Upheaval in Zhaltssom

Adventure Session 2
Dark Illusion

Part 3: Sobbing Wrecks

Our party rode into the very magic-oriented city of Nathkarin late at night. Once there, they found that rooms had already been reserved for them at the Mithral Dagger Inn by Damian. Discussions at the tavern area led them to an arvicol by the name of Bogdan, who introduced himself as the mayor of the city and revealed that Damian actually ran the whole province. Bogdan was talking with a group of vermis and usagi about a tower that had made itself a problem – “Dark Illusion” was its name. Apparently, mists surrounding the city have teleported people to the tower and those who were kidnapped never returned. Neither did almost anyone who actually went to the tower intentionally – except, apparently, for Damian, who fell out of his chair when the party brought up the tower to him after Bogdan had been contacted via crystal ball. Damian revealed that the tower is where his scry/teleport disaster had happened and where his amulet had been taken.

Part 4: That Trapped Feeling

Research revealed that the mists involved in the incident are the kind of mists meant for summoning people, but almost never for rescue missions. The party would venture into the mist early in the day and found itself rapidly going to Dark Illusion.

The first floor’s traps were a mix of physical and magical – spike pits lined people up for lightning bolts from the statues, and those who evaded had to risk being crushed by fallen pillars. Meanwhile, near the walls, walls of spears concealed flame jets that would cook impaled victims. The party luckily managed to avoid the majority of the traps here and evaded the ones that they did trip.

The party would ignore the basement for the time being, just based on the smog they saw when opening the door.

The second floor was almost purely magical traps. It started with lightning bolt traps, which were one of the few traps in the tower that actually hit any of the party members. Second were rooms of ice and fire, with even more traps hidden within. The party braved the ice room and took advantage of their natural fur to escape with relatively little injury, although Rephael did get speared once by an icicle trap.

Traps finally stopped being an issue on the third floor, but the party had a new problem – a wooden golem. The golem’s lumber parts turned out to be rotted and moldy, and when the golem was destroyed, it spread mold all around the room. Drake would be the only one to fall victim to the mold and developed hallucinations, rushing out of the tower to avoid a ceiling collapse that only he could see… but when the hallucinations wore off, he realized he was being fooled and rejoined the party.

The fourth floor was mostly a storeroom. Notes in Gnomish, moldy food, a few bottles of blood and decades-old wine, and a magical icebox full of items that had suffered a year-long case of freezer burn were the noteworthy finds. Also noteworthy was at the door to the next floor – Bruin would set off a springboard trap that slammed him into the ceiling. Luckily, Drake pulled him out before he could fall through stained glass panes and possibly onto a statue on the first floor.

Part 5: The Tower’s True Threat

On the fifth floor, Rephael and Drake noticed a wicked stench from above. They decided not to deal with this yet and opened the door to find a peraltan vampire, Phicarda, seated on a large throne. Behind his throne were two piles of ashes. As soon as he saw the party, he dominated Bruin and lured him closer to drain some of his blood, then sent him back over to the party. While the party did try to ascertain why Phicarda was stuck here and what he was up to, that initial act really doomed any chance of fully peaceful negotiations. After the party attempted to match up Phicarda’s story and couldn’t really get a full picture of what was going on, Bruin attacked him, forcing Phicarda to defend himself. Despite one solid strike on Fiona, Phicarda was tripped and quickly overwhelmed, at which point Rephael chose to behead him, turning the vampire into dust. The ashes behind the throne turned out to be victims he drained dry, including his former master. When the party remembered to search Phicarda’s ashes, they found a very rare amulet with gemstones that ultimately turned out to be Damian Xinara’s amulet – though Fiona noticed an odd necromancy aura about it, Rephael could not sense any evil.

Finally, on the sixth floor, the party discovered the source of the stench – a room completely full of corpses. Zombies would rise repeatedly to assail the party, only to be brought low. Eventually, Fiona realized that the crystal in the center of the room was the source of this constant zombie uprising, prompting the party to focus most of their efforts on it and ultimately destroy it. The act of destroying the crystal not only stopped the zombie attacks, but deactivated most of the magic powering Dark Illusion’s many traps. The crystal, as Fiona realized, turned out to be the kind that would require many literal sacrifices to construct and most of the gods would be pleased by its destruction. Meanwhile, Drake and Rephael found a journal in a side room, initially in Gnomish, then in a very large Common script. The Common script, which the party ascertained was Phicarda’s writing, detailed his discovery of the tower and initial conversion into a vampire, and suddenly revealed that he actually committed diablerie against his master by draining his blood and undead energy completely. The experience and further struggles upon realizing that he was trapped alone in a tower and needed to treat every visitor as a meal drove Phicarda almost completely insane.

The party revisited the basement after destroying the crystal and discovered that the magical traps, including the smog, had been deactivated by the crystal’s destruction. A few mechanical traps remained, but the party got around them just fine, and discovered that Damian’s gear was placed down here during his scry/teleport disaster.

Damian’s reaction to the party surviving the tower and retrieving the amulet was shock, awe, and a little bit of fear. When questioned about the amulet’s necromancy aura, he finally let slip the fact that he was a lich – in fact, a child of a lich who researched a spell to make his own spawn. Damian also revealed he destroyed that research when he found out, so it’s clear that Damian has SOME contempt for the type of blasphemy towards nature that he is.

The kind of treasure haul that the party received from the tower, plus the reward they were able to get out of Damian for retrieving the amulet, single-handedly put them in the tax bracket of the aristocracy and made them well-respected by the kingdom. There is some worry that there could be repercussions for destroying the crystal, though….

View
Adventure Session 1
The Adventure Begins

Locations Mentioned:
Ikonroel
Thertalla Road
Nathkarin
Mazikira

Introduction

Ikonroel is a city on the border of the northern and central provinces of the Orozhakian kingdom. News recently travelled there that a mine collapsed to the north and had to be evacuated. News reached Teikoku Yamanai, who had considered putting out a call for adventurers… but adventurers found him already, near the city’s central fountain.

Part 1: Muggers!

When the adventurers met Teikoku, he was discussing the matter of the mine collapse and the discovered rakshasa with Damian Xinara. When the rakshasa was brought up, the party interrupted to ask about it. Teikoku revealed to them that the mine was raided twice – and that undead were used by the rakshasa, not the original raiders. Damian would also reveal during the conversation that his amulet was stolen – and when pressed, he hinted that the thieves were strong magic users because he couldn’t scry on them and was trapped when he tried to teleport. He also claimed that his amulet “meant his life to him”, as well as his ‘son’ Sergei.

The conversation was rudely interrupted by a mugging occurring across the street. Investigating, the party found Dominic, Pacallus, and some gang members roughing up civilians to try and get information. While the party sent Teikoku to get the guard, Damian tried to go around to free the civilians and the party dealt with the gang. The gang, including Pacallus, was ruthless and found to be evil… but Dominic wasn’t detected as such and certainly didn’t act with the same hostility towards the party. In fact, he was quite scared when push came to shove. The guard finally arrived when the situation was under control, with Pacallus unconscious and Dominic sobbing and bound. A brief interrogation revealed that Dominic was wanted for “crimes against the kingdom”, specifically the mine collapse. Jotted notes in the back of his spellbook indicated that the action causing the mine collapse was an accident: “In trying to save them, I may have doomed them all.”

Dominic and Pacallus were both taken into custody. The party was asked not to bother them during the interrogation and to meet Damian at the north gate of town. The party was headed to Nathkarin.

Part 2: Firearms Are a Thing?

On the Thertalla Road, one of the major roads leading from the north part of the Orozhakian kingdom to the center, the party encountered a small lookout tower. Upon investigating, they were ambushed by drakeling raiders. There was also clearly something in the tower, but the party couldn’t clearly see what it was other than that it was all metal. During the fight, two explosions rang out from the tower, and both Rephael and Bruin found that objects had struck them. The decision was made during the combat to start destroying the tower, which led to first a muskrat-like creature dropping down on Drake, then both an ursin (Vaurirc) and a solenops (Rantrabi) falling from the tower – the latter dropping a double-barreled musket to the ground.

The latter trio surrendered when Drake trampled them with his horse. With the raiders dead, the trio were questioned and Rantrabi’s musket was taken from him. Apparently, Rantrabi was planning to conduct raids along this pass until his tax collector, Quianna, was brought back to him – and Vaurirc was meant to be his bodyguard. Damian recognized that Rantrabi was supposed to have died five years ago, but the party didn’t make much of it at the time. They instead gave a severe reprimand to Rantrabi and his crew, and it was decided that they needed to be taken into custody so that they wouldn’t cause much more trouble.

Now the party is riding north to Nathkarin, with Damian being delayed by the need to bring in new criminals.

View
Prologue
Raid in the Ethess Mountains

The players:

Leticia Hajek
Ganzorig Dragonchanter
Gjurd Gomez
Quianna Rothbauer
Roderick Stenberg
Shun Lichtenberg

Others:

Dominic Bakalov
Vaurirc “Stareye”
Roas Ironclash
Samir Shulac

The Ethess Mountains are known to be quite a cold place, acting as a buffer between the northern clans and the rest of the Orozhakian kingdom. However, it is also known for its rare resources, so mining is common in the area. On this day, one of the mines was subject to a bandit raid, which was rudely interrupted by some heroes trying to make a name for themselves. In the scuffle, Dominic, one of the ‘heroes’, cast an errant spell that collapsed part of the mine and trapped several people inside one of the inner areas. While the raid continued, our party set themselves on rescuing the miners.

While the bandits were known to resort to some measure of brutality, their orders were to seize the mine, not murder innocents. As such, their entourage did not count on undead infesting the mine. The party encountered ghouls and ghasts fairly quickly, and Roderick suffered a few nicks and cuts in the ensuing fight, but Quianna was bitten and temporarily paralyzed by one of the creatures. The wound was quickly healed, but the disease was already in her bloodstream.

Our party had little time to worry about that, however, because they found other miners who were trying to lay low while the raid was going on. One of them grew quite wary of Shun, believing her to be involved in the raid, but the party was able to get him to calm down and stay out of danger for the time being. Gjurd noted that the torches the miners had planted not only had a continual flame spell on them, but also a protection from evil. He thought back briefly to an undead attack on a nearby mine about a month prior to this raid, but knows he didn’t put an order for these torches – someone else had.

Going further into the mine, the party heard the howling of dogs. Roderick noted that the mine did not use dogs in any way, so there was little surprise when Shun peeked around and discovered yeth hounds nearby. Before the party could deal with them, a humanoid walked in and threw a black tentacles spell at the creatures, showcasing his powers to the party. It was revealed that the man was after a scroll that was in the area – one that the party had not found yet. He gave them an order to stay out of his way – but after Leticia got nervous shakes about the man, the party attacked him, finding him much tougher than usual after he showed his true colors as a rakshasa. Gjurd was eventually able to lay a smokescreen, giving both parties a chance to get away…

…except that Shun pursued the rakshasa, Samir, through a magical portal. She wound up encountering an entire cult of rakshasas, and was overwhelmed when she tried to take all of them on at once. The rakshasas spared her, however, and considered her worthy to join their cause. When she refused, the leading rakshasa placed a geas on her, forcing her to serve them against her will. Her first task was to retrieve the scroll that Samir had failed to acquire – a scroll that was in a language so ancient, only the head rakshasa knew anything about it. Her second task is to work with Samir.

The rest of the party, after recovering from their experience with Samir, proceeded to free the remaining miners. By this point, the raid on the mine had ended, but the decision was still made to temporarily evacuate the mine due to the undead presence. News of this attack and the raid by a rakshasa has since reached the ears of Orozhaki’s foreign minister, Teikoku Yamanai.

With various other troubles in the kingdom as of late, Teikoku will need to dispatch adventurers to deal with this new threat…..

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.