Visiting Sosostriss: Kythorn 5th-10thEdit
On the 5th of Kythorn, 2113, Rinzler, Sir Roswell, Jura, Alyenna and a new Pathfinder, Nanny Ogg, convened in the Boar & Thistle to discuss their next destination beyond the wall. After some debate, they decided to investigate the tower that they had seen a few weeks before during the month of Mirtul; Valconey mentioned that it was probably owned by the sorceress Sosostriss. They spent the remainder of the night assisting Wutog to decipher the scroll he had recovered from the shrine of the Twin Gods of Destruction.
On the 7th, the Pathfinders reached the edge of the Great Cedar Forest. After their last experience, they were decidedly lukewarm to the idea of camping in the woods, so they decided to camp in the fields instead. As they were looking for a good campsite, they discovered an old well in surprisingly good condition, beside which they decided to spend the night. Over the course of their nightly watches, they spied groups of hobgoblins marching in formation around a walled camp; they took note of the camp's location, but decided to keep a large distance.
On the 8th, the adventurers made it to the tower. The first obstacle they encountered was a 15-foot moat that encircled the entirety of the tower's base, inhabited by several giant toads. Jura and Sir Roswell, being the most athletic of the group, decided to attempt to jump the moat while carrying rope so that the others could get across more easily. Both of them had to remove their sizeable armour, and seeing as how Roswell possessed no small weaponry, Rinzler lent him the dagger he had brought. Taking a running start, the two jumped over the chasm, but only Jura made it successfully; Roswell tumbled into the water, where he was almost instantly swallowed whole by one of the monstrous amphibians. Struggling inside the creature's gut, Roswell not only managed to stick the dagger into its innards, but went so far as to punch a literal hole through the toad's body. Pulling his way out of the gutted toad, Roswell climbed up on to the bank; the remaining toads, seeing the carnage, fled to the opposite side of the moat and disturbed them no longer.
The Pathfinders all crossed the moat, leaving Zuni and D'Artangan on the outer bank, and found the front door locked. A single use of the Boots of the Grand Entrance opened it with little difficulty, although it released a gas trap that had been set in the entryway. Stepping in to the tower, they found the main room dominated by a large crystal that spanned several floors, both up and down. Four doors were arranged evenly around the tower's main room, but there was no sign of any inhabitants. The first door led to a dining room, fully furnished and set for company. While they disturbed nothing, an attempt to sit in one of the chairs nearly led to an impalement from an impossibly long retractable spike in the chair's seat. Moving on to the second door, they found behind it a small sitting room at the base of a set of stairs. When Nanny Ogg went to sit in one of the chairs in the corner of the room, it and the other furniture in the room came to life and began attacking the Pathfinders viciously. Defending themselves from two crazed chairs and a couch, they managed to either chop or burn the furniture to incapacitation, but not before Sir Roswell passed out from wounds sustained from defending the elderly Nanny Ogg and from the wanton fire thrown by Rinzler. Deciding that they had had enough of this place for the time being, the group started back to Willowdale; they reached the town by the 10th.
Deeper in the Church: Kythorn 11th-14thEdit
On the 11th of Kythorn, 2113, a group of Pathfinders including Rinzler, Jord, Dr. Haiduc, Nanny Ogg and Kat decided that the Church of St. Christopher required a more concerted exploration. The night was spent stocking up on holy water from the Reverend Mother and gathering information regarding devils from Valconey. They also learned from Ned that the big Willowdale fishing contest had begun, with prizes for those with the biggest, rarest catches.
On the 12th, they set out down the Lonesome Road, making it to the barrow mound that had become a favoured camping site. Not wanting to enter the undead-infested church grounds after dark, they spent the night at the mound, and were relatively undisturbed.
On the morning of the 13th, they approached the church to find that its gate had been chained shut and signs had been put up warning people not to enter; a quick investigation suggested that hobgoblins were responsible for the notices. After ignoring the signs and collecting the locks and chains for their own devices, the Pathfinders continued into the church. They went directly to the catacombs and continued investigating where the last group had left off. As they explored the halls, they found a scrap of a journal, written by a man by the name of Brother Harold, explaining some of the occurences at the church shortly before its ruin. He referenced a new abbot, and was highly suspicious of his activities. With this new information in hand, the adventurers turned a corner, only to be faced by a pair of varghouls, gnawing at the body of a hobgoblin soldier. As they watched, the dead hobgoblin's head crawled off of its body, grew wings and joined the other varghouls, who immediately spotted the Pathfinders and rushed towards them. A tense battle raged, but the might of the Pathfinders prevailed; two of the varghouls were slain, while the third escaped down a staircase. The victory was not without cost however: both Jord and Dr. Haiduc were bitten by the devils and had succumbed to their poison. Without timely treatment, both of the men would become varghouls in a matter of hours. Despite this, the group decided to continue exploring the catacombs, though whether this desicion was made due to bravery or ignorance no one knows. Walking through the hallways they came upon two doors. The first contained a small room where six well-armed undead skeletons stood waiting. The Pathfinders attempted to barricade the door, which worked long enough for them to explore the second room. It contained a tomb, ostensibly for the old abbot who ran the church before the arrival of the ill-fated New Abbot. A second fragment of Brother Harold's journal was retrieved from this room before the skeletal paladins broke through the barricade. The Pathfinders, using a combination of ranged spells and weapons, managed to defeat the skeletons easily.
Having explored the first level of the catacombs thuroughly, they decided to continue deeper, down the staircase which the varghoul had escaped by. It led them down into a more open area, rougher then the stonework floors above. They were quickly met with resistance: a group of fleshy lamour devils moved to consume them, while an invisible imp dogged them from the sides and above with its poison barbs. Using a sizeable portion of their firepower, they were able to destroy the lemours, and a timely use of the Arcane Mark spell by Kat veritably destroyed the imp's invisibility, causing it to flee. As the Pathfinders collected themselves after the battle, they saw a pair of bearded devils, armed to the teeth, advancing on them from another hallway. Unsure of their ability to keep fighting at full strength, the adventurers retreated, returning to the entrance of the church. At this time, the varghoul's poison was beginning to work its way through the bodies of Dr. Haiduc and Jord, so the group left with all haste to return to . Even moving at full speed, it seemed that they were losing the battle: by the time they reached the gate in the wee hours of the 14th, both men had lost all of their hair, had begun growing the tentacles and wings destinctive of varghouls, and had just begun the process of losing their minds. Pleading with the gate guards, they were allowed in to the village, where they rushed to the Reverend Mother for assistance. While she did manage to cure them both, they had to pay a significant amount to the church to cover the cost of their magical treatment, leaving them both in debt.
The Firewalker Tribe: Kythorn 12th-16thEdit
A group of Pathfinders including Sir Roswell, Ruthea, Rain, Noale, and Jura left Willowdale headed for the hobgoblin encampment in the Southern Badlands, intending to pick off a few soldiers or disrupt a watchtower. They did not find any hobgoblins on the 12th, but instead discovered a stone garden apparently created by a Basilisk. The garden consisted of several kobolds and a hobgoblin, turned to stone. Campfires were spotted to the South during the night.
On the second day, the Pathfinders tailed a group of 15 hobgoblins for some time before Noale volunteered to lead them into an ambush. The hobgoblins did not take the bait, instead forming a tight turtle formation. The Pathfinders were forced to flee. That evening, they encountered two ash-covered goblins near the Well of Nechtan at the edge of the Great Cedar Forest. These turned out to be members of the Firewalker tribe.
On the third day, the goblins led the Pathfinders to their village, and their shamanic leader. The shaman told them that their coming had been foretold and that they were now needed to commune with the spirits of the forest. The Pathfinders, made drowzy by the burning herbs in the shaman's tent, fell asleep in the village. That evening, they were given a plant that Jura identified as a hallicinogen, and told to go into the forest, burn it, and wait for the spirits to come. The fire attracted a mated pair of owlbears, which the Pathfinders mistook in their muddled state for Chickcharney. They fought the creatures, heavily wounding them, and took back feathers to the Firewalkers.
On seeing this token, the Firewalkers held a large celebration and named the Pathfinders friends of the tribe in a ritual that included walking over hot coals. The shaman gave them a bottle of Garmonbozia, and answered several questions. He revealed that Chickcharney was bound to protect an ancient elven city, and mentioned Naitaka, the sea serpent under the stone ocean.
On the two-day trip back to Willowdale, the Pathfinders went fishing. Jura caught a hag fish that appeared to have come from the Red Forest. She later gave this to Rinzler. Jura also located the owlbear cave and left healing Goodberries wrapped in fish at its mouth.
Quest of the Lady of the Lake: Kythorn 18th-23rdEdit
On the 18th of Kythorn, 2113, Rinzler, Ruthea, Sir Roswell, Jura and Kat had a hard time deciding where they should travel next. The decision was finally made when Rinzler, stating that it didn't really matter where they went, seeing as how they were going to stop at the first interesting thing they ran across anyways, dropped a rock on their map that landed roughly on the north side of the Great Cedar Forest. As such, they decided to travel northwest on their next outing.
On the 20th of Kythorn, the group started northwest, entering the Northern Badlands. After a while, they came in sight of a series of odd, ancient towers that they could see were inhabited by gnolls. While they made no real attempt to hide, they decided to avoid the fortified sanctuary. Nonetheless, as they pitched their camp for the night in the shadow of the Great Cedar Forest, a small band of gnolls approached in secret. They fled when spotted, and the Pathfinders erroniously believed that they were done with them. Several hours later, more gnolls returned with the intent to kill, brandishing weapons and leading trained hyenas. The Pathfinders, despite being groggy from sleep, defeated the gnolls and their dogs; only one escaped back to its pack in the towers.
On the 21st of Kythorn, the Pathfinders continued northwest, bringing them nearer to the towers. From the closer vantage, they could confirm both that the structures were Towers of Silence, ancient buildings designed to facilitate burial by sky, and that while the gnolls did not build them, they were thuroughly situated in them now, having added ramparts and other additions to the stone monuments. Carrying on, they came to a small lake directly behind the towers. Seeing that the gnolls were not watching it, as none of their sentry towers or huts were built on this side of the towers, the Pathfinders decided to take a break there and try their hand at fishing. As they rested, they noticed a small island in the center of the water; intrigued, Jura, Sir Roswell, Ruthea and Rinzler decided to swim out to it. Aided by alchemical enhancements, Rinzler reached the island, nothing more then a small patch of rocky ground with a few trees, well before the others. He was met with a bear, who turned on him and started chasing him around the rocks. By the time the others arrived, several other natural traps had been sprung as well, including some entangling vines. Suddenly, the bear vanished and the other hazards receeded, leaving the Pathfinders confused and ill at ease. As they looked around, they heard a woman's voice speak in the Sylvan tongue, imploring the adventurers to take on a quest. Sir Roswell, with his refined upbringing and noble nature, accepted the lady's quest, which was to dethrone the leader of the gnolls who was threatening her lake. Concluding that the voice was likely owned by a nymph, the Pathfinders left the island and spent the rest of the day by the lake, fishing and waiting for the next morning.
On the morning of the 22nd, the Pathfinders approached the Towers of Silence. As the only one who could speak Gnoll, Rinzler acted as Sir Roswell's translator, imploring the primitive gnolls to allow them to face their leader. With a tribute of food, the gnolls allowed them into the main tower, where the Champion, a large, paladin-like gnoll, reigned. At Sir Roswell's request, the others stood aside and merely watched as the knight took on the gnoll's leader single-handedly. The contest ended in Roswell's favour, and he claimed the gnoll's impressive halberd, the King's Hammer. With the gnolls in disarray, the Pathfinders found a halfling man by the name of Paddledown, who claimed to have been captured by the gnolls and held as a slave. They freed him, much to his delight, and he proceeded to tell them how to find his home village of Gullykin, in addition to several other local landmarks. They all left before the gnolls could regroup, with Paddledown heading back to Gullykin and the Pathfinders back to the lake. When they returned to the island, there was no sign of the nymph, but they found a large number of freshwater pearls scattered through the rocks, and Sir Roswell had a token presented to him, in a fashion, by a tree. Satisfied that they had helped the lady of the lake, the group decided to return to Willowdale, making it back by the evening of the 23rd.
The Oni's Bridge: Kythorn 23rd-28thEdit
On the 23rd of Kythorn, 2113, Kat, Jord, Rinzler, Noale and Dr. Haiduc attempted to hold a meeting about their next destination, but the conversation was dominated by discussions of renovations, debt and investments on the parts of Dr. Haiduc and Jord. Kat was particularly eager to see the village of Gullykin, and since neither Rinzler nor Noale had any complaints, it was settled on as the destination.
On the morning of the 24th, a variety of preparations were made: the Pathfinders chipped in to cover the cost of a wagon and the supplies necessary to finally convert the barrow mound in the Golden Fields into a proper rest site, and Rinzler, sick of walking, purchased the horse Heart Stomper. The group set out towards the barrow mound, planning on spending the night there while Dr. Haiduc set up his Invisible Servant spell to perform construction work, before heading on towards Gullykin the next morning. About halfway to the mound, they realized that they had neglected to bring the proper tribute, good food and ale, that would get them access to the village, according to Paddledown. Kat, riding Sparkle Pony, decided to dead back to Willowdale while the others carried on. Once reaching the site, Dr. Haiduc and Jord began the construction to create the Barrow Motel; it did not take long for Noale to become bored and start looking for food in the surrounding fields. After walking several miles away, she came across an ankeg, and the two very quickly descended into battle. Realizing the danger, Jord lept on to Heart Stomper, and Dr. Haiduc on to one of his summoned horses, and the two sped away, leaving Rinzler with the cart. Kat returned at about this time and wondered what all the racing was about; Rinzler managed to explain it while Sparkle Pony carried both him and Kat towards the scuffle. While everyone arrived at various times, they still managed to take down the giant insect without any unmanageable injury inflicted to one of their own.
Even though the foe was vanquished, the fighting was not yet finished: Noale had sustained some nasty wounds during the battle, so Dr. Haiduc used some of his magic to restore her. After the battle ended, she asserted to the doctor that she did not want to be touched, and had told him this before. He replied with a flippant comment that she did not appreciate, and responded with violence. Her hit was met with another comment, and was replied to with further violence; this repeated until the doctor was knocked unconscious by the barbarian. While the others did not intervene in this conflict, they still helped revive Dr. Haiduc and brought him back to their camp, to the frustration of Noale; this was the first real instance of serious discord between any of the Pathfinders. Returning to the mound, they spent the rest of the night relatively peacefully.
On the 25th, the group continued on their way to the halfling village. They took a short break at the Nymph's Lake, where they did some more fishing for the contest, before continuing north. As night began to fall, they approached a massive chasm in the land, over 300 ft deep with faint traces of a magical origin. Spanning it, they saw a large and stately cantilevered bridge, with black stone gated towers on either side. The portcullis of the nearest gate was closed, and since night was upon them, the Pathfinders decided to set up camp, although they moved a distance away from the bridge first, as they had seen what appeared to be morlocks crawling around in the chasm's caves beneath them.
As the night wore on, everything seemed to be under control, when suddenly they were under attack from arrows nearly 2 feet long; one of them pierced Heart Stomper, sending him into a frightened run. Looking up at the bridge tower, the Pathfinders saw an enormous figure, whose bow was 6 feet in height itself: an oni. Panicked, the Pathfinders scattered: Kat ran after Heart Stomper, worried for its well-being, Rinzler ran after Kat, worried about her well-being, Dr. Haiduc ran towards the shelter of the bridge tower, worried about his well-being, Noale ran away from the bridge, worried about her well-being, and Jord ran towards the oni, preoccupied with negatively impacting it's well-being. Eventually, under fire from the javelin-sized arrows, everyone took shelter at the very base of the tower, under the assumption that he couldn't shoot arrows at them from the tower if they were directly under it. There they rested for a short while, as the oni had mysteriously disappeared. Kat tended to the frightened and injured horse, and the others either stood watch, attempted unsuccessfully to open the portcullis, or tried to nap. After a short while, the oni reappeared and asserted itself as a hunter, and them as its prey. Trapped up against the portcullis, they fought desperately, managing to disarm it of its bow, but not of its gigantic sword. With a great effort, and copious amounts of fire, they managed to drive it back, but for how long they didn't know. Kat wanted to flee, both to protect Heart Stomper and to stop the senseless and futile-looking battle; Jord wanted to finish the fight to the end. The arguement peaked when Jord attempted to put the horse to death, saying that if the animal was dead, there would be no reason to leave. Horrified, Kat and Sparkle Pony, who was carrying the injured horse, left immedeately; Rinzler, upset at this turn of events, left with her. Noale, who hadn't wanted to fight this opponent to begin with, left as well, so Dr. Haiduc and Jord, now knowingly out-matched, followed. They sped away from the bridge and headed back towards Willowdale, reaching the town by the 28th.
Sekhemkhet's Tomb: Kythorn 28th-Flamerule 1stEdit
On the 28th of Kythorn, 2113, a group of Pathfinders including Rinzler, Ruthea, Sir Roswell and Kat gathered in the Boar & Thistle to discuss their next journey. They were introduced to a new adventurer by the name of Enrique, who expressed interest in exploring a series of tombs he had heard about in the south. Having nothing more pressing, they agreed to travel to the Dead Canyons. That evening they also met with the town's sheriff, and helped Wutog decipher more of Fahz Murb's writings.
On the morning of the 29th, the group set out for the Dead Canyons. On their way out of Willowdale, they were stopped by the gate guards, who were on the lookout for a changeling criminal. Passing the inspection, they set off into the Golden Fields. Heading south, they travelled into the Southern Badlands after a few hours, and made it to a small oasis. While they were resting here, they discovered a corpse of a man who had died of exhaustion, who they believed to have been an escaped slave of the hobgoblins. He bore whip scars and had chemical burns on his hands, and in his possession was a strange coin stamped with a hobgoblin insignia as well as a map of a hobgoblin camp. The Pathfinders travelled a bit further south after this before camping for the night.
In the wee hours of the 30th, a strange southern man approached their camp and asked for their company for breakfast, which the Pathfinders gave willingly. The man introduced himself as Djinn of Djinn, a traveller and trader of both stories and blades. After a pleasent exchange, they parted ways and continued on into the canyons. A basilisk engaged them in combat, and while a few members of the party had a close call with petrification, they managed to defeat the creature in the end. Passing through the canyons, they eventually came upon the area Enrique had been searching for: a group of three large tombs, each labelled with a series of carvings. From the writings, the Pathfinders identidied The Tomb of Sekhemkhet, The Tomb of Kehti the 1st, and The Crypt of the Endless Dead. After some deliberation, they decided to investigate Sekhemkhet's tomb. Inside, they dodged a clever bridge trap, fought some marauding mummies and disarmed a series of trapped chests. At the tomb's center was a large room with a prepared summoning circle, and beyond it, a room protected by deadly divine fire. After attempting their best to disarm the fire, the group determined that the ancient spell would trigger once on whomever entered the room first. Enrique attempted to subtly lure Kat through the doorway, as she hadn't been paying attention and was unaware of the danger. Upset at the underhandedness towards the naive halfling, he blurted out Enrique's intent and walked through the trap himself. He was bathed in flames momentarily, and the trap was extinguished, allowing them into the tomb itself. They discovered the body of Sekhemkhet himself, a half-orc pharaoh from the Empire of Decadence, as well as a few items from his life including a chess set and a sword. Returning to the summoning circle, the Pathfinders activated it and were able to speak to the spirit of Sekhemkhet, who told them of an ancient city to the north where all races lived together in harmony. After the spirit had returned to the afterlife, the group decided to return to Willowdale, arriving in the town by the 1st of Flamerule.