The Dance of Theria

Temple and Tower

The sarcophagus falls over revealing a large cyclopean skeleton. It’s missing its hands, a good portion of its torso and its skull cap. They pull a few interesting items out of it but can find nothing else of note. They decide to search the dungeon more and come across a room full of canopy jars. One proves to be mobile and combat ensues. Several broken, stinky, bottles later, they have their brain.

Other organs are procured from the rest of the fallen temple’s broken inhabitants. When the party performs the ritual, the black force field falls and releases an ancient undead priest. “At last! The waters have receded! The master will have his due!” Yet when he gets a moment to look around, he discovers that the party is not his followers and they have desecrated the “sarcophagus of the vessel”. With a shout of “Oblivion take you!” he attacks, animating the Cyclops skeleton in the process. A swift, short, fight later and the party emerges victorious from the well. They have the priest’s sphere, and they are mulling over the significance of his words and the ritual material for Nerull.

Muldrek again brings up the black tower that’s been causing so much trouble. The party, somewhat feeling cocky for their recent victory, decide “what the hell” and goes now to check out this sinister house. It’s a spooky place, and though they watch for an hour nobody goes in and out. They decide to enter and after a bit of breaking and entering… during which they discover and disable an alarm and a trap on the door…get into the tower proper.

The group eavesdrops just a little, over hearing dinner conversation. “I think the time table is gonna move up now that he’s here” and “I’m getting tired of the hair in the food” are two particularly common topics. The heroes brace themselves, round the table and start attacking.

They surprise what appears to be a number of agents within the grounds itself. These guys shake off the confusion quickly, and work like well-trained folks. Still, the combat goes against the kidnappers quickly until reinforcements arrive from upstairs. The long battle sees the party stretched out but eventually victorious. One odd thing is that the reinforcements included half-orcs and warforged. Indeed the whole group of defenders was pretty varied.

The party knows they are under watch, knows that the tower’s inhabitants are now well aware of their presence yet no counter-attack arrives. Odd this. When the group decides to finally head upstairs, they discover that the obvious grand stairs are well trapped with spears. They ascend a spiral staircase (noting that it also goes down, but not yet bothering with the basement) and find a floor filled with even more diverse agents.

Humans, halflings, and a dragonborn put up another running fight as the defenders attempt to make use of close quarters and flanking. A couple of notable incidents in this fight include Muldrek chasing after, and nearly getting his arse kicked, a Halfling and Katia’s unfortunate misadventure with an overhanging balcony. Still, the party wins and can manage a moment’s pause.

When they search the rooms on this level, they discover that the rooms are Spartan but do contain a large number of books: history books, thesauruses, who’s who of theria, and books on etiquette are in each room. They don’t make any conclusions about this yet, but know it’s a clue to something later.
A little bit ragged, Shade and Katia are really hurting by now, the party decides to attempt the next floor. Here they discover the large vaulted roof and Prim is definitely sure he sees eyes up there. They search a number of rooms, finding this to be the uppermost barracks. When they open the last double doors, however, they discover that the enemy here has definitely been waiting for them.

Bloated, winged, creatures howl from the open doorway and beyond them two wizards stand in circles of magic and begin to chant. The confidence of the party is shaken quickly when cutting down one of the demonic bat creatures causes it to explode in a spray of acid. It does not take many before the thought of possible defeat creeps into their minds. He is not the first to call for it, but Cazen makes the final decision that the party is in over their heads. With the half-elf and half-orc acting as a rearguard, the party beats down stairs.

The wizards pursue, and several times there were dangerous moments when first Shade and then Muldrek were blinded. To make matters even more precarious, the eyes that Prim had seen ended up being more of the bloated bat creatures and they quickly joined the fight. With a final push, the party manages to get out onto the street proper.

They are not unseen.

In the very tavern where they had watched the tower, a group of people stood. One in particular, the only thing the player’s see of him is his silver hands, seems to be in charge. There is a moment of hesitation and then the party moves on down the street nonchalantly. They could not make out his features, but feel this watcher was a warforge.

The group holes up in Muldrek’s apartment for a night of nervous rest. They had pushed themselves hard and walked the edge of defeat. It was not the best of tastes, but the fact they had survived was sweet enough.

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Into the Ancient Temple

Realizing they had left behind the shards of the broken sphere, Shade dives into the growing flood and recovers them. They make their way from the haunted shrine up the hall of chains and into the room of tears. There the party faces a rotting ooze which attempts to engulf Shade but to no avail. It does spew out a lot of filth and at least one magical suit of armor. What’s worse is that they find the front door has closed, sealing them inside.

The masks they had passed by before are now open and water is pouring out from chutes behind them. Everybody climbs through them in hopes of finding an exit. They discover a large, corpse-filled reservoir which contains evidence of ancient magics. They are quickly beset by water logged zombies that just keep on coming. They eventually figure out how to shut the vault door to stop the flow of water, and have to run out of the room before it does. This was a closer call than it seems as at first the party had thought to remain inside the room as the door shut… a plan of action that would have left them trapped forever or until the water filled the room once more.

The party had a chance to return to their homes and rest. (made 2nd level, yay). Muldrek does mention that they have a mysterious black tower to explore sometime soon.

With some time to research the odd rod and shards discovered, Prim is able to confirm that the ball seems to be similar to the ones they found floating over the throne. The group decides to check it out and head to the warehouse they had taken the throne. There they find out that Captain Dudelic has sold the throne already to some “high level muckity muck” from The Guild. They have two days before the throne is recovered.

Prim works his magic on Captain Dudelic’s brother and in exchange for 5% and 50 gold is allowed to borrow one of the floating spheres for a day and a half. Once attached to the rod the ball seems to point to other similar spheres in the city’s limits. The group starts trying to track them down.

The first location seems to be in the cemetery watched over by the Temple of the Raven Queen. Katia raises objections of breaking into the mausoleum that the sphere points to as it’d be desecrating the dead. The party agrees…convincing themselves to come back later wither with the priests’ permission or with the cover of darkness.

The second location is into a large retail furniture store ran by gnomes. Judging by the “MacShade’s Furniture Emporium” sign, both Shade and Prim realize that these gnomes are rumored to have dealing with thieves and the rumored “thieves guild”. The party does a search and the track leads into an employee-only section of the warehouse…to further complicate things, this close to the missing sphere it seems that it is moving! Obviously somebody has a hold of it.

The party leaves…but not before Muldrek is sold a very nice bedroom suite for 70 gold pieces. This includes not only a bed, several fancy wardrobes and delivery and installment. The half-orc gives the gnomes his room in the gladiator barracks, happy to have so fine a possession.

They cross the harbor on a ferry and discover the third location to be down the well inside the abandoned “Smashed Pumpkin Brewery”. A confrontation with an old man, perhaps the watchman on site, goes badly and the fellah runs off screaming for guards. The party decides to climb down the well in pursuit of the path to get the sphere.

They discover the well is dry and below water level seems to be the remains of an old ruined temple. The well itself is semi-blocked by a black force field that they figure to be some sort of ancient magical prison. They confirm the sphere they want is inside but hear distant shouts of guards up top and decide to explore deeper into the temple. They fight ghostly swarms of hands, a pair of giant brutish lungs and a pair of zombified high priests before coming onto a room that looks like a giant shrine.

Here they discover four sacrificial bowls, inside of these they determine was once burnt lungs, heart, brain and hands. There is also a huge sarcophagus. They decide to remove the lid of the sarcophagus and that is where the night ended as they gave a heave and a ho.

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The Ball Starts Rolling...

The evening started with the party haggling with an armor merchant over the sale of the dwarven chainmail. After some back-and-forth and Caisen figuring out that the merchant was waaay too excited to get the armor they settled on the price of 300 gold for the antique set. Not a bad price for somethng that usually costs 20gp. (Unfortunately the armor was the equivelant of finechain mastercraft armor: not magical but could have been enchanted in the future for better effect).

From there they went to T’Chin’s Figurines and Curios down by the docks. T’Chin translated the glyph’s ancient magics and let the party know that they needed “Moonmetal” or “Electrum” to pass the gate. He gave them the name of a collector of odd things named Kohp the Junk Collector. Prim (the bard) walked away with this info and a mustache-growing charm. (Red, fu-manchu, lasts for one day).

Outside T’Chin’s a crowd was gathering. It seems some fisherman had pulled up an artifact from the boiling bay in his nets. It was a huge ebony throne with two spheres orbiting the head of it. The captain of the boat, one Capt Dudelic was looking for people to escort him to his brother’s warehouse. The party readily agreed (though at this time they were split up…Prim inside T’Chin’s and the rest watching the crowd. Nobody haggled a price!) and promised to get a wagon. Prim was tasked with this while the other three kept the guards away.

A wagon and driver, Stem the Flowerculterist, were aquired and the throne loaded onto it. This throne is abnormally heavy, causing the wagon’s springs to completley contract. Just before the party was about to leave the docks, a group of magi from the floating isles in the boiling bay started to approach. An even greater distraction occured when the crowd heard and saw an explosion across the bay: another fishing boat was on fire and heading to the far side’s docks. The magi took off toward the flaming boat and the crowds attention followed them. When the party stopped looking that way they found that one of the orbiting spheres had dissapeared. Dun dun dunnnn.

They quickly noted the culprit: a young girl was scampering through the crowd looking furtively at them. They gave chase at once. The girl ducked into an ally and when Caisen attempted to follow, he was tangled up by a pair of kids fighting each other and got knocked prone. Katia acrobaticed herself through the crowd and over the prone ardent. She managed to punch the girl and noted that it was a very young half-orc. The girl responded with a dagger-thrust and shift away, then proceeded to run further down the ally. Long story short, Shade and Katia managed to corner the girl on a rooftop and got the sphere back. Meanwhile Caisen had knocked out one of the kids while the other ran for it.

Turns out this group of street urchins was lead by the half-orc girl Lilly the Cuttounge. Through intimidation they got the story out of them: they were drawn to the crowds to pick pockets. Lilly always has an escape plan set up incase things go wrong. The boy does mention that Lilly is the daughter of Mad Eye, leader of the “non-existant” “thieves guild” but he may have been making that up to save his hide. Shade interogates Lily who bregrudgingly admits to the pickpocket plan. Shade tells her to leave his fellow companions alone and to bring him any information she can as it’ll be worth her time. He offered her a silver which she ignored and leaves, shooting the party dirty looks.

The throne is delivered, with both spheres, to the warehouse and the captain is convinced to pay everybody (including Stem who was most grateful) 5gp each.

From there the party traveled to Kophs, arriving just a little before dusk (of course!). The front of the house was guarded by two mercenaries-for-hire from the “Roaring Tiger” group, also known as “Paper Tigers” for the fact that they are at best 3rd class fighters. These two, Yaurel and Yardy, prooved effectively obstinate in preventing the party from entering the front door. They did agree to write a letter of introduction to their captain to see if he would let them in the backside. The party went around back to find out if they could do so.

Then things got interesting. The captain met them in the allyway behind Kohp’s house (The Junk Collector seems to be rather wealthy despite his moniker) and starts flashing them thief sign that means “guild buisness, bugger off”. Shade responds by pulling his crossbow and shooting the man. Eeeeverybody is shocked, mostly the captain and battle begins. Shade manages to drop the captain to the point where he was feeling death’s firm grasp on his marbles. The captain runs into the house while from it a group of thugs pour out. To make matters worse for the party the rooftops of the houses nearby has three snipers laying down deadly shots into them. Things get hairy.

Katia manages to get to the rooftops and between her and Prim’s insults take down one of the snipers. The party deals with the thugs quickly and Caisen runs into the house only to receive the rather sharp end of the captain’s sword who was waiting just for pursuit. To make matters even worse the rest of the thugs, who were being lead in this breaking-and-entering by a pair of warlock halflings. The only thing going in the party’s favor at this point is that Yaurel and Yardy were keeping the front door closed as they were very obediently following the rule “Nobody through here!”

It was a close fight (at least from my perspective) as Caisen went down once and everybody but Prim was bloodied at least once. In the end, the party succeeded with only two snipers (who were on rooftops across the street) getting away. They found Kohp bound and gagged within his house and most grateful to being saved and his items rescued. He provided them with reward (50gp each) and an old magic beaker made of electrum. The Militia was called and everything neatly wrapped up enough.

The party took a well deserved rest for the night.

The next day they headed out to the squeakling den and the larged glyphed door. The had a brief tussle with a number of squeaklings who were cleaning up their fallen companions. Opening the huge vault-like door revealed what seemed to be a temple of some sort. All the rooms were empty, and had a theme of sorrow and chains. As they travled deeper they came across a chapel filled with old decayed corpses and a huge “viewing wall” which displayed what apepars to be a scene of sacrafice. The party peeked through the viewing screen (it was made of fog) and discovered a huge room tiered in levels. Each level seemed to represent one of the elements the deeper it went into the pit and at the very bottom was an altar with corpse and several items.

One of these was a scepter that once, apparently, had an orb attached to it. The shattered remains of the orb beside it made the players realize that this was similiar to the orbs that were floating around the throne! How coincidental and odd that seems to be. Also beside the corpse was a scroll which detected as magical and once unfurled and read stated in common:

If you’re reading this then you’ve realized that I decided not to follow through with the master’s plan: just not enough profit for me to be interested. I hope you survived… hah! Forget that; I hope the aftershocks killed you all you bastards. Just know that I hated each of you from the start and the master is mad. Just in case one of y’all is reading this you should also know I memorized explosive runes and you’ll never get out of here alive. – Essla -

The good news is the runes did not explode. The bad news is that other traps must have been set off. The room was filled with elementals, one of each type, and the fight was on. The party got knocked about a little bit and to make matters more tense, a stream of water began to pour down the flanks of the pit. The group forgoes a rest and heads “upstream” into the chapel. Here they discover that the chapel’s corpses have not quite given up their spirits: ghostly images of the worshipers rise and begin to attack. These insubstantial combatants were tricky but in the end are dissipated quite handidly by the party. There they then take a short rest and there we called it for the evening.

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The Squeakers

The boy’s name is Tam (Jr) and it seems his family’s farm has been having some problems the last few days. First the stream that fed their well has gone dry. Them somebody killed all their cats. This morning, Tam (Sr) decided to find out the cause so he put on his old militia armor and headed upstream of the creek. He had not been seen since.

A rather eclectic band of folks decide to help the young lad: Asteron – A minotaur runepriest. Corum – A pale swordmage with dangerous eyes. He looks human..mosly… but is truly shadar-kai. Prim – A gnome bard with an eye to the dramatic. Shade – A human rogue more at home in the shadows than the limelight.

When this group reached the boy’s farm they found the barn ablaze and creatures trying to break into the farm house. After a quick battle involving a mad cow and a whole bunch of dire rats, they discover these creatures to be small humanoid rat like fellahs. Resolved to assist the family, they head upstream to try to find Tam Sr..

After another tussle with the squeakers, they discover where the stream had been damned off and the water used to help open up a cave complex. A couple more battles with the squeakers occur as the party explored deeper into what appears to be the foyer of an ancient tomb. They find Tam Sr. bound and gagged, ready for sacrifice, before a large locked door. One huge squeaker attempts to pound them into dust but the party prevails.

They free Tam Sr. and collect a small reward and the promise that if they needed any favor from the militia, Tam Sr would see what he could do to help them. The locked door appears to be be warded from opening by an old ritual. From what they can discern it needs a certain type of material or item to actually open it. The party resolves to do some research in order to find out how to unlock that door. They have a mutual interest of greed to keep them together for now.

Thoughts:

This is the first game session where I managed to send a player home early! Kevin got pretty nauseas toward the end and just had to go. Hope you’re feeling better guy!

Pretty good party: when they get some experience with each other and start feeding each other’s abilities things are going to get tough.

So they (and I) don’t forget: When I next pick up this group they’ll have two things to do in the city: research on the ritual that locked the door and finding somebody to buy that suit of antique dwarven armor.

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Start-up One Shot
Beginings:

There is an odd tradition in Theria of closing the gates of the city for an hour after dusk and an hour before dawn. For a city dependent on a continuous flow of trade it creates a somewhat inconvenient period of blocked passage (or constipation as some grumbling merchants describe it). Nobody can remember why exactly the gates are closed at this time but the two most popular theories are that; a) the militia feels that we have gates, by the gods we’re going to get some use of them; b) the militia uses this time to have tea and biscuits.

In truth the tradition helps line the coffers of the Militia by allowing them to charge a “convenience” fee to those merchants to slow or to desperate to wait outside for an hour. Anybody who wants to get in (and there’s surprisingly a large number who do) at these times, a gold per person seems to be acceptable gateway robbery. These coins go directly into the Militia’s widow and orphan’s fund.

It also helps the taverns just outside the gates that just happen to be owned by ex-militia confederates. When the gates closed, these taverns tend to fill with impatient travelers unwilling to spend that gold piece. Of course some end up drinking much more than a gold coin’s worth by the time they remember to be back on the road.

On this fine day in the midsummer of the year 470, whatever your background, your character has managed to find himself on the outside of the far south gates after dusk. The guards are being particularly ornery and are unwilling to let you talk your way through. A nearby inn, The Poor Merchant, offers a happy hour of “one pitcher o’ Theria’s finest pale 1 silver”. The smell of decent cooking helps tempt anybody who’s not had much to eat.

Inside the tavern (yes by god I’m strongarming y’all) it is rather empty. A few merchants occupy one table with a pitcher between them and a group of rowdy adventurers occupies another. Neither pays much attention to new comers though the traditionally buxom waitress does give you each an “I hope they’re good tippers” smile. The pale ale is cold and refreshing and the sausage-and-onion plate hearty and hot.

Not ten minutes after the last of y’all have entered, the door to the tavern is burst open. A young human, his black hair askew and eyes wide has to take a moment to catch his breath. “Cor,” he pants, “there’s trouble! I need a band o’ well trained and noble heroes to help make things right!”

The table of adventurers, who appear well equipped if anything, turn six pairs of assessing eyes toward the boy. Though he responds with a hopeful expression, they take in his well-patched attire and you can almost hear the mental cash registers come up “no-sale”. A couple of them murmur “Well, we’re not exactly well trained” and “We’re more a well meaning association of acquaintances really.” They then carefully turn back to their conversation.

“Well passin’ that, is there a group o’ untested strangers willin’ to give a moment to rescue a family in need?” He glances around, trying to catch your eyes with his own pleading gaze. “It could be the beginning o’ a classic tale o’ mismatched fates becomin’ somethin’ more than the sum o’ their parts?” He pauses and then adds “There could be somethin’ in the way o’ a small reward for the efforts also?”

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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