Northern Exploration and Garmonbozia: Flamerule 2nd-5thEdit
Sir Roswell, Rain, Noale, Jord, and Jura set out from Willowdale on the 2nd, travelling north. They encountered a farmer named Wesnell, who directed them to a barrow mound several miles north of the Nymph's Lake. The Pathfinders dug out the mound until they reached the door, and then camped for the night. In the night, a meteor fell, and Jord collected several pounds of adamantine.
On the 3rd, the Pathfinders opened the mound. They destroyed a black pudding and claimed several barbarian spears.
The Pathfinders then continued north. They discovered an abandoned campsite, and a human corpse with its throat cut and its tongue cut out. A second set of humanoid tracks, human or elven by Jura's guess, left the campsite. The Pathfinders followed these tracks through the Cedar Forest, but lost the trail at the chasm to the Open Steppe. The party tied a flag to a tree to mark the point where the trail stopped, then travelled along the chasm to the Oni Bridge, hoping to recover the trail on the other side. However, the Oni stopped the Pathfinders as soon as they stepped onto the bridge. Sir Roswell offered the Oni a drink of Garmonbozia if he let them pass. The Oni accepted, and the Pathfinders followed him to a magnificent treasure room. Here the Oni, attended by white kobold servants, took a drink from the bottle and told the Pathfinders to leave him. The Pathfinders realized that if they crossed to the other side they would not be allowed to cross the bridge again on their way back to Willowdale. To avoid being stranded on the other side of the chasm, the Pathfinders agreed to simply return to Willowdale. It was speculated that the tracks they found belonged to the fugitive Arcade.
Crypt of the Endless Dead: Flamerule 6th-8th
On the 6th, Dr. Haiduc, Enrique, and Jura left Willowdale for the Dead Canyons. They first visited the Tomb of Sekhemkhet. The Pathfinders spoke briefly with Sekhemkhet's spirit, and Enrique took a piece of chainmail armour that had been left previously. They camped overnight in the tomb. Though they could hear the dead outside, they were undisturbed in the night.
On the 7th, the Pathfinders entered the Crypt of the Endless Dead. There they fought and destroyed several zombies, skeletons, a mummy, and a crypt thing that appeared to control these dead. They recovered a Rod of the Python, a book, and a protective amulet, and returned to Sehkemkhet's Tomb to spend a second night.
On the 8th, they scouted out the Tomb of Kheti the First. Dr. Haiduc and Jura summoned air elementals and instructed them to fly through the tomb and gather any objects they could carry. The air elementals carried back several treasures including enchanted bandages and a magic shield. The elementals also reported encountering undead shadows within the tomb.
Climbing Castle Rock: Flamerule 8th-10thEdit
On the 8th of Flamerule, the month-long celebratory Lunasa preparations were in full swing: travellers, merchants and performers from all over were congregating in the town of Willowdale, and the Pathfinders Rinzler, Kat, Jura, Dr. Haiduc and Alyenna all spent the evening visiting stalls and seeing the festive sights.
On the 9th, the party set out on horseback and were able to make it to the edge of the Great Cedar Forest by nightfall. Not wanting to enter the goblin-infested woods at night, they made camp in the fields in the shelter of the forest's edge. They were not fated to have a restful night: shortly after making camp, they were assaulted by a wild, acid-spewing drake, which they managed to fell without great incident. Later that night, an enraged Chickcharney broke out of the woods, red-eyed and senseless with fury. Making a hasty retreat, the Pathfinders fled in the direction of the drake's carcass, hoping that the meat might cause the owlbear to pause. Escaping north along the forest's edge, they eventually found a second campsite where they planned to spend the rest of the night. It was not to be, however, as they were summarily attacked by a pack of ghouls and a ghast which appeared to have come from the Church of St. Christopher. By the time the undead were disposed of, it was very nearly morning.
On the first light of the 10th, Alyenna managed to spot something gleaming from the top of a mesa within the forest. Deciding to invesitgate, the group moved into the cedar woods towards Castle Rock, narrowly avoiding some sleeping goblins. After a tricky climb, aided significantly by Sparkle Pony's strange abilities, the group made it to the mesa's top, a rocky area with some sparse tree cover. After taking a look around, they spied an area where the trees had been stripped and scratched, and at its center, a lone defoliated tree held at its top a large nest with a single griffon egg. Some of the Pathfinders wished to try to acquire the egg, while the others, fearing the mother, decided to explore elsewhere. While the first group discussed the best way to get the egg down, Rinzler found a grave with a rusty sword for a marker. Finally deciding that the egg might be more dangerous then it was worth, everyone gathered around the grave. Exhuming it, they discovered a half-orc body, dead for at least 50 years, holding a scrap of journal. The journal detailed the death of the half-orc, a monk of Yoma named Father Daga, as well as the continuing quest of the rest of his group to find a lost treasure to the north. Re-burying the body, the group looked around the surrounding forest for other points of interest. They managed to spot a large patch of red trees, and a nearby cluster of elven ruins. Climbing down, they decided to investigate the ruins.
Reaching the site, they found it dominated by the remains of pillars and walls, what may have been a fort of some variety. Finding an intact cellar, they descended to find a large door, labelled "Doors to the North" in elven. Behind it was an antechamber, leading to a room with large, square floor tiles. The tiles were trapped in an odd manner: when a non-elf stood on one, it summoned an angry elemental which could be unsummoned by destroying the runes that subsequently appeared on other tiles. Eventually, enough of the tiles were damaged that the elementals could no longer be summoned. On the far side of the room was another door, designed in the manner of humans but still labelled "Doors to the North", this time in the common language. The door was trapped and locked, and required some finesse to open. Behind it was a door of dwarven make, with "Doors to the North" written in dwarven. Opening it was more difficult then the door previously. A third door followed, of halfling design and script; the traps on this door were highly advanced, and the Pathfinders had already exhausted much of their pertinant magical aids. Dr. Haiduc was insistant that Kat, being a halfling, should try to touch the door, despite the evidence that it was strongly electrified; Kat, already leery of doors from a previous experience, refused. Unwilling to risk their well-being and lacking proper tools, the Pathfinders decided to leave the strange doors for another day and returned to Willowdale.
The Alchemist and the Red Forest: Flamerule 15th-18thEdit
Dr. Haiduc, Kat, and Jura left Willowdale on the 15th intending to cross the chasm between the Cedar Forest and the Open Steppe using a temporary bridge erected by Jord and others. They then planned to follow Alhannan Widestep's note to the Drunken Frith and Deepen Dale. They spent the night of the 15th with the Firewalker Tribe, and Dr. Haiduc impressed the Firewalkers with his magic. During the night, the Barking Wilder Pack launched a raid on the Firewalkers, which the Pathfinders helped to repel, notably using a combination of Grease, Pit, and Entangle spells to keep the dangerous Wargs out of the fray.
Having noticed a tower in the centre of the Red Forest, the Pathfinders decided to travel in that direction in order to find the cause of the damage to that part of the forest. They encountered three Otyugh and a Rust Monster within the Red Forest, but avoided physical confrontations with these creatures. They noticed that as they travelled through the forest their energy was slowly sapped by some magical force.
On reaching the tower, the Pathfinders found inside a giant crystal, similar to the one they had seen in Sosostriss' Tower. The top of the tower housed an alchemy lab, where they discovered a dead body. From his notes, they determined that the Alchemist had attempted to recreate an elven warding spell. Instead, the powerful magic backfired, killing him and sapping the life from the surrounding land. The magic was bound up in the crystal, which had fallen from the sky into Limnol Lake. They also discovered a vial of powder described in the Alchemist's notes as a powerful explosive, and a display case filled with six potions which were labelled as very powerful creations.
Dr. Haiduc suggested that the drain on the land could be undone by using the explosive to destroy the crystal on which the enchantment depended. Kat objected to this plan, but Jura agreed with Dr. Haiduc. Kat took the six potions and the alchemist's formula book from the tower. A summoned creature was used to drop the explosive over the crystal while the Pathfinders were some distance away. The Pathfinders felt the drain on their strength cease upon this destruction, and Jura guessed that the land would shortly begin to recover.
Before leaving, the Pathfinders collected several obsidian-like crystal shards. Dr. Haiduc took tso that he might get alchemical advicethey showed the crystal shards and the potions to Valconey. He determined that the shards would hold magic very well and could easily be made into bladed weapons with the Spell Storing property. He also identified the potions as fakes, the real ones likely stolen. Kat gave the formula book to Rinzler, and subsequently took the body from Dr. Haiduc's apothecary in secret and buried it in an unmarked grave outside of town.
Death of the Bridge Oni: Flamerule ??-??Edit
The Pathfinders Gorgoroth, Dr. Haiduc, and Erevis started the day by meeting Willowdale newcomer Alejandra, who had arrived in town as a result of her search for the changeling killer Arcade. Despite her inability to pronounce his name properly, she suggested that the group focus on trying to bring in the killer to help the people of the town, and the group filled her in on what they knew of his escape route. Dr. Haiduc also performed a harrowing for the paladin, though she reacted very sadly to the presence of the Tyrant card in her past and the Empty Throne card in her present, even snapping at Dr. Haiduc when he went into an explanation of the cards' meanings.
They travelled to his suspected encampment on the east end of the chasm in the Northern Badlands, where Dr. Haiduc opted to interrogate the soul of the deceased man they found there. Though Alejandra was surprised by the practice of necromantic magic, she was also intrigued by it and participated in the interrogation. The group pieced together that the man was indeed Arcade's travelling partner, that the two of them had escaped from prison, and that they were trying to make it to the "ocean," suggesting the Rheic Sea. Though they could not prove it, they also suspected that Arcade killed his partner as part of his getaway. They allowed the escaped convict to return to his rest, and decided that their next plan of action would be to assault the bridge that the Bridge Oni called home.
Upon their arrival at the bridge, they opted to approach subtly at first to attempt to have an advantage for their assault. Holding up the gate with the Doctor's wagon, the four of them climbed the east gatehouse in search of some sort of vantage point or advantageous position from which they could attack their target. Upon finding a third-story window, they scanned for invisible presences and found the Bridge Oni awaiting them at the centre of the bridge. Dr. Haiduc quickly fired off a web which he then used fire elementals to set alight immediately, and Erevis made several attempts to blind the Oni from a distance. Alejandra and Gorgoroth, meanwhile, went out the window to attempt to keep the Oni from the spellcasters, and kept him occupied in front of the gatehouse entrance. Though the Oni managed to inflict massive damage on the front-line attackers, support from his comrades enabled Gorgoroth to land several critical blows, the last of which finished the Oni for good. The Pathfinders thus helped themselves to his hoard of treasure, and Gorgoroth was rewarded for his incredible efforts with an enchanted tattoo which would serve him against others of the Oni's kind, and the bridge was later renamed in his honour.
Shrine to Bhaal: Flamerule 22nd-25thEdit
Heading south on the morning of the 23rd, the group headed towards the small oasis they knew of in the Southern Badlands. While on their way, they were attacked on sight by a group of hobgoblins, scouts from the nearby legion camp. The hobgoblins fought with military precision and teamwork, but the various terrain-altering spells of the Pathfinders tripped them up and foiled most of their group-based tactics. The scouts were quickly routed, although some survivors managed to escape; the Pathfinders claimed their standard, finding that it was imbued with a stamina-enhancing aura. Managing to make their way to the oasis, the group spent the night in relative peace.
On the 24th, they continued on into the Dead Canyons, narrowly avoiding detection by a group of basilisks in the caves. After returning to the small group of tombs, including Sekhemkhet's Tomb, the Crypt of the Endless Dead and the Tomb of Kheti the 1st, the group decided to explore the depths of Kheti's Tomb. Entering the dark alcove, they were met almost immedeately by a shrine to the dark god Bhaal, a strange sight as the god was very far removed from the pantheon known to have been worshipped at the time the tomb was built. As they investigated the shrine, they noticed a shade of some sort hiding in the shadows down one of two hallways that led from the central room. It seemed benign, but the Pathfinders followed it, not wanting to be caught off guard. Losing sight of it, they entered a small dead-end alcove dominated by an ornate sarcophogus, claiming to hold Kheti the 1st. Opening it fully, they discovered a mummy, inert, whose bandages were laced with many various gems and rings. Disaster, however, was barely averted: it was only through chance luck that they managed to identify the various traps, poisons and curses that had been laid on the individual objects. Gathering the tainted treasure, the group decided to venture down the second hallway. A wight guarded the hall fiercely, and nearly pushed the adventurers back out into the canyons before it was defeated. At the hall's end was an embalming room, furnished with a complete set of ceremonial canopic jars which Erevis claimed. As the embalming room was also a dead end, save for a tiny drainage grate that obstensibly lead into a small natural chasm, the Pathfinders decided to return to Willowdale, making it back to the town by the 25th.