Survivors Adrift in the Tide of Change - Looking for Trouble Game
6 days after arrival in Frial
The day after completing our clearing of the Grand Hall of Wagner Abbey, Ospher and I were planning on headed out of Frial to meet up with Tarre and her brothers as we arranged. This happened to overlap with the start of the Founder's Day celebrations kicking off, for what is ultimately a misnomer of celebrations since it will be a week long event. Charity, let us know that morning that she couldn't come with us since Digby had other plans for her for the week. We advised her that it would be best for her to stop Digby if he thinks he'll send more innocents into the Abbey while we're gone. We paid up for the room at the 12 Carrots Tavern for 4 days with Greasom (and got complimentary Founder's cakes! mine was strawberry, a favorite) and purchased a horse and pony since we couldn't guarantee their safety.
Heading out of town, we quickly arrived at the fork where we needed to turn off towards the swamp, realizing that our original journey to here was likely very slowed by the size of the caravan, however there was a large wagon with a half dozen soldier emblazoned with the symbols of Frial conducting interviews with persons that are coming and going on the road. Two soldiers bring us to a Colonel Hertz of the Kreastos who want to know if we've seen anything unusual on the trip to here, with specific examples of strange lights in the forest, singing, humming, and fae (of the Satyr variety) in the swamp. Evidently, this was observed by passers-by and some persons who were robbed as well by a bandit. He dismissed the rumors of a giant as stray bar table talk that got out of hand and had hooked in some of the Grand Order of the Lion in what he considered a Grand Snipe Hunt.
We went down the road a bit before heading into the swamp, and the sun began to set as we got into the swamp proper. We tied up the horses in a safe area Ospher located while I intimated to them that if they're attacked, they should go back to Frial for safety. I found a very easy route to the lake but about halfway through, we spotted a number of flickering lights flitting about in the swamp that seemed to cautiously approach. As they got a little closer, we heard a soft lullaby from them and a pinkish fog emit from the light and while briefly feeling a bit drowsy, Ospher fell very asleep immediately. The lights began to zip around, and one of the three brutally stings me while another goes very wide and the last slams directly into my shield and cried out in pain. I began to bargain with the things while subtly kicking Ospher's foot to wake him back up. The little creatures looked like tiny humans with insect-like wings, two older ones, a man and woman and a younger woman. The older woman tried to explain that this is a robbery, and I talked them down into accepting us a wineskin filled with wine.
The three of them were very chatty and appeared to have come to our time from the Castle Konning region as well. In the last day, they took up working with Klaygett, the bandit king. They couldn't quite describe him for us, but said he had taken care of them and wanted them to steal things for him. I explained that there are other Fae here in the region too and that we meet them, we'll make introductions for them. They said they'd wait for us in this area for us to come back. We finally made introductions as we were about to set off, the eldest woman was Polly, with her brother Tick and sister Kay (who hit my shield). After a bit more to-do from her about that, we made our way to the lakeside where a couple of lanterns were hung and two shapes were huddled near a fire.
We approached cautiously, since we didn't think we'd only find two people when looking for three and one of the shapes in the lights spotted Ospher and bade him come closer while Ospher assured him that he posed no threat. He approached them cautiously and saw that the figure was holding a heavy crossbow and they said they had questions since they were looking for someone. The man was dressed in a long dark coat, a wide brimmed hat and human. The woman had long red hair, like mine, and was wearing a powder blue cloak and robe adorned with icicles. I approached from the darkness now and asked who they were looking for which surprised the man. He explained that some satyr fae had stolen a ring from the young woman he was with. She said the ring is the property of her Goddess, Segravia, Goddess of the North, the Winter Breeze, of the Clan of Ghelf. After a lot of initial confusion, we understand that she and the Goddess have also been transported by the Castle Konning issue, which encompassed several miles (merde!) and that she's trying to reclaim her familial relics in a holy quest in order to reclaim the region that was rightfully hers. Gods and Goddesses, it seems, are what the Giants train their servants to call them, and this woman, her Chamberlain Addison, has been tasked with getting the ring back before the Goddess is further upset. The ring is supposedly large enough for a giant's finger and is set with a blue stone, and has some amount of magical power, but what specifically, that is, we're unsure of.
Since the man, a bounty hunter, by the name of Bohannan Dearth, tracked the Satyrs to here after meeting Addison in Frial, while she was recklessly splashing large amounts of gold around. We surmised that the Satyrs must have gone aboard the ghost ship in the lake itself, and resolved to get a canoe from the house on stilts. We repaired them with a mending spell and Bohannan explained while we paddled over that this ship is a well known last known whereabouts of many adventurers over the years in Frial. It regularly sinks and rises back up above the water, but for unknown reasons. We concede that haunting seems to be the most likely scenario here but we'll try to make this quick since we can't really know how long it will remain above water when it already doesn't appear seaworthy. It's also likely already making preparations to descend as the lake is in quite a chop at the moment and since there's no weather to induce such already, it must be coming from somewhere else.
With Bohannan's help, we get aboard the rickety rope ladder and tie off our canoe to the boat. On board, we see that there's nothing indicating anything has come aboard recently and there's a fair amount of trapped moisture in some room, making me think above decks is totally empty. The below decks of the ship is a bit confusing, and we're jumped by a stumbling rotting skeletal sailor that stabs me in the back. Between the three of us, we quickly defeat the monster, and after it falls I hit it with a sacred flame and it crumbles to dust. Afterwards, we spotted a small trail of blood and we approach a door where we hear some commotion that sounds like wet wood snapping. Bohannan kicks the door open and we see 5 more skeletal crew members surrounding one of the Satyrs and working on breaking pieces of him off and consuming him, while the Satyr, Dorath, is screaming for them to feast upon him and laughing. Heavily unnerved, we fight off the group of 5 skeletons, including a sixth that comes out of a barrel that bled a thick black ichor after Ospher fired off a shot that went awry.
Dorath has a weird powdery substance in his hands and some of it was pressed into his wounds as well. Ospher immediately identified it as seasoning, and we tried to talk some sense into him, but he would not hear it. We propped him up by a port hole in case we need to make a quick escape with him later while he shouted at us about being Stowaways. We later surmised he was possessed by the ship's chef. In a few chests in the room here, Ospher found a wand, a stylus and a skeleton forced into the chest with a statuette of Wynte. It came to life screaming at us about how it's his, but we used a manacle to lock it within the chest. Dorath didn't have the ring on him.
As we returned back to the hallway, Bohannan immediately caught himself, the deck of the ship has started disappearing underneath our feet. Bohannan was able to jump across with some rope to the other side but both Ospher and I couldn't utilize the rope very well and fell to the below decks. A number of the ship's crew started to advance towards us at this point, Ospher ran his rope back up with a mage hand and I gave him a hand up and then scrambled up after him and we cut the rope. We hear someone whispering from a closed door towards the end of the hallway, and inside we see that Rex, one of the other siblings is inside, and a number of free moving hands are trying to attach themselves to his stumps. One pair of them does connect and by his anguished screams, we understand he's no longer in control of his body.
While fighting the hands and Rex, we learn the hands are linked to one another and damage done to one of them seems to connect to all the others, in addition to the pair on Rex. Our combined efforts again are successful but Bohannan, fearing for his life from these combined assaults, nearly slays Rex. I am barely able to prevent his heartsblood from escaping but he explains that they fled aboard here because they knew they were being pursued. They didn't expect this place to haunted like this though. Rex also didn't have the ring, so we told him to head with the rope to the back storage to retrieve his brother and start swimming away. While taking a quick breather, we note the ship is starting to sway harder and out of the portholes we can see that the water is rising. We proceeded to the captain's qaurters at a fast pace, while the crew began to cheer that they were ready to go home.
The doors themselves were locked, but Ospher made quick work of it with the thieves' tools. The lavishly decorated captain's chambers have also been aged by the time, but we see Tarre at the desk and working with a sextant. She grabs a cutlass and begins to charge at us, I attempt to drive the ghost from her, but it was not enough today. I summon a spiritual dagger of Nisaba which deals a strong blow to her and Ospher shrinks her with a spell and directs Bohannan to grab her and restrain her so that Captain Blood will have to leave her body in order to attack us. Our gambit is successful and he pops out, but the captain's pet shade also appears from the darkness and saps some of the strength from Bohannan. I use a divine spell to attack them both, and it is doubly effective now that the ghost has been driven from her body. The captain attempts to exact retribution against us at this point by forcing the boat deeper into the water, and Ospher is able to hang onto a bed post to avoid being swept deeper into the ship. Bohannan confirms that Tarre has the ring and starts moving out to the lake.
The captain now attempts to possess me, but is repelled by my union with Nisaba and is stunned for a moment by the ejection. Ospher called a floating disc into exsistence now and started to swim out and we each fired off a shot at the captain, ending his reign of terror. We both quickly got outside with Bohannan, and hung onto the disc to avoid being caught up in the undertow of the ship descending. Tarre's brothers survived as well and we all swam ashore at this point.
Addison was very happy to see us return with the relic of her Goddess and we begrudgingly handed it over to her, thinking that perhaps Bohannan would force us to see through our end of the bargain. He promised to escort her back to their encampment, though I advised him that ultimately going in with her could prove fatal due to conscription or otherwise, he said he'd be glad to work with us again in the future. Addison also mentioned that we would be welcome in Segravia's service and explained where we could find them.
The Satyrs' wounds were tended, aside the crippling injuries that they'll have to manage for the rest of their lives. That said, all of them would live through the night. They thanked us and gave us a Pan flute which we could use to contact them within a few miles' range. Tarre explained that Klaygett the Bandit king met her and her brothers the day after we left and was already intimately aware of them being displaced and offered them protection and essentially a job by stealing from Segravia, while she was bathing. Coupled with the admission from Polly and her sisters that he gave them the same offer, we concluded that something was definitely up here. Tarre also explained that Klay is a Tengu that talks to a stone to someone or someones elsewhere. We also explained a little bit of the intervening history that they missed, the rebuke, the pogroms. We explained that hiding in the swamp and forest here might not help, since their escapades have already attracted the attention of the Kreastos of Frial.
We brought Tarre with us back to meet Polly, Tick and Kay where they were happy to meet one another. Ospher and I gave them the idea, after finally pinning down just how FAR away Castle Konning is, that they should find any other fae that are wandering and then make contact with us in Frial in order for us to help them get to New Sanctuary. Polly and her siblings had also captured one of the guards from Colonel Hertz's group and put him to sleep with their magic so we brought him with us back to our horses and woke him up after saying farewell to the Fae. He was disoriented and missing some of his possessions, but we didn't have them and told him we found him when he was asleep and carried him until he woke up. He claimed to have been attacked from behind and wasn't aware of what exactly happened.
Returning to Hertz's campsite, we explained the nature of the Bandit King and he thanked us for the information. He still refused to believe anything about the Giant, in spite of our earnestness. He gave us permission to stay among his troopers for the evening, and told us we'd be welcome among the ranks of his troop if we need work.
Building Trust - Part 3 - Wagner Abbey Game 3
2 Days after Arrival in Frial
Immediately after completing the funerary rites for Olivia, I asked Ospher and Charity to head back into the Abbey again. I had noticed movement earlier by the classrooms and didn't get to check on it as there was some duress with a ghost in our vicinity. We head back inside and notice a some muddy tracks about a week old but nothing else out of the ordinary. After confirming the lights were still in administration, we head into the first classroom.
Within, the classroom appears to be dedicated to group work and was prepped for the students to have worked on magic candles. Ospher called them Candles of the Deep, they evidently will not extinguish by being dipped in water until the wick runs down. There's about 5 of them in a finished state about the room and the teacher's desk had a receipt from the 12 carrots tavern for a bottle of wine to be delivered, from 200 years ago. We opened the door to the next room and heard some faint whispers in the common tongue, so with a blessing of Nisaba The Lady Midnight, Ospher crept in and observed that there's writing on the chalkboard, looking recent and instruction for the spell burning hands. Standing by the teacher's desk, Ospher was then surprised by a wight materializing and stating "I told you to sit down!" and throwing him towards some chairs. Charity fired off a witchbolt at the wight as it tried to claw Ospher and he used the wand he recovered on it. It then reached for his throat and after successfully deflecting the first attack with a Shield spell, grabbed him and started to wither his life force. Charity's spell ultimately spared Ospher and the wight fled into the floors from us.
The desk in the classroom had a clay jug that had been broken sometime ago. The former teacher, name yet unknown, had a journal indicating he was working on repairing it since his wife who had died before him treasured it. I repaired it with the mending spell but it did not restore the magic to it, and Charity pointed out that there were a number of verses on the pot explaining that it was indicative of all the God's journey to Frial. Ospher was feeling very ill at this point so we grabbed the armor, put manacles on the front door and headed to the 12 Carrots Tavern. I asked Charity to check over the notes tonight.
Digby was sitting alone at a table eating a bowl of oatmeal and drinking some milk, so we went over to report in. Digby wanted to make sure that none of us were possessed yet and accepting the surviving magical items (Half plate, Wand of Magic Missile, Spell Scrolls) and told us that the last mercenaries he hired was about a week ago. We asked who he would recommend for some extra assistance in clearing the place out and he said the Grand Order of the Lion would be our best bet while admonishing us to not get the constables involved, as they could act with the Kreastos' authority and remove him from ownership of the Abbey if the threat was too great.
Greasom, one of the owning partners of the 12 Carrots Tavern, was able to help with obtaining the 200 year old wine. The next morning, we greeted Charity in the common room, a much less rowdy place in the morning. She was sipping some [tea], and informed us the pot was made by either priests of Vale or Sandor and that it needed some ritual work to restore it to working order. She gave it over and with Nisaba's blessing I set out to repair it with Ospher's assistance while Charity expressed her tea preferences. We told her of our plans to go to the lake tomorrow and extended the invite for her to join us. She told us expressly that people from Becklinberg are most likely cannibals. We spent a couple hours working on repairing it and learned that it is an Alchemy Jug. After agreeing that this is ours and not Digby's since he doesn't care about stuff like this, Ospher and I headed to the Sommelier and met with Sebastian Pay and came to an agreement to sell him the 6 bottles of Abbey wine and the old vintage we got from 12 Carrots. He explained that the most valuable thing we could find there still would be magical corks and bottle to make new wine vintages last, as well as the Abbey recipe.
We headed next to Capt. Farley's contact and negotiated a fair rate for the New Balmoran Swords and he explained that he doesn't manufact that style himself since there's not a large market for it. Circling back for Charity then heading to the Grand Order's headquarters in town. It was a very busy place with recruits training out front, but not seeing Ser Brightshine among them, we headed inside, and got in queue to speak with him. After dangling the chance for honor and duty in front of him, he said he couldn't personally leave to help us, but was able to secure some help for us of a young man named Nicholas Newgate. He's a recent recruit but handy with a spear and very very excitable to adventure with us.
We returned to the Abbey once more in the early afternoon, the rain was letting up about now and we immediately went by the Dining Hall to prepare to fight the plant in the walled garden. We prepped Nicholas to what we planned and assaulted the sawtooth from afar, in reply it closed the distance very rapidly to our overwhelming horror. We withdrew a bit further, and Ospher flipped over a dining table to use as cover while using one of his spells to throw a flaming log at it. It was able to immediately knock out Nicholas, so I dragged him to safety while Charity flung an Ice Knife at it, unfortunately, it being mobile now gave it the agility to dodge the main thrust of her attack.
After Ospher fired a flaming crossbow bolt at it, dealing it a significant blow, it attempted to flee into the garden to hopefully sneak up on us, but in closing, we very obviously spotted it against the wall and Charity finished it with her witchbolt. Nicholas was disappointed that he wasn't able to do more to help, but we told him that he was definitely the difference in our survival and destruction. We checked out the rest of the garden and discovered that the plant doesn't digest bones very well and had collected a very large pile of them out here behind where it's central mass was among the overgrown bushes. We additionally surmised that one of the other mercenaries of Digby's was killed here, in addition to a few vagrants.
Returning to the second classroom, we set the jar on the prof's table and then Charity and I set about making a scene to re-attract the attention of the wight. It appeared, recognized that the pot was complete, and melted away, finally at rest. We went onto the 3rd classroom and within, we determined that the class was dedicated to horticulture of magical plants. The ceiling looked to have suffered a partial collapse, as well as some flood damage in the room itself. The hole in the ceiling didn't go to the roof, but there was some thick vines and moss up there so we set about to take out a second sawtooth. We moved back and Ospher used his Frostbite spell which started the plant in motion.
The dark yellow plant and its collection of vines began to descend from the ceiling and as more of it came down, we each experienced gradually increasing mental pain. This creeper tried to attack us, and I flipped a table onto its vines as they approached, pinning them, but then it launched a mental controlling attack at me which I repelled with some extreme discomfort. Nicholas proved adept with the hand crossbow, and he, Charity and Ospher quickly ended the creature's existence. Ospher was able to identify it as a Yellow Musk Creeper that had overgrown its original enclosure since it was abandoned, though this was an adolescent. None of the zombies encountered thus far had any interference from the creeper, and it is very evident.
We then decided to use the hole in the ceiling as a back way into the barred administration room with a little bit of navigation since we didn't want to deal with those lights yet. Nicholas stood guard at the entrance and I helped Charity and Ospher get down to examine the room. They said that it looked as if the original office occupant had their stuff shoveled in a corner and the desk was covered in all kinds of necromantic implements. There was a pouch with a single platinum coin, a bear headed key and a masterfully crafted saddle. Charity grabbed up the implements as she said they were Baradradi in origin and directed Ospher's attention to a crystal (or maybe glass) bell.
In the 4th classroom, we see the lights hovering about and immediately close the door to go to the 5th classroom. We open the door and someone calls for us to be quiet. After some brief confusion, we see in the in-tact classroom, we see one of the mercenaries hiding behind the large globe. He's very pale and his eyes are sunken and he's insistent on us not using lights. We determine that the classroom was used for Social Studies and Geography and go to close with the raving half-elf. We subdue him and briefly render him unconscious in order to hopefully restore some health to him, but before we can do that, the lights from the next room over flit through the walls and advance directly at Ospher and Charity as they're holding lanterns. The swirling lights mesmerize and sort of unfold into some extra attractive lights, capturing Ospher's and Nicholas' minds and then goes to envelop Charity and draining her of moisture and vitality. As the last standing able bodied person, I call upon Nisaba's powers to strike the outsider with Guided Bolt until I can call no more of her power for the day. After knocking out Charity, it then scours Nicholas of his life force, and as it does that I noticed it looks like it is replacing their lack of color with some sort of rainbow-like color.
After the thing was destroyed, I stabilized Charity and Nicholas from dying and Ospher and the half-elf eventually snapped out of it. We briefly discussed that this thing must have come from the experiment that Rabinger's note indicate. Communing with Nisaba, she indicates that these things attempted to harrow their journey to here and if the experiment is still ongoing, to shut it down. While taking a breather, I talk with the Half-Elf at length while giving him actual nourishing food, restoring his senses somewhat. He explains that his name is Lielet Moonpelt, and he and his two companions were hired a week ago by Digby and they scaled the dormitory in order to enter and found a bat-headed key that opens the lab. They saw more of these lights in the lab wing by a gate. In the room itself, we found a floppy weird hat that we don't know what it does yet, as well as some thieves' tools and a complete map of the abbey.
Before leaving, we went back to the Chapel to determine if we had laid Olivia to rest properly. But it seemed that something was still preventing her from moving on, as well as interacting with our world now. We left after this, making sure to lock back up again afterwards. Escorting Nicholas part of the way back, he thanked us for the experience and faith in him, and explained that the Grand Order doesn't take care of people and Charity adds that there's no hospital in town. We go to the Temple of Sandor in the Kreastos of Frial and after some conversation they pledge to look after Lielet for a bit of time and will send word to the 12 Carrot Tavern if he leaves. I also tried to find the other god's sacred books of rites, but was unsuccessful, though I did recover (WINK WINK) an ancient stone of power of Vale's that I will incorporate into my shield.
We did some research on buying property in Bell Haven as well, in the vicinity of Wagner Abbey, since if we are successful there may be a revitalization to the district and have made an appointment with a Solicitor in about a week's time in order to discuss and determine if there's any funding from the Kreastos available for such. It also seems that we'll be limited to two deeds as we are non-citizens of Frial, since we have no desire to chain ourselves to the town's future. Digby is the ONLY owner of a deed in Bell Haven besides the Kreastos itself, interestingly enough.
On the return trip to the 12 Carrots Tavern, Charity and I discussed the nature of my magic at length. She was very surprised and swore that she would tell no one.
If Charity elects to not come with us tomorrow, she could always get some aqueduct controls manufactured while we're gone. Also preventing her great-grandfather from sending others to their death in the Abbey.
It is fitting that the Kreastos has anointed themselves in the grave-wrappings of the gods' whose temples they have desecrated.
We went to the Grand Order of the Lion for Ser Brightshine, but ended up with someone who was much easier to work with. Nisaba does bless us.
Building Trust - Part 2 - Wagner Abbey Game 2
Day after Arrival in Frial
The next morning Ospher and I decided that fencing the items looted from Wagner Abbey was for the best, rather than letting some random thief at the 12 Carrot Tavern or Digby Sparrow himself steal our "wages". Initially, I attempted this but after accidentally drawing attention to the shopkeep's harelip I disguised Ospher and sent him in in order to complete the transactions. We then grab Charity and proceeded back to Bell Haven district.
On the steps of the Abbey, we saw three vagrants who were sharing a meal on the front stoop. As we approached, they attempted to steal money from us by claiming that they have intimate knowledge of what was inside the abbey itself. While I explained that we have been in there ourselves the previous night, this refused to take purchase in their mind and they wanted to sell us an old rusty dagger that he claimed would help us fight ghosts. I couldn't persuade them to leave, so I instead explained that the new Owner of the Abbey is a cantankerous scoundrel who has hurt people for far less than trespassing. As they ran off, Charity added that he's also a cannibal which surprised me.
We re-entered the abbey through the basement and in the intervening 15 hours, the sewers had properly drained. I insisted we comb the aqueducts to determine the cause of the improper drainage and determine what other sorts of creatures dwell down here. After seeing a few dog sized giant rats and as many giant centipedes as someone could ever hope to eat (no names mentioned), we saw a little nook that contained the main access grate was clogged with a very bloated zombie. Assuring the others that Digby will set us to it sooner or later, I take the lead in starting to remove the pieces to return proper function to the sewer. The hard work and the putrefaction ultimately proved too much for Charity and she ended up getting sick from the exposure. We helped her to the Wine cellar to get the smell from her senses and grab a few more bottles to sell off with local sommeliers.
Once she felt better we headed back to where Ospher said he saw the ghost in the Grand hall. In addition to the front door, the tall room with vaulted ceiling and a now broken skylight had doors coming off of it in every way, classrooms, study rooms, a dining hall and one labeled administration. Besides the broken skylight providing a point of egress for prior mercenaries, we saw ruined paintings and vases that had succumbed to the ages, as well as a locked cabinet, with some recent blood on it. Related to that, there's also some entrails that appear somewhat recent that lead into the dining hall. We tried the hawk's headed key on the cabinet and it opened, revealing a small azure gem and two small healing potions. I offered mine to Charity, since she expressed interest in replicating them eventually. I then asked her what she had decided upon for a specialization in her magical arts. She said Digby told her she could study whatever she wanted, so she chose Necromancy to help people and "shape destinies". We told her that we hoped she used it for good, she said her book which came from Baradrad said instead of wasting the body after someone dies someone could use a mask on their face and have it perform manual labor.
I poked my head into the dining hall to see what may be going on with the viscera smear on the ground, assuming one of the missing hobos must have come in here. One of the dining tables looks set with gore, meat and viscera. Also from what must be the nearby prep area on the left side of the door, there's a regular thumping noise. We sent Ospher in to scout out and see if it was vagrants or if the smell of blood and rotten meat meant more zombies. Ospher later reported that the prep area, while a "goddamned shambles", had someone there prepping a corpse's flesh, suggesting a cannibal might be in there. This immediately made me think of Digby which Charity said in his defense he only eats oatmeal.
We agree to go in together, and coming from the kitchen at a much faster rate than normal zombies, 3 zombies dressed as chefs. The head chef is holding a large cleaver (short sword in length) and i decide now is the time to turn them with Nisaba's glory. Additionally, I use her power to summon an illusion of myself in order to confuse the chef. The sous-chefs were turned so we face the chef head on. After scouring his grimy clothes off with magical power, Ospher disgustingly likens him to a bacon wrapped date, but a zombie. Charity hits him with her witchbolt and then sustains the effect to continue electrocuting him. After defeating him, we handle the other two which ran to a side supply door and were scrabbling at it to the point where they've reduced their fingers to nubs. Charity threw another of her ice knives at them both, breaking some crockery in the process and we manage them with little more discomfort.
On the far end of the room, I noticed a very clean sword on the wall as well as a suit of armor while Ospher took a hard look as the zombies, deciding that the three of them had been specially crafted and given extra intelligence. Ospher went to check out the sword and armor while Charity and had a look in the prep area at the side door. He determined they were of New Balmoran creation when the armor tried to reach out and choke him. He then ran into the room we were in and slammed the door and explained what was going on. The sword attempted to plunge itself through the door at us, so I told them we need to run into the back alleyway and not let both of them get us at once. I ushered them out ahead of me, while forcing the sword to focus on me and concentrate on shielding everyone. Both animated objects pursued us in to the alley with the armor trailing behind as it couldn't move as fast the sword.
As we turned the corner to the front yard of the Abbey, Ospher and Charity finally disabled the sword which was safely plunged into the earth. I screamed at the Vagrants to get the hell out of here as the animated armor closed. Charity yelled that it was time for her constant suggestion of the Grease spell to be used. It went off without a hitch and I slid in an manacled its arms and legs together in order to disable it and then we brought it to pieces. We discussed selling the items to make our covetous dreams come true, but Charity reminded us we'd have to turn over anything magical to Digby. We drag the equipment back in and toss it in the corner of the dining room. I noticed the large windows and blinds and open them and realized that there's an enclosed garden here as well. I go out into it tentatively while cutting overgrown vines, and noticed that some of the herbs survived as well as at the far corner at the end of a path of drag marks and discarded clothing in a large puddle, was a carnivorous plant sucking a human foot out of a boot. I back tracked carefully and noticed that Ospher was disposing of the zombie bodies in the grease outside, while Charity was re-reading her spellbook.
We unlock the administration door with the hawk key as well and immediately notice a small group of floating lights that is accompanied by a slight music. Besides that, there's three offices (one with a bookcase turned over in front of it) and a little waiting area. Ospher sneaks in past the floating lights with some magical assistance to begin rifling through the abandoned office. While he was in there, I thought I saw something by one of the other doors that lead to the classrooms, but nothing appeared before he returned so, maybe this place is much less abandoned than we thought. In the corner of the room, there appears to be a very dry corpse in the room, which the lights may or may not have fed on, and Ospher surmised that the overturned bookcase was done deliberately. We found a class registry in the room that was grabbed with mage hand and Ospher also thought the lights may be otherworldly, specifically not from Tairos.
In the offices, Ospher discovered that one of them had been well picked over while the other hadn't. The rummaged room had a few books left regarding animals and a scroll in the desk of Arcane lock. The other room had the corpse of a former professor that committed suicide by the name of Algier Rabinger, Astronomy and Divination were his subject. He's holding a wand of magic missiles, which he appeared to have used upon himself after coming to terms with having created a way to use an apparatus with a telescope in the observatory, to bridge the distance to foreign worlds, which may explain the floating lights in the admin room.
We moved on from here to see the other wings of the Abbey at this point, the Labs being the closest offshoot. It's a large set of doors, but the doors are locked with a snarling bear's face and the keyhole is in the mouth. Sensing an obvious trap, we use Ospher's mage hand to insert the hawk-head key in and turn it. The bear's jaws clamp briefly, but it doesn't damage the key or unlock the door. The afternoon was growing long at this point, so we moved onto the dormitories from here. There was a similar animal head at the lock, but it opened with the key we had, so it didn't try to bite us. There's a staircase that leads up to all the sleeping areas and a hallway that has signs saying it leads to the bath house, lodgings and chapel. We went for the chapel, and noticed some skeletal tracks in the dust of the floors as we traversed.
The chapel doors adorned with Sandor's symbol were ajar, and the room itself looked unmolested, the stained glass pictures of Sandor's precious scenes of hypocrisy were wholly intact. The tabernacle cabinet had 8 vials of holy water that could be used as manacite/applied as poison to a weapon, a key with a ram's head, and a book of Sandor's teachings, Songs of Light. Ospher and I split them, since Charity eschews weapons and Ospher found locked concealed box in a corner. He picked the lock at which point the ghost he saw last night appear and grip his hand. She was glowing a deep blue light and then after a brief bit of confusion she looked as if she wanted to kill us. Sshe muttered "Must kill. Must kill you. Must kill." I stepped in and pleaded with her to find her sense of herself, which bought us a moment to secure the box and we noticed her ancient bones beneath it too. I channeled Nisaba's power again and drove her off and beat retreated directly outside to give it a proper burial in the hopes it would lay the ghost to rest.
Ospher opened the box and found an odd collection of items, likely the student's worldly possessions, money, a quiver of 20 arrows, crossbow, scroll case and used bear trap. Her spellbook, in her robes said her name was Livie.
Charity has figured out what she wants to do with her life. Kudos to that. Hopefully she doesn't end up like Baradradians.
The Abbey still holds many more dangers, even after today's fiascos. It is looking more likely that we will need to enlist Ser Brightshine.
Building Trust - Part 1 - Wagner Abbey Game
Day of Arrival in Frial
As Nisaba's fourtune would have it, the remaining days' trip to Frial was totally uneventful. The caravan arrived in town to no fanfare whatsoever and the Red Word immediately began unloading the secret Cargo for their client giving us only a brief moment to bid Morgan (and Ser Brightshine ran off to join the Order of the Golden Lion) adieu until we run across him in town again. They hauled it to a busy tavern near the government district where an older wild-eyed man silently took receipt of the Cache from the Captain as he declared us instrumental in protecting the cargo.
With no reply and the Red Word's escort complete, they beat a hasty retreat to their caravan and we stood awkwardly with the man for a few moments before we struck up introductions of our own. He immediately accused us of no specific allegiance and held his hand on a very curvy dagger at his waist that was concealed. After convincing him that we were looking for work and interested in ancient magics and histories of Tairos too, he calmed down and set about to coaxing us into accepting a dangerous mission from him in order to prove our worth/our first assignment in his charge. He claims to lawfully hold the deed to what used to be the facilities for the College of Magic here in Frial, though it has seen it's possession changed several times through the epochs and since the Queen's war, it has fallen to disrepair like much of the Bell Haven district. Apparently, it had been a place consecrated to Sandor ~spit is seen on the page near his name~, numerous vagrants, and most recently it was a hideout of Abdul Auloro, a necromancer of some skill, though none of this history came with much detail or corroboration.
It was at this point he finally trusted us enough to declare that he is Digby, and said he would be residing here at the 12 Carrots Tavern until our intern project was complete. We went into the inn to get some food and additional information about the area to not much avail, and on our way out are accosted by a younger woman who pleaded with us to not throw our lives away in the schemes of Sparrow, her great-grandfather. We explained that our course was inviolable and as his exterior may set off alarms, ultimately examining the College and hopefully her kin's materials afterwards would be of great use to us. She tried to steer us away again, but with the face that many of people had accepted this mission from him and not returned safely, just in the last week, we would likely not survive. Ospher admonished her to believe in the need to attempt this in order to progress to our goals, so she resigned herself to showing us the horror of the place itself before allowing us to go to our doom.
A short carriage ride later and dusk was creeping up on us as we arrived at the Bell Haven district and another half hours walk took us to the building itself. As we walked onto the grounds, Sparrow popped out around the corner to make sure we still wanted to do this and explained that he had a few more rules for us to follow. We agreed since it seemed unlikely that we would be able to get around them and explore the place and convinced Charity that she would be of help in looking over the place. There were claims that the prior mercenaries had broken windows and busted down doors to gain entry but we could never find proof of this. The front door's lock was reinforced magically by my observation so we decided to check the cellar entrance afterwards and while this lock wasn't similarly enhanced, Ospher was able to make use of his ability to transmute materials and turned a link to wood and we whittled that away and entered. The cellar had been overrun with water from the aqueduct, which is a feature of old Balmoran design I'm told so we ventured in to see which of these rumors was true.
Minutes later, a pair of giant centipedes sprang from the water to attack one of Charity's dancing lights and I set my shield and defended against their attack while they peppered the creatures with spells. Between that and my dagger, we made short work of them and Ospher took one to sample for later culinary creations. Venturing further we came to another locked door but while Ospher muttered his incantations to vex the next chain, a swarm of flesh eating beetles came down through the ventilation and started biting at Ospher and myself. Again, another quick few cantrips and they were similarly dispatched. We opened the door to find a room of confinement that had a number of prison cells in it as well, certainly confirming that this place has served many different purposes over the years. In this room was also a box containing a number of old possessions of the former prisoners here. A few of the cells here also were gore-slicked from some ancient horror that the next room, the storage room, revealed to have been caused by zombies forcing themselves free.
The room had a number of boxes and 5 zombies lurching about mindlessly. Charity was frightened, and rightfully so since I haven't revealed the nature of my magics yet. I explained that I think by spiking one of the doors closed, we could attack them at a distance and hopefully eliminate them all before they could close the distance. Ospher came up with a smart use of one of his cantrips in order to trick a few of them into remaining further in the room due to them hunting by smell. Several minutes of ranged and melee combat proved us the victors in the fight with the only casualty being my face as one of the zombies overpowered me holding my shield ahead of me and slammed it into my face. We took a short break here to recover and for Charity to refresh her preparations from her spellbook. We found some extra equipment here that looked as if it would control the aqueduct vents and drains that we held onto.
We resolved to examine the wine cellar next and while initially looking at the wreckage, Ospher saw some preserved hundred year old bottles and in his distraction was snatched up by an Ochre jelly. We used some magics and assaulted the creature while he explained that attacking it with bladed weapons would be a very bad idea. I rushed forward to attempt to free him to no avail when Charity hit the thing with an ice shard that exploded upon impact rendering Ospher unconscious. I freed him then and pulled him away while she shot another of that same spell at him, breaking more bottles, but defeating the creature. I tended Ospher's wounds and they took a break while I searched the room, finding a Hawk headed key in the process. The controls we sought for the cellar as well were here and damaged and Charity was able to fix them aptly and we set it to drain for us to dredge next time we returned.
The other adjacent hall from the storage room had a corner that went to the grand hall with moonlight shining through, so with the blessing of Nisaba we sent Ospher to examine the area and he returned very quickly saying he thought he saw a ghost. At this, we decided that we would return in the daylight to see if the key would open anything else from the outside.
Charity means well, but her great-grandfather's ravings have left her with a distinct lack of confidence. She is almost as capable as Ospher with the magical arts, and is more familiar with the town than us. She will be a good person to have around, especially if we can redeem her in his eyes.
Sparrow is a codger through and through. Hopefully he has stuff worth examining, otherwise based on stuff Charity has explained he may be a reliable source for manacite.
If the Abbey is haunted, we may need to recruit additional help from Ser Brightshine. I don't think the three of us would pose much of a persistent threat to a ghost.
3 days out from Frial - A most curious trio
Ospher and my journey to Frial was nearly complete, with few interruptions besides Kobold refugees assailing the caravan in desperation, when at a dusk meal time, our caravan was beset by Giant Wasps. Ospher claimed that they had been agitated by some outside forces, but in the madness of the moment, we only sought to drive them off and tend to the wounded. The Red Word, our caravan specialists, drove off a few of them, while Ospher and I protected ourselves capably with dagger and spell. Oddly, I think Ospher froze one to see if there's going to be anything edible or favorful in it, so I think I'll survive on my gruel unaided by his talents for a little while.
Shortly after the attack, Capt. Jaben Farley explained that their main cargo being transported had been stolen in the confusion, evidently a crate of ancient books purchased at auction in Ghal Pelor by someone in Frial. A shame we didn't run across this cache ourselves, but circumstances being what they are, hopefully we can use this event to ingratiate ourselves with the buyer. The Captain explains we won't be headed to Frial without the cargo since their financial solvency rests upon delivering it successfully and explains that if we help he'll partially refund us for the trip. We ask for a Red Word to assist us since neither of us are necessarily experienced with combat and we are properly introduced to Ser Brightshine, a Tengu warrior that acts with all the social grace one would expect of a Tengu.
Ospher notices a pair of recent tracks and we follow the trail into swamps and crossing some ancient Catoblepas (?!) tracks we come upon the source of the tracks, two old swamp ladies from Becklinburg that immediately run from us. I roll my eyes and walk after them while Brightshine and Ospher actually catch them and talk them down. They explained to the two of them before I arrive their story and that they're out checking traps since their town had suffered some issues from murderous caravans some months ago. At this point I arrived and explained we're from a caravan seeking stolen goods which triggers in them a psychotic rage. Mae is subdued by Ospher temporarily whilst I try to stop Ser Brightshine from butchering Albertina. As I was busy, Ospher couldn't talk down Brightshine and he decapitated her while Ospher held her grappled. Ospher wanted to make things right with Albertina for Mae's death and I gave him space to do that while casting about to see if we could pick up any further trails from here. The only thing I was able to discover is that the recent floods had made the area rife with quicksand sinkholes and travel deeper into the swamp would get more precarious.
The remaining Wovel sister explained to me later that she had had a run in with some fae earlier and they must have taken what we're looking for and confirmed their presence with a pair of dismembered hands. She explained that they saw them around the old polehouse in the deep swamp and with some guidance, we made our way out there, picking through alligator nests and quicksand.
At the house, a raised cabin on stilts, we observed a single creature on sentry duty, so leaving Ser Brightshine behind, we manuevered our way to the house stealthily and observed 3 fae (1 injured, missing hands, 1 with a pipe flute, 1 on sentry duty) with a large human-like bat creature that Ospher later told me is called a Bargheist. Resolving to create a distraction and attain Brightshine's assistance, we knocked the guard off the ledge with a prestidigitation distraction and as that creature landed, he attracted the attention of the gators.
After getting brightshine and heading back, Ospher tripped and uttered a loud exclamation, drawing javelins from the Bargheist and the pan fluted fae was able to summon hornets to attack us. I ran for cover beneath the stairs of the polehouse, and we destroyed the hornets again while our Ally shot his crossbow at the fae's monstrous leader. Having been so close to the enemy allowed me to overhear the woman begging the Bargheist to save the downed fae and being rebuked for it. I called out to her in Common that I could save him but she would need to stop attacking us to discuss this. She did so, but unfortunately her master nearly impaled me with one of his javelins. The hornets dealt with, Brightshine and Ospher focused their attention on large creature, and after calling out the fae once again, she called hornets to attack her former master. This was enough to sink him into the swamp where Ospher had distracted the gators towards and they shredded him to pieces while Nisaba granted me the power to heal the greviously wounded fae.
Upstairs, the remaining woman put down her flute and surrendered as I brought her crippled companion to her and explained that she had to understand what took place here was not our fault. She said that she was compelled to work for the master but couldn't go into details for fear of something else. I am not familiar with fae magics, perhaps she is beign monitored and talking traitorously will get her killed. Ospher and Ser Brightshine arrived then and Brightshine was out for blood and I explained that the person that stole the cargo has been dealt with and there's no further need to investigate this matter and nor should any authorities from Frial be consulted. He reluctantly deferred to me in this matter.
Tarre, the satyr fae with the pipes explained she and her brothers didn't understand what was going on and that they had come from a Castle Konning which was under the rule of some trio? I didn't catch everything but quietly explained that Ospher and I would return in a weeks time to meet her in this area to discuss further. I advised her on some herbs to break her brother's fever, who had been victim of the trappers and we set out after taking items from the Bargheist and stingers from the Hornets to sell to our gnomish companion Morgan Honeysuckle.
Upon our return the captain was elated to see we had been successful and gave us a partial refund of our caravan costs and promised to make introductions and whatever he could to help us establish ourselves in Frial.
I expect that Tarre is a fish out of water of sorts. She mentioned The Queen as just having arrived so, there's something seriously wrong with her reckoning of time or her and her sibling's location. Hopefully whatever group that holds power over her doesn't use our promise to return as the basis to set an ambush. Perhaps she can grant us insight on our search for ancient lore, being ancient fae and versed in creature control.
Ser Brightshine is very energetic and bloodthirsty. I will be glad to not see him once this journey is over. Unpredictability and hyperactivity do not make for a reliable companion.
Becklinberg sounds like a terrible place. I do not want run into the remaining Wovel sister again.