[5e] Descent into Avernus

Game Master mishima


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Grim, roll persuasion but first give me your DC 15 Con Save vs exhaustion from earlier.


AC18(20) |HP 38/[40]| Str+3 Int+1 Wis+6 Dex+0 Con+2 Cha+2|Init + 0|Percept +6|Insight +6|Invest +4| War Priest Attacks 0/[3] Inspiration [Y] Channel Divinity 1/[1] HD 2/[5] Male Human Doomguide Acolyte of Kelemvor Cleric (War)/5

Con 15: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8

Clearly exhausted his manner is brusque...

Disadvantage due to fatigue

Persuasion: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12 or Persuasion: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19


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The sun elf appears to have just smelled something foul, but then you realize his face is actually that way because of Grim's sour-to-the-core, sleep deprived induced, abandonment of civility. "Fisk, Elminster, everyone, regardless of station must fulfill the ward's mandate."

Still, his eyes return to the manuscript. "*sigh* There is a clause for truly rare works..."

"C'mon Clancy, we've not had something of that magnitude show up for months. They're clearly part of the Archmage's business, not some rabble-clad tumbledowns from Baldur's Gate." a bespectacled woman pleaded, gripping the elf's shoulder.

"..........fffffine. The statues may pass as well." taking Fisk's recipe book as well.

With that bit of unpleasantness behind you, you pass into the great gravel yard known as the Court of Air...

A sign ominously displays in various languages .Those who destroy knowledge with ink, fire, or sword, are themselves destroyed. The one absolute rule of Candlekeep.

I'll post a map with some 'hotspots' for you guys to choose from shortly.


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AC18(20) |HP 38/[40]| Str+3 Int+1 Wis+6 Dex+0 Con+2 Cha+2|Init + 0|Percept +6|Insight +6|Invest +4| War Priest Attacks 0/[3] Inspiration [Y] Channel Divinity 1/[1] HD 2/[5] Male Human Doomguide Acolyte of Kelemvor Cleric (War)/5

Evendur shoots them both a rare grin before entering.

He looks up at the sign.

We could probably do with some more impressive 'advertising' in our own temple... still, our parishioner's sort of lack the means to mess around with necromancy... or literacy for that matter, so any sign is of limited use... but as signs go? Impressive.


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Map of the courtyard up on Art slide.

Map Locations:

House of Rest - Half magical, half-mundane 3-story bunkhouse for some peace and quiet rest.

The Hearth - Lively pub appearing to be crafted by worshippers of Gond.

Bath and Steam House - For saunas and massage.

House of the Binder - Seems to be some kind of copy or print shop.

Pillars of Pedagogy - Quiet study towers by reservation only.

Temple of Oghma - A modest stone temple dedicated to the god of knowledge.

Erudite Outfitters & Clothiers - By the look of the silk worm atrium next door, this business seems to specialize in robes.

Smithy and Stables - Able to accommodate horse, hippogriff, griffon, and mechanical steed all.

Emerald Door - Main point of entrance to the Inner Ward, and the full archives. Restricted.

Despite its sparseness, the Court of Air is alive with hustle and bustle. Students of all kinds chatter idly about esoteric concepts like phlogiston, the Far Realm, and underwater basket weaving. Others lecture openly to any who happen to be nearby, collecting small crowds of fierce academic debate. A long necked animal something like a cross between a giraffe and a red fox elsewhere is garnering attention. One truly ancient scholar tirelessly recounts the sayings of Alaundo over and over...


Halfling Dragonslayer | HP: 33/34 | 0/1d8 & 0d6 | Disguise 1/1 | Camo 2/3 | Recover 0/3 | Fast Rit 1/1 |1st 3/4 | 2nd 1/3 | Inspiration!
Stats:
AC 15 | Str -1 Dex +6 Con +2 Int +7 Wis +1 Cha -1 | Init +3 | Perc +7, Darkvision 120 ft | Insight +1

Mal suggests, "Let's head to the House of Rest to secure some rooms. They would probably also know where and how we best to produce an antidote from the basilisk gullet." He "leads" the way listening and habitually scoping out everyone and everywhere.

When you introduce the new characters, I too would appreciate a review of why we're here in Candlekeep. Thanks


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As Malaric leads on across the courtyard, an older gentlemen excitedly interjects himself in your path. Wearing a ragged bearskin cloak and carrying a sloshing tankard of sour milk, he speaks "Ah...fresh scholars, might I regale you with the tale of a true vile pragmatism? Yes! I speak of the Yakfolk of Ironslag! What, you are unfamiliar with the half bovine half man denizens of this realm? The story has everything...golden gongs a'dangling, cheese wheels galore, and lets not forget the sinister wives of Chief Kartha-kaya!" He seems very excited about some yakfolk village in the Silver Marches.

A bored looking woman a few paces away sighs "No one wants to hear about your sick cow-person obsession, Daniel. Plus your breath stinks, you've been drinking that milk for days without brushing your teeth."

Presumably you make your way past the odd couple, reaching the tall bunkhouse on the south wall. Inside is a rustic accommodation with a large 3 story entrance hall. Those sensitive to magic realize many of the passages branching off this central hub are extradimensional spaces. The place is as quiet and calm as a library save a comfortable crackling fireplace. The only other person here is a humongous full-blooded ogre wearing a silver headband and glasses...engaged completely in his reading.

As you near the counter, you make out the title The Sum of Theology by Saint Vetheera. There is also a small golden service bell.


Halfling Dragonslayer | HP: 33/34 | 0/1d8 & 0d6 | Disguise 1/1 | Camo 2/3 | Recover 0/3 | Fast Rit 1/1 |1st 3/4 | 2nd 1/3 | Inspiration!
Stats:
AC 15 | Str -1 Dex +6 Con +2 Int +7 Wis +1 Cha -1 | Init +3 | Perc +7, Darkvision 120 ft | Insight +1

The exhausted halfling replies to the odd couple, "Not right now. Maybe later. We've some friends to restore from being stoned by a basilisk."

At the counter, Mal picks up the small golden service bell and rings it a bit. Not too much, expecting the sound to be be bigger than the bell.


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The woman's eyes go wide "They're stoned?"

The man shakes his head knowingly "Those damn Yakfolk had something to do with it, I'm sure..." lost in the conspiracy theories of cow-people.

At the house of rest...

*ding*

The normal volume bell rings a singular note, though it does echo oddly throughout the space. There is no response in the slightest from the ogre.

Time passes, the ogre turns a page.

Finally sensing some impatience he glances down at you "Hmm? Oh, sorry my little friend. I actually don't work here. Did you need accommodations? I'm sure its no problem. Always a room at the House of Rest, or they make more." he smiles.

You hear a fast *click click click* of some claw footed creature rapidly approaching from above. The tapping stops and is replaced with a gust of wind, as a black as night kenku descends upon the scene.

"Ah, here he his." waving a hand, the ogre goes back to his reading.

"Welcome to the House of Rest. Apologies, I was in another dimension. You may call me Crinkle." the voice is broken and cobbled together in imitation from many others, such is the nature of most kenku. "Ah, I assume you'd like a room on the ground floor for your...rocky...companions? Not safe to carry upstairs. Have you talked to the priests at the temple? I think they are familiar with that sort of thing."

There are private and common rooms. The private rooms are essentially a Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion and run 20 gp per person per night, while the common bunks are a mere silver.


AC18(20) |HP 38/[40]| Str+3 Int+1 Wis+6 Dex+0 Con+2 Cha+2|Init + 0|Percept +6|Insight +6|Invest +4| War Priest Attacks 0/[3] Inspiration [Y] Channel Divinity 1/[1] HD 2/[5] Male Human Doomguide Acolyte of Kelemvor Cleric (War)/5

Apologies... look, I'm a little, no make that a LOT tired right now but we need to see the alchemists as soon as possible. Our reagents aren't getting any fresher... happy to make aquantaince with your beds afterwards of course. Could you direct us to those worthies?.


Halfling Dragonslayer | HP: 33/34 | 0/1d8 & 0d6 | Disguise 1/1 | Camo 2/3 | Recover 0/3 | Fast Rit 1/1 |1st 3/4 | 2nd 1/3 | Inspiration!
Stats:
AC 15 | Str -1 Dex +6 Con +2 Int +7 Wis +1 Cha -1 | Init +3 | Perc +7, Darkvision 120 ft | Insight +1

Mal smiles, "Yes, what my friend means is that we need an accomplished alchemist and laboratory, now that we know that room can be secured."

"We need to produce an antidote of a basilisk for our stoned companions. One of which may want a private room and pay with gold which is also now stone."


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"Strange. You must have passed the temple on the way here? Ah let me guess, you were distracted by that Yak-Daniel guy...well no matter, it is just adjacent to the stables, back near the gate. Eh, Little One, do you mind showing them the way?"

The ogre seems to respond to this nickname, rising slowly "Happy to help those new to the 'Keep. Especially a halfling. Come!" lumbering outside again and helping you carry the statues.

*wwwwinpsh*

As soon as you step back outside, the purple robed dwarf from the gate who ran off earlier suddenly reapparates from an arcane teleportation, huffing and puffing and running your way. Mercifully barreling over the yakfolk expert he finally spits out "The Great Reader Sylvira is aware of Fisk's return. I've been tasked to help you however I can. Come, the temple priests are most experienced with this condition..." motioning you towards the temple of Oghma.

You break up a crowd fiercely debating along the way. One side argues that Fire and Water Genasi can never find true love with each other, while the other argues that opposites make the best complements. "Scatter now, make way!" the dwarf bellows, stepping on a long unfurled parchment someone was writing the whole thing down on. Little One, double fisting Fisk and Simon, mutters a heartfelt apology.

The temple is a tasteful minimalist design of stone, unlike many of the other structures here in the courtyard. The only thing really catching your eye are 4 extremely lifelike gargoyles perched just above the cornices. Once inside, a short, olive skinned man of Shou descent rushes towards the statues "Basilisks? This time of year? Damn rains must've flooded their hovels...how long has it been since they were turned?"

The dwarf adds "Kei, that one is Falaster Fisk. The archmage asks you do whatever you can for them, on her account."

"Tsk...well, this will be a quest of no small trial. I have not been gifted the magic to cure such a condition you see, we will need to seek out and retrieve the gullet of a basilisk!" he actually seems pretty excited about the notion, gathering up an old sword and dusting off a cloak. "We'll use my finest steed, Quincy Celestial-legs! Come!"

Reminder map in Art slide.


Halfling Dragonslayer | HP: 33/34 | 0/1d8 & 0d6 | Disguise 1/1 | Camo 2/3 | Recover 0/3 | Fast Rit 1/1 |1st 3/4 | 2nd 1/3 | Inspiration!
Stats:
AC 15 | Str -1 Dex +6 Con +2 Int +7 Wis +1 Cha -1 | Init +3 | Perc +7, Darkvision 120 ft | Insight +1

"Um. We've got the gullet." Malaric interrupts Kei. "It's how to create the antidote that we need the help, sir."

The gullet holder provides the macguffin to the short, olive skinned man of Shou descent.


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The old adventurer deflates immediately, his swordpoint clinking on the tile "Oh...uh, I mean...good. Well, that is a simple cold press followed by a careful distillation, though the catalyst is rather expensive. I myself have performed the alchemical procedure a thousand times...these hills were once swarming with the crowned lizards..."

The dwarf taps his foot "The Archmage will cover the cost of them both. Please Kei, there is an urgency here."

"Yes, yes, of course! No one likes being stoned. It should only take a few turns of the hourglass...let me gather a few materials..." he goes about riffling through a large cabinet with many tiny drawers, assembling a mechanical press and preparing glassware and tubing.

Malaric:
You feel a certain tension here in this temple, but you can't quite put your finger on it...then you recall, Mask (before he was absorbed by Shar) was a great enemy of Oghma...the god of knowledge always working against the Lord of Shadows.


Halfling Dragonslayer | HP: 33/34 | 0/1d8 & 0d6 | Disguise 1/1 | Camo 2/3 | Recover 0/3 | Fast Rit 1/1 |1st 3/4 | 2nd 1/3 | Inspiration!
Stats:
AC 15 | Str -1 Dex +6 Con +2 Int +7 Wis +1 Cha -1 | Init +3 | Perc +7, Darkvision 120 ft | Insight +1

With Kei and the dwarf distracted, the curious halfling looks around the temple. He feels some tension in the temple and wants to understand better.

Investigation: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30


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AC18(20) |HP 38/[40]| Str+3 Int+1 Wis+6 Dex+0 Con+2 Cha+2|Init + 0|Percept +6|Insight +6|Invest +4| War Priest Attacks 0/[3] Inspiration [Y] Channel Divinity 1/[1] HD 2/[5] Male Human Doomguide Acolyte of Kelemvor Cleric (War)/5

Wow


2 people marked this as a favorite.
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Yep, didn't see that coming. That could've opened the puzzle box XD Its DC 30 as well.

As the priest oozes the purple mucus out of the gullet in a ratcheting press, Malaric wanders the area trying to pinpoint some unnatural sensation.

Malaric:
As you near a small display of Oghma artifacts, the feeling recedes. You read an inscription that says 'Before anything can exist, the idea must first exist' and consider it pretty stupid. But as you step nearer a long bookshelf, that tension again increases.

Its guiding you. It demands your attention.

But it isn't easy. Like tying a knot blindfolded, you must be extremely sensitive to minor shifts in the feeling while maintaining an exquisite geospatial awareness. A reasoned focus that transcends mere sensation, the intellect over the observed.

Your finger comes to a scratching halt on the binding of a red velvet tome. You crack the cover and indecipherable text slowly dissolves in your eyes to spell out Contrary to the Leaves of One Night authored by Elyril Hraven.

Kei starts to sweat from the task, struggling with a little tinderbox to light a fire to boil the extracted oils "Ehehe...no, no, I can do it..." waving the dwarf priest of Deneir away. Always great cooperation between the faiths of knowledge...

Malaric:
You scan through the old tome over the next few minutes. The text deals with something called the Shadowstorm, an ancient spell of the highest level magic lost to time. More specifically, it speculates on ways to counter this spell...rendering it unable to be articulated forth from both the Weave and Shadow Weave. The details are extremely technical, but you do catch notice of Niflheim (the second layer of the demonic Hades) and Avernus (the first layer of the devilish 9 hells).

You get the feeling you should keep this text, even though it doesn't belong to you.


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At last the process is nearly complete "Alright, now here's the fun part! Watch this guys, its really neat..." he holds a red colored flask of watery liquid in one hand and a yellow colored flask of a more viscous liquid in the other. The priest of Oghma then pours both flasks simultaneously into a large wooden barrel.

*fffffffzzzzzfbbbbbbbffzfzfzf*

The mixture boils, bubbles and steams increasing its volume by a factor of 1000! It fills the barrel with a smooth, thick slightly green cream. "Alright its ready...uh, maybe one of you should do this next part. You have to rub it on them...like everywhere..." the man blushes.

It becomes clear the magic lotion must be applied liberally into every stony fold and orifice of your friends Fisk and Simon.


AC18(20) |HP 38/[40]| Str+3 Int+1 Wis+6 Dex+0 Con+2 Cha+2|Init + 0|Percept +6|Insight +6|Invest +4| War Priest Attacks 0/[3] Inspiration [Y] Channel Divinity 1/[1] HD 2/[5] Male Human Doomguide Acolyte of Kelemvor Cleric (War)/5

I am not looking forward to the next part but as I've handed rotting corpses before... , he shrugs.

I'll save them the nights inn fees and do it tomorrow.


Halfling Dragonslayer | HP: 33/34 | 0/1d8 & 0d6 | Disguise 1/1 | Camo 2/3 | Recover 0/3 | Fast Rit 1/1 |1st 3/4 | 2nd 1/3 | Inspiration!
Stats:
AC 15 | Str -1 Dex +6 Con +2 Int +7 Wis +1 Cha -1 | Init +3 | Perc +7, Darkvision 120 ft | Insight +1

Stealth +6 or Sleight of Hand +3 to stow the book while no one is looking: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12

After perusing a book from a shelf, the halfling casually tucks into his gear with his other books.

Good stories start to form if asked: This book looked interesting to read. Since Denier is the god the written knowledge and Oghma is the god of knowledge, he's going to pray over the knowledge later, which is all very true and not a lie. Because now, they need to give their stoned companions a bath in a magical potion.


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Sleight of Hand applies. We'll say the alchemical reaction distracted him so a -5 penalty to his passive perception (13-5=8) so you just squeak by with a 9.


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With the dwarf, ogre, and priest none the wiser...and likely none of the party ready to betray their resident halfling, Malaric slips the red velvet tome into his vest making crime look easy.

Turning to Grim "Ah, Crinkle gouging his prices again? That tricky kenku...if he says more than 5 gp he is probably just drunk and not paying attention to his spellcraft again. Just forgive him. You know one time the bird dipped a beak into some triple distilled apple-mash. Let's just say customers get more than a little perturbed when their 100 devoted servants are all chirpy little tweety birds with abnormally sized busts. Not everyone is into that. Catch him straight he's fair enough though." Kei confides.

Little One the ogre laughs at that "I don't think he ever really learned the difference between an electrum and gold, back when the standard changed. He just knows 'shiny'...pretty slick with pocket spaces though. I think parts of his body phase into other realms, depending on some Contingency of his own design." adjusting his glasses.

The dwarf sighs "Nay, I dunnae think this'll fly, letting it rest another night...the First Reader commands..." rolling up his sleeves and slathering his hairy palms with gallons of the thick lotion, holding his breath and turning a bright, solar red "In the service of Deneir..." he grumbled to himself before going to town on the men's nostrils and crotches.

Fisk's face was the first to recover to a blood-drained white flesh, gasping for air and coughing a thick cloud of sand "...oh gods...am I alive...?" Awkwardly the dwarf continued to slather here and there, as the clothing was restored it needed to get soggy enough to soak through. Double applications were required in a few stubborn areas.

"Yer alive, if not fer the grace o' the Great Reader of the Wheel, and your band of heroes here." the dwarf answered.

"Rescued again, eh friends...?" the spy smiled humbly.

The dwarf then turned to Simon, paying extra attention to the noble's accentuated cheekbones, while the Eltan's buttcheeks stubbornly remained rock solid. Simon is restored to normal. During the lost time, he did not age...leading you to wonder if perhaps it was some twist of the devil's promise. Otherwise it was like a dream-filled slumber.


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Simon, while you were stoned, your mind was blank...you needed time to think and to get your memories from your mind. You saw a familiar evil face which came to you in your own dreams...

Simon:

Bel speaks "So, you have let it slip through your fingers...the prison of Gargauth, the self-described Hidden Lord. The fall from your grasp has only ensnared it in a much deeper grip, to our advantage. Gargauth boasts loudly...but in the end is nothing but a pawn for trade...and his promises are nothing compared to mine. As for the cambion who now wields him, Rigorath? A fool...already fallen to the icy traps of the Mirror of Mephistar. I task you to recover the shield from Rigorath, and thus deny our enemy Zariel possession of him. We must forbid the fallen angel any satisfaction..."


m LE half-elf Warlock 5 | HP 47/47, THP 0/8 | AC 14 | Saves: Str 0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +1, Wis +3, Cha +7 | Perc 10 | Init +2 | DV60' | HD 0/5 | Inspiration - | Talisman 2/3 | Spells 1/2 | Invis -, Spray + | Cloak - | -

Simon opens his eyes and looks around the audience for a while in bewilderment. In the name of the House of Eltan, I thank you. He gets up, all wet (and probably smelling bad?) trying to preserve the remnants of noble dignity in a situation that is not the most suitable for this. Then he turns to his memories. His face takes on a surprised look at first, then a concentrated look. Great things are waiting for us... But now I need a hot bath, a new dress worthy of a nobleman, two decanters of wine and a juicy peasant girl. Or even better two. And to think a little... Having given these instructions, Simon plunges into thought again.


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The ogre booms a hearty laugh "Believe it or not, The Court of Air can provide all of those things. Well, save perhaps the peasant girls...literature tends to attract a different sort. The Outfitter has the finest silks on the Sword Coast. The bathhouse and massage parlor will surely erode the final sands from those crevasses the dwarf dared not explore. And the Hearth...well, ever see nerds party? Yes they have wine there."

Fisk nods "I'm sure my mistress is anxious, but I will need some time to draft the formal paperwork to allow you all into the Inner Ward and her laboratory." popping his knuckles as dexterity slowly restored itself to his quill-grippin' fingers.

The dwarf protested "...heh, sure I didn't miss a pair of stones? Making the Great Reader wait...you're temptin' fate Falaster." he chuckled.

Fisk shook his head "No, she isn't like that..." glancing around warily "...and I'm sure she wouldn't be scrying on us at this very moment, instead trusting us to bring her the object as soon as possible..." he obviously lied.

Kei was cleaning up some glassware, scrubbing some caked on gunk with a little wire brush "Yeah, Sylvira's one of the good ones...I like her, she's really smart." not paying attention.

Little One just chuckled, used to the academic hierarchy and its suck ups and absent mindeds. "I'll leave you folk with Fisk's able hands. But you can find me back in the House of Rest if you need another heavy lift." making sure to bow extra low and formally to the halfling for some reason.

The dwarf added "And I must return to my post. Yer future is yers..." he smirked, with a polite bow exiting the temple.

Fisk turned to everyone "There truly is a bit of boxes to check before you can pass the Emerald Door. Would you like to rest a bit first and enjoy the Court of Air? The journey indeed seemed like an age...or we could press on with full haste to Sylvira's laboratory. What do you say, friends?"


Male human ftr 5 | AC 17 (19) | hp 46/47 | 5 HD (1 used) | Saves S +6, D +2, C +6, I +0, W +1, Ch +1 | Second Wind used [ ] | Inspiration [ ] | Action Surge used [ ] | passive Perception 14

Donal stretches his back, arching it and eliciting a pop or two, I need a bath and some rest. I am sure you all could use it. I am sure your mistress can wait until morning.


AC18(20) |HP 38/[40]| Str+3 Int+1 Wis+6 Dex+0 Con+2 Cha+2|Init + 0|Percept +6|Insight +6|Invest +4| War Priest Attacks 0/[3] Inspiration [Y] Channel Divinity 1/[1] HD 2/[5] Male Human Doomguide Acolyte of Kelemvor Cleric (War)/5

Preach Brother, Preach., Evendur says, echoing Donals sentiment.


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If there is anything else you'd like to RP out in the Court of Air, feel free. Nudging things along. Long rested, exhaustion removed.

After a breakfast of oatmeal and cranberries for the bunkers and whatever the heart's desire for the Mordenkainen dwellers, Fisk gathers you all near the busy print shop called the House of the Binder. There is already a line of late-night studiers waiting to get their own copies of whatever non-magical or magical text that tumbled out of their stack searching.

"One for you, one for you, you, you, and here's yours..." passing out a wax sealed scroll to each of you and Reya. "Letters of Admittance straight from the Archmage. Since I'm with you its really just a formality, but consider it your 'hall pass'. Don't lose it. Eh, and I hope you brought everything we need...we're headed up there..." pointing to one of the highest spires almost lost in cloud and illusion. Blue light on slide 3

Fisk made a point to verify the box was in tow. Simon still has it, I believe.

The magic-user near the strange 15 ft tall vortex of green light verifies your paperwork making little effort at small talk, and the party passes through the Emerald Door. You feel a buoyancy to your flesh, not weightlessness but a reduced resistance to being. Or thought of another way, an increased conductivity to some surging new brand of arcane energy.

Even for those who have felt magical aurae before, this is a different breed. Simply put, it is the most powerful magical essence you have ever experienced...and you doubt a greater exists. It's slow rhythmic hum replaces your heartbeat.

Finally you emerge on the other side, some 100 ft upwards on a long open air causeway...an ornate stone ramp flanked by crenellations. The ocean waves crash far below, and the throaty call of gulls echoes in the slow morning breeze. "That was the mythal." Fisk explains. "We're passing through a sequence of powerful wards, like the tumblers of a lock. All just to protect the books, heh."

At the end of the walkway is a 10 ft drop leading to a solid black hole. "This one we jump..." he adds casually before stepping off backwards with a wink, disappearing into the darkness of the magic hole. "C'mon!" he then calls, from another 60 ft upwards (and apparently the depositing end of the portal), at the beginning of a zig-zagging flight of stairs hugging precariously to the side of a golden tipped spire.

Losing breath from the altitude and effort of the climb, eventually you reach a single layer red-bricked wall...standing curiously alone in the open air gable. "Last one." the spy runs his fingers over the mortar, eventually pinching a brick and pulling it downwards. The wall is unzipped like fancy pantaloons and crumbles, a shower of purple sparks in its place. The magic cloud grows to encapsulate everyone, and you feel yourself again torn apart in arcane teleportation.

Finally, you are inside...the walls of the circular tower chamber are punctuated by arched windows that are currently shuttered, letting only a slight hint of the morning light to illuminate the dusty shadows. Bookcases filled with eldritch volumes stand between the windows, liber obscura of countless forgotten ages and cultures. Meanwhile tables are crowded with specimen jars, unidentifiable preserved bits of skin and organs...some whole and in miniature. Well used alchemical equipment bubbles and smokes amidst the other clutter. Donal spots a curious bracer discarded under a broken ceramic tankard. The only organization seeming to contrast the mess of the room is engraved into the floor: a large, nine-pointed star glowing a soft blue.

Of course there is also the middle-aged tiefling dressed in wizardly robes standing by one of the windows, caught in a fugue of intense contemplation. Beautiful and deadly, here and not here, the Archmaga. Perched on the corner of a table nearby is a spindly little demon not much bigger than Malaric's forearm with warty green skin, buggy eyes, thin black horns, and a whip-like tail...it hisses evilly at everyone and nearly gives Reya a heart attack.

Sylvira turns to everyone "I can't tell you how pleased I am to see you all," she says warmly. "What have you brought me?" a glistening white fang protruding from an exited smile.

Slides updated.


m LE half-elf Warlock 5 | HP 47/47, THP 0/8 | AC 14 | Saves: Str 0, Dex +2, Con +2, Int +1, Wis +3, Cha +7 | Perc 10 | Init +2 | DV60' | HD 0/5 | Inspiration - | Talisman 2/3 | Spells 1/2 | Invis -, Spray + | Cloak - | -

Before meeting with the Archmage.

Before everyone leaves, Simon will clarify one thing. Do you have shared access to the library? In what part is the... mmm... the planar knowledge?

GM:
I want to collect information about what is Gargauth фтв Mirror of Mephistar. Perhaps some knowledge check with an advantage for the library?

_________
Then

Impressive ... system. Simon swallows saliva, looking down from a height. It's not easy for uninvited guests to enter here... and get out too, right?

He says this before meeting the Archmage. But at the sight of this lady, all the best noble manners begin to manifest themselves in the half-elf.

My Lady, greetings. A gallant bow. My companions and I have traveled a path full of dangers and adventures to come to you. He approaches the tiefling, makes another bow, then takes her hand in his and kisses it. Releasing her hand, he straightens up and introduces himself. Simon of the House of Eltan. A genius, a nobleman, a misanthrope. And the owner of that box, which you probably are so interested in. He smiles his most beautiful and sly smile, looking her straight in the eyes, showing his confidence and the fact that he sees in her not only an archmage but also, first of all, an interesting woman.

Persuasion: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (20) + 7 = 27 - to impress and charm this lady


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Before, near the binding house...

Fisk nods "I believe my mistress intends to arrange access to the archives for everyone, as part of the reward for...*ahem* my rescue...and of course recovery of the box. Let me explain...each of the main sections within are overseen by the eight so-called 'Great Readers'. Each has an expertise which influences the organization of tomes to an extent. Meanwhile the 'First Reader' and 'Keeper of Tomes' enjoy a higher station, and are more involved with the acquisition of materials. There are about three hundred Avowed within that constitute the library's staff."

"Anyways the current specialties of the Great Readers are the gods and the nature of the divine; politics, military strategy, and significant battles of Toril; music, poetry, and literature; history, folklore, and the cultures of Toril (past and present); the natural world and celestial navigation; the Great Wheel of the planes; magic items, curses, and the Weave; and all things unnatural (including aberrations, undead, and the Far Realm). Wait, did I get that right...?" the Calishite asks himself, before nodding.

"But yeah, my mistress is the expert on the planes...the Outer Planes in particular. She has even built a few puzzle boxes similar to the one we pried out of Thurstwell's fingers. I am sure she would be happy to guide your research...might even have insights that aren't written down anywhere yet." You could see the admiration dripping off his face. He wasn't just saying it because he suspected a scrying sensor nearby this time.

Brushing the back of his neck, he added "I do enjoy the library, but I'm not Avowed or really involved with it. I just work with Sylvira...we've a bit of history together."

I believe Falaster and Sylvira are characters from one of the FR graphic novel series called 'A Darkened Wish'. I haven't read them...but from the lore webs they were on a ship together called the 'Nudibranch'. ;D


AvernusArt 2Grid

During the ascent, the vertigo trembling his voice...

Simon wrote:
It's not easy for uninvited guests to enter here... and get out too, right?

"Not easy, probably impossible. Alaundo is the only seer in Faerun's history whose foretellings actually came true...and he was the designer of the majority of the defenses. Imagine how good you could defend something if you already knew everything that would be attempted offensively? Who knows though...magic has been known to break logic." shrugging as he slowly plants another foot on one of the narrow steps.

Falaster continued chatting with the noble "So, one ward I know for certain exists deals with magical flight over the walls. Obviously that doesn't apply to natural flight, so they scramble the open air paths a bit." pointing to a flock of seagulls. "Then there's fire suppression within the archives, an effect just snuffs it right out. You've got your theft protection built into the books and parchments themselves, they can be taken but then vanish if removed. Then there's the shielding mythal, some Netherese artifact I think that can block nearly anything. Also I've heard them grumble that certain types of teleportation don't work, but I don't know the details on that one... I mean beyond the wards, there are many archmagi here not just Sylvira. Not to mention some of the master sages which are no strangers to the arcane themselves. Someone would need a pretty amazing plan to attack this place...or the help of a god I guess."


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In the archmage's laboratory...

Sylvira took in the Eltan's words and appearance, lingering a moment on his thighs and shoulders...making little if any effort to conceal her interest.

But Reya, the halfling Hellrider, grimaced hard. She had been quiet for some time, patient with the delays and excursions. Now on the cusp of truth her good heart was a bit triggered, and protested "Hey! That belongs to us just as much as you. If it can help explain what happened to Elturel, you aren't just keeping it!" Obviously much more invested in the city's fate than others.

The archmage smiled "'Finders keepers', is that the simple mantra geniuses adhere to these days? You are free to keep the box. They are wonderful locked and trapped purses to keep your valuables in. I am much less interested in the box itself. In fact, that one really is a minor cipher compared to some I've seen and constructed. Its contents are what I'm curious about." wagging a slender finger in correction.

She steps a bit closer to the charming noble, enjoying his scent "I've been suspicious of the High Overseer of Elturel for a long time. But no one wanted to hear my concerns. Why? Because Thavius Kreeg was widely regarded as a Tormtar hero who saved his city from a tireless undead scourge, giving rise to the holy nation of Elturgard." circling him slowly, then lingering on Reya.

"Hailed as a savior, Thavius made all citizens of Elturel swear an oath called the Creed Resolute, which binds them to defend the nation of Elturgard." The Hellrider gulped, remembering well when she placed a hand upon the tome and swore the Creed. "I met him years ago, and my instincts told me he was a charlatan. Afterward, I grew to suspect that he had cut a deal with one or more powerful devils, using the Creed Resolute to bind all Elturel to his dark deal."

"I wish to prove my theory, and I believe the evidence is locked inside that puzzle box."

Not ignoring the nat 20. Her reaction to the party was already maxed out, with that check possibly nudging her into 'risk and personal sacrifice' territory...whatever form that might take as we play out the interaction.


Male human ftr 5 | AC 17 (19) | hp 46/47 | 5 HD (1 used) | Saves S +6, D +2, C +6, I +0, W +1, Ch +1 | Second Wind used [ ] | Inspiration [ ] | Action Surge used [ ] | passive Perception 14

I think that what my dear Hellrider means, is will you help us bring Elturel back up from the depths of the Hells, if that holds what you surmise? After all, we did you a great service by bringing it here and sent Kreeg on his way, of sorts, Donal attempts to be diplomatic, but feels that he is well out of his depths here...


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AvernusArt 2Grid

Donal, Reya was talking to Simon. I can see how the way I wrote it was confusing though, sorry.


Male human ftr 5 | AC 17 (19) | hp 46/47 | 5 HD (1 used) | Saves S +6, D +2, C +6, I +0, W +1, Ch +1 | Second Wind used [ ] | Inspiration [ ] | Action Surge used [ ] | passive Perception 14

Is okay, it still works that Donal addresses his boss...


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AvernusArt 2Grid

In the hellish apocalypse of Elturel...

Torn from your universe and tossed into hell...the past few months have been some gruesome ones. The confusion of the Companion abandoning you in darkness was quickly replaced with sheer horror, as razor sharp hooks forged of infernal steel shredded the landscape...and eight chains as big around as sailing ships began slowly pulling the land down.

Towers toppled from the unnatural quake, the earth split apart with a terrible sheering screech. When the dust settled from the initial lurch, only the barest skeletal remnants of buildings and civilization remained. Then the meteors struck. Fires erupted consuming the skies. Can this still be real, or just some crazy dream?

You watched as friends, enemies, and total strangers all died horrible deaths. Crushed. Burned. Eviscerated. Needlessly and always so agonizingly...man, woman, child...it mattered not. There was no god to watch over them anymore, so it seemed. Mercilessly the dark orb of the companion struck out with crackling bolts of electricity, jolting the living at pure random in terrible showers of sparks and blood as their bodies exploded.

They were lucky, for those that survived faced new nightmares. In the first few weeks people went insane, killing each other for food and water or just a safe place to hide. Humanity? It did not exist in this new realm. The strong took what they wanted and the weak manipulated their assets for gain. There was simply no consequence for murder or the most unthinkable acts. Whatever it took to survive.

But the harsh unreality had yet more torment to offer, for the dead then rose...hungry and tireless in their pursuit. Each of you remember the first one you saw turn...

Astrid - You thought you had found refuge for the night. One of the great mechanical shipping cranes of the Dragoneye Docks still stood standing, its relatively high cabin providing a distant vantage and proximity to the sour remnants of the Chionthar river. A river which had quickly evaporated to a searing cloud of steam, leaving behind only boiling puddles of mud. There in the Gondian control center, its last gnomish logistics manager lay mangled and scorched in the corner...victim from one of the Companion's pseudorandom bolts of lightning. As food for the spores, you began your ritual...but the corpse groaned awake, biting at your leathers. Its rotten teeth breaking and falling out as it chewed and snarled...hungry for something much more fresh...the throbbing artery at your neck. At the same time screams erupted from all over, the zombie apocalypse had begun.

Lucian - It was you yourself who rose from the dead. Foggy as the Chionthar, your memories stretched back to your death. A noble death as one of Elturel's elite guard...the gash at your stomach still fresh in some twist of the necromantic magics. Certainly not as rotten as the small group of dead children you found deep in the scorched woods as you escaped the burial grounds. Their tiny leaf and stick castle was no defense against the trials of hell. The children who now rose to welcome their new playmate.

Syrina - Stubborn as a cactus, you just couldn't abandon the corpse of the Indigo Rose despite weeks of barely clinging to life yourself. Once you stuffed the body into a large wicker laundry basket as you hid from a roving scavenger gang. Hidden like some treasure? It rotted there for days but you went back for it, despite the burden. Another time it slipped from your grip as you tried to climb the high hill in the center of town, tumbling awkwardly before snagging itself on a fire licked branch just above eye height. Taking a chance with the noise, you cut the tree down and got your corpse back. Yes, maybe you were partially insane. Clinging to whatever semblance of a past life you could still remember from that other universe...still going through the motions as a bounty hunter, despite how ridiculous that all was now. Then one day weary from wandering and a lack of food, the precious body slung over your shoulder twitched and let out a raspy *urururugggggg*...

Feel free to embellish on or change any of those starting points as you like. Also, this is more of an RP focused session zero so feel free to take narrative liberty instead of rolling out any combat for now.

There was no chance to stop moving when the undead horde assembled, the full 20,000 members of Elturel's populace were upon you. But if this were truly hell, a philosophical question remained...where were all the devils?


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In Sylvira's laboratory...

When she nods, the tiefling's horntips sweep wide arcs "A service I intend to reward. Such was Fisk's original mission, and the quest would have not completed without your timely intervention. Gold, or some magic item perhaps? But beyond the reward, I do truly thank you all." she tried to assure them. "And yes, Elturel is more than an academic mystery to me...its my foster home. For years I have worked against the vampire lord that ever eroded the boundaries of the nation of Elturgard...always staying just on the edge of the Companion's light deep within the Fields of the Dead. Before appointed Great Reader I was an adventurer like yourselves, facing no small season of trials and intrigue." Meanwhile her miniature demon familiar clacks a few clawed steps towards Grim, eyes fixed on an expensive looking bauble at his belt.

A glowing mage hand unstoppered a fire-red brandy and poured a few drinks for everyone, levitating them across the room. "If there is a way to save Elturel, I assure you that is more important than my theories being proven right or wrong." there was a hint of arrogance in her statement, as if to imply she was peerless in her field already. "As for Kreeg, you truly did slay him? You watched him die?"


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F Half-Elf Spores Druid 5 | 32/32HP | 14AC | Init: +2 | Wild Shape & Symbiotic Entity: 0/2 | Spells: 1: 4/4; 2: 2/3; 3: 1/2 | PassPerc: 16; Ins: 13; Inv: 10 | Saves: Str+1; Dex+3; Con+2; *Int+4; *Wis+7; Cha+4 | Conditions: Inspiration

My Body Is Ready

--- The First ---

Ever the survivor, Astrid reacted quickly and calmly to the pestilent zombie. She had cheated death before; this would be no different. The colony had shown her the truth, but she realized it far too late. The Companion was a terrible lie, and it would bring nothing but destruction. And destruction it had wrought upon this city, plunging them into an apocalypse that brought out the worst that sentience had to offer. Killing, looting, worse fates...unspeakable horrors. Astrid suppressed a shudder. Mustn't show weakness in this place.

The druid reached within to tap into the microorganisms that made their home within her and pull them to the surface, coating her enchanted quarterstaff in a wreath of polypores (Shillelagh, with flavor). The half-elven woman stoically brought the quarterstaff down upon the head of the snarling corpse, watching with fascination as the brain matter oozes from the wound she left. She beat the corpse again, and again, and again before she was satisfied that it was well and truly gone this time. She shook her quarterstaff slightly, flicking gore from her weapon in a minor effort to keep it clean.

She looked down at her leathers, breathing heavily, and grimaced. She was normally not such a mess, but in the brief time she had been here, dragged into this hell, she had become a disaster. Her long, blonde hair was matted with soot and smoke. The dark circles under her eyes were not new, but they were deepened with suffering and lack of sleep in this horrorshow. The screams were nothing but far-away background noise at this point, and the druid took a moment to lose composure, shaking with terror, quiet tears carving streaks into her sooty face. After a few moments, Astrid snarled angrily and swung her quarterstaff at the nearest hard object, beating it until she felt a little bit better. Less angry.

The druid took a deep breath, cleansing despite the smoke in the air, and began to look around the space. She was desperate for somewhere to hide. To sleep. Anything that would let her survive. She wished that she had spent a little more time making friends during her time in Elturel. She knew she could not survive alone, not as cut off from the colony as she was here.


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Female, Human, Rogue (Swashbuckler) 3/ Warlock (Hexblade) 2 AC: 15(16) | HP: 30/30 | PP: 14 | PI: 14 | Init: +7 | Inspiration: No

*THWACK*

The snap of her crossbow echoed across the desolate expanse of the courtyard. The bolt shoots out from her hiding spot behind what used to be an elegant fountain. Now it was mostly rubble. The elegant, mounted knight, sword raised high toward the sun was busted into four pieces. The sword arm broken and sticking through the moldering corpse of one of the manor's former occupants. Zipping along beneath the hellish sky, the bolt eventually slams into the forehead of the snuffling zombie that had been tracking her for the last few blocks. The creature is knocked backward with the impact, hitting the ground with a sickly wet thump.

She doesn't wait to see if the thing stays down. As soon as she hears the impact Syrina is up and moving. Her blood, grime, and mud-stained duster billowing like bat's wings as she runs for the broken entrance of the manor. Shoot. Move. Shoot again. Move. Rest. Move. Shoot. Eat. Move. That was the desperate rhythm of her life ever since the world went utterly s%^t on a shingle crazy. She'd thought she'd escaped hell when Lady Raven cut her down from that sycamore tree. Apparently hell didn't give up so easy.

Throwing her shoulder at the already busted door, Syrina crashes through into the remnants of the manor's entry hall. Plaster and brickwork clutter the floor while the leg from an upstairs bed dangles precariously overhead at the edge of a large hole. Filthy black water drips down, puddling in a mucky pool off to her right.

Bending down she gives the water a quick sniff and recoils backward. A stir with the tip of her rapier reveals a half eaten hand rotting in the putrid water. Where's the rest of her? She wonders, noticing the two remaining fingers. Thin, delicate. Not callused. Fingers of a wealthy woman.

"What'd'ya think? Kitchens and pantry'll be t'the back, I reckon." She says out loud as she reloads the crossbow and looks back out to the courtyard. Nothing moving. Maybe she got it for good. Neither the raven she always felt lurking over her shoulder, or the rotting head dangling from her belt disagreed with her assessment, so she slowly makes her way deeper into the manor.

It wasn't clear exactly when she started talking to the bandit formerly known as the Indigo Rose. Probably a bit after she realized she wasn't just trapped in some illusion or machination of the Rose Clan outta revenge for her takin down another one o' their thieving kin. And of course after she'd separated the man's head from the rest of his body when both started getting a bit more lively than a dead man should.

The smell coming from the pantry once she arrives is even worse than the water out front. Rotted meat, spoiled fruit, moldy bread. Roaches scatter every which way as she steps through the door. Several dozen of the hardy insects crunch loudly beneath her hard soled boots. Trying not to retch on the stench, she rummages through the cabinets and drawers. Looking for anything edible.

"Common. Got to be somethin' worth eaten in this dump, don't you think Rose?" She says with gravelly desperation. For his part, Rose only stares into the blackness of Syrina's duster on accounts the rope had twisted and spun him inward covering up the perpetual look of surprise that still marked the first ending of his mortal life.

She struck it richer than any miner with the last cabinet. Jars of preserved plums, peaches, and sauced apples. Even some dried jerky sealed up tight in box. Greedily nabbing one of the pieces of dried beef she rips off a chunk and starts chewing even as she pops open a jar of peaches and drinks down half the sweet juice.

She's lost weight. Hell doesn't let you cheat on your diet. Her skin is tight around her face, and everywhere else. Dark, sleep deprived circles surround her gray eyes while her wild, dark, filthy hair is barely contained by the hat and pony tail. She's gotten used to her own stink and the flies that seem to swarm everywhere. She pops another peach into her mouth, momentarily savoring the sweet, luscious taste.

In the end, it is the cockroaches that save her life. The crunch of their dying gives her just enough warning to lunge aside as the zombie's clawed hand rakes the air where she'd been standing only moments earlier. Syrina snarls a curse at the creature. And the white feathered bolt sticking from the center of its forehead. The hex isn't much, but it slows it down even further. Enough so that when she draws her blade and slices a long gash down its chest, it can't return the favor. Still holding the precious jar of peaches, she jabs the rapier all the way through the battered and broken zombie body then rips it up and back out covering the blade in gore that runs onto the intricate silver and black feathers of the basket hilt.

"Urrrrrggg!" Is the noise that gurgles from whatever remains of the zombies throat.

"Die! Ye bloody beast! By all the bloody hells, just die!" She hollers as eldritch power glows in the hand holding the jar. A moment later she hurls the jar, churning with eldritch power, at the zombie. The blast sends shards of glass and zombie bits flying every which way. Somewhere behind her a raven cackles. The remnants of the corpse teeter back and forth twice before finally slamming to the ground.

Not waiting any longer, she dumps the rest of the jerky, the three remaining jars of preserves, and a block of cheese that hadn't gone totally to mold into her pack and then moves out. Eat...Move...Shoot...Move. The mantra of survival.

"Noise from the blast will attract more o' the blasted things." She says. Rose keeps quiet. A raven cackles madly over her shoulder. Syrina hurrys out the back of the manor. Out into yet another shadow filled alley.


Male human ftr 5 | AC 17 (19) | hp 46/47 | 5 HD (1 used) | Saves S +6, D +2, C +6, I +0, W +1, Ch +1 | Second Wind used [ ] | Inspiration [ ] | Action Surge used [ ] | passive Perception 14

Aye, we saw him dragged to Hell. the grizzled warrior stated matter-of-factly, As for reward... I will speak to you privately afterward. It bears some... description. Let the others ask first.


Halfling Dragonslayer | HP: 33/34 | 0/1d8 & 0d6 | Disguise 1/1 | Camo 2/3 | Recover 0/3 | Fast Rit 1/1 |1st 3/4 | 2nd 1/3 | Inspiration!
Stats:
AC 15 | Str -1 Dex +6 Con +2 Int +7 Wis +1 Cha -1 | Init +3 | Perc +7, Darkvision 120 ft | Insight +1

In the morning, Malaric Dragonslayer joins his companions for breakfast. The dark bags under his eyes indicate that he has not had much sleep. Whenever he stops moving, the halfling has had his nose in his new book, so his companions suspect that. In reality, he had been reading and deciphering his even newer book, the red velvet tome.
Not exhausted, but tired.

==//==

During the journey to the archmage, the halfling just absorbs the unique keep and marvels at the laboratory. He tries to identify the demon.
Investigation (spot something cool): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (12) + 10 = 22
Arcana (identify the imp): 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (16) + 7 = 23

He memorizes everything to report to the Dark Lady in his prayers.


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Human Male Ranger (Gloom Stalker) 5 | HP 44/44 | AC 19 | Init: +4 w/ Adv. | Spells: 1st - 0/4; 2nd - 1/2 | Favored Foe: 2/3 | Passive Percept: 18 | Saves: STR: +7 DEX: +6 CON: +3 INT: +2 WIS: +3 CHA: +1 | HD: 2/5 | Conditions: None
Spells:
1st: Cure Wounds, Disguise Self, Hunter's Mark, Speak with Animals, Zephyr Strike; 2nd: Beast Sense, Protection from Poison, Rope Trick
Skills:
Insight + 5, Nature +4, Perception +8, Persuasion +3, Stealth +5, Survival +8

Lucian stalked the celestial deer along the banks of the River Oceanus. Life had been good, but he found his afterlife equally satisfying. No longer did he have the worries and duties associated with his time in the Elturel guard, no longer did he have to hunt those running from the law instead of the game he hunted now.

He lined up the shot, this deer would have been a great prize - if he still lived, but here in Elysium the hunt was more of a cat and mouse game in which no one nor anything were truly harmed. Just as he loosed his arrow everything went black.

What was this? Close quarters confined the man with nothing but the smell of earth to keep him company. Where am I? was all that went through his confused mind. His sword and shield were with him. Why was he back in his armor? Through the increasing panic, Lucian felt a dull aching pain in his gut - the wound that had ended his life. Why was he feeling this again? Oh gods... he thought, I'm back in my body. Why in the Nine Hells am I back in my body!?! his thoughts continued, panic beginning to set in.

Nearly as suddenly as he had returned to his body, his coffin lurched upward and burst open revealing the fiery red sky and the blackened sun. "Where am I?" he croaks, his throat raspy and dry. Before he can spend much time trying to process that question, he hears the moans and cries of those around him - his was not the only grave that had erupted - all around him were the dead of Elturel's past. "Why were these unfortunate souls back as the living dead?" was the question that now crossed his mind. Just as importantly, why was he back among the living rather than like all those around him?

Scurrying out of his grave, Lucian bolted for woods, clutching his stomach as he ran. After a while, he was certain that he truly was back among the living, as he had to stop and catch his breath, certainly not an easy thing to do given the state of his gut. Lucian knew he wouldn't get too much further unless he found a way to treat what was before, a mortal wound.

Lucian's eyes wandered over the surrounding area, struggling to remember his lessons of days passed about what herbs and plants might be of help to him. Searching for a few moments, his gaze settled upon a patch of calendula to his right and a patch of peppermint back behind him. Not having the proper tools to make a proper poultice, he began to lightly chew the flowers of the calendula and the leaves of the peppermint into a rough paste that he would press into the wound. It would have to do for now as he heard the shambling steps of the living dead approaching from whence he came.

Putting the shuffling footsteps behind him as he went deeper and deeper into the woods, Lucian stumbled upon a child's fort of sticks and leaves. The work wasn't up to snuff, but it was a decent start, and many of the materials were there for what he would need to build a concealable shelter for the night. Approaching the fort, the horrors of what he had recently experienced paled in comparison to the sorrowful sight that approached him now - the children that had built the fort, or more accurately the animated corpses of those children.

Tears began to roll down the ranger's face, equal parts fatigue and the shear horror of seeing young ones that should be happy and playing instead of being in such a state.

Wiping the tears from his eyes, Lucian drew his blade and readied himself for the grim task at hand. At least these children would know peace again following his work.


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AvernusArt 2Grid

Awesome first posts you guys, really inspiring and engaging stuff...not just saying it to be nice. Start out with Inspiration.

Sylvira's Lab

Her eyebrows raised a few inches at the way Donal mentioned it "So, the great Tormtar's soul was forfeit after all. But for how long, I wonder...when did Kreeg begin his crazed path towards eternal damnation, and why?" she shakes her head in disappointment, but sheds no tear for the fallen Overseer. "I'm hoping the answers lie within. The box: will you hand it over, please?"

Malaric, Quasit Familiar:
Before the Spellplague, it was somewhat common for a wizard to possess such a demon bound in servitude. It's much rarer these days, typically only the result of a powerful Pact Boon. This might suggest the Archmage is at least in part a Witch, and has made some agreement or relationship with an entity of great power herself...similar to Simon.

Quasit are chaotic demons (not devils) from the Lower Planes...most commonly Hades. Like imps they can assume animal forms, from the lore supposedly preferring that of a bat, centipede, or toad. Also like imps they attack with poison (but from their claws rather than a scorpion tail) and can turn invisible at will. Finally, they possess some psychic ability, with a knack for stirring primal fear within their enemies.

Mal, on the 'something cool' are you looking for items or just general scene stuff?


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AC18(20) |HP 38/[40]| Str+3 Int+1 Wis+6 Dex+0 Con+2 Cha+2|Init + 0|Percept +6|Insight +6|Invest +4| War Priest Attacks 0/[3] Inspiration [Y] Channel Divinity 1/[1] HD 2/[5] Male Human Doomguide Acolyte of Kelemvor Cleric (War)/5

To see what must have been at the boundary of reality... whatever the hell counted as reality here... and what some priests of Mystra were fond of calling "the weave" (but Evendur quietly always considered "the will of the Gods made manifest as magic") was... uncomfortable to the priest.

He had no problem with the working magic, or the creation of magic items, which stored magic but seeing it on this scale was obscene. It seemed close to both sacrilegious AND dangerous, warping, manipulating, capturing... restraining such power.

It was like seeing a life giving river dammed up for the benefit of a particularly rich and capricious land owner, denying the rivers bounty to those downstream.

A very powerful river.

A very powerful river that, if it broke its bounds would wreak untold devastation.

Plus, if he was to speak frankly, the thumming of the place put his teeth on edge.

In sort Evendur had relapsed to his normal taciturn dour self.

Seeing the tiny demon in service to what everyone seemed to treat as a "Good" person and "ally" was just frosting on the dung cake he felt he was eating by being here. The fact that a priest of Kelemvor was thinking in such judgmental terms as "good" was a pretty good indication of how much the place rattled him.

Your creature, he said flatly to Sylvira in a manner was barely on the right side of civility, it's eying me off. Bring it to heel.


AvernusArt 2Grid

"..." The Archmage calmly glanced down at her familiar.

Grim's comment took a moment to sink in, with the Archmage distracted and certainly not paying as much attention as she should have. That was soon rectified however. With a quick snap of her fist, a translucent red chain tightened around the thing's neck, barreling it over in suffocation...

"Foul creature of Carceri!" she boomed commandingly as the tiny demon was drug across the marble floor by the throat, crying and wincing in agony "Stop your sniveling and get over here, where you belong!" placing a foot down atop the demon's skull.

Taking a sip of the brandy to clear her throat "Jezebel forgets her manners at times. And her place." emphasizing the last word with a final glance down.


AvernusArt 2Grid

Astrid and the treacherous mud pits of Dragoneye Dock...

As the last bit of medulla oblongata dripped from the staff, the gnome zombie's death was certainly no illusion. Astrid swung into the Gondian machinery of the crane controls splintering some kind of brass actuator and shattering the unnatural capacitance of a resonance crystal. With a sad little *meep* the light of the machine died. Suddenly just outside she heard a rope tense *whiff* followed by an enormous crash as the four-fingered steel cargo lifter executed a deadfall, tearing a clean vertical hole through a triple decked riverboat moored there.

Of course she wanted sleep. Of course she wanted safety. Hell would only provide the opposite.

A single zombie emerged from the surrounding warehouse ruins, flopping slowly across the dry docks towards the sounds. Another body emerged from the opposite side, but by the sounds of its panting and crying it was a living person...another survivor. Another survivor being chased by a trio of zombies.

From Astrid's vantage high up in the crane control box, she could see the human(?) had almost no chance. The long planks of the docks twisted about 20 ft above the boiling mud pits that were once the Chionthar. With zombies on the left and zombies on the right, the harried survivor would have to make a hard choice to dive into the muck...it was hard to watch.


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AvernusArt 2Grid

Lucien and the wooded castle of lost innocence...

Laying the final victim to rest, the old guard dared to catch his breath. Sorting the materials, he found one length of timber with a small carved heart shape on it...the initials 'V.N.' scratched inside. It was good a grave marker as any.

With an experienced hand, the branches were repositioned. Leaves once decoration were swept up and pinched within the stick walls as camouflage. There was certainly no use for insulation; it was hot as hell. Was it even close to night? Scanning the skies revealed no stars, no celestial bodies...only a smoky red haze. Being dead so long had disrupted the ranger's circadian rhythm, it was impossible to gauge time.

*crunch crunch crunch*

Heavy footed creatures stirred nearby, casually strolling through the black and crispy woods. "...well, who am I to say? Another millennia, perhaps? It's a bold push, but nothing to turn the tide."

Daring a better look, you see a trio of devils with glistening pink skin and dark green snakes for beards chatting about who-knows-what "He really gathered them all together, right there in the city?"

The third scoffed "But 21 courses...that's ridiculous. And the Auloch Tien'itz was really part of it?"

"Yeah, the poor mortal chef they roped into it called him 'Dennis' on the menu. Ah, no one knows suffering like ol' Kyrix-Vasilog..." They were heavily armed and armored, and thankfully headed away from your shelter...towards the center of town.


AvernusArt 2Grid

Syrina quotes the raven on the mad streets of Elturel...

*reeer!*

A surge of adrenaline bordering on heart attack rocks the huntress, as Jingersnaps the Alley Cat protests its tail being heavily stomped on. Syrina retorts instantly with another bolt launched with her quick trigger finger. The sneaky tramp dodges with hellishly good reflexes and the projectile richochets off the cobblestone, flicking up and striking her square between the eyes with the blunt end.

Knocked out cold. The raven tilted its head to gaze upon the fallen with one eye...though it had three.

~~~

It was music, so sweet. Colors were notes in some divine dancing synesthesia. When the realization came that no, it wasn't music at all, but rather a familiar voice...for a split second the Rose-slayer wanted to stay ignorant. But it was soon imperative "Syrina du Shay? Now how is my girl?"

"I know, I know. Wrong place at the wrong time. What are the chances? But look on the bright side...there are much more interesting jobs available down here. What better place for a girl to get started than down at the market?"

~~~

Coming to, Jingersnaps was taking the opportunity to collect drops of peach juice from your chin. A thought lingered on Shiarra's Market...the big open aired peddler's fair north of the docks.


F Half-Elf Spores Druid 5 | 32/32HP | 14AC | Init: +2 | Wild Shape & Symbiotic Entity: 0/2 | Spells: 1: 4/4; 2: 2/3; 3: 1/2 | PassPerc: 16; Ins: 13; Inv: 10 | Saves: Str+1; Dex+3; Con+2; *Int+4; *Wis+7; Cha+4 | Conditions: Inspiration
GM Infinity wrote:
With zombies on the left and zombies on the right, the harried survivor would have to make a hard choice to dive into the muck...it was hard to watch.

At the metallic crashing of the cargo lifter, Astrid curses her temporary lack of composure. Noise would surely attract more of the abominations. Before she has the chance to push the putrid gnome out of the crane control box, she spots the zombies pouring through the warehouse ruins and into her space. ”Can’t give away my position now,” The half-elf mutters to herself, glancing at the caved-in skull of the gnome and giggling madly. ”It’s just you and me, little one.”

Astrid sinks to the floor of the control box, quarterstaff across her lap, and watches the scene below unfold dispassionately. The druid preferred to help people, in her own way–medicines, tinctures, psychedelics, poisons…all helped people one way or another. But to try to help that survivor would put her in unimaginable danger, and the druid wasn’t ready to die. Not yet. Not now. The fungus had made its will clear: she needed to do something about this orb in the sky. She had a purpose, one she thought may be as futile as the survivor’s attempt to escape, but a purpose nonetheless.

”The mud pits would be a kinder death, eh, friend?” She mutters to the corpse. She imagined the gnome chuckling and nodding along with her companionably and found herself comforted. The halo of spores that constantly surrounded her gathered in, close to her skin in a macabre facsimile of a hug, and Astrid hummed with warm contentment.

When she opened her eyes, she watched the survivor turn and face the horde, look to the mud pits, and then back at the horde…Astrid tensed. A difficult choice. Which death would this survivor choose?


AvernusArt 2Grid

Malaric spots something hot...

Catching your eye amidst the clutter is a twirling gyroscope about the breadth of your head, its twisting gimbals slowly precessing in a clean ellipse as its axis wanders a smooth orbit. At first you suspect some arcane impetus is keeping it in motion, but further inspection reveals something a bit surprising. Tiny cups have been etched on the spinning rotor, like sails. These catch a hot wind from a nearby steam nozzle, which pushes out a steady jet and is somehow mechanically synchronized with the gyroscope's minute movements.

This is machinery, not magic.

Another interesting thing about it is the material. Were it of gnomish and/or Gondian make, milled brass would be the metal of choice. You run through the catalogue of steel alloys in your mind, but none seem quite right. The sheen is more dull than the solbar silver blend, while lacking the folds of the hamaadian war metal. The more possibilities you logically eliminate, the more certain you are that it is some form of impure iron and not an alloy at all.

You wonder then why raw iron would ever be used for such a delicate, precise thing but ultimately come to no solid conclusion. You can only suspect, given the archmage's specialty, that it comes from another plane of existence.

Then you notice a bright light coming from your pocket. The aura from the Clockwork Bolter's control core. "Substrate acquired..." it mumbles in the same monotone voice, and you feel a gentle tug like the attractive force of two magnets...not unlike its earlier reaction with the wagons.

Perception: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19

Sylvira notices the reaction and warns "Er, I wouldn't get too close to that if I were you...infernal iron can be quite devastating to the souls of the living."

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