icehorn Mountains, through a wall of heat into the air above the Labyrinth, and over a huge dry lakebed before the ship’s lookout yells “Look out!” and rings the alarm bell. “Flying enemies!”

A flying 7-8 ft tall woman who could crack a coconut in her bicep with bat wings and a permanent snarl, who is potentially attractive with no beard, threatens us with a fiery whip and a straight razor. Two flying harpies (bird from the waist down and human from the waist up with wings) also land, as do some bat demons.

Fortunately there is a huge lightning gun at the front of the ship for just such occurrences. After fighting off bat demons, Mabar mans the lightning gun, which (s)he admits was “alright.”

Fik stays in the back like a little bitch and eventually sits in the center of a spiraling pool of death, beating up enemies and allies alike with it.

We make it eventually to Fort Kickass, where we pick up about 40 more troops, mainly paladins and clerics. As we approach the fortress and The Finger, we see people lighting cabbages on fire from carts on the surface with a small army (of 200-400 people). Of course then they start lobbing those cabbages at the airship, so we decide it’s time to leave.

On to Kythri

Molniya teleports us from the ship to a nearby tower. Once there, Mabar shifts the group into Kythri.

We enter the top level and meet Flibbertigibbit, a cute little hapless and clearly abused goblin. Under his (questionable) guidance, we begin to make our way down the tower so we can cross over to the tower we want to be in. Flibbertigibbit panics partway through our wander, says “someone’s coming!” and darts into a nearby doorway. We dart after him and immediately regret the life decisions that led us up to this point.

A spiky turtle shell guy, two smoke dudes, and a tentacle bearded dude meet us inside. Nel goes wolverine, Molniya hits the floor, and Bri keeps up the badassery. Mabar turns into a mindflayer and tries to talk to the bearded dude, and everyone avoids the pool of body parts and blood.

As we get ready to leave we hear footsteps coming down the hall.

Quotes

“Does she really have a beard? Because that’s a deal breaker.” -Dylan
“You’re about to have a wolverine shove a bottle up your asshole.” -Dylan

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Knight Regent, Kythri, and Carrion Tribes
Black Sun Rising Interlude

Upon returning from your journeys to the Professor’s apartment in Wroat, the Professor, the Countess (Kathi) Karrnathi, and a strange scarred man in dusty metal armor greet the party.

You are given a short briefing on what the three of them have pieced together from the information gained during your adventures, and they give you some important pieces of information.

Most importantly, it turns out that during the later parts of the war, Aundair began experimenting with a way to control Shifters, based on some of the research accomplished by the Church of the Silver Flame years ago during The Purge. Aundair planned to use this to regain control of the Eldeen Reaches and creating an army of shifters and lycanthropes to attack Breland, spreading lycanthropy to weaken the nation.

Baron von Vaughn contributed to this research significantly, and although it was abandoned partway through the war and he no longer had funding for his live experiments, he never fully divorced himself from the program of study. Kathy informs you that the Baron was contacted not too long ago to provide additional information and research to Aundair. Presumably Aundair wants this research to actively control shifters and the lycanthropic curse, although Kathy is not entirely convinced Aundair is behind the request.

It was around this time that your adventures took you to meet the Baron and retrieve a valuable magic item. The Baron was assassinated by a Nazathrune Rakshasa (a demon lord with powerful shadow and stealth abilities), who stole the identity of a Brelish nobleman arranged to be married to a Cyrian heir (Jane Vaughn) to accomplish this deed. A secondary objective for this Rakshasa was to steal the very magical artifact you were there to retrieve, but he clearly failed in that objective.

This artifact, if properly tuned, allows for fast and easy inter-planar travel, bypassing complicated and complex rituals which can be magically safeguarded against. By accidentally activating it in your retreat from the Mournlands, it was discharged and required re-activation and tuning to be useful again. When your adventures to do this failed (and resulted in an early confrontation with the Rakshasa whose plan you inadvertently foiled), an alternate method was found. Luckily, the gems you found in Thrane can be used to both re-activate and tune the artifact, and when used by somebody with the proper planer attunement once again allow for planar travel.

Now, the shadowy network of demon lords, including the individual you know as Duke Newcombe, plans to use the information gained from Baron von Vaughn and some additional incriminating evidence to prove that Aundair is actively researching a way to control Shifters in order to regain control of Eberron and attack Breland. This stands a very good chance of re-igniting the war if Breland is given this supposed evidence.

This is why the artifact is so important: the evidence is locked away for now in a secret place, to be exposed on Day of Shavalant, a Brelish holiday commemorating those lost in battle in the vicious Battle for Shavalant (996YK).

Advanced divination and scrying ascertained the location of the evidence: it is held in a high tower in the City of Shadows deep in the Demon Wastes. The City of Shadows is a mirror city; replicated stone-by-stone in both the Material Plane and Elemental Chaos of Kythri, it serves as a coterminous zone allowing for easier travel between the two planes.

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Pitchforks, Paladins, and Pixies
Black Sun Rising Session 6

The villagers in Thrane glowered menacingly at us, holding their pitchforks and torches. They ask what a necromancer is doing there with his fiendish skeletal ally. Fortunately, Fik convincingly argues that Arthur is just an enchanted skeleton that follows him around and, after a bit of bullshit creative verbal footwork, we manage to persuade them that we are harmless and that they should let us go on to Olath.

At Olath, a town just on the edge of the Burnt Wood, we discover that the town seems to be a hub for adventurers. No wonder, since the Burnt Wood is actually a completely walled off area of high magical disruption just outside of town. Divine magical sigils thickly adorn the walls, and paladins keep close watch over the walls—not to stop things from getting in, but to prevent the monsters within from escaping.

That’s where we’re going!

Rayne, our destination, used to be a little farming village in the Burnt Wood, so we have to go exploring in order to find it. The paladins at the wall let us in, but warn us that we will not be allowed to escape if we are affected with the taint of the dark place.

The Burnt Wood is actually a deciduous forest in early Fall foliage, but the ground is oddly lumpy. We set out heading north and arrive at a space covered with trenches. It is obvious the area was once a fairly active battleground. We accidentally trigger a mine, but fortunately both Nel and Bri escape the blast unharmed.

We keep travelling and are very apparently lost. In a reasonable clearing filled with bugs we find wood fairies that cluster around a weird plant with tentacles coming off of it. As we approach, the plant blurs, fades, and disappears, and the fairies get very, very angry. Two huge Ents wake up nearby trees to come smash us.

Molniya takes out all the fairies at once, and Mabar toasts several of the woken trees, but the fairies come back. Nel calls out Calcifer to help out, and engages the tentacle plant when it reappears. Eventually, we successfully defeated the local flora.

After the fight we find a small village that is not Rayne. We’re still lost, though.

Loading Tip

The Gaash’kala clans inhabit the maze-like canyons separating the Demon Wastes from the rest of Khorvaire. Believing it to be their sacred duty to keep evil from leaving the Demon Wastes. Mostly orcs with a handful of humans, they are proud warriors but not bloodthirsty. They will prevent travelers from entering the Demon Wastes with words before weapons, but anything and anyone leaving the Wastes is considered hopelessly tainted and met with immediate and extreme violence.

Quotes

“This is just our puppet skeleton!” -Fik/Dylan
“We caulk the swan boat and float it.” -Kelvin
“Is this a PVP zone?” -Dylan
“I would prefer that he not inspect my taint.” -Dylan
“If we survive, I will name this the battle of Pixie Pass.” -Jen

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Rakshasas and the Rayne in Thrane
Black Sun Rising Session 5

Gel and Shadows

The gelatinous tetrahedron approached menacingly with the two Frankenstein’s-monster-wannabes. As it turns out, Molniya only teleported us partially across the room of traps, and the door that Duke Newcombe exited is locked in our faces. Nel has the distinct displeasure of being eaten by the gelatinous tetrahedron, and Bri sprinkles confetti over the dead body of one of the Frankenstein’s monsters. Bri eventually smashes the tetrahedron into gooey, splattered bits.

While we fight the creatures, Molniya fiddles with the door until it unlocks… exiting out of a different door in the same room. Annoyed, she begins fiddling with another door to try and unlock it. She returns to the first door he emerged from… and it’s unlocked and opens easily.

We leave the room of traps and enter a wildly different space, with a red sky and a stone bridge stretching over a bottomless chasm. On the other side we see the Duke poke his head out of a stone building, so we head across.

When we get there, the doors blow open and we see that the room appears to be melted, with doors sagging on their frames. Across the room is a large emerald statue, and as we watch in horror, Duke Newcombe tells us that he can’t let us go and smashes it with a hammer. He then shapeshifts and we see that he’s really been a monster in disguise all along—he’s got 4 arms and his hands are on backward. He magically blows all the light out of the room except for the light from four torches.

He pops into a shadow and then out of Fik’s shadow to smash Fik into the ground. He then pops out of Molniya’s shadow. Nel gets angry and summons a fire elemental that tangos with the Duke, pinning him in place. Two shadow minions dance along the walls and we manage to take them out. At one point the Duke darkens the entire room, blinding everyone, but eventually is hit hard enough he melts into a puddle of shadow, saying “No. This is not over yet.”

The lights come back on.

Kathy, Dick, and the Prophecy

Frustrated, we leave the way we came in, and exit to find the City Watch unconscious on the floor and Kathy perched on Bernard’s bed. She tells us that we will have to find a different way to charge the amulet, since the artifact we sought was destroyed. She tells us that Duke Newcombe wants to instigate a large scale conflict by painting egg on Aundairian face with regard to shifter experimentation and torture. She then tells us to have fun in Korranberg and to say hi to the professor for her… then leaves via transforming into a bat on the balcony. Mabar is starstruck by her coolness.

We use our new-found swan boat to travel to Wroat where we meet up with Professor Dick Knuckles Richard Knucklewitz. The professor brings us into his lab and shows us that he’s been working on researching the amulet. According to his research, it allows for planar teleportation of many things.

Unimpressed, we tell him about Kathy and Duke Newcombe, which sparks a memory for the professor and he goes digging through his library to find something. He tells us that he researched a bit of draconic prophecy that said something about restarting a war between the forest people and the fae, but that it’s been years since he looked into it. He asks us to head to Korranberg to research it further.

To Korranberg

At the library we are led to a quiet space and left with the part of the draconic prophecy that we needed. In it we read about a plot with a demon lord who lived in a house in a flaming city in the world of melted glass. (No one said prophecies had to make much sense.) Traveling to the demon lord’s house is perilous except with the right magical artifact.

The prophecy got disturbingly specific when it came to finding out how to get to the demon lord’s house. It said to go to a town in Thrane called Rayne, in the basement of the tavern, and in the pocket of a man long dead we would find something that would show us where to go.

The demon lord, said the prophecy as best as we can figure out, plans to try to use his minions to start up the Last War again. The “greed of the dark woman will cause her to try to control the children of the forest” and "when that news reaches the ears of many, that will spark the war.

Mabar checks for other references to the dark lady in the prophecy and finds that she was daughter of the once-king, lives in a tower, and oversees the magic ones.

Off to Rayne in Thrane

So we head to Rayne, which is a town in the Burnt Wood in Thrane. We travel via the Lightning Rail to Aruldusk with plans to take our boat on the river to Olath. From the train station to the river we got lots of glares from townsfolk. We were stopped before reaching the river by a guy with a pitchfork in his hand and another with a torch. They both glower menacingly at us and particularly at Fik and Arthur.

Loading tip…

Considering the decades of violence that stained the lands of Thrane, it is unsurprising that the average citizen still feels animosity toward their once-enemy nations and their symbols. In particular, Karrnath’s hyper-militarized state and necromantically-inclined armies remain a source of barely-hidden pain and anger. To this day, necromancers—regardless of their attachments to Karrnath—would be well-advised to avoid traveling through Thrane, at least not without hiding their magical affiliation.

Quotes

“Flaming floor holes.” -Toph
“Do I have to have a story behind it?” “I didn’t feel like dying.” -Cassie and Kelvin
“Throw me a bone, Arthur!” -Dylan
“An antioxident rainforest.” -Jen
“Kathy Karrnathi, what do you know about her(,) Dick” -Dylan
“You want Dick to come?” -Kelvin
“Dick is a slippery son of a bitch.” -Dylan

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Aerial Battles, Bugbear Snuggles, and the City Watch
Black Sun Rising Session 4

In Which the Professor Proves his Uselessness

Professor Dick Nut Richard Knucklewitz greeted us excitedly and secreted the amulet away. He told us he planned to show the amulet to a friend, then sent us away for the night.

Everyone was woken abruptly in the middle of the night by a magical animal messenger from Professor Knucklewitz who wanted us to see him as soon as possible.

We rushed to his home and find that he is injured and pacing agitatedly—Arthur goes up to him before he can greet us, picks him up, and slaps him.

As it turns out, the professor was mugged in lower Dura while travelling to his friend’s place and lost the amulet. The goblin gang that mugged him had crazy blue facepaint and were quite ruthless. He tells us to track down and retrieve the amulet, and we can use his personal skycoach to do it. He also gives us 400gp for bribes.

We leave the professor’s home in the skycoach, piloted by Major Tom. He drops us off in lower Menthis Plateau. Street buskers there say they didn’t arrive until much later than when the professor was mugged, but they tell us to go to Dura.

Shopping, Fighting, Crashing

In Dura, we meet a Grandmother Bugbear in a flea market, including curlers and a bathrobe. She tell us we need to go to the woodshop down the way and ask to talk to Ritchie—and really insist on it. So we do. We’re taken into a sketchy back room with an older gentleman and walls filled with bric-a-brac and detritus. The room shimmers when we enter, and for a moment we see a different room and the gentleman in front of us, Ritchie, has a squid face. There’s also a guy with a bright blue cloak in that room, but his face is hidden from us.

We ask Ritchie about the amulet. He says that he may have access to something similar to what we are looking for, but he also may need some help with a rival gang, the Tongue Snakes, who will be getting a shipment of Absentia soon and he wants it stopped. The shipment will arrive on the lightning rail at Tavrock’s Landing in the morning, and will be taken to Cliffside via skycoach. The skycoach, he informs us, is quite distinctive, with a bright red cover.

The next morning we direct Major Tom to Tavrock’s Landing and, once we spot the skycoach in question, have him fly our skycoach alongside the one with the red cover. There are several goblins and a hobgoblin flying around on silver air surfboards, and one wearing a bandana flying the skycoach.

Fik lights Arthur on fire and launches him over to the other ship, where Arthur promptly catches the red cover on fire. The cover falls away to reveal a shifter, a hobgoblin, and a bugbear on the ship. Fik terrorizes one of the hobgoblins and, suddenly afraid of heights, the hobgoblin dumps the contents of a crate overboard and crawls in it to hide. Molniya boomsticks nearly everyone, Nel becomes a behemoth, and Mabar swaps places with one of the goblins flying on the silver surfboards.

The shifter misses Arthur and becomes afraid of heights, the bugbear misses Bri and decides that Nel in behemoth form is the sexiest thing ever. Nel tries to take him out but the bugbear gets rather snuggly instead.

Mabar kills the goblin flying the ship and takes over flying it. Molniya hurries over to help. Bri uses her magic cloak to fetch Fik from Professor Dick Knucklewitz’s skycoach and Nel uses her behemoth self to help balance out the ship.

We crash land anyway.

We finally return to the Bazaar in Dura, where a human in a red cloak flags us down and offers us an amazing deal on an amulet—our amulet. For 1gp we become the owners of it again.

The professor is waiting for us at his home, we brief him on what happened, and he explains to us that the friend he was going to see when the amulet was stolen has an item that will recharge the amulet, since apparently our hasty departure from the Mournlands left it drained.

In Which the Professor Proves his Lack of Luck. Also, We Meet an Old Friend

We go back to the Inn (Mabar goes back to his/her dorm room), where we are AGAIN woken in the middle of the night by an emergency message from Dick Nut Dr. Knucklewitz who tells us that his friend was murdered while speaking to him on a sending stone. The professor now believes that there are larger forces at play who are interested in the amulet and he is retreating to his second home in Wroat. He wants us to break into his friend’s house and take the item that will help recharge the amulet—and he needs us to do it before the City Watch get there.

We arrive at the house and find a skycoach waiting outside and the door open. The friend, Bernard, we find dead in his room, along with a familiar red dragonborn man. The Duke wishes us the best of luck with the City Watch and disappears through a secret bookcase. We feel we have no choice but to follow, as the City Watch burst in the door downstairs.

In the hidden room, we see Duke Newcombe escape into a tapestry on the other side, leaving us on the other side of bars that split the room in two with a wraith and 3 hell imps. Two honeycomb monsters glop into existence on the other side of the bars.

The wraith goes down without much of a fight, and the honeycomb creatures seem pretty useless except for making gloppy minions, so we wipe the floor with them. Nel creates a plant in the other room which behaves more oddly and grows more quickly than she expected, ultimately pulling the lever that opens the door for us.

We exit through the tapestry as well, finding ourselves in an obstacle course room. Molniya, annoyed by it, teleports us all across only to have Duke Newcombe shut the door in our faces. Two gelatinous tetrahedrons begin slorping their way over to us.

Loading Tip:

For centuries demons and rakshasas from the Demon Wastes have repelled those who are foolhardy enough, for whatever reason, to venture into their territory. But their actions do not cease at the border between the Demon Wastes and the Eldeen Reaches. Often these demons and rakshasas, sometimes working in concert, launch incursions into the Eldeen Reaches, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg, some argue. There are those who believe that the influence and reach of the creatures of the Demon Wastes goes much farther and deeper than any of the civilized races understand. Some go so far as to argue that there must be some large guiding force directing the actions of demons and rakshasas, because their behavior is too rational, organized, and cooperative to be merely explained away by coincidence.

Quotes:

“Are we gonna have to deal with Dick?” -Dylan
“Call it Not-umn” (Autumn) -Kelvin
“A cape! How come theirs has a cape!” -Jen
“Squirrels with scrolls.” “Pigs with postcards.” “Bats with bills.” -Jen
“My friend got eaten by a t-rex but all I got was this lousy t-shirt.” -Dylan
“Can we just start calling him Dick Nut from now on?” -Dylan
Insert long conversation on the biology of landsharks

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Kidnapping, Zombie Horses, and a Disturbing Find in the Vault
Black Sun Rising Session 3

Castamere and a Kidnapping

We made it back to Castamere unscathed, only to find that the von Vaughn family carriage is gone. As it turns out, Jane checked herself out of the inn and went to stay with her boyfriend, Mr Drug Dealing Dwarf, so we head there to see what’s going on.

Upon arriving, Molniya uses Knock to bust down the door while shouting “DRUG BUST!” over the sounds of an alarm spell. She sends Bubbles off to go exploring.

No one is in the entire house except for the niece Vaughn, Jane Vaughn, who is upstairs stoned out of her brain. The little information we get from her is damning, though. Duke Newcombe, upon realizing that his fiance was no longer interested, skipped town, as did her boyfriend (Robert the dwarf). Further questioning clarifies that they did not skip town together. She lets us know that her family’s ancestral home was in Roanoke, Cyre.

We decide to take Jane with us for her own good. Clearly she needs to be in some sort of rehab for her debilitating addiction. Jane wasn’t impressed with this decision and insisted that we let her walk back to Castamere on her own, and that the lizardfolk would let her go back unmolested because her boyfriend is a lizardfolk whisperer and has a deal with them.

The rest of the trip to Adderport passes uneventfully, as does the trip by boat to Korranberg and the lightning rail to Fort Zombie.

Travel to the Mournlands is Highly Inadvisable

When we reached Fort Zombie we rented horses. Zombie horses. Mabar thought it was the coolest shit ever and struggled to maintain his (her?) stoic expression. We traveled down the eastern border of the Mournland before crossing the Cyre River and into the fog.

A half-rotted coyote stirred and ran from us.

We venture further into the Mournland headed toward Roanoke. Once we make it there, Mabar delves into his obscure knowledge of pre-Day of Mourning Cyrian noble districts to help get the group to the right part of town.

As we stroll down an eerily quiet street, a building just in front of us explodes outward, and a huge skeletal t-rex burst out of hiding with his skeletal halfling rider. As though the explosion was a sign, out of nearby alleys lumber two 9-ft tall skeletons (possibly once ogres?) and three skeletal halfling warrior-types.

Nel turns into a tiger owlbear like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Molniya nearly immediately draws the ire of the T-rex and gets eaten whole. Mabar starts flying for no good reason and manages to smash Molniya out of the T-rex’s ribcage. Nel managed to take the T-rex out by the throat—well, by the neck-vertebrae at least.

von Vaughn was a (Mad) Scientist

With all skeletons on the field dead (for real this time, Fik should let us know otherwise), we continue on to the von Vaughn family mansion.

Opening the door, we find a very pale girl in her mid-teens standing inside. She says her name is Kathy Karrnathy, and would very much like for us to give her the key to get into the vault. Fik convinces her to let us use the key first, and she agrees pleasantly, calling out her big red dog with smoking nostrils.

Mabar and Kathy strike up a conversation about the Blood of Vol, and she offers to teach Mabar about it, smiling at the tiefling and showing off her fangs.

Bri uses her newfound chalk stick to draw us torches to use when exploring the vault and we go into the first room of it, which is a library. Mabar stays with Kathy to help her find whatever she’s looking for while the rest of the party explores the next room.

Kathy is searching for correspondence between Aundair and von Vaughn. The contents of the correspondence dealt with experiments Count von Vaughn was doing possibly on behalf of Aundairian royalty.

The second room of the vault contained a horrifying torture chamber, with the long-decayed remnants of shifters chained to the walls. Also along the walls were intricate drawings, including a history of House Vadalis.

We are interrupted by a hyena-person, a walking boulder, two hobgoblins, and six other hyena-men, none of whom look very friendly. They demand the amulet but we decide that isn’t a good idea. Kathy disappears, and we all huddle around Molniya, who has the amulet we came to find. She attempts to use the amulet, and successfully teleports us to a location she is extremely familiar with—Stormhome, the home city of House Lyrandar.

From Stormhome, we undertake the journey across continent to Sharn to deliver the amulet, finding Professor Dick Richard Knucklewitz at his home.

Loading Tip:

City Watch responded to an alarm sprite last Tuesday in the middle levels of the Dura district. James Thanner, a nobleman’s son, was found deceased on arrival. The Watch is investigating the Black Skull Gang, infamous for mugging and killing their victims, and have been known to dump the bodies in the river. The Black Skull Gang is known for adorning themselves with black skulls and should be considered armed and very dangerous. Eyewitnesses described a tall goblinoid with a black hood. This individual is wanted for petty theft, greater theft, attempted murder, contemplated murder, murder, manslaughter, and littering in the river. If you see someone matching this description, please contact the City Watch immediately.

Quotes:

“We need more jerky. We should find more animals to jerk.” -Kelvin
“Duke Newcombe you are under arrest for Grand Theft Carriage.” -Kelvin
“A particularly large….” “…goat.” -Toph and Kelvin

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Death, Dragonsblood, and Engagement Drama
Black Sun Rising Session 2

Investigation

The single town guard was on the scene of Count von Vaughn’s corpse before any of us figured out what was going on. Duke Newcomb’s angry bellow upon discovering his fiance unconscious brought us quickly there, though. Although we attempted to persuade the town guard that it was unlikely that the female Vaughn, Jane Vaughn committed the murder, due to the blood on her hand he insisted she be locked up in the town jail.

Fik found a way to get himself in the room with the Count’s body, and proceeded to raise his corpse from the dead to answer questions for us. Mabar was enraptured by the sight, but tried very hard to look nonchalant and unfazed as the corpse sat up, eyes filmed over white, and rattled out his answers through his slashed and ruined throat. He told us that Jane was not his killer, that the artifact was not on his person at the time of his murder—“only the key”—and that the lock the key goes to is “the family vault.” Mabar searches the body, finds a key ring with three keys on it, and pockets the keys.

Immediately after this we went to go speak with Jane. The guard let us in after a few minutes of commiseration with Mabar about how unappreciated he is. Jane, believing us to be her legal counsel, promptly told us everything she remembered. Mostly. Apparently Count von Vaughn was on his way to Castamere to conduct some important business transaction and she was quite bored on the trip so downed a draught of dragonsblood. She remembered nothing from then on until she woke in the jail cell. We had discovered before that the vial that once contained the dragonsblood had a chlorine smell, not at all like typical dragonsblood. She hesitated to tell us her dealer, and said she got it from her uncle’s stash—clearly lying. She did say that it was not typical for her to pass out from the drugs.

Then she drops a bombshell. When asked about her fiance and upcoming nuptials, she replies “Oh, I’ve met someone else and I’m breaking off the engagement.” Apparently she’s met a local who suits her fancy better. She won’t reveal any further details, no matter how much we ask. She only says that she will let Duke Newcomb know soon.

Dragonsblood is all the rage

While we’ve been raising the dead and discussing the dead with the living, Bubbles has been scouting out the dwarf that nearly sold Molniya dragonsblood last night. He leads us to a shady basement door with a sliding peephole. The dwarf from the night before, Buckesteen, talks to Molniya, who promises to play nice this time. He lets us in and we find ourselves in a small room with other dwarves preparing dinner, a shadowy tall figure standing in the corner, and the main drug dwarf eager to deal. Molniya purchases two vials of dragonsblood. The vial that Jane had drunk is of the same type, so we asked the dwarf if he knew anything about the one we found. He smelled it and said it had contained “Good Night Kiss” and denied knowing how to make it.

We had convinced the guard with a glimmer of gold to let Jane stay in the inn rather than in jail, so we returned to the inn to find Jane there. We tried again to get her to tell us where her drugs came from but she refuses to believe someone poisoned her. Molniya sets an alarm sprite and convinces the barkeeper and Duke Newcomb to watch out for her and listen for the alarm (as if they could do anything but hear the alarm…)

Duke Newcomb planned to leave in two days with Jane, whether or not she’s been cleared. Apparently the law out here is kinda fly-by-night. He planned to put a guard on her room as well. We also find out that his favorite part of Jane is her huge tracts of land.

On to the Vault

With everything we could do in the town of Castamere done, we left to go to Count von Vaughn’s estate to see if we could retrieve the object from the vault. As we crossed a bridge over a small river partway to the estate, we were ambushed by a kobold with a nasty metal staff, Darth Maul without the tattoos, several dwarves who were familiar from the drug-dwarf’s basement, and a handful of lowlife human thugs. The kobold shouts, “There they are, just like Buckesteen said they would be!” The dwarves then turned into giant bipedal rats, and everyone attacked. Fik almost immediately terrorized one of the wererats with the idea of marrying Mabar—he kept running and was never seen again. Fik is punished brutally by one of the thugs, who absolutely has it out for him and puts him on the ground twice.

When only two enemies were left on the bridge, a huge hole to Kythri, the elemental plane of chaos, inexplicably opened up under their feet, sucking them into it. The hole snapped shut and the party, looking around in the sudden quiet, found that the river that had once flowed under the bridge now flowed over it. As in, flowed straight upward as it got to the bridge to several feet above the road surface, across, then straight down on the other side of the bridge and continued on.

We arrived at Count von Vaughn’s manor and unlocked the gate with one of the three keys on the keyring. Molniya took one of the vials of dragonsblood and began tripping balls as we tried to explain to the butler what we were there for. The butler brought out the contract between House Orien/the Wayfinder Foundation and had us sign it, then sent us down into the vault after we explained that we had the key to the vault that Jane had given us. It seemed impolite to say we stripped it from his master’s corpse.

Is there an elevator in here?

The vault was 5 stories deep, and we left Molniya to be escorted by Arthur as we explored deep into the ground. At the final, lowest level we discovered that it was pitch black, and had Arthur fetch Molniya down to create light for us. The room contained three statues and a large black disc in the center on which rested an amulet—specifically the amulet we were there for, the Amulet of Here and There and Everywhere (AHTE). Molniya sent Bubbles to the center of the room to fetch it, and all hell broke loose.

The statues came to life as hideous gargoyles, two spectral guardians emerged from the walls, and the disc uncoiled itself and became a giant cobra. Early in the fight Mabar hit nearly every enemy pretty hard, but the rest of it became a slog. Nel at one point convinced a tiny mushroom none of us had seen before to shoot some sort of magic at one of the enemies. Molniya stops tripping partway through the fight but his drugged hallucinations were likely way more fun to deal with than the reality. Bri hits the ground twice because the gargoyles hit like an airship, and Mabar hits the ground once.

Once all enemies were dispatched, the amulet disappears. Cue much annoyance.

We return upstairs to find all the servants have looted the house and fled, leaving notes about the vault and the amulet. Apparently if the lowest level of the vault is breached and the guardians (awakened by unnatural light) defeated, the contents of the vault will magically teleport to the “old vault.”

Looks like we’ll be going to the Mournland.

Loading tip…

Few brave the hostile region known as the Mournland, finding that living, roaming spells, reanimated corpses, and dangerous craggy terrain to be too dangerous. Only the truly foolhardy or truly brave venture here, in part because no or few wounds heal within the Mournland borders. Only the exceptionally powerful or with an exceptionally strong will can manage to eke out the smallest measure of healing.

Quotes

“If it happens I won’t say no.” -Kelvin

“Nosy by nature.” Our new band name. -Dylan

“What happens when you do that (hold your hand over their mouth and pinch their nose shut) to sleeping people?” -Kelvin
“I don’t know, I never let go.” -Dylan

“Bubbles PI, Attorney at Law.” -Jen

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A (Partially) New Cast of Characters
Black Sun Rising Session 1

Assignment from the Wayfinder Foundation

Returning from their previous misadventures, Fik and Molniya met and invited Nel to continue on with them. Professor Dick Knuckles Richard Knucklewitz was impressed enough that he recruited the remains of the original group plus a few extras to help him out with a project for the Wayfinder Foundation. Professor Knucklewitz also hired Bri and Mabar to round out the group.

As relayed by Professor Knucklewitz, the group is to travel to Q’barra to retrieve an important magical travel artifact that both House Orien, and the Wayfinder Foundation want. Fortunately the Wayfinder Foundation has already made arrangements to purchase the artifact and supposedly all we have to do is pick it up. Our contact in Q’barra is one Count Vlad von Vaughn, a refugee from Cyre.

We left within a few days on the Snuggly Kraken, an elemental ship bound for Q’barra. Fik, we discover, got violently seasick on the open ocean and Arthur spent much of the trip holding his hair back. Nel and Molniya found time to fish on one of the days of the voyage while Bri and Mabar played a rousing board game where the loser loses a finger. Their game was interrupted by an abnormally large squid loose on deck from either Nel’s or Molniya’s fishing pole. Fik, clearly not in his right mind poisoned by his “friends”, began shouting about the baby dragon loose on deck. Nel went weretiger on the squid’s ass (or squid equivalent to an ass) and Molniya only half cooked it with lightning, to Bri’s delight. We ate sushi that night.

On the ground in Q’barra

We arrived in Adderport and discovered that Count von Vaughn lived 1-2 days travel out of Adderport, and that it was too late to head out that day. We decided to stay overnight in an interesting fusion of a butchery and hotel and got up early the next day to head toward Castamere.

After a full day of travel, we camped out only to wake up in the middle of the night to Molniya’s screaming alarm sprite. We found ourselves in knee-deep soupy fog, surrounded by suspicious lizardfolk. The lizardfolk asked us what we were doing there and we lied and told them we were headed to Whitecliff for House Orien. The lizardfolk seemed impressed by our connections to House Orien and ultimately melted back into the fog, leaving no trace.

The next day we continued to travel, and found an unfortunate snag in a particularly narrow, perilous portion of the road along a cliff face. Landslides had knocked much of the road out, leaving gaps in the road that were only barely safe to jump. In addition, a large creek/baby river had formed and flowed over a part of the road, its current too fast for us to cross safely. As we paused, trying to decide what to do, a huge wyvern creature and five lizardfolk emerged from the surrounding jungle and attacked.

It became readily apparent that the lizardfolk had booby trapped the road and we found that moving about the battlefield was difficult, if not impossible. Arthur was hit almost immediately by a violent, blatantly overpowered volley of arrows, many of which whistled straight through his ribs. Unfortunately enough of them connected that he was clearly hurting. Molniya’s spells were as effective as normal, although her lightning spell oddly included an additional kicker in the form of a live cat that followed immediately on the heels of the lightning and which clawed the face of a lizardman before disappearing. Molniya seemed confused. Ultimately Nel toasted the wyvern, and the rest of the lizardfolk fell soon thereafter.

Castamere, the Illicit Drug Trade, and the Beginnings of a Mystery

When we got to Castamere we found the locals less than hospitable. No one would talk to us or answer our questions. Eventually we were approached by a dragon-faced nobly-dressed man who was at least 6 foot tall and swole. He introduced himself as Duke Stuart Newcomb, and he had a business proposition for us. As it turns out, Duke Newcomb greatly disliked Q’barra and wished to return to civilized life elsewhere on Khorvaire. He wanted us to escort him and his fiance, the niece of Count von Vaughn who is also a Vaughn, Jane Vaughn, to Adderport, where they would secure their own transportation. We felt this was a fairly reasonable request, and agreed to do so if Jane also desired to leave—we would of course be paid handsomely. Duke Newcomb informed us that Count von Vaughn and Jane should be arriving into town the next day. In the meantime he put us up in the “inn” in town for the night.

Molniya in the meantime is approached by the dwarf barkeeper who offers hersome dragonsblood, which is apparently the hottest drug on the market right now in Q’barra. Molniya meets him later that night for the actual exchange, but when Molniya starts thinking of zapping the dwarf and taking the goods, the dwarf books it out of there faster than those short stubby legs should be able to move.

The rest of the night was uneventful, but a commotion in the morning brought us all out into the center of town, where Count von Vaughn’s coach had arrived. However, Count von Vaughn had arrived, not at Castamere, but likely on the plane of Dolurrgh as a result of his slit throat. The other Vaughn, Jane Vaughn, was unconscious.

Quotes

“I would cast Terror on her but I think she’d like it.” – Dylan
“It’s a Circle of Death! As it kills us all!” – Kelvin and Dylan, singing
“She’s been doing a good job of meat shielding from the rear” – ?

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In which we begin the end of the world
Session 3

Entering the Obsidian Portal

After we activated the portal’s glowing pedestals we walked through the obsidian portal. Beyond the portal was a perfectly round tunnel angling downward at just enough of an angle to be uncomfortable to walk down. Because the only logical thing for the group to do is to find some easier, lazier way of traversing the distance to wherever this tunnel leads, we slide down it. Molniya’s stinky cape helped her down the tunnel, and Tinker created a quick skateboard. Captain Hero came to the rescue of the rest of the party and invited everyone onto his cape.

At the bottom of the tunnel it opened out near the ceiling of a very tall open room. Fortunately we shot out of the tunnel and hit a soft, yielding surface. Unfortunately we fell off the soft surface (which turned out to be a gigantic mushroom) and to the ground several feet down.

We found ourselves in a huge room with several giant mushrooms growing. All around the room were circular openings into the room at all heights on the walls. Our arrival clearly angered the inhabitants of this strange fungus-filled space and they came out to play. Two four-armed, lipless and skinless guys came out of tunnels to either side of the room whispering unintelligible, nonsensical words, then repeating themselves backwards. They did this in unison, just to increase the creep factor. Several aphid-looking creatures also emerged from under the fungus and a large millipede with huge teeth-filled maws and tentacles scuttled out of another tunnel.

The two four-armed lipless and skinless guys reached into their torsos and ripped out one of their own ribs for each arm to use to beat us with. From yet another corridor lumbered a huge basilisk. At this point Fik decided it was time to bring out the big guns and called forth General Arthur’s stormtrooper army (who, as it turns out, are far more accurate than their namesakes).

Tinker made the grave error of looking at the basilisk (but in her defense she did hit it very hard) and then was out the rest of the fight as she began to turn to stone. She nearly managed to finish turning to stone as the stormtrooper army took out the basilisk.

Entering the Bronze Portal

After we recovered from the horrors of that fight, we explored a bronze door at the end of the room. The surface yielded to touch when Molniya put her left arm in, then pulled her left arm in. Just for good measure she put her left arm in again and shook it all about. We shoved Arthur through first. We followed cautiously and entered a strange angular room with spaces where no wall existed. The door to return to the previous chamber stopped working as soon as we came through it. Molniya spent a decent amount of time trying to reach just a little further back to where one section of the wall was just out of reach.

In the center of the room was a large fountain spewing liquid obsidian. Molniya made the great argument that Arthur would look great if he was obsidian-plated, but Fik didn’t seem too keen on that arrangement. At about that point, Tinker realized just what it was about that room that seemed familiar to her.

As it turns out, the room’s layout and features closely resembled an account she’d read while doing research for Dr Dick Richard Knucklewitz. In it, a traveler claimed to have traveled through a bronze portal and into Xoriat, the Realm of Madness. Molniya’s own knowledge backed this hypothesis up after she studied the sigils written in a large circle around the fountain on the floor.

Just as the group realized the horror of entering Xoriat unintentionally, the obsidian fountain began to raise off the floor. Below the fountain emerged feet… then legs… then the body of a monstrosity. As it strode out from under the fountain and toward the portal into Khorvaire, Captain Hero bravely stood in its way. It hardly glanced at him and shoved him out of the way.

We scrambled after the creature—definitely a daelkyr prince—as it rapidly exited the fungus room, headed back the way we came. We emerged out of the tunnel and into the first room, then climbed out of the hole that Bubbles had helped to dig.

We found Dr Dick Richard Knucklewitz alive but unconscious under a bush and left him there. Nearby the druids we met earlier had landed on our island with their two air boats. Unfortunately for them the frog man and the dirty halflling had been coerced to take off with the creature in one of the air boats. The daelkyr prince left behind a red smear that used to be the goblin, and left the half-orc with the perfectly clean robe pinned to the ground with the goblin’s solidified spine. The half-orc was still alive, to Molniya’s frustration, and gave the party a talisman and told us to hurry after the other boat—that the daelkyr prince would open a portal to Xoriat and begin another invasion of Xoriatian monsters.

The Chase (Or, the Only Time This Entire Session We Weren’t Dealing With Portals)

The party took the talisman and jumped into the air boat to pursue the other boat. Steering the boat was the frog-man with a strange mass—looks like a brain leech—on the back of his head. We did our best to catch up: Tinker tinkered with the engine while the rest of the party helped as they could. Tandria shot a log out of the path of our boat, and then shot the frog-man after Fik used a spell of scary death hands to root him in place. The daelkyr prince did not hesitate and slapped a brain leech on the back of the dirty halfling’s head. Captain Hero threw Boom into the other boat (Boom came back almost immediately—who knew cannonballs could float). Molniya’s piloting of the boat was acceptable.

What Exited the Portal

Unfortunately we just couldn’t catch up. The enemy boat sped off and landed on an island where the daelkyr prince excavated most of a small hill with a wave of his arms in order to find a menacing-looking portal. When we got there, he was clearly deep into a meditative state, and the portal was already open. As we watched, unspeakable horrors emerged.

First out came a floating fleshy orb with a single eye in the middle of it’s body with tentacle eye stalks sticking out every which way. It has no legs. (Probably very similar to this. Hint. Hint.) Two squat, dwarf-like, three armed creatures emerged next. One arm is huge, while the two arms on the opposing side are very puny. They have no head, just a gigantic mouth and two eyes in the middle of their chests. Then two giant daddy-long-legs with four legs emerged. They have a strange inflatable gas sack on the tops of their bodies and use that to fly. As we watch, their gas sacks inflate and they make as if to take off. Rather like a hot air balloon with super long spider legs.

This may be the end of our adventuring days.

Quotes

Dylan: “Exactly! If I think it’s messed up it’s really really fucking messed up!”
“The origin story of Bad Horse.”
“They’re bouncing everywhere, including my mouth.”
Kelvin: “I put my hand in. I put my hand out. I put my hand in and I shake it all about. I do the hokey pokey as I turn myself around. That’s what it’s all about.”

Captain Hero: “Where are we?”
Tinker: “Xoriat.”
Captain Hero: “Do they know me here?”

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