The Natural Order

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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Two paths

The party stays at the Keep of Eternal Light for a week. Throughout the week, offers of aid come from many sources, and few requests as well.

Two emissaries from the elven court of Kyonin, Logan and Pete, request an audience. Queen Telandia Edasseril has sent these emissaries to aid in their plight. Kyonin is trying to stabilize the area since their return, and Cheliax could soon be at war with Kyonin if it regains some of its former provinces that have shrugged off its rule.

Captain Rokuro, Head Dottari of Westcrown, comes forth to request assistance in breaking the siege of its town. Since rumors had spread of the party standing against the armies and agents of Cheliax, Westcrown has turned from a somber slothful city to a fraction of its former glory and energy. Men are remembering the tales of old, Westcrown being the previous capital, and the power that it had wielded at one time. Attacking Hellknights and other devils residing within the walls of Westcrown, they have removed all presence of those who faithfully serve Queen Abrogail II. The offices, jails and courts which the Hellknights used have been leveled to the ground as a symbol that their laws will no longer be enforced. But with this uprising, the Queen has sent a sizeable army to siege Westcrown into submission.

Arcturus Mandori quietly summons Karthiel to his chambers. He explains that he believes his god Aeroden is alive and his power is returning. When Karthiel had previously visited the keep, Mandori was unable to channel from his deity, and now he demonstrates the return of some slight connection, causing his hand to glow. Mandori believes that if someone were to take the trials of the Starstone, refuse becoming a god themself, they could restore Aeroden to his former power.
Karthiel seems hesitant to commit to such a course, and informs Min and Ebeneezer.

Arcturus Mandori also speaks to Min, stating since they have spoken last, the Order has been researching more about the Hellstalkers, and Min’s past. Mandori believes that Min was the daughter of the original founder, Min is uncertain. However, their research has uncovered what they believe is an armory for the Hellstalkers in the town of Westcrown. They have been unable to open the armory, and would like Min to assess the location for herself.

Arcturus Mandori also announces that they have begun trying to reassemble the Shield of Aeroden. Many pieces of the shield were given to various Lords and Keepers. However when all were cut from their divine connection, the fragments had lost their importance and some had been traded or sold.

Scouts report that approaching the keep is a strange dragon that has no legs or wings, accompanied by 13 Hellknights of Cheliax. Ebenezeer scries upon the group, seeing that it is in fact a Crag Linnorm, and the 13 Hellknights are members of the Queen’s Guard and are some of the best swordsmen in the kingdom. To avoid damage to innocent lives, the party meets their attackers a day’s ride south of the Keep, using the Staff of Transformation to augment the battlefield to their advantage. After Pete mercilessly slays the Linnorm with a storm of arrows, the Captain activates the 2nd feature of the Rod of Command he is holding, animating the Linnorm into a Skeletal Linnorm. Ebenezeer then finishes the skeleton with powerful magic, removing the dark energy that binds its bones to the wielder of the rod. After what seemed like days of swordplay, the Hellknights are finally crushed.

Realizing that the queen cannot be defeated in only one facet, the party agrees to split. Vrashnik, Min, and Istvan agree to head to Westcrown to aid them in their cause. The remainder will hopefully recruit General Draco by stealing a note from the queen, and cause general unrest.

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The Royal Heist
Egorian

After the Vrashnik, Istvan and Myn leave for Westcrown, Karthiel declares no time like the present for stealing whatever note the Queen keeps in her immediate possession. The rest agree that with General Draco and the thousand swordarms he promised, they should be able to help lift the siege of Westcrown.

They approach the home of the Castle Steward Jeremus. They had previously blackmailed the Magister into providing access to the castle. He had commanded Jeremus to aid in their plight.

“Hello gentlemen, how can I help you this evening?” asked Jeremus.

“We heard you would be expecting us, " replied Logan.

“Oh… Very well, come inside.”

They discuss plans, and ask of Queen Abrogail’s habits. Jeremus offers to state that they are part of the royal Navy and that they had captured one pirate named Lothell that the Queen has placed a large bounty on. He will ask for the Queen’s presence, as she requested to be updated immediately with regards to any information on this pirate. They had sought a jeweler to craft a duplicate of Lothell’s signet ring. Ginnevra sought out the black market and purchased a vial of Tears of Death. This should render the Queen unconscious for one minute while they snatch the note from her body.

The next morning they meet Jeremus outside of the castle, ready and anxious. He leads them into the castle, up into a room on the second floor used to greet foreign emissaries and other nobles. They pass by 4 Hellknights who stand guard outside of the room. Jeremus shows them which book to pull on the bookshelf in the corner to open a secret passage to the dungeons. They position themselves close to the chair the they believe the Queen will sit in, apply the poison to the ring and set the ring in front of the end chair. Jeremus leaves to fetch the Queen.

Shortly after, the Queen and a matronly woman enters and formalities are exchanged.

“So, Captain… Tell me what about Lothell. What news do you bring me?”

“We have killed him, your majesty. There is his signet ring,” replies Logan.

“Ah.. I would have thought his signet ring would have been of higher quality, but that’s his mark alright. It displeases me that he was the Magister’s nephew but once a traitor, always a traitor I believe. So, my fine Captain, what may I do for you and your men as a reward?”

“Well, we could use more funding. And ships. You see there is much good we could be doing but I’m afraid we’re understaffed and ill equipped.”

The matronly woman takes note and steps forward, saying," Dear Captain. I understand you’re underfunded just by the look of you. We can certainly afford more uniforms for members of the Royal Navy, such as yourself. But you must understand Queen Abrogail has been very generous with the coffers especially since Lothell had began causing trouble among the merchant ships. She has poured more money into ships and men this year than the last 3 combined."

“Well you see madam, we just mean that…”

“What was your name again Captain?” retorted the matronly woman.

“Captain…. Gregor,” replied Logan.

“Well Captain. I’ve been to nearly every christening of the Royal Navy, and every Captain’s advancement ceremony for the last 5 years, and I never remember promoting an elf such as yourself to such a position,” the stern woman inquires.

Logan begins to worry that the ruse is up. How can he explain an elven Naval Captain of Cheliax. Certainly he’d be noteable since most Captains are human.

At that moment, the Queen slumps forward, her head striking the table with a thud. The matronly woman’s nostrils flare as her eyes turn red as fire. Her clothes shred as she grows 3 feet, what appeared to be legs becoming metallic tentacles that she walks upon. There is no mistaking her now, she is a Maiden of Miscarriage, or Handmaiden, devils with a cruel lower half that ensnare opponents and trap them in a womb of sharp metal tentacles that writhe and shred. She yells out," Guards!".

As the battle, begins, she entraps Ginnevra in her womb of blades. The Hellknights rush in shortly after Logan steals the pouch from the Queen’s side. Eventually Ginnevra escapes as both her and Karthiel strike at the tentacles binding her. Ebenezeer casts the Handmaiden back to hell, as the party kills the 4 Hellknights. Just as they are about to proceed down the secret passage, two more Hellknights rush into the room and strike. One deals a mighty blow to Logan, cutting down his back, exposing a 2 foot section of spine. His body drops, lifeless. After defeating the Hellknights, the party heads to the dungeons via the secret passage, Karthiel’s disciple Ilthyas carrying Logan’s body.

Ilthyas reaches the bottom much faster, and begins to survey the dark room. It appears that there is a large pentagram on the floor, encompassing almost the entire room. In the center is a bed with a solid stone slab, but crimson silk sheets on top. Then she spots 6 bodies laying around the room. All appear to be clergy of the Church of Asmodeous. But something seems a miss. As more of the party comes down the stairs they begin inspecting them closer. Karthiel determines them to be Bodaks, humanoids that witness an atrocity or unnatural act and are then killed. One member stumbles and makes a noise loud enough for the bodaks to awake. After destroying them, they decide to check for the note they were sent to obtain. They read it:

_By the lawful power and eminence of Asmodeous,
Let the following contract beknownst to all Devils and associated planar spirits. Majestrix Abrogail II, House of Thrune, Queen of Cheliax, and leader of the transitional infernal kingdom, shall be protected from all harm and treachery by the faithful followers of Asmodeous. Power and support shall be granted to obtain and maintain the Kingdom of Cheliax and encourage its growth until her half-infernal son will become King, with General Gorthoklek as reagent until he becomes of age. Majestrix Abrogail will have all courtesies and privileges extended unto her as she will reign as one of Asmodeous’ many Queens of Hell when her son ascends the throne. Until the ascendency, her reign and will are epitome of all Devil’s actions in the mortal realm. By accepting such support, Her future Infernal Matriarch, accepts Asmodeus as her Soul Husband, and will lay with him until she bears his child.

So let it be written, So shall it be,

By the Justice, Order, and Power of Asmodeous.
_

Shocked, the party manages to avoid all but one fight on their way out of the castle.

The party hopes that General Draco will now aid them. But what to make of the contract is still undecipherable.

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A Shattered Nobility

Vrashnik has waited many years to find out more about his history and does his best to hide the excitement from his associates. Happy to have rescued her soul from one of the best Soul Thieves in Egorian, he looked forward his first encounter with whom he presumed was his twin sister. Sadly they will no longer be twins in the physical sense as the destruction of her body has created the need for a new vessel for her soul. After her soul is transferred to this newly created human body, he approaches her.

knock
“Hello?”, asks Esmerelda.

“Hello Sister!”, exclaims Vrashnik.

“I’m sorry, I believe you have the wrong room.”

“No, but uh… Yeah, you’re my twin sister.”

“Why would you believe that? I don’t have a twin. Had a younger brother once.”

“So you were born first, we’re still twins. Still shared a womb.”

“I told you Sir, I have no twin and I’m very unsure why you believe that I am your twin.”

“I have this birthmark, and maybe you know what it means. It’s two serpents intertwined.”

Esmerelda asks to see said birthmark, and Vrashnik complies by raising his sleeve.

With an expression of sudden realization, she invites Vrashnik inside. She explains that she is not Vrashnik’s twin, but his older sister. The fate of the family was much more bleak than Vrashnik wished for. Their father Valeros had gone mad, slain their mother, and took the twins away from her. She recounts her childhood as well as she can remember, stating that she was sold into slavery to a “Netherlord” who lives in the town of Westcrown. Apparently the Netherlords are a secret society that hopes to one day release Aramus, the primal spirit of fire. She was raised as a house servant for this particular Netherlord, never seeing his real face. When she turned 17 she was sold yet again, this time to a member of House Thrune in Egorian. After witnessing a deal between a Soul Thief and her master, she became the next target for the necromancer. Although she didn’t hear the explicit details of the conversation, it was deemed she knew too much.

“So what are your current plans?”

“Well, my associates and I would like to head to Westcrown to help break the siege.”

“I’ll join you if that’s okay. And maybe we can pay back a favor to a certain Netherlord as well….”

After outfitting Esmerelda, they speak to Captain Rokoru, Head Dottari of Westcrown who has been patiently waiting at the Keep of Eternal Light. He suggest they teleport into Westcrown if possible, to avoid the enemy encampments surrounding the city. The party agrees, and is warned they shall arrive in the dungeon upon teleport because of enchantments placed over the city. When arriving in their tight jail cell, they summon the jailor and are released with the Captain being recognized easily.

Captain Rokoru leads them to an audience with the City Council. The Council asks for help in breaking the siege, and is willing to aid the party in whatever fashion they can. They have been granted the temporary rank of Lieutenants in the Dottari while the city is besieged. They agree to help and would like to survey the current defenses. Captain Rokoru orders Sergeant Garsh to provide a tour of their current situation and answer any questions they have.

As they leave Council Hall, a middle aged, greasy man dressed in well worn armors waits impatiently on the steps. He approaches the group.

“OY! Which one of are in charge?” asks the man.

After quick shuffle of finger pointing, they agree on Myn’ther.

THAT little one?” states the man with half disdain.

Myn’ther breathes a deep breath and composes herself.

“I am Misha, and the noble house Mancini has purchased my services as a gift to you. I will help you in your endeavors here in Westcrown,” says the mercenary.

After a brief moment of stare down between Misha and Vrashnik, they accept Misha’s aid.

Sgt. Garsh leads them away from the Council Hall passing by the row of statues carved into the city wall as praise to Aroden. It depicts the 12 faces or disguises of Aroden, forms he would use to take physical action but not be recognized as a deity. He shows the ramparts and other defenses that have been erected to make any attempt a bloodbath.

As they are walking, Esmerelda begins wandering away from the group. Vrashnik follows as the group stops and watches.

“I believe we’re near the house where I was enslaved. Yeah, it should be just up ahead,” said Esmerelda.

They continue searching and eventually she points to a house, indicating her former house of slavery. Eventually the rest catch up as the two stand staring at the house.

“Do you know who owns that house?” asks Vrashnik of Sgt. Garsh.

“Certainly. That’s Valeros’ house. He’s a rather influential merchant around here.”

“Valeros? The renowned warrior?” Vrashnik asks astonished.

“Yes, he used to be a great fighter in the Arena, but he now owns a good deal of businesses.” replies Sgt. Garsh.

Perplexed, Vrashnik and the group move on to other sights to see. Myn’ther asks Garsh about a vault that is supposed to be in the basement of a church. Rumor has it that it may be related to the Hellstalkers. Garsh obliges and leads them by the church. Myn decides to return later.

On the way back to the castle, they ask Garsh what threatens the city the most.

“The walls are strong and tall, but there is one definite weakness. You see, mysterious beasts roam our streets at night. They avoid the light, but run in packs large enough to be a match for patrols smaller than 6 men. These beasts have plagued the city for decades, and no one has been able to answer any but the most basic question about them. No bodies of the beasts have ever been recovered and it’s not certain if they are intelligent or just ferocious predators. Because of that, we’re unable to patrol the streets as frequently as we would like. Patrols only walk routes between large bonfires, and carry lanterns 12 foot tall. If the enemy could infiltrate the walls and avoid the beasts themselves, they’d have free run of the city during the night.”

The party begins investigating the beasts, asking questions of Garsh, Captain Rokoru, and others that have encountered them. They eventually devise a plan involving a sacrificial goat, a paid wizard to scry one of the goat’s bones and a good deal of luck. They will enact it that night.

Vrashnik attempts to visit his father without great success. At first he tries to shrug off any of Vrashnik’s offer of ale brought from the local tavern. After growing tired of Vrashnik’s idle chatter, he breaks the facade:

“Do you know why I abandoned you? Because I saw inside you and you could not handle the gift I was will to bestow. You are too weak. Don’t come here again.” says Valeros.

Disheartened, Vrashnik leaves and contemplates how to resolve this conundrum.

Myn’ther decides to head to the church to investigate the vault. Approaching the priest standing the sanctuary, Myn asks of the vault. The priest obliges, stating the terms of attempting to open the vault. No destruction, and any contents of the vault must be chronicled by the Pathfinders but will be returned to whoever can open the vault. The priest leads her down to the crypts.

As she stands in front of the vault, Myn’ther deciphers writing and scripture on the entrance, noting its significance as the creedo of the Hellstalkers. As she unlocks the door, a vision of a celestial female spans the entrance of the Crypt, her face profile to Myn’ther. The female begins to talk.

“Hello my daughter. I’ve been looking for you for a long time. I had hoped you would stumble upon one of my old armories. I knew you would grow up interested in your past and eventually try to find me.”

The face turns to face Myn’ther, and revealed is a black horn similar to a Satyr’s coming out the right side temple. The right eye is black as coal as well.

“Now that I’ve found you, I’m coming for you my darling. And then you can join me.”

Myn’ther is confused and quite worried what this would entail as a barbed devil begins running from inside the vault towards Myn’ther, stopping short of the entrance. They begin battling but Myn’ther is outmatched as it begins grappling and impaling her upon his barbs. As it begins to look bleak, Myn’ther opens a dimension door to further inside the vault. As she does so, flash of white light beams from the nearby corner, as a Shield Archon appears and begins battling the barbed devil. Working together, they destroy the barbed devil, sending it back to hell cursing.

“You should be more careful in the future young one. We will not always be here to help.” says the bald celestial.

“Th-thank you.” gasps Myn’ther as the archon disappears.

She begins searching the vault, finding it has 3 rooms. One room contains a shield fragment in a room dedicated to Aroden. She believes it is most likely one fragment of the fabled Shield of Aroden. Another room contains a library, with more books than you could read in a lifetime. She chooses a few books that are pertinent to her interest. The third room contains an armory of many cold iron and good aligned weapons. Myn decides to leave the rest to the Pathfinders for chronicling.

They meet up again later to put their plan into action. The stand by the wizard as he watches the goat using his crystal ball. Although they’re not able to see exactly what the beasts are, they appear cat like and approximately 8 to 9 feet long. The wizard follows the cat back to the northern section of the city that lays in ruin since Westcrown lost it’s seat as capital. The wizard states that they are directly below the old church of Aroden in the northern section.

The party heads out, avoiding any beasts on their way to the decrepit church. As they approach it, they note several sections of the church exterior walls have fallen down. One subgroup approaches the front door as another sneaks around to the side.

As Istvan checks the door, an alarm spell triggers creating a large whining sound. Vrashnik shouts," Quickly through the front door. Don’t let them escape." hoping to trick whomever into not noticing them approach from the side. As they rush inside the front door, they see 2 humanoids in cloaks and robes. They are various shades of blue with cryptic runes adorning the robes.

“You will pay for interfering with the Netherlords!”, says one man as they stumble into the group attempting to flank them.

After the battle, they inspect the corpses. Vrashnik notes the masks they wear to appear beastial, and the fact they intentionally grow their fingernails long. He grabs their clothing for future use.
To be continued.

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One by land, Two by Air

A male paladin approaches the gate of the Keep of Eternal Light. He requests audience with those who oppose the Queen of Cheliax. The group greets him and asks his business. He explains that he was sent by the Church of Dresna by Justicar Trinsa of Westcrown. Logan inspects the letter sent by her, and begins questioning his credentials. Although the note seems authentic, he wishes to learn of the paladin’s strengths and weaknesses. He introduces himself as Gabriel Capernicus with a long list of achievements.

With the note secured, Ebenezeer, Ginnevra, and Logan decide to approach General Draco in Egorian to see if he will finally aid their cause. They teleport outside of the city and walk in to find General Draco at his favorite gambling tavern, the Gilded Sapphire. Ginnevra takes a place by the bar, surveying the room. As they begin to circumnavigate the room to approach him, they spot a few patrons begin reaching under the table. As they draw their infernal polearms, their facade as human nobles fade and they are seen truly as Bearded Devils.

As many of the nobles flee, one is cut down by a Bearded devil. Ginnevra spots out of the corner of her eye that the barkeep is also one of the devils, barely avoiding a halberd swipe. As they fight, General Draco draws his mighty greatsword which glows gold in the presence of demons. As he charges and engages the remaining devil, he cuts the devil into three, below the knees, and above the shoulders. Logan recognizes that these devils are members of Asmodeus’ personal guard, which although number over three thousand strong, are some of the fiercest warriors of all the planes. These being the least of which.

“It’s good to let my blade taste these devils flesh. They’ve been walking around cocky for far too long,” smiles General Draco.

“What do you need to do? We should get back to the Keep of Eternal light!” states Logan.

“I will contact my second in command over in the docks district and then meet you there. I now have three thousand swordarms ready to slay Asmodeus himself.”

The three teleport back to the keep and inform the others of the wonderful progress. They spend the next few days discussing plans of what their next move should be. One night, heading back to their quarters, they find an ambush. Two Barbed devils had laid in wait in Ginnevra and Gabriel’s room which is located at the end of the hall. These devils begin impaling the two upon their wicked spikes, causing fear in Ginnevra.

As the devils are almost dispatched, the party recognizes the alarm spell ringing from the front gate. Noticing the window the devils crawled through, all of the party except Gabriel exits via that route. Gabriel begins running down the stairs, frustrated they sleep on the 4th floor.

Flying, walking on walls, and simply tumbling upon landing, everyone else at least is outside of the keep in the courtyard. They spot the gate guards being overwhelmed by 6 more of Asmodeus’ personal guard. As they attempt to rush to their aid, Ginnevra and Ebenezeer spot a candle light in the Tower of Knowledge adjacent to the keep. Arcturus Mandori spends many a night at the top of the tower trying to remember knowledge he has forgotten. Ginnevra begins scaling the wall of the tower with slippers of spider climb as Ebenezeer begins flying towards the top most arrow slit.

Logan, Karthiel, and Ilthyas charge the Bearded devils. Logan misleads them via magic creating an illusional double, and floats above the devils. The most of the devils recognize the illusion for what it is after a short while, as one continues to dance via swords with the illusion. Ilthyas would trip and attack while Karthiel took opportunities to hit as well as healing the other two.

Pete had begun flying upwards aboard a flying carpet when exiting the window. He spotted the first two Erinyes over the north wall immediately. They traded arrows and he prevailed. After them came two more from the west wall. Pete had taken a few too many arrows from surprise, and floated downwards, hiding behind the keep’s walls. The western erinyes summoned dimensional doors to teleport near him to strike him with deadly arrows. As his body fell lifeless, the carpet began floating downward.

Ebenezeer frustrated he cannot enter the arrow slit summons his arcane swordsmen to fight the barbed devil that is fighting Mandori in the tower. Ginnevra pulls out her magic window, creating access to the top of the tower. As they enter through the window, the barbed devil falls to a divine light sent from Mandori’s fingers.

Gabriel reaches the main hall of the bottom floor of the keep. He begins battling two barbed devils that had entered the hall. Dispatching one with ease, the second poses problems.

“Aroden…. you haven’t forsaken us…” Arcturus Mandori whispers. He begins running down the stairs with a vigor rare in eighty year old humans. Ginnevra and Ebenezeer exit back through the window to see the last of the bearded devils by the front gate fall.

Over the southeastern wall, flies a terrible sight. A horned devil flanked by four Erinyes. He begins flinging fireballs as the Erinyes fire arrows with great speed. As Gabriel finishes the barbed devil, one of Karthiel’s disciples steps from the shadows healing him. He charges out of the keep and into the courtyard.

Arcturus Mandori reaches the bottom of the tower, and begins throwing divine light at the horned devil.

After throwing a bolt of lightning at the party, the horned devil lands and engages Gabriel in melee. As the party destroys the Erinyes, Gabriel sweeps wide with a mighty blow, sending the horned devil back to hell.

Exhausted, the party looks to one another. How safe is this keep if devils can breach the walls so easy?

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New Initiates

The lieutenants inspect the church, wondering where one of the feline creatures would have descended. Eventually Vrashnik pressed on the pulpit and it slid to the side, revealing a passage down.

After a long flight of stairs, they find a door. After Esmerelda inspects the door for traps, Istvan quietly eases it open and sees inside a room full of assorted blocks of masonry – here stone, there iron or brick. Out of the corner of his eye he spies the shadow of somebody turning a corner at the other end of the room. He carefully enters a few steps and sees the shadow again, as if they turned back to ambush him. Grinning inside at this coward’s foolishness, Istvan advances, and is taken aback to find that it is the shadow, and not its master, that attacks him. Misha, noticing the sounds of combat, steps in and assists while Istvan makes short work of the shadow. After they look around, however, they notice a number of other shadows moving, appearing from inside the stonework, or above it. Istvan and Misha back up towards the doorway and are eventually surrounded at the entrance. They begin striking back at the shadows, but each time the shadows touch them the chill incorporeal contact leaves them weakened. With Myn behind the doorway Misha warns “Stay back, little one!” Severely affronted, Myn tries to shove her way through but Misha stuffs the attempt with a frustrated growl. As he is distracted with multiple opponents however, Myn sneaks around behind him and begins attacking the shadows with magic, so she has no need to touch them. Vrashnik grabs a gem from his Helm of Brilliance and throws a Daylight spell into the room to throw the shadows off and damage them while turn on the defensive against the heroes.

After they fend off the room of strange shadows, Misha is winded and wounded, and Istvan is barely able to hold himself up. Everyone decides there is more to this mystery than initially expected, and they return to the city to seek healing and items of healing to safeguard against any similar dangers they may encounter later underground.

When they return to the room of shadows, all of the stone masonry is gone. Cautiously, they walk through the room to the door on the opposite side and beyond.

The next chamber is small, but across the center of it is a 40-ft. wide seemingly bottomless chasm. The floor lining this chasm on either side is set with large pressure plates. Vrashnik flips a coin into the chasm , and nobody but him can even hear it hit the ground, and he hears it only faintly at that.

“Well, guess we’re going to have to get around it.”

Vrashnik activates his slippers of spider climb and avoids the pressure plates by walking on the wall but as soon as he steps above the chasm his shoe is as slippery on the wall as any normal shoes. He manages to catch himself on the edge of the floor without hitting the pressure plate, and Misha extends his spear to help Vrashnik get up and over without having to touch the plate.

Myn deduces that magic items must not work here. However, she has an innate ability to fly passed down through her bloodline, and tries to fly across the chasm. This too, however, does not work, and in working her way back up she has no choice but to step on one of the pressure plates at the end of the wall. As she does so, a metal platform extends partway across the chasm along the same wall. Curious, the others check the other pressure plates, and they extend metal platforms of their own in lengths that appear to vary according to the weight upon the plate. Myn and Vrashnik stand on the plate near the wall extending the platform all the way, and Istvan crosses, leaping over the pressure plate on the other side. Next Misha takes a spot on the plate to allow Myn to cross to the other side. They decide to switch sides on the plate and Myn and Istvan hold down a plate on the other side for Vrashnik to cross. However, instead of leaping over the plate on the near side, Vrashnik jumps too late and steps on the plate, causing the platform to drop away entirely and the ground under the plates to crumble. Istvan and Myn catch themselves on the other side against the wall and Misha helps Vrashnik back up. Because it is easier to cross the platform bracing against a wall they go to the wall on the other side to attempt again and once again Vrashnik does not jump before hitting the pressure plate, causing the same outcome. They move to a plate on the inside of the chasm, and before Vrashnik tries again they tie a rope to Esmerelda and send her across. Once she is on the other side, they hold her end of the rope while Vrashnik ties it around himself and hands the other end to Misha. Vrashnik makes the final trip and Misha follows after. Esmerelda checks the door on the other side and signals to Istvan that it is safe to open.

The next room has little light, but Istvan can see that there are other blocks of assorted masonry here. However, he does not see any creatures moving around here, and carefully enters the room. As he passes between two blocks, he doesn’t notice the pressure plate he stepped on in time and just manages to dive across before one of the adjacent blocks tumbles down where he had just stepped. As everyone else enters, they inspect the opening created by the block and find another pressure plate beneath it. Istvan looks at the next row of blocks and finds yet another pressure plate in the opening. Esmerelda gracefully leaps across and Istvan makes it past one more row. As Misha eyes Vrashnik, wondering if he would have more success just throwing him across, Myn steps between the two, grabs their arms and magically warps them through the room to the other side. Esmerelda checks the next door, but Vrashnik finds a secret door on the adjacent wall. It opens into a narrow stone hallway that leads behind the next room. At the end of the hall, Vrashnik peers through a door into a laboratory occupied by two Netherlords and a doorway into the room they just occupied. The Netherlords face away from the wall, and one of the large feline beasts lays dissected and splayed out across one of the tables. Vrashnik digs out the robes of the Netherlords they just defeated and hands a set to Esmerelda, whispering “Here, put these on!”

Vrashnik and Esmerelda slip into the lab, and are immediately noticed by the two Netherlords. “What are you doing here? Valeros told us not to use that entrance during the daytime” one asks.

Vrashnik says “Sorry, I’m new… I didn’t know.”

“Well, what are you here for?”

“I’m here …to, uh… help.”

The Netherlord sighs “You’re obviously new here, so I’ll explain. We’re the big guys around here that are doing research. If someone like you wants to help, then you can go down and feed the beasts.”

“Okay. uh…”

The Netherlord points to the other one, “Go show him!”

The second Netherlord leads Vrashnik and Esmerelda into the next room over and points to a pile of meat, then a pile of bones “The young ones get the meat. The older ones get bones. Have fun.” He turns and goes back into the lab. As the two resume their work, Vrashnik enters the doorway and throws several gems of fireballs into the room. The rest of the group rushes in and combat ensues.

A few seconds in, one of the Netherlords calls on another feline creature that emerges from under a table and begins to attack Istvan. Vrashnik notices a strange rod in the Netherlord’s belt loop, and indicates to Misha nearby that it may important. After Misha disarms the Netherlord next to him he makes his way over and grabs the rod from the first Netherlord, handing it to Vrashnik and they make short work of the Netherlords.

They check the next room with the feed for the creatures and descend to where they are kept. Vrashnik sees collars lining a wall of the room with corresponding rods to the one he got from the Netherlord.
“They must be using these to control the poor creatures.”

After they inspect the cats, they realize that they normally live solitary lives in the wild and may be could be released back to nature. Vrashnik takes a rod for good measure and commands the cat to follow him.

The last door leading out of the lab leads to a room with one lever by the door, and three levers in the middle with one door in front of each of those levers. The group exchanges apprehensive looks, then proceeds to pull a lever. When the first door on the left opens, a fire trap explodes into the room. They try pulling the lever next to the door and the open door across the room shuts and a grinding mechanism is heard behind the doors as if there is movement across the entire wall. They try another lever, and this time a door opens and a devil bursts through. After they defeat the devil, they reset the doors again, and try yet again, only to see a brick wall behind the first door. Once again they reset and try again, and finally a djinni appears in the room.

“What do you come to offer me?”

They look at each other, perplexed.

“You do know how this works, correct? In exchange for an item of power, I answer your questions.”

Hesitantly, Istvan pulls out his Maul of the Titans and hands it to the djinni. The djinni reaches up and swallows the maul whole, and appears satisfied. “Ask.”

“What is this place?”

“The Netherlords crafted this place to summon me, and in exchange for objects of power, ask for my knowledge.”

“What kinds of questions did they ask?”

“Mostly how to release their precious Aramus.”

“And what did you tell them?”

“Aramus is lost at sea.”

“Oh.”

The djinni eyes them for a moment, then advises “I know you seek the return of Aerodin. To find Aerodin, you must find Aramus.”

The group stands in silence for a moment, then decide that they have no more to ask for now.

They return to the Council of Westcrown to report on the origin of the strange beasts. They explain where they found them and how they were kept. Istvan advises that this is the work of the Netherlords, but Vrashnik denies that this is the case, and the Council is plunged into chaos. Eventually, Councilman Crossland speaks over the rest and tells the heroes “Well I’m not sure just what ghosts in the night you must have seen but I assure you none of us have ever seen a real live Netherlord.” He continues to look at the group in disdain and Vrashnik quickly agrees “I’m sure a group that doesn’t exist could have nothing to do with something like this!” Disgusted, Myn collects her share of the reward and walks out.

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War Never Changes

After having regained some of his former powers, Arcturus Mandori suggests the group aid in the defense of Westcrown. They begin heading south in search of General Draco. When they meet him in a small forrest near Barrowood, they assess the situation of the enemy’s siege camp.

There are 3 concentrations of siege engines striking the walls of Westcrown, one being the main supply camp to the northwest of the city, a small one to the southwest, and one across the river to the northeast. General Draco has already began small skirmishes with the northwestern camp, hoping to draw soldiers from their main camp into an ambush near their current position. The northwestern camp is atop cliffs overlooking the city, and cannot be ascended directly. The road leading from Westcrown to this camp runs in front of the cliffs and between two small forests where Draco has men waiting. The group decides to focus on the siege camp across the river, using magical flight to hit and run at night.

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