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Yeah, if there is another target in range I will just redirect, but you can also feel free to say in a follow up post if you'd like to do something else with the information that the target is down, or if there is a specific target you'd like to redirect to if multiple are in range. If there are no targets in range, I'll treat it as a readied action (as in the current post - can't waste that crit!). Obviously these situations will not always be seamless and there are a lot of variables but we will take them as they come.

Round 2

Enii continues her ferocious assault on the giant, leaping up again to lash out with fang and claw. The bite fails to penetrate the frost giant’s armor, but the claws sink deep, ripping more wounds into the foe. Blood flows free as the giant staggers and collapses, still alive, but unable to keep conscious between the lacerating strikes and Mithas’s well-placed debilitating blow. Alive but unconscious due to Mithas’s nonlethal damage.

Byakko turns to the second giant, readying his unsheathed katana to meet the newcomer as Geedra continues to bestow fortune on the group, beseeching her strange patron to bless the party with fateful manipulation. Meanwhile, Mithas uses his knack for arcane trickery to ripple into invisibility, and Skäne stands shoulder to shoulder with Byakko, his heavy, furious breathing sending a constant stream of mist into the air, readying to meet the next giant head on.

The giant that hurled the rock unslings her vicious looking scythe and moves forward, in three strides already have broken into a mad charge. She yells out a warcry as he heavy footfalls kick up clouds of snow. She puts her weapon into a position to make a sweeping arc, stopping ten feet away from the frontline of the group to slash hard at Byakko. The wicked blade comes in quick, carving a grievous wound through the half-elf. 28 points of damage from the scythe power attack!

In retaliation, though reeling in pain, Byakko makes a fluid step forward and with a flash of his katana delivers an equally gruesome wound to the giant, opening a sanguine line in her belly. A mirrored 28 points of damage to the giant - as I will address in the Discussion thread, I was good with using your attack against the downed enemy as a readied one against the next. The giant had reach, but you can take a 5 ft step as part of a readied action to get into striking range.

Skäne steps up next to his fellow warrior and thrusts forward with his spear, sending the head of the magical weapon into the same gash that Byakko opened, causing the giant to roar out in unholy pain as bits of organs exit the wound with the retraction of the spear. Skäne scores a critical hit as well! And with a x3 modifier weapon and a power attack deals 53 points of damage.

A third giant appears in the clearing, hurling another boulder at Enii - the closest target. This giant has better aim, and the heavy stone strikes the tiger’s side. 15 points of damage to Enii

Krosh does as Krosh does, fiddling with his trinkets to cause a shower of silver motes to weave their way into the groups wounds, bringing balm and relief. Channels energy, healing for 4d6 ⇒ (3, 3, 3, 3) = 12

You hear more crashing sounds in the woods around, and suddenly four more stones come flying out of the trees, though far enough in that you can’t see the throwers. Most land harmlessly, but one does strike the hut, jostling some straw loose from the roof and making the whole building shudder for a moment - not due to sustained damage, but the hut itself reacting to the blow…


Scythe Power Attack: 1d20 + 18 + 2 - 1 - 3 ⇒ (19) + 18 + 2 - 1 - 3 = 35
2d6 + 13 + 9 ⇒ (6, 4) + 13 + 9 = 32

Skäne Power attack: 1d20 + 10 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 10 + 2 = 32
3d8 + 33 ⇒ (7, 8, 5) + 33 = 53

Rock: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
1d8 + 13 ⇒ (2) + 13 = 15

Round 1

The peaceful clearing explodes with action.

Enii charges forward, her sleek feline muscles rippling beneath the striped hide, kicking up blinding clouds of snow as she blitzes towards the giant. As she streaks past her master, Byakko himself enchants her with divine energy, bringing sacred fury to her attacks.

She leaps up, the surprised giant unable to react as the tiger crashes into him with a flurry of claws and fangs. Pink mist fills the air around the two as Enii's claws rip and tear across the giant's exposed flesh, opening wounds across his form. As the claws dig in and the tigress attempts to keep hold, however, the giant shows his own strength and flings Enii off of himself.

Savage stuff! Unfortunately the grapple does not beat the giant's CMD.

Geedra uses her magic to bestow good fortune on Skäne, who calls out a challenge to the enemy as he enters a rage and charges forward with his spear. The first blow stabs into the giant's abdomen, forcing blood to well up and stain hide and leather as well as a roar to escape the brute's mouth. The second thrust glances off the armor as the giant turns to avoid it.

Mithas takes advantage of the harried giant's entanglement with Enii and Skäne, nocking a blunted arrow into his bowstring and letting loose. The opportunity is capitalized upon and he strikes the giant dead in the temple with a perfect strike. He grunts out loudly and staggers a few steps where he stands, taking a long moment to regain his footing and shake loose the disorienting blow. What a hit! Though not quite enough to render him unconscious...it seems this frost giant is a tough one.

The giant retaliates, making a single mighty swing with his greatsword, bringing it in a wide horizontal arc. The blade crashes into Skäne, carving a wound through the raging warrior before continuing on to the tiger. Enii is able to just duck out of the way as the blade sails past, clipping hairs from her back. Giant uses a cleave attack, hitting Skäne for 25 damage.

The sounds of a tree snapping echoes through the clearing, proceeded by the sight of a large rock flying through the air from the far edge of the forest. The stone lands in the snow right near Enii, rolling several feet before stopping. A second giant appears from the trees, her face hidden beneath a large iron helmet. She carries a huge scythe of blue-tinted metal and has a buckler lashed to her forearm.

Krosh conjures a flame that springs to life in his hand, wreathing his own forearm, and looks to the treeline. "Best be quick about this...there are more.." he warns.




Greatsword Cleave vs Skane: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (10) + 18 = 28
3d6 + 13 ⇒ (4, 5, 3) + 13 = 25
Greatsword Cleave vs Enii: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (2) + 18 = 20
Rock: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20

Moving across the room, you spy upon the wooden table a familiar cracked bowl and brown-speckled egg that Zorka previously showed you were the controls to the Hut.

As you pass by Ratibor, he steels himself, fingers clenching tightly on the haft of his axe, muscles tensing as if preparing to strike...but as you pass by him, one by one, he makes no move against you. He almost looks surprised by this, but makes no sounds other than a grumbling to himself.

You finally are able to exit the hut, the front door swinging open to the porch which now overlooks a large clearing in a dense, snow-covered forest. The heavy drifts fill the space between the towering pine trees that obscure all vision beyond their laden branches.

More directly, standing just near the hut, is a towering hulk of a giant, a muscled slab of blue flesh standing almost sixteen feet tall. He wears a heavy steel helmet and a mixed assortment of furs, leathers, and mail, and carries a huge greatsword. Trinkets of ivory, bone, claws, and fangs adorn his belt, the pommel of his sword, and other vestments, and a white beard hands down near to his waist. As you exit, he looks shocked for a mere moment, before letting out a bellow so loud that birds disperse from the trees in a cacophonous cloud.

"Denizens of the hut emerge, the Witch is upon us, to arms!

"There are more here.." Krosh says ominously. "They are no friend to the Riders' liege."




Skäne: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (17) + 3 = 20
Mithas: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (12) + 7 = 19
Geedra: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Byakko: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 20
Krosh: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Giants: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (8) - 1 = 7

I'll assume some manner of translation is going on and Diplomacy checks by the rest of you can be used...and that was certainly a good one.

Ratibor sighs, and scrapes the wall near him with the edge of his shield.


It is not a matter of honor. It is a matter of the magic here. That insufferable woman gave me an eternal torment of humiliation. How I would have just rather died charging her with my axe..."

He grunts, and hits the wall more earnestly with his shield.


"Fine, fine, if you can walk across this room and past me without this damnable witchcraft making me do anything, you can go. I don't know how this dark magic works. Might as well try, and get out of my sight so I can go back to dreaming about my days of glory like the beaten dog I have become."

The human warrior watches Geedra carefully, his demeanor slightly having shifted from confusion to annoyance, especially when you hear the name Baba Yaga thrown about. He adjusts his axe arm and clears his throat, taking a half step forward.

"Let the withered old hag be mad. What could she possibly do to me? I'm not to let any but a certain few pass, but seeing as you lot aren't trying to bust through the front door, how about you just go back to where you came from and when this troll's rotten toe of a shack shuffles its way to some other place and gives you another door without old Ratibor in front of it, you can go as you please."

He raises his axe and points it at the door behind you.

Krosh sidles up next to Geedra, his low voice humming from beneath his helm. "I do not know what he is saying, Rider, but I have looked...his spirit is shackled here. Not unlike the Witch Queen's daughter we just spoke to. Another prisoner of this Hut. It is...unsettling. His voice trails off as he begins to mutter to himself. "Even my own spirits are restless here. Let us hope that the same does not befall us..."

So sorry guys. The past week just completely got away from me, didn't even turn on my computer! Back on track now.


"Rider? You don't look like any I have ever seen...thrice-damned old wrinkled Crone, is this some sort of test? Has this torment of standing guard not been enough? Bah. My binding says nothing of stopping anyone leaving this blasted place...but you could be escapees from some other room in here, or else a trial...in any case, what help could someone like Baba Yaga ever need from the likes of you lot?"

When you try and think about the time, it's odd...you can't really seem to track the passage. In fact, when you do think about it, you haven't gotten hungry or felt fatigued or tired this whole time...

You leave the sunny meadow and return to the endless hallway. Continuing on, the centaur carvings and the fireflies and moths drifting about the air lead you to...right where you started. You come across the open door to your right that leads back into the room that you were first in when the hut left Irrisen. Now, however, to your left, a second door is now there. A double set of doors, actually, upon which is an intricate carving of an grand, ornate gateway being guarded by a comically small dog.

With no other pathway, you make for the doors, finding them to be unlocked and swing open. When they, do, the jingling of silver bells fills your ears from the room beyond.

This new spacious room resembles the interior of a wooden cottage. Stairs to the right of the entrance climb to a balcony atop which rests a wooden table. A wooden walkway continues around the room to a small landing and another set of stairs to the left of the entrance. A third staircase leads down from the walkway to an alcove opposite the door. Crates, boxes, barrels, and other mundane equipment crowd the space.

Across the room, on the far walkway near the alcove, a large man stands, first with his back to you but as he hears the bells he turns. An imposing figure, shorter but broader than Skäne, his hard face glares over to you from beneath a furrowed brow. Black hair frames his head and transitions to a thick beard, and he looks at you with sheer confusion. He is dressed in glinting icy blue chainmail and carries an ornate battleaxe, heavy shield, and a bow slung over his back. A thick leather belt with carved steel plates had small chains with furlike trophies dangling from it, and a set of oversized, sturdy boots riveted with carved iron plates ground him. He calls out to you in a gruff voice.

"Trzymaj się, nie podchodź dalej. Jestem Ratibor Śmiały, muszę chronić to miejsce przed intruzami. Ale pochodzisz z wnętrza. Podaj tutaj swój cel i mów prawdę." He gives you a hard, yet still perplexed stare, and waits a few moments before he clocks your puzzled looks. He speaks again, and this time Geedra can understand him.

"Hold, come no further. I am Ratibor the Bold, bound to protect this place from intruders. But you come from within. State your purpose here, and speak true."

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Krosh puts a hand on Skäne's shoulder.

"I would not linger on it, Twice-Mantled. We were sent only to learn of her true desire, not to enact it," the shaman advises. "Though it is true..none of these ilk can be trusted."

You return to the glade and its pool, where the third raven awaits. Upon speaking the desire of the animated dream, the bird cackles and the auditory figment of applause sounds throughout the room.

"It is so, and so be it." The raven's eyes flash and the iron amulet around its neck disappears, reappearing floating in front of the group. "Seek now the Sisters Three who are One. Maiden, Mother, Crone. But know the Maiden is elusive, and may only be caught with the waxing moon."

With that, the raven suddenly descends into the pool. There is no splash or distortion of water, instead the bird seemingly phases through it, passing into another world and wings off into the glorious sunrise seen in the deep waters. The avian form grows smaller and smaller until it vanishes.

The floating amulet bears another rune, this one Geedra identifies as "Artrosa."

Knowledge (history) or (local) 20:
Artrosa is the name of a trio of giant carved figures in northeastern Iobaria known as "the three who watch."

You are also able to ascertain that the amulet functions as a chime of opening with 9 charges.

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Byakko Bluff: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27

The spectral woman stops all sound and movement as she hears Byakkko's voice. Her pause is eerie, just a tad too long, but then she suddenly breaks from it and rushes in a twisting shape of smoke and darkness right at the oracle, until she halts abruptly just in front of his face, taking her womanly form once more.

"Many sisters, endless before, endless to come, all little dolls for Mother. I dare not speak her name!" She inches closer and closer to Byakko, until her ghostly lips are right at his ear. "I cannot speak her name."

Krosh speaks again. "One of the Witch Queen's own daughters. It is said no one knows what happens to them after their tenured reign comes to an end...I wonder if this fate was unique to her, or if all her sisters share it somewhere, someplace."

Mithas Bluff: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (19) + 12 = 31

She writhes over to Mithas, nestling behind him to speak over his shoulder. "Never free, not until the end that can never come."

She looks to Geedra, then sweeps her eyes across everyone before drifting slowly back to the bed.

"Mother's end is the only peace for me."

Krosh whispers, "Vengeance on the Queen of Witches...this sounds like a desire to sate the raven's riddle to me."

You hit 5 successful bluff/diplomacy attempts (with increasing difficulty, I might add!) without any failures that would have drawn the spirits ire and make this encounter more painful. It would seem as though you have the answer to the riddle.

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The spectral dream continues to flicker and distort, this time shifting her unstable form in Skäne's direction. She reaches out towards him, her arm warping from human to corpselike, but does not move to touch him.

"Nails, nails, nails. I hung a lovely picture in my bedroom with a nail when I was a little girl. I asked mother if she liked it but she wasn't there. Nails, nails, nails. I dug into my own flesh with my nails when I left the lovely throne. I asked mother why, why, why am I here, but she only laughed and left me." She shudders, whether from fear or from her mutable state is uncertain. "Those things won't work on mother, but you could hang a picture with them."

Geedra's voice pulls her away from Skäne and with another eerie twisting of her self, she hovers around the goblin.

"Buzzing little flies," she says, distantly. A cold chill traces down Geedra's arm as the dream brushes past. "Mother trapped me in a jar with all these flies. Are you a little frog come to catch all the flies in my ears? They eat my thoughts and come out my eyes. If only you'd a long enough tongue to catch.. She stops. Flickers swiftly, and puts her hands to her head. "oh, oh no, I am sorry, please don't eat my brains." She starts to sob, whisping back over to the bed.

Yeah, this is a weird encounter. I changed it some because it is exceptionally poorly designed in its original form. Mithas is on the right track. From Krosh's advice you need to play a part - go along with the maddened dream's twisted reality - as opposed to trying to explain things in a sensible way. Fortunately the first diplomacy check was good and prevented her from becoming hostile. You can make Bluff or Diplomacy checks moving forward - and from what the raven said, you only need to uncover this dream's desire, not necessarily help it find peace or anything.

The spectral witch-daughter's form convulses angrily and in an instant she blinks forward in an unsettling, disjointed movement, her face coming to a sudden stop inches away from Mithas's. Her head tilts, visage constantly flickering between that of a young woman and a horrifying undead.

"Tongues untied breed tongues of lies breed tongues of flies. Words all buzzing in my head. Get out, get out!" She flickers again, reappearing behind Mithas, her head over his shoulder.

"Mother? Mother's milk is poisoned! The cribs all lined up end on end. End on end down the halls, but no more crying, no more sleep! No peace in a mother's love." Her voice presses down on the scout's ear and neck like icy fangs, and just when you feel as though she wishes to strike, she disappears again, materializing once more near the bed.

"No cradle, no grave, no peace. Just the flies. Oh little flies, why do you torment me so? Mother was a spider, but won't take these flies away."

Krosh huffs slightly, shaking his head. "Untold how long this spirit has been lashed here. She has been driven mad. She is not trapped as a ghost or specter here; this spirit is not of the dead..no, trapped in a different veil." He holds his arms and sighs. "There is no path in using sense to treat with madness, we must play a part in her own mind's delusion. Carefully...as to not draw her ire."

The raven is indeed wearing an amulet

Krosh lets out a low hum. "Mm..a dream, yes. But know that in some places dreams are no mere vision. In some places they have more power. And ill intent."

The pathway between the bushes is a short corridor of wooden planks that leads to an old, rotted door that hangs half open. Beyond the ruined portal is a small, simple, candlelit bedroom that is empty save for a plain wooden bed and a night table where a pale candle burns in an iron holder. The bed is perfectly made, but the bedding displays an ominous, dark crimson stain in the middle.

Before you have an chance to investigate, a ripple of light flashes across the bed, and the dark bloody stain begins to spread and shift, as if it were still seeping through the linens. A moment later, a spectral form manifests from the stain, rising up from the bed, flickering in the eerie light. The figure shifts and distorts between an amorphous, vaguely humanoid form and a clearer image of a lovely young woman with pale, smooth skin and white hair, dressed in a once-fine sleeping gown now in ribbons and tatters. Even the sharper image has a ghastly visage, the wide eyes frozen open in a look of shock and anger, the pale-lipped mouth agape in an unending silent scream. The tatters of her gown twist and writhe like misty tendrils around her.

"Tormentors," she hisses. "Ever plaguing my eternity! The endless tapping of your fingers on my brain...enough, enough, enough!"

The image is not immediately hostile, but looks to be on the cusp of violence..

Perception DC 20:

In the shifting of this creature's form to its truer self, you can identify all the traits that would mark this woman as a Jadwiga.

Knowledge (Nobility) DC 25:

This is Yelizaveta, a former Queen of Irrisen and daughter of Baba Yaga.

"I see the amulets you wear as proof of your intent, else you bested my sisters, which I find improbable." This raven's voice is soft and becoming, a melodious call. "You seek the trail, but before I aid you, you must first convince me that you have the resolve to fulfill your desire. To prove your mental fortitude, you must face what I, the herald of coming day, cannot...

Each night it visits
Sometimes horror
Sometimes wonder
Sometimes prophet
When dawn wakes, it flees.

When you face this thing, you shall know its desire. In its desire, you shall find your own. Only by sharing this desire with me can I bind your fates. Once they are bound, I will be able to see your destiny."

The raven extends a wing, directing your gaze to a path between a a few bushes on the right side. "Go beyond and seek it, if you believe you have the endurance to withstand what awaits."

Happy New Year everyone. Hope everyone had a good holiday season. Let's get this show on the road.

Krosh eyes Byakko carefully when the group returns to the central platform, perhaps inspecting for any non-physical injuries after the oracle's plunge. As Mithas speaks, the half-orc nods.

"I think you are correct that there will be a third door," he intones. "We have been given clues about the Mother and the Crone. This still leaves a Maiden."

After you gather yourselves and are ready to continue, you return to the endless hallway, once more traveling down its firefly-lit path. The carved feminine figures and centaurs indeed guide you eventually to a third door, this one much like the others with an Iobarian rune upon it. This one is an upward-facing half circle resting on a horizontal line with several arrows pointing outwards. Geedra's understanding of these runes seems to improve with every sighting, and she discerns that it means "Dawn."

The door opens to a chamber whose walls are draped in in flowering vines. Winding, pebble-strewn pathways weave through a magnificent garden of honeysuckle and lilac. AA pale, warm light fills the room, emanating from a stone-lined pool of water in the center. The purple and orange reflection of the early morning sky glitters upon the pool's surface.

Another raven, this one with soft, inky plumage and an obvious grace, floats down from a nearby shrub and lands delicately at the edge of the pool of water. Its violet eyes study you, head tilting to and fro.

Indeed, hope everyone's holidays have been going well. Hard to believe this campaign started just near 9 years ago now. Thanks everyone for sticking around, especially Geedra who is the last OG player, haha! I'm hopeful that we can make some good headway in 2023. I've been thinking about trying to put myself on a more regular schedule when it comes to posting to move things along - nothing strict as to dictate everyone posts or anything, but just so there can be some good DM momentum going on a regular basis to keep thing from falling into stasis for a week or whatever. I'll probably try and maintain at least 3 posts a week, and additionally be a bit quicker in moving combat along.

But anyway, thanks again, and happy almost new year.

And that doesn't sound fun, Geedra. Hopefully a routine procedure with no complications!

Mithas unrolls a kit of lockpicking tools and kneels down by the cage, eyeing the keyhole for a moment before setting to work. Deftly the elf maneuvers around the complex mechanics of this apparently masterful lock, but with great knack and finesse he forces the inner workings to click, dislodging the cage's door from the frame. The front of the cell swings open, giving access to the silver hourglass within. Great roll, didn't even need the 20.

Gathering up your prize, only one issue remains - the stony steps leading back to the central platform are still gone.

Krosh, still on the central platform, having been eying all the preceding actions with his all-consuming gaze, gives you your way back. He picks up the same chalice Geedra had drunk from before - now apparently magically half-full of wine once more - and downs it. A moment later, the stones rise back to the surface, breaking the eerie calm of the pool to grant you crossing once more. You are quick to not waste any seconds this time, and all make it back to the walkway. Answer to the riddle in hand, you leave this place behind and return to the previous chamber, where the albino raven awaits.

The red-eyed creature coughs and laughs as you return. "Well done, well done..and all of you unscathed...though this one appears to have become waterlogged." The raven coughs again and gives the closest thing to a smirk a bird can give. "In exchange for the answer, I shall impart wisdom you seek. And offer a prize"

The hourglass suddenly pulls from Mithas's hands by some unseen force and floats across the darkness to the raven, who takes flight and clutches it in its talons.

"You have taken upon yourselves a great burden.For that which you desire, the Changeling holds. Know this well - you will find the Crone only when the moon wanes!".

The last words echo as the raven flies straight up, vanishing into the supernatural darkness with the hourglass. You hear the faint flapping of wings for a few seconds before it disappears, though from the same direction the raven flew, a slowly descending glimmer falls from the shadows.

Left floating in the air before you is an amulet much like the one granted to you by the first raven, though this iron trinket is emblazoned with a different rune - this one Geedra discerns as the Iobarian rune for "gold."

You also discern that this amulet functions as an Aegis of Recovery.

Sorry, didn't get a notification for your post! Those sure are some rolls, good job.

Byakko thrashes in the water, though it doesn't appear as though anything is restricting him from below. His suddenly blackened eyes hint at a more magical bane...


The darkness around your eyes seeps like so much spilled ink across a charcoal drawing, the air bubbling out of your lungs painfully and rendering you suddenly fearful and agonizing in the conflicting sensations of burning and cold. You see the glow from the alcove - the bolt you fired? the hourglass? One of your comrades' spells? It all seems so far away in this instant, fading...but the aura grows brighter, shaping itself into a full moon by your eyes, and in that moment you center yourself, balancing between your duality, and align your soul with the magic granted to you by your divine mysticism. No, this is not your time. By pure resolve and strength of mind and body, you push this curse away. The darkness leaves your eyes as the air returns to your lungs.

..but just as swiftly as these strange effects arose, they vanish, and your half-elven compatriot seems to come to his senses. The black clouds in his eyes fade away and he stops his chaotic movements in the pool.

I figured Enii would be staying on the main platform with the three of you going across the stones - there wouldn't really be any room for her in the alcove if she did.

As the stones suddenly vanish beneath the surface, so to does Byakko's only foothold. In a last second attempt he makes a leap off of the edge of the stone, but doesn't make it to the ledge of the alcove, instead plummeting into the still, dark waters.

The water is cold, but not unbearable so. Though it looks the color and luster of ink, it is no thicker than any other water, and after a brief moment of panic of what might be waiting in those depths, nothing happens. The waters still once more and Byakko treads in the pool, with nothing below coming to greet him.

Then his eyes go black, and he begins to thrash in the water, breathlessly calling out though no words can form.


Suddenly your vision distorts and it as if everything you see is viewed from underwater. The air in your lungs vanishes - not in a slow exhalation, but a sudden and terrifying disappearance. You have no breath to hold, and you can already start to see a black haze encroach along the edg0es of your vision..

Make 3 Fortitude saves for me - only 1 applies for now but I'll just have you make all of them to save on the back and forth posts. For clarification you are not underwater, but some ill effect is causing you to suffocate regardless.

Mithas sets off to utilize the now-present stony pathway across the dark pool leading to the alcove. Fortunately the stones seem to be just large enough to not incur any real difficulty in traversal. Geedra, giddy with herself, follows after the elf, and Byakko tails them after another moment.

Mithas makes it across, jumping into the alcove to find the hourglass, locked in a cage that itself is chained to the floor - the chains seem to be obviously magical in nature as they disappear into the floor. The cage has a keyhole, but no apparent key.

Just as Geedra pushes off of the last stone to join Mithas, all three platforms suddenly and swiftly sink back below the surface, disappearing into the opaque depths. Byakko, caught in the middle of crossing, is left with a mere moment to act...

Byakko you can make either a reflex or an acrobatics check (your choice) as the stone you were using suddenly vanishes!

The wine is sour, but surprisingly potable. Geedra downs the half-full contents and a few beads of scarlet liquid dribble from her mouth. Nothing happens at first, and she feels no ill effect. A moment later, however, you hear the sound of water being displaced; ripples in the strange pool around you. In the space between the platform and the alcove bearing the hourglass, the water shivers at the surface, a few bubbles popping and plopping in a straight line. Three dark shapes begin to emerge slowly from the surface...but they prove to be no beast or creature. Three large rocks, mostly flat, break the surface and come to rest, leaving a stepping-stone trail to the alcove.

The wine itself does not show to be magical under divination. The chalices do, with auras of conjuration and transmutation.

Assuming someone picks up the goblet..

Taking up the chalice with the repeated engravings denoting hourglass, the holder find that no harm befalls them. The liquid half-filling the cup is a slightly sour smelling wine, deep scarlet. Upon lifting the goblet, however, the alcove that Byakko had previously fired a lit-bolt, now snuffed, into lights up again of its own accord. A brighter illumination fills the entire space within the alcove, showing once more the padlocked cage that the actual hourglass sits within, an ornate silver frame holding the sand-filled glass. The glow remains for about five seconds before dimming once more.

Krosh approaches from the rear, looking cautiously around the room. "Curious..." he mutters. The shaman carefully grasps the goblet marked with "key" and lifts it. A moment later, another alcove is filled with bright light, revealing another chained cage, this one containing an elegant silver key. As with the other, the light winks out after a few seconds. "It seems too simple to just take the cup."

One by one, the rest of you creep across the walkway, a moment of tension as you all expect some hidden terror to break the glassy surface of the darkened pool. It remains still, however, with not even a ripple or bubble apparent and you all make it to the platform.

Geedra elbows her way through and around the legs of the larger folk to get to the table, pushing her magical spectacles up the bridge of her nose and standing on her toes to get a look at the half-filled chalices.

Each goblet bears one rune that repeats over and over around its rim. The goblet that sits in line with the alcove that Byakko had lit up reads "hourglass." Clockwise from that one, the other four read "athame," "key," "mirror," and "apple."

Mithas creeps out onto the walkway, slowly heading towards the island in the center of the room. The dark waters are ominously still and silent, their glassy sheen making the pool look like a sheet of obsidian. A tense few moments of anticipation pass as the scout traverses the walkway, but nothing of ill befalls him. You all do notice though that the light-enchanted bolt that Byakko had fired into the alcove is suddenly snuffed, the darkness in the recession having seemingly swallowed the magic of the glow.

The five silver chalices sit on the stone table, each half-full with a dark red liquid. Notably, each goblet has a ring of runes etched neatly and precisely around the rim. Each of the chalices has a different rune in a repeating pattern. It doesn't appear to be a language or writing that Mithas can discern on first glance, but they look similar to the style of the runes that have been emblazoned on the doors throughout this iteration of the hut.

Byakko intones a word as he draws forth a crossbow bolt from a case, the projectile suddenly becoming enchanted with magical light. Setting it into the weapon, he fires it to the farthest alcove - the one directly ahead, sending it sailing over the chaliced island, marking a path across the dark water before clattering into the recess in the wall. It falls to a stop of the hewn floor of the alcove, filling the space with illumination. A cage sits on the floor, chained and padlocked into the stone itself, and imprisoned within is an ornate hourglass, glinting in the light of the bolt.

Channeling divinations to take stock of the room, you find that the five chalices on the stone platform that the walkway leads to are all magical, radiating auras of transmutation and evocation. You also can sense auras in the two closest alcoves, but the others exceed the range of the spell from your position.

You don't see another passageway in the unnatural darkness, but the raven suggests there is one beyond. I'll assume you all decide to find it :)

You move into the starless night that is the raven's chamber, moving precariously as not even those of you blessed with the ability to see in darkness can discern anything around you. The raven seems unburdened, watching you slowly pick your way through the chamber. It turns its weathered head, red eyes aglow, and two pinpoints of equally red light appear off ahead to the right, offering you a guidepost. Changing course to those two lights, you eventually come to find a path leading on, barely visible in the dim, ambient glow of the red dots.

The passageway is equally dark, but you see it lighten up ahead to a more manageable dimness, the hallway leading to the grotto the raven spoke of. Hundreds of tangled roots dangle from the raw earthen ceiling of this rough-hewn, circular place, which is filled with dark, placid water. A narrow stone walkway leads out into the water to a circular platform in the center of the room upon which rests a stone table set with five silver chalices. About the perimeter of the grotto, a few feet above the waterline, five deep alcoves have been dug into the walls. Though shadowed by darkness, a faint glitter sparkles from deep within each alcove.

The white raven stares at you, its milky red eyes moving slowly from one of you to the next, lingering a bit longer on Geedra than anyone else. Its eerie gaze returns to Mithas and Byakko when they speak. The bird coughs, and then replies.

”You seek the trail of Baba Yaga, do you? Yes, yes, I see you have already spoken with Moc and bear his amulet. So you have proven your intentions, and your strength…but now to me you must convince me of your wit. To prove your cleverness, bring me in the answer to this riddle.”

”I mark night’s coming,
I will mark your end.
I run not in fear,
I have not a friend.”

”The answer to the riddle lies beyond, within the passage of night. To find the path to what you seek, drink from the silver chalice within the grotto. Go now, and do not return to me unless you can prove your worth.”

Byakko having claimed the prize of the mighty boar's tusks, you all gather yourselves to delver deeper into the strange configuration that the Dancing Hut has shifted into. You return to the impossibly long corridor, the images of centaurs and ravens, knotted glyphs and cavorting women. The fireflies continue to provide you with their soft, ambient glow of warm yellows and oranges. The heavy timbers of the walls are almost cozy and inviting, the endless parade of imagery supplemented handsomely by the lights, and you cannot help but feel a certain odd sense of solace and safety here, despite the circumstances.

You eventually come to another door, a second heavy portal very much like the first. There is a symbol carved upon this one as well, but it does differ from the previous. It is a downward facing crescent resting on a horizontal line with arrows pointing outward. A vertical line bisects it an ends in another set of arrows pointing up and down.

Knowledge (arcana) or Linguistics (Geedra at +10 again):

This is the rune used by Iobarian witches for "Night."

Assuming you enter, to move things along

Like the previous door, this one is unlocked and pushes open with a small amount of force. Wavering darkness devours everything that lies beyond the threshold, a curtain of pure night that begins a few feet ahead. Within the short space of dimmed light between you and the darkness, you just see the thick stone columns and wooden beams, entangled with pale moonflower blossoms, that support the room's high-vaulted ceiling. A few moments after opening the door, however, a pulse of red light appears somewhere ahead amidst the blackness, and you can see a faintly glowing bloodred orb floating ahead - no, not floating, you can just make out a small bit of the iron chain it hangs from in the ambient light it gives, just a foot around it.

After another brief moment, a shape appears in the patch of visibility around the orb - another large raven, this one an albino specimen with eyes not unlike the orb it silently descends to and perches upon. This bird is not a handsome creature, its features scarred and feathers thin and gossamer. It tilts its head back and forth, one of its red eyes a cloudy bead.

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My favorite part of DMing is having good moments for characters and fostering things that make them feel more embedded in the story or unfolding events, so I always implore everyone to snag any thread they might want to pursue. It's a little more cumbersome for me working that into an adventure path (especially this one since it is kind of heavy handed in the plot signposts and order of events and locations) as I have always run homebrew stuff in my offline games but I try to get it in where I can.

No worries, Skäne. I definitely understand that. I'll do my best not to sully Twice-Mantled's good name.

I don't think any rolls will be necessary. Between the group's natural knowledge and magic and the fact that the tusks are pretty large and difficult to damage, you can extract them without much issue.

Anything else to do here? Or ready to meander back to the strange hallway?

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Ok, I'm pretty much all healed up now. Thanks!

You all watch as the scene inside the perimeter of colored flames suddenly springs to life, where two dormant fighters now erupt from their slumbers with a seemingly single-minded purpose. As the boar's eyes open once more to atramentous portals, Byakko's seem to shimmer with opalescent moonlight. Both abruptly jolt to their feet, and Byakko slips into a beastlike state, his blade gaining fresh air as it slides forth in its wielders wild dash. A blur of white follows close on his heels...

Round 1

Byakko and Enii set upon the gnarled boar in a display quite unlike any you have seen out of the pair. Enii leaps mid run up and over Byakko, landing on the mighty boar's back in a maelstrom of fang and claw. You hear the bone-rattling roars of the strange beast as the air is colored with blood and hair. Deep, vicious gouges appear along its sides and back, and Enii's fangs pierce the back of its neck, causing it to rear its head back in reflex.

Which gives Byakko the perfect strike, ferocious, two-handed swipe of the blade across the exposed throat. The roars peter out to gurgles as blood cascades from the massive wound, dousing a fair bit of the half-elf's body in it. Enii stays latched on until the boar collapses, a heavy, final thud as the huge form collides with the ground. All is still and quiet for a spell as the moment of sudden tension ends as quickly as it began.

There is a strange sensation that the boar's body undergoes - almost as if it gives a final exhalation, a last gasp. You see a shadow, or cloud of dust, or trick of the light...some such flicker rise up from the body, but it disappears just as quickly, if it even ever existed at all. The four colored flames in the four bowls snuff in unison without assistance.

Krosh approaches the boar, Byakko, and Enii. He takes up a handful of the pungent sludge from the fifth bowl that had sent Byakko under, and smears it just-so across the boar's head and closed eyes.

"May you find your way," he mutters. He then looks to Byakko and Enii. "A single blow. Almost as if...it were meant to be."

Despite that first one not confirming the crit, still enough damage overall to take out the boar, wow! Well done. You've given this champion of Gelglast a well-earned rest. Remember her words :)

Thanks, Byakko. I'm sometimes something of a writer in the rare slivers of time I get for it. Don't have to keep your responses spoilered if you dont want, it's just cleaner on my end for jumping between scenes. Up to you.


The boar huffs and snorts, a plume of mist spilling forth from her snout. She stamps the earth as you speak, throwing her bristled mane of brambles around her head.

"You make many requests. Demands." She doesn't seem annoyed, but the voice comes to you in a more matter-of-fact sense. "Baba Yaga...I am no creature of hers, though she may believe it. The Beast of Gelglast she calls me, a title for her trophy." She snorts again, some ancient rage welling up within her. "That old crone came to my realm, as she does to so many others, to collect her trinkets and baubles, be they living or no. I was once a defender of my realm, a champion who walked the line 'tween night and day, when my world would shift...but I doubt you have heard of Gelglast. It matters not. This was an age or more ago, and my true self lives on only in this place, as this spirit, a single strand tying me to my form." She begins to walk in a wide circle around you, her stride solid and powerful, the heft of muscle rippling under the coarse fur.

"Baba Yaga twisted me to her purpose, to be some specimen in her menagerie. My body warped, my mind and soul decayed over countless spans, all to serve some pointless whim. And I suppose...after all this time, that whim has fruited. To be some meaningless challenge to...you? To rot away until some group of creatures walks in to best me? Ha! Believe me, should my true form have been waiting for you, your ends would have all been swift. But I am no longer what I once was...a shell of a shell. My only memories live here."

The boar closes her eyes and tilts her head skyward. A breeze ruffles through the trail, rustling the strange leaves and coursing over her hide and hair. "I think I remember this raven. Some cackling mouthpiece of the crone's. Beware the cawing of those with black wings, their words are never as they seem. You say you ride for the crone, but do not owe her loyalty? How strangely must your world work."

As she speaks, the boar slowly tightens her circle around you, sniffing your air, your aura. She narrows her glowing eyes at your sword.

"Not a twin, but a companion. I know of it, but it is not mine to give." She steps ominously close to you, he snout level with your forehead. "When we return, do not hesitate. Destroy this horror I have become. Perhaps then will this thread of me find peace. Take my weapons to the camps in the galloping trees. Crescents for a crescent, you may find."

She turns and begins to walk away, but stops to speak again. "Time is merely a game to Baba Yaga. It can catch its prey anywhere, or nowhere, but it yet rests in the womb of the crone."

The boar begins to distort, her very presence dissolving away into strands of color, not unlike the ones you saw before. The strange white and grey trees run like wet paint, coalescing into a current of monochrome that sweeps around you in a maelstrom.

"Go, and remember all I have said."

You are jolted through space, through self, through vision, like being hurled through one thousand panes of glass, until your mind spins to a terminus that strikes you awake...

Everyone Else:

As you contemplate the words of your shamanic guide, Krosh himself looks on at the ritual, watchful over Byakko's unconscious form. Enii pads over to the half-orc and sits next to him, and he reaches down to scratch her head.

You all notice Fox, Geedra's oft-hidden companion, now out in plain view. The wily kit's emergence escaped even the goblin's notice at first, but the little creature sits near the witch, eyes transfixed on her with unblinking focus.

Around the same time, Skäne, looking through the colored haze of the fires' smoke and the burning unguents, thinks he spots the fleeting shadow of a massive bear in the foliage around the perimeter of the room..

Soon after, you are all brought back to the attention of the ritual when Krosh speaks.

"He returns."

Your half-elf companion jolts awake with a sucking breath...


Byakko starts awake, looking left and right, paler than he was a moment ago. He sits up, but before anyone can move or speak, the boar's eyes suddenly open again as well, the black wells of ink of its eyes burning cold. It lets out a guttural call of rage as it scrambles upright once more, its task unfinished...

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Post forthcoming this evening. Picked up a bit of poison ivy recently which I am super allergic to, which also caused a big hive outbreak, including on my fingers and palms, so haven't been able to do much in the way of typing. Or most other things involving hands. It's cleared a bit now, though.

Krosh directs Byakko into the space between the flames and the oracle sits, slowly allowing himself to slip into a more primal state. THe half-orc then sparks a single mote of flame to life in his hand and sets it into the bowl with the pungent muck that he used to paint Byakko's face. The substance immediately catches fire and a dark grey haze of smoke rises out of it. He quickly puts the bowl beneath Byakko's chin and the fumes rise up, obscuring the half-elf's face. As the fumes are inhaled, the strange forested chamber around becomes distorted, the colors of the four flames blend into a whirl, and the rest of you watch as Byakko slips into an unconscious state, still seated..


The world around you fragments. Bright lines of orange, green, blue, and yellow crosshatch through the aether, segmenting the very reality you behold into a scintillating cascade of colors that swirl in a sudden hurricane. Your pulse quickens, sweat beads on your brow, your hairs stand on end, suddenly thrust into this chaotic aurora. The colors seem to thin, separate, fray into threads, as if you were in the center of a bolt of spindled thread, watching a wheel pull the yarn away. Beyond the bindings of these colors you see a vast sea of darkness dotted with countless stars, a scene that becomes more and more visible as the cocoon of color sheds itself from the air. Pinpoints of violet, azure, and cerulean twinkle in the endless distance, a sudden calm that is welcome after the previous tumultuous moments. Soon all of those colored threads are gone and you are left in the eternity of the night sky.

Unsure of a path, you walk. You feel nothing substantial beneath your feet, but your footfalls still echo and resound throughout the space, sounding like languid drops of water on a still pond. You even see the ripples, distortions of the void around you flexing and undulating in your wake. They vibrate out into the realm, towards those distant stars.

And then you see things. Some of these ripples float "up", if there is even an up, and take shapes, afterimages of a dream beyond a dream. At first they are amorphous wisps of light, but as more and more behind to amass, some begin to coalesce into more recognizable forms - a lovely young lady lying in a dark space, a sliver a light falling across her from a nearby window - a small cat mewing in the snow - the strike of a hammer, a shower of sparks, a stream of silver - the shadow of a man towering overhead, standing at a twisted gate.

As swiftly as these shapes manifest, they deteriorate back into ripples of white light that dissipate into the void once more. Krosh's deep, monotonous voice echoes somewhere in the back of your head; "The place between places..."

You walk for what feels like hours. Days. Years. Lifetimes? Or only seconds. Who can say? Lost, adrift in this place, the reflections of the corners of your past prowling in your wake. But then you feel a stronger light behind you and you spin on heel to witness the silvery light of the full moon. Immediately your inner curse manifests, pulling you to that primal place of instinct, but you remain calm, bathed in the moonlight. And even as you shift does a shadow take half of the moon, stopping neatly in the center so that you gaze at this orb now split to dark and light. You feel only resonance, and in that moment of connection, your curse slackens, and as the shadow continues to crawl across Tsukiyo's countenance, you relax into a normal state. A crescent moon is left, the shadow now stopped, and the single slash of moonbeam shines into the distance, and you understand the path.

You walk again, and the starry field melts away, cascading down the periphery like rain, revealing another realm behind. A forest takes shape, but not quite one like you have ever seen. A forest with bizarre, twisted trees, their bark either grey as ash or white as bleached bone. Their limbs either leafless and looking like so many skeletal hands, or their foliage bloodred, nearly aglow, or dark, otherworldly blue. Their trunks twist like braids or twining serpents. Thorns and brambles gather at the forest's floor, their grey and sickly green complexions making them look unhealthy, but their thick diameters and rugged angles deny that notion. You look above for guidance once more, but see the sky overhead is the smeared black and purple of a horrible bruise. The moon is a fiery orange behind dark clouds. Not Tsukiyo. Not your moon.

You push through this alien forest until a step disturbs the brush somewhere behind you. Turning, you regard the very boar that you battled in a time, a world away. It looks different, however - larger, stronger, more vibrant. The black, red, and grey fur is thicker, and bristled with thorns and brambles of its own. The burning black eyes it had before are yellow, and look down at you with an imperious glare.

The voice is strong, and it comes in a sudden rush, washing over and in you rather than coming through your ears.

"The Spirit-Talker begs that we meet. Why?"

Everyone Else:

Krosh moves away from the ritual, the space within the four fires where the boar and Byakko both rest in their induced states. Krosh removes his helm and holds it under one arm. A rare sight, the shaman's visage completely visible. Some of you have never even seen it. His long hair tumbles down to his shoulders, black and streaked with silver, many more talismans, trinkets, feathers, and boners woven into his locks. His eyes are bright, a mix of cyan and silver, and white paint adorns his face, once perhaps a glyph or sigil but much as worn away from the labors of your trials. He looks more orc than human.

"This entire journey," the shaman says, breathing deeply. "Is one I never thought I would walk, not in my wildest visions." He looks around slowly at each of you, cool eyes studying your faces in turn. "And I have had my share of visions. I know I speak long and cryptically of the spirits, and I know that you may not all understand the ramblings of this old soul, but there is a method to all of this, a purpose for this path you walk. We deal now in witches and Baba Yaga, but as powerful as she may be, she is still insignificant compared to the spirits that inhabit the fabric of all that is. You all have been draped in the spectral cloaks of her Riders, but these are not your true selves, but means to an end laid upon you in necessity."

He sets his helmet on the ground and stretches, moving his head from side to side. "Your true selves are marked by the spirits within, though you may not even know them yet. Your courses were set before the riders ever rode their steeds across your paths. Just as mine was, to join with you. Do you recall, when I rejected the offer from the white rider? When I told her I was in service to another, she knew. I do know my spirit within." He smirks as he says this, a glint in his eye. "You will all cross paths with the spirits that mark you in this journey, I should think. You may all be tested, or challenged, or welcomed. This I cannot say. I speak to the spirits, not for them. I do not wish to burden you with anticipation, or fear, or the notion that your life is not your own - this is far from truth. Spirits do not make demands of your choices, but adapt with them. For only in that are you true to yourself. I suppose, I am merely saying...you are all more than you know. And more than sellswords in borrowed mantles."

He shakes his head and lets out the lightest, slightest of chuckles, alien from one such as him. He picks up his helm and puts it back on. "Forgive the ramblings of an old shaman."

Sorry to leave you hanging. Had training for stuff at work all week last week and that kind of sucked my time up.

Krosh nods and begins to walk over to the unconscious beast, but stops and looks around the room.

"Better to go back to the...forested room, I think," he says. "A bit less cramped."

You work together to transport the savage boar once again, hauling it back to the chamber where you had subdued it. Krosh instructs you to undo the bindings and you reclaim your rope as you free the creature once more, staging it near the central tree. The half-orc holds his hand out towards the boar and closes his eyes, but his lips move ever so slightly as he focuses. He stays like this for a minute or so, and a few of his amulets and trinkets hanging in the antlers of his helm begin to chime and sway, as if a breeze were blowing through them. He stops abruptly, and opens his eyes, nodding.

Without a word, Krosh digs through his pack, and it dawns on you all now that though you have seen him poke around in there before during downtime, you've never really seen anything inside come out before.

The half-orc produces a few small bowls of clay and pewter and a few small satchels, and sets them on the ground. A mortar and pestle follows, and he begins taking small items out of the satchels - herbs, berries, small bones, colored powders. He mixes certain ones in the mortar and quickly grinds them into a blue-tinted substance which he transfers to a pewter bowl. Next he does a similar action but the resulting mixture is orange, and he puts that in the second pewter bowl. The third mix creates a green mass, the fourth a yellow, and they go in the clay bowls. He sets them in a square, of which the boar takes up about half. The shaman then picks up a handful of dirt from the ground below and puts that in the mortar, as well as a few bones, and finally a small amount of amber colored liquid from a vial. This mixes into a paste and he stands near the area now squared off by the four bowls.

"Come then, Byakko Whiteclaw. Moonsweft. Two-as-One. You will meet with this spirit and beseech it." He beckons the half-elf forward, and then takes up some of the fresh-made paste in two fingers and smears a line across Byakko's forehead, and another from the bridge of his nose down to his chin. It is a pungent mud, nearly stinging your eyes with the stench of whatever ingredients were used to make it.

"If you all could set the four bowls afire..." he says, almost sheepishly, as if he was demeaning you by asking your assistance. The rest of you set the contents of the bowls on fire, using whatever means at your disposal to do so. Each bowl sparks to life with flames in colors that match the substances in them - blue, green, orange, and yellow. These flames are fragrant, smelling of rare herbs and oils and unguents.

Krosh removes one of the talismans from his helm, a silver circle with a half-moon carving. The edges of the circle have tiny holes, and some sort of fine thread is woven through them, knotted every so delicately along the outer perimeter of the disc. A single small owl feather hangs from it. He presses the trinket against Byakko's forehead, adhering it there with the line of muck on the half-elves brow.

"Sit within the four flames, face the beast. You will walk beyond, to the place between places where the souls of all natural things travel. No matter what happens there, know you are tethered to this world, but you may see things that unsettle you. Or you may see things that bring you joy. Spirits are capricious. This beast will hear you, it has told me, but you must go alone."

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You know, I read that entry like 3 times, and somehow I overlooked that 'you can speak with animals' bit every time. Either that or I ran it together with the 'choose your animal' part and read it as you could only speak with animals with the chosen type or something. Either way, my bad haha. I'll play it as Krosh setting things up but you can do the actual communing... ready for a spirit walk?

"A mighty spirit resides within this beast, Moonsweft," Krosh says to Byakko. "Such a force could bestow boon or bane, as it wills. But spirits are...inconsistent. I cannot say whether this one would be of mind to be released or be pleased by a further test of strength."

The shaman walks over to regard the unconscious boar, watching the slow, methodical rhythm of its breathing. "I think you will find that this path on which you now ride will offer no coincidence. Only the leaves of fate fall upon this trail...capricious as they are. Even Krosh cannot hide the swift, knowing sidelong glance at Geedra as he says this.

He walks over to look at Byakko's sword, and runs his thumb across the flat of it as the oracle holds it. "You are a spirit of duality. Born of two bloods, marked by two spirits, bearer of two minds. Your soul tethered to the primal realm of spirits both within and out - even your soulbonded companion is striped, two in one. The moon itself is twinned, split between its lives of dark and light." He puts a rugged finger in the center of Byakko's forehead. "You are twin to yourself, in a manner of speaking. Perhaps your blade does have a twin...perhaps it is just yet unformed. Twin tusks curve to the moon, " he adds cryptically.

"If you wish, I can commune with this spirit, and can know what whims it desires."

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So from everything I have looked at in regards to the Lycanthropy curse, I don't believe that it innately would allow you to freely speak with animals - it does denote that other people can understand you if they are under a speak with animals effect, but you yourself aren't granted such an effect in relation to other animals. You do get an innate +4 bonus on Handle Animal checks with a chosen 'lycanthropy-related animal' (small random rant directed at game developers - therianthropy would be a more apt term when referring to were-creatures, as 'lycan' specifically refers to wolves!) I also didn't notice in your sheet if you made that decision, figured it might be tigers?

Regardless, I would allow for a Handle Animal check when in your bestial cursed state to attempt to communicate with the beast if you so desire!

No need to apologize for wanting to engage in some roleplaying :) Feel free to inject it whenever you feel so inclined.

You spend some time to cut down a bough and fashion it into a sturdy pole to carry the boar. Binding the beast with lengths of rope and lashing it to the pole, it still takes a few of you to get it done, despite Skäne's magically imbued strength - this boar is a paragon specimen, solid and rippled with muscle.

Once you return to the previous chamber, the peculiar raven, now returned to its perch on the orb, watches you, a glint in its eyes as you carry in your quarry.

""Ha!" the bird sounds. "An unexpected outcome. The Beast of Gelglast yet lives. You've brought me the answer to the riddle, I concede...and you have bested the challenge, though not in the way that was intended. Still, word is word. You shall have what you seek...though take these words as well. If you are to delve the depths of Baba Yaga's trail, you must have the resolve and the fortitude to always do what must be done."

The raven's eyes glow and the amulet around its neck slowly lifts off of its form, floating over slowly to the group, where it hovers in midair.

"This amulet holds only one of the three clues you seek. It reveals the first ingredient for Baba Yaga's kettle. Look for the key where time catches up to us all."

The raven flaps its wings and lifts from the orb, its glow immediately dimming to nothing without the bird atop it. With a few more flaps, the bird begins to once more melt into the darkness.

"Look for the Mother when the moon is full!" is its final cry as it disappears.

The amulet stays floating in the air before you. A handsome iron piece, triangular in shape with two half circles carved out of its sides. A rune is carved upon it in deep, perfect stroke.

Linguistics DC 20 (Geedra +10 witch bonus):

This is the Iobarian witch rune for 'dragon.'

With some divination, you also ascertain that this amulet, besides being a clue, functions as a brooch of shielding.

The seemingly endless hallway behind you awaits..

There are no other features in this room besides the lifeless grey trees and strange scrubbrush that dots the area. No magic beyond the innate magic of the hut itself is present here, either. The larger tree separated into the center of the room, upon inspection, also does not seem to be magical, nor are there any decorations or adornments on it. Nothing seems to be above in the branches and you do not find any holes or other crevasses in the trunk. It appears to be purely ornamental.

When Skäne speaks of the boar's tusks in relation to the riddle, Krosh claps him on the shoulder from behind as he walks up.

"I think you have the right of it, Twice-Mantled. Born twins, not alive but grow until death."

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Surprise Round

Bolstered by Krosh's spirits of might, Skäne advances forward on the massive, grizzled boar's position and plants himself firmly in its path, bracing his spear for the beast's coming.

The boar recovers from Mithas's pinpoint strike at its heavy head, and stamps the earth in front of it in defiance, snorting and looking ahead with a fiery gaze. It does indeed break into a wild charge, focusing on the first target in its path - a readied Skäne.

As the monstrous creature draws near, Skäne sees his opening, angling the head of the spear to a point that slips it past the boar's massive tusks. With the butt end anchored against the earth and Skäne's magically enhanced frame holding the haft, such force combined with the boar's own momentum forces the point of the spear directly into it, though its able to have enough sense to move its head. The spear drives into its shoulder. The boar continues on, its weight carrying the charge forward, further impaling itself on the weapon. The tip of its deadly tusks make it mere inches from Skäne before the brute comes to a stop. As it keels over, it pulls the spear from Skäne's hands and collapses onto the ground. A readied brace against a charge actually deals double damage, so that combined with Mithas's sneak attack is enough to put this boar down...though you can tell it is still breathing, though unconscious as Mithas's attack had dealt nonlethal damage. Still, quite the one-two punch.

Ok, back into some manner of sorts. Apologies for the delay.

Surprise Round

Mithas sets an arrow to his bowstring as he watches the scarred beast emerge from the shadowy brambles, drawing a line through the air as it behinds to move forward, anger burning in its eyes. Just as the mighty creature starts to charge, the arrow speeds across the woody chamber and a blunted shaft strikes it squarely between the eyes. It lets out a deep, guttural bellow as it staggers where it stands, obviously dazed by the precise shot. It shakes its head, moving more sluggishly. What a hit! 49 points of nonlethal damage.

Krosh stands next to Skäne and touches his shoulder, a monotone whisper accompanying the jingle of a chime hanging from an antler. The ulfen warrior suddenly feels his muscles tense and tighten beneath his armor, enhancing his natural strength. Casts Bull's Strength on Skäne.

Skäne gets his surprise round action.

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Sorry I've been quiet. Finally got the ol' COVID. Will update soon. Thanks for your patience.

"Bring me the answer!" the raven reiterates, taking wing back into the shadows of the chamber.

Those of you who picked out the partially hidden corridor leading further on behind a curtain of brambles assist the others in locating it as well, and Mithas takes point, stealthily maneuvering down the rugged hallway.

The walls of the next wide chamber are lined with grey, lifeless trees and thorny tangles of brush. In the center of the room stands a gnarled and leafless tree whose outstretched branches twist like cruel, beastly talons.

Lurking in the shadows in the corner, a form suddenly erupts from the darkness. Everyone but Geedra notices the creature right before it comes out to strike - a huge, monstrous boar. Horribly scarred with bristled black, red, and grey fur, its eyes burn with an otherwordly blackness and the savage tusks are jagged and sharp.

Boar Init: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Byakko Init: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (4) + 5 = 9
Skane Init: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Geedra Init: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Mithas Init: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Krosh Init: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14

Surprise Round


Won't do a map for this one, pretty simple. 50 ft wide, 30 ft across chamber with a tree in the center. You all enter in the middle of the wall, so the boar is about 30 feet away in the corner.


stealth: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
geedra per: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
byakko per: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
skane per: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
krosh per: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (5) + 12 = 17

Byakko & Skane:
Trying to suss out this bird's nature is strange. Normal ravens are intelligent and crafty enough as is...this one seems to be possessed of an incredible intellect, judging not just by speech but by the deep, knowing gleam in its eye. It doesn't seem outright hostile...more judging, if anything. Haughty, superior. Sure of itself, too clever for its own good.

"Easy, easy, hunting cat. You'd be a rug before I'd be a morsel!" The raven laughs a short, abrasive laugh as it continues to cycle its attention across the group. It inquisitively assesses each mention of Riders, a cautious but succinct movement of its head every time.

Knowledge (arcana) or (local) DC 20:

You are beginning to piece this raven together...there are tales of Baba Yaga's raven allies that serve as her prophets. There are three said to be the guardians of Twilight, Night, and Dawn, auspicious times when dreams and worlds blur. They are often called the Liar Seers, for they shroud their wisdom in tangled riddles.

"The riders three become many. The dreams are true, the dreams are true!" the raven caws. "Baba Yaga is not here, but you can find her, never fear. First, however, you must persuade me you possess the strength necessary to bear my knowledge, and the mantle of the riders. My question is a simple one...

Born twins, they live not
Yet they grow until death
Their fates are often tied
Ever-crescent, as the moon,
Symbols of the warriors pride.

..The answer to this question lies in the chamber beyond. Bring me the answer, and I shall give you what you seek."

Illusion and transmutation magic fill the room, but the only specific aura you pick up emanated from the bird itself, one of abjuration coming off of something the bird carries.

The raven watches, tilting its head this way and that, looking to Geedra specifically when she speaks.

"Dumb?" the bird replies. "The goblin says I am dumb? Now there is the crow calling the raven black." The raven's head bobs with short, crisp movements as it surveys the rest of you, eyeing Byakko and Enii suspiciously.

"Do you like what you see? The pretty colors in magic sight? Your beast eyes me hungrily, keep it at bay lest you wish to see it withered like a parched flower." You see a flash across the raven's eyes, a flash that somehow suggests that it could follow through on that threat. "Now, who are these creatures that trespass these sacred halls, what brings you to brave the depths of this place? If your intentions are ill, I will not just be an omen of doom for you."

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Finally got my internet 100% fixed after 4 service calls...and of course the last guy goes "oh yeah, it's this, we've been having issues with this a lot since xyz. Fixed."

Mithas investigates the heavy door and it proves to be, to the elf's satisfaction, untrapped and unlocked. There is no response to the knocks Byakko makes, but the door, though weighty, does swing open with the subsequent effort.

A slight chill wind wafts through this room, carrying the stale scent of carrion and peat. Beyond, an impossible forest seems to have devoured the entire chamber. The walls are woven from tangled knots of black, leafless trees, and fine flakes of rusted iron cover the floor, softly crumbling to dust. A pale light emanates from a fist-sized orb that rests within a nest of black iron branches in the center of the room, turning all forms into ebon silhouettes.

Shortly after you filter in the room, taking stock of yet another strange magical forest, you hear the flapping of wings. A raven suddenly emerges from the darkness from the side of the room and lands carefully on the odd glowing orb. It stares at the group without making a sound, but tilts its head this way and that as it watches you.

Perception DC 15:

You notice two things. The first is that this raven seems to be wearing some manner of small iron amulet hanging from a leather cord around its neck, and second is that at the rear of the room, partially obscured by dead branches and leaves, is a path that leads further in.

You take the time to gather yourselves and rest in the Hut's new cauldron room, utilizing the cozy cabin-like chamber to regenerate your energy, heal your wounds, and prepare yourselves for whatever lies ahead.

Afterwards, you ready your gear and strike back out into the strange hallway filled with its luminous moths and fireflies and covered in its myriad images. You decide to strike out to the right, and Byakko looks around in an attempt to judge cardinal directions, but such a task proves to be fruitless here within this strange extradimensional space.

You travel down the corridor for ten, twenty, fifty, eighty, one hundred feet before you finally see something that isn't repeated carvings. A door stands in the wall to your right, a heavy wooden one bearing a carved image of an inverted half-circle with a horizontal like across the top and a single extended arrow pointing downward in the center.

The hallway also continues forward out of sight.

Knowledge (arcana) or Linguistics (Geedra gets a +10 bonus for being a winter witch):
This magical symbol represents 'twilight.' The specific style marks it as related to witches of Iobaria, a distant land to the east, past the lands of Brevoy. This would track with Krosh's earlier rumination of boreal centaurs of the east.

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