Dark Tide Rising

Session Forty

Once Olos is safe, and reasonably convinced that the party is trying to help him, he tells the group that he has evidence of a connection between the amphibious humanoids and the Iron Band. He leads the party to what looks like an abandoned house. As they enter the house, there is a dead body in the front hall. Olos casually walks past the corpse, but the adventurers take a moment to examine it. The unfortunate fellow apparently died from a cut throat, and has been dead for several weeks. Olos takes the party to a sitting room and lights several cones of incense. As the air fills with smoke, the group is transported to the ethereal plane. There, the room and furniture appear as a hazy, insubstantial echoes of their material counterparts. Sitting in one of the chairs is the murdered owner of the house.

The owner is perturbed that Olos has brought strangers into his house, but the smuggler is able to ease his suspicion. Almost immediately, Torc mentions that there is another ghost that often attacks the party. The owner’s eyes widen in terror as several figures enter the room through the walls. The Wavecrest vigilante has apparently recruited allies (the ghosts of Leeland Vannicutt, Ghren the Mule, and a wizard from the clone facility). The adventurers are narrowly able to fend off the angry spirits, but Olos is killed in the fight. His ghost immediately appears as his body falls.

After the fight, and an angry tirade from the owner, the party learns why they are there. The ghostly host was once a bookkeeper for the Iron Band. He managed the accounts of several very highly placed members of the organization. A while ago, he noticed something. Members of the Iron Band tend to disappear when they become a liability. This is not unusual. However, when someone is “disappeared”, there is usually a corresponding payment to a “specialist” in these matters. The bookkeeper noted a sharp drop-off in such payments. Out of curiosity, he began compiling a list of Iron Band members who had gone missing over the last few years. He then cross referenced the list with payments to hit-men. What he ended up with was a list of nearly a hundred people who had vanished without the normal explanation. The bookkeeper believes that he was murdered by someone who didn’t want this list to get out. He directs the party to a hidden compartment in an upstairs bedroom. Inside is a journal containing a copy of the list.

In order to prove the link, the party determines that they will need to find one of the amphibianoids. They begin searching near the waterfront the same night. Before long, they run into Frost. He informs the party that he has arranged a meeting that will be beneficial to them. He hands Zarrik a teleport beacon and tells Torc to put his weapons away. The teleport destination turns out to be a grell nest deep within the catacombs. The creatures seem to be willing to talk. When questioned about the amphibianoids, the grell reveal that they have recently killed some of the creatures. Their flesh turned out to be inedible, so the bodies are still intact. The grell indicate that the amphibianoids are minions of “The Enemy”. They agree to hand over the bodies if it will bring about the downfall of “The Enemy”.

The party goes to Rico’s casino and presents their evidence. The gangster’s demeanor goes from jovial to deadly in an instant. He tells the party to return the next day. When they do so, they find that the casino is closed, and guarded like a fortress. They are admitted without question, but required to disarm and wear magic-inhibiting headbands. Inside, a dozen high ranking members of the Iron Band are assembled. The adventurers bring out the bodies of the amphibanoids and the list of names. One of the bodyguards in the room identifies the corpses as known (former) members of the Iron Band. The bosses clear the room to discuss the issue with the party.

The bosses agree that the Iron Band has been infiltrated and manipulated at the highest levels. Some want to act, but others are unwilling to risk losing their hold on power. In the end the assembly agrees to back the party with equipment and information, but they and their subordinates will not actively participate. The adventurers are given the location of a magic item dealer so they can equip for their task.

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Session Thirty-Nine
Bring me Olos

Frost confers with his associates and discovers a useful piece of information. Several members of the Cerulean Sign (an interplanar group devoted to destroying aberrations) has been seen in Fort Blackrock. The party decides to follow up on this lead, as it will also give them an opportunity to investigate the link between the Wallenquists and the Iron Band. They teleport to Fort Blackrock, and make contact with Booker. In exchange for a fee, Booker uses his extensive network of contacts to ask around about the Cerulean Sign group. The next day, Booker leads the party to a run-down slum, and introduces them to a young boy who apparently served as a guide for the Cerulean Sign group. Booker pays the boy, and he shows the adventurers where he led the planar visitors.

Their destination turns out to be the catacombs beneath the seaward walls of the city. Over the centuries, as the fortifications were built up and expanded, many passageways and chambers within the massive walls fell into disuse. These abandoned corridors are quite extensive, and they have never been fully mapped. The most easily accessible areas are often used for illicit activity, or as shelter for the desperate. Few visitors ever venture into the deeper chambers. Stories abound of terrible creatures that make their home in the dark recesses of the catacombs, but the real danger is the labyrinthine nature of the passages. Explorers who lose their way are more likely to die from thirst or hunger rather than ravenous subterranean beasts.

The party is explores the entrance to the catacombs, and soon they locate a set of tracks that lead further into the deep chambers. Torc is able to follow the tracks quite easily, and the adventurers mark their route to avoid becoming lost. After a few hours of travel, the party finds the site of a battle. Recent damage to the walls shows evidence that several offensive spells were used. The badly charred and dismembered remains of several people litter the ground. A search of the area reveals a glowing blue rune on a wall, obscured by scorch marks. Since all the experts in such matters remained above, the party decides to chisel out the section of the wall with the rune on it, and take it back to the surface.

Back at Booker’s place, Quinn is able to examine the rune. After studying it for a bit, he asks Cid to cast a healing spell on it. Cid obliges, and the rune transforms into a, somewhat confused, woman. The woman was a member of the Cerulean Sign party. She and her colleagues were searching the catacombs, when they were ambushed by a group of grell. She was struck by a potentially fatal attack, but a spell cast by one of her allies preserved her by transforming her into a rune. She is unable to provide much detailed information about what her group was looking for, as she was not in command. Seeking vengeance for her slain companions, she agrees to join the party.

The adventurers return to the catacombs, and spend a full week exploring, but do not encounter any grell. The new member of the group senses that she is being scryed upon. In turn, the party tries to scry on the grell, but after the first attempt Bran discovers that his attempts are being actively blocked. The group decides to focus their attention on the Iron Band instead. They ask Booker to use his contacts again. This time they want to know if anyone has seen the amphibious humanoids in Fort Blackrock. Though Booker is reluctant to investigate anything that might be connected to the Iron Band, he agrees to help. Surprisingly, he turns up a very useful lead almost right away.

A low ranking smuggler and member of the Iron Band named Olos has been talking about strange events in Fort Blackrock. He has developed a reputation over the years for his wild theories, but most people just wrote him off as a crackpot. However, he recently claimed to have evidence to back up one of his stories. Rumor has it that he has fallen out of favor with the Iron Band. Booker has reason to believe that Olos will not live much longer. The party immediately heads to the warehouse district to find the smuggler.

They arrive at Olos’s warehouse in the dead of night. It appears as if all of the gangster’s guards have abandoned him. The group is able to enter the warehouse and they begin making their way to the adjoining residence. Mere minutes after their arrival, the adventurers begin to hear other people trying to force their way in to the building. It soon becomes evident that the warehouse is surrounded, and intruders have broken in at multiple locations. The party quickly locates Olos and subdues him. They fight off over a dozen attackers, who appear to be intent on killing the smuggler. In the end, they are able to escape the siege with Olos safely in their custody.

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Sessions Thirty-Seven and Thirty-Eight

The party crosses over to the dream plane to confront Phargo. They travel through the periphery of the dreamlands, through the dreamscapes of Thron’s sleeping inhabitants, and into the deep nightmare realms. They find a pocket of the deep dream plane that is becoming coterminous with an island in the south Heartsea. There they do battle with the entity possessing Hargo’s body, along with several strange denizens of the nightmare realm, and force it to the material plane. They defeat the entity again on the material plane and force it to leave Hargo’s body. Borg appears in time to taunt the entity as a thick bank of fog rolls in. The fog dissipates nearly as quickly as it arrived, and when it clears, the entity and the entire pirate base are gone. Borg makes a few remarks, but suddenly the party is whisked away into another flashback.

Once again, the group adopts the personae of Hargo’s party. Hargo has made it his mission to track down Rourke Wallenquist, and recover the tablet from the Wallenquists before Rourke can make use of it. The group has tracked Rourke and his allies to a buried pyramid in Northern Algo (similar to the one in Belle Mare). They have been exploring the pyramid and have had several skirmishes with psionic amphibian-like humanoids. Rain (Cid) and Kareth (Zarrick) have fallen in battle prior to the beginning of the flashback.

Wulf (Morgrim) returns from scouting ahead and is chased by more amphibians. After another fight, the adventurers notice that the humanoids have iron bands under the skin of their upper arms. As the group prepares to descend further into the structure, they find a trio of strange floating creatures that resemble jellyfish hiding in some rubble. The creatures are flumphs and they tell the party that they have come to Thron to warn its people of a great danger from the far realm. The flumphs give the party a set of coordinates and tell them that the key to saving their world is at this location.

After speaking with the flumphs, the group continues on. They arrive at the central chamber to find Rourke Wallenquist and a human wizard speaking to a giant illusory eye. A voice emanating from the eye chastises the humans for recklessly wasting the lives of its minions. The voice then comments that the intruders have arrived, and the eye disappears. Elsewhere in the chamber, two priests are performing a ritual, using the tablet, which is transforming the amphibious humanoids into Deep Ones.

The party charges in. Wulf turns out to be the shape-shifter in disguise and assassinates Tobias (Mace) before he can even enter the room. The ritual is completed before the party can get to the priests, and the new Deep Ones dive into a nearby pool. Blitzkrieg (Torc) engages two heavily armored Wallenquist house guards while the others go after the priests and Rourke. The human wizard slays Razortail (Bran) with a power word kill. Jaster (Quinn) receives a mental message from the flumphs telling him that Hargo must survive the battle. He is able to expend all of his remaining arcane energy to teleport himself and Hargo away. Blitzkrieg dispatches the guards and manages to get in one good hit on the wizard. He cuts the man from his collar bone to his waist and sees organs writhing and squirming within. The wound almost immediately closes itself. Blitzkrieg is killed soon after, ending the flashback.

The party wakes up on the beach in the present. They rest for the night and teleport to [somewhere] to leave Hargo’s body in a safe place. The group then travels to Doza to talk to their psionicist contact. They negotiate a deal to get the astral crystals necessary to reunite Hargo with his body. The deal is that their contact will do the work to find the crystals in exchange for the group bringing back extra. After this is done, the party decides to investigate the location given to them by the flumphs. They make their preparations and teleport to the coordinates.

The location turns out to be deep beneath the Iceshield Mountains. Surprisingly, several priests of Borkanis are already there studying the location. The site looks like a natural cave floor surrounded by a hemisphere of smooth rock. The only unusual feature is a structure that looks like a large well with a thick stone lid covered in strange markings. The priests tell the party that there is evidence suggesting that the mountain range formed naturally over this ‘bubble’, and that the chamber may be as old as Thron itself. The lid has resisted all attempts, both physical and mystical, to open it. They also relate that the markings on the lid are impossible to translate, even with magic. The party uses their black pills, and discovers that the markings are slowly changing, like a clock counting down. The adventurers are unable to provide any new means of opening the well, so they decide to pursue other leads. Before they go, the priests agree to send word if there are any developments.

While contemplating the connection between House Wallenqusit and the Iron Band, the group remembers the cave under Wavecrest where Tenzen kept his stash of magic items. They decide to relieve the gangster of his excess treasure. A quick teleport, a short swim, and several dozen disarmed traps later, the group has a new stockpile of magic arms and armor. Rather than sell it, they choose to equip their underwater allies at the lake base.

While planning their next move, the group is visited by Frost. Frost tells them to get to Gryphon quickly, as Helmsley is in trouble. The party tries to teleport to Helmsley’s manor, but they are shunted several blocks away. Helmsley’s manor is surrounded by soldiers from Gryphon’s military and Wallenquist house guards. Helmsley is being arrested for having a connection to the attack on the clone facility. As Helmsley’s various adventuring groups file out of the manor, the party briefly considers attacking the soldiers. In the end, they decide to remain hidden and let events play out. They communicate with Helmsley using the book he gave them. Helmsley tells the party that their mission is more important than his freedom. He tells them that he can keep the matter tied up in bureaucracy for some time. The group reluctantly agrees to withdraw.

Frost asks the party to teleport with him to a remote village in Thornwood. He is very upset by the arrest of Helmsley, and mentions that ‘the rules have been broken’. As the party is speaking with Frost in a tavern, all of the tavern staff and patrons begin to shift in appearance the same way that Frost does. He tells the party that his organization is at their disposal. Frost lays out a map of Thron and tells the group about other places that he suspects are related to the incursion of the far realm entity. He suggests that his organization begin taking out far realm threads while the party follows up on the link between the Wallenquists and the Iron Band.

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Session Thirty-Six
Mostly Dead Ends

Planning: With the new knowledge of House Wallenquist’s plan to engineer a war in the Heartsea, the group considers several courses of action. They discuss attempting to take down the Wallenquists, or drive the deep titan out of the Heartsea. Both of these are mighty tasks, and it is difficult to even know where to start. There is also some discussion of attempting to broker a peace between land and water dwellers before the Wallenquist’s war can begin.

A visit from Raban: The group is eating at a tavern in Belle Mare when all the patrons decide to go to sleep at the same time. The door opens and a sun-scorched desert can be seen on the other side (rather than the cold, rainy night that is actually outside). Raban and his new associates enter the tavern. Raban manages to convince the party that he just wants to talk, and a fight is avoided. Raban takes Torc and Cid aside to speak with them privately. The conversation does not go well, and all the tables in the tavern suddenly collapse under a wave of telekinetic rage. Raban makes a threat towards Katarina as he storms out, which causes Torc to charge with weapons drawn. His charge is halted by an unseen force, and Raban’s party leaves with no further incident..

Refugees: The party formulates a plan to shelter refugees from the Heartsea in a remote lake. They begin to construct accommodations and transport any who are willing to go. They also begin training additional resistance fighters.

Another conversation with Borg: The party is readying themselves for an assault on the dream entity, when Cid finds an unfamiliar object amongst his possessions. It is a small cube, six inches on a side, which appears to be made up of clockwork components. Cid discovers that he can move parts of the surface, and after a few modifications the box unfolds. The room grows black, and a macabre figure covered in self-inflicted mutilations appears. The figure begins an ominous speech, but it is cut short when he apparently recognizes the adventurers and ushers them past. The group once again encounters Borg, the god of fear. Borg presents the party with a plan for eliminating the dream entity for good. He tells them to find a more appealing vessel than Hargo’s body to draw the creature out. Borg promises that once this is done, he will handle the rest.

Meanwhile, beneath the Heartsea: Alys returns to the party with a mission. She informs the group that some cultists are trying to raise the sea king that the adventurers killed in the darfellen settlement. The party teleports to the location of the ritual and does battle with a group of deep titan cultists. After the battle, they discover that the ritual to raise the sea king was partially complete. The creature’s body is alive, but the soul has not been returned to it. They decide that this will make a good receptacle to lure the dream entity.

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Session Thirty-Five

The group tries to teleport away from right outside the facility, but the spell is blocked. Zarrick takes the prisoner and the bodies of the alchemists and flies off on Leanne to see if he can get outside the teleport suppression field.

The adventurers decide to go back into the complex. They encounter some soldiers in the airlock, but quickly chop them to pieces. In large chamber beyond the airlock, they see groups of elite soldiers being teleported in. The soldiers are wearing insignias of House Wallenquist. Soon there are over a hundred soldiers in the room, along with several mages. The party decides to leave.

Outside, they see aerial patrols searching the perimeter of the complex. One of the patrols quickly spots the party. The adventurers decide to use their freaky pill powers to escape.

In crazy dream world, the mountain lake outside the complex is frozen over. The ice cracks and a huge (over 100 feet tall) person emerges from a hole in the surface. The person (who looks like a member of house Wallenquist) extends four arms over the beach, and each one drops a life size marionette.
• A Paladin on a horse
• An Iron Band thug
• A Deep One
• An old lady (Windhelm’s housekeeper)

The marionettes attack the party. After beating on them for a few seconds, Torc decides to try cutting their strings. Once all six strings on a marionette are cut, the puppet is neutralized.
• Paladin: Turns into a female priest regurgitating foul water and eventually dissolves
• Thug: Turns into a catfish and burrows into the mud
• Deep one: Bursts into a school of piranha which disperses into the air
• Lady: changes forms every round (Sir Jenson, Cavendish, Alestair) and eventually cuts its own strings and runs off

As soon as the marionettes are all defeated, the huge figure sinks back into the lake. As he disappears, an ornate crown is seen on his head.

The group decides to swim down into the frozen lake. They soon find that they are no longer swimming. Instead they are flying over a frozen tundra. They land and see a huge glacial cliff. A massive door is carved into the glacier and the group enters. Inside they see an ancient frost giant seated on an icy throne. The giant gestures with his hand and a pedestal raises out of the ground. Before the party can see what is on the pedestal, they wake up on their island (near Belle Mare).

The group decides to visit Helmsley and show him the strange alchemical devices. Helmsley is not pleased to see the party (because they are risking their cover identities by visiting him), but he agrees to buy the alchemical gizmos, if only to keep them out of the wrong hands. The party trades Helmsley for some new gear, and returns to their island. There is then a long discussion about what to do with the wizard that they captured in the thrull facility. They spend a while questioning him, and then decide to use their pill powers to show him what is really happening on Thron.

The plan does not go exactly as expected. As soon as the group enters crazy dream world, the wizard turns into a scarecrow. The scarecrow has a sign under each outstretched arm. One sign says forward and the other says backward. The group chooses forward. They have another one of their out of body experiences where they are temporarily other people in another time. This time they are diplomats in the future. They have all come to Doza to discuss the increasing frequency of attacks by the cult of the Deep Titan. The Titan’s minions have crippled all commerce over the Heartsea, and devastated many cities along its shores. The adventures (in their temporary personae) along with dozens of other diplomats spend hours arguing over what is to be done. Eventually, a representative of House Wallenquist addresses the assembly. He reveals that his house has discovered a means of fighting back against the undersea army. He requests that the newly centralized military of the Heartsea Confederation be placed under his house’s authority. At this point, the flash-forward ends, and the party is back in their real bodies. In the meantime, the wizard/captive has escaped.

The party decides to follow up on the vision of the glacier. They got a good enough look at the environment for a greater teleport. The location turns out to be on the western continent. The vision proves to be accurate, and the adventurers find the frost giant just as he appeared in the dream. The giant addresses Bran, and asks if he is prepared to accept a challenge. Bran says yes, and a huge arena forms in the ice. Several creatures made of crystal attack Bran. He defeats them by playing the exact notes which cause the crystal to resonate and shatter. When the battle is done, the giant raises the pedestal of ice. Inside the ice is a stringed instrument. Bran plays another note, and the ice shatters. He takes his prize, and the party returns home.

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Session Thirty-Four
Tanks for the memories

• Session begins right after the party discovers a pool full of Aquatic thrulls.
• The group explores further into the complex and finds another large chamber with steps leading down into a huge pool. They swim down and find that it is about 50 feet deep.
• Along the sides of the pool they find hundreds of cylinders, each housing a suit of bio-armor made from the exoskeleton of a thrull.
• A group of soldiers enters the pool but does not spot the party. The soldiers each put on a suit of bio-armor.
• The party follows the soldiers into another underwater chamber and find them fighting with a group of locatha. It is apparent that the locatha were being held prisoner in the chamber.
• The party decides to intervene and save the locatha. They defeat the solders and take a prisoner.
• The adventurers take the freed locatha and the prisoner out of the complex. They manage to get the locatha teleported back to the Heartsea, and they interrogate the prisoner.
• The prisoner reveals some information about the complex. He tells the party where the main research facility is, and who is in charge. The party decides to head back in and try to capture the leader.
• There is a big fight in the central research chamber. The combatants are alchemists and wizards. The alchemists have tubes running all over their bodies which pump mutagens directly into their bloodstream. During the fight, the wizards try to activate some sort of mechanism, but Torc smashes it. The leader never shows up.
• The party captures one of the wizards and takes him, along with the bodies of a couple alchemists, out of the facility.

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Session Thirty-Three
What's yours is mine

• Headed to fort Kelgren to follow up on Seth’s lead
• Spent a day or so talking to the locals
• Heard several rumors about a mine that closed down under mysterious circumstances
• Hired a guide to take them to the mine
• Found a mass grave on the way to the mine (and a vision of people being dumped into it)
• Attacked by a group of assassins(?) near the mine
• The leader of the assassins was an alchemical revenant and the group was able to interrogate him after he was defeated
• Searched the mining camp and found more remains
• Goo-head managed to convince the group to fix him up and release him in exchange for proof of Alestair’s involvement
• Group teleports to the old manor house and finds Alestair’s letter to Desmond
• Party decides to confront Alestair directly and teleports to his mountain stronghold
• Alestair’s wife tries to fool them with an illusion, but the adventurers see through it
• They stay for dinner
• Turns out Alestair is dead and his wife has been running the province for over a year
• Also turns out that someone else has been impersonating Alestair and giving orders to goo -head to keep guarding the mine
• The thaesium was sold to a buyer in a remote location in the Eshkhan republic
• The money discussed in the communication was NOT a payment for the Thaesium
• The party teleports to the location and finds an ancient fortress made of iron on a cliff overlooking a lake
• The group flies up to the fortress and explores
• They find evidence of an armor thrull breeding operation that may date back to the original Orikan conquest of Torcadia
• They swim down into the lake and find the entrance to a second facility
• In the underwater facility they find thrulls that have been bred for aquatic use

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Session Thirty-Two
How the mighty have darfellen

The party goes to the secret meeting place that they described to the king. A pair of merfolk show up, but they are shrouded in magical shadows. The merflok do not trust the party. They tell the adventurers that attacking the king helped the deep titan cult. The cult is claiming that the party are assassins sent by surface dwellers. This has increased support for the cult among the masses.

The merfolk offer the party a way to prove their intentions. There is a settlement of darfellen near Seros. The women and children are being held hostage by the cult so that the men will fight for the deep titan. If the party can defeat the cultists and free the darfellen, the merfolk will trust them.

The party agrees to help the darfellen. They meet up with some other merfolk resistance fighters near the settlement. The merfolk stage a distraction while the adventurers battle the main deep titan forces. The party defeats the cultsits.

The group meets the two shadowy merfolk back at the secret rendezvous point. However, Cid casts a true seeing spell before the meeting. He sees that one of the merfolk is actually Morea. Morea (unaware that the party knows who she is) thanks the group and agrees to work with them. She sends her associate, Alys, to accompany them. Alys is able to transform into a human, so she can travel with the group.

The party returns to the surface. They attempt to show Alys evidence of the general strangeness that has been happening on Thron. They teleport to the crater in the Ice Shield mountains, and to the pyramid in the southern jungles. Both places are devoid of activity. They end up teleporting to Doza to meet up with Seth. Seth is excited to show the party a communication that he has intercepted. The message was meant for a member of House Wallenquist. It describes a huge sum of money that is to be delivered to a contact in the kingdom of Landar, at a place called Fort Kelgren.

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Session Thirty-One

Following up on their recent flashback, the party tries to scry on Jaster Mareel. The spell fails, but it is not immediately clear why. They decide to continue their investigation beneath the Heartsea, in a less perilous location. Based on what they learned from Salty Pete, the adventurers choose the merfolk city of Seros. The Fox gives them a new set of undersea identities, and they teleport to the outskirts of the city (teleportation directly into the city is barred). As the group approaches Seros, they are stopped by a patrol of merfolk and adaro. The merfolk have the same dark eyes as the ones who attacked the party’s boat near Doza. From this they conclude that the creatures are members of the deep titan cult. Bran is able to convince the sentries that he and his comrades are also loyal to the deep titan. The patrol brings the party into Seros and takes them directly to their commanding officer, a mermaid named Morea. She is apparently satisfied with their story (that they were sent by the cult on a special mission to Seros) and gives them leave to travel the city freely.

The party spends the remainder of the day exploring the city and looking for good places to gather information. By talking to locals, they begin to learn how the cult came to power in the Heartsea. The cultists began appearing around five years ago. At first they were a fringe group, popular only among the more savage races. Then cells started forming in civilized communities. The cultists used latent mistrust of surface dwellers to fuel their rhetoric. They preached of an inevitable war with the land walkers. Within the first few years, they had converted enough members to form a political base of fanatics. Their members began rising to positions of power and moderate leaders were ousted. The cult’s first order of business in each enclave was to replace military and defense force leadership with individuals loyal to the deep titan. Once this is done, the military is used to suppress opposition and keep the general populace in line through fear and intimidation. At this point, the cult has an iron grip in virtually every major community in the Heartsea.

The party also learns that the king of Seros has not openly opposed the cult of the deep titan, though most feel that this is solely out of fear. The group decides to seek an audience with the king, hoping that they might secretly begin working together to expel the cult from power. In order to gain an audience however, they must increase their notoriety. Multiple plans are considered, but in the end the adventurers choose to follow a lead that they have uncovered as to the whereabouts of some royal heirlooms. The objects belonged to a prince who disappeared some years ago. The group has learned that the prince was last seen near a coral reef far to the south.

The party teleports to the coral reef and begins to search. They soon find a cave system in a nearby ocean shelf. As they are exploring the cave they find a series of holes bored into the cavern floor. Quinn is suddenly overtaken by a desire to swim down into one of the holes. The rest of the party is able to catch him and restrain him before he disappears into a labyrinthine network of tunnels. However, since Quinn seems to have an instinctive ability to navigate the maze, they tie a rope to him and allow him to lead the group downward. The tunnels eventually lead to a large open chamber, which is occupied by a huge tentacled creature. The creature, identified as a morkoth, attempts to dominate some of the party members with its mental powers, but is quickly outmatched. The party searches the chamber and discovers several caches of treasure, including the royal heirlooms.

The adventurers return to Seros with their prizes. They arrange to return the heirlooms to the king while he holds court that day. The king praises the party for their valor and agrees to a private audience once the day’s business is concluded. When the courtiers have all been cleared, the group reveals their intentions. The king acts appalled at the idea of opposing the cult, but keen observers among the party can tell that this is likely a façade for the benefit of any potential cult informants who may be eavesdropping. Torc devises an impromptu strategy to play along with the ruse, and attacks the kings guards. A massive fray erupts. Quinn uses a spell to trap the king and his chamberlain in a stone box. The adventurers are outnumbered, but far from outclassed. The party is able to hold their ground long enough for [someone] to slip into the stone prison and arrange a secret meeting away from prying eyes. As dozens of palace guards rush into the hall, the group teleports out.

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Session Thirty
What's my name again?

The group decides to return to the undersea tower. They teleport from Fort Blackrock to their island base near Belle Mare. The next morning they make the trip to the mainland and descend into the excavation site. Several priests of Borkanis are investigating the site, but the party is able to bluff their way past. They dive into the submerged chamber and pass through the portal. Once again, the adventurers find themselves in the silent blackness of the deep. They follow the cliff wall downward searching for the tower. Suddenly a thunderous boom shatters the calm. Those among the party who have comprehend language spells running detect a vague message within the noise. “Where is the food?” Moments later, the group narrowly avoids being swallowed by a colossal beast. They hasten their search for the tower as more booming calls sound out from all around. Fortunately, the party is able to locate the structure and find an entrance. Almost immediately upon entering the tower, a mob of fish-men come boiling up from below. The adventurers gird themselves and charge into battle.

The tempest of gnashing teeth and sharpened steel is replaced by the soft creaking of wood and the spray of waves breaking against the prow. It is a calm, cool day on the Heartsea. The skies are gray from horizon to horizon, but the rain has held off. Memories of an undersea battle fade from the adventurers’ minds like a half remembered dream. Hargo and his companions are on the last leg of their long journey home. It has been three months since the group escaped the pyramid, deep in the jungles of the south. They have traveled hundreds of miles, and trip has not been easy. Two party members have perished along the way, and Hargo has become increasingly withdrawn.

At mid-day, the ship enters a fog bank. Some of the sailors remark that such conditions are unusual this time of year. Idle curiosity turns to panic as shapes emerge from the mist. The flying creatures seem as intangible as the vapor from which they came, but their claws prove to be real enough. Several sailors fall as the creatures pass. The adventurers draw their weapons and ready their spells. One of the ship’s other passengers, a wizard, joins the fight as well. The party defeats over a dozen of the creatures and the fog disperses. The wizard looks quite shaken by the whole affair, despite the relative ease with which the monsters were driven off. He tells the adventurers that the creatures are called Kal-Muru, and the reason he is worried is that they should not exist in this universe. The wizard introduces himself as Jaster Mareel. He explains that his area of expertise is the Far Realm, a strange alien dimension beyond the known cosmos. The Kal-Muru are native to that realm, and their presence on Thron means that the barrier between worlds has been breached.

Hargo, having spent the intervening time calming the captain and crew, approaches the party. The ship and the sea fade into the background as the adventurers experience a moment of lucidity. The party’s true personae return, and Hargo is aware that he is speaking to them in the present. He admits that he has no idea how this is happening and speculates that it probably won’t be the last time. They are able to converse briefly, but soon the scene fades altogether.

The adventurers awaken on cold stone slabs. They are surprised to find themselves quite naked. Nearby, a humanoid shape with shifting features is berating them for charging into the undersea tower. The figure, Frost, explains that their remains had to be retrieved and cloned (at great expense). Helmsley’s colleague, the Fox, is also in the room (and it is apparently he who performed the spells to clone the party). Frost is lambasts the group for their foolhardiness, and tells them that he cannot afford to bring them back again. By some miracle, he has also managed to retrieve their gear, which is lying in a pile near the stone tables.

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