This write up was greatly delayed by Fallout 4. Blame any inaccuracies on The Institute.
Earthday, 3rd of Warmshade, 4433
Having ruined Satrap Khouligan’s dinner party, the party flees back to their suite of rooms at the Deluxry to retrieve their stashed loot. While Anmor dons his armor, they discuss what to do next. Their discussion continues until they are interrupted by a serving maid from the bar below, who comes up into the corridor leading to their rooms to announce they have visitors. When party members enter the hall to question the serving maid, three Blessed Angels come crashing through the windows of their suite. The serving maid also turns out to be a Blessed Angel, magically disguised. After a struggle, the party defeats the “angels.”
Deciding that they need to either talk to (as originally planned) or fight (based on the discovery that she’s undead) Lashonna, they attempt to dimension door directly inside her mansion, Mistwall Manor. Chresin’s spell fails completely, blocked by powerful magic. Based on the nature of the blocking magic, Chresin suspects that more powerful teleportation spells would not be blocked, but instead diverted, perhaps to somewhere bad. Given this difficulty, the party goes back to discussing what to do next.
Their discussion continues until they are interrupted by four more Blessed Angels, who appear out of thin air in their rooms! Rather than repeat the last fight, Chresin dimension doors the party out of the city, back to the half-finished mansion near the Traitors’ Graves. Tabling their discussion for a while (because Blessed Angels seem to show up whenever they talk for too long), they decide to take a rest. During the night, Granuelreceives a sending from Lashonna herself. The sending says something like “Heard you want to talk. Truce? If so, come to Mistwall Manor midnight tomorrow night. Safe from Blessed Angels.” To the rest of the party’s surprise, Granuel agrees.
Midnight, Fireday, 4th of Warmshade, 4433
The party teleports to the front gate of Mistwall Manor. They are greeted by a tall, gaunt half-orc named Kelgorn who walks with a limp. He escorts them through a luxurious courtyard of fountains and topiaries, into the front parlor, and then up a spiraling marble staircase to Lashonna’s private study and reading room.
The walls of this spacious, tastefully decorated study are filled with shelves of leatherbound tomes on a wide variety of topics. A large desk sits against the far wall, its surface empty save for a stack of tattered pieces of yellowed paper. The carpet is a deep shade of crimson, and arrayed on it in a semicircle before the desk are several high-backed chairs fitted with velvet cushions.
Lashonna waits here for the party, wrapped in a gold-trimmed gown of the very latest fashion and cut to accentuate her near-perfect figure. As the group enters, a delighted smile dances upon her scarlet lips before she dismisses her manservant. “You won’t be needed any longer Kelgorn, I’m sure I’ll be quite well attended to, with such pleasing guests to keep me company. Good night.” Lashonna apologizes for the late hour but says that, if the party’s reasons for consulting her are what she suspect they are, their discussion is “…not something the sunlit world wants to hear.”
The conversation starts out politely enough and compliments are even exchanged. The party explains that they have come to Lashonna looking for information on the whereabouts of Balakarde. Lashonna is unsurprised; this topic is what she guessed the party wanted to dicuss. She hands over several tattered pages and says, “Balakarde’s journal, or what’s left of it, in any event. You’ll see he’s quite mad. Obsessed, the poor dear, and with worms no less. Tiresome. But please, look it over, and then we can talk.”
Balakarde’s journal fragments can be found here. Once the party has digested the contents of the journal, Lashonna explains what she believes must be done to prevent the Age of Worms.
Or rather, she attempts to explain. Anmor interrupts her (about every third sentence) and forces her to digress into various arguments about her intentions and what the party’s actual priorities should be. I have not attempted to recreate that dialog, although I have alluded to Anmor’s objections following the summary of Lashonna’s side of the story.
The full text of what Lashonna said (or would have said, if not interrupted) can be found here. For convenience, here’s the synopsis:
- Drazzaroth intends to release Yog-Sothoth and start the Age of Worms.
- Drazzaroth is a lich, so if you want to defeat him, you should destroy his phylactery first.
- Thanks to the Order of the Storm, no one, not even Drazzaroth, knows where his phylactery is.
- The Order of the Storm had a hidden library located on Tilagos Island in the Sea of Five Winds.
- This hidden library might contain an account of the hiding place of Drazzaroth’s phylactery.
Lashonna goes on to point out three problems:
- Tilagos Island is guarded by eternal storms, wrecking all ships that approach.
- The library itself is actually no longer on the material plane, although lore suggests the Island has a way to reach it.
- Heskin, a former employee of Lashonna’s, has revealed all this information to the Triad of Sixes; even now, he could be guiding their agents to Tilagos Island and the Library of Last Resort.
Anmor is suspicious and does not want to go along with Lashonna’s plan. During his arguments, he explains that what he really cares about is getting revenge on Loris Raknian and Kendra. In response to this, Lashonna explains that he should really have a peek at Heskin and his new friends. She produces a small lock of hair tied with a gold wire on a fine gold chain—she explains she “procured” this bit of hair from Heskin’s barber—produces a scroll of greater scrying from her desk. The party watches along with her as she scries on Heskin.
Scrying on Heskin and His New Friends
A tumultuous scene fades into view in the middle of the room for all to observe, along with the howling sound of an oceanic tempest. The image clears to show a deathly pale man lashed to a ship’s mast with several coils of rope. Although details beyond a ten-foot-radius around Heskin are hazy and unclear, it’s obvious that the ship is caught in a tremendous storm—the decks are awash in foamy water as both waves and driving sheets of rain torment the terrified man. Sounds of gruff sailors shouting commands and curses in Orc can be heard under the raging tumult of the storm, and now and then, frantic orc sailors move quickly into view and then back into obscurity as they busy themselves at securing the ship.
At one point, two lithe, cloaked figures drop to the deck from the rigging on either side of Heskin. They are identically dressed in tightly wrapped silken scarves, small devilish horns sprouting from their heads. The cloaked figures spare condescending glances at Heskin, their eyes glowing faintly with infernal fire before they move out of sight toward the ship’s unseen bow.
Soon thereafter, a blazing red-skinned humanoid with an immense, bulging frame strides almost casually through the scene. The rain sizzles into steam as it strikes his burning skin. As he reaches Heskin, he looks down at the man and then looks toward the bow, crying out, “Mistress! It looks like your pet might be taking on water!” With that, the creature explodes into a tremendous belly laugh.
A few moments later, another two figures step into view. The smaller of the two is a shifty eyed humanoid bird who wears a hooded cloak and carries a repeating crossbow. The other is a woman in robes trimmed with eye designs. Her cowl protects her face from the wind and her hands are obscured by long, rainsoaked sleeves. She squats before Heskin and speaks to him in a low voice, “Only a few hours more, lover, and we shall see if you live or die.” Suddenly, the woman’s head whips around to look directly into the scrying sensor. It’s Kendra!
Her face twists into a snarl as she stands. “It seems we have guests, my friends,” she says. “Perhaps allies of this cur?” She turns back to the bound man, and as she does she pulls back her left sleeve, revealing a rotten, black-nailed appendage that seems to writhe and twitch with its own life. “We can’t have your friends watching us, so it seems your journey comes to an early end, Heskin!” The putrid hand unfurls and reaches out to caress Heskin’s brow. Heskin shrieks in mortal pain as the fingertip freezes the skin it touches into an angry black scar. Kendra then makes a fist and utters a single unintelligible word. As he utters the word, Hesken’s eyes bulge, the cords in his neck throb, and he slumps against his bonds, dead. The scrying link is broken, and the image fades from view.
Anmor recognizes that Kendra’s corpse-like hand is none other than one of the two notorious Hands of Angall, severed from his human form before his ascension to godhood (in case you didn’t remember from the vision you saw at Kuluth-Mar). The Hand is capable of creating a blasphemy effect, which explains what happened to Heskin.
After the vision, Lashonna returns to her seat, obviously a little shaken by the revelation that one of the Hands of Angall has entered play. She’s quick to recover, though, and uses this knowledge to try to convince Anmor to make haste in the party’s journey to Tilagos Island. She (and the DM and the rest of the party) expects him to be persuaded because of the opportunity to pursue Kendra. He continues to be stubborn and argumentative. Some of his objections include:
- Lashonna is undead and, therefore, probably evil and not to be trusted.
- Satrap Khouligan is a bad man and probably involved in all this somehow.
- There’s a ziggurat being built right here in Lenap and ziggurats are always involved with attempts to summon Yog.
Lashonna counters that:
- Undead, evil, or whatever, she has no interest in the world being consumed by the Age of Worms. Specifically: “What I am shouldn’t matter. I’ve spent years getting where I am, and I’m not about to see all that washed away by Drazzaroth, and neither should you. Take care of Drazzaroth, and if you still feel that I can’t be trusted, you know where to find me.”
- Khouligan is a proven enemy of the Triad of Sixes. Although he’s easily manipulated, Lashonna’s the one doing the manipulating, not the Triad or the Cult of Yog, so he’s no threat.
- She is working behind the scenes to slow construction of the “Great Project” and assures Anmor that the ziggurat will never be completed. Opposing it directly, though, would upset the delicate political balance she’s built here.
Anmor remains unconvinced and continues to argue. The rest of the party becomes bored and wanders off to find some food. Lashonna finally gets frustrated with Anmor’s recalcitrance and charms him. Because of the magic, he instantly becomes pleasant and agreeable and sees the wisdom of her plan. He gathers the party and begins to lead them off on their new quest. On the way out of Mistwall Manor, Chresin, suspicious of Anmor’s sudden change of heart, casts some dispelling magic. With the charm effect gone, Anmor becomes angry and smashes a priceless antique vase in the foyer. But the party exits the mansion and goes ahead with Lashonna’s plan anyway.
Spiritday, 5th of Warmshade through Earthday, 8th of Warmsade, 4433
The party teleports back to Ut-Prandur and prepares themselves for their journey. After a bit of discussion (not interrupted by Blessed Angels this time), they decide to try teleporting to the ship they saw in Lashonna’s scrying.
I have no recollection of what they did there or whether they told anyone about what happened in Lenap or what they planned to do next. I suppose it doesn’t matter very much.
Fireday, 9th of Warmshade, 4433
Teleportation brings the party to the ship where they saw Heskin die. They find themselves standing on the slanted deck of one half of the gigantic sailing cog, which lies broken in two against a jagged rock on the beach of what is obviously Tilagos Island. The broken ship itself, along with the beach and a portion of the island further inland exist in a sheltered dome of relatively calm winds and constant rainy drizzle. However, a maelstrom of hurricane force winds rages all around the area outside a circle of about 400 feet in diameter, including above at a height of about 60 feet.
The beachhead is littered with driftwood and the splintered ruin of well over a hundred ships. These skeletal wrecks crowd the rocky shoreline, a veritable city of barnacle-claimed vessels peopled with dead sailors. Broken skeletons wrapped in threadbare rags hang out of yawning breaches in the ships’ hulls, and tattered sails whip in the fierce winds sweeping the shoreline. Beyond the shore, the rocky beach angles up
slightly to an ancient maze of ruined walls and standing stones.
Not liking the looks of the beach one bit, the party dimension doors (or dimension hops or something) right into the ruins, avoiding the beach altogether (and an encounter in the process). They make their way through a veritable “maze of menhirs” until they come upon a somewhat open area.
The Forest of Stony Teeth
The ruins here are complicated with a new feature; numerous spindly stone stalagmites fill the area. The rocky growths are carved with strange slash-like glyphs along vertical lines, but seem to have no other purpose. A small tangle of green glowing crystals grows from the base of a stalagmite near the center of this area.
The party proceeds through this area carefully, but is attacked anyway. The stalagmites turn out to be ropers, unusual because they are covered in strange runes, but otherwise typical of the species. The PCs defeat them without too much difficulty.
So, with a bit of effort, the party was kept on the railroad. XP totals at the end of the session:
* Anmor 120,447
* Ulm and Chresin 118,608
* Granuel 108,983
* Kullen 115,458
Anmor already has enough to reach 16th and Ulm and Chresin probably will have enough by the time the party stops to rest, which could happen mid-session.