Research is for Nerds
July 25 2015 Game Session

After defeating Bob, the party drags his sorry butt to Ishkarat to have Lurza (the Nethermancer) use Experience Death – just to see if she could get any good information. She suggests that he was effectively a Construct – he had no blemishes on the Horror Marks in his pattern, and it appeared that he willingly gave himself up to the Horror.

They decide to head towards the Great Library of Throal, but they pickup a new party member – a windling named Auri. She seems nice enough, but there is definitely something ‘different’ about her….

After four days on a boat, they reach the western edge of the Throal Mountains. They decide to disembark and take the road less travelled. They are ambushed by flying creatures that Auri calls “shadowmants”. If not for Sabrina’s new found talent that healed poison, that battle could have been much worse.

They arrive at The Library and begin looking for information:

Party> Want to look for information about The Twins.

RESULTS> You enlist the help of two Librarians (Ahemy and Scattill) who have together spent 10 years in the Library helping people find and and all info on Horrors. They are the local experts and they’ve never heard or read about a pair of Horrors working together, never mind “related”.

It takes three days and many dead-ends, but Ahemy finally finds something useful. A written record from during The Scourge (which is very rare indeed) from a dwarf named Loran Redstone:

“I don’t know if this document will survive me, but I think it is worth the time and danger to put pen to paper. I believe I have discovered something that no one else has. I have been under ‘attack’ for about 10 days and I’m convinced that the attack is coming from two different sources – nay – two different EVIL sources. It is as if I am being torn apart from the inside. I can hear laughter from two different voices. I can hear language being spoken in two different tones (although I do not know the language). I feel a wave of pain in my head, and then a gentle breeze washes it away.”

“I have tried to focus on something tangible to write down, but all I see in my head are divided circles bouncing against one another. If I concentrate very very hard, I can somewhat get the circles to arrange themselves into letters – they form half-words “ahk” and “may” – and then they tumble away into meaningless. "

“I can only surmise that these two syllables might be part of the True Names of these creatures. No – I think I’m too close! Nooooooooooooooo!”

MORE RESULTS> General information shows that knowing the True Name of a Horror gives you a significant advantage in a fight. Sometimes that helps to dampen the Horror’s powers, other times it forces the Horror into fighting another battle to keep It from being pulled into Otherspace, and others it simply weakens the Horror mentally.

Party> information regarding Kaar Volok – if it ever opened, or if it was destroyed, and any clues to where it really might have been located.

RESULTS> There are many references to Kaer Volok. Each and every one of them indicate that the Kaer was located outside of Ishkarat. Whatever these people did, they did and excellent job of hiding their true location (even better than Parlainth). Maybe the size of the Kaer helped (documents indicate there only were a thousand or so inside).

Maria> Would like to find out more about being a Horror Scholar. Plus looking for someone to learn new spells from :).

RESULTS> Ahemy and Scattill would be happy to train you to become a Horror Scholar! They don’t get a lot of volunteers for this discipline (gee, I wonder why) and every time they try to convince the Head Librarian to ‘advertise’, their request is met with a stare that could melt stone.

Additional information:
*>Ishkarat has been established for about 800 years. It pre-dates The Scourge. There are many records about what the city was like before – food and water were plentiful, the city was peaceful (but somewhat isolated from other cities, as air travel had not yet been developed), and most of the inhabitants were elves. There are some stories that a great migration of elves headed towards The Blood Wood out of a ‘religious movement’, but it was a peaceful event and those who left or stayed did so willingly and without coercion. When The Scourge was imminent, most people left the town and went into separate Kaers. There is no known Kaer that was within 4 days travel – except for the one that you found.

*>Research confirms that the “half-words” might not be words, but syllables. The most likely answer (and the scariest) is that those syllables are part of the Horrors True Names. Generally speaking, if you ever find out a Horror’s True Name, you had better kill it quickly. Chances are you won’t live long enough to do anything with that knowledge – and that is VERY powerful knowledge to have.

*>The Therans have been (at least of recent) very happy to stay away from Throal and the cities of the North. This party has not had any encounters with Thera in the past.

*>The party has been to Parlainth before – to defeat their first Horror. They really didn’t do much research there, as there isn’t much to do. However, it might become a VERY lucrative place to setup shop for a Horror Scholar (when retirement comes along). :)

*>Current suggestion for Party Name: “The Hunters of Catastrophe”

Say Hello (and Goodbye) to Bob
May 23, 2015 Game Session

After a brief discussion about what to do next, the party decides that they have found everything there is to find on this level, and they should proceed down into the darkness. Meat Shield Mike (I’m starting to like that name more and more) goes first, hoping that his heat sight vision will help him find things. It doesn’t. There’s nothing to find – just darkness.

Until ….. he takes one step too many ….

… and then the area lights up. They find themselves in a big chamber where the stone walls have been colored crimson, and the walls and floor are almost like glass. It looks like there has been some serious heat applied here, and quite often. They also see a collection of nine statues which are at the beginning of nine short and narrow areas.

And then there’s Bob. That’s not his real name of course, but that’s what the party calls him.

“Hi gang. I’ve been following / waiting for you. I’m ready to fight now, and I hope you are too.”

Being very happy to finally have a chance to take this guy down, the party willingly agrees to battle – until the 4 beasts jump out from behind the statues and start wailing on people. Bob stays far away and casts some spells (even causing a Wound to Maria!). And the beasts have Mirror Image! Mike gets knocked unconcious, but is dragged to safety by Taylor (who is almost down herself). After taking care of the last beast, the party concentrates on Bob. A few more rounds later, Bob is pretty dead.

A short rest later (and some much needed Heated Food), Mike heads towards the large set of doors in the ‘back’ of the chamber. He pulls out the set of keys that they found upstairs, and tries the last key – and it works! Behind the doors is a box – about 2 foot cube. Maria tries to use Astral Sight on the box and is temporarily blinded. Kevin (being the least hurt member of the party) decides to open the box – and inside is a dragon egg. Hurray!

They drag the box out of the kaer and try another message to Chumanna. This one actually works (yes, all the messages that were tried from inside the kaer were blocked), and she arrives minutes later in a state of mild euphoria. She promises to take the egg to her hiding spot and revisit the party in 6 to 8 weeks (at which point she believes she will be a mother).

The party returns to Ishkarat for much deserved rest and spending of Legend Points. :)

Bees and Ghosts? Really????
Feb 28 2105 Game Session

The party continues their exploration of the kaer. They go back one room and over to the other door, which leads them to a corridor, which they follow to the left, leading them back towards the starting point (just to the “west”). As they start “up", Taylor has some warnings going off in her head – there is definitely a trap in the area. Kevin decides to locate said trap, so they tie a rope around him and he walks towards the area. Taylor yells “stop” a half second too late, and Kevin is surrounded by a swarm of bees. Sabrina is able to re-attune to Fireball after two rounds, and blasts the bees away – but they do HUGE amount of damage to Kevin. Betsey locates the spot where the bees came out (rolls a 16) and seals the spot in the hopes of never having that happen again.

The party heads towards the room with the yellow painted circle to sleep. Taylor doesn’t want to sleep, but Kevin and Mike really need the rest.

The next morning, they head back to the bees area with Taylor in the lead. She thinks that she notices an oddity in a wall opposite where the bees came out, and after a bit of exploration, they find a very well hidden door. Mike (now known as the Key Master Meat Shield) tries the keys that they found – and one of them works! Mike bravely opens the door to a 9×4 room without any other entries. The room appears to have (at one time) been a bedroom – there is double-bed (mattress with a blanket), four drawers under the bed (two on each side), small nightstand with three drawers, and on top of the nightstand is a small box. The box is approximately one cubic foot in size. Mike and Maria try Astral Sight (23) but no extra information is gained. Mike enters the room, heads for the box, and lifts the cover. Inside the box is a set of wooden wind chimes. Taylor exclaims “that’s another clue – I remember that if you strike the chimes individually in the correct order, the sound will reveal concealed doors”.

Kevin sends a message to ChuChu – “FYI – so far we have no evidence of the egg or of anyone being in this area”. The party continues their counter-clockwise travels on this level, eventually working their way to a very large set of stairs leading down to another level of the kaer. Mike decides to descend the stairs by himself with no ropes or other literal ties to the party – he gets to the landing and realizes there is no light down here (and nothing prevented the travelling). Mike’s heat sight kicks in and does not reveal anything, so he comes back up the stairs.

Continuing onward, they find another door in the southeast area. Betsey checks for traps, Maria tries Astral Sight, both are convinced there are no traps. Mike uses key number 2 and the door opens! It looks like another bedroom (again double-bed with drawers) and a nightstand – but this time the nightstand only holds a cloth doll which kinds of looks like an elf. Taylor thinks for a second, and then announces “hey – I know that thing – it’s supposed to work like a divining rod and point out locations of a purposefully broken wand”.

While studying the doll, four ‘ghosts’ come out of the walls and attack the party. Some of them engulf members of the party, but after a few rounds they are defeated.

Where else would you hide keys?
Jan 31, 2015 Game Session

The party re-enters the kaer and heads towards the blocked passageways. Mike and Kevin begin examining the rubble, and they determine some sort of a trap had been set off to block these passageways – and this was done a LONG time ago (possibly when the kaer was closed). They also see that there are two more statues, so they set themselves for another fight, after taking some time to orient spells.

Mike intends to run to the statues, swing at the statues (to wake them up), then allow the statues to follow him back up the corridor. He does this twice but nothing happens. Sabrina then says “Gee, what’s so special about this entrance?” and the statues come to life, blocking the door. Maria hits #1 with Flame Flash and it disintegrates. Betsey walks up to #2, dodges the swing that it takes against her, smacks it with her mace, and then disintegrates it with lightning.

Betsey goes to the door – Mike The Meat Shield (laugh) will stand next to her and happily take damage for her when it happens. After a few tries, Betsey is able to pick the lock, but unfortunately she didn’t notice the trap. She and Mike both get caught in a blast of nasty gas – luckily it wasn’t too bad. Betsey cracks the door.

“Betsey says Butt Out – Mike and I are having an argument.”

After some searching, the party comes across an elf (Taylor) who is talking in a very raspy voice. She “woke up” when the party opened the door. She is guarding the kaer, but doesn’t remember many other things. If the dragon’s egg had been dropped in here, it did not wake her up. Maria uses Astral Sight on Taylor and sees a pattern that does not match anything she’s ever seen before. Taylor decides to bring the party to the stairs down – and when they get to that hallway, they see these signs on the walls:

hide the box from the twins
or else the reign of fear begins;
let no one know the hiding place
‘twill spell the end of the human race;
prevent the twins from going down
even if they have the crown;
although we will miss you for many years
we will do our best to shed no tears.

Kevin sends message to Vaare: “found prophecy talking about a box, twins, crown, end of human race from 400+ years ago – help!”

Mike heads towards the stairs and steps on a pressure plate. Party paranoia sets in.

They enter a 5 by 5 room with walls on all sides, except for a single door. Betsey rolls a 16 to successfully pick the lock. This leads to another room, this room has two doors, so they choose the one on the right. This leads to a room which has three stone figures in it, along with a painted yellow circle which kind of looks like a child’s painting. Taylor seems to recognize that this circle might mean something, but before she can get the words out, Sabrina enters the room and the statues come to life and attack. Mike is knocked unconscious in two rounds, but Betsey gets to him the next round and stuffs a potion down the Meat Shield’s throat. Lots of damage in both directions, statues turn to dust in four rounds.

Now that the combat is over, Taylor focuses on the yellow painted circle. She states that the yellow circle indicates that there is an important set of keys hidden somewhere in this room. Betsey’s ears perk up at the sound of Treasure! Maria notices that one of the stones in the wall is a slightly different color (orange), so Mike pushes on the stone – OOPS! An electric shock goes through his body and knocks him silly with a big OUCH. As soon as that happens, another stone in another wall turns slightly green. Kevin goes to the green spot on the wall and pushes it with Mike’s axe. The stone doesn’t move. Mike tries, but again the stone doesn’t move. Mike tries pushing on the yellow circle, nothing. They try yellow and green together, nothing. Nate tries pushing on the orange stone, and Nate is able to jump away before getting zapped. They try all three at the same time, and even though Nate knows about the zapping, he gets caught and knocked on his butt. Betsey walks the walls and tries to find hidden compartments – and she finds one in the door that they just came through! And in that compartment is a set of three keys which appear to be different from one another.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho – Into the Kaer We Go
November 27, 2014 Game Notes

The party wakes up with one more day’s travel left to go. As they pack up to get ready to break camp, Chumanna hits them with a message to head north by northeast toward the Skol Mountains. “As you get close to the entrance, you should see a statue that’s about 5 feet tall. The entrance is hidden in one of the walls near the statue.”

The party arrives at the statue and begins looking around. The statue is a female elf, and Maria’s 33 Astral Sight indicates that there’s more to this statue, but she’s not exactly sure what it is. Is the statue alive? Maria tries Evidence Analysis:
“What was done to turn you into a statue?”
– Others used many spells and blood magic.
“What is the statue’s purpose?”
- To guard the entrance.

Mike knocks on the statue’s forehead, but nothing happens. Kevin starts searching for a ‘door’ in the mountain, and Betsey tries her own Evidence Analysis:
“How would one find the entrance?”
- Search the wall closest to the statue.
“How would one safely get through the entrance?”
- Open the entrance and watch for falling rocks.
“How long have you been a statue?”
- Over 500 years.

Sabrina randomly says “What’s so special about this entrance?” and the statue says “I’m glad you asked!” and begins to step off her pedestal. “You don’t know about Kaer Volok?”

After a series of questions and answers from the statue (none of which were very satisfying to the party), they decide to give Maria one more Evidence Analysis on the door itself (but fails with a 13). Kevin sends message to Vaare and ChuChu to see if they know anything about the Kaer (no answers from either). Maria tries Evidence Analysis again (rolls 27):

“What does this door protect?”
- Kaer Volok.
“How many entrances are there to the Kaer?”
- One.

Mike finally runs out of patience and swings at the statue, destroying it in one shot. Then it reforms, with a partner! While fighting the two new statues, Betsey picks the lock and opens the kaer door, which destroys the statues.

Sabrina’s new war cry: “Fear me and my 19 inches!!!!”

They go through the door to find a very (1 yard wide) narrow corridor with another door about 15 feet away. Betsey (eventually) picks that lock (and dodges away from the falling boulders). They slowly work down the corridor to find two more statues, which turns into four once Mike / Nate “destroy” the first two. They back out of the corridor, Mike goes in to lasso the first, they collectively drag it outside, then Sabrina fails Stick Together and Betsey fails Stop Right There.

Nate crushes the statue, and Sabrina tries Stick Together on the remains, but two statues are now formed blocking the entrance. Soon after, there are now four statues blocking the entrance (and the three inside are probably still there). They are getting very annoyed with this situation (and luckily Mike is making all his Parry rolls, otherwise he’d be hurting right now). Sabrina re-attunes to Dispel Elementalism and waits for next round. Maria and Sabrina try to Dispel but have no luck (twice) – third time is a charm for Sabrina! Maria dispelled two (29) with one cast! Betsey uses lightning mace (twice) and fourth one goes! Sabrina re-attunes to lightning bolt, anticipating that the three inside are still there. They are there, Sabrina hits them HARD with the lightning bolt and they go away!!!

Which came first – the dragon or the egg?
August 30 Game Session

The party spends two weeks training and is very happy for the rest and the LP. A courier arrives from Syrtis with complete ‘recipe’ on how to destroy a Horror Mark. It ain’t easy, it ain’t pretty, and it hurts (both the caster and the recipient) – but if it works, hooray!!! Ki-Li also confirms that nothing happened in town (this time).

“Bob” struts through the town making a lot of noise. He will be as brazen as before, but this time he’s all by himself. He appears to just want to talk the party, but they are confused about what he wants to talk about.

(Sabrina rolls a 26 for a First Impression test, and Bob asks her to join his side!).
(Maria rolls a 33 for an Astral Sight test on Bob – he is a warrior/wizard mix, and he has a white X in a black circle, but this Mark is much much clearer than Chumanna, almost as if he willingly accepted it).

Bob indicates that he knows where Chumanna’s “precious item” is being held, and Mike suggests that maybe an exchange of information would be beneficial for both sides. In return, Bob says he’d like to know everything about his supposed twin “Babs”. The party agrees, but also explains that it will probably take some time to get this information. Bob agrees and walks away, heading out of town. Sabrina follows him (up high in the air).

Kevin sends a text message to Chumanna, who immediately wants to know where Bob is. Party begins walking toward main north gate (Sabrina still following, Bob is just walking to the gate now). As Bob gets through the gate and continues walking on the main road, the party can see Chumanna flying at top speed – and the townspeople begin to panic because they think she’s going to attack! Chaos ensues and it’s difficult to travel in the city, but the party gets to the main gate shortly after Chumanna has flown by – and then Sabrina texts “he’s gone!”.

The party meets with Chumanna outside of the gate (to the surprise and relief of all the townspeople). Lots of people try Astral Sight, but there is nothing to see – until Maria rolls another 33 – she sees a light about the size of a half dollar which is shrinking in size and becoming dimmer, eventually going completely away after 60 to 75 seconds. Well as long as Chumanna is here, the party might as well start asking the tough questions…

Party: “What is the precious item of yours?” (Mike rolls an 11 charisma test!)
Chu: “They have my egg. It has about six more weeks before it will begin to hatch.”
Party: “Do you know who took it?”
Chu: “I don’t know who’s guarding it, but I have a good idea where it is. I’m going to need your help, as the area it is in is warded against dragons and much too small for me to enter anyway.”
Party: “What happens if it hatches?”
Chu: “It will begin to bond with the creature that raises it. A hatchling dragon being raised by a Horror is not something anyone wants to have happen (except for the Horror). You’ll need to go to the Tylon Mountains. I will guide you as best as I can. The egg is about 18 inches in diameter and could weigh up to 90 pounds.”
Party: “We’ll make a sling with rings. When we get it outside the mountains, we can signal you and you can fly by and simply pick it up and get out of Dodge fast.”
Chu: “It should take you about three days walking to get to the entrance.”

And so they begin walking. The first day passes uneventfully. The second day is fine, but at night Maria and Mike hear talking in an unknown language. Maria wakes up Betsey who uses her language skills to recognize that a group of Orcs are out looking for food. There is a short debate about whether to attack or ignore the orcs which is quickly rendered moot when they start charging.

Having a dragon as a friend is a GOOD thing!
July 13 2014 game session

(Combining sessions from April and July 13)

The party was successful in convincing Chumana that the would watch her treasure while she went into hiding. The dragon files away, stating that she’ll be back in four days. During the first night, the party is approached by a group of spiders – but not just regular spiders – these are BIG spiders – the kind that throw webs and cast Mind Dagger and have nasty poison!

A day later, the party hears something ‘talking’ in the edge of their hearing range.

“ChuChu? Why oh why ChuChu?”

It’s a high-pitched form of Elvish that no one’s ever heard before – mostly because it’s coming from OH MY GOD THAT’S A HUGE SPIDER!!!

“ChuChu? … You are not ChuChu? Is something wrong?”

The party tries to explain to this spider (OMG I can’t believe we’re talking to a SPIDER) that Chumana has left for vacation and will be back in a few days.

“Well then – if ChuChu is gone, I must get my treasure back.”

Wait. What? What treasure? There’s no treasure in this room?

“My treasure – right there!”

The spider is starting to get agitated (like a 2-year-old) and seems to be pointing towards a section of the wall. Party continues to try to convince her (definitely female spider) that there is nothing there, and the spider continues to get more and more agitated, going into a fit. Maria is convinced that something is ‘odd’ (yeah, other than a talking spider going into a temper tantrum – that’s not odd at all) and takes a really close look at the wall – and all of a sudden the wall goes away (nice illusion there Mr GM Sir) – revealing a pretty large pile of gems (like 4ft wide x 2 ft deep x 3 feet tall) that forces Betsey to make a Willpower roll to prevent her going swimming in the gems.

“My treasure! My treasure!”

Kevin then notices that there are many more spiders entering from the ceiling – this is getting rather unpretty quickly. Mike takes up guard position in front of the gems, and the queen spider throws a web around some and attempts to drag those gems away.

Needless to say – it gets a little combative in the cave. After a few rounds of swords swinging, arrows flying, Kevin dominating two, and poison poisoning, the spiders are dead.

[Great – how are we going to explain this to Chumana?]

Two more days pass – during which time, Vaare talks to the party via chalk text messages. He thinks that the party already has a method to break the Horror’s Mark on Chumana – using his Ring. He’s going to write down the process, but it will entail weaving the eight-hour process into the Ring (as a 6th Rank Thread). Needless to say Mike is overjoyed to hear this (both correctly and sarcastically).

Chumana returns to the cave. She looks perfectly healthy. She tells the party that she flew to her ‘hospital’ where she goes when she’s gravely injured (it’s an abandoned underwater kaer, encased with elemental earth and air). She put herself into a healing trance (as she has done in the past) – when she woke up, she was in the same spot she went to sleep, the same protective wards were in place and active, and as far as she can tell nothing disturbed her. She also did not have any nightmares.

Party checks in with Li-Li via text – Ishkarat was not attacked in the past four days – the plan actually worked ?!?!?!?!?!?

They tell the story of the spiders – “ChuChu” is very happy to see them gone (“oh they were such a pain in my brain, all that chirping and wining!”). She is impressed that Maria was able to take down her illusionary wall, and confirms that the pile of gems did belong to the spiders, and that they now belong to the party.

Betsey dives in head first and starts swimming. :) They’ll figure out how to get the gems out later.

The party tells Chumana of the Ring and the process – she’s a little pessimistic (“you realize this has never been done before”). The party is now going to head back to Ishkarat to train (hooray for 20K legend points!) and work with the Ring and the process. They leave Chumana with some message chalk, and they will be in touch.

You're Talking with a DRAGON????
Feb 24 Game Session

Party trains for ten days.

If the timing pattern is correct, next dragon attack should be in about 8 days. More supplies have arrived in town, town is much happier and holding party in very high regard. Annoying Human (“Bob”) has not come back since – two obsidian creatures appeared in a similar way, turns out they were waiting in Astral Space (based on Lurza’s Experience Death spell). Lurza has no idea how they ‘flipped’ from Astral Space to normal space. Party begins to consider that the two Horrors are ‘pulling’ creatures back and forth from Astral Space to normal space.

Party uses the next caravan to send information back to Vaare to ask him to find out as much information he can about ‘stepping into and out of Astral Space’. Quick answer is “most people don’t do it – horrors can, some live in Astral Space”.

Ki-Li has a personal item of Chumara’s (one of her scales) that the party borrows so Sabrina can try using Direction Arrow – which unfortunately does not tell her anything. (GM ruling for future reference: Direction Arrow does give three-dimensional direction.) After much deliberation, the party decides that their best chance to talk to Chumara is to try to find her in her lair, in a mountain a day’s walk away. They borrow a few horses (and a Clydesdale for Kevin) and get to the base of the mountain about mid-afternoon.

Upon reaching the base of the mountain, Sabrina tries Direction Arrow again, which lands and points straight into the mountain and at a roughly 45-degree incline up. Sabrina starts flying up (not close to the ground but not too far away from it as well) trying to see anything like a cave entrance (big enough to allow a dragon to enter), or scorched areas, or downed trees. And surprise – there is a cave! She flies back down and accepts the praise of the party ( grin ).

There is no trail or path up the mountain. Maria has climbing gear, breaks it out, and the party slowly starts making their way up the mountain. Things are going well for about the first 15 minutes of climbing, but then they hit a section that is very difficult and half the party almost lose their grip! At this rate, the party is not convinced that they will able to make it up to the cave before nightfall (Kevin and Nate just don’t seem to be able to do this very well). With daylight starting to fade, the cave is now in sight!

Suddenly, a light-bulb goes off in Sabrina’s head – she can cast Sky Lattice and the party can climb up the mountain and into the cave without any problems at all!

Kevin sends a message to Vaare, telling him what is going on and if he doesn’t hear from them in three days, assume the worst. Vaare sends back “ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?!?!? NOT ONLY ARE YOU TRYING TO TALK TO A DRAGON, YOU’RE GOING AFTER ONE THAT MIGHT BE HORROR MARKED!?!?!?!?!”

The party enters the edge of the cave as the sun begins to set. Considering that only two people have heat sight, the party makes the tough decision to spend the night in the cave but as close to the entrance as possible. To everyone’s surprise, the night passes without event.

As morning arrives, the party can now see the stonework in the cave – there are claw and scratch marks on the walls. Astral sight is used by many people to see if they notice anything, and Betsey starts looking for traps in the cave. The cave looks pretty much like you’d expect – 60 to 70 feet wide and it goes out of sight into the mountain. There are scorch marks and fire marks burned into the walls. Betsey does notice a trap in the pathway leading inward and marks it off. Since the cave is so wide, it’s easy for the party to avoid the trap (but a larger creature would not have the same benefit). Astral Sight has not shown anything – yet. Sabrina uses Direction Arrow again (rolls 25) – and from deep within the passageway, a voice (speaking in Elvish) asks “Why are you here?” Betsey has the best Charisma (of the people who can speak Elvish) so she gets “nominated” to do most of the talking (and kudos to Betsey for rolling a 19 on her initial Charisma test).

Betsey: “We come from Ishkarat. We come here in peace, we just want to talk, we are friends with Ki-Li.”
Chumana: “What are we talking about?”
B: “Are you the one who has been attacking Ishkarat?”
C: “I am somewhat responsible.”
Party: ( Confused and talking among themselves but loud enough for Chumana to hear ) – Is she doing the flybys, is she under duress, does she know she’s doing this…
C: “How do you think you could help?”
B: “If this is what we think this is, we believe we can help. Are you in complete control of yourself?”
C: (In Dwarvish) – “You disrespect me by speaking in this language.”
B: “It is not our intention to disrespect you. We are trying to stop the damage on the town. We know that you have had a good relationship with Ishkarat in the past, and we want to try to restore that relationship.”
C: “I do as well.”
B: “What can we do to help you? Can we help you in any way”?
C: “If you wish to help, you should settle all of your personal matters. Because you are about to embark on a journey and a fight against two Horrors.”
B: “We already knew that.”
Mike: (Jumping in speaking in Elvish) “I am Gondorf The Mighty, trained under Gronk. I am not afraid of Horrors!!”
(Betsey begins to cringe …. )
C: “You have already defeated a Horror?”
B: “Yes, we have. What we are trying to figure out is whether the Two are working together or working against each other.”
C: “The answer to your question is ‘yes’ – they are working together and they are working against each other.
Mike: “One astrally, the other materially…”
C: “No. It’s so much simpler than that. It’s just downright disturbing. The best way to describe this is that they are brother and sister, and they are in constant competition with one another.”
B: “Are you marked?”
C: “Yes.”
B: “No offense – but how could that happen?”
C: “My ego got the best of me. What was offered is of no consequence, because it is of little value now. Suffice it to say that in a few days, I’m going to be forced to attack the town again.”

Side conversation – How does a Horror Mark get broken?
1) Destroy the Horror
2) Destroy the being marked
3) Other than that, this is a topic that has not been heavily researched nor extensively experimented. There aren’t a lot of in-between options.

B: “Where are the Horrors?”
C: “I don’t know.”
B: “Do you hear a voice in your head, or ..”
C: “No, I don’t hear voices, I effectively just get taken over.”
B: “Is there something that dragons fear or avoid (in general)? Is there something you are afraid of?”
C: “I don’t necessarily like being underwater, but I don’t think that’s going to help here.”
B: “Do you know why they want you to attack the town?”
C: “No. I can only imagine that it has something to do with their competition.”
B: “Can we see you? We want to make sure that we’re not being deceived by the Horrors. We’d also like to confirm the Horror Marks.”
C: “You’ve seen the Marks before?”
B: “In a way – Lurza from Ishkarat found the Marks on two obsidimen that attacked us yesterday. We’re just trying to put the pieces together.”
C: “I know Lurza, but she does not know me. I know everyone in the town. Even though I disagree with her discipline, she is of good body and good spirit. What did she tell you?”
B: “She was the one who determined that there were two marks, and that the obsidimen stepped out of Astral space.”
C: “So you wish to look at me to confirm the information Lurza gave you? Very well. Stay there, I will come to you.”

( Betsey needs a Wilpower Test to make sure she doesn’t go after Chumara’s treasure and rolls a one! )

You hear the sound of claws scraping against stone, and the party starts to arrange themselves in the cave. After 5 to 7 minutes, a head appears in your line of sight. That’s a BIG head (about 6ft by 10ft).

C: “Do I have your word that you are only looking at me with Astral Sight?”
B: “Yes.”
C: “I don’t know why, but I think I trust you.”
B: “Maybe because we climbed up here with imminent danger …”
C: “Yeah – why didn’t you just use a Sky Lattice”?

( DM ducks from the dice being thrown at him. )

Maria and Mike start working on Astral Sight – you do NOT see a white circle with a black X and a black circle with a white X – you will see A BUNCH of them – about a DOZEN of each type.

Maria: “Does only one or both Horrors take over your body for the attacks?”
C: “They combine their efforts. I have no control of what happens, and I have no way of knowing what the results of the destruction are.”
Mike: “Have you tried to leave your home.”
C: “This is my home. I’m not leaving my home. I have been in my home since the attacks began.”
Mike: “Why couldn’t you just fly away from here the day before?”
C: “I have tried to use my willpower to prevent from being taken over. The event usually lasts for about 12 hours – I feel as if I am having a very bad dream.”
Mike: “But if you flew away ahead of time, the Horrors would have to expend more energy to get you back here…”
B: “Have you seen the Horrors?”
C: “Only in my dream state. They are more odd shapes than actual solid form and very hard to remember.”
B: “So they don’t have any resemblance to say a human who can pop into and out of Astal … “
C: “Oh let me guess – he’s about 6’3” blah blah and describes Annoying Human perfectly. I would like to ask a favor of you all – I would like to kill that person myself. He’s effectively a construct of the male Horror, and he has a female counterpart.”
B: “We haven’t seen her yet.”
C: “They are twins.”

Kevin sends message to Ki-Li – “is there any reason for the town to be destroyed – maybe there is a kaer underneath or a large treasure?”
Ki-Li messages back – “Not that I know of, but I’m on it”
Kevin sends message to Ki-Li – “watch out for Bob and Babs”

C: “I know everyone in Ishkarat – I do not recognize Bob and Babs, so chances are pretty high that they are not from this town.”
B: “The windling would like to know how long Ki-Li has been mayor.”
C: “About fourteen years.”
B: “How long have you had the dreams? Do you remember a time when you didn’t have these dreams?”
C: “How far back would you like me to go? I’ve been alive for over 200 years.”
Mike: “You’re a youngin”.
C: “I’m NOT young! I’m a semi-mature adult!” ( Mike dodges dice thrown by DM )
Maria: “Do you think you were marked before Ki-Li became Mayor?”
C: “No. Probably within the last year.”
Maria: “When were you offered the ‘bribe’? We’re trying to build a timeline.”
C: “Nine to ten months ago.”
B: “Did they offer you a want or a need?”
C: “Both.”
B: “Was it specific to you or would it also be valued by all dragons.”
C: “Both or either depending on your viewpoint. They took a love of my life away.”
B: “And they offered to return it to you if you did what they asked …..”
C: “Yes.” ( very sad )
Maria: “Who originally approached you? Can you tell them apart? What are they like?”
C: “I don’t think I can say. They try to outdo each other with their animosity towards life and whatever items they want to possess. When they work together, it is extremely difficult to resist.”
C: “So you want me to fly away for a few days? What would happen to my belongings?”
Mike: “Your belongings are more important than the town?”
C: “By remaining here, I attempt to gather and garnish my own strength to prevent attacks on ANY towns. So far my efforts have been in vain.” ( She sounds strained. )

Kevin messages Vaare – “Any ideas on how to help resist Horror Marks?”
Mike says “Help her Willpower or teach her Bear Mark talent.”

C: “If I fly away, my belongings would be ripe for plundering.”
Kevin: “Can you collapse this entrance? If you do so, would the other entrance be difficult enough so that no other creatures could come in?”
Mike: “What if we guard your treasure for you? The goal is to prevent you from attacking the town.”
C: “I will consider your offer.”

And the plot thickens
Jan 26, 2014 game session

After some debate, the party decides that talking to the dragon (Chumana) is probably their best course of action. They will take the remainder of the day to gather intel / equipment / etc before heading out in the morning. Ki-Li graciously offers the party 15 Healing potions and offers any other assistance that she can. They continue the conversation, which turns to the Annoying Human (codenamed “Bob” for the time being). Thinking that they might be able to get some more information from the surviving orc prisoner, they seek out a local Nethermancer (named Lurza), who is extremely interested in the report that the prisoner has ‘gaps’ in his adept pattern. Lurza goes with the party, casts a few spells, and then says “we need to go speak in private”.

Lurza tells the party that the best idea she has is that the prisoner is a victim of a “tug of war” between two powerful entities. Because of the struggle, the orc’s pattern has literally been ripped and torn. This magic is more advanced than blood magic – it’s more of a ‘spirit’ magic. Lurza has only read about this in books, and those were mostly referring to The Scourge. She theorizes that it is possible that a Horror was trying to draw the life-force away from the orc, but was interrupted in the process. If so, the orc must have been marked for a very long time.

The party gives Ki-Li a piece of Message Chalk, and she sends a message to Chumana asking if they can meet tomorrow at noon at the normal location (which is an open area 15 minutes outside of the city). Lurza asks if she may attend the meeting, and everyone agrees. Maria asks about past meetings and how long Chumana has been involved with the city. Ki-Li replies that the relationship goes back at least a century. When Chumana cannot attend meetings personally, she will send a construct in her place (and sometimes she uses that construct as a medium in which to communicate).

The next day (with everyone fully healed), the party heads towards the meeting place, arriving there around 11:30. There is literally nothing in sight – not even Kevin’s falcon sees anything from above. At precisely noon, two obsidimen figures suddenly appear just behind Nathan and Ki-Li and attack. Four founds later, one of the obsidimen is dead, the other is unconscious. Mike, Maria, and Lurza all cast Astral Sight on the obsidimen, and they do confirm that they see the same evidence of ‘gaps’ in their patterns.

Betsey asks if it might be possible that two Horrors were fighting over them at the same time, and Lurza agrees that it is possible – and if that is the case, the Horrors would be using these creatures as ping-pong balls in the struggle, and there isn’t going to be much of a ‘person’ left after that process. It would probably be best if we put the poor obsidiman out of his misery. Nathan volunteers to swing the coup-de-grace, but Lurza asks for a few minutes to cast some spells (cause this is what she lives for).

How do you detect a Horror mark?
When an adept uses Astral Sight or Astral Sense on a target, make a sensing test (on the target) comparing the test against the Spell Defense of the Horror. A Good result is necessary to confirm that the mark exists. Usually, a Horror mark appears as a small “stain” on the victim’s pattern. The texture and design of this stain are unique to the Horror whose mark it is.

When Lurza recovers from her trance, she takes a few moments to allow her breathing to return to normal, and also for her brain to comprehend what she has just “seen”. With slow and steady words, she describes what she just “saw”:

  • These creatures were hiding in Astral Space. I could clearly see them moments before they appeared right in front of us. That explains why we did not detect them ahead of time – but it does not explain how they got there in the first place. I can only surmise that there was some sort of ‘timer’ set to bring them to Normal Space at the correct time.
  • I can also clearly see TWO distinct stains on their patterns. The stains are similar, but yet different. Stain “A” (for lack of a better label) is a plain white circle with a black X in it (dissecting the circle into quarters), and Stain “B” is a plain black circle with a white X in it (again dissecting the circle into quarters).
  • I can only go back in time a few minutes before his death, so I cannot see anything before he entered Astral Space. However, I can get a general sense of his emotions. He was in agony, and understandably so. If you examine his pattern more closely, you can see that portions of his pattern (right around the two Stains) has been “stretched”, as if something was trying to pull his pattern apart from the inside.
  • With this information, I think there is little doubt that we are dealing with TWO distinct Horrors who are using Adepts as pawns for their own tug-of-war game.
Arriving at Ishkarat

Oct 27 2013

The party arrives at what is left of Iskarat. They can easily see that the city has been under heavy attacks lately – damaged walls, fiery blasts, and rubble everywhere. As they approach the main gates, they begin a conversation with the city guard. “It’s been bad for the past four to five months. We’ve been attacked by a dragon – it breathes fire, drops rocks, flies through buildings, etc. We have no idea why this is happening or how to stop it. Half the city’s population has left because of all the damage and terror. The last attack was about a week ago, and each attack is roughly one month apart from the one before. In the meantime, we will take care of delivering the supplies you have brought (THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU) and give you an escort to The Hub.”

As the group travels towards The Hub, a flying Human comes out from behind a building and starts shouting out anti-propaganda phrases: “See Brethren – the Government is hoarding all of the supplies and feeding their own! Why do we continue to trust Them?” for a good 30 to 40 seconds – and then surprisingly shouts out “NOW MY MINIONS!”. Six orc bandits come out from behind other buildings and attack the caravan. Five rounds later, five of the orcs are dead and the last one is captured. “Annoying Human” (as named by the party) swung his sword over and around his head and disappeared (not invisible, just gone).

The party uses their Message Chalk to send information to Vaare and Tansiarda to send more supplies and especially water. They are escorted into an audience with Ki-Li. She is a mid-50-ish human with grey hair and a slender build. She looks tired and scrawny, as if the weight of the city is heavy upon her and she hasn’t eaten for days. The party asks a few questions and finally gets the OH answer they were looking for – Ki-Li is Vaare’s wife’s sister. Their relationship was purposely kept secret (after the events which took the lives of Vaare’s family) so that the Horror would not go after her as well. Ki-Li and Vaare have met in person and magically often since the tragedy. The party and Ki-Li go to question the surviving orc prisoner. Maria (and others) use magic and talents to examine him, and the most glaring observation is that there are “gaps” in his astral pattern (yes, he is an Adept). No one has ever seen these types of “gaps” before. He doesn’t know much about “Annoying Human” – only that his words spoke of truth, and he promised to get “his people” the valuable supplies and help that they needed. He knows nothing about the dragon and why the dragon is attacking the city.


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