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Offline Nathan Sherman

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Session Summary #8
« on: November 20, 2019, 05:43:23 PM »
Session #8 Summary

Grab some coffee, this is a long summary due to some character backstory developments, a revelation about the banishment gate and a players recap of the end of session conversation and thoughts about direction for the next session.

Cast of Characters
Theren Moonshadow, a Moon Elf Bard played by Payson
Lutheo, a Halfling Paladin played by Dale
Otep, a Half Orc Fighter played by Nelson
Akronos, a Human Wizard played by Alec
Ceress, a Saurien Monk played by Graham

The party returns to Freeport after realizing that the mansion and undead in there are too much for them to take on at this point. They break up into two separate groups and get rooms at separate inns to make sure that they arenít identified as a party given their unique racial combination would make the five of them stand out.

While in Freeport they sell off the loot they got from the goblin necromancer, Theren buys membership in the mariners guild so he can search old star maps for clues to the Thun Pines poem that he has been trying to figure out for the past 111 years (still no luck on finding anything useful, just like every other attempt at every other opportunity he has had, which has been many) . He is sure that one day he will figure out the mystery of the missing star and be able to reunite all of the elves and bring the Drow back into the fold of goodness.

Akronos works with local merchants to further his trade empire since he hasnít fully given up his old profession of being a merchant in favor of being an adventurer. Otep uses his share of the loot to buy a cloak of protection from a local merchant (with Akronos help in negotiating) and then buys from the High Street Bakery the best clam chowder bread bowl he has ever had in his life. Ceress goes shopping for some magic items but canít find what he is looking for at a price he can afford (displacer cloaks are well out of his budget). Lutheo experiments with his Sumerack Shield and discovers that the protective bubble that it makes insít just held stationary by the ground that it passes through but is stationary in any space, even in mid air. He tested this by jumping off the roof of their inn and yelling Sumerack, thus stopping his fall to the ground and only falling to the bottom of the twenty foot wide forcefield.

Theren decides to ask the local church about undead but doesnít get much helpful information. He then goes to the Landlubber's Inn which is located next to the City Militia Hall on the north end of town. He buys a few rounds and plays a few songs before sitting down and talking to the guards to find out more about the haunted mansion and this General Tomas Harn that the warning signs mentioned. He finds that General Harn is the current general of the City Militia and a no-nonsense military man.

When Theren asks about the ghost stories he has heard about the mansion the guardsman tells him that he doesnít really know anything about it but Kalchick, Captain of the Country Guard at the other end of the bar probably does. With a couple free drinks Kalchick is happy to share ďOnce or twice a decade a foolish party of adventurers will think they have a chance where everyone else has died before. We donít like to attract the suicidal so we try to discourage attempts at clearing the mansion.

Some go to the mansion for the hopes of treasure, glory, earning the estate or just as an exciting way to die.

We donít know why the spirits stay inside the property but one of my primary goals of the Militia is that the spirits never gets out to wreak havoc on the surrounding population.

Hereís the deal that Freeport is willing to make. If someone kills the spirit they can have the estate and anything they find in it but in order to have that deal they must leave all the valuables they have on them with my office. If and when they die the valuables will be sold off and the proceeds will de donated to the local orphanage. If by chance they survive they will be given their possessions back. A couple guards will accompany them to the estate. After theyíve gone in and have been given enough time to die the guards will board it back up to keep the evil spirts sleeping happily inside their cursed mansion. Iíve been on that detail once about 12 years ago. It was a party of seven adventurers including two wizards and one priest. I think they were pretty powerful since the wizards were able to cast a lightning both that forked and hit many targets, but it still didnít look like it did anything. About half a minute after entering the mansion they started screaming and dying, so what ever is in there is pretty nasty.

Me and the boys on my detail got hazard pay for that days work of boarding it back up but it definitely wasnít worth the nightmares Iíve had about it.Ē

Theren asks about other ghost stories as well just to make it seem like he isnít focused on the mansion and Kalchick is happy to tell him all sorts of tales.

The party decides to follow the red dot on the map back to Aridorn despite the fact that some of them (Otep) think it might be a trap by the Knights of the Abyss or the demon lord. Due to the cost to transport horses on a ship they sell off their horses and book passage on the Clay Duck, the next ship leaving port for Aridorn. The voyage is pretty uneventful aside for the occasional see sickness. As they pass the point of Lands End they take the gem out of its box just in case the bad guys are magically searching for it. They also check the finger and it is still pointing back to Freeport.

Once they get to Aridorn they are given the same warning at the docks that carrying weapons and wearing armor in the city is forbidden and that they should stow their gear at the first possible opportunity. They break up into two separate groups and head to The Kettle to get rooms and set up a meeting with Boazman. They send Ceress in alone to check with the Saurian innkeeper to see if there are any developments that they should know about. After a moment of talking Drakos recognizes Ceress as the one that was here with the halfling, half-orc, elf and human. He pulls him into a side room and lets him know that someone has been killing saurians in town and to watch himself and his friends. There are probably eyes on the street looking for their group.

Akronos goes to Boazman house and finds out from his wife that he is still at work at the university. The party goes to the university in groups and splits up. Ceress stays outside while Theren and Lutheo go into the library. Lutheo looks for information about the Knights of the Abyss and the king of Mercia during the time when Nikova would have been his advisor. He finds nothing that they havenít already learned. Theren once again researches Thun Pines and this poem that he has been hunting for the missing name of the star that rhymes with orange but doesnít find anything.

Akronos and Otep track down Boazman in his office and Boazman is happy to see them and share all that he has learned. With an escort from Otep, he goes back home and retrieves the book on demon banishment, the book of Thun Pines poetry and the poem that Theren has entrusted him to research.

The party gather together and use a Rope Trick spell to insure their privacy in the conversation with Boazman to find out what he has discovered.

Boazman tells them that he has made some good progress on the book of demon banishing and that he has also made some great discoveries about Therenís poem. Despite the parties interest in the demon banishment, Theren points out he has been waiting 111 years to find answers about this poem and they have only been waiting for less than a month for answers about the demon, so the poem information must comes first.

ďIíve been gotten completely wrapped up in this whole gloomy ďweíre all going to die because of the demonsĒ business but Iíve made great progress on researching your book and poem as well.

Thank you for bringing me such a wonderful project. Iíve had a lot of fun researching it and I hope youíll enjoy the findings as much as I have.

I started with the book since it was a much larger volume to work with. I analyzed the ink and the paper in the book and found it to have a specific mix of hawthorn bark and a wine mixture that were commonly used by the nobility of the Drakkellian Alliance a little over 200 years ago. The paper in the book also supports these findings.

I contacted one of my colleagues in the Drakkellian Alliance and he dug through the histories there for me. What he was able to find was amazing!

The book was written by Gustav Wilder, bard to the nobles of the Drakkelian Alliance and creator of the clues for the Festival of the Coin for more than 20 years. The Festival of the Coin I say!

He was also famous for writing wild poems and stories about mysteries with clues to be discovered during an evening leading to a big reveal in a dinner mystery, kind of like a scavenger hunt for the thinking man. These later became know as ďwild goose chasesĒ after his name of Gustav Wilder. Gustav Wilder, Wild Goose Chase. Just brilliant!

Many of the Goose Chases had political humor to them or looped back on themselves with surprise endings that changed the whole meaning and understanding of the rest of the evening. It was absolutely marvelous writing I tell you.

In his grand humor, he later published these under the pen name of Thun Pines. The man was a brilliant writer and this book is apparently a collection of all of his Goose Chases. My colleague estimates that this compilation is worth at least 50 gold pieces and maybe more if you sold it at an auction house in Drakkell where the nobles might bid it up.

In case you havenít already caught the meaning of the name Thun Pines, itís a creative anagram for ďSnipe HuntĒ which is another name for a wild goose chase. You might not have Snipes Hunts where you come from but in Drakkell they will take an unsuspecting fool out into the woods, usually at night, to help them catch the elusive ďsnipeĒ.

The funny part is that there is no such creature and you then abandon the fool out there  for hours while you and your friends go back and enjoy a good laugh at their expense! Just plain mean fun but brilliant of Gustav to use it in his writing.

But how does all of this tie into your loose little poem you ask? This is where it gets very interesting. My analysis of the ink and paper stock of your poem shows that it also almost definitely originated in Drakkell.

You see, the ink used was still a mixture of the hawthorn bark and wine found in Drakkell but the scribes of Drakkell experimented for a short time with adding in tannic acids to the mixture. The method was later discarded when it was discovered that iron salts was a far superior mixture. This ink on your poem was only used for a decade or two about 180 years ago so maybe 20 years after Gustavís Wild Goose Chases.

This was probably written by a copy cat that admired Gustavís work but you can tell by reading it that itís not an original Gustav since the wording isnít nearly as cleaver. Also, there is no word that rhymes with Orange which is probably why he tore that section out, trying to make it a Goose Chase but not clever enough to write it like Gustav would have.

The poem is probably useless and of no value, but this book is a rare find, something that you can cherish for years, entertain your friends with by recreating the original Wild Goose Chases or sell it for a pretty little pile of gold.

I hope this helps and that itís what you were looking for.Ē

Theren is crushed to hear this. He has been pursuing the meaning of this poem obsessively for almost all of him elven life, dedicating the past 111 years to discovering the missing star that it refers to, the one that should have rhymed with orange. He starts cycling through the stages of grief with denial and then anger at this discovery. The rest of the party is kind of in shock at the discovery.

They urge Boazman to move on to discuss the demon banishing workbook and his discoveries in it. He tells them that the gate that they found has sixty glyphs inscribed in the stone surrounding it. These glyphs help seal the gate and keep this end of the Conduit closed, even against magical undoing. They are designed to be very difficult to dispel. Each one is the tip of an iceberg of a larger maze-glyph. Each binds a warding spell to it. To undo each anchor glyph, the puzzle it represents must be solved. Each layer is exponentially more complex than the previous layer. Deeper levels of the glyphs contains traps, dead-ends and puzzles within puzzles to further obfuscate and deter resolution of the glyph. The deepest layer is the core layer, the most complex and time consuming. Usually the core layer contains an entire defensive spell within it, designed to injure anyone trying to undo the anchor glyph. The six Conclave Freedom members each designed a portion of the glyphs to insure that they styles were very different and more challenging to undo, if the gate ever fell into the wrong hands.

The party tells much of what they discovered in the ruins to Boazman, filling him in on the parts of the tale that they had kept from him until now. They show him the gem and the map that currently points to Aridon. They show him the skull of Geldan and the magical finger that points to it when it is out of the bag of holding. When they put the skull away to show him that it points to the south west towards Freeport they discover that it now points directly south. Knowing that Kelandor is interred in the Basilica of Imarus they ask Boazman where the church is in relation to them and find out that it is south of them here in the city.

They also share with him that someone is searching for them and killing Saurians in the city. Boazman freaks out and fears for his and his wifeís life and the party encourages him to flee from town with his wife. They take the book of demon banishing back from him and Theren gives him the book of the complete works of Thun Pines while keeping the poem that has been in his possession for so long, even if it isnít what he thought and hoped it was for so long.

The party sets off to explore the Basilica to see if they can recover the bones of a second member of the Conclave of Freedom.

The cathedral in Aridorn, known as the Basilica, is the spiritual heart and central point of reference for the Imarusian Faith. It is the Basilica that ordains holy law to all other churches and grants right and title to Imarus-ian priests. Diplomatically, the Basilica acts and speaks for the whole faith.

The Basilica itself is considered one of the greatest architectural creations in all the lands. It is renowned for its bells. In total, it has 120 bells, some of them truly massive, which are rung each week to call the faithful to mass. People of the Imarus faith travel thousands of miles to pray here and even those not of his faith come in just to admire the spectacular building that this is.

The heart of the cathedral consists of a dais upon which is a great statue of Imarus and, at the feet of the statue, an ornate throne and stone altar. Sermons are given by the presiding religious official from this illustrious position.

The seating in a church of Imarus is divided up into sections governed by social rank. Around the altar gallery, seating is arranged in a circular fashion. Such seating is reserved for the nobles, the wealthy, the clergy and the favored. The higher oneís rank, the closer one is to the front of the altar.

Those not worthy of seating within the gallery are relegated to the main hall. The front is reserved for those able to make monetary contributions to the church. This includes shop owners, merchants, traders and the like. Further back are the commoners. At the very back, it is open seating for anyone Ė peasants, serfs and slaves (if their masters brought them to service) and so forth.

It is the grandest structure that any of them have seen. The interior is adorned in gold and magnificent paintings. Along the exterior walls are thirty and sixty foot wide alcoves dedicated to different saints and significant events. They find in on of the sixty foot wide alcoves that it is dedicated to the hero of the demon wars. Along the exterior walls expanse is a massive mural depicting the history of the demon wars with Draxorith leading the Duthelm armies and the Conclave of Freedom and Rukemian armies fighting back. All six members are prominently featured on the near wall of the alcove and the far wall jutting into the church is dedicated to the Kelandor the Healer. Kelandor is entombed in the Basilica as a saint for dedicating her life to healing after the war having spent over 20 years after the war tending to the sick and injured. Her elaborate sarcophagus is here, made of marble and intricately carved.

Despite the church being packed with worshipers and clergy, they subtly check the finger and confirm that it is indeed pointing to this exact spot. They subtly do a detect magic and while they can detect something faintly through the stone, they arenít sure if the signature matches the other bones and the gem, but they are pretty sure this will be the case when they finally get access to these bones.

The lid is way too heavy to lift and the church is constantly busy with people paying their respects and even paying while at the resting place of Saint Kelandor the Healer. The acolytes inform then that the church is closing to the public at 8:00 and they devise a plan. Theren finds a moment to turn invisible and stays after closing while the rest of the party gets a room at a nearby inn.

After closing, thirty acolytes set to sweeping, cleaning and detailing the whole church. It turns out that a church dedicated to order has a very regimented cleaning program each night after the thousands of worshipers have finally left. Realizing that he wonít get a chance to do anything without risk of discovery he leaves and joins the rest of the party.

They talk late into the night in their room at the inn discussing how they want to get the bones and what steps to take next.

Per some of that conversation:
In his great wisdon Otep summarizes some of the conversation with the following:
We appear to be at a decision point, and we appear to be FAR from consensus.  Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is where we all stand regarding our next step:

Theren - Let's talk to the His Holiness, of Imarus, and lay out all our cards. 
Lutheo - Let's talk to the His Holiness, of Imarus, and lay out all our cards.
Otep - Wait a sec!
Akronos - Let's wait until everyone's distracted by some festival happening in a few days and steal the corpse!
Ceress - Let's NOT talk to the pope, because he's not going to believe us/dislike what we have to say.

Otep, for a change, definitely disagrees with Akronos, and for a different reason than Theren and Lutheo. 

Theren disagrees, because although that might become a back-up plan, talking to folks might be better as a first step than making an "attack" on a seemingly well-guarded/populated area. 

Lutheo disagrees because it's wrong.  This is a sacred place (despite being a different religion than his own), and desecration isn't good. 

Otep disagrees with Akronos because he's not convinced that collecting skulls is what we should be doing.  For all we know, collecting all the skulls is exactly what the demon may want, which could then free him from his gem-prison!  Who knows???  We certainly can't know, and Otep totally disagrees with Lutheo that we should just "guess" and then trust our guess.  Um, how about asking a professional?  Someone that might know more than us about demons and banishment?  We're only 4th levelers!!!

At first, Otep loved the idea of talking to His Holiness.  But then Ceress shared his opinion that the pope would most likely disbelieve our "story", and may even grab all our stuff from us and do with it what he feels is right, from his particular belief system. 

Ceress isn't the most charismatic amongst us, but his words wrang true for Otep.

So...Otep's opinion is that we should therefore seek guidance from someone of Lutheo's/Ceress's religion, Ynthar.  After all - it's that religion's symbol that is clearly shown on the gem (which we suspect is imprisoning the demon, but we certainly can't even know that for sure). 

And of course, the counter arguments to Otep's plan are valid.  But we're not there, and we are right here now, with a potentially high level priest nearby!  Who most likely DOES know about demons and imprisonment.  BUT, Otep agrees with Ceress.  This current religion's belief is quite different from the information we have discovered, and it would be easy for the priest to disregard our "story".  I wouldn't say we have "proof" of our story - all we have is an evil artifact with a symbol from a different religion on it.  Otep agrees with Ceress - this current religion would probably not be quick to believe all their stories of the demon wars were wrong.  It would minimize their religion's role in the ending of the war.

And, the temple of Ynthar is FAR FAR AWAY!!!  And there's only one temple left?

Otep asks Lutheo and Ceress if there was any way to locate a high priest of their religion that may be closer?  Maybe that person could communicate with the higher-ups in some way, the way we communicate with Bozman on the scroll?  Or maybe that person could help us get access to "magic teleportation" to the temple for communication with the higher-ups? 

We appear to be at an impasse.  We can't follow through with everyone's plan, and we also believe that some of our plans could turn disastrous!

Akronos's plan to talk to nobody and just break open the crypt and steal the bones is A) sacrilegious to Lutheo, and B) illegal and dangerous, if we get caught.

Theren and Lutheo's plan DOES have potential negative aspects.  If Ceress is correct, they could take the gem from us (and Lutheo agreed that they WOULD, if they recognized it as evil and dangerous, yet were not convinced by our "evidence").  Sure, the dude could cast Zone of Truth to see we're not lying.  But that doesn't make our claims themselves the truth.  We may strongly believe something, but it doesn't make it so.  Plus, this is Ynthar doing, not Imarus. 

Otep agrees with Ceress.  It seems WAY too risky to share all the stuff we found, just hoping they totally change their belief-system and agree that their religion actually DIDN'T solve the demon war crisis. 

The ONLY negative to Otep's plan is that it costs us time.  But we don't know for sure that we even WANT to collect these skulls.  And we don't know for sure that we can trust this Imarus religion.  But we DO know that Lutheo's/Ceress's religion of Ynthar isn't evil, and we DO know that they are certainly more involved with these artifacts than this Imarus religion.  Otep says - let's seek out a high priest of Lutheo's/Ceress's religion of Ynthar - however we could do that.  If they exist in a nearer location than the One temple.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 05:04:49 PM by Nathan Sherman »

Offline Nathan Sherman

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Re: Session Summary #8
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2019, 05:10:53 PM »
More of the banishment gate and glyphs.