Space Aliens (an all-alien Shattered Star campaign) [Major Spoilers]


Campaign Journals


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The scholars of Prieta (on Triaxus) have a competition every thaw to compare what their students have been doing. Very soon now the schools will meet again, this being the third time it has happened. Both of the previous meets were won by Triaxus University, which is (perhaps not coincidentally) considered by many to be the greatest school not just on Triaxus but also in the entire star system. One professor at the nearby Low Bridge University is determined that TriU will not be able to claim three in a row.

Based on some castings of commune and one divination, Dr Zemira has created a directed studies course that will send her students to The Cage in order to retrieve something. They will use a precious artifact belonging to LBU to travel between planets, but it needs a power source. The artifact has a basin and if another artifact is placed in the basin then one can use interplanetary teleport, though this temporarily suppresses the other artifact's power. (The more powerful the artifact the more people who can travel, but even a minor artifact is strong enough to take a handful of students.)

The nearby town of Sunrise Beach has been under the ice for a long time, but every thaw it gets restored and serves as a resort town serving not just the two nearby universities but also anyone willing to travel from other parts of Triaxus. TriU and LBU share maintenance duties during the long winters. This week some squatters broke through the thinning ice and stole some furniture and shiny rocks, one of which was a minor artifact used to power the Sunrise Beach air coolers in the hot summer. The squatters were hoping to auction off their findings, but instead were chastised by the students, who used the artifact to teleport to The Cage.

They arrived inside a barn near the city of Magnimar (which they had been told to visit). There was a large hairy beast in the barn, which one of them identified from her studies as a creature called a "grizzly". The beast was startled and angry, but they managed to daze it with colour spray long enough to flee.

Arriving at the Magnimarian city gates they were presumed to be visiting from nearby Nybor (called "Horrorville" by certain less tolerant humans). It was recommended to them that they register, which at first was going to be enforced directly at the gate but after a bribe was made optional at the Arvensoar. The students decided that this was probably wise, and made their way there. They registered, and as part of explaining the reason for their visit they mentioned that a divination had led them to seek out the "kin of the cask", whom they presumed was some sort of vintner. This brought them to the attention of a watch officer named Kasadei.

After a long conversation Kasadei told the students about a local member of one of the organized crime groups whose name was Vancaskerkin. She asked them not to hurt the criminal, and offered them a small sum to bring her in for questioning. She told them that Vancaskerkin had been running with a group called the Tower Girls, whose location might be known to a man named Fenster in the Underbridge region.

The students thanked Kasadei for her time and then asked for directions to a bank of Abadar. Once they had some local currency they visited the Bazaar of Sails and acquired some appropriate equipment. They were also very tired because of the time shift (it was late in the day when they left Triaxus but only noon when they arrived near Magnimar) and got a room at the Old Fang. By midnight they were feeling refreshed, and made their way to Underbridge.

Their resources were tapped, but they gave Fenster the bribe he demanded. He gave them directions to another underbridge building where he said they could find Natalya Vancaskerkin. They approached slowly and decided on a thorough scouting of the nearby area. When they found someone on a nearby rooftop keeping watch on the building, they decided to confront her.

They would have settled for a peaceful talk, but such was not to be. The woman (and the three women working for her) were hostile. The students drove off two of them and captured the other two alive, albeit unconscious. They pondered what to ask their prisoners.

PCs:

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 1/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 1/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 1/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 1/expert 1)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Their two prisoners had very little information, but the students were able to confirm that the place under observation was indeed where Natalya Vancaskerkin was holed up. Armed with this knowledge they decided to do some shopping and prepare to capture her.

While they were shopping, Corwyn received an additional assignment from one of her profs. (As an honours student she agreed to complete extra assignments while participating in the directed studies course.) She was required to go to the Stone of the Seers (a local school) and acquire copies of two new spells that had been created there. Master Nivlandis agreed to this on the condition that each of the students give a guest lecture. They agreed, and the students prepared themselves and their topics, then made presentations.

When they returned to the Old Fang they discovered that they had an invitation to dine with the mayor in two days' time. They accepted the invitation with alacrity.

The next morning they entered Natalya's residence and fought with her and with the goblins she was leading. The students captured Natalya and turned her over to the city watch. Some of the Tower Girls attacked them, but the students defeated them, took their stuff, and left them behind.

Elelinda had been acting strangely since picking up a metal shard that Natalya had been carrying. The students weren't sure what it was, but they were hopeful that it was the completion of their directed studies course. They took it to the Stone of the Seers, where Master Nivlandis examined it and told them to insert an ioun stone in it so that it would fully activate.

The next morning the group went shopping. In addition to a cracked ioun stone they purchased what they needed for the mayor's party. Once the stone was inserted into the metal shard Elelinda received a vision of the next one, and the group determined that they needed to go to the pylon known as The Crow. They decided to wait until after the dinner party to begin that. Other guests that evening included Bevaluu Zimantiu, Ismeir Odinburge, Sabriyya Kalmeralm, and Verine Caiteil. Verine invited the students to stay in her manor house.

PCs:

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 1/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 1/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 1/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 1/expert 1)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

After a lovely breakfast prepared by Verine Caiteil’s chef, the students prepared to set out for the Crow (an ancient bridge piling outside Magnimar’s harbour). Their hostess made her yacht, Freedom, available to them, which they greatly appreciated. Before they left they received word from Kasadei of the watch that Natalya Vancaskerkin had revealed that the Tower Girls were currently headquartered in the Crow. Kasadei offered the group a substantial reward for the capture of Terisha and Ayala, as well as a smaller reward for any other Tower Girl they captured.

Aboard the Freedom the students shared some portobello stout they’d acquired with Retuka Wartankard (the boat’s master-at-arms) and told her that they’d probably be bringing back some prisoners. She prepared a room to serve as a brig while they rowed to the Crow.

They’d researched the Crow and learned that there was no real way inside so they were prepared for an extensive search for secret passages. They were almost disappointed to discover upon their arrival that someone had already found a secret passage and bashed through a wall to expose it. They spent a bunch of time exploring rooms and fighting criminals, and soon returned with some unconscious prisoners.

Upon their return to Freedom they were informed that a talking lizard had appeared and left a pouch for Elalinda. It contained a note a some platinum coins with her face on them. People were puzzled.

The next morning saw their return to the Crow. They defeated some more of the Tower Girls and found themselves in front of an ancient door with a puzzle lock on it. They opened the lock and discovered a passage with many, many cobwebs.

PCs:

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 1/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 1/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 1/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 1/expert 1)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

[Armath's player was unexpectedly hospitalized with a wrist injury immediately before the game, so we only had three characters this session. The other players decided that Armath himself also had a wrist injury, and was recovering off-screen.]

With the puzzle door open before them, the students advanced through the cobwebs and down some stairs. They found a pool of murky liquid, and decided to skirt around it without disturbing it. This proved to be insufficiently cautious, and Trixie found herself attacked by an amorphous blob. Soon afterward the same thing happened to Corwyn. They defeated the blobs but (on the heels of the fight with the Puzzle Girls, particularly their wererat leader) they were short on resources. They heard bats ahead, and decided to cautiously advance anyway.

The bats were asleep, but there were thousands of them and the students inadvertently woke them up. This fight did not go well for them, and retreat seemed the best option. They handed in the Tower Girls for the reward and then did some shopping to prepare for their next trip.

That evening their hostess, Verine Caiteil, had a few of the local political leaders for dinner. She requested that the students join them, which they did.

Returning to the Crow the next morning aboard Freedom, the students made quick work of the bat swarm (mostly due to Corwyn's bombs), then explored further. They met some evil fey, which Elalinda knew had caused trouble on Castrovel. Sure enough, they discovered that the fey had been digging through the foundation and might soon have flooded the corridors. They dispatched many of the fey and their insect servants before calling it a day and returning to the manor house.

PCs:

Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 2/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 2/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 2/expert 1)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The four students met with agents of Sabriyya and led them into the Crow so that they could recover the remains of her father. Sabriyya was quite grateful.

Continuing their descent, they met up with more mites. Armath and Elalinda (both of whom were born on Castrovel) were particularly wary of the giant ants, and made very sure that there were no formians anywhere near. Having assured themselves that their homeworld's invaders were nowhere to be found, they dispatched the remaining fey.

Further descent took them beneath the Crow and into caverns that spread out further than the diameter of the pylon. Two notable discoveries were a fountain that had special healing processes as well as a very angry creature that claimed it had lives over ten thousand years in wait for its mistress. After a spirited debate the students chose not to reveal the healing fountain to the people of Magnimar yet, pending further discussion. They reported the creature to Master Nivlandis, who suspected that it was an ancient sinspawn. Master Nivlandis began assembling a team to retrieve the sinspawn.

PCs:

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 2/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 2/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 2/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 2/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

Two late additions to the course arrived in the barn. The TriU wizard teleporting them wished them luck in a perfunctory manner and left. Finding the note left by the other students, they set off towards the city gates, hoping to find one of the 'grizzly bears' that the note warned of.

While mildly taken aback by the appearance of the Triaxian student, the guards were clearly expecting them and accompanied them to Verine Caiteil's home (Also helpfully suggesting a bar which they had heard was frequented by bear-trainers).

Just in time for Cage breakfast, introductions, re-acquaintances, bacon studies by Corwyn, filling the new arrivals in, and planning ensued. Trixie was less involved, observing the second day of traditional Triaxian mourning, the Day of Silence.

Stopping briefly for some bank withdrawals and shopping for the basics of adventuring, the students traveled to the docks.

Nivlandis met them at the Freedom, with his team (his students); the student body president Allellanda, Hilda Darksty, and Slate Scarnetti. Some awkward questions were put to Slate (a gnome) about the Bleaching, by Camilo (a Triaxian gnome). Nivlandis explained that he would like at least 3 sinspawn for his research.

One brief, but luxurious, yacht trip to The Crow later, the students (and the other students) descended through the previously cleared levels to the trapped sinspawn. It's fury was quickly quelled as Nivlandis's group paralyzed it and returned to the surface.

Descending, they found more areas that appeared to have been untouched for uncountable years. They were almost immediately rewarded: a ranseur once wielded by Alaznist herself. There was just the small matter of an abyssal larvae between them and it.

A couple of trapped fire elementals followed, inspiring Armath to work on several ideas for ways to capture and train one as a pet. (unsuccessful so far)

After defeating some lemures, a voice of unseen origin tried to make several deals with the group for the death of 'Lord Baaz', its enemy, or the return of its subjects (more lemures) captured by Baaz. The students were not impressed by the offers.

Two more lemures, ineffectually cleaning an ancient alchemy lab were quickly dispatched. A storeroom held ancient containers, an automaton, and a mysterious crank.

A seemingly labyrinthine set of tunnels led to a magic lab and a mural of Hollow Mountain (the other end of Magnimar's ancient bridge).

More tunnels led to 3 Nupperibo demons, wielding their hell-spears to great effect. The students took a moment to rest...

PCs:

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 2/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 3/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 3/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 3/expert 1)
Camilo(gnome mesmerist 1/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (winterborn triaxian kineticist 1/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

Assessing their movements, they realised that they had almost completely circled around a large section of this floor. Although they resolved that the would see what lay within (what seemed like) the centre, they could not resist the doors that they found beyond the devils.

They were rewarded with the sight of a pool; its surface well below sea level and seemingly held in place by a blue magical field. As their light touched the surface they glimpsed some retreating lobster-eel creatures. Were these common on the Cage or unique to this area, they wondered.

Next the found a domed room, with a completely transparent substance holding back the water. They spent some time marveling at the sights.

Turning back, they found a strangely intelligent lemure. Although they could not speak it's language, Elalinda's magical comprehension of what it was saying, facilitated a little information gathering. Apparently it shared the disembodied voice's scorn for Lord Baaz.

Pressing on, a couple more Nupperibo devils were dispatched in seconds.

But then a different challenge, a riddle from the runelord. With some arcane know-how and some sound reasoning, most of the group picked the correct statue to touch and were rewarded with a small boon of power. Camilo felt the need to be contrary and was punished for it from across the ages. Tran declined, fearing the price that a runelord's gifts might exact.

Continuing, a fighting pit was used for its purpose, although the spectating imps were less than happy to be drawn into the entertainment with the students and two more devils.

A room with a fountain yielded a crystal key, and some amusement as Trixie tested the affects of splashed fountain water on the three doors in the room.

caught on the wrong side of a portcullis, the students examined another mural connecting Alaznist and something on the far side of the bridge that was.

Stumbling upon the truly unpleasant Lord Baaz, the students made to appropriate his antique zither while he went to gather his troops. Stymied by the fact that they had met an unpleasant end in the fighting pit, he tried to dispatch the students by himself. He was outmatched and chose to let them 'have the lab' and fled.

Backtracking again, two bound lemures were found in a small room. Unlike the last one encountered, these were standard, nearly mindless, proto-devils. Reasoning that these were the 'subjects' that the disembodied voice had wanted, they nevertheless put them down, after a brief debate.

Finding another lab, this one used in the testing of many caged animals, they had to fight some of the horrific, unaccountably still-living results of that historic experimentation.

Moving out of what had seemed the core, they found a long dead corpse, slumped over a portcullis winch. Some devotee of the runelord (by the sigil on its armour) had been badly burnt by something. Beyond the gate a labyrinth awaited.

Fearing being lost, and feeling the tug of the star-shard in the opposite direct, they decided that they would return later.

Exploring another avenue they found a room filled with a pool of murky water, its surface broken by some steps and columns bearing a tentacle motif. Feeling the call of his element, Tran stepped forward, only to see something leap from its depths and straight at his face...

PCs:

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 2/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 3/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 3/expert 1)
Camilo(gnome mesmerist 1/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (winterborn triaxian kineticist 1/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

The creature dragging Tran into the water, and its allies, were a kind of aquatic sinspawn. After a difficult fight, the group remembers Master Nivlandis's request that they return with sinspawn specimens.

They spend several hours transporting the unconscious soon-to-be test subjects back through The Crow, keeping them alive by submerging their heads in large jars and constantly refreshing the water.

That evening their host entertains some of the elven voters from the city. Some of the students attempt to help, with varying results.

The next morning Nivlandis and his class president, Alelda, transport the students to Kaer Maga to find a broker for their ancient artifacts. Most of them also enthusiastically partake of the unique opportunities presented by a place that embraces all who fall well outside the norm. Some highlights include a constructed being with a rudimentary understanding of Triaxian, a troll oracle who used his own entrails for his augeries, and someone who greatly appreciated Corwyn's people for protecting worlds from Eox and its misguided attempts to save everyone by killing them.

Dola Rocksplitter, a dwarf with an unusual affinity for the sun, meets to discuss selling their antiquities, providing a means of hauling it all around, as well as exhaustive instructions on the care and packing of same.

The following days sees the students back on the Freedom, in the capable hands of Captain Meg, then back into the Crow.

They return to the automaton, reactivating an ancient packer of cannons and boxes. It is dubbed 'Wilson' and set to work in Dola's portable hole, packing all new acquisitions.

In a room (previously visited and cleared), they encountered a barricade, seemingly made of a blanket. As they approached, a wight (later found to be Max Scarnetti), his minions, and the imp Suzerain of Little Erebus, burst from its concealing folds and attack. After the imp fled and most of his undead followers were dispatched, Max surrendered. The students commiserated about the awfulness of the Suzerain and discuss possibly taking him with them when they return to Kaer Maga.

Feeling better prepared, they braved the labyrinth, finding a hellhound and a small portal the the netherworld. They dismantle the construct that sustains it (also stripping it for saleable parts)

Exploring further, Tran is again tempted by a pool of water, this time attacked by a mud creature before even reaching the edge.

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 3/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 3/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 3/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 3/expert 1)
Camilo(gnome mesmerist 1/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (winterborn triaxian kineticist 1/expert 1)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Armath Ethmaed, the fuchsia half-elf from Castrovel, had been thinking a lot about the small fire elemental that the students had left trapped in the rune circle. He had studied Ignan, the language of fire, and decided that it was time to befriend the creature. Having procured a metal cage for transporting it, he was hoping to offer it a deal. He led the students back to the rune circle only to find the elemental right up next to what they had identified as a pinhole portal to the plane of fire. A very faint deep voice was only just audible coming from it. Armath advanced to the edge of the circle and began speaking with the deeper voice.

It turned out that this belonged to an older fire elemental who was trying to figure out how to get the small elemental home. Armath volunteered to take care of this, possibly after travelling together for a while. The deep voice suspected that a week would be a reasonable amount of time for this to take, and—feeling generous—told Armath that it wouldn't come looking for him until two weeks had passed without the small elemental returning home. Armath agreed.

A complicated procedure involving a borrowed bag of holding and the metal cage (which quickly became very hot indeed) got the small elemental out of the circle. It turned out that it was named Tzizz, and it rapidly ran off and started setting things on fire. Armath ran after it and tried to get it to agree to only burn things he designated. There was some doubt as to the full extent of the agreement, but it seemed at least a temporary solution.

The six students and Tzizz continued deeper into the caverns beneath the Crow. Getting Tzizz across the pool with the tentacle pillars was tricky but was managed eventually. The group got to an intersection and heard some singing, which they scared off. They soon found a large chamber with three derro and a massive staircase leading down. Elalinda felt a tug toward a certain wall, but had to delay investigating it.

A fight ensued, and the students knew their resources well and made quick work of the three derro, though they were much depleted when finished. Some investigation into the wall that was fascinating Elalinda revealed a secret door, behind which sat the corpse a large monster that looked like a sort of monkey spider. Some stairs descended next to it, though they were completely obscured with cobwebs. Tzizz went scurrying on ahead, clearing a path.

At the bottom of about twenty-five flights of stairs was a chamber that was strangely clear of cobwebs. A seven-pointed star on a pedestal contained the shard they were after, but there were two more of the monkey spider things. These were very afraid of Tzizz, and avoided him. They were nonetheless extremely tough, and one by one the students began to fall. Elalinda, desperate to find a way out, remembered the interplanetary teleportation device belonging to Low Bridge University. She plugged the Shard of Pride into it to serve as a power source and took all six students to her home on Castrovel.

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 3/expert 1)
Camilo(gnome mesmerist 2/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 3/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 3/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (winterborn triaxian kineticist 2/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 3/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

Arriving disheveled, wounded, and in some cases, unconscious, Elalinda's family home was more than a little surprising to the students.

They appeared to be in a library, but not what one might expect from a family library. This was larger and dotted with displays and roped off areas marked with descriptive cards. Written in Lashunta, these were initially a mystery.

Elalinda left to rouse the house, as it was the middle of the night on this part of the hot and oppressively humid planet.

From Elalinda, and her very friendly parents, the rest of the students learned of Elalinda's ancestor, the Rashelal. Once a mortal, she had risen to godhood and the family were now the caretakers of many of the writings and artifacts that she had left behind.

Some were intimidated by this revelation but Camilo was fascinated; asking many questions - many without the pauses necessary to receive answers.

They were also able to see several different sides of Elalnda's life over the next few days; with her parents (who graciously gave them all gift baskets within an hour of their arrival), the duties that the temple expected of her and her family, and partying with her prep school friends.

That first night, and the next morning, talk ranged from how to get back to The Cage, through whether they should help the local community with something stirring up giant insects, and finally whether they should hand over the artifacts to Low Bridge U when they were the ones facing mortal danger.

Elalinda's mysterious patron would be able to provide a scroll to facilitate travel back to Golarion, but only in a few days, so they decided to research what was stirring up the problems with the (as they found out) perfectly normally-sized (for Castrovel) bugs.

Research and talking to local experts followed. It was determined that the most likely culprit would be a young Marax moving into the area. Even a juvenile was going to be difficult to deal with. In the region of seven feet long, with a toughened hide, strong jaws, talons, and a tail that was poisoned, spiked and amazingly flexible; it was likely to be every bit as dangerous as the Shriezyx that they had left behind on Golarion. But this time, they had the benefit of foreknowledge.

After talking strategy for quite some time, Corwyn carefully selected her spells and they sold much of the (less than ancient) loot that they had gathered. They spent a large portion of the proceeds on a scroll that would keep Armath invisible for the better part of a minute, along with some smaller items.

Tracking the beast was relatively easy, given its obvious tracks. They spotted it at the same time that it saw them.

As it crashed through the trees, they had moments to prepare to meet its charge.

As planned, Armath was rendered invisible, and Tran stepped out to meet the charge, attempting to trip the beast by putting a sheet of ice in its path. This failed and the full force of the pouncing, whirling attacks brought Tran near death in moments. He had stopped the MArax from reaching the others, though.

Camilo's mind magics disoriented. Corwyn webbed, and eventually shot an arrow. Elalinda stabilised Tran, bolstered the group with divine blessings and sonicly attacked. Armath danced around their foe, piercing vital areas and drawing its attacks, though few could find him.

Eventually, a breath away from death, the Marax tried to flee. But they were unwilling to let it cause more trouble and brought it down.

On returning, Arath was very pleasantly surprised to find that they had returned triumphant. It seemed he would be earning I-told-you-so points with Chana (Elalinda's mother).

As good as his word, the patron provided the scroll and they returned to the home of Verine Caiteil in Magnimar. She was not home, as the mayor had stirred up scandal that she was dealing with, but she had left instructions to welcome the students back.

They took the time to relax and discuss how they might best defeat or sneak past the guardians of the next piece of the Star.

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 3/expert 1)
Camilo(gnome mesmerist 2/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 3/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 4/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (winterborn triaxian kineticist 2/expert 1)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The students caught up on sleep and then had breakfast. Lady Caiteil had left her cook behind, and the breakfast was magnificent. After they had dined they went back to the Freedom (Lady Caiteil’s yacht, which she had also left behind for them) and sailed out to the Crow. They climbed up and up, crossed over a long drop, and then went down many, many stairs. Eventually they found themselves back in the chamber with the shriezyx.

The fight was difficult (all the more so for Trixie and Tzizz’s absence) but ultimately they prevailed. The shriezyx went down and Camilo retrieved the shard of greed. Most of them were using potions of fly, but Armath had to physically climb the ten flights of stairs. He was tired.

They found some empty rooms and a lot of burn marks, and eventually discovered that Tzizz was hanging out near a source of natural gas, igniting it and giggling. They decided to leave it where it was happy, and continued exploring. They fought a carrion golem and retrieved some abandoned gear, then decided to descend the very long, very wide staircase.

The stairs were clearly extremely old, and the students were particularly careful. After descending for literally dozens of storeys, they found themselves on a platform with no way down. They were obviously in a very large cavern, and at one end they could see a glowing forest of mushrooms while at the other end it seemed like there was some sort of settlement. They talked about their options, then began the long trudge back up the stairs.

Corwyn had a date that evening with Alelda, the student body president of the Stone of the Seers.

The next morning the group teleported to Kaer Maga, where they met with Dola Rocksplitter. They handed over all of the antiquities that they had found, and she was as good as her word and gave them the ioun stones that they needed (plus a bit of cash). They spent the rest of the day enjoying Kaer Maga (very carefully).

The following morning saw them teleport back to Magnimar. They escorted Alelda down to where Tzizz was, and she used a scroll of dismissal to send it home.

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 4/expert 1)
Camilo (gnome mesmerist 3/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 4/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 4/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (winterborn triaxian kineticist 3/expert 1)


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

The students were eager to spend some of their newly-acquired money, and the merchants of the Bazaar of Sails were happy to help them empty their coin purses. Everyone seemed pleased with the transactions.

The next morning saw the students aboard the Freedom bright and early. They sailed all day, and soon after nightfall they were as close to the Lady's Light as Captain Meg was comfortable going in the dark. She assigned a rowboat to the students and they went so shore.

They landed just north of the swamp proper, and saw that a shack lay not too far off. A light shone from inside. They wandered slowly southward toward it, making sure to make a lot of noise so that they didn't seem threatening. Armath snuck ahead, creeping through the darkness and starting to cross the bridge. Before he reached the other side, however, he saw a woman hiding behind something and watching the approaching people. Their eyes met, and Armath quickly drew his sword. She abandoned her cover and tried to put him to sleep before he could reach her. Some of the other students, realizing that a confrontation had begun, began racing across the bridge. The lone woman, seeing all these strangers racing toward her home in the darkness, magically conjured a cloud of noxious vapour over and around the bridge.

The students retreated, and Elalinda (who hadn't actually stepped onto the bridge at all) called out and tried to ease the tension, offering a gift to the woman. The latter responded by saying that the group could return with their gift in the morning.

After dawn, the group returned without any surreptitious attempts to invade the woman's property, and Elalinda presented her with a gift basket from her home on Castrovel. The students acted in a friendly way, with Elalinda and Camilo doing most of the talking. The woman accepted the basket and welcomed the students, introducing herself as Maroux. She invited them to use her island as a safe place to stay while in the area and told them about the two groups of reptile people who were fighting nearby.

The students decided to approach the stinky reptiles (since that's the group that spoke the language shared by the students), but decided that they needed a plan. Leveraging the major image ability granted to them by the shard of pride, they decided to do a Lost Heir grift on the reptile people, with Camilo (the mesmerist) taking point. The idea was that they would create an illusion of a baby of the species and say that this was supposed to be the next ruler of their tribe and that the students had recovered the child and would soon be reuniting them all, but that first they needed passage through their tunnels.

This grift was wildly successful. After Camilo explained the situation to the guards, one fell on his face crying with joy while the other sprinted into the caves to spread the news. It turned out that the other reptile group had recently rendered this group childless, and there was much despair as a result. The reptile people were overjoyed and kept thanking the students, who began to feel a little guilty about the deception. Trixie wrote to the orphanage where she was raised on Triaxus and asked for an orphan "troglodite" do be adopted out.

The group pressed on through the tunnels, leaving the tentacle plants guarding the exit intact (as the reptile folk had requested) and pushed westward through the tunnels. They easily defeated some giant bugs then pressed on to a room where four columns surrounded a shaft leading down into darkness.

Armath ran ahead of the group into the room right up to the edge of the shaft, and stuck his head over the edge to look downward. He didn't see anything in the darkness, but his actions caused the four columns to animate and attack him. He quickly fell unconscious. The others raced to his defence, and were able to destroy the animated columns—unfortunately, Trixie's greatsword was ruined in the process.

Elalinda healed Armath then told Trixie that she could fix the greatsword. Before she had a chance to do this, however, Armath started throwing stones down the shaft, and something started climbing toward them from below. Trixie would have to face it without her trusty greatsword.

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 4/expert 1)
Camilo (gnome mesmerist 3/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 4/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 4/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (winterborn triaxian kineticist 3/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 4/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

A large insect, mandibles dripping with a nasty looking substance crawled out of the darkness. Followed by one even larger still.

A brief fight followed, Corwyn flinging fire, Armath and Tran dodging sprays of acid or poison, and Trixie fighting the larger bug, with the help of Camilo's shadowy double. As had become almost routine, Elalinda poured copious amounts of positive energy into the lupine barbarian, to bring her back to health.

The students made makeshift camp and Trixie made use of the bodies of the bugs to create a surprisingly, not-awful-tasting dinner.

The tiny bugs that had filled the earlier room, began to encroach on their camp site, but through several watches they kept them at bay with offering of food. However, Elalinda and Tran reacted with destructive surprise when they awoke to slow tide of chitinous bodies.

Those adept with magical situations examined the pit and determined that 3 spells we laid upon it, Silence, Deeper Darknes, and some third one.

Armath and Tran descended on ropes, but found them to be too short to reach the bottom of the affected area, but did feel a strange lightness when descending. The third spell was Feather Fall. Returning to the top, they consolidated their ropes into a single one and tried again.

They emerged from the darkness, into a large room of columns, and a prominent sarcophagus. Through a predetermined code, they signaled to the others that it was safe to descend.

Armath found and disarmed a particularly nasty trap. Opening the sarcophagus, they found the apparently living body of a woman. With a certain amount of fear, Tran recognised her as the runelord Sorshen.

Examination found that this was not Sorshen, nor a living body, but a clone of her, waiting for her death. The existence meant, that in all likelihood Sorshen was still alive somewhere.

They also discovered that the magical trap had been corrupted over the ages. While it would kill the person who triggered it, it would move their consciousness into the clone. Debate followed over whether to destroy the body or trigger the trap. Most were unwilling to swap bodies, but Corwyn was intrigued. They decided to leave the body while they explored the immediate area.

Down one corridor the found an underground river, well below sea level and could see some small boats on a beach, in the distance.

They decided to try the other path. Returning through the clone chamber, Corwyn declared that she wanted to take the cloned body. They research potential, among other reasons, was too good of an opportunity to miss.

Triggering the trap, she successfully made the transfer to the body. Recovering her equipment, she dressed the new self a little more modestly than it had been.

The other path eventually led them to the small boats that they had seen earlier.

Taking the boats upriver, they quickly found the origin point; a grate from which the water poured, seemingly with nothing behind it. Next to this, they investigated a platform with a statue of Corwyn's new self, but with hollow eyes.

Closer examination revealed that the statue was entirely hollow, but filled to the eyes with water. Various pokings and proddings followed, annoying the water elementals inside the statue, who decided to make their displeasure known.

As they poured themselves out, Corwyn commanded them to retreat. The command, issued with her new face, halted them in their tracks.

Downriver, the students found a lake - one edge spilling into a waterfall, another a lapping against a beach, and a heptagonal platform dominating the middle of the swiftly flowing waters.

The platform, with its large glass statue captured their attention. As they stepped off the boats, the golem animated and attacked. Camilo's Glitterdust blinded it, also protecting the students from its reflective attacks. And Trixie's golembane scarab-empowered blows quickly felled it.

With the current forming an area of hazard between the platform and shore, Tran leapt the distance, anchoring a rope to help the rest across.

They dug up one of several mounds topped with shield, that had been marked with the ubiquitous rune. Without the requisite local knowledge, they were unable to identify the fairly freshly dead body of a Grey Maiden of Khorvosa.

Up the shore, through a door and some twisting corridors, they snuck up on a grey-skinned man behind a portcullis. Corwyn boldly strode forward, demanding that the man report. With the help of Camilo's performance of the obsequious servant, he believed Corwyn to be his mistress, this loyalty inspired, at least in part, by some kind of long term enchantment.

They learned the Sorshen had been there in the very recent past.

After they secured entrance to the area beyond the portcullis, they picked a path. In this new room, the heads of several statues detached to attack them and, hearing this, the man had evidence that Camilo was not who she appeared to be.

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 4/expert 1)
Camilo (gnome mesmerist 4/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 4/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 4/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (winterborn triaxian kineticist 4/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (winterborn triaxian barbarian 4/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

A ray from a 'statue head' struck Trixie, paralyzing her as she dived out of the way. Armath, Camilo and Tran prevented the heads from entering the room with the other students. While the heads focused on Tran, Camilo and Armath (once he shook off his own paralysis) whittled away at them.

Behind them, Elalinda focused her positive energies on the grey-skinned man, helping him to break the enchantment that he had been under. Still believing Corwyn to be Sorshen, he rushed to protect Elalinda. Corwyn's flailing, and breathless explanation of who she was and her various experiments and how the Sorshen thing was just a disguise and how they were all really on the same side and that she'd just been pretending before, seemed to convince him. Their new ally, Gnaeus Gnaru, helped them finish off the heads.

At Gnaeus's prompting, they retreated to the banks of the river, where he explained how his group had gone over the nearby waterfall, but been captured by someone else who claimed to be Sorshen. Although she had ensorcelled him, and taken him to her boudoir, he had noticed at one point, that she seemed to have a different appearance. One with wings.

This gave the students hope that she might not be the real, ancient, fantastically powerful runelord. Although he did explain that he knew that she (obviously) had some ability to mind-control people, carried a wicked polearm, and could cast (at least) fireballs.

Gnaeus also gave them some idea of how to get into the statue above, before leaving; professing an intense aversion to facing anything that waited for them in the complex.

After helping him up and across the river, they continued a little further into the complex, where Armath and Tran discovered a spiked pit trap.

After being hauled out, a means was devised to cross, with some rope and a statue from the earlier room.

Behind the door, beyond the pit, they encountered an incubus. Feeling the confidence kindled by her new body, Corwyn ordered the demon to go to her boudoir to await her arrival. Convinced by her performance, he left.

Unfortunately, he returned in short order, with a woman whose face was, by then, familiar to all present.

Things looked dire, but the new-new-Sorshen was blinded by glittering dust and teleported away. Meanwhile, the daemon was stunned, dropping his sword.

Tran, and then Camilo, kept it away from him, while the group tried to dispatch him. Singularly focused on retrieving his sword from whoever held it, the incubus pursued Camilo back out of the doorway. When it became clear that he might be outmatched, he too teleported away.

The students retreated to the beach again, where they rested.

After a fitful night, they returned to the incubus's room. With him nowhere to be seen, they proceeded to the next room.

This was dominated by a strange grey flame topping two raised tiers. The room had no visible exits, but did have an unusual section of wall, with an unlit torch in a sconce. There were also four cacodaemons.

The students made a valiant effort, but the resistances, toughness, and regenerative of the daemons made dispatching even one of them a slog. They also had the intelligence to focus most of their fury on Tran, who with his tough constitution and Elalinda's vast expenditure of positive energy healings was remaining upright but ineffectual.

Another successful glitterdust explosion gave them a moment's respite.

Not wanting to retreat and admit defeat, especially after the escape of the previous day's foes, in a flash of inspiration, Camilo grabbed the torch telekinetically, lit it in the pyre, and replaced it in its holder.

The unusual wall swiveled up and they ran for this exit.

Armath Ethmaed (half-elf unchained rogue 5/expert 1)
Camilo (gnome mesmerist 4/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (vercite arcane bomber wizard 5/expert 1)
Elalinda (lashunta oracle 5/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (winterborn triaxian kineticist 4/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (paralyzed lump)

Shadow Lodge

Trixie finally shook off the paralysis and promptly split one daemon into two much less frightening daemon-halves. The whole group continued their escape into the corridor beyond the new door and, as Trixie joined them; Tran, in a feat of desperate strength broke some mechanism in the door and closed it behind them.

The short corridor ended with a wall, another image of Sorshen and a Thassilonian inscription that the linguists translated for the group. This mildly cryptic instruction, coupled with the worn feet of 'Sorshen' seemed to make it clear that kissing its feet was the way to proceed.

Without a moment's hesitation Camilo bent to kiss the feet and vanished. With the remaining daemons scrabbling at the door, each student followed suit.

As they appeared on a platform in another body of water, beside a waterfall, they were confronted with a seated giant. She seemed incensed by the appearance of Corwyn, shouting that she would destroyed the false Sorshen, as she, herself, was Sorshen. (This made three Sorshens in two days)

She was also joined by their incubus friend from the previous day. Resting his hand on his fine replacement sword he explained how he would revel in each of their deaths as soon as he returned from summoning the 'real' Sorshen.

On a platform barely big enough to hold them all, they battled. Armath focused on preventing the teleportation of the incubus, while the giant brought Corwyn near to death, despite Elalinda's best efforts.

After defeating, first the giant, then the incubus, they assessed the surroundings.

Lit by phosphorescent lichen, this seemed to be a cavern at the bottom of the waterfall. The one wall that the platform jutted from depicted a demonic form with outstretched hand, and the word 'farewell'. Three boats were tied to the platform. A nearby tunnel extended beyond sight, as did the large cavern.

Of course, Camilo touched the demonic hand.

After briefly disappearing and reappearing, she explained that it had transported her back to the corridor from moments before.

Remembering the instructions from Gnaeus, the climbed into two of the small boats and set off in search of the beach with the secret door.

First eight aquatic undead attacked. Elalinda's positive energy helped to make short work of the four on one boat, but the others took more time, Corwyn having to resort to fighting with a dagger, for fear of her acids destroying the second boat.

After freeing themselves of this menace, Tran revealed that he could create currents in the water, obviating the need to row. And so, when the giant zombie bats attacked, more people where ready to defend.

Enduring their stunning screeches and dealing a bit of damage in return, things looked grim for the students until Corwyn ordered the bats to retreat. Despite the parting shots of Armath and Trixie, they obeyed the voice of their master.

As they moved within sight of the beach, two gremlins spotted them and began to run off somewhere, two giant eels also rose from the depths to confront them.

A precious charge from Corwyn's fireball wand stopped these sentries from calling allies. A magical shout from Elalinda stunned the eels. Armath drew his strange device and pointed it towards the eels, letting for a thunderous boom.

As the boats were pushed towards shore, the eels were convinced to turn back, but a group of armoured women, more of the Grey Maidens of Korvosa, swarmed from the now-less-secret door on the beach, having been alerted by the loud rapport of Armath's weapon.

Corwyn did her best to convince them that she was the real Sorshen, but they seemed disinclined to disobey the orders of their superiors, making it clear that they intended to affect the deaths of this Sorshen (false or otherwise) and her companions.

Things looked very dire, but more precious fireball charges, blinding glitterdust-assisted sneak attacks, and monstrous damage from Trixie meant that the students survived.

Unfortunately, as the last of the warriors fell, a gremlin was spotted leaving down a tunnel off of the beach. Tran, Corwyn and Camilo gave chase. Elalinda, Trixie and Armath checked the other paths from the beach for more lurkers.

Having had no breathing room from the battle with the Grey Maidens, they discovered a smaller cavern, with several gremlins and a seahag torturing someone. The exhausted group managed to scrape up the reserves of energy to defeat these new enemies. But, as they approached the person that they had saved from the cruel ministrations of the gremlins, they were confronted by the prostrate form of yet another Grey Maiden.

Armath Ethmaed (Half-elf unchained rogue 5/expert 1)
Camilo (Gnome mesmerist 4/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (Vercite arcane bomber wizard 5/expert 1)
Elalinda (Lashunta oracle 5/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (Winterborn triaxian kineticist 4/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (Winterborn triaxian barbarian 4/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

Rummaging through the seahag's belongings, they discussed what to do with the Grey Maidens on the beach and whether to heal this new one who seemed to have been badly treated.

They decided to wake this Helanda Mertien. The unit's second in command, Quenelle, had given her over to the seahag when she tried to talk about her concerns with the unit's leader, Oriana. They explained as much as they knew, and helped a bit with ministering to those of the Maidens who still breathed.

Thinking that they would not be able to help Helanda flee with her comrades, they sought a place to recuperate for the rest of the day. They settled on trying the giant's room, near the bottom of the waterfall. Helanda stayed to bury her fallen comrades and minister to those who had not.

A locked red metal door and two monitor lizard giant pets (/future giant snacks) proved to be little trouble. Unfortunately the large treasures chests, flanking the marble throne, had been repurposed as storage for old pets/snacks. Camillo busied herself with cleaning these out, while the others found ways to occupy themselves, including the invention of Giant's Hall Ball, by Trixie and Tran.

Thankfully Armath's keen ears caught the sound of the 'Fake Bad Sorshen' giving orders, out in the main cavern, to check the giant's room . Quickly deciding that it would be better not to draw attention to where they were resting, they climbed into the freshly cleaned boxes. Armath's eye for detail ensured that nothing seemed amiss. Thankfully the guards made only the most perfunctory of searches, as they thought they knew what had been contained in the chests.

Unfortunately the guards took their boats, but Trixie and Tran were able to swim out to the others and retrieve them without incident.

In, what they thought must be, the morning they went back to discover fresh graves on the beach, but no sign of the remaining Grey Maidens.

The began to search the last avenue available to them, the barracks and baths. Some felt the need to indulge themselves in the magically heated waters. This proved to be fortuitous, because it allowed them to notice the secret door.

Following the corridor, they found, what appeared to be Sorshen's perfume room. It was filled with a strange gas and, just in time, Armath notice a trap that would set it ablaze. The ancient and valuable perfumes proved too much of a temptation for the avaricious gnome student.

Suspicious as to the location of the room, a search in the secret corridor revealed a second secret door.

This led to a shrine of some sort. A black fog hung in the air, obscuring the ceiling but not the bloody altar, nor the mural of the demon woman at the other end of the room. This, and the hum of insects could not cool their curiosity.

And, as the black tendrils dripped from the ceiling, they had cause to wonder if this had been the wisest choice. These shadowy hounds howled, no panicking any at first (the student were made of sterner stuff by this point). They attacked Armath, knocking him to the ground, and wagging their terrible tails with the most evil of wags. A difficult fight followed, with Elalinda ensuring that they held onto their lives, while some ran in panic and some struck with determination from the ground.

After surviving this grueling batlle, the examined the items on the altar and the mural behind it. The wall contained a groove hidden by an illusion. Predictably, Armath and Camilo stuck their fingers into it.

With all their fingers intact (amazingly) they discovered some raised writing, which Corwyn to a rubbing of, so that they could read it (and to fulfill her assignment to collect writing samples). Her obsession with writing proved quite useful moments later, when the riddle to allow entry to the 'inner sanctum' was answered with a bit of trivia that she had encountered earlier.

Stopping to submit the latest writing sample, Corwyn discovered a message for Elalinda in the message tube. Her church was offering to make her the Pope of the whole Cage, if she could establish the worship of her god/ancestor in any enclave. She was less than impressed with the idea of staying on the planet longer than necessary.

Having squared away the important business, they spoke the answer (the name of the artist of the mural and a previously encountered painting) and were teleported...

Armath Ethmaed (Half-elf unchained rogue 5/expert 1)
Camilo (Gnome mesmerist 5/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (Vercite arcane bomber wizard 5/expert 1)
Elalinda (Lashunta oracle 5/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (Winterborn triaxian kineticist 5/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (Winterborn triaxian barbarian 5/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

They found themselves in the presence of four sinspawn who immediately fall to worshipping Corwyn. She stayed behind to keep them occupied and to see if she could learn anything from them.

The rest of the group ascended the staircase nearby. At the doors they heard the sounds of a celebration, the chatter and dancing feet of quite a number of people.

Kicking in the door, and striding (as much as her small legs would permit) out onto the balcony beyond, Camilo announced Elalinda. She wrapped up the description of the greatness of the 'archbishop of the whole Cage' with a declaration that she brought the doom of all assembled.

Sorshen and her fellow runelord Kharzhoug seemed unimpressed and set the room of dancers to attack the students.

As one of them reached Elalinda and touched her, they all disappeared, revealing a lone flying lustspawn, who then also disappeared from sight.

A confused battle ensued. Glitterdust filled the air on multiple occasions. People climbed down and back up to the balcony. The lustspawn summoned several creatures. Armath used his precious fly potion to be able to harry the winged sinspawn. Elalinda revealed the ability to conjure up fireballs.

When the glitter settled, they found a secret door behind a tapestry. Beyond was a room with a mosaic of entwining snakes and arms, but little else.

Pressing further, they found another octagonal room, this one containing a large, central, spiraling staircase, entrances to several more rooms, and four grey maidens.

Three of the warriors were playing cards close to the students' entrance; the last over on the far side of the room. This last was revealed to be Quenelle, the second in command that Helanda had warned seemed to be voluntarily in the sway of the 'Bad Fake Sorshen'.

Two guards were quickly knocked out with a colourspray and then bound by the end of the battle. Quenelle called for reinforcements from one of the nearby rooms, revealed to be a barracks.

A tanglefoot bag thrown at the door held it long enough for them to dispatch Quennelle and the remaining conscious card-player. By the time the reinforcements forced the door open, the three more physically adept of the group had created a bottleneck and were able to prevent the fighters from spilling out of the barracks.

With magical resources depleted, the students decided to rest in the barracks and thoroughly search the surrounds. This second idea led to the discovery of a secret door and a room covered in a bloody mural, and occupied by terrifying vampiric ghostly forms.

After dispatching these, the students decided to stay put and lick their wounds. Thankfully the rest of the day passed uneventfully.

Armath Ethmaed (Half-elf unchained rogue 5/expert 1)
Camilo (Gnome mesmerist 5/expert 1)
Elalinda (Lashunta oracle 6/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (Winterborn triaxian kineticist 5/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (Winterborn triaxian barbarian 5/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

In the morning everyone received mail. Shocked, dismayed, and confused noises from some, led to a sharing of information.

It seemed that the fact that they had found a stronghold of Sorshen's had leaked beyond the department, back on Triaxus. Camilo, in a rare bought of honesty, revealed that her sister wanted her to retrieve a fabled book of Sorshen's. Armath had a similar request from an estranged uncle. Tran had a request for information from his uncle. Elalinda did not reveal what her letter might have said, but did, after some prompting, reveal that the small attached pouch held platinum coins stamped with her face.

Tran seemed to have contracted a disease that was yellowing his fur.

Exploring beyond the vampiric mists' room, the found a dead end, containing 3 babau demons. What followed was a protracted battle with these acid secreting, spear wielding terrors.

This room also contained a depiction of Sorshen under a pyramid, receiving blood sacrifices. Corwyn and Tran were able to deduce that this was a depiction of Sorshen's contingency plan; that she was most likely in some sort of stasis under a pyramid somewhere. After a little memory searching, they determined that this must be the Grand Mastaba in Korvosa.

This excited them from an academic standpoint, but left them somewhat shaken to know that she was still very likely to be alive on the Cage.

They returned to the central room with the staircase and climbed 20 floors to a domed room containing 8 alcoves. Seven held statues of the runelords, but the last was empty and featureless. An inscription gave them a clue, but the truth of it was revealed in a linguistic twist.

Although the whole group of the students understood the order that they would have to embrace the statues in, the capricious Armath chose to intentionally begin with the wrong one. The magically knowledgable had determined that something would be summoned if the wrong order was chosen. The empty alcove reacted at this incorrect choice and several of the students, including Armath, sprang into action to reset the trap before they had to face whatever was coming.

Tran volunteered to go first, choosing the correct order and stepping into the golden mist in the empty alcove. Each of the others quickly followed, all finding themselves in a small heptagonal room containing a red door and a polished snake mural.

To Tran's delight, his fur had returned to a more normal colour - the group had been cured of all disease during transit.

The next room seemed to consist of two heptagonal rooms, with what would have been, a shared wall missing. This plane held some residual magic. The floors also each had snake murals with outstretched tongues, which looked like they might meet if the snakes were rotated. One also contained a pedestal with a kind of wheel in it and several doors

While the rest prepared for what might happen, Tran turned the wheel.

As the snakes touched, another golden portal appeared in the shared wall area, and a high ranking Grey Maiden burst through a door. Elalinda cast Protection from Evil, and several others tried to quickly convey who they were and what the situation was.

Oriana, the leader of the contingent of Grey Maidens that the students had been encountering, shook of the effects of the mind control that she had been under. Her first question was how long this would last. On being told that it would only be a few minutes, and that they were there to fight the 'Fake Bad Sorshen' she leapt into the portal.

Recognising the opportunity, or perhaps ignoring the danger, the group quickly followed...

...and arrived in the boudoir of the ersatz Sorshen - a 60ft, domed room, containing a truly stupendous bed on a mass of furs, on a raised platform. Rising from this bed, 'Sorshen' cast a spell to protect her from any spell available to the group.

With two-thirds of the group having to abandon their most powerful options, they scrambled. Led by Orianna, Armath and Trixie rushed into the fray, finding the (later to be revealed) alu-demon difficult to strike and wound.

Rummaging in her bag in desperation, Camilo found the earth elemental gem that she had been saving for a desperate occasion (or maybe to pawn). The summoned creature grappled the demon and dragged it out of the protective bubble.

Held helpless, now without her protective bubble, she was blinded with glitter and then, in what seemed like too much time, was ended in an almost workmanlike manner before she could make good her escape, or the elemental's service was over.

Ransacking the room, they found several treasures, but more importantly, the next shard.

Armath Ethmaed (Half-elf unchained rogue 5/Slayer 1/expert 1)
Camilo (Gnome mesmerist 5/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (Vercite arcane bomber wizard 6/expert 1)
Elalinda (Lashunta oracle 6/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (Winterborn triaxian kineticist 5/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (Winterborn triaxian barbarian 5/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

After taking a few moments to evaluate their finds, they backtracked to some of the areas that they had not explored, avoiding conflict with the cacodaemons by simply avoiding the plinth that they were guarding.

Exploring a corridor of 9 bedchambers, Tran found the one false, trapped door. However, being inured to elemental cold, he suffered only minor wounds.

They then explored first a room with a pool of dispelling water, followed by an alchemical lab. This lab contained a variety of interesting substances, mostly of the acidic ooze, and volatile varieties.

Taking a different turn, they found an ancient guardian worm, wielding wands, protecting a black book.

Defeating the worm, they examined their spoils, finding it to be the tome that seemed to be what everyone on their penpal list wanted. I seemed to be a tome that would increase the intelligence of its reader. However, unlike the standard book of this type, it could be used by everyone once. It would be a great treasure for the University.

In the enchanted lab, they spent quite some time developing a cure for the infertile troglodytes that they had promised to help a few days earlier.

Retracing their steps out, they provided the cure to the troglodytes. Visited Maroux and picked up Gniass where he was camped in the swamp.

After a night on Freedom, they set sail for Magnimar, finding that the mayor's scheming had borne fruit and that it had become much more hostile towards outsiders.

Corwyn visited her girlfriend, Armath and Camilo visited a bar. In the morning they teleported to Kaer Maga

Armath Ethmaed (Half-elf unchained rogue 5/Slayer 1/expert 1)
Camilo (Gnome mesmerist 6/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (Vercite arcane bomber wizard 6/expert 1)
Elalinda (Lashunta oracle 6/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (Winterborn triaxian kineticist 6/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (Winterborn triaxian barbarian 6/expert 1)

Shadow Lodge

Dola gave the group, what they believe to be, a good price for the plethora of ancient items they were able to provide. They split up for a while to take in the sights, spend their new wealth, and catch up with some acquaintances from their earlier visit.

When Elalinda visited the Augers, she found them in great distress. One of their number, Augustille, had been kidnapped. To make matters worse, the culprits were led by Berkanin Ardoc, one of the family who were the defacto law-keepers.

Asking at various places around town, they were able to determine that Berkanin lived in The Hanging Manse, a large home set on a shelf at the end of town. 30-40 ft above the ground, the physical difficulty of reaching it was a problem. Magical scouting, and more questioning in the area led to a fair amount of additional information; a good amount of this coming from Berkanin's recently fired gardener.

The access to the home was augmented with a magical alarm that allowed remote viewing. While food deliveries were a regular weekly affair, almost all the servants had recently been fired without cause or references (causing no small amount of embarrassment for the other Ardocs). Some nasty, ambulatory, semi-intelligent, carnivorous Tendriculous plants had been brought in. Of note was their 45ft tendril span and their ability to recognise their master's scent. Finally, the manse housed an unknown number of constructs, as well as Berkanin's harpy majordomo and catfolk girlfriend; both of unknown skill and power.

The students decided that the best chance to accomplish a rescue of Augustille would be to use a wand of flying to skirt along the roof, hopefully bypassing some of the security, sneaking (if possible) or fighting (almost inevitable) their way to where the troll was being held. Then they would leave the same way (although they were at least one charge short on the wand).

Flying up, they were able to avoid the Tendriculous plants and saw that the kidnapper's lab/workshop was a mostly open affair on the third floor. They swooped in. Augustille was nailed up in the lab. Berkanin and two automatons were there as well.

The evildoer was quickly held with magic. Attempting to escape by mentally activating some magical wings, he was quickly cut down. The delirious troll was calmed as some freed him, while the others dealt with the automatons.

While the fight raged, both the harpy and catfolk appeared, but Elalinda convinced them that allowing the students to leave, unharassed was in their best interest. The students flew out, having quickly ransacked the lab, carrying the troll between them.

Among what they had found was the transcription of the prophetic ramblings that Augustille had made while in captivity. Vargun (Augustille's Auger troll friend) and the students, agreed to seal these and allow the oracle to do with them as he saw fit.

Elalinda wrote a letter to the patriarch of the Ardocs, included with Berkanin's 'symbol of office', implying their involvement in clearing up the mess that had been allowed to be made.

The next day, the troll had somewhat recovered and was grateful to receive the writings.

Vargun accompanied them to the Great Library of the Thorassic Spire, quite possibly the oldest library, which had been closed. Some adventuring types had been hired, some time ago, to do something within and not been seen since.

The students introduced themselves to the voice one the other side of the barred door. A misunderstanding about their connection to Master Nivlandis, and then some outright lies, augmented by Corwyn's mind reading, led to them being allowed entry later in the day.

Deep within the library, twelve robed figures stood by a barricaded door, armed in various ways. They had sent the hired adventurers below to make contact with a telepathic creature. Venturing below Kaer Maga was strictly forbidden by the Duskwardens. As the next shard lay somewhere far below, the students agreed to follow that lost expedition down.

Armath Ethmaed (Half-elf unchained rogue 5/slayer 1/expert 1)
Camilo (Gnome mesmerist 6/expert 1)
Corwyn Greely (Vercite/Azlanti arcane bomber wizard 6/expert 1)
Elalinda (Lashunta oracle 7/expert 1)
Tran Zusk (Winterborn Triaxian kineticist 6/expert 1)
Trixie Longtooth (Winterborn triaxian barbarian 6/expert 1)

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