Necromancer

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Drogo smiles at Toric, "No worries my friend, our setting may be rustic but we are not country bumpkins. Felice is a master of fertility magic - there no unplanned births here, we cultivate ourselves as we cultivate our gardens"

Tiefling introduces herself, "I am Denish, well met", she appears similar to 50ish human woman, with long gray hair, two horns, one slightly long and seemingly inlaid with turquoise. As she speaks, she maneuvers Azzim to quiet area just outside the Inn... "Years ago, creatures such as you showed destroyed my home land and heard tales in my travels of other disasters. Then, much later, I was part of a large who traveled to the flower people, just near here. As they do sometimes, they teased our group with knowledge of different things and they mentioned the worms but our leader only wished the usual - gold, magic, jewelry and so I learned nothing. Despite my power, I was simply hireling in that group. When stopped here, I stayed here with my dear Frenatch, cultivating our garden. Still, the question sometimes irks me. What do you really know of these thing?" She seems sincere

Leander quietly takes in the situation while Eruander seems to be enjoying the attention the group pays to his vaster agricultural knowledge...


Drogo, the Dwarf chatting with Strandel, nods, "Sure, after fifty or sixty years, some people get bored and wander back to Gamjee Town, which is convenient 'cause some number appear wanting to replace them... I think only about three quarters of our plots are occupied now, thankfully. I shudder to think if we ever had competition for space. Escaping that is what we're here for, my goaty friend. And revelations has be challenging, my friend."

Meanwhile, Eruander wandered inside while the band was in full force and he's now surrounded by a knot of farmers eager for his advice on planting techniques (never have you seen the Treant this popular before). He is still able to send on the hive mind, ::I'd suggest Azzim giving an elliptic answer and seeing what we can learn about our friend's interest. I will say I detect no evil here. My senses have failed before but they are generally reliable"

Leander is keeping a low profile but you can notice him paying attention to Azzim's interactions with the tiefling.

Feel free to continue communicating among yourself about what your aims are or to talk with the locals or act otherwise...


After the performance, the audience of retired-adventurers gently toast Strandel with a couple of the women giving him a friendly cuddle. A few of the group open about the appeal of this place, though fairly obvious - a rich, simple life - one dwarf mentioning that many of them are long lived through birth or magic and so a decade or so of vacation seems like a fine experience. "You must understand, we receive visitors, usually very experienced travelers such as yourselves, every few weeks. I think this village started as a simple way-post some hundreds of years ago and gradually enough people to create a town accumulated. Now some leave, some come, the population stays fairly steady, the weather helps naturally..."

And the food, the food tastes like coming home, like spirits of earth, sky, fire and all come together. But it's just food. With the party's wide experiences, you've tasted it's equal. But it's still up there.

After the performance, as Azzim hesitates, the female tiefling approaches him, "Quite an impressive performance my friend but tell me, is this tale anything more than fiction? Do you have a purpose in presenting this to us?"


The show is a naturally a success. The audience is naturally much than simple peasants and even very impressive effects get reserved claps. Still you can see at least some people for a moment homesick for Sigil or others more exciting planes.

It appears most in the audience view the images of planar destruction as just another part of the show but Azzim notices three faces that seem to experience some recognition of the events, an older female tiefling who detects as a spell cast of some sort, watching the events with her somewhat younger human husband and what appear to be two brother dwarves who come in relatively late to the performance.

Once the performance ends, the dancing continues but these people are now eyeing Azzim and the rest of party closely.

Some of Bebae are present too but they simply too alien to read normally. Their antennas move with the beat of the music while it's happen.

Let me know how you attempt to approach people, if you do. It's crowd room now, full of people talking with a lot of people very aware of the party.


The crowd favors the slower and the more sensual songs, older couples dancing under the stars in the area around the small Inn/tavern building, one of whose sides opens to the outside...


So party stays though the afternoon investigating and taking advantage of the generous hospitality of the villagers of Vranack. The area itself has a certain inborn magic, like it was ripped from the reaches of the Fey Wilds or the Beast Lands, fertile and mildly benevolent. And some magical effects of fertility or mending seem to be used here and there in the wheat fields, the sturdy oak drying racks and so-forth. Gift can detect that a couple of Bebae, the ant-people, seem to be a fairly powerful psions and one of Tieflings has a number of prepared spells and magical guards up and others may well also. Just by their baring, you can see Peter and others of the dwarves have some martial prowess but no weapons beyond utility knives are visible.

The villagers tend to mild aged, with at most handful of children, male female and ambiguous genders are apparent among the more ordinary humanoids (the Bebae are difficult to read but there are some apparent youth among them).

As the day passes, more villagers filter into the Inn, having heard of the possible performance. They're consistent with the story of retired adventurers, having an unspoken and sometimes spoken reluctance to hear of the outside... Despite this, you sense a curiosity as well. The villagers do, however, share their latest brandies, goat prosciutto, royal jelly and other concoctions with you and each other with relaxed generosity, commenting in detail on the weather despite it being near perfection.

Once night falls, the assembled group calls for the Satyr to perform. Describe...


The party carefully approaches the first Inn of the valley. The treant Eruander follows the party stepping off the path but stays outside the Inn, sending "I will observe - to be honest, this seems an island of fecund nature in the sea of aberrant semi-life we've passed through and I would sink my roots in it for several hours if it is convenient - staying alert to other dangers of course..." while Leander narrow his eyes and moves with Azzim and Strandel into the Inn, keeping a friendly low profile.

Meanwhile, the dwarf responds, "No I am simply Peter, this village we call Vranack. But no matter, well met. And well you ask of the terroir, the land. I have traversed the seven heavens and the nine hells and have not found a place more sweet and fertile. Our ales, meads, breads and cheeses are beyond compare. Our friends the bebae (you're guessing ant-people) provide us with the most splendid microbiom and the climate, already nearly ideal, seems to adjust itself subtly to each crop and each product produced. Of course, it is probably not chance this beautiful little area stands only short distance from the home of the reputed keepers of the secrets of the multiverse. Some of us retired before we headed that way and others afterwards. I myself set from Gamjee Town only fifty years ago as I'd recon things. And I say, a true Satyr? We must certainly arrange a party tonight if you would share your magic sir...If you stay the night, we have stars, no sun or moon, sadly, but beautiful stars, stars slowly wheeling across the night sky...

So this seems be a valley of peasant ex-adventurers, cultivating their own gardens in a pleasant fashion. Magical certainly but seemingly benevolent to the inhabitants... It's people could subtly gather information about the background of people...


Serving the thirsty Satyr some honey wine, the Dwarf offers his hand and says, "I am Peter. Welcome to the village of Vranack, a kind of way-post on these dimensional paths. A friendly place to rest. Don't try to tell us your secrets, we're trying to forgotten ours and now cultivate the earth - and ferment most exquisite cheeses..." Strandel finds the mead rough but delicate and charming, nearly an equal to a mead served at the Wild Hunt back in the Fey Wilds centuries ago...


Terecho reports that nothing notable has happened in the library beyond some spring cleaning they're recently done...

The party proceeded down the path, observing the farms and fields... The area seems to have an temperate climate rather than the jungle you've gotten used to. A careful look shows the area is a patchwork of small but quite productive plots on fertile soil, producing enough for the inhabitants to live simple but abundant lives. In the open air, you see the makings of soft cheeses, preserved meats, dried nectar, pollen concentrates and other artisan foods of the various peoples of the Valley. The peasants of the area seem to work in the groups of 5-10 people of mixed heritage finishing the various products.

As you continue forward, Leander and others leave the path and approach one of the gathering-spots, the "inns", nearby. It's quite simple, no door, just three walls and a ceiling, several tables and a couple of casks with some drink in the center. It's half full of people standing and drinking - as would be logical for the afternoon. When the group at one table sees the party, a tired-looking dwarf dressed a rough peasant tunic calls out "Welcome, what news of the path, travelers? Come to try your luck with the Cucurai or have you already? You're welcome to the day's mead in any case." The various peoples of the area are represented at the tables, only partly drunk at the moment...


Leander comments "Perhaps Moon is involved or perhaps the Cucurai were simply suggesting in their indirect way you could get more answers with the goods sold by Moon and Helio. I do not know but something to consider..."

Leander allows Azzim to look at the "trade goods". It's a mixture of high quality orichalcum ingots and a type of roughly spherical gem, each of which seems to contain a moving whirlpool of stars and each of which has unique shape rotating and morphing in center. Scouring his wide knowledge, Azzim realizes these gems are described by the dwarf Arpin in his text Artifacts of Planar Prehistory. They were called Arnesha by the ancestors of dwarves in one time line - but this just means "things of the past". They have been found in the treasuries of a variety of vanished societies as relics from even old times, old beyond knowledge. They are apparently indestructible - except two or more can sometime merge together for a time. They each seem to carry some object deep within themselves though exactly what is mysterious. They quite rare but not the most rare things of the multiverse by any means - they can be had for a price (and apparently they are sold by Mayana).

Eruander says the possibilities raised by Terex seem plausible and again mentions the possibility of contacting the organization and further discussion on the issues involved continues...

But once that's done, the party continues on the path towards their next destination, the Valley Of Mists, the penultimate before the Cucurai home. Leander's directions merely note the location and describe the proper path through the area but, after another day of travel through the dense, shifting jungle path, you emerge as the path dips and see a mist covered valley several miles long and maybe a mile wide that apparently inhabited by a variety of unusual humanoids - you can see barns, fields, herds of goats and giant beetle-like insects, farms houses, and couple of Inns and workshops as the traditional octagonal pantheon common for pagan worship across the multiverse. Tiefling, dwarves and ant-like humanoids all toil in the fields and workshops. It's late afternoon... Leander notes "Remember, surely we must learn of these people, why are they here of all places?"


As the scene fades, the Cucurai project to Gift a vague picture ... of her ex-lover in Gamjee Town... To Terex, they send a fast sequence of images that seems similar on first blush to what Leander received, fragmented pictures of history of the now ruined complex though with images of the refugees in the mud flats occasionally appearing...

Then it is done, the group wakes afterwards, still in the night (maybe 3 am equivalent). Eruander sends "Now, we should perhaps attempt to contact the organization again, reporting this new information" (excluding Leander) and while Leander comments "Some new information I think. Could the Cucurai be the product of the destruction of the dimensional complex in the caves? I must reflect and I would appreciate your input here. Also, I carry a number of 'trade items' valued by the Cucurai - certain mineral and carvings from certain ruins. They are traditionally what the Cucurai demand for more information or other things - the product of the Mayana (the ship that Gift's Lover, "Moon" traveled on). I would be willing to sell these though many of them are earmarked for my own purposes"

Discussion and do you attempt to contact the organization? Gift has "footage" for you analyze...


Figuring out stuff to add for the current scene may challenging - or y'all may having other stuff happening. But I will leave won't close the scene with Cucurai-dreamscape for another day in case someone wants to add something or ask questions or both.


When Gift projects her memories of her family's timeline, they appear on a different petal of the dream-images of Cucurai along with some related information and the sequence somehow twists and morphs until it forms a strange knot in space - a knot roughly similar to some of the temporal diagrams you've seen Bethia working with. Next to the knot, an image of a thing like a key can be seen... Leander sends "::They mean they will trade for more information, a key to untie this...I can tell you more when this finishes"

When Azzim imagines the book on the shelf, it also appears on a petal and begins to form words but then you realize this is a text in no known language but rather it is like streams of characters drawn by an abstract artist - Chinese as drawn by Wassily Kandinsky if Kandinsky knew no Chinese - "text" by image generating AIs - etc... It's very beautiful and suggestive, yet no meaning is immediately evident ...

Cucurai ignore Rollo's direct invitation - it's uncertain if they even understand anything not framed as images...

Eruander sends "::I shall wait 'till we are encounter these things in person..."

Leander then projects an image of the strange complex the party encountered in the caves and flowers seem to become subtly agitated. Still, they project a very brief image of the complex apparently functioning in all it's splendor - but the images of the creatures operating it blurring and unreadable. You can then get quick flashes of apparently later events, too quick to interpret (but Gift is recording...) and the whole sequence shakes and goes away more suddenly than the other images have....

As this is happening, the entire scene is becoming just slightly more unreal... and Leander says telepathically "::The dream is fading but there is time for maybe another one more question each, notice they give associations to concrete images mostly but still very useful, depending on your desires...Also, I don't know if the captured creature can be kept..."


Terexaltherin, Pseudodragon wrote:
He pictures a dark presence--danger, evil, reaching out hungrily. He adds to the image the vague idea of innocent people, cowering or fleeing. And then the little dragon places himself in the scene, stinger poised to strike at the encroaching dark... but he puts an uncertainty in it. Where should he be here? Where should he strike to best beat back the darkness?

As Terex pictures this, the image goes out into the strange foggy terrain of the Cucurai with one particular petal of one "flower" seemingly resonating with it.

Then within and around the petals of this Cucurai, a variety of images form, images of battles for various planes, some know from The Organization's archives, other that vague references exists and other unknown (or non-existent). But images seemingly contain key facts, some know and some that may well be unknown to The Organization at this point. However, the images only give the slightest hints about "what to do" concerning the situations.

And, of course, the truth of this information is open to question but if nothing else, it shows entities with wide, wide knowledge of the planes in general and to the machinations of the Dark Traders in particular.


Also, you haven't arrived at the Cucurai "for real" but only in their dream audience area. You are close to "for real" - just mentioning this since it might be confusing.


The party member thread their way through the seeming benign landscape, avoiding contact with even the beautiful and friendly butterflies and birds that congregate in various points as well as the fountains that occasionally shoot water high in the air and other unpredictable and seemingly coincidental barriers. It feels a silly charade though occasionally you catch a sight of unsavory things below ground or incorporeal in the air... Rollo's ice bridge provides a means to move through a few area of high wind.

Eventually, you alight on a little landing area next to a door terminating the valley. Leander is smiling once everyone arrives, "This has been my easiest passage through this valley yet. We have avoided potential unpleasantness like what we saw earlier. Thanks and congratulation. Now the way is confusing but safe. I will guide..." and he opens the door and guides the party through a maze of passages, up and down stairs, making a bewilders series of turns and choosing carefully between doors within what seems like a huge and empty underground complex... finally, again having the dreamtime sensation of a long passage of time yet no time passing at all, you come to what looks like a door of translucent gray crystal. Leander makes sure the party is together and says "Our destination, the Cucurai, their dream audience hall. Here you may freely ask questions ... or not. You must form them mentally as images and our hosts project their answer into the world. Their knowledge is vast but they will only answer some things here. Still, they do not seem to begrudge any inquiry... I am going to ask about the strange things we've seen in journey here" and so, stepping through the "door" - which doesn't open but simply becomes permeable, you find yourself in a complex foggy landscape. At first, you seem to be merely in a cloud, then you notice various columns have the aspect of flowers - what seems gray is rainbow hues. And then looking at the flowers, on their "petals" and around them, you see an array of images from your pasts as well as images of things you might be curious about... and thing you imagine might come to pass... The effect is somewhat overwhelming. You have a sensation these things are very aware of you but they makes no direction communication...

So here, you formulate questions as images or not. You can sense Leander is a bit in awe of the Cucurai and so he's optimistic about intentions and the truth of their communication.


Investigating the properties of this dreamscape, Azzim realizes the party may well be able to able to avoid it's emotional, uh, minefields just by not physically touching anything... the logic of the place seems a bit like a fairy tale. Eruander transforms to a large wind-born seed-pod and asks someone to pull him while Leander asks if Terex could perhaps grow and carry him in his back...

Reflex save everyone, to avoid contacting even small, innocuous objects...


So after making last minute re-preparations, the party once again enters the earthen tunnel, Eruander and Rollo leading... and emerge in a different landscape, one of rugged snow-covered mountains. And you journey for ... what seems like ... two days ... at the end but which also seems to pass very quickly, as per dream time. At the end, you find an iron door that, once opened, leads to an iron stair case down and at the bottom, another door opens to a steep valley, like a canyon, with beautiful dwarf trees, flowers, butterflies and small animals distributed around. Leander stops the party at this entrance "I know this place, it's the area before our destination and those who haven't been challenged, such as myself, will face challenge here. Usually, in this area, these challenges take the form of ghostly or undead entities reaching up from underground to attempt to pull one in. How shall we approach this?"


Gift obliterates the fake-Lyra deceiver spirit, it's pieces flying away in a spiral, while the fake-Gift half-fish creatures once again leaps on Strandel, trying to bite him but only succeeding in grabbing at his now slippery form... At which point Azzim's force-cube descends and traps the creature, which takes the full forms of a fish and bounces against the sides of the invisible cube...

Leander looks around... "I'm not sure if you'll be able to remove this from the dream realm. I have tried and failed with smaller things. Remember you'll have little time when things start to fade. Probably shrink it for now. Then let's continue."

Eruander offers to go first into the tunnel, "Danger is like ahead of us, I'd guess..."


The combined attacks of Strandel, Gift and Leander leave the three deceiver-spirits looking tattered and only partly present. Gift's attack further topples nearby trees and sprays snow and underground in a wide area, leaving the attack-field clear. The fake Lyra spirit remains standings but Gift's own duplicate is knocked down and off Strandel.

At this point, Eruander steps forward, in tree-form and with two slams, the Arlo-Spirit winks out of existence entirely.

The fake-Gift spirits, whose head now partly resembles a fish, spits a huge chunk of gooey mucus at Strandel, which covers him Effect of a slow spell - reflex save 22 to remove as move action next round. while the fake-Lyra spirit throws a giant snowball at Gift Effect of blinding plus entangle - reflex save 22 to remove effect as move action next round also .

The party is roughly surrounding the two deceiver spirits.


Terex grows to the size of dragon Armaund while Rollo holds the fake-Arlo in a telekinetic grip as the spirit shifts form subtly (getting taller and thinner)... The Gift-deceiver suffers from Toric's channel (as do all the spirits, in fact) but it is not that easy to dislodge her, her mouth sucking aggressively at Toric as "she" shifts form to something somehow fish-like... We're in rounds, Gift, and Azzim haven't yet acted...fake-Lyra is aiming to cover Gift with some kind of bag. You'll need a combat maneuver rolls or some equivalent to dislodge these things...


Rollo, Azzim and Leander emerge from the tunnel just to see the (fake) Lyra shout "No, you must come with us..." and grab Gift and begin to put a bag over her head... "So it begins..." says Leander, "It will be more complicated with more of us..." "You may eventually prevail with non-resistance but I think it best to fight these temptation... And he casts a sort psychic-bolt that turns part of fake-Arlo's arm to smoke...

Meanwhile, as Strandel watches, Gift seems to break away from the group and runs embracing him and shouting "Save me..." and the embrace is rather intimate... Perception 20, it's not Gift...

Knowledge planes 25:

These seem like fairly simple deceiver spirits. They challenge a person's emotions but not in a very deep or personal way... They energy and spell immunities akin to devils and demons and form themselves by their targets minds and emotions...


So the party allows Leander to guide them into the dream world as night falls - with appropriate wards and guarantees of return if danger appears... The dream begins in a usual setting of a shadowy multitude, with all party members together in a group and self-aware. Things then quickly shifts to the indistinct figure asking "How will you satisfy me?" to which Leander replies "With the eighth Pillar Of Icanoth" whereupon a circular passage opens behind the figure and you walk enter a dense, snow-covered forest (Leander comments "That answer cost me a year of study..." as you enter). Leander tells you "Find the tracks of a small animal - a hare, marmot or something similar..." So Strandel finds the tracks of a mink and the party follows these for several miles to a point where the tracks into a hole, would about two feet wide and two feet high. Leander says, "We must crawl through a way, ten or twenty feet. Be alert, I feel a challenge may be coming. Still, this is the only way..." So the party begins to crawl. Leander, Rollo, Eruander and Azzim have enter when Gift, behind them, sees, next to the tunnel, two figures, her parents, Lyra and Arlo, looking grim and determined. Since the entire party has full lucidity (thank to Leander), it obvious that these are dream-seemings yet they still an emotional impact when they reach to grab Gift, shouting "Come away daughter, this crowd of Satyrs is not fit for you to consort with, you owe it to us to live as our daughter..."

Dream combat rules - no teleporting, no charming but anyone can create, summon or destroy things or people by force of will. Ordinary combat, psionics and spells are fine otherwise. A "challenge" is usually difficult to destroy by will or damage however. They are most effectively fought by being "subverted" somehow... You're in a forest facing two "challenges". Rollo and Azzim will must take a little time to return.


Eruander comments in his slow fashion, "As a 'guardian', I imagine I may encounter my anger against those destroying and violating the natural world but we shall see. And I think we should ask some questions at least - otherwise we could as well stay here. A simple thing would be to ask about ruined planar machinery. I think that would reveal little of us, it raises questions yet I'd guess others have at least asked before us. Unraveling the mystery of these strange beings is going to be important"

More time to prep & I worked late tonight...


Leander prepares all those who wish to go on the dream journey ... Starting "It's a fairly long path but once you learn the broad answers to their various questions, the forks in their maze to take, we can go at the speed of thought. The one caveat is that past a certain level, sometime the journey, you will very likely be confronted by an unresolved emotion in physical form (as some monster or barrier or something similar) - it may be fear, love, anger, greed... whichever is closest to the surface of your mind. I personally meditate to prepare but this generally changes little. " he gives the complex direction and continues "Once we reach the garden, some obscure drama usually unfolds but at some point, each one can put a question as a image-form. Then the Cucurai will either answer, give a more obscure reply or give an indication of what they will take in exchange for an answer. Also, you may request a physical good and they response similarly, usually with a request for a valueless but obscure and difficult to find object... I believe we should ask about the path we have just taken... how to formulate it as an image, hmm..."

So an resolved emotion for each character going... I'll determine the exact form it takes though suggestions are OK... And how to frame a question... And you may wish to ask about "The Book", the target of your quest... OR you may choose not to - keeping your goal from the uncertain Cucurai...


January 2023:

Currently, ongoing Game at local game store but still looking for people.


So, after observing the swarm from a far for maybe twenty minutes, the decision is made and the party assumes a cloudy and "wind-walks" above the swarm, doing their best to avoiding the bizarre glowing wasp-things. As the cloudy-party is nearly past, the swarm rises up, first futilely attempting to sting the group and the resorting to psychic energy with a couple mind-thrusts but the party is out of range and you can take more than nominal damage if that.

And so after a mile or less or travel, the party is entirely past the swarm. Though you occasionally encounter groups of 1-6 wasps, you continue without further problems. Finally, as the light of the "day" fades, the path again becomes narrow and winding again and the jungle dense and hotter than it's been - though you periodically see emplty clearings beyond the path proper.

Then, as night has nearly fallen, Eruander says (only to the party) ::I sense, since the first time we've entered this path, the dream-realm we experienced earlier in Gamjee Town: and Leander a little later confirms and says ::My friends, this is interesting, I sense an opening the realm of dreams here in this place. This realm is how I have contacted the Cucurai in the past though I didn't expect to find them. If you are curious, I can take you to the 'garden of revelations' which has been my information source and you can help me make further inquiries... though the Cucurai are mysterious and we may well get no more answers than I have already gotten. Still, you may find it edifying. We do can combine our efforts with your hive mind or I can offer my methods.


Clearing her mind, Gift attunes herself to the hive-mind of the wasps ... and she finds it buzzing with strange, alien thoughts. While the mind of each tiny creature is somewhat subsumed in the whole, the whole is divided, factionalized, a riven with almost as much as anger within the group as the group has with the out outside world... Among other things, the group apparently consumed some wild cattle earlier and how it the meat was divided is still being argued about...

One might recruit some percentage of these chaotic neutral beings as followers - there are obvious advantages and disadvantages. Since they glow, their stealth ability is limited... they have some psionic abilities ...I'm assuming the party is keeping well out of sight of the swarm areas, these insects don't seem to have a hive as such even if they have a hive-mind.


Btw, I'm finally in IRL games, a 5e game with 3-4 play + GMing and I'm GMing PF1 for two players.


Thinking about, Rollo realizes the "wasps" likely have above animal intelligence, well beyond ordinary vermin, meanwhile Gift begins to further investigate the wasps' intellects. Like all the creatures here, they seem to have an intense, constant hunger but they're certainly clever, creative and social... not quite evil but ornery side of neutral. Still, "listening" to the hive mind is going to require some effort. And controlling 1000's of aggressive, willful creatures seems like a serious challenge...

I'm going to say that to passively "listen" to telepathy, you need to do something like a "mental stealth" role once (and only once) you known something about the other group. This is a bluff (or other appropriate skill - "psy-craft"?) role against an opposed perception check...


The party was able to capture one of the creatures earlier so a careful examination is a simple matter. While broadly resembling wasps, they parts from seemingly from a wide variety of entities - jellyfist, hedgehog and so-forth, as well as some actually mechanical parts; their stinger is a spring-loaded device driving a barbed, steel stinger filled with Hallucinatory poison Fort save 20 or confused and -2 wisdom. The creatures seem immune to electrical damage and resistant to fire Resists fire 5 . They seem have enough telepathy for a simple hive-mind but they seem primarily aggressive and not very intelligent (above animal but not much). They can fly nearly as quickly as a human can walk Fly 20'. They have strong scent and hearing but limited vision. They're fairly tough and there are hundreds of them in each of the three swarms.

Leander offers ::A plausible illusion might distract them while we sneak by...

Eruander is silent, you can see these things make him sad...

FYI - anti-life shield would keep everyone out, including other party members...


So, after serious debate, the party threads its way through the Mornette Flowers, ignoring the pleading, sorrowful or threatening attitude of those apparently caught within and continues on the path.

The path then continues fairly straight and open for most of the remaining day. Towards the "night" of this realm, however, the path's course shifts and twists through dense jungle. The next day things continue this way for a couple more hours, until the path opens again. Once the path is open, however, you notice the weather becomes extremely variable, switching between very warm (110 degrees) and cold (40-50 degrees) as often as every half hour, with rain coming periodically, every half hour or hour... The situation is a bit exhausting but the party tough enough to shake off any effects.

In the this context, toward the afternoon, you push through a small area of dense jungle to an open area and see ahead, in another area of further dense jungle, several swarms of large, glowing green and black wasps. You've seen these things before individually - they're about 1.5" long, quite aggressive and can by themselves do only small damage 1 pt but now you're looking at hundreds if not thousands nested in the trees ahead of you. Like many of aberrations you've encountered here, they seem unnaturally hostile but not doing anything currently.


Eruander sends "I agree that releasing possibly demonic creatures seems perhaps unwise. If they are beings of some hell, being imprisoned here may be no more terrible than a return home..." and Leander sends "How strange... I too am feeling doubtful concerning the nature of Cucurai... Are these tests? or is this the remnant of some ancient event, like that ruined dimensional machinery. With so many held captive here, freeing them seems a mammoth effort. We really know nothing as these globes seem to prevent our magical and psychic investigations - these could be just illusion. But just as much, they could well be dangerous but I suspect we could handle one. Still, Strandel, I think changing the basic nature of the demonic being likely takes more than a spell and such creatures resist magic in my understanding, though your personal charm can do much I'm sure... anyway, I think we together could handle one of these creatures and they might well provide us with invaluable information concerning what we'll be facing later..." (You notice Leander is uncharacteristically verbose and repetitive).

As the discussion continues, Terex flies across wide field... the first two you saw were indeed fairly typical. Not every creature appears demonic but most have at least subtle clues and the more clearly demonic seem more easily read. You know these creatures can be, often are, shapeshifters after all.

And it occurs to those of you considering these creatures and the planes that the "best" of those from the Abyss are creatures that might not be "ill-intentioned" but who are insane in a destructive and contagious fashion.


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Any discussion of "oh we can to rewrite it" doesn't take into account that this "OGL 1.1" is claiming to essentially "morph" all previously OGL 1.0a released content. Everything that has already been released as OGL 1.0a supposedly now follows the terms of OGL 1.1, meaning WotC has a royalty free license for it and etc.

And that is to say that the situation is so heinous that there's really no recovery. Just note - this is statement "you released your stuff on a license that we get to rewrite any way we want".

If this goes thought, WotC will essentially own anything ever released on OGL 1,0a and even things "like" these because of it's ability to now release "OGL 1.2" and so-forth.

And the legal theories being used are completely dubious but the most outrageous legal theories will stand if everyone accepts them. So rewriting would not help even slightly imo and I believe in Stephan Glicker's opinion.

There is no alternative to fighting, none.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ6iTzeiNY8


While the flower-bubble things are definitely not "natural", Strandel can determine that the flower bubbles form around a single entity and then preserve them indefinitely. Actually breaking the bubbles would be difficult - they might well be as strong as a wall of force... There are a few flowers that haven't form bubbles, yet, and you can guess these probably should be avoided...

One possibility would be to pull the bubbles out of the flowers, they might be transportable in their present form.

Any effort to penetrate the bubble would should include a disable device roll at the minimum.


Terex and Rollo can sense that the flowers are powerful traps intended for beings from the outer planes or near-outer planes. And the entire party certainly can notice that you've been encountering stranger and stranger things as you've been getting closer to Cucurai...

see post above also


Gift finds the bubbles severely dampen psionic communication - she senses hope, distress and perhaps a bit madness from the flower-bubble but it's as if at a great distance.

Showing sharp, delicate fangs, the beautiful, barely clothed female in the second bubble gives a smile of pleading and distress to Strandel, with a slight wanton edge to it. Her eagle's wings flutter and she touches the edge of bubble with sadness, indicating her trapped state while her goat's tail twitches nervously. Her animated expression fades from hope to despair and back. Her right occasionally forms a tight fist, causing her small claws to cut her skin...

The male in the next bubble looks alert, soulful, sad.

Strandel's spell fails to penetrate the bubble. The bubble feels slippery, flexible yet quite tough...

Wisdom check 10:
By now, by your earlier researches, you know a lot of travelers have gone along this path over the years. If these bubbles opened easily, their prisoners would all be out by now.


So the party makes final preparations, keeping exhaustive notes on the various parts of the ruined dimensional complex and then continuing further, threading their way through the network of caves ... investigating various strange pools of liquid and some odd fungi but finding nothing very notable before emerging in a new above-ground path. Here the area near the path varies from 200' to 1000' wide before apparently still fading to interplanar froth. It's still mostly dense jungle but sometimes fields, meadows, pond and fens appear on one side or other. You occasionally chase off various aberrant beasts but none gives a serious challenge.

And so things continue for another three days, the jungle remaining as hot as ever. One the eleventh day, you expect to arrive at the area of the "Mornette Flowers", where Leander's instructions specify you moving across a series of open fields, including the warning to "keep ten feet away from each flower", though the flower are not otherwise described...

So when you arrive, you are not surprised to see narrow valley, a quarter mile across and between four and five miles long, filled with flower-like plants between five and fifteen feet tall, with wide leaves and stems, long white petals and each with central bulb like a soap bubble, containing something. Follow the directions, you gradually and stealthily approach these flowers. So with the very sharp eyes in the party, at about 250' away, you're able to see a beautiful young humanoid floating within the bubble - with bat-like wings, spurs on his wrists and other "tells" of demon-kind. The second bubble contains a female with less obvious "tells" but with both of them, their demonic nature seems obvious.

Let me know how you want to investigate this...You seem to have caught the "flowers" unaware. Your guess is the creatures can't escape the flowers - assuming the creatures are real and what they seem.


With a moment's thought, Terex realizes primordial materials are simply the base constituents of the "outer" divine planes. If they can be transported to a conventional "material" plane, they provide a powerful backing for machines acting on other planes. On the other hand <Shimmer>'s home is no doubt on a material plane of sorts, just in an area where order and chaos in extremely complex fashion (the opposite, in ways, of the purity of the primordial). When it was operational, this machine might been able to reach such planes but now it is essentially moribund (though with more time, much more time, more likely could be learned from it).

Leander looks at the device in detail after rising from his meditation, "A fascinating ruin - how came it here? I suspect the answer may be with our friends the Cucurai. I have spent years of dreams in my efforts to find them and I had hoped, still hope, to regain certain things in my homeland through the trade I offered. But I am thinking the situation may be stranger and more sinister than I imagined. We have a ways to go and I think we should gather more clues as we go. Shall we continue?"


Azzim flies forward, curious to investigate the ruined planar engine... ah curiosity... there's no way to even enter the complex without penetrating the membranes, they fill the cavern. Fortunately they're harmless save for blocking psychic and other transmissions. Starting with a few intact, conventional stalactites and stalagmites, he finds everything conventional was formed at later date. In a half hour or so, you learn dozens, maybe hundreds of traders have made at least cursory investigation of this complex on their way to and from Cucurai.

But for the formation of the complex, he must go to the fine pieces of stone in the center of maelstrom. Why not? While The Organization's annals list several agents who perished just this way, this particular ruin is indeed quite inactive and main danger is stone whose essence has been in a multitude of ways. Still, after a few hours, Azzima gains an image of the mechanisms builders - a race unknown in the multiverse at large, resembling insects at best only roughly - hands with fingers like worms, two arms, four legs, vestigial wings (unknown in the multiverse but mentioned in Organization records as "Ancients #17" with a very little more information - usually observed with methods such as this). Further, Azzima is able to gain a very sketchy idea of the purpose of machinery - to guide the development of various planes in a fashion these entities considered "harmonious" and a few tidbits on the construction of the originally vast machine (it used "primordial" materials from the Outer planes).

Azzim's intense investigations take four hours but he stops twice to assure the party he's OK. Leander is remarkably patient and calm during this time, settling into meditative pose... Eruander is calm as usual. An occasional drip from one or another part of the dank, hot cave be heard.


Terex flies cautiously down a short tunnel into a large cavern - he can see with a faint but ordinary light it's area is divided into a variety of "lobes", smaller partial globes intersecting to form the large area. Scattered among the areas are various mineral and crystaline deposits whose patterns and colors seem distinctly magical (which do radiate a powerful if confused magical aura on closer inspection). A further feature Terex notices with blind sense also are thin, invisible membranes dividing the cavern into cells and blocking the hive-mind tranmission but easily passed through.
Terex passes from cell to cell, staying away from the areas with strong magic as well as some strange glowing, floating insects but still making a thorough survey of the structure. and returning with the information for the various other magic experts to also analyze.

knowledge arcana 30:
The membranes are micro-planar border, This was once a powerful planar engine, on the order of the engine of The Organization or perhaps more powerful but twisted, warped, shattered, turned-inside-out, and drained by some massive magical disaster, with most minerals of value on the surface stripped away later. The whole complex would be fabulous to study ... if one had the months or years it would take piece things together - and this further investigation could involve greater danger as well.


Supposedly power on by tonight,


Due to a power outage here, I will not be able to post tonight


As the party continues through the cave, a couple of six-legged leopard creatures start following you but are scared off...

Then, after Strandel's fly wears off and the party encounters a steep upward climb, Terex notices something in one of the many deep side-caves off the main - far down in it, there's the reflection of crystal that's reminiscence of a variety of magical crystals he's seen over the year. Hard identify at the distance but the impression is quite strong.


Eruander replies to Terex and Gift in his usual polite and soft spoken manner: "It's not necessary for me to carry this thing, certainly. I would mention that I go far outside the usual circles of my kind in joining you and my joining is an expression of some part of the plant world being concerned with the dimensional destroyers since they are all of our enemies. I hope that we are all together as a team working for The Organization..."

In any case, the decision is reached. The party crafts an appropriate carrier to lessen the box's effect and goes forward alternating the persons carrying the thing.

And entity sends only one further communication, "Listen, I'm guessing no response here means some distrust and I get it. I'll be on my best behavior for now and just ping you later to see where we stand... at which point it does no more.

And, with high vigilance, the party proceeds but feels no mental or magical intrusions from the thing for three days, at which point you reach the "network of caves" - the path dives down into the earth and supposedly continues for ten miles of twisting caverns with entrances and but Leander's instructions provides the proper turns for the entire way ( planar qualities, a list of turns, symbols in the rock and other things serve as guides). Still, here the group must choose precautions and approaches since some awkward climbing is sometimes needed for those not flying.

You'll need a belay line or something similar if not everyone is flying or has a climb-speed. Eruander has a climb-speed. And yeah, Eruander is a member of The Organization and you have just a temporary alliance with Leander.


Eruander considers "I could physically bury the thing quite deeply and surround it by a layer of hardened clay. I suppose that would have the same potential problems. I should perhaps be one of the ones to carry the thing as the temptations of animals affect me less, though naturally I wouldn't be immune..."

I'll just let the discussion continue and then assume the majority opinion decides thing.


Which isn't meant to imply anything more about it. However it isn't "supernaturally evil", which doesn't mean a judgement of it as evil is wrong.


Fun fact: the personality of "the Duke" is based on an ex-landlord of mine...


Leander responds to Terex, "Perhaps hiding it here would be sufficient? We could retrieve it on the way back, take it to one of the reputable magic houses where experts could disarm it. Perhaps the Cucurai could give us a containment vessel? How well could it be hidden?"

So as Gift's avatar continues the contact with the thing, she too feels a wild and seductive energy coming from the box and the voices "Hey, I still don't know but that's OK. You've spent the time to figure out some of who I am, which is cool. I could tell you fascinating stories of my childhood in the Taahor ice wastes, the lost love of the one and only Bashima, pranks on the fire demons and similar things. But you want something more current I think. What am I like? Mostly I'm a fun guy, I like excitement, novelty, and power. I don't over-intellectualize thing but I've been around so I know a bit. I almost always know a way to spice up a party. Exploration and adventure suit me, kind of how I got into this fix. But ah well, I couldn't stay at home the whole millennium... Say, one idea would be if you had something you wanted me to do, you could make it exciting and interesting, bound to gain me power and then I'd probably do it - unless something promised more, well, that's my fickle heart, still you might try... Turn a funeral into an orgy... etc" And continuing to speak somewhat elliptically... And Gift-avatar can feel the things' somewhat insidious influence testing her mind, not strongly enough to be threat but gradually building.


Thinking about it, I will have everyone level up for the new year. I think it's been a while. Hopefully this gives enough time for everyone to have their character sheet and their summary fully reflect the new level.

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