Nightrealms Carrion Crown

November 24, 2013 XP
Encounter Type XP
Assisted the Knights of Ozem Story 19,200
Xyssas, Advanced Leukodaemon Combat 9,600
Druinnaz, Night Hag Combat 6,400
Witchfires (2) Combat 12,800
Caelandalara, Unhallowed Banshee Combat 25,800
Total 73,800
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 14 – 445,000)
Haza 362,800 Cleric 13
Torquemada 364,975 Inquisitor 13
Ramirez 363,300 Fighter 13
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The Cloisters of Renchurch

Desnus 28th, 4711

Renchurch Abbey

After the passing of the great black dragon, the party decided to pack up camp and look for other shelter. The dragon, while wounded, was still active and the possibility of it’s attacking again did not sit well with the team.

Torquemada let the way, searching through the dark and windy night for something that offered protection from the aerial menace. To make matters worse, a storm was rapidly approaching. And it was a storm unlike anything the part had seen before – a rapidly moving clouds with flashes of horizontal purple lightning.

Luckily, Torque found a suitable overhang, and the party hunkered down as the mortuary tempest came upon them, eerie lightning striking the nearby trees and ground. Haza quickly called upon the power of Sarenrae, walling off their area with stone shape, effectively sealing themselves off from the worst of the storm, and from the depredations of the black dragon, should it return.


Desnus 29th, 4711

The Knights of Ozem

The rest of the night passed uneventfully, and the party resumed their trek through the Hungry Mountains.

It was a little past midday, when the group happened upon a small encampment in a shallow vale in the mountains. Four plate-clad men, bearing heavy weapons and somber expressions, warily greeted the party.

Their leader introduced himself as Sir Garvis Karst, Knight of Ozem. The order of Ozem was dedicated to Iomedae, and were pledged to patrol the wastelands of Virlych from the county of Lastwall. Torque and company introduced themselves and inquired as to the business of the knights.

Karst explained that the patrol was working their way up the mountain, in their usual manner, and happened upon a caravan of Varisian travellers. They were led by an old woman, who to their experienced eyes appeared to be a witch. They apprehended the hag, warning the caravaners, who expressed that the old woman was their ward against evil. The Knights of Ozem scoffed at this, pointed to the yellow-eyed twisted hag who hissed and spit at them as they took her into custody – explaining that the immediate threat was the witch. They sent the caravan on its way, with instructions to carry on to the border with haste, while the Knights returned to the Cathedral of Sancta Iomedae in Vigil for help in dealing with the witch.

KnightsofOzem.jpg

Torquemada, Haza, and Ramirez asked to see the witch in question, and were led to a nearby tent where an old women, with glowing yellow eyes, wrenched limbs, hissed and spat at the party from where it crouched chained to the ground.

Torque moved to question the woman, who seemed insensate, but then she reared back her head and spewed rocks from her mouth! She grabbed one and flung it at the inquisitor’s head, glancing off his forehead as she laughed.

Torque and Haza conferred, but the creature seemed to be something beyond their ken. This was obviously no witch, nor any other monster known to the group, yet something clearly was wrong here.

And then the answer was made clear.

The woman was possessed.

The group decided to try to banish the evil presence, and as they did so, a vile, yellowish cloud billowed forth from the old woman’s throat, and something materialized from the thick mist.

Xyssas.jpg

This human-shaped beast had a horse’s skull for a head, walking on cracked hooves and bearing the rotting wings of a carrion bird – a Leukodaemon!

With a howl, the daemon attacked, spewing a swarm of insects from it’s throat, and lashing out at the Knights and party. The battle was on, but the daemon was outclassed by the combined might of the Ozem knights and the party, and soon was forced to teleport away from the battle.

The old woman was grateful, but expressed misgivings as she explained that she had made a pact with the daemon for safe passage through the Hungry Mountains. The Knights explained her caravan had headed onward, and promised to reunite her with her people, as they started to break camp for their day’s journey.

The party also decided to move on, and resumed their trek up the mountain.


Desnus 29th, 4711

Witherleaf Barrows

The party moved on, and soon spied black smoke over the trees where the trail split. Discovering signs of wagon passage on the path, the group decided to investigate, and found themselves in the remains of an old village. In the center of the ruined buildings, a caravan of Varisian wagons burned, their inhabitants lying broken and burnt around the
remains.

With little warning, ominous clouds began rolling in from the west – another of the region’s haunted storms was imminent, lashing the party with a sudden burst of wind and rain as steaks of green began to flash by.

Haza created a shelter using stone shape, and the party hunkered down to pass out the storm, when glowing shrieking skulls began to wail and scream as they swooped down and around the party. With a wail of fear, Ramirez threw down his sword and ran screaming into the night…

At this point, Haza noticed the Varisians scrambling in fear from the nearby ruins. Apparently, not everyone had been killed. Haza remained behind to herd the people to safety as Torquemada braved the poltergeist storm to round up the fearful people.

Once assembled in the makeshift shelter, however, the people milled around Haza and suddenly rushed the cleric, overbearing him and throwing him to the ground, tearing and biting at him.

And the illusion was gone – these were no Varisian travelers. Or more accurately, they no longer were. No, now they were zombies.

Torquemada turned to help as he saw Haza fall, but was caught as an incendiary storm appeared around him – the unholy flames burning him deeply.

Looking around for this new threat, Torquemada spied what could only be a night hag, peering out of cover in a nearby building. The hag sent a stream of magic missles at Haza, who called upon the power of Sarenrae to burn all the zombies holding him down.

Torquemada moved to the attack, but two witchfires intervened, sending bolts of green flame at the inquisitor.

Haza meanwhile, responded to the hag’s attack with one of his own – a brilliant white glow suddenly illuminated the storm, and the hag’s scream was cut short as her body fell to ash, caught by Haza’s destruction spell.

That seemed to take the fight out of the witchfires, who were quickly dispatched by Torquemada.

And as suddenly as it started, the storm was over.


Renchurch Abbey

Once Ramirez had returned from his fear-induced panic, the group continued following the path up the mountainside, soon arriving at a barren plateau.

The ruined remains of old monastery walls broke from the dust of the Virlych landscape like jagged glass on a dirty barroom floor. Several guard towers reach feebly upward, their upper levels crumbling away. Only the sharp, bloodstained blades of Renchurch Cathedral gave any hint that the area is more than just a forgotten fragment of an earlier time.

The group warily entered the monastery grounds, circling the abbey proper in order to get the lay of the land.

A nearby stable was found to be occupied with nightmares, but the group decided that attacking the otherworldly beasts would likely draw the attention of others and passed up that opportunity.

On the western side, the group discovered the sole tower that remained standing, broken blades adorning its frame disintegrating into rust and discoloring its wall with reddish-brown stains. In contrast to these rusted implements of war, the stout iron bars of a prison cage rested within, a thick gate obstructing easy escape.

Suddenly, the party noted a presence behind them, and turned to see the spectral image of an elven woman. She nodded and introduced herself as Caelandlara, and inquired as to their business.

Banshee.jpg

An uncomfortable conversation ensued, which was cut off suddenly as the ghostly woman suddenly rushed forward and attacked! The party responded in kind, but then the woman opened her mouth and began to wail! A banshee!

Ramirez fell to the ground, close to death, as Haza and Torquemada furiously counterattacked, striking down the undead spirit and rushing to save Ramirez from the clutches of death.

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November 10th, 2013 XP
Encounter Type XP
Advanced Hangman Trees (6) Combat 28,800
Rharandrarazz, Old Black Dragon Combat 38,400
Total 67,200
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 14 -445,000)
Haza 338,200 Cleric 13
Torquemada 340,375 Inquisitor 13
Ramirez 338,700 Fighter 13
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Over the Hungry Mountains

Desnus 26th, 4711

Into Virlych

The machinations of the The Whispering Way were at long last revealed. The notes of the vampire monk, Radvir Giovanni and his cabal of witches, along with the written letter from the nosferatu Ramoska Arkminos detailed an elaborate plan by the cult.

The party’s friend, Count Lucinean Galdana, now known to be one of the last descendants of the bloodline of Tar-Baphon, had been kidnapped to enact this plan. The Whispering Way planned to turn him into a lich – but not just any undead spellcaster. No, through the power of his bloodline, they intended to turn him into a vessel for The Whispering Tyrant himself. Tar-Baphon would live again!

Time was critical, so the party quickly set about preparing for their journey into the haunted land of Virlych.

The chain-bound steeples of Gallowspire—the stake in the heart of Ustalav—loomed over an accursed wasteland of shattered mountains and dark magic, a monument to an age of genocide and blasphemy. Spreading around it, tainted by proximity to the Whispering Tyrant’s throne, sprawl the scars of the arch-lich’s maniacal vision, a realm of ruin wracked by uncontrolled spell-storms and prowled by the abandoned miscarriages of unholy experiments. For the inheritors of this scarred age, Virlych bore more than just the wounds of history, for within its crumbling womb sleeps the architect of that dread epic, a deathless obscenity whose dreams still seeped forth to poison the world.

In the age before Ustalav became the killing ground of the living dead, the counties of Grodlych and Virholt stretched over the western arm of the Hungry Mountains and controlled many of the lands south of the Path River. Where Grodlych reached from the southern mountains to the coasts surrounding modern Vellumis, comprising much of the land now known as Lastwall, the smaller, rockier lands of Virholt spread southwest, continuing the border now guarded by Canterwall, halting at the shadow of the Fangwood. While Grodlych fell just as its sister counties to the east—and was ultimately ceded to the country’s liberators after the Tyrant’s defeat—histories hold that Virholt’s ruin was deserved, a price paid for betraying not just the nation, but the living. Although few texts recount the specifics, the count of Virholt bargained with the resurrected lich, selling his land and his people into slavery in return for his own salvation. What fate the traitor met remains mysterious, but many accounts indulge in baseless conjecture on fates just as torturous as that suffered by his realm. Much of the rest of Virlych’s history is actually the chronicle of Lastwall’s formation, with the Tyrant’s defeat by the Shining Crusade and the swearing of the protector nation’s oath to guard his grave-lands. Since then, the people of Ustalav have shunned the wreckage of their westernmost realm, the trauma of centuries past still all too real in the arcane storms, wandering ghosts, unholy ruins, and accursed creatures that brood and work the lich’s immortal will in those deadly lands.

Little lived in Virlych, though the realm is hardly uninhabited. While the eastern Hungry Mountains are known for driving rain and violent lightning storms, these take on a terrible aspect to the west, where twisted magical aethers imbue the harsh weather with seemingly malicious intent. Tales of living dust storms and lightning phantoms passed among those forced to travel near these lands, such apparitions sometimes being visible from miles away. Natural creatures did exist in Virlych, though the sparse vegetation and incessant storms make even the meanest beasts rangy and fierce. Small packs of mangy wolves, spiny beetles, feral rodents, and all manner of carrion birds scoured the land’s corpse in search of its sparse vegetation and trespassers slain by things with no need for food.

It was into this unholy land that Torquemada, Haza, and Ramirez Saul would now travel, braving the worst the land could throw at them in hopes of stopping the Whispering Way.

A trip to Barragaro Road afforded the group the chance to barter, wheedle, buy, and sell items of magical power to the merchants in the crowded bazaar, always with an eye towards the threat that awaited them to the west.

The day spent, the party regrouped at the Silent Hound, silently eating their meal and mentally preparing for the journey that awaited.


Desnus 27th, 4711

Marian Leigh

The next morning, as usual, Haza was up at dawn, greeting the first rays of Sarenrae as she revealed herself in her glory. He woke the others, telling of his plan to use wind walk to speed their journey northwest, and hopefully avoiding any unnecessary encounters along the way.

Borne aloft on the morning’s breezes, the group found themselves flying over the land, soaring over the forest trees and rocky hills at speeds far exceeding that of any horse. The ground flew by as they sped northwest, leaving behind the signs of civilization and heading into the stormy clouds that seemed to hunker around the Hungry Mountains that marked the land of Virlych.

Haza led the party north along the ridgeline of the Hungry Mountains, whose slopes were currently wreathed in thick stormclouds – eerie purple lightning, probably the effect of residual necromantic energy, illuminating the cloudy skies.

Spying a small settlement, the party opted to land and camp for the night. The small hamlet only consisted of a handful of houses surrounding a large manor house, replete with vegetable gardens, greenhouses, flowering shrubs, and fruit trees. The party was met at the gate by the gardener Geb, and led inside to meet the landowner – Lady Urora Demerrval – who was glad to have a group of men stopping by for a visit. Apparently, outside of Geb, the rest of the hamlet’s inhabitants were all women.

Torquemada was intrigued by this, and questioned a number of the inhabitants at to this disparity, but came away with nothing sinister – only curious happenstance.

The party was invited to spend the night, and readily accepted – Ramirez spending the evening alone in the company of Lady Demerrval herself, while Haza entertained the scullery maid that evening.


Desnus 28th, 4711

The Witchgate

The next morning, the group said their farewells, and Haza once again took the party to the skies, heading due west now.

The ground below began to turn more mountainous, and Haza turned southwest to regain his bearings to the location of the Whispering Way’s remote mountain sanctuary – Renchurch Abbey.

With a wrenching feeling, the world spun around and suddenly the party found themselves somewhere else, and no longer in Haza’s wind walk.

Instead, they were on a hillside, surrounded by thick forest. A gem-encrusted arch made of bleached bones stood on a patch of scorched ground, surrounded by withered oaks. Sickly ravens perched on crooked branches, their hoarse cries echoing in the still air.

Witchgate.jpg

The party moved to examine the arch, but their efforts to detect any emanations from the structure were stymied by the overwhelming magic and evil that seemed to pervade the very air itself.

Suddenly, Ramirez screamed as he was hauled into the air, tightening branches from the nearby oak tree pulling him up into the higher reaches of the tree. With that event, the other trees also came to life, their lashing branches pulling and strangling everyone within their reach – revealing that the sickly oak trees were in fact, hangmen trees!

Hangman.jpg

The ravenous plants attacked without mercy, tearing into the party before they had a chance to prepare, but the group wasn’t made up of novice adventures, but seasoned professionals, and they quickly rallied and turned the tables on the carnivorous trees. One by one they fell to blade and fire, and soon only the blackened trunks of the hangmen tree remained standing.

As they bandaged their wounds, the party took a longer look at their surroundings, finally determining that they had somehow arrived on the other side of the Hungry Mountains – perhaps waylaid by the mysterious gate that stood before them.

Haza had not prepared another wind walk that day, so the group set off on foot, heading in the general direction they thought that Renchurch Abbey would be.


The Black Wind

The party spent the remainder of the day heading into the mountains to their east, finally discovering a rough track leading higher into the mountain range. Night had started to fall before they discovered a suitable clearing for their camp, and soon they were bedded down for a night’s rest, with Ramirez taking first watch. A storm seemed to be brewing, and the winds began to circle and roar amongst the treetops, howling and moaning into the fallen night.

It was a few hours later that Ramirez noticed the bobbing lantern light gliding through the trees. He quietly awoke the others, and soon the group was silently (or mostly silently) following the flickering flame.

A few minutes later, the torch seemed to alight on the ground and stopped moving. Torquemada made the decision to approach closer, and soon found himself looking down at a small dancing flame. No lantern, no torch. Just a small fire burning by itself in the night.

And then the blast hit him, thick viscous fluid burning and scorching and melting.

As he sunk to the ground trying to get the stuff off of him, the others came running up to assist, dousing Torque with the contents of their waterskins and looking around for their attacker.

But there was nothing there. The only sound was the roaring winds up above, and the only movement that of the wind-blown trees.

Suddenly, everyone realized that they had abandoned their camp, leaving a lot of their gear and items and armor behind. The group hastily turned back into the trees, moving quickly back to the campsite.

Luckily, all was as they had left it – there was no sign anyone or anything had disturbed it.

Now, it was Haza’s turn to cry out in pain, as a row of glowing magic missles flew out of the treeline, slamming into him as he began to put on his armor.

The party turned to face the threat, but once again, there was nothing there.

More cautious now, Haza and Torque began casting light spells into the darkness, hoping to catch a glimpse of their attacker.

More spells were cast from the darkness, but wary now, the party was able to avoid their effects.

And then in a blast of cold, rotting wind, it landed.

BlackDragon.jpg

Standing at least 15’ tall, the black dragon must have been at least 75’ long, it’s leathery (evil) wings expanding out another 70’ as it reared back on it’s hind legs and unleashed a stream of emerald acid at Haza and Ramirez.

Although hurt, Ramirez bravely charged the dragon, his enchanted blade biting deep through the dragon’s scales. But the dragon responded in kind, it’s claws and teeth slashing and tearing at the fighter, who fell under the massive assault.

But now, a fire elemental entered the fray, under the direction of Haza, freeing him to help heal their fallen fighter while Torque took a long-range approach to the fight.

And the distraction caused by the elemental allowed Ramirez to regain his feet and attack the beast once again, his weapons slamming home again and again.

Bloodied and hurt, the great dragon took to the air, roaring it’s rage into the howling storm as it flew over the trees, quickly disappearing into the darkness of night.

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September 22nd, 2013 XP
Encounter Type XP
Symbol of Fear Trap 3,200
Konas Esprillian, Blood Knight Combat 25,600
Aisa Dublesse, Vampire Witch Combat 38,600
Hetna Dublesse, Witch Combat 19,200
Radvir Giovanni, Vampire Tetori Monk Combat 25,600
Redemption of Halloran Idriss Story 19,200
Total 131,400
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 14 -445,000)
Haza 315,792 Cleric 13
Torquemada 317,975 Inquisitor 13
Ramirez 316,300 Fighter 13
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The Final Battle

Desnus 24th, 4711

Beneath the Abbey

Having recovered from the harrowing events of yesterday, Torquemada, Haza, and Ramirez awoke to a cloudy dawn. Hastily, they dined on sausages and bread and made preparations to return to the Abbey of St. Lymirin.

They paid a quick visit to Barragaro Road for some vampire hunting supplies, and the trio set off north to the abbey, approaching the seemingly deserted structure from the riverside, intending to make use of the cave entrance they had noticed in their late night flight from the vampire Radvir Giovanni. Once they had arrived, however, the group decided to further investigate the spider-haunted shaft they had discovered hidden in the winery, and stealthily made their way up the cliffside to enter that outbuilding.

Preparing themselves to fight the spider swarm, Ramirez threw open the hidden trapdoor to reveal… an empty shaft. Of the spiders there was no sign, and the group quickly descended, expecting an ambush.

Pleasantly, there was no ambush.

The room beneath the winery was somewhat dusty, but there were no tracks in the room. A circular tunnel led north and branched to the west – both spurs ending in solid walls. A quick search by Torque found the secret doors in each wall, and the party decided to take the western spur first, emerging into a large ossuary.

Carved stone columns resembling angels with outstretched wings supported the ceiling of this wide, long chamber. Decayed bones and half-rotten burial shrouds spill out of ten five-foot wide alcoves in the chamber’s walls.

As they fanned out into the room, a voice ran out from the western end, calling out in greeting. A figure emerged from the shadows. Clad in breastplate and heavy shield, and wielding a finely crafted longsword, the man stepped forward. His armor bore the symbol of Iomedae which belied the vampire fangs that gleamed in the party’s light spells.

Halloran_Idreiss.jpg

The man introduced himself as Halloran Idress, Holy Warrior of Iomedae (paladin), and explained that he regretfully could not allow the party to leave this room. Wary, but willing to talk, Torquemada spoke at length with Halloran, who would not budge on allow the party to move further into the abbey basement, but did seem willing to share information about his presence, and of the creatures who now infested the abbey.

Halloran explained that he once was a paladin of Iomedae, but was waylaid in Restoration Park while investigating the murders in Caliphas by the vampire Radvir. He believed that he had died, but awoke in the abbey having been turned into a cursed undead.

Radvir had apparently entered into a pact with two witches – Hetna and Aisa Dublesse, who were using the abbey as a headquarters while looking for the missing parts of the third member of their coven – a dead annis hag called Oothi, who had been dismembered and whose body the witches were reassembling to return to life. Halloran further explained that Radvir’s plan was to blame the vampire murders on the aristocracy of Caliphas, setting off a human/vampire war and allowing him the opportunity to destroy the elder vampires of the Underground.

When pressed further, Halloran informed the party that he was compelled to protect this entrance, and would have to attack if they left this room through the basement door. However, he had no orders as to the other tunnel entrance and exits. He warned that the witches were powerful, but also had the services of a blood knight – one Konas Esprillian – and that the witch Aisa had recently become a vampire herself.

When asked if they could do anything for him, the ex-paladin replied that he would like the chance to be redeemed from this undead curse, but explained that he would have to be freed from the witches’ compulsion and seek redemption at the Dawngate Memorial of Iomedae in Caliphas, after which he would seek the cleansing rays of the sun to end his life honorably.

The party agreed to return for him, and set off down the other tunnel, clumsily settings off a Symbol of Fear trap as they exited into a mortuary!

The mortuary lay empty and disused, covered in a fine layer of dust. A mural of a winged human woman with an eagle’s head covered the east wall – a statue of Saint Lymirin herself.

There was little to see in the room, so the party headed to the only other exit to the south, where a roiling fog was starting to drift into the room.


The Final Battle

Suddenly, a figure loomed out of the shadows to the south.

Konas_Esprillian.jpg

Wielding dual bastard swords and streaming blood from every part of his full plate armor, the blood knight Konas Esprillian charged to the attack! The knight spewed out an enormous gout of raw blood, nauseating Ramirez as it slashed at the fighter with it’s twin blades. Haza called upon the holy power of Sarenrae to blast the creature, when a wave of fatigue rolled over the party. As the blood knight pressed it’s attack, the air seemed to exit the room, and everyone began to suffocate. Clearly, something else was at work other than the knight, but of the spellcaster there was yet no sign.

The battle continued, and black tentacles appeared from the ground as Haza and Torquemada tried to exit the room. As they struggled to free themselves, the witch Aisa Dublesse finally appeared in the fog.

Aisa_Dublesse.jpg

The vampiric witch blasted the party with a powerful cone of cold while the blood knight continued his attacks. The party was hard pressed until the combined efforts of Haza and Ramirez struck down the undead knight, and the group was able to focus on the witch.

The party was on their last legs at this point, but would not surrender to the evil witch. Weary, bloodied, and their powers and spirits exhausted, the trio fought on, determined to end this evil.

Suddenly the vampire monk Radvir was there, tripping Ramirez as he foolishly attempted to attack him as the monk raced by. As Ramirez’ body flew into the air, a powerful elbow caught him in his ribs, smashing him into the ground. As he struggled to rise, the monk’s foot lashed out and caught him in his ribs before he continued racing forward to pummel the cleric Haza.

Radvir_Giovanni.jpg

The battle raged on, with Haza using all the power of Sarenrae to wear down the vampires.

Ramirez succumbed to his wounds, but the witch and monk were forced into mist form and blending into the mist. But the party was prepared, and recalled a sarcophagus hidden in the tunnels earlier. Haza recalled Ramirez from the brink of death, and they quickly returned there, to find the vampire witch fast asleep and healing.

It was to be her last rest, as the party quickly dispatched her, staking her and dragging her body outside into the sunlight to be forever destroyed.

All that remained was the capture of the vampire monk Radvir. Their search downstairs was fruitless, so they ascended up into the abbey proper to continue their search. They quickly checked the ground floor and then continued upward into unfamiliar territory, arriving in a large laboratory room.

With a manic cackling, the witch Hena swooped through the air on her broom and throwing lightning bolts at the party.

Hetna_Dublesse.jpg

Another pitched battle ensued, with Ramirez and Torquemada being taken out of the battle, leaving Haza alone to fight the evil witch. But the power of Sarenrae was strong, and Haza slew the vile woman, rescuing his friends from her clutches.

Radvir’s body was discovered lying in one of the upstairs bedrooms, and the group wasted no time in staking him and preparing his body to be returned to the vampire lord Luvick in Caliphas.

A search of the abbey turned up the journals of the sisters, revealing their ongoing search for their sister’s body parts, most of which had been reassembled in an upper bedroom. The party fell upon the evil hag’s bone with abandon, making sure they would never be used to resurrect the annis.

The party also found research notes on creating a bloodbrew elixir, which allows vampire spawn to resist the control of their masters, and clearly one of the means that Radvir meant to use to overthrow the vampire lords of Caliphas. Notes written by the nosferatu Ramoska were also discovered, and referred to another vein of research dealing with the extension of life through magical and alchemical means, but the research was never completed.

Finally, the group returned downstairs to confront Halloran and explain that the way was now open for him to seek redemption in Caliphas. The ex-paladin agreed to seek such, and accompanied the party as they traveled back to Caliphas.


Desnus 25th, 4711

Justice at Dawn

It was nightfall by the time they arrived, leaving Halloran at the Dawngrace Memorial as they took the body of Radvir to the Vampire Underground, where Luvick waited in his grand hall.

“I am very pleased, mortals. And I thank you for your efforts. They shall not go unrewarded or unrecognized by my people.”

With that, the body of Radvir was taken away.

“If you wish to see the justice of the vampires, seek out the highest tower of Castle Stryithe at dawn.

You are dismissed."

With that, the party was led back above ground, where they met up with Halloran in the early hours and were met and escorted by vampire guards to the top of Castle Stryithe, where a struggling Radvir was tied with enchanted chains to a post.

As the dawn rose later that morning, one soul burned angrily with vengeful green flames in the emergent sunlight, while another peacefully was engulfed in pearlescent white fire.

As the party returned to their rooms at the Silent Hound, they found a heavy sack filled with platinum coin, with a note initialed L. S.

Later that day, another letter was delivered, this one written by Ramoska Arkminos.


It is my understanding that you are responsible for my release from Siervage’s custody, and for that you have my undying thanks. I now make haste to return to my home, but there is one final piece of business I must attend to. As promised, I will tell you what I know of the Whispering Way and their plans. I leave it up to you to decide your next step.

Upon further study of the sample of the elixir the Whispering Way gave me, it appears my theory that Prince Ordranti is the cult’s target was ill-founded. Instead, I’ve determined that the concoction is meant for someone else—Count Lucinean Galdana of Amaans. Judging by the components used in the elixir’s creation, the cult doesn’t just plan on transforming Galdana into a lich, however. Rather, it seems they intend to remake him into the most powerful lich this world has ever known—some sort of vessel for the Whispering Tyrant himself. I desire no part in such ill-conceived goals, and urge you to find Count Galdana before they do.

At this point, I am convinced that the Whispering Way has fled to their greatest stronghold, the fortress-monastery of Renchurch, in the haunted highlands of Virlych’s Hungry Mountains, ready to enact the final phase of their plans. Should you decide to venture there in search of them, I wish you good fortune.

Sincerely yours,
Ramoska Arkminos


Even more troubling, when the party attempted to contact their friend, Count Lucinena, at the Majesty Hotel where he was staying, all they discovered was a broken door and signs of a struggle in his sitting room. There was some blood, but a pouch full of coin was untouched, as were other items of value in the room.

It appeared that the Whispering Way had kidnapped the Count and were likely already on their way to the monastery of Renchurch.

They must be stopped.

View
September 9th, 2013 XP
Encounter Type XP
Besda/Erilu/Mertine, Witchfires Combat 19,200
Spirit Naga Combat 6,300
Total 25,500
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 13 -315,000)
Haza 271,992 Cleric 12
Torquemada 274,175 Inquisitor 12
Ramirez 272,500 Fighter 12
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Exploring the Abbey

Desnus 23rd, 4711

Of Wine and Witchfire

A gentle breeze wafted through the open doors of the huge dining hall through a wide foyer to the east. Wooden chandeliers with luminous candles hung from the ceiling overhead, their long ropes strung through the rafters and tied off on the eastern walls. Twin staircases descended from the north and south ends of the hall, the two stairs leading down.

Of the Glabrezu demon, there was no sign.

Slowly, the trio tended to the body of their fallen companion, Quinley, and moved to retrieve their weapons from a nearby table. Torquemada slowly started to survey the room, looking for anything untoward, but after a few minutes indicated everything appeared normal. The simple abbey dining hall was a simple dining hall.

Investigating the rooms to the west, the party first found themselves in a moderately-sized kitchen with a fireplace for cooking, numerous cabinets, and a large butcher block table set in the center of the room. A further search by the inquisitor found nothing amiss, so the party moved to the next door.

Ramirez opened the next door over, and stepped back as a thick, coiling, cold white fog roiled out from the doorway. The party was poised for attack, but as the fog continued to slowly pour out, nothing happened. A detect magic by Torquemada revealed that the fog was indeed magical, but seemed to be nothing more than a permanent or semi-permanent solid fog that had been magically chilled. Haza boldly stepped into the fog, and confirmed Torque’s analysis, as the room appeared to be a pantry for perishable items – meats, cheeses, fruit, vegetables, and the like. A thorough search of this room turned up nothing other than produce and other provisions.

Torquemada led the group to the south doorway off the dining hall, opening it and revealing a small workroom of sorts. A number of tables and chairs stood in the room, with sheets of parchment, quills, and inkwells spread around the tables. Most of the papers seemed mundane, but one item stood out – a large piece of parchment that showed a map of the abbey’s ground floor. A number of areas had been marked with a skull symbol – rooms that would later be found to correspond to the abbey’s bell tower, carriage house, storehouse, and winery. The group took the map and decided to investigate the skull rooms, starting with the closest one – the bell tower.

A set of stone stairs wound along the walls of the square tower. In the center of the roof, long ropes descended through a perfectly round hole about a foot in diameter – the abbey’s bell tower obviously. A quick search of the room revealed nothing out of the ordinary, and the party moved up to the next level where four windows allowed a modest amount of natural light into the second floor of the abbey’s bell tower. Stone stairs along the walls led both up and down, while two doors opened to the west and north. Otherwise this level was empty. Why the tower was marked with a skull was still a mystery.

The party returned to the first floor and decided to check out the remaining skull-marked rooms, moving through the entry hall into the storeroom off of the carriage house. This stone-tiled chamber was full of barrels, crates, boxes, and half-filled sacks of grain, but a thorough search again revealed nothing to indicate why this room was marked on the map.

Next on the map was the winery, and the group exited the main building and made their way to the outbuilding housing it. Three huge wine casks dominated the warehouse-like interior of this stone building, beneath a vaulted ceiling rising nearly twenty feet overhead. Four wooden vats lined the western wall next to a pair of double doors, and five smaller barrels sat on the tiled floor near a similar exit to the southeast. Smaller doors exited to the north and south.

Torquemada bade Ramirez to check the wine casks, and the fighter dutifully began opening the heavy tuns’ lids, making sure the wine within was “safe.” And it was, until he opened the final lid and saw a beautiful woman staring back at him from inside the cask. A beautiful, translucent woman that was wreathed in a sickly green fire…

Witchfire


Two other witchfires joined her sister as they attacked the band of adventurers, gouts of pale green fire erupting from their hands and engulfing Ramirez and Torquemada in their cold emerald flames. Haza lept to the attack, calling upon the cleansing fire of Sarenrae to aid their battle as the ghost-like creatures continued their attack. Now Haza was their target and even his near-immunity to fire was overcome by the creatures’ attacks. The battle raged on, with the party gaining the upper hand when one of the witchfires fell to blade and magic, and soon the other two were also destroyed.

Torquemada searched the building afterwards, and found a secret trapdoor that led down. More cautious now, Haza illuminated the shaft with a light spell, revealing hundreds of swarming spiders! The swarm quickly spiraled down and out of the lit shaft, but no one seemed eager to traverse that path now.


Let’s spend the night together

Frustrated by the lack of finding anything “skull”-worthy in the skull-marked rooms on the map, the party went to investigate the other outer structures on the map.

The vineyards outside of the winery were picked clean, obviously their harvest filling the casks inside the winery. A large stone well sat nearby in the shade of a grove of young apricot trees, but only clear, cool water was discovered inside.

“I hate this place,” said Haza.

Trying their luck on the shoreline of Lake Encarthan, the group went next to the nearby dock. A weathered flight of wooden stairs descended the bluff here to a small deck before continuing down to along wooden pier. A small sailboat lay moored at the end of the dock.

The dock and boat seemed completely ordinary, but Ramirez suddenly realized he was standing near a large body of water. With a scream, he turned and ran off the dock and back up the bluff. As the party turned to watch the spectacle, a sinuous form rose silently from the darkening waters and attacked Torque!

Spirit naga

The spirit naga had surprise on its side and venom in its fangs, and made the most of the both. The party retaliated, and the snake-like aberration responded with a powerful fireball… that Torque adroitly dodged and Haza simply shrugged off. It took more than merely magical fire to affect a cleric of Sarenrae.

Now the naga was the one surprised, and the group pressed their advantage, striking down the monster as it tried to regroup.

But the damage had been done. The day was drawing to an end, the party was beaten, drained, and magically exhausted. They had to find a place to rest and recharge.

After much discussion, they decided that the best place for that was inside the abbey.

The abbey where the evil witches and their vampire ally were allegedly hiding.

The abbey filled with evil ghostly undead and demons.

The group decided to barricade themselves in the kitchen, with Haza using his Stone of Alarm on their door for additional protection. The fireplace was also blocked with furniture, and the group settled down to rest for the night, Haza taking first watch while Ramirez took off his armor and Torque settled down in his bedroll.

Night fell and Haza maintained his vigilant watch by candlelight. When he noticed the fine mist flowing out of the fireplace barricade, he quickly moved to rouse his companions, who hastily prepped their remaining spells while the fog solidified into the figure of Radvir Giovanni.

As the traitorous vampire fully materialized he glanced at Ramirez, ordering the burly fighter to put his armor on. Horrifying, he turned to obey, starting the long orderly process of donning his full suit of armor.

“Surrender now and I’ll kill you quickly. No? Very well then,” mocked the vampire.

Haza lashed out with holy power, but Radvir moved quickly into their midst, latching onto Torquemada and sinking his fangs into the inquisitor’s neck, as blood sprayed from the bite wound, even though he had protected himself with freedom of movement! Torque should have easily evaded the grapple, but no, the undead tatori monk held fast.

Torque tried to escape, but to no avail, as Haza continued to attack with prayer and spells. Finally, with a desperate surge, Torquemada broke free, but now the vampire turned on Haza, easily grappling the cleric and drinking of his blood.

Radvir released Haza, slamming him with negative energy and spun to do the same to Torquemada. The duo attacked, but although their attacks hit home, seemed to do little harm to the vampire.

But suddenly, he collapsed back into mist, roiling out through the barricaded door into the entry hall.

“He’s left to regenerate himself. How long do we have?” asked Haza.

“A minute or two at most,” replied Torque. "We need to leave now. Come on Ramirez.:

“I really hate this place,” said Haza.

Ramirez no longer seemed to be under the direct control of the vampire, and fell to tearing down the barricade as the others gathered their belongings to flee this place. The group rushed out the door, losing precious seconds as they debated the best place to go.

Finally, they settled on taking the boat back to Caliphas. Torque cast a remove fear spell on the fighter to temporarily suppress his water phobia, and everyone piled in the boat, moving swiftly further into the lake to throw of pursuit. In later tales of their exploits, this would be immortalized as the event that gave birth to the persona of B.A. Saul…

After a half-hour of looking over their shoulders into the dark, the group arrived at the docks of Caliphas, and swiftly made their way to the home of Abraun Chalest. Upon seeing their faces, the bleary-eyed historian quickly ushered them into the protection of his home, moving to put on a pot of tea and helping to tend to their many wounds and injuries.

Safe and secure for the night, the party was finally able to rest.

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August 25, 2013 XP
Encounter Type XP
Nabassu Demons (4) Combat 19,200
Ghouls (8) Combat 3,000
Charmed Guards (12) Combat 38,400
Dolthyssun, Advanced Glabrezu Demon Combat 38,400
Total 99,000
Character XP Total Class Level (Level 13 -315,000)
Haza 263,492 Cleric 12
Torquemada 265,675 Inquisitor 12
Ramirez 264,000 Fighter 12
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The Bells of Sante-Lymirin

Desnus 22nd, 4711

What waits in the dark?

Moving upwards from the basement area, Torquemada, Ramirez, Quinley, and Haza made their way through the main salon floor, opening doors, searching for secret doors and panels, and exhaustively searching for any further clue as to the designs and whereabouts of Radvir Giovanni… to no avail. Everything seemed on the level as far as the tailory shop went, but the party continued on into a warehouse area on the south side of the building.

Wooden rafters supported the ceiling of the large warehouse. A number of crates and barrels containing ingredients for dyes and other materials lie stacked throughout the room, creating a maze of pallets and boxes.

Haza noted that the ceiling above them was dark. Exceedingly dark. Even after casting a light spell, that area remained shrouded in shadows. Having had enough, Haza invoked the sacred power of Sarenrae, creating a nimbus of light that finally pierced the darkness lurking in the warehouse ceiling, revealing… nothing.

The party moved further into the room, trying to make sense of this puzzle. Why would someone cloak a perfectly normal ceiling in deeper darkness? As they continued to make their way forward, suddenly Ramirez started to float up into the air. The party watched as he continued his slow ascent, stopping about 15’ off of the floor. There he hung, suspended in air, as he looked around, turning his body to see if anything was in reach of this magical effect. However, he was simply suspended in mid-air, and there was nothing around him that he could reach.

Torquemada started to unpack a coil of rope, thinking that Ramirez had simply stumbled unto some kind of magical trap at this point.

Then he saw the demon staring at him.

Nabassu

The nabassu pointed a clawed talon, and a crackling burst of violet-black energy hit Torquemada directly in his face, the enervation critically draining his life force as he reached for his blade.

As the party moved to engage the demon, Quinley started to rise into the air also, struggling helplessly to overcome the magical effect. It was only later that Torquemada would realize that this and the earlier effect on Ramirez were telekinesis attacks by the demons.

The demons attacked the party with savage glee, tossing enervation beams that started to severely weight upon the adventurers. Ramirez and Quinley were forced to rely on missle weapons, and the appearance of a third nabassu demon seemed to weight the battle in favor of the Abyssal monsters.

However, the combined holy powers of the inquisitor and cleric soon began to turn the tide of battle. Even the appearance of a fourth demon was not able to swing the odds back to the evil outsiders, and soon their reeking remains lay dissolving on the floor.

After that battle, the group finished searching the main floor, finding little of interest. As daylight was quickly passing, they decided to quickly search the upstairs area before returning to the Silent Hound for the evening.

A shoe room was quickly tossed and left behind, leading the group to a series of apartments where they were confronted by six guards, obviously charmed thralls of the vampire Radvir. Torquemada quickly incapacitated the men with hold person spells, and the group was able to easily subdue and bind the guards. However, a search of the bunk bed rooms again revealed nothing of interest, so the party quietly made their way outside and through he streets of Caliphas back to their inn.


Desnus 23rd, 4711

The Abbey of Sante-Lymirin

The morning found the party back outside the Nobleman’s Stitch, however, this time the group headed next door to the furniture shop they had noticed previously. The shopkeeper, one Geb Dilbar, was quite talkative and spoke about how he had provided knitting needles for Radvir Giovanni for many years, yes he had. And the needles in question did in fact look exactly like those the party had found had been used to stake vampires during the killings.

Satisfied that all the pieces of the puzzle had been uncovered, the party decided that the mysterious abbey mentioned in Radvir’s journals was the next logical place to investigate.

Located a few miles north of Caliphas along the coast, the abbey was dedicated to Saint Lymirin, one of the first saints of Iomedae. A simple dirt road climbed the high bluffs overlooking Avalon Bay, and led to a two-story stone abbey connected to a squat carriage house by a tree-lined terrace. An adjoining bell tower rose sixty feet from its southern exposure, commanding a wide view of Caliphas to the south.

The group noticed a young stable boy near the doors of the carriage house, and approached him. Torquemada introduced himself and asked to meet the head of the abbey. The boy inquired as to the party’s business, and then disappeared inside the building.

A few moments later, he reemerged.

“The abbess has no time for beggars. There are no alms for you today. Move along.” said the boy.

Stunned by this response, Torquemada again explained who he was to the boy.

“I don’t believe you. Now move along.”

This time Haza stepped forward to confront the truculent boy, but to no avail.

“I told you beggars that you need to leave.”

Ramirez Saul stepped forward, drew himself to his full height and proceeded to do his best to intimidate the boy.

“Seriously, you need to move away from here. Don’t make me call the guards.”

The party was completely bewildered at this point, and the boy turned around, walked back inside the carriage house, and shut the door.

Flabbergasted, Haza suggested that the group try the main entrance instead. And why were they even entering through the stables anyways!

Knocking at the front door a few seconds later, everyone was much relieved when a portly man dressed in an abbot’s robe and frock, opened the door.

“Welcome to the Abbey of Saint Lymirin. I’m afraid we don’t have any alms for beggars today. Please go away.” He started to shut the door, when Torquemada spoke up again, explaining who they were.

Again, the abbot refused them entry.

Finally, Torquemada drew upon all of his diplomatic skills, and this seemed to register with the old priest, who grudgingly agreed to let them inside to meet the High Abbess.

“You will have to leave your weapons with my guards,” he intoned as six burly men moved forward to claim their arms.

The party was not happy with the arrangement, but finally acquiesced to the abbot’s demands, handing over their weapons to the guards, who passed them over to the abbot.

He moved over to a nearby table, placing the weapons down and picking up a mug, turned back to the party.

“You are incredibly stupid.

Kill them."

He gestured to the guards who immediately drew their weapons and attacked the weapon-less party!


The Glaucous Count

The party fought desperately against the well-trained guardsmen. While hard-pressed, the group was able to disarm a few of the fighters, and with new weapons in hand, were able to fight back effectively.

Meanwhile, the abbot drank deeply of wine and sat back to watch the fight.

The battle slowly turned back into the party’s favor. Four of the six guards were down, unconscious or dead, although the party themselves were battered and bleeding.

The abbot was now eating some cheese and grapes as he watched the pitched battle.

Finally, the abbot stood tall and gestured with a hand. A cold, cloying miasma of greasy darkness erupted from the middle of the melee, it’s unholy power burning into the party and guards equally.

The guards lay dead as the party reeled from the attack, and the abbot laughed.

Ramirez was the first to respond, charging forward and striking one of his most powerful blows… which didn’t even seem to harm the grinning abbot.

“Ramirez. Would you like to see your brother Ryszard again? I can make that happen,” intoned the priest.

Haza lashed out with a spell, only to watch horrified as the effect dissipated in the air.

Spell resistance.

Torquemada started to buff up with his spells, as Quinley moved to the attack, but his attacks were also ineffective.

“It’s not too late to save your brother. No? Not interested?”

Suddenly, the stable boy reached out and slapped Ramirez with an open hand. Blood spurted and a huge gouge appeared across his armor.

The abbot had turned into the stable boy?

That was not possible, though Torquemada, and Haza followed through with a dispel magic on the abbot.

This time his magic was strong enough to penetrate the spell resistance, and all stood in shock as the figure of the abbot turned into something… else.

Dolthyssun

A glabrezu demon.

Laughing gleefully, the demon tore into the party, lashing out with claws and pincers and spells. The party fought bravely, but were being slowly outmatched by the demonic monster, even though it had taken it’s share of bloody hits by this time.

Suddenly, the demon teleported to the back of the room, and offered a truce in exchange for 12,000 gp of gems.

“Pay me this, and I’ll depart this place and leave you in peace. Or perhaps one of you would be interested in seeing your fondest wish coming true?”

“Go to hell,” said Ramirez.

“Actually, that’s the Abyss,” corrected the demon.

The group rushed forward to press the attack, but the glabrezu laughed once more and teleported away once again, this time seemingly out of the room.

Whether it would return or not, the party did not know, but set around to bandaging their wounds and tending to their fallen companion, Quinley.

Around them, the abbey was deathly quiet.

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