Shattered Sky

(2-3) Caves of Terrtan

General Basram brought the party, by way of rocs, to a Farland on the opposite end of the kingdom. This island known as Terrtan is inhospitable and entirely mountainous, but believed to hold a crystal of some great importance. The intel came from General Yuzen’s sources, but as there’s little love between the Orders of the Green Earth and the Blue Sky, Basram wished to obtain the crystal before Yuzen could, and to that end the party was brought in to assist. Along the way, Veré won 5 gold in gambling with Basram’s men.

Upon landing, the party was sent with an escort. The young paladin, Geoffrey, was sent to protect the party despite being cluelessly naive. With him and eight other in Terrtan, the rocs left, to return later to retrieve the adventurers as there was nowhere to set the mighty birds down. With only Geoffrey in tow, the cave exploration began, with the other officers heading in other directions.

A lone goblin was discovered, mid panic. Killing him, the party found a bloody scroll with orders from Barbanath, but little else still legible. The cause of the goblin’s panic revealed itself to be several mephits, small elemental creatures that attacked the party as well. Defeated, they were found to be carrying many assorted gems.

Not far into the caves, Geoffrey discovered members of the Order of the Blue Sky and, not wanting the civilians to be discovered, went to intercept them. A cave in cut him off from the party who then went on without him. They were quickly lost in shifting tunnels as mephits and a medium earth elemental reshaped the maze they wandered into, laughing all the while. Growing tired of the party’s slow progress, the mephits took to taunting until the party, having drawn sufficient marks on the floor to know they’re being fooled into an unsolvable maze, called out the antagonists to show themselves.

The elemental and his smaller bretheren declared that the party need prove themselves worthy to protect their master, then set to combat. Defeated, they opened the way to a hidden chamber as their last act. Within, several everburning torches illuminated a pedestal holding, amidst broken shards, one larger and undamaged brownish crystal etched with three straight lines, heavier than expected, warm to the touch, and glowing with the same light as the Novar Soul when looked at by Novar’s holder.

Experience: not awarded yet
Treasure: 36 assorted gemstones (100 gp each), 5 gold (Vere), khur fragment of the steward

Body Count: 1 goblin, 3 earth mephits, 3 salt mephits, 1 medium earth elemental

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(2-2) Novar Tower

With the party inside the tower, along with General Basram’s men, they come to learn that the lower level was flooded, and the stairs leading upwards were blocked.

Hearing that the lower level was flooded, Kar’uul volunteered to venture into the pitch dark of the depths below. Feeling his way forth and after a few turns in the maze-like passages. he came across a sphere-like artifact on a pedestal with a rod stuck in the middle, similar to the one on the ground level. Kar’uul pulled out the rod, which caused the sphere to glow, and opening the hatchway leading to the 2nd floor.

Kar’uul met back up with the party on the ground floor, and ventured upwards with General Basram and his scribe. There, they see a third sphere with a rod intersecting it, surrounded by a clear circular wall. Along the outside of the wall are 6 locks on a rotating metal rail. General Basram and his scribe head back down to find a locksmith while the rest of the party, through trial and error, determined that each lock must be opened by a different race. Veré, through use of his changling abilities, opens the rest of the locks while the party discussed the matter and wasn’t watching. Only Tanien saw Vere change. The party activated the third orb to unlock the 3rd level of the tower.

On the 3rd level, the party encountered a series of circular platforms, surrounded by inky darkness. Ul’harr tried to make a series of running and high jumps to get to the orb on top of a platform. He fell through the floor once, finding himself appearing back at the entrance and landing on top of Tanien. His second attempt was successful and the floor materialized into solid ground, allowing the party to head to the next floor.

Traveling up to the 4th level, the party finds the same orb bisected by a rod attached to the ceiling. Beneath it is a bowl on a pedestal. Strange inscriptions on the pedestal read, “Sacrifice for your art.” Cutting his hand and allowing blood to drip into the bowl, Tanien regained the use of magic long enough to use mage hand to activate the orb, allowing the way up to the next level.

On the 5th level, the party encountered a lit walkway and a console to darken areas of it selectively. With an inscription saying, “Only in light is there life. Only what is seen is real.” Using light and darkness, they were able to avoid the wraiths on the path and get safely to the next set of stairs.

After clearing the 5th level, the party opens the hatch to see sky. Atop the tower, the party sees a small mound similar to what was seen in the Cave of Sun, which teleported them to a closed room with a blue sphere. The sphere both healed them and introduced itself as an artifact left behind by Novar in case the world was in danger of losing the Everstorm. Heading up one final flight, the party was on top of the tower and there, fought a sapphire golem. When the golem crumbled, the Novar Soul was found in its crumbled debris. The party was then teleported back down to the first floor and the antimagic field faded.

General Basram was duely impressed, though saddened that the party had not found any artifacts with the symbol of an eye, since the party lied and kept the Great Soul secret. Wishing to aid the party and to receive further aid from the party, he challenged the adventurers to a contest to earn the respect of his men. Four against four, evenly matched sides begin a strictly nonlethal combat which ended in victory for the Stormguard members, even though Basram’s fighter was left standing. In reward, Basram handed out magic equipment to protect the party.

Experience: 2025 XP (Party reaches level 3)
Treasure: novar soul, armband of elusive action (Veré), bracers of quick strike (Kar’uul), bracers of armor +1 (Tanien), boots of dragonstriding (Ul’harr)

Body Count: 1 saphhire golem, 1 elven wizard (KO), 1 halfling thief (ko), 1 dwarven cleric (KO)

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(2-1) Joining Stormguard

From Tanien’s perspective, year has passed since Tanien’s party met their end. Tanien had been whisked away to a pocket extradimensional space to receive training at the tutelage of Moro, returning to the world he left to continue the quest he had begun with his friends, now lost.

Tanien, a former alchemist, is now a learned wizard dropped at the doors of Talas Temple. From the world’s view, just a day has passed since he left the Veiled Camp. He meets with the High Priest where he conveys the grim news of Salamand‘s diminishing powers, and with it, the Everstorm. The priest calls for two strongarms and a rogue to assist; a warforged named Kar’uul, a dragonborn named Ul’harr, and a humanoid named Veré.

Instructed that they should set out for an ancient tower, older than Ciel itself, they must first take care of a bandit problem at a Roc Aviary to obtain transport. The newly formed group sets off on mounted steeds.

Noticing a dark plume of smoke as they near the aviary, the 4 riders charge towards a group of humans and goblins skirmishing over the last Roc. Vere sneaks past to free the Roc from its lead while the rest of the group enter the fray. The human bandits and the goblin raiders were sufficiently distracted by their own melee that the party was able to easily dispatch both groups and take to the skies on top of the roc towards Novar’s Tower.

Nearing the farland where they will find Novar’s Tower, the magical restraints fade away, causing Tanien and Ul’harr to fall off, while Kar’uul and Vere manage to hang on. Tanien is saved by the Safe Wing Emblem, and the 4 meet back down on solid ground.

They meet General Basram and assorted members of the Order of the Green Earth who informs them that the Order is already trying, with some difficulty, to get into Novar’s Tower. They deactivated one mechanism on the ground floor, but it only unlocked the basement, which is flooded. Without the ability to magically summon for help or expand breath, they have sent a rider to return with a diving crew. The party arrived first and has a warforged, so Basram has asked that Kar’uul dive for them.

Experience: not awarded yet
Treasure: 300 gold, 120 silver, 4 potions of cure light wounds, 3 brooches of safe wing emblems, bag of dust of tracelessness, potion of enlarge person, 2 crumpled scrolls (tensers floating disc and comprehend languages)

Body Count: 4 humans, 6 goblins (1 merely disabled)

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(1-3) Bandit Camp Infiltration

After an uneventful trip to the Veiled Camp’s location, the camp could not be found. All that was in the area was a relief on a cliff wall written in High Occurian, a small reservoir of water, and a cave entrance. Entering the cave revealed only a small room with a raised sun symbol on the floor. Stepping on it, the party was taken to another small room.

In the inner chamber, a mechanism allowed for the only door to be opened if a wheel was turned to one of four symbols representing the four classical elements. Selecting air and opening the door revealed a puzzle that could not be solved, but fire, water, and earth led to different rooms through the same door, with each containing an elemental “instructor” and a battle. Each left behind a three foot beam that, when assembled together in the air room, created steam from heat and water, opening the way to another teleporter and a deeper chamber.

In the innermost room, The Docent, a stone face, explained that Occurian Runes require life force, most commonly blood, to activate. He translated the runes on the relief outside as Aesh Hoon Zill, translated roughly as “the sun’s light will power the true vision.” Barbanath passed through the chambers as well, but left impatiently without learning much of the runes.

Outside, Garth cut his hand and both smeared the blood on the runes themselves and dripped some into the water reservoir. Speaking the runes aloud, the sun’s light shined on the camp and it’s illusion magic was dispelled. The party snuck into camp.

Not far in, a human was found frustratedly trying to fix his ring, which had previously transformed him into a bugbear so he could server under Barbabath. As soon as the human was slain, Tanien put on the ring and with it. Tanien scouted out the location of the leadership while the others fell prey to several traps on the outskirts of camp. Reunited, Tanien led the others toward the center of camp under the ruse of having captured them.

At the camp’s center, in a large tent, Barbanath was found already talking to Salamand, one of the Occuria. Barbanath gloated shortly, then shifted from his goblin appearance to that of a large wolf and left, seemingly in a hurry, leaving behind his dominated unicorn to block the way after him. Unwilling to kill a noble and enslaved creature, the party spoke to Salamand and learned that he’s desperate.

The Festival of the Storm is due shortly, but Salamand may not be able to fulfill his task and preserve the storm. Six crystals, which he calls the Great Souls. Named after six mortals from ages past, the crystals called Adon, Celare, Cogitare, Incendar, Novar, and Vaymin must be retrieved to complete the Festival. Unfortunately, Salamand himself may not live that long without additional strength. Life for life, mortal blood is needed to sustain him. To that end, Garth, Dirk, and Nyk gave themselves willingly. Tanien would have also, but a voice urged him, through the staff he was given in Aiden, to live and help Salamand in the world so Barbanath will not be left as the sole man who know’s Salamand’s plight.

Tanien was given a mark on his arm, then the elderly elf Moro brought him out of the camp and into a sequester spell, there to spend over a year imparting the secrets of arcane magic. Tanien’s existing skills faded from disuse and disinterest, but his potential was greatly broadened. Tanien was left Moro’s livewood staff as a momento.

Experience: no experience, but Tanien switched class
Treasure: 1 ring of disguise self (bugbear), 1 breastplate (fitted to a bugbear or muscular human)

Body Count: 1 medium fire elemental, 1 medium water elemental, 1 medium earth elemental, 1 human
Casualties: Garth, Dirk, Nyk

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(1-2) City Under Siege

Investigating the Summoning Dagger, Tanien was given a scroll identifying two Occurian Runes by his master Boborien, saying that they may be related to the Low Occurian on the Dagger’s blade. Asking about Barbanath’s whereabouts, the party received word that an imminent threat was posed to the nearby city of Aiden, involving forces conspiring with the unknown evil of the Dagger in the party’s possession. Garth also shared word that a golem guarded the western gate of Aiden, as tipped off by his friend Dog. The party decided to part Liir for the gnomish underground city of Aiden, to the southeast.

Departing on foot, the party set camp for the night after a good hike. While taking 2nd watch, Dirk was alerted to a bandit raid when a sling bullet impacted his knapsack. He roused the rest of the party, who then took up defensive positions around the camp. Garth, still drowsy and somewhat miffed at his interrupted beauty sleep, let out a loud roar, utterly demoralizing one bandit into fleeing. The other two were dispatched without much work. After ensuring the camp was secure once again, and catching some rest for the last hours of the night, the party made the rest of the way to Aiden the next day.

At Aiden, Nyk’s climbing skills located the entrance to the city, a dark tunnel patrolled by a golem ordered to kill any non-gnomes it saw. Nyk snuck past and put out all lights in the tunnel, letting the others likewise pass the sentinel. Inside the city, it was seen that goblins and dogs patrolled, kidnapping gnomes everywhere.

The party went looking for survivors, but only initially found a single female child, hiding and terrified. Tanien calmed the child and was given a religious idol as a good luck charm before leaving. Further down the road, two gnomish soldiers were found, one leaving to save the child and the other serving as a guide to the leadership of the invaders, currently leading away the last of the captive gnomes.

As Nyk freed the captives by cutting their ropes, the rest of the party dispatched the bugbear lieutenant and his goblin soldiers, along with a few war dogs. On the bugbear was a scroll translating the Dagger’s text:

Salamand roused by earth kin sanguine let, entreat sigil stain they of mortal beget

What was seen in the next room was not pleasant. In a room filled with dead gnomes and swarms of diseased rats, a single surviving gnome told the tale of how the bugbear lieutenant and a robed figure used another summoning Dagger to kill gnomes and conjure a mirror-like portal through which he spoke with a voice. It was then that the lieutenant was marked on his forehead with a rune. The purpose of the ritual is not yet known, only that the “earth kin” in the Dagger’s writing refers to gnomes. A dead goblin nearby had a map on him locating the Veiled Camp, which appears to the party’s next destination.

Experience: 2100 XP (party reached level 3)
Treasure: 213 gold, 46 silver, 4 masterwork daggers, 1 masterwork heavy steel shield, 1 masterwork quarterstaff, 1 masterwork spear, 1 masterwork longsword, 2 potions of magic weapon, 1 potion of barkskin, 1 potion of mage armor, 2 potions of cure light wounds

Body Count: 2 Humans, 2 Goblins, 4 Dogs, 1 Bugbear, 1 Large Swarm of Rats

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(1-1) Seeking Trouble

In the quiet town of Liir, the blacksmith Toroth was overheard plotting with a stranger to steal a dagger from the mayor, Simon Brak. Rallying his friends, Tanien decided to stop him.

Meeting up at the Fey Flagon, Tanien, Nyk, Garth and Dirk talked until Toroth walked in, then asked the waitress, Cynthia, to help them find out where he had the dagger, learning it was under his tunic already. Starting a bar fight to hide their intentions, the party stole the dagger and left.

In the apothecary where Tanien worked, the party studied the Summoning Dagger and learned that is is primarily Conjuration based magic, but also somewhat Necromantic. The party decided not to risk returning it to the mayor, instead going after Toroth’s contact directly. Just before dusk, they headed into the forest west of town.

After being ambushed by goblins and disabling a trapped door, the party entered a hut in the woods and spoke with an injured bugbear who represented Barbanath, the notorious thief. A short battle followed, and the party obtained a letter to Barbanath apologizing for the delay in obtaining the dagger.

With no further lead, the party has decided to ask Tanien’s employer about the dagger’s magics and to subtly gather information about Barbanath in the hopes of finding his camp. First though, everyone will need a couple days to recover from their wounds.

Experience: 950 XP (party reached level 2)
Treasure: Two Potions of Cure Light Wounds, 18 gold pieces

Body Count: 3 humans (KO), 4 goblins, 1 bugbear

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