Feery's Leap

Session 92
Almost tomb much to handle

24th Dearth, 5060

Making a weary retreat from the battle scene, the party made camp in the room where they’d meditated an hour before. They posted guards and expected trouble, but had about 12 hours to fully recover. Sensing trouble ahead, they prayed to Drumarch Saleleh. He answered their prayer, and came to provide restoration magic. Moments after his arrival, they were disturbed by the sound of a figure walking down the hall toward their camp.

The figure announced herself as a priestess of “Her Dreaded Benevolence,” the god who claimed this ruin. The priestess requested that the party surrender to her goddess and serve or be destroyed. Needless to say, the adventurers chose option 3: mortal combat.

The priestess was eager to make Drumarch a sacrifice to her goddess, and he would have fought beside them, but the party insisted that he retreat to safety.

The priestess seemed groggy, and her attempts at parley/ conversion were feeble. By the time the monk from the last battle came to her side, it was clear that the party would not be persuaded. Sender cast a dimension door to position himself better for a battle, and then melee ensued.

Sender petrified the monk (much like last time), but the priestess proved harder to fight. She managed to fell Oervind quickly, followed by Shegger Gork and Savannah, forcing Indigo Promise to make hard choices between saving fallen allies and helping to end combat swiftly. When the priestess retreated, the pegasus pulled back to tend to the wounded and restore the dead. Edane and Sender finished off the priestess and destroyed her reinforcements, though each of them only barely survived the encounter.

It drained him, but Indigo Promise restored the party to full health. They explored the rest of the complex, where they found (mostly empty) sarcophagi, more traps, an almost-dead Neamuan prisoner, and a major shrine to Nouliss-Hakkari. As the party started executing the helpless vampires in their crypts, Drumarch came back with a plan: he would destroy the shrine and divert the goddess so the party could escape. What could go wrong?

The adventurers accepted his proposal, and made off with some useful loot from the vampires (and the prisoner). The last they saw of Drumarch, he and another figure were slipping through the planar membrane to points unknown.

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Sessions 89-91
tomb-crawling in the desert

23th Dearth, 5060

Reaching the ruin, the party found the figure exactly as expected. They followed it underground, to find a thousands-years-old pathway laden with traps. They got through most of them, but triggered some summoning and force wall effects (force walls blocked their retreat). They found signs of diminishing but continuous habitation, and walls of graffiti scraped away and written again hundreds of times (mostly ornate paeans to a blood-drenched dominatrix goddess named Nouliss-Hakkari). Running low on energy, they stopped to meditate to replenish some of their depleted energy.

Continuing deeper into the desert ruins, the party fought some planar creatures in a room with summoning circles. As soon as they defeated the creatures (who were called, not summoned), they noticed a half-dozen vampires lounging in the next room, enjoying the battle from the other side of a portcullis. After a few minutes of banter, they closed in for the kill.

It was a rough fight, but the party defeated the vampires and their minions (destroying one vampire and petrifying another) before sealing off the hallway and retreating to a more defensible position to rest and recharge.

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Session 88
Orcking Diversion

Durju heroes swoop in with thoughts of saving the day. They’re nonplussed at having missed all the action, but rally at the thought of marching south to assault the orckish populations mustered there.

The leader of the band is a foreigner named Vanimarakkuri, who would appear to be of Karakhan descent, possibly genie-blooded. The two parties broke bread and exchanged information, then decided to part ways. The Windless Ring returned north to check on Gux and Feordin at the Desert Lotus Outpost, and Vanimarakkuri’s party ventured south to engage the orcs in full force.

Upon arrival at the Outpost, the party learned about Gux’s progress with the conduit, and his work to resolve the energy fluctuations it has produced. He has managed to minimize the planar thinning, but it may take some weeks before it is safe to cast spells near the White Jackal’s tomb.

The Outpost recently received a visit from some halfling scouts who had come in from the deep bush. While exploring, they’d been caught by a sudden haboob, and lost their way trying to race to shelter. When the storm passed just after nightfall, they found themselves lost in the high desert. As they prepared to make camp the next night, they noticed a feeble light from a rocky outcropping nearby. Closer inspection revealed that the rocks were a very old ruin, through which a lone figure appeared to be wandering, holding a candle. The scouts did not approach the ruin – the sight of such a place in a blasted waste, days away from any natural source of water or food, gave them pause. They opted to move on, and report their findings.

The Windless Ring thought that sounded worth inspecting, and set out right away (Sender, Shegger, Edane, Oervind, Aranethon). They made the journey, found the ruin, and saw the candle-light after nightfall. They approached the ruin, and found the candle left standing on the ground, beside a recently-dislodged stone slab that revealed a passage beneath the ground. They felt an unsettling emanation, similar to unholy ground, though were unable to determine the exact nature of the phenomenon.

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Session 87
Orc-colored paste
10th of Dearth 5060

Continuing the assault on Haeldregu Keep, the party regrouped on the first floor and worked their way up. Along the way, they heard (and felt) a spellburst upstairs. Clearly, the fighting they had heard involved a fair amount of spellcasting (in addition to their own expenditures).

Oervind took advantage of the orcs’ weak minds to bind several in a lesser geas with the command to defend him. Sender bound several orcs with a well-placed web, and Girrock’s hobgoblin friends did an admirable job of sabotaging the orcs’ forces from within.

Between the hobgoblin traitors and the spellburst, the party faced a significantly softened defensive line. There was something strange, though… two individuals (a hobgoblin and an orc) who were fighting on Girrock’s side asked to be killed once combat on their floor had subsided. Shegger thought that it might be for spiritual reasons, and Aranethon thought they might not have been acting of their own volition.

The orc warlord either died in the spellburst or escaped, but the party killed or geased his lieutenants. Six of Girrock’s allies survived the battle, and Shegger suggested that they go to the party’s keep and offer their services to the settlement. They might find a purpose and a place for themselves there.

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Session 86
Deeper Orcking
10th of Dearth 5060

(a continuation of the raid on Haeldregu Keep to flush out and defeat the orckish warlord occupying the site.)

The party managed to dispatch or scare off the remaining worgs, goblins, kobolds, and hobgoblins outside. An invisible figure on top of the keep proved difficult, and managed to summon a fiendish giant wasp to molest Edane while a basilisk came up from within the keep, but Sender laid down Evard’s black tentacles to prevent any more reinforcements from coming up. Sender, Edane, Shegger, and Aranethon defeated the basilisk and the invisible figure: a spell-throwing female orc.

The basilisk turned into an orc when slain, which suggests polymorphing. Within the keep, there were sounds of fighting and occasional splatters of blood or gore coming out the windows. The amount of arrow fire slowed to a trickle.

Oervind summoned a multi-armed planar creature to batter down the front door of the keep, then approached to summon an air elemental through an arrow slit on the first floor. Then he went up to the second floor, laid a geas on the archer in the window (“stand down and defend me!”), and used a dimension door to get inside.

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Session 85
Sidebar: Plugging in the White Jackal's tomb
10th of Dearth 5060

Gux collected the manufactured conduit replacements from Feery’s Leap, and Feordin, Manudhar, and local hire Savannah Stalu escorted him. Connecting the conduits to the replacements was exhausting and demanding work. The artisans had reconstructed seven conduit components. One of the connections conveyed a strong blue light that blinded Gux for several hours.

When Gux connected the bright conduit there was a bit of planar distortion, but the sixth conduit conveyed a charge of spell energy that pushed it over the edge. The planar boundary thinned, and some red-skinned outsider marauders broke through. They attacked Gux, and did quite a bit of damage before his friends distracted a few of them. They managed to dispatch the invaders, and decided to wait until the following day to finish the repairs.

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Session 84
Coming back for more
17th of Dearth 5060

The party retreated to a secure shelter, and interviewed the hobgoblin they escorted away from the keep. The evacuee, a “spirit talker” named Girrock Hregek, told the story of how he and the orcs got to the keep.

Many of the humanoids from the steppes fled south when the undead rampages began. They crowded out and clashed with local tribes there, until a strange shadow-stained troll appeared among them as if out of nowhere. The troll, Black Brok, carved a bloody swath through the countryside. He whipped several orckish warlords into submission, and turned them against other warbands. They slew or enslaved anyone who got in their way. Other bands allied with them to win the spoils of conflict.

Several bands took their gains (weapons, goods, mostly slaves) and headed north before the tables turned on them. Hrikk Ice-Blood took his band here. He has three dozen orcs, a dozen half-orcs, and at least two dozen goblins and hobgoblins. You could also count at least a dozen kobolds and a few humans. Most of the non-orcs are slaves.

Girrock said he could contact his friend in the keep, and they would not stand in the way of the party’s assault on the warlord. The kobolds would obviously flee at the first opportunity, but the others would need to put up a good front before escaping.

The party said they would not molest anyone leaving, which apparently was good enough for Girrock. He did some quasi-magical circle ritual to communicate with his compatriots. Then he made camp with the party, and they made their assault early in the morning.

Approaching the ruined keep, Shegger Gork spotted a camouflaged kobold (sorcerer?) in a tree. The kobold flew away toward the keep on barely-functional winged boots.

The party approached the keep much as they had before, invisible and by air. As they approached, an air elemental surged at them from the top of the keep. It caught several of them in its whirlwind. When they became visible, they became targets for pot shots from the keep. Sender got a grease spell through an arrow slit, which inspired Edane to follow suit.

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Session 83
Great Southern Orcking
16th of Dearth, 5060

Evening hostilities

Camping overnight, the party was accosted by a small hunting party of seasoned orcs – one of whom had ram’s horns. Daylight and blistering radiance broke up their assault pretty quickly. Though Oervind was rudely awakened by flaming javelins in his backside, his summoned fiendish dire wolf more than made up for it.

The orcs’ remains did not seem noteworthy: no particularly valuable items, no magic items, no valuables. None of them was dressed much better than the others.

Later in the evening, Sender and Shegger spotted a large wolf on the far side of the river, apparently studying the camp. It backed off when approached.

Mayhem in the morning

The party finished the upriver trek to the ruins of Haeldregu keep, where the orcs and their allies had made their base. Imbued with invisibility and flight, the party approached for reconnaissance. They saw wolves, a few horses, and several hobgoblins around the keep. The orcs, they assumed, would be asleep inside.

Oervind summoned a large earth elemental to drop on the keep to flush out the occupants, and the party indulged in a brief orgy of destruction as orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and kobolds streamed out of the main building (and later the guardhouse). They summoned several interesting creatures to fight on their behalf, and Sender blasted the keep’s main door with fireball spells as the occupants ran out in terror. Aranethon carpeted the keep with blistering radiance.

The party noticed that someone inside had summoned another earth elemental to fight with Oervind’s. Sender spotted a hobgoblin reach the roof and disappear (without casting a spell). Sender quickly cast see invisibility to see the hobgoblin slipping away on a broom. About that point, they also saw an orc on the roof, casting dispel magic at him to strip his invisibility. The party offered him aid in escaping, and Edane distracted the orc with a well-placed scorching ray before the party slipped away into the skies.

The party regrouped to make camp a few miles away, there to converse with the hobgoblin and discuss what to do next.

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Session 82
Reflections
Marvelday the 5th of Dearth 5060

After speaking with the fountain-tender elemental, the party returned to the Keep. Feordin broke in the new inn, the Laughing Lich, while Gux went to the White Jackal’s tomb to fix the conduit there.

Conduit repairs

After two weeks of game time, and for each week thereafter, the following skill checks can be rolled to execute conduit repairs:

  • Knowledge (arcana)
  • Knowledge (eldritch arcana)
  • Knowledge (architecture & engineering)
  • Craft (lapidary)
  • Craft (mason)

Multiple people may work on the project, and a total of seven successful rolls are required to complete repairs (they must be a mix of Knowledge and Craft checks). Using a stone shape spell adds +4 to the Craft checks. A roll of 1 on any of these checks does further damage to the conduit, requiring a DC 30 Craft (lapidary) check to fix.

Scholar for hire

The company’s tailor shop in Orgolash received a call from a wizard named Nervil Grayzer Hawke. Mr. Hawke is a recent graduate from Greeling College, the school that they visited to purchase a scroll of Mephaniel’s proxy. The wizard has heard of the party’s interest in classical history, and would like to offer his services to the party for 6 months or so. He is a native of Tarsh, raised near Ovation before he studied in Orgolash. He is fluent in Tarshakan, Elven, Dwarven, Draconic, and Sylvan, and knows a little Classic Orichalan. He is looking for an agreement that includes room and board, with a small stipend. Location is negotiable.

Several party members teleported to Orgolash to meet with the aspiring wizard. They thought he showed enough promise to let him work on their findings from their most recent tomb explorations (Session 79, Session 80, Session 81). They exchanged arcane marks and will check on him in 3 weeks. They gave their tailors enough money to cover his room and board during this trial period.

A missed call

An eccentric nobleman from Warwick (City State region) arrived in Sitoon with a small retinue of seasoned explorers, and has hired guides to take him into the steppes. He stopped briefly at Feery’s Leap before heading to the Desert Lotus Outpost, then the Charm Tree, and the Keep, before proceeding east, possibly southeast, into the wastes. He gave the name Radyosha Alyeovich Deniskov, and he claims that he has ancestors who came from the steppes, and was worried that explorers in the steppes might disturb his ancestors’ remains and relics. He has retained the Oaken Guise adventuring company from Feery’s Leap, and the survivors of Driku’s Widowmakers from Shalay.

Journey to Silent Reflections

To retrieve Aranethon, the rest of the party (Edane, Oervind, Valess, Sender & Shegger) sailed upriver as far as they could go, rode the rest of the way to the waystation at Norikhan, and from there turned southwest toward the research camp of Silent Reflections, named after the dream-city that Manudhar had accidentally discovered there (session 20). A dozen wizards and scholars from Feery’s Leap had gathered there under the gnome diviner Wainey Wickle’s supervision.

The elven dream-wizard Eylavien agreed to guide Edane and Oervind into the Dream of Silent Reflections, help them find their companion, and return to the material plane. The rest of the party waited in the camp for a little over a day, until they returned with Aranethon.

Stela intervention

During their absence, the rest of the party discussed what to do about the partial stela of Orichalan text that the drifter treant merchant-prince Hentennec the Scourge claimed to have for sale. Was it really a fragment of one of these stelae? Did they have the means to purchase it legitimately? If it was a “real” stela, what was more important: obtaining it or preventing the wrong people from claiming it? Was this beyond the party’s means to accomplish? Traveling to the southern border of Durju lands to drive back the orcs might be a better use of their talents.

Aranethon had spent the winter studying the stelae and meditating, before deciding to visit Silent Reflections to search for more clues to his god’s history. He realized that the stelae were someone’s attempt to tell a story, a tale important enough to protect against the ravages of time. And somehow that story was key to the history of the steppes, and to his god’s past.

Aranethon said that even if the rest of the party weren’t interested, he would go to Vertigo to figure out how to get the stela. It was that important to him. Valess also expressed interest, and managed to talk Aranethon out of it. “Let me take care of this,” she said, “I know something about navigating the ”/campaign/feery-s-leap/wikis/plane-of-entropy" class=“wiki-page-link”> falling-down-place, and I know people who can help. I can pull this off, one way or the other." The rest of the party gave their assent and blessings, and arcane marks to contact Edane, Oervind, and Sender with updates. Edane sent lesser sending to Gâshek to inform him of their plans, and to let him know that Valess would contact him once she reached Vertigo.

Durju’s tattered hem

Far south of Sitoon, near the southernmost reach of the Durju pantheon’s influence, the sparse local population has found itself in escalating conflict with bands of orcs. They have asked for adventurers (any able hands, really) to come south and defend them from orckish ravages.

Seeing a chance to be heroes, the party (Edane, Oervind, Sender, Shegger, and Aranethon) rode to Feery’s Leap, teleported to Sitoon, and set sail south. On the 15th of Dearth they reached the last river mouth in Durju lands, and calmed the local fishermen enough to persuade a rotten-mouthed old man to take them upriver to the next settlement. There they persuaded one of the settlement’s 10 survivors (a 28-year-old “elder”) to guide them upriver to a keep the orcs have taken. They made camp overnight about half-way between the settlement and the keep. Expecting trouble overnight, Oervind cast wall of stone several times to provide fortifications.

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Session 81
Of corpses and fountains
Gloryday the 20th of Drowning, 5060

Questions in the Tomb

With Manudhar called in from Feery’s Leap, the party gathered to ask questions of the primary corpse in the tomb. When that corpse’s answers were not as useful as they’d hoped for, they proceeded to ask questions of the next best-preserved corpse.

Primary corpse questions

What is the name and purpose of this place?

This is the Hyacinth Idyll, the crypt of my achievement.

What is your achievement?

My tomb, for myself and my worthy descendants.

Who are you?

Names, riddles, poems. Volter Cesil Hyves, Halcyon Bridge of Roses, 2nd prince of House Rowan

When were you born?

Lunasday, Summer 88, Year 12

Is there more to this place other than the three chambers visible to us?

Roots of a tree, branching out, touching lives, touching the heavens. But only a few, the season cut short. No time for more.

Questions for the next best corpse

What does the summoning circle bring?

The dark, the dread, the snakes-for-fingers, the forked tongues, the scaley skin, the stink of brimstone… the fire!

What’s the name of the creature summoned?

Many. Hordes. The more you strive, the more come.

What’s your name?

Hemry Iver Hyves, Bridge of Tulips, 7th prince of House Rowan

What is the Bridge of Tulips?

My place, my second name, the waypoint on my path, the place I seek, the place, the eternal journey, the passing way, step by step…

At this point, the questioning-magic had faded from the second corpse. Oervind commented that, given time and the right tools, he should be able to translate the dates the corpses gave into meaningful dates. The calendar they used is the Blossom Rhyme, popular among druids and sailors, and it counts years since the last Bridgeglow. A Bridgeglow happens about twice a century, so it is not helpful for longer reckoning, but since the days of the week in the Blossom Rhyme do not line up from year to year, it should be possible to count back until they found a date where the weekday and calendar date line up with the corpses’ recollections.

Exploring the Steppes

Realizing that they wouldn’t get much farther until they could do some research into Tarsh history, the party teleported back to the Keep, and set off into the steppes to check out the possible places of interest that Sender and Shegger Gork had found during their winter survey.

First, the party sailed down the Dustwash river and entered the reedy Lake of Tears for the first time. Edane noticed that there was a suspiciously deep channel running almost exactly through the middle of the lake, tracing a line between the Dustwash and a tributary on the eastern side of the lake.

Gux enhanced the party to allow them all to breathe underwater, and they spent a few hours poking around the cold muck at the bottom of the lake. They noticed some suspiciously regular mounds in the sediment, and very little sign of life in the briny water. Their preliminary inspection did yield a crystal that resembled the crystal codices they’d found in the Tomb of the White Jackal.

The party decided that their time would be better spend elsewhere, and sent message to Feery’s Leap to invite other adventuring parties or students to come play in the mud.

Moving on, the party made landfall on the eastern edge of the Lake of Tears, and headed east on foot to investigate the next site of interest. On the far side of the Lake of Tears, the flat expanse of the steppes gives way to scrubby hills and an irregular smattering of mountains. Among the hills, a small clearing sits at an odd angle, bedecked with paving stones and decorative columns, at its center sprouts an elaborate fountain – more in keeping with a Viridian noble’s ostentatious display of wealth than a remote hilltop in the wilderness. Sender reported that the columns shed light at night, making the site visible for miles.

When the party approached the fountain, elementals splashed out of its pool, taking a menacing posture. Gux parleyed with them, and persuaded them that the party meant no harm. Recognizing his elemental affinity, they told him about their patron, who may choose to speak with them after she greets the sun the next morning.

Consulting the Fountain

The party returned, and Oervind cast tongues on Edane so she and Gux could both address the patron. When the patron emerged from the fountain, it appeared as a 10-foot-tall elven woman made of water and lit from within by a dazzling ebullience. After her paean to the dawn, she greeted the party, and allowed Gux and Edane to step into her territory. She identified herself with a Sylvan name, Eyliathanistrianei me’Atylôndreya s’Istrianarien, which could be rendered in elven custom as Thaniss or Ilôndreya.

Their initial conversation went well, though the lady had limited knowledge to share. She had been given dominion over the fountain and its environs long ago, combining her watery heritage with fey essence. She described a great “disagreement” that happened shortly after she took up her mantle, and the river fled from the sea and the land became confused, then very quiet. Since that time, others occasionally intrude disrespectfully upon her domain, but all have been turned away.

When asked if the “disagreement” could be rectified, she sounded uncertain. “Perhaps a mountain could be persuaded to intervene,” she said, “It is quite beyond a creature of the flowing waters.”

Edane and Gux explained that the party had recently established their own dominion nearby, and considered themselves to have a duty to explore the area and protect its rightful denizens. They asked the lady if they could do something to aid her, but she insisted that there was little more she could wish in the world, aside from some occasional company and perhaps a nice stream within view.

Promising to return soon to talk further, the party bid the lady adieu and returned to their exploration.

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