Heritage Lost

Finding Anuri
3 Hul, 562PC

As the characters approached the city of Anuri they discovered a badly injured man laying on the outskirts of the forest. His body had been ripped by what appeared to be a massive claw strike. Teodolf backtracked the man’s trail and found the body of another man, this one having died from his wounds.

A brief argument broke out amongst the party, as some wanted to take the wounded man on to Anuri, the others wanted to search the trail while it was still fresh. Eventually they chose to take the high road, carrying the man to Anuri. Upon their arrival, they were accosted by a group of about 30 out-Wallers. The men were suspicious of them, not believing their claim that they had walked to Anuri from Kema. The bodies of two of their fellows certainly didn’t help. At the same time, a group of in-wall soldiers quickly came out to the scene. The leader, Marcon, managed, with a certain abrasive style, to calm the situation and convince the out-wallers to take the men into town. To the Black Unicorn to be precise.

The party accompanied the townsfolk to the Black Unicorn, discovering along the way that this was far from the first disappearance, then returned to investigate the scene. Oron tracked the blood back through the forest to a game trail. It was there that t hey characters discovered similar gashes to the ones on the men about 15-20 feet up in the trees. They tracked the men, and the gashes back along the trail to a clearing. Within the clearing the found ripped boughs forming a bed where the men had lain. A strange chemical smell was found on the boughs, and the first tracks of the men appeared as if they were drugged.

Strange voices carried through the woods; the party was not that far from a logging site. They watched for a while, then emerged from the woods to speak to the loggers. When nothing came of that, they returned to Anuri, and found themselves invited to visit the governor, Jayden Clark.

Clark informed the party that he did, in fact, care about what happened to the out-wallers. He told them that a group of men in the employee of one Madam Russo had found a set of ruins while exploring the woods around the city. The disappearances started soon after that.

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Get on the Zombie Train
27 Firstborn, 562PC

After mopping up a few more of the strange wolf/spider hybrids, the party followed a rough trail back to the creatures’ lair. There they found a small stack of bodies, cocooned in spider-silk and ravaged by the wolves’ teeth. Investigation of the wolf bodies revealed that their brains were somehow deformed, almost as if the creatures were somehow being controlled. But by what?

Having no more information on the strange hybrids, the party continued on, crossing through the final tunnel and beginning down a series of switchbacks to the plains below. Halfway down, they found the wrecked remains of a small train. The first car contained crates of weapons and shields. The second, apparently a troop transport, held 20 shambling undead. The shamblers poured forth from the train car, swamping the party. Brass’s programming kicked in, and he made short work of several of the foul creatures, but the rest of the party quickly found themselves struggling for their lives. Suddenly, from around the front of the first car, a horrific monstrosity emerged. Multiple bodies, fused together by the same magical force that reanimated the dead, formed a staggering, grotesque creature. Brass charged forward to destroy the thing, a shambler grasping at his waist.

The rest of the party, Oron, Teodolf, and Zafar struggled against the shambler horde. Oron and Teodolf were able to hold the monsters at bay, but Zafar, already weakened from the spiders’ venom and without power to fuel his spells, suffered serious bites and rakes from the undead creatures. Fortunately, the hunters, Chait, and the captain soon appeared to lend a hand and turn the tide of the battle. Oron rushed to the aid of Brass and the two were able to fell the massive monster, while those of the party left standing dispatched the remaining zombies.

The next morning, rested somewhat from their ordeals the night before, the party searched the remainder of the train. Zafar found some small pieces of the magical engine that pulled the train, while Teodolf found the insignia of the soldiers that had died within so long ago.

Game

Rested and armed, the group continued down the mountain and out onto the frigid plains, eventually finding themselves at the old dwarven city. A sign, rising out of a mound of bodies, bore one symbol: the dwarven rune for “cursed”.

3 XP

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Tunnel Spiders
23 Firstborn, 562PC

After leaving the small human settlement, the PCs joined back up at the wagon. Enri immediately barraged them with new details about the armor that they had found. It bore symbols of a clan that had been declared enemies of the dwarves long ago.

The group camped another night, then moved onward, pushing themselves and the wagon on. The terrain became more difficult to pass, as the northwestern side of the mountains are significantly more rugged than the southern range.

Three days later the party realized that they were being paced by something unknown in the surrounding woods. Moving on, they soon came to the entrance of a rail tunnel. A sudden scream from Oryll caused the party to spin around facing the way they had come; two large wolves stood on the trail behind them. These wolves, however, were different. Spider-like mandibles sprouted from their jaws, and layers of webbing covered their bodies. Zafar fired a blast of wind toward pair, obliterating one but leaving the other to bound off into the woods. Rather than risk more of the beasts attacking them in the open, the party chose to make their way into the ancient tunnel. They quickly realized that their decision might not have been the best.

Several large spiders attacked the party (and the wagon) from all sides. Holding in their fear and disgust, they fought the 8-legged monstrosities. A few of them went down, stunned by the beasts’ poison, but the group gained the upper hand. A shriek from deeper in the tunnel drew their attention and a massive spider, easily the size of a horse scrambled out of the darkness. Brass leapt forward, grabbing its massive mandibles as it bore down on him. Meanwhile, two of the spider wolves attacked from the tunnel’s mouth.

Brass, with help from Zafar, overcame the monstrous spider. At the loss of their queen, the remaining smaller spiders fled. Oron and Teodolf Doric were able to defeat the spider wolves. The party members paused to catch their breath, then proceeded to burn the remaining webs. Once they were burned away, the party found the desiccated remains of several travelers. Teodolf made a chilling discovery: one of the bodies had a collection of tribal items, and Oron recognized one of them as belonging to the man he claims killed his son. Zafar used his magical sight and detected that an ancient sword, almost buried under the bodies, emenated a magical aura.

Unfortunately, the night had grown long and it was time to end the session.

3 XP

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An Unnatural Oppression
21 Firstborn, 562PC

The session began as the characters were cleaning the old bridge of both the debris and the dead body of the Ogre. As they finished removing the obstructions, they were attacked by a demonic flying creature, part pterodactyl, part beast, the animal proved invulnerable to both their magic and weapons. Thus began a hasty retreat from the open bridge to the tree shrouded line on the other side. The creature landed a vicious blow against Sulny, ripping through his rib-cage and dropping him to the ground. Oron ran to his side, but it was too late for the ex-bandit. The beast then scored a hit against Adon, dropping him to the ground, and forcing Captain Scafaro and Teodolf to assist him across the bridge. Finally under the cover of the trees, the party could do little but watch the horrible beast devour their former companion.

The party continued along the rail-lines, looking for the spur that the elves claimed would lead to the human settlement. As they walked, the surrounding forest grew even more oppressive, leading both Oron and Teodolf to feel that it was more than just exhaustion and cold causing their discomfort. They camped one night, and marched on before finding the spur the next evening. The group decided to camp again, then Teodolf, Zafar, Oron, Turun the merchant, and Inenath the Hunter, to the human settlement.

About a mile’s walk down the dilapidated spur (obviously not protected by the same magic as the main line) the group encountered a disturbing sight: 6 gibbets hung surrounding an well-kept clearing. A low stone table, complete with shackles at the corners, sat in the middle. One gibbet held a very old skeleton, one held a skeleton with bits of flesh and clothing still attached, and
one held a fairly fresh (3-4 months old) body. All had their shin and forearm bones broken. Oron claimed that the gibbets, and the broken bones, were likely punishments for cowardice or thievery.

A mile further on, as a wooden palisade could be just seen through the trees, a large debris field blocked their passage. Teodolf led the way through the field, but fell prey to two traps. Luckily, his combination of armor, agility, and toughness, he managed to escape nearly unscathed. Unfortunately, as Teodolf jumped away from one trap, Inenath stepped off the path and ontol the trigger of another trap. Teodolf was able to defend him from the trap’s attack, but Inenath was unusually distraught by the situation.

After navigating their way through the trapped debris, the small party made it to the wall of the settlement. They were not greeted warmly by the overtly suspicious townsfolk, but managed to talk their way into an audience with the town’s leader, Mehr. On their way through the town, Teodolf noticed a large structure near the center that seemed to be a re-purposed temmple.

The party met with Mehr in an emptied out dining hall. He, like the rest of his people, only acknowledged Zafar if forced to, and then rudely. For his part, Zafar handled it surprisingly well. Turun soon took over the conversation, turning it to talk of trade and commerce. Soon, Mehr left the party to their own devices, taking Turun on a tour of the village, allowing Oron to roam the village freely and Teodolf to examine the temple to Durance. He cautioned Zafar to stay within the dining hall until his companions were ready to leave and Inenath decided to keep Zafar company.

1 XP

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Deeper into the Mountains
12 Firstborn, 562PC

Bruised, but not beaten, the intrepid adventurers slowly climbed from the lonely depths of the canyon. Making their way back to the road-side rest they camped in, Teodolf heard the sounds of the hunters calling for the dwarven sage, Enri. Driving their tired legs onward, they soon caught up with Inenath and found that Enri had not been seen for some time. Fearing the worst, they set out to help in the search. (Even Zafar begrudgingly agreed to help.)

Enri was soon located, kneeling before an ancient stone column covered with what appeared to be Dwarven symbols. Conscious and seemingly in good health, he simply did not respond to those around him. Fearing some form of supernatural influence, Teodolf stepped between Enri and the stone, shaking the dwarf from his reverie. Looking up at the former Temple Warden, utter defeat in his eyes, he stammered “I can’t read them. They’re dwarven runes, but I don’t understand them.” At that he rose to his feet and began stumbling back down the mountain to the rest stop.

Zafar, in an attempt to either assuage his own curiosity or his vindictiveness toward Enri, summoned his magical power to read the runes. However, even magic could not decipher the ancient runes, but did reveal that they were not truly dwarven. (Surprisingly enough, Zafar, actually chose to inform Enri of this later. Regardless of his true intent, Enri considered this an act of kindness.) After that failure, Zafar attempted to identify the magic surrounding the stone; an intense backlash of magical energy knocked him to the ground, unconscious. The party decided that any more examination of the stone should wait, and escorted Zafar back down mountain.

The group realized that the would need to contact Emil Kintoron soon, and decided to make an extended stay at the rest-stop. During that time Brass, in an uncharacteristic display of something resembling emotion, argued that the group should explore the area to see if there were anymore of the stone obelisks. While they found no further evidence of such items, they did find (or were found by) a small group of elves. The encounter was brief, yet friendly. The elves warned them of dangers in the mountains and told them of a human settlement a days journey north.

The communication with Kintoron went well, with the only true news being that strange creatures, believed to be tall humanoids had been sighted around the old mage’s tower. Of course, so many strange rumors surround that once cursed place, it is difficult to ascertain the truth.

Finally, the group set off again, deeper into the mountains. Upon reaching another bridge, they encountered and defeated a large creature, called an Ogre in the fairy tales. The battle was short but fierce: Captain Scafaro was felled, not once, but twice; Brass’s formidable strength neraly exhausted, Oron bolstered the party with his healing, and Teodolf did his best to protect his brethren. After a furious spell assault, which seriously injured the beast, the Ogre turned it’s attention to the source of its pain and launched a massive blow, only missing Zafar due to Oron kicking him aside. Unfortunately, adrenaline had seized him, and his kick landed too well, jamming Zafar‘s leg and sending him flying over the edge of the bridge. Only Zafar’s magic saved him, as he summoned a magical & mysterious entity from the plane of air to lift him back to safety. The battle was finally won due to the beast’s over-reach, on the miss, and several final blows landed on him simultaneously, finally defeating the monstrosity.

2 XP

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Into the Mountains
4 Firstborn, 562PC

The characters returned to the village of Gilbor believing themselves to be heroes, but instead found themselves “escorted” into the village by the local militia. They were brought before Michelle, the mayor, and questioned about the incidents at the village, then at the tower. Once they explained themselves, she demanded that they give over the items and relics they had recovered from the tower. Adon, however, refused to do so. The militia captain, Egidio Scafaro, calmed the situation down, and inspected one of the books carried by Adon. Turning to the mayor, he refused to confiscate the books and was summarily fired. The characters were escorted from the village and met up with the rest of their travelling crew outside of the town, with a new companion: Captain Scafaro.

The party made its way north, heading for the Otheron mountains. Scafaro warned them of Michelle’s involvement with a bandit named Tuttle, and true to his fears, the bandits attacked the group that night. After driving them off, the characters were left with two captives: both were offered the chance to accompany the group by Teodolf. Needless to say, this shocked the rest of the party. One, Sulny Cer’usk, agreed, while another, whose name was not known, fled, only to be bolted in the back by Zafar.

The characters continued on, soon finding their way to a train tunnel that led deep into the Otheron mountains. While they stared at the lightless portal, Oron had a vision of “The Worm” leading him into the depths of the tunnel. He bolted in, and the rest of the group followed….

The party traveled 8 days, struggling through various incidents, exhaustion, and weather. Then they came upon an amazing thing: a massive bridge spanning an even more massive cavern. At the other end, shining like a beacon in their exhausted state, was an old tavern. As they crossed the bridge, they found something even more amazing: a wrecked airship lay on a ledge some 300 yards below them. The rest of the group went to the resthouse, while the characters went to investigate the airship. Unfortunately, they found themselves surrounded by zombies. After Brass turned into a zombie Cuisinart, they investigated the ship. Inside the hold they found a lot of bones from large fish (part of the cargo), and a large box of pearls. They then went to search the captain’s quarters and got blasted by a massive trap, which almost took out Zafar.

3 XP

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Rescue
3 Firstborn, 562PC

Stones crashed down upon the characters entered the cavern. Adon and Enri were driven to the ground under the force of the blows. 2 more groups of the humanoids charged out of hidden positions. Within moments the characters were fighting for their lives. Brass struggled to hold off the larger, more powerful, savages. Teodoric braced himself over the fallen sages. Zafar dodged blows while slinging magical bolts. Oron fared the worst from the onslaught, quickly suffering multiple wounds from the crude clubs of his attackers. As even more of the strange folk charged toward the fray, the party realized that they would soon be overrun. Zafar called upon his magic to allow him to speak in the language of the beast-like folk. He called out to them to negotiate, but the fight continued. They began to fight their way back to the cave entrance, their strength waning. Suddenly, a primal shout rang out, stopping the combat nearly in mid-swing.

The savages fell back, forming a rough semi-circle around the party, while the characters fell back, ready to retreat. An older brute, clad in feathers, bits of bone, and beads formed from broken glass hung from rough-made twine, clambered from behind a large pile of stone. Zafar, through his magic, understood the savage’s grunts and growls. The new arrival, some sort of chief or shaman, had recognized the ancient holy symbol worn by Teodoric and had claimed him to be a savior.

Through questioning the brutes, the party came to understand that they believed themselves to be in some form of alternate plane; their tribe led there long ago to protect them from some form of demonic invasion. At some point in their past, the ground had shaken, as the gods had opened a portal for them to return to the real world. They ventured forth into the “real world” and had both killed those exhibiting the taint of possession (pretty much any violent action) and rescued those they felt to be innocent.

The characters also investigated the bodies and the large crystal growth. Zafar discovered that the crystals were of those called “Kara’s Tears” and had been used to hold magical power. Theodoric discovered that one of the bodies, that of the former seneschal, had an ancient, and very well made, holy symbol much like the rough one he wore. A small maker’s mark containing the symbol for the city Tear lay in the corner of the symbol. Teodoric felt some form of power within the symbol as he touched it. Brass also found a rough journal on one of the bodies.

After much debate, the party decided to escort the savage tribe back to the surface, sending them back to the old farmhouse to form a new community. Zafar believed that the lake, whose waters were saturated with magic, had caused the mutations suffered by the tribe, and that, once away from it, they would begin to revert over time. Brass was more concerned about the effects of introducing a cannabalistic people into the world. Once the savages were taken care of, the party returned to explore the remainder of the manor. They soon found that the power of the wizard’s protection had saved his research quarters from the ravages of time and attack. Within the protected walls they found a library, Maxinian’s research into simulacrum, his journal, a basic alchemy lab, and a mini observatory on the roof. Brass came away with another simulacrum torso, the blue-skinned wizard found a few books, and Theodoric found a book of religious writings. The group decided to remain in the tower overnight.

The next morning, the characters were shocked to see spirits moving throughout the manor. They discovered that the spirits were actually simply memories, replayed by the backlash brought about so long ago. The characters decided to try to break the spell by moving the body, still attached to the door, out of the area. As they crossed the threshold of the manor walls, a massive explosion detonated behind them. They turned to watch the centuries-old structures begin to crumble. Theodoric laid the body to rest in the old barn and fired the structure.

3 XP

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Into The Depths
3 Firstborn, 562PC

The party left the decimated village early in the afternoon, following the notes in the journal to a small abandoned farmstead described as the Ackerman farm. After investigating the out-buildings, the entered the small farmhouse. Deep gouges on both the door and window sills led them to believe that the farm had come under attack. Within they only found a small scrap of blue fabric hanging from the cooking rack in the dilapidated chimney. Brass and Zafar repaired the roof enough to allow the party to enjoy a semi-comfortable sleep.

Early the next morning the group continued following the old journal to the legendary “Tower of the Bloody Man”. As they fought their way through the brambles and brush on the side of the mountain, Both Zafar and Oron claimed to see something behind the party. Zafar was convinced that the shadow he had seen from the corner of his eye was nothing more than a wild animal, while Oron argued that the something was following the group and wanted to lay a trap. Brass argued that the group should continue on to the tower where the terrain would be more defensible. The sages, Adon and Enri, were both obviously frightened by the conversation. Soon, the shadows in the woods would be forgotten….

The PCs found the tower, surrounded by a 10’ wall. Walking around the wall led them to a gruesome discovery. A horrific scene lay before them. The tower sprouted up from an aged manor house. To its left was a burned out barn, to its right an external kitchen and workshop. The courtyard was filled with rotting trees and vegetation. Torched bodies, burned so badly that they had fused together, lay in the center of the path. The worst, however, was the scene on the front steps of the house: a man, crushed as if a giant hand had squeezed the life from him, stood fused to the front door. Zafar inspected the magic within the area and found that a magical force had formed a bubble over the manor and its surroundings. The force seemed to emanate from the body, and showed the telltale tendrils of backlash.

Afraid to touch the body, the group climbed through a broken window and found a destroyed room. Nothing larger than a dinner plate survived. Each room they passed through, bedrooms, dining room, library, all, were the same: destroyed. Soon the group found a storeroom in the basement, and in it, a door in pristine condition. Zafar identified that the door was protected by a Wizard lock, impenetrable and impervious to all but the most destructive forces. Using the key next to the door, Zafar read the words that would open the door. Immediately inside the door the PCs discovered an early prototype of a mechanical man like Brass. Beyond that was a cave system. The party decided to explore the cave and soon found the inhabitants as they were set upon by a group of savage mutants. The humanoids were swiftly dispatched by the group, with only Teodolf suffering serious injuries. After healing him, the PCs continued further down into the depths of the cave. Finally, they came upon a wider cavern with 5 small huts. An underground lake filled the back half of the cavern, and a large growth of crystals rising from the lake on a small island. The characters could barely see the skeletal remains of a body on the crystals.

2 XP

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An Auspicious Beginning
1 Firstborn, 562PC

Outfitted with enough food to last for 3 months, warm weather clothing, survival gear, and porters to carry it all, the strange party heads north from Kema toward the mining village of Gilbor. It is here that they expect to meet up with a new sage to accompany them, as well as obtain information about the mysterious sorceror’s home.

After an uneventful trip, the group arrived in the large village. Stowing their gear they immediately set to washing the dust from their throats and finding information to aid them in their quest. Once seated in the Inn, a scruffy storyteller attracted their attention. Barley, as he called himself, told them a story of a village to the west who’s Elder had raved about the “Tower of the Bloody Man”. This was also when the party got their first taste of the dwarven sage called Enri.

Early the next morning the bulk of the part, with Adon in tow, followed a merchant from the western village. After a mostly pleasant walk, they topped a hill leading into the valley housing the village and witnessed a horrific scenes. A zombie attack had laid low the simple villagers, and some few had turned. The party, led into battle by Brass, easily defeated the undead and began a systematic search of the village buildings. The undead were a mixture of villagers and dwarves. Their guide, the merchant, was found in his home, holding the body of a young girl in his arms as he knelt amidst the wreckage. Coaxed away from the scene, he accompanied the party to the home of the village Elder.

Searching the house, the party found the diary of the Elder, which contained directions to the so-called “Tower of the Bloody Man”. The party decided to wait for morning, then investigate the mines above the village for the source of the undead. Unfortunately, they first had to find the merchant, who had slipped away in the night. He was found back in his home, hanging from the beams, a small stuffed toy clutched against his chest.

The mines above the village were proven to be the source of the undead. Somehow the villagers had broken into a pre-existing shaft. Their horror can only be imagined as a dozen dwarven undead poured from the breach they had created and began consuming them. Brass supervised the destruction of the bodies.

A strange effect seemed to take over Brass during the discovery of the torn up remains: he seemed to enter a trance and ripped through the dead as if her were searching from something. Or someone….

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The Tome of Truth
17 Mark, 561PC

The second day begins with Brass returning to Kema to report the actions, and subsequent death of, Connor. The sages continue working to uncover the subterranean room, and find a well appointed chamber that was used as an office by the former landholder. Within the room they find a writing desk, a table, an ornate couch, several tapestries, and on dead body. Within the writing desk is a simple diary, written by the former owner of the estate, Lord Oren of House Stallet. Much of the information within the diary is of interest only to sages, as it is mainly about the day-to-day life of the owner.

Excited by the discovery, and cautious about the damages to their team, Mel and Adon agree to return back to Kema. Upon their return everyone is paid the sum of 260 bars – 35 bars per day, plus 2 extra days as a bonus. Zafar Al’Akir and Teodolf Doric are released and sent on their way. Oron is invited to stay with the guild for some time as they interview him about his experiences.

A few days later, Adon comes to the Red Widow, the inn Zafar is making his home, in an extremely excited state. After reading Lord Stallet’s diary in more detail, he has discovered a section detailing the visit of Morgan Chaney, a wizard who had recently been sanctioned to construct a research laboratory in the mountains north of the capital. Adon’s eyes are alight with the possibility of uncovering magical research from a wizard’s tower. Zafar is also enthralled with this possibility. Adon asks if Zafar would see if any member of the previous expedition would be interested in another, while he discusses the matter with someone who may be willing to supply them for the long voyage.

Later that afternoon Zafar receives a letter from Emil Kintoron inviting him to discuss the matter of the expedition. The party arrives at Lord Kintoron’s house as the sun falls, and are shown into a small private room. Kintoron greets them warmly, and offers to outfit their group for an expedition to the northern nation of Inghetare, first to the ancient dwarven city once called Kogak ’n Ol, then on to the capital of Ridiron. The group agrees and he supplies them with speaking stones. They are to use the stones to check in with him as the sun sets on the first night of the new and full moons.

Upon returning to his quarters, Zafar’s elation is somewhat tempered by an anonymous letter that he receives warning him of potential repercussions from Connor’s family.

5 XP

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