Dark Tide Rising

Session Thirteen
Confronting the Cult

With some creative spell use, the party is able to free Davik without killing any townsfolk. After rescuing the sheriff they retreat to a safe location outside of Belle Mare. The armored man turns out to be a paladin named Sir Jensen. Much like the adventurers, he has been sent by The Church of Light to investigate odd stories coming from the town. A few miles from Belle Mare, the group finds a cave on the coast in which to rest. They question Davik about the real story of what has been happening in his town. He tells the party that he has known about the fish creatures for some time. He knows that a group of townsfolk are actively working with the fish-men, but he assures the party that he is not with them. He believes that the cult includes many people in prominent positions, though he is not sure exactly who. That is why he was afraid to act before. He was always scared that there would be retribution against his family if he spoke out.

The adventurers consider returning to Fort Blackrock to get assistance from the church, but Davik pleads with them to help him get his family out of the town. They agree to help him and begin working on a plan. The group suspects that the mayor might be a part of the cult because of his desire to execute the sheriff so quickly. They decide to check out his residence that night.

Though the mayor’s manse is guarded, the adventurers are able to sneak in. They find the building to be quite empty. They search the residence and eventually find an entrance to a system of natural caves beneath the structure. Soon after entering the caves they begin to hear chanting. Eventually they reach a massive subterranean chamber with a large pool in the center. The periphery of the chamber has been roughly carved into terraces to create an amphitheater-like environment.

Nearly half of the town is present in the chamber. They are dressed in ceremonial robes and chanting in a strange language. Several captives (Davik’s family) are tied to altars near a pool of water. Some fish-men emerge from the water to collect the sacrifices. The party fights the creatures and manages to free most of the captives. During the fight the townspeople/cultists flee in panic. That night the town is in chaos as anger and paranoia take hold. In the morning the party does what it can help restore order. They also begin questioning people about who the leaders of the cult were. When they return to the inn, they find Bertram in a rage. Katarina has gone missing.

The group continues to search the town for principal members of the cult who escaped during the fray. The adventurers know that if they don’t deal with the orchestrators of the cult, it will eventually return. They are exploring an abandoned warehouse near the docks when they find some steps leading underground.

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Session Twelve
Welcome to Belle Mare

After several days of traveling through rain and mud, the party arrives in Belle Mare. They have been sent by Helmsley to investigate rumors of disappearing townsfolk. The party finds a relatively busy inn, owned by a man named Bertram. The patrons all seem to be in low spirits. Bran gets up to sing to the crowd. At first his singing is lively and the crowd is engaged. Just as he is finishing his song however, he changes to a much more sinister tone. Only the party members appear to notice however. The innkeeper’s daughter Katarina serves food and drink, and is fascinated by the adventurers. She especially takes a liking to Torc. When the group is about to go out to search around town for clues that evening, she tries to persuade them to stay and talk to her instead. The group patrols the town for a bit that night, but discovers nothing.

The next day, the group travels around the town to learn more about the disappearances. They visit a blacksmith and try to stimulate the local economy a bit but find that the local metalworkers aren’t very adept at making weapons. They also run into the sheriff whose name is Davik. He does not want the adventurers in town because he feels that it is his responsibility to protect Bell Mare, not a group of outsiders. The group decides to split up. Part of the group goes to question the harbormaster. They learn that fishing has been very poor over the last few months. Boats have been staying out much longer than normal just to bring in enough to feed the people. Some fishermen are among the missing, but not disproportionately so. Another part of the group goes to the temple to meet with the head priest Father Raynor. They learn that his congregation has been shrinking lately, and not just because of the disappearances. Many people are losing their faith due to the hard times that have been affecting the town.

When the group reconvenes at the inn that evening, Seth is not among them. They decide to go out patrolling without him. Later that night, Torc sees Seth out on the street. It is dark, but Seth appears to see Torc from a great distance (which is unusual). Seth disappears around a corner. The rest of the party chases him through alleys and over rooftops, with Torc and Leanne outpacing Zarrick, Raban and Cid. The chase leads the party to an alleyway. Seth is nowhere in sight but a several large fish-like humanoids appear and attack the party. The adventurers defeat the fish-men, but it is clear that more are coming. They pick up one of the bodies and run to the inn. Bertram (the innkeeper) refuses to let them in with the creature’s body. They continue running until they get to the sheriff. Davik is horrified to see the body, but he seems to already know something about the creatures. He refuses to help the group. At this point the other fish-men have stopped chasing the party. They take the body to the church where they found Seth waiting as well. Eventually they meet with Father Raynor and he agrees to help them. They tell the priest what they know, and Father Raynor sends messengers to the Mayor. As dawn breaks, the group is summoned to the Mayor’s mansion. Davick has been arrested and is to be executed. The party tries to convince the mayor to delay the execution so that the sheriff can be questioned, but the mayor will not allow it. Just as a squad of crossbowmen are about to carry out the order, the adventurers decide to intervene and rescue the sheriff. An armored man appears from the crowd and assists them.

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Session Eleven
Tenzen

The next morning the party is at the inn discussing their options. A pair of men arrive and invite the group to accompany them. The adventurers agree and follow the men to a coach that is waiting outside of the inn. The windows of the coach are covered, so their route is kept a mystery. When they arrive at the destination, they find that the carriage is already inside part of the structure, making it impossible to tell where in the city they are. The building turns out to be some sort of social club. Even at this early hour, there are patrons indulging in drink, games of chance, and female companionship.

The party is taken to a back room where they are greeted by the club’s owner, a man named Tenzen. They are quite surprised to find that he already knows of the events of the previous night. Tenzen congratulates the adventurers on their victory and invites them to enjoy the hospitality of his establishment. Some of the adventurers take the club owner up on his offer, but others remain to talk with him. Tenzen asks many questions about the party and their activities. Eventually he brings up the subject of the fight with the vigilante. He is interested in her armor and weapon, and indicates that he would be willing to reward the party generously if they would be willing to turn the items over to him.

The adventurers decide to consider the offer and they are returned to their inn. There is some debate over what should happen to the body of the vigilante and her gear. For the most part, they do not feel guilty for killing her (as she was obviously willing to kill them), but they do not feel completely right about profiting from her death. In the end, they decide to turn over the gear, but not the body. Part of the group remains on the boat to guard the corpse, while the rest return to the inn. Sometime during the night, the party members on a boat see a hooded figure with a cart waiting on the dock. They identify the person as a priest of Iolis. The priest waits patiently most of the night (presumably for the body), but leaves empty handed.

The next day the inn group is taken to Tenzen’s club. There they negotiate a trade for the vigilante’s gear. Tenzen also offers them a position in his operation. Later, the group is taken by coach (once again, a windowless ride) to a cave somewhere along the island’s shore. After following a long tunnel they come to a chamber containing several ramshackle wooden structures and a pool. They are met by a strange humanoid creature who seems annoyed, but is expecting them. The creature asks the group what sort of items they would like and dives into the pool. A few minutes later it returns with the party’s reward.

Tenzen’s coach brings the party back to their inn, but they leave immediately to meet up with the group at the boat. While they are on the docks they notice that several boats are arriving in the dark of night (unusual even for such a busy port). They move into a position where they can spy on the boats and see several groups disembarking. Interestingly, Tenzen and many of his men are there to greet the new arrivals. Tenzen welcomes the newcomers warmly and they are quickly ushered into carriages and taken into town. With little left to see, the party returns to their boat.

The next day, the party goes to the graveyard (a small island off of the main landmass of Wavecrest) to find out more about the priests of Iolis. They are allowed into the graveyard, but are unable to learn much because the priests do not speak. They are taken to a freshly dug grave which they assume is for the vigilante. Unable to decide what to do next, the adventurers return to Wavecrest.

Later, the party is picked up at the inn and taken back to the club. Tenzen asks if they have decided to take him up on his offer. The group has come up with a plan to work for Tenzen, but secretly continue to report to Helmsley. They accept Tenzen’s offer and he immediately gives them the details of their first assignment. As it turns out, their first job involves traveling to Doza to assassinate another of Helmsley’s groups. Initially, the party has no intention of following through with this task (and in fact plan to warn the group as soon as they reach Doza), but it quickly becomes apparent that Tenzen does not fully trust them yet. He tells the party that they will need to submit to some magical “safeguards” and ushers Torc into another room. As soon as Tenzen’s spellcaster begins performing a ritual, Torc abandons the plan and bolts from the room. The party is able to escape the club, and makes a mad dash for the mansion of Helmsley’s contact.

When they arrive at the mansion and explain their situation, the nobleman contacts Helmsley via spell. Helmsley is furious with the adventurers, but agrees to help. He tells the nobleman that he is sending “The Fox”, which seems to put him at ease. Seconds later, a gnome materializes in the room. The gnome asks the adventurers to bring him up to speed on events thus far, and springs into action. First he creates and illusion of the party running out the front door of the mansion and off into to the town to throw off anyone who might have followed them. Then he casts some protective spells on the group to ward against divinations, followed by a spell of invisibility. He tells the party to make their way to the docks, where a new ship will be waiting for them. The party follows his instructions and an hour later they are on their way to Fort Blackrock.

This time the sea voyage is without incident. The party arrives in Fort Blackrock and sets out to re-supply for a journey south. While they are purchasing supplies, the merchant begins saying extremely ominous things to them. The adventurers are taken aback, but soon realize the man is unaware of what he is saying. In fact, no one other than the party members seems to have heard his strange words. They finish purchasing their supplies and start the trip to Belle Mare. As they travel, they are drenched by torrential rains. By the time they near Belle Mare, the rains have developed into thunderstorms. In the midst of this storm, the group is beset by several huge plant creatures. They defeat the monsters, and arrive at the town soaked and bloodied.

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Session Ten
Wavecrest

After finishing their business in Wavecrest, the party sets sail for Fort Blackrock. The next morning they awaken to find the crew gone and the ship adrift. At first they assume that it is another of their shared dreams, but after several hours pass they are forced to accept that it is real. The adventurers search the ship and find tiny statuettes hidden around the crew’s bunks. The carvings are in the familiar shape of the hunched creature from Urick’s house and Windhelm’s basement. Though it is clear to the party that the statuettes have something to do with the crew’s disappearance, they still have no idea what has actually happened to them, or how to fix it. They set about trying to find some way to return the ship to Wavecrest. Through some clever use of spells, and the help of Zarrick’s eidolon, they are able to tow the boat back to port.

The group returns to the nobleman for help. They suspect that there is some manner of magic or psionic power behind the disappearance of the crew, so Helmsley’s contact directs the party to an associate with more expertise in that area. The expert turns out to be a local woman who runs a fortune telling parlor. At first she seems to be nothing more than a charlatan, but after the group mentions Helmsley, she drops her act and ushers them into a back room. She turns out to be quite a powerful mystic. The party shows her one of the statuettes, and she begins a ritual to determine its function. When the ritual is complete, she gathers the party around her crystal ball. They look into the orb and see an image of the crew on the deck of their ship in a terrible storm. Huge tentacles are snaking over the sides of the boat and attempting to drag the sailors into the stormy sea. The mystic tells the party that the statuettes have trapped the crew in a nightmare. She can manipulate one of the figurines to bring the adventurers into the dream, but she warns them that the danger will be very real. Without hesitation, the party agrees to enter the nightmare. Inside the dream, the fight rages on. The party manages to damage the tentacles enough to cause them to withdraw. With the help of the mystic, they are able to bring the sailors back to the physical realm.

Though only a few days have passed since the crew went missing, the sailors tell the group that they have been re-living the nightmare scenario over and over for months. Not all of the crew members have survived, and those who have are in no condition to return to their duties. Only the captain is willing to continue on with the ship. He tells the party that he will begin assembling a new crew, but it will take some time. The group finds an inn, and settles in for a long wait.

The next night, Seth tells the party that he has heard about a series of attacks. Apparently an unknown marauder has been stalking the streets of Wavecrest for several months. Over a dozen people have been killed. Seth also hints that there may be a reward for stopping this prowler. The adventurers speculate that this may be linked to the recent outbreak of madness and decide to begin patrolling at night. They conduct their operation for several nights, and also do some investigation into the killings. They learn that most of the attacks have happened in a select few neighborhoods. They also begin to discover that most, if not all, of the victims are associated with The Iron Band.

After learning this, the party comes up with a plan to find some likely targets and follow them. The plan pays off almost immediately. The mysterious assailant ambushes the men and quickly begins cutting them to pieces. The party attempts to arrest the attacker, but they are forced to fight when the masked warrior kills a helpless enemy. The would-be assassin then makes the mistake of drawing Torc’s blood. Torc abandons the plan to capture his foe and ends the battle with a fatal strike. After the fight, the party is surprised to find that the attacker was a woman. She is clad in an extraordinary suit of mithril plate mail and wields a naginata. The party decides to take the body to their boat, and consider what to do next.

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Session Nine
Inside Hargo's Mind

Inside Hargo’s mind, the adventurers find themselves in an eerie landscape. A small house sits atop a grassy hill. Above is a starless night sky. Surrounding the hill is nothing but featureless darkness in every direction. Though the house does not actually look familiar, each of the party members somehow knows that it is the home of the Rogan family. The party enters the home and finds that everything inside is much larger than it should be, as if the house were built for giants. They are all overwhelmed with an all-consuming need to find “mommy”. The group runs through the house, which seems to have hundreds of rooms and an endless maze of hallways, pursued by a shapeless fear. Eventually, the search leads them to a set of stairs leading to a dark basement. The adventurers find that they are terrified of the gloomy cellar, but are driven onward by the urge to find “mommy”. The party fights through their fear and searches the basement.

Without any noticeable transition, the cluttered confines of the cellar are replaced by tropical ferns and a canopy of trees. The childlike fear of the dark fades, and is exchanged for a different sort of dread. Shouts for help can be heard in the distance, and the party members instinctively know that their brothers-in-arms are in mortal danger. They rush forward through the humid jungle and find a clearing. It is at this point that the party notices that they are all dressed as members of Gryphon’s military. In the clearing, fellow soldiers are being slaughtered by Gnolls among ancient ruins. The adventurers join the battle and defeat the Gnolls. When the battle is over, the scene changes again.

The party finds themselves on the shore of a peaceful lake. Once again it is nighttime but, unlike before, the sky is filled with stars. The white sand and the ripples on the water seem to sparkle with starlight. The ghostly form of a woman appears in the distance. She is clothed in gossamer robes and is large with child. She sings softly to herself as she walks into the water. After only a few seconds, she disappears. The group members are filled with a nameless sense of sorrow and loss.

The scene changes and once again the party finds themselves looking at the house on the hill. However, this time half of the house is missing. It looks as if the structure has been ripped neatly in two, snapping timbers and stone, but leaving the remaining portion completely intact. A rope stretches from the house into the sky. The rope appears to be anchored somewhere on an upper floor, and exits the building on the side that has been torn off. The group enters the house and finds the room where the line originates.

The adventurers discover that, by sheer force of will, they can fly along the path of the rope. They follow it up into the starless sky. After an indeterminate amount of time, the darkness of the night sky is replaced by swirling iridescent clouds of color. The group also notices that the rope has become a silver cord. Quinn determines that the party has somehow crossed over into the Astral plane. They continue to follow the cord until it reaches a putrid looking pool. The pool turns out to be a portal to a demiplane, and the party enters.

The first thing the group sees upon entering the demiplane is a massive sphere made of organs, tentacles, eyes, mouths, and an infinite array of other horrific body parts. The size of the sphere is impossible to comprehend. The adventurers stand on the edge of a cliff, overlooking a fathomless space. The sphere occupies nearly their entire field of view. The party members can also feel the mental influence of the sphere intruding upon the edges of their minds.

The other thing the group finds in the demiplane is Hargo. He stands beside them on the cliff, observing the sphere. Hargo does not seem surprised to see his family and friends. Once again, he apologizes for involving them. Hargo appears much older than the group knows him to be. He explains that he has spent quite some time looking for a way to stop the events unfolding on Thron. He tries to explain what is happening, but finds it difficult because he doesn’t fully understand it himself. He knows that he is moving through time in a very non-linear manner, and that he no longer occupies his physical body. He also is able to explain that the sphere is a powerful entity from outside the known multiverse, and that it is somehow the cause of all that has recently transpired. Hargo tells the group that they must continue to look for a way to stop this entity, as all of his attempts have failed. He has seen many different alternate timelines, and all of them end in the destruction of Thron.

After learning all that they can from Hargo, the party reluctantly parts ways with him. They follow the cord back to the house and return to the physical realm. They decide that Winterhold is the safest place for Hargo’s body at the moment, so they thank Windhelm for his help and leave for Avery. When they reach the city they realize that it is almost winter solstice. Torc overhears a local belief that it is bad luck to leave your house during the day of darkness, so he demands that the party remain sequestered in Windhelm’s townhouse. However, this proves to be difficult, as it becomes evident that all manner of strange activity is happening out on the streets. They witness several instances of animals acting unnaturally aggressive. Eventually, the party can no longer restrain their curiosity. When they hear sounds of a fight, they leave the house to intervene. What they find is a werewolf attacking townsfolk and guardsmen. The party is able to defeat the creature, but they are concerned when they learn that there is no conjunction (the event that triggers lycanthropes to transform on Thron) that night.

After the solstice, the group contemplates their next move. They contact Helmsley to let him know what has happened with Windhelm, and what they have learned from Hargo. Helmsley offers to continue funding their activities if the party agrees to work for him. The adventurers agree and Helmsley instructs them to travel to a small town on the West coast of the Heartsea called Belle Mare. The group boards a ship, owned by Helmsley, that is bound for Wavecrest. In Wavecrest, they make contact with an associate of Helmsley’s. The nobleman uses his contacts to secure some new equipment for the party.

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Session Eight
Crossing Over

Not sure what to do next, the party searches Windhelm’s house. In the basement, they find a sculpture identical to the one in Urick’s house except that it is made from potatoes. In a hidden crawlspace, they also find the body of Windhelm’s housekeeper. It is obvious from the level of decay that she has been dead for weeks. The party decides to report their findings to Gilroy. Afterwards, they split up to see what they can find out about Windhelm’s possible whereabouts. The party is unable to turn up any leads about Windhelm, but Seth tells the rest of the group that there may be something of interest at a rock quarry south of the city. Seth is evasive about where he got this information, or what might be there, but for lack of something better to do, the party decides to go.

The quarry is only an hour journey South, and the weather is somewhat more mild. When the group reaches a ridge overlooking the quarry, they spot Windhelm below, having a psychic temper tantrum. Windhelm is unleashing powerful telekinetic energy, causing rocks to burst from the ground and slam into the sheer walls nearby. The party concludes that the psion is too dangerous to be allowed to run amok, so they decide to subdue him. Once the battle is begun, the area once again transforms into a twisted dreamscape. During the fight, Windhelm retreats to the surface of a frozen pool. While some members of the party fight with nightmare creatures that have manifested nearby, others pursue Windhelm out over the ice. Below the frozen surface, they see what appears to be a massive tentacle reaching upwards from an impossible depth. Just as the titanic appendage is about to break through the ice, Windhelm is dealt a finishing blow and the surrounding area fades back to reality.

The PC’s have made sure to keep Windhelm alive. However, they are aware that as soon as he regains consciousness, they will once again have to deal with his psionic abilities. They elect to take him to Winterhold in the hopes that Vannacutt will have some way to restrain him. They manage to get the unconscious Windhelm to the asylum without incident. As it turns out, the facility has an entire wing that has been surrounded by an anti-magic and null-psionic field. Once the psion is situated in one of these rooms and given a chance to rest, he becomes more reasonable. Windhelm agrees that he must have been unintentionally causing the disturbances, and that he should remain in Winterhold until a solution can be found.

Once Windhelm has had some time to recover from the confrontation, the party asks if he can help them find out what is wrong with Hargo. Windhelm agrees to do what he can, and is taken (under close supervision) to Hargo’s chamber. After examining the comatose man, Windhelm informs the party that Hargo’s consciousness is not merely dormant; it is gone. Hargo’s brain is still functioning perfectly well, but everything that makes up the essence of his persona is absent. The party interprets this as dire news, but Windhelm assures them that it may still be possible to restore Hargo, if it can be determined what happened to his consciousness. Windhelm offers to psychically transport the party into Hargo’s mind.

Windhelm offers two options. The first option is to create a psychic link between Hargo’s mind and the minds of the group. This would allow the party to explore Hargo’s mind without being in any real physical danger, but with limited power to affect anything inside. The second option is to open a conduit between the physical plane and the realm of thought. Using this method, the group would have a greater ability to affect the mental environment, but any harm that came to them would be real. The party chooses the second option, and Windhem opens the conduit.

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Session Seven
Matters of the Mind

The group travels to Avery, a bustling port city on the shore of The Heartsea. Even in the early months of winter, the city is quite busy. The party notes, however, that there is an air of tension in the street. Within minutes of arriving, the adventurers witness a conflict between a crazed citizen and some of the city guard. Afterwards, the group is questioned by a watch captain named Gilroy. Gilroy is suspicious of the group and unfriendly at first. In the course of their conversation with the watch captain, the party learns that there have been many strange attacks over the past few weeks, resulting in several deaths. Gilroy also confirms that Avery has seen a sharp increase in cases of madness, much like the other places that the PC’s have traveled.

After talking to Gilroy, the party looks for the address given to them by Helmsley. They find the building, which turns out to be a fairly nice townhouse. They announce themselves and are greeted by a housekeeper. She is curt with the adventurers and seems very protective of her employer, telling them that he is not well and needs his sleep. The party manages to convince her that their need is urgent, and she reluctantly shows them to a sitting room. The master of the household is Colin Windhelm. The party has learned from Helmsley that Windhelm is a powerful psychic prodigy. Though only in his late twenties, he exhibited a natural talent at a very young age and is easily the equal of psions who have spent a lifetime studying their craft. From asking around town they have learned that he inherited his home from his deceased parents, but the bulk of his fortune has come from selling his services among the nobility of Avery. When Windhelm arrives in the sitting room, he does indeed look quite haggard. His face is drawn and worn from lack of sleep. He seems confused and distant. The group introduces themselves and tells Windhelm about Hargo’s condition. Windhelm becomes irritable and tells the group that they would be better off taking Hargo to Winterhold. Having nothing else to discuss, the party leaves.

The adventurers find an inn in which to spend the night. The recent attacks are on everyone’s mind and the common room is crowded with townsfolk seeking comfort in a good meal and safety among friends. That night, the party awakens to the sound of screams. They burst from their room and find themselves in an impossibly long hallway. They try to run towards the source of the screams, but are somehow impeded, as if moving thorough molasses. A massive shadowy figure wielding a giant greataxe begins chasing the group down the hall. The adventurers try to fight the creature, but are frequently overwhelmed with fear. The creature makes its way to the common room where it begins attacking the townsfolk sleeping there. Once all of the party members are able to make it to the common room, their combined strength is enough to defeat the monster.

The next day, the group travels to Winterhold. The journey takes only a few hours, but the harsh weather makes the trip difficult. Winterhold is a large tower stronghold built on a cliff overlooking the Heartsea. The adventurers have learned that it once served a military function, but has long since been converted to religious use. Winterhold is now an asylum for the mentally infirm, operated by the church of light. The party arrives in the early evening and they are greeted by Brother Orin Cavendish. Cavendish is the assistant to Father Leland Vannicutt, the senior church official at the facility. Cavendish agrees to admit Hargo for treatment, but the party wants to know more about Vannacutt’s methods before leaving him. Eventually they are granted an audience with Father Vannacutt. Vannacutt is quite peevish and arrogant, but the group is able to play to his inflated sense of self-importance. The pompous priest agrees to show the party some of his treatment methods. As the tour proceeds, the adventurers are not pleased by what they see. The treatment methods range from unusual (such as bloodletting and sweat rooms) to appalling (electric shocks and solitary confinement). The final room that they are shown is a large pool filled with ice water. Patients are bound and lowered into the pool. The party objects to these distressing methods, but Vannacutt assures them that he is well versed in matters of the mind, and that he has seen positive results with these treatments.

There is disagreement among party members as to whether to leave Hargo at Winterhold. However, the adventurers have begun to realize that Hargo’s condition is connected to the strange incidents occurring in the area. In order to help Hargo, they will have to find the cause of these events, and in order to do so, they will need a safe place to leave him. While Winterhold may not be the most desirable place, he will be in the care of The Church of Light. Begrudgingly, the dissenting members of the party agree to leave Hargo at Winterhold.

The group returns to Avery and arrives early the next day. Exhausted from their trip, they spend most of the day resting. That evening, the PC’s decide that they would like to speak with Windhelm again. They travel to his townhouse, but are turned away by the housekeeper who says that her master has finally managed to get some sleep. As they return to their inn, the party witnesses another strange event. Several stray dogs are attacking townsfolk. Before the adventurer’s eyes, the dogs transform into bizarre nightmarish creatures. As the party moves to intercede, the buildings surrounding the area also transform and begin to writhe and sway. Bricks turn to scales and rubbery tentacles emerge from the windows. On the edge of the area, shadowy figures with burning red eyes stand motionless and silent. Though the battle is unsettling, the party is able to dispatch the creatures. Once this is done, the area slowly reverts to its normal state.

Some members of the group begin to deduce that there may be some connection between Windhelm and the strange attacks. They theorize that when Windhelm sleeps, his psionic powers cause his nightmares to manifest in reality. They immediately return to Windhelm’s house to confront him. When they arrive, there is no answer at the door. The party enters the home and eventually encounter Windhelm wandering the halls, groggy and confused. When the adventurers present their theory to Windhelm, he is taken aback. He protests, telling the party that the idea is absurd. When the PC’s press it the issue, Windhelm vanishes.

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Sessions Five and Six

The route to Westwind Tower takes the party through Keswick so they visit home briefly. Afterwards, they continue south which brings them near The Capital City of Gryphon. The group decides to see if they can find someone willing to help Hargo Rogan there. While traveling through the city, the party witnesses a gang of thugs trying to rob some nobles in a carriage. The party intervenes and fends off the thugs. A bard named Bran also takes part in the fight and is impressed by the party’s skill and selflessness. He invites the travelers to meet his employer. The group agrees and Bran brings them to an opulent manor house in the noble district. There they are introduced to Emmett Helmsley. Helmsley is a very wealthy merchant who employs various adventuring groups to carry out missions all over Thorcadia. He agrees to help Hargo if the party will take on a dangerous task. The party agrees. Helmsley informs them that there is a necromancer in The Lawless North who is building an army of undead. The necromancer is hunting for creatures known as Ulgustrasta to this end. Helmsley has learned the location of such a creature and wants it destroyed before the necromancer can capture it. The party is given a map and instructions to keep a low profile in the Lawless North.

The group sets out immediately. They cross the border under cover of night and begin traveling through the countryside. They decide to make camp during the day. A group of elves manages to sneak up on the party, but they are not hostile. The two groups speak briefly and then part ways. As the party sleeps that day they experience a very vivid dream of drowning at sea and being dragged under by tentacles from the deep. They awaken to find that they have all had the same dream. Eventually the adventurers reach the location on the map. It is an opening in the ground which leads to a system of caves. After descending over a sheer drop, the party discovers a makeshift altar. It appears that various groups have been worshiping the creature as a deity for many years. Further into the tunnel, the party is forced to wade through a waist deep pool of decomposed flesh and the necromantic secretions of the ulgustrasta. Eventually the group reaches the creature’s lair. The adventurers charge into combat, but just as their victory seems at hand another group enters the cavern. The new arrivals are minions of the necromancer, intent on capturing the ulgustrasta. They attack the party and nearly tip the balance of the fight. Seth is almost killed, but he is healed just in time by an enchanted arrow. The party kills the ulgustrasta and defeats the necromancer’s minions. A magically camouflaged person emerges from his hiding place (presumably the same person who fired the healing arrow) and chides the party on their lack of strategy. After a very brief conversation the stranger leaves.

As the party is beginning the journey back to Gryphon, a heavy fog engulfs them. They spot the glow of a fire in the distance. Moving closer to investigate, they find three strange women tending to a cauldron over a large cooking fire. The women are all of different age (a young maiden, a middle age matron and an old crone). They speak to the party and offer to provide knowledge, but the adventurers quickly grow frustrated with the cryptic nature of the women’s speech. The only useful information that they gain is a reference to Winterhold. They leave the women only to find that they are in a completely different location than before. The party is forced to make a much longer journey from the swamps along Avendar’s southern border back to Gryphon. Once the party is back in the capital city, they return to Helmsley’s manor. He is surprised to see them as they are quite overdue. However, he is happy to hear that they successfully accomplished their mission. As agreed upon, he uses his connections to get The Church of Light to examine Hargo. They use their most powerful healing spells on him, but he remains in a coma. The priests suggest that the problem might be mental rather than physical. Helmsley tells the group about an acquaintance of his named Colin Windhelm who may be able to help.

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Session Four
Opening Doors

The group awakens to find themselves in the front room of the Rogan’s family home. A crackling fire fills the room with warmth. Hargo is there and he speaks to the party. He thanks them for coming to his aid but tells them that they have put themselves in great danger by helping him. After this warning the vision fades and the group finds themselves back in the freezing cold of the ice cave. Raban is still screaming and Hargo is still unconscious on the ground. The group gathers up Hargo and Raban and makes their way out of the cave. They are unable to revive Hargo and, to make matters worse; Raban has descended into a state of severe delirium. The group begins the difficult task of climbing out of the crater with two incapacitated members. Quinn uses his magic to fly out of the crater, but while he is alone he hears the strange music again and sees a bizarre creature approaching him. The next thing he knows he is back with the party.

The trip down the mountain is much slower and the weather continues to worsen. They make it across the glacier and down the ice cliff. Once again the party is halted by the weather. The issue of food supply becomes a concern. Furthermore, some members of the group are beginning to be affected by the cold. Eventually the party is able to resume their journey. Raban grows less agitated but is still somewhat delirious. Near the base of the mountain the party is attacked by an ice wyvern. The fight is fierce and some members of the group suffer the effects of poison. They are able to kill the beast and even manage to bring its corpse back to town.

The adventurers finally make it back to the mining town, much to the surprise of the residents. They sell the wyvern corpse to some dwarven traders in exchange for new weapons. Later, the group returns to the inn to rest. In the common room they see a group of miners glaring at them from a table in the corner. Some of the party members start to walk over to the table to confront the men, but the bartender shouts at them and tells them to stay away from that table. The group returns to their drinks, only to encounter another strange event. Cid begins hearing is name and suddenly sees Hargo’s face in his beer. He has a short and confusing conversation with the image. Hargo tries to tell the group not to follow him into the Iceshields (seemingly unaware that this has already happened). Cid asks Hargo what is going on, but Hargo responds with a warning. “You can see them now, but that means they can see you too.” Soon after that, the image disappears. Fed up with the events of the day, the group returns to their room. In the middle of the night, the party is attacked in their room by the group of angry miners. However, during the fight it becomes apparent that they are not simply normal men. At one point Torc lands a cut powerful enough to sever one of the miners’ arms, but the bloodless appendage continues to grasp and claw at him long after it is removed. Eventually the attackers are reduced to a pile of squirming body parts, at which point they melt into a pool of acrid goo and disappear altogether.

The party decides to leave town as soon as possible. They plan to seek help for Hargo at Westwind Tower.

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Session Three
Into the Iceshields

The group begins their ascent into the Iceshields. For the first few days the weather is clear and the cold is manageable. Before long, however, clouds roll in and it begins to snow. A pack of yeti try to take advantage of the storm and ambush the group, but the adventurers defeat them. They continue their climb through the snow for several more days, but are eventually halted by a blizzard. After waiting out the storm they journey on and eventually reach a glacier. It takes them most of the day to scale a sheer wall of ice. Once on top of the glacier, they face a new challenge. A deafening wind howls across the ice, making communication nearly impossible and dropping the temperature to new lows. The group has to wrap their heads just to keep the sound of the wind from driving them insane. On their second day on the glacier they find a strange patch of moving blue ice crystals. The ice seems to drain the life from their bodies. The group attempts to fight the entity, but eventually they are forced to flee.

As they near the summit of the mountain, the party discovers a huge crater in the glacier. It is almost perfectly round and over a mile in diameter. They descend into the crater and discover a cave entrance at the center. While they are walking in the crater, some members of the party hear strange music. The cave turns out to be a single tunnel that twists downward into the mountain. The tunnel opens into a large chamber. Within the chamber the group finds several frozen corpses. They also see Hargo lying unconscious in front of a strange statue. The statue is the same general shape as the junk sculpture from Urik’s house. The corpses animate and attack the party. While they are fighting the undead creatures, the group also experiences a horrible buzzing sensation in their heads. They soon realize that the statue is somehow attacking their minds. Raban goes into a frenzy and attacks the statue. The statue shatters under force of his strikes with a blinding flash and a wave of psychic energy assaults the party. When the adventurers regain their senses they see a cloud of white motes surround Raban. Raban is screaming in agony as the motes burrow into his skin.

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