ATC Predallan Event Recaps

Session Story Recaps (these anchors take you to lower on this page)

Our Capture, Slavery and Wreck of GhostMoon

Stranded on Last King Island

On To Predallen

Learning About Predallen

We Strike Predallen

The Captain and Big Boy

At the Snow Temple

Leaving the Snow Temple

actual new page, reached character limit(20000)
Away From Starshine

Rewards From The One

Klayshift Castle


Our Capture, Slavery and Wreck of GhostMoon

Capture
Each of us were enslaved in different ways. Some were grabbed while at sea; others were snatched on shore by enemies and sold to the pirates. Once asea, some were traded and shipped around for months, others traveled for less time. We come from different lands, races, and cultures, but in the end we all found ourselves together, unloaded on a dock and marched into a warehouse. There were around 30 of us initially in that warehouse, and we sat there for several weeks. Time doesn't matter much in such situations, sometimes it seemed an eternity, sometimes I just let it fly by. Will I survive to see you again, my dear Mahogany? Will you wait for me, not knowing that I still live?

After those weeks we were marched out onto the docks and lined up. Two groups of people were there watching, one disciplined and orderly, the other chaotic and unkempt. A female orc strode down to us and looked at each of us through some sextant-like object. Half of us were separated out and marched off with the Unkempt toward a palisade reeking of disease, feces, and death. I shudder even now to think of their fate, but while our fate seems so much better, it is far from good. We march to another palisade, about half a mile off and not visible from the sea. Here we stay a few more weeks, eating but one meal a day and sleeping on the ground. We are each chained to one other prisoner, and for the most part we all sit and save our scant energy just to survive.
Strangely, the Orc woman said something about our having strong fates, and we are being treated reasonably fairly. It seems they even have our possessions, bagged and labeled with our names. I carry the tokens with me; who knows if I may need to trade my goods away for an extra plate of food. Still, most here seem like good folk, and there is little violence or fighting among us. During these weeks we are learning about the personalities of our fellow prisoners, and some are coming to be respected, others not, both by each other and our captors. We await The Ship, which will take us to our fate. After so many weeks imagining both wonderful happy returns and horrible painful ends, I mostly just wait now, I will meet the unknown as it appears, and with the strength that Frey supplies.

On Board The Ship
The Ship arrived. We marched back to the docks and stood there while a fleet of loading boats went back and forth, since The Ship was too large to come in to the docks. We noticed all our stuff loaded up as well as food and water. We were then shipped out with our guards, and other guards were left back in their places. A change of shift, I guess. The Ship captain made a short speech that was essentially Obey or be eaten by my Ogre. Our guard leader clearly defers to him, but he also defers to 4 or so people riding in a marquis on the stern of The Ship. We've seen a Southern Belle with a parasol (Green Lady), her slutty bodyguard, a husky Amazon, and a lady with Glowing Eyes, who appears to be the true leader (The Lady). There is also a well-dressed gnome who appeared to try to avoid notice.

We started by stripping, hosing and scrubbing down to the deliberate attempts to humiliate by the crew. Saffron and elven bard, and I danced around naked for awhile, which allowed the extremely shy, like the Hunter, to suffer minimal shame. We were then reclothed in clean robes while our clothes were deloused for a day or two. We were then given the duty of scrubbing the decks of a ship hundreds of yards long. To lessen the boredom, there is a competition each day where 5 teams compete for a prize. On day one, it was throwing daggers to get as close as possible to the human strapped to the target. Our elven archer, Feyren, threw at our paladin, Basil, and beat the other 4 teams of slaves and deckhands. We won an entire roasted pig! Ah, health regained after months of living on the edge. The next day was a race. Our gnome, Ogrel, rode our barbarian, Mojo, but just lost to a similar team. The next day there was no competition, so I called out a challenge to the deck crew nearby that we could scrub more deck than they could. The challenge was accepted and we won again, giving us the rest of the day and all the next off. To celebrate, Saffron led some of us to sing and dance awhile, and Siv played the fool. The Lady was not amused and gave us overnight to create and act out a play for the amusement of the crew the next day. Knowing most of us had no perform skill and a number had charisma negatives, most of the group were stage props foraged from around The Ship, while 4 of us (and some NPC slaves in our group) put on the play. We did a good job, impressed The Lady and the Captain, and earned a promotion to working the garden area.

On a side note, The Hunter overheard a secret conversation where our Slaver Leader was warning the Spiffy Gnome that if he wasn't careful, they would all suffer horribly if the Lady found out and that he'd better stop it. Her voice was shaking with fear while she warned him. The Gnome responded that it was all a game for the enjoyment of the Lady, that she already knew, and that if he stopped entertaining Her, she'd kill him. They then separated, afraid they'd be overheard or seen together. Hmmm, trouble may be brewing on our luxury cruise.

Gathering Information
Here is some information we managed to pick up from the general chatter:
1 = The ship is called the Ghost Moon; it acts as a trader/fence for the pirates. The rank and file of the crew believe that far more is involved than this, but only the officers seem to know more about the operations.

2 = The crew is made up of all types, races and backgrounds. It seems that there are people at ports who scout for new crew members. You do not ask to join, you are asked.

3 = The special slaves "that's you" are requested from the Island Kingdom of Predallen. They pay top dollar more than slaves should cost. You are bought for some sort of contest/games/ to be fought in Predallen. It is rumored that the captain of Ghost Moon was a champion from some such contest.

4 = {The Lady} is a spirit guardian from this Kingdom of Predallen. She has traveled before on this ship on unknown private missions, but this time there is tension in the air when she boarded the ship. She is being quiet and moody unlike her behavior on past trips, not interacting with the crew.. And the captain seems to being avoiding her unlike in the past when he was always seen in her company.

5= The Mistress, the human friend of The Lady, seems well liked by the crew but her behavior is also making the crew nervous. She was always outgoing in the past but now she seems to be putting on a show to draw attention from The Lady's withdrawn behavior.

6= The Lady acting nervous, her human friend acting odd, and the Captain acting odd equals a very tense crew. It was why no games were held on the last day. The captain had ordered that all games be put off and the crew had to run drills to install a sense of normalcy.

Gossip: (The Lady is looking for her crazy sister? ) (The ship is headed for a confrontation with some one, a pirate base? A enemy of Predallen?? ) (The Captain is in trouble with Predallen and is going to lose the ship) (Predallen is at war and is taking control of the ship)
The 4 things above are treated as gossip since for every crew member making a comment on the above gossip another crew member disagrees. So you have no idea what to believe on this, and neither does the crew.

Our Response Questions:
1. Zephyr. Is everything else going on as usual: The same ports, the same cargoes (excepting special cargoes), the usual number of slaves and crew, etc? Only the Lady's actions and demeanor are different?
The Hunter: Are there any children among the slaves? If not, I'd ask if they ever enslave children.

We're on the Titanic
It's been an eventful trip. Certain party members were able to glean information and reported that the first main "competition" event is a battle royale among all 5 groups until one group is wiped out dead. Certain group members realized we just marked ourselves as the target team given the quick success in head to head competition tests. Group 2 is the biggest group and don't really like anyone. Group 3 and Group 4 are really out to get us, while Group 5 is thinking better us then them. The Groups 3, 4, 5 are about same size as our group. Given that members of Group 3 tried to knife a couple of our guys and Group 4 leadership is some evil necro, our group spokesperson gets Muba to set up a meeting on sly with Group 2 leadership, after some discussion they seem agreeable. We quietly get aligned with Group 2 and during another meeting, maybe Group 5 doesn't totally hate us. Conditions are improving as we obtained better jobs, mostly from doing well in the competitions. We may be heading to our doom but it's not totally uncomfortable. Then the storm hit and forces of the white woman attacked. After explosions and confusion and panic, the ship is possibly going down and the situation leaves us a choice of 4 things:

1) Loot Baby! - Either (a) try to find our possessions somewhere in the 300 chests in some orderly fashion or (b) screw it and start dumping them out to take whatever we want
2) Fight! - Join the attacking force to ensure the slavers do not have control of what's left of the ship when this is decided. After that we can find our stuff (assuming there's time before the ship goes under)
3) Sabotage the ship
4) Flight! - head overboard now and get on one of the small boats that brought in the White Woman's group. Let those 2 groups duke it out while we get the heck out of here

All characters need to pick one of those options for the next session:
Basil - He's fighting! He grabs one of the explosive balista bolts and some coals and is going to find that Ogre
Hayden - Fight! We must ensure the slavers are defeated or they will just cage us back up.
Zephyr - is trying to organize the distribution of possessions and keep things fair.
The Hunter - Fighting for our freedom now, but dearly missing her stuff. Three items have great sentimental value.
Mojo - Dammit, screw it trying to find the box with his sword, its time to take one from the stinking crew. Picks up his iron bar and loads up on belaying pins to throw as missiles. Payback time! "Come on you Apes, do you wanna live forever?!?!?"
Ace - wait? what? attack? WTF? Turns to help Zephry, stops, sighs and turns back again, heads out in storm to see if he can provide any magic support. Safely. Away from combat. oh deary dear madness.
Obadiah is trying to recover chests and helping others recover theirs.
Loricifera - fighting and trying to help whoever is trying to capture the ship
Siv - helping with chests, looking for his and perhaps the contents of others.
Arranz - Looking for her chest and then then ?. It depends on how the story continues to unfold.
Saffron - Fight, but she MUST find her teacher's lute. Other than that, she will grab what she can and help fight for freedom!
Ogrel - Loot! I can't fight until I get my stuff. Or if there's BETTER stuff that'll only help, right? I'm coming as soon as…Ooo! Shinies!
Feyren - Clearly off the main boat and drying out on the small boat. Providing what assistance they can to anyone else in the water.
Edgtho - Working with Feyren to control the small boat. On the job training.
Kevlar - bleh bleh so sick. so noisy, can somebody shut up that racket. i am trying to recover here!
Pavelow - bleh bleh so sick. i hear birdies singing.

The Battle

As best we can tell, the battle occurred as follows: Amid an unnatural growing storm, Sahuagin appeared over the port side, slaughtering many slaves and some crew before reinforcements arrived. The crew got them under control after the Mistress killed their leader with a lightning bolt. The crew then headed to the bow leaving a few crew to kill/force the revolting slaves into submission. Honne appeared on the starboard bow, and after releasing two slaves from their chains, turned to fight Tatemae, who had quickly appeared on the scene. We slaves scattered, mostly toward the stern to gather our belongings. It appears their personal battle moved towards the bow, but we lost sight of them and never saw or heard anything more about them. While many slaves scrounged for their supplies, a large fight also occurred at the bow between crew loyal to Tatemae and the GhostMoon and traitorous crew loyal to Honne. The Honne crew began to lose once the Mistress arrived and their leader finally blew up the bow of the ship in a huge explosion, killing many crew and the slaves who had never managed to leave their shackles. Most of the crew then went to the lower decks to repair damage to the ship from hitting a reef. A huge series of explosions killed them all and lit the entire ship afire from bow to stern, starboard to port, below decks. At this point, everyone realized the ship was lost and abandoned it. Many slaves went over the starboard side, near the stern, and we ended up on Last King Island. We last saw the Mistress organizing an effort to save 50 crew and 30 slaves over the port side.


On Last King Island

Here we are! There are about 25 of us former slaves washed ashore on this island. We landed on a sandbar, and after an hour of assessing our situation, we formed a rickety raft from our equipment chests and made our way to the island itself. On the way we passed another small island in the bay where we found an entrance underground with the inscription, Tomb of the Last King of Predallen. Hmm, definitely worth some exploration when we are a bit more settled in. I'll bet the butler did it, with some help from Tatemae. Anyway, we continued to the only source of fresh water we could see, and began to settle along some trees beside the stream. We soon found about 30 nests made from brush here, and decided to send out some scouting parties. Two found little, but one was challenged by some creature supposedly called a baboon, a roughly humanoid animal. We decided to move our camp across the river, and the baboons seem to have accepted us as neighbors, as long as we don't cross the river. We will have to deal with them sooner or later, I believe.

The next day we split into three groups. One used our rickety raft to grab more supplies along the southern end of the shore. Another scouted out the east end of our valley. A third salvaged Honne's boat that two of our members had escaped the GhostMoon upon. It turned out to be only lightly damaged and easily repaired by the end of the day. In addition we found more supplies and three locations of note on our island. There are ruins of a small fishing village at the east end of the island. There are some sort of ruins barely visible up on a plateau above our camp along the river. Lastly, there is some sort of statue/obelisk on top of the mountain ridge near the south end of the island. We walked through the fishing village, and found nothing of immediate interest, but didn't stay to explore fully. All slated for later exploration once we're settled in better.

We spent the whole next day using our repaired boat to salvage things from the GhostMoon. The first level and above is sitting on a reef while the burned/smashed lower levels have sunk some distance away. It is clear that most important items were already taken by the retreating crew and leaders, but there still is more loot there than we could carry in several days of salvage. We started by looting the dead crew and slaves for money, especially the leaders' quarters. We found 100 more slave boxes and all kinds of odds and ends. We also found Ispear, The Master of Slaves, barely alive, below decks. We saved him, he passed his trial, and is now numbered among our prisoners.

Things Yet to Do
Salvage yet more stuff from the GhostMoon
Explore the Last King's Tomb
Explore the Fishing Village
Explore the Ruins on the Upper Plateau
Check out the South Ridge Obelisk

More Important Things Yet to Do
per Mojo
Find a place to defend. We know there are crazy fishmen out there, possibly pirates and other predators. Also, likely the Ghost Moon leader/survivors will be back, they still need slaves for the Games!
Find a place to escape to in case overwhelming opponents.
Set up a lookout post on highest spot to watch in day.
Find a way to get off this island as fast as possible, before the Ghost Moon Predallens come back.

Exploring the ruined Temple Area

We decided to plunder/salvage from the GhostMoon for another day, but the weather was rainy and windy and unsuitable to our small craft, so upon Mojo's advice we set up the stream to find us a camp further away from the coast, in case slaveholders return to find us. A path led for a ways before we came upon a wide but very steep stairway up beside the first waterfall. We had been being trailed by some baboons, so with Lori and Hunter up in trees with bows, the rest set off up the stairs. Right at the top of the stairs were 17 more baboons, including a strange leader. They screamed and charged us, and the three down below also charged. A nasty fight ensued and most of our fighters were chewed up quite a bit, but the baboons broke and fled in the end. We shot a few more before they got away. In the end, we killed 13 of the 20. It's clear we can't live alongside them peacefully.
The leader was very unusual in several ways. First, he appeared to be far too intelligent for an animal. Secondly, he regenerated or was in some other way healed after being hit and dropped by our paladin Basil. We haven't solved this puzzle yet, since he led the group that got away.

At that first plateau was a temple area with a slate flooring and 7 buildings. All the buildings were desecrated completely, with marble sarcophagi scattered around a pool area, bones everywhere, and the buildings scraped clean of magical insignia and other decoration. After careful inspection of the remains, we were able to piece together much of the use of this area. Six of the buildings around a central pool contained about 30-50 sarcophagi each. They were high advisors and other important personages, not kings themselves. The kings were dismembered in the 7th building and cremated, different body parts to either Tatemay or Honne. A source of magical healing water welled up in a basin there and flowed out into the pool. The whole area was decorated in white and pink marble, with real and symbolic paintings and reliefs of the two sisters. There is a higher plateau with another building set on a slate flooring. Edgtho and Feyren noticed that there seemed something on the slate floors here and started clearing out the debris and growth to see some pattern of pictures. The building seems to be some sort of priest house and not despoiled like the 7 buildings below. Edgtho is trying to de-cipher the slate pic-to-gram from perched atop the priest building. Mojo thinks Edgtho is an idiot. (Just checking to see if Jeff reads this.)

Edgtho may be an idiot, but he looks good while doing it.

Multiple characters dinged to 2nd level. The other 1st levels look on enviously as hp counters musically chime. Therefore, level 2 characters will need to rush into the fight ahead of the 1st level characters who have less hit points.

Conclusions and Possibilities
That this place was once a holy place to Tatumay and Honne for centuries is little in doubt. The red and white alternating colors, portrayings of them as guardians and also mountains, etc. can be found all around the area. Centuries of buried kings and their advisors are here. Who desecrated this area, though, is yet in doubt. Could it be that this is where Honne first showed her betrayal of her sister? Honne's madness manifested itself in this destruction? The timing seems about right; I think the split happened a couple of generations ago. As for the regenerating baboon, could a lifetime of drinking the healing stream cause sufficient healing to be called regeneration? We'll see, folks! Same bat time, same bat channel.

Next session tasks
suggestions per Ace:
-kill the baboons, way too dangerous, even valiant paladin Basil was barely a match. Only crazy Mojo had fun. Barbarians! glad we got one but only one. Edgtho - risk your own hide playing "lion-tamer" on that leader baboon.
-or…try and speak to the baboon leader (who may have a higher intelligence level than Mojo) and see if we can gather information or come to a truce/agreement/working arrangement.
-some of us researcher types need to figure out this ruins/temple area and how the magic of the fountain works-which we could find out from talking to the leader of the baboons
-another group explore rest of island for food and resources(after baboon hunt is successful) or talk to the baboon to find out what other secrets he can reveal about the island.
-see if weather clears and salvage what pieces of ship to make our own boat/raft, along with the prior "Things To Do" mentioned previously or get the baboons to make us one after we talk to them and come to a truce
-is it worth while to bring up Predallens(Ispear, Muba, the sailors) to this area to get their input?
-damn Saffron is looking hot, or have I been away from civilization too long and starting to appreciate that narrow butt hybrid. uh-oh, did I just say that out loud!?!?!? ohhhh freak. (saffron listen check roll?)

-Mojo is skinning up the dead baboon carcasses, trying to preserve the best fur skins for making simple clothing or leg/arm wraps, and then starts cooking the baboon meat. "Eat! Eat as much as you can to regain your health, be strong when Predallens come back! Then we kill them all!"

Meeting the Baboon

— After the battle, we moved our camp up to the first plateau and are staying in the main building. We also converted one side building into a cooking/food storage/smoker and put a lot of baboon meat there to cook. This all took quite awhile, the rest of the day. In the morning we found the weather to be better, so we went to the GhostMoon wreck for some more foraging. We gathered many weapons and some armor, cooking supplies, another scorpion, and generally searched for valuables. We theorized there must be hidden cargo compartments aft. We managed to find one small chest that was trapped, and we took it back to the island. We also found 18 more chits, but no cash or such valuables. Later, back in camp, Ogrel tried to open the chest, but failed to completely disarm the trap inside. Acid spilled on several documents, but the Hunter grabbed them and dove into the pond. With mending, we managed to recover about a third of it. It is a list of locations and dates, but without the code key, we can't translate it.
— While we were on the ship, the foraging party found a poorly buried chest full of temple ornaments, chalices, candlesticks, etc. worth hundreds or even thousands of gold. It had been buried recently by a baboon and the rain had washed the dirt off of it. The items were dedicated to Odin and were an incomplete set, but of an ancient design that could be worth a lot. We looked at them, debated them, and in the end decided to keep them. That night, near dawn, the baboon leader came back and stood at the top of the stairway to the second plateau (the priest's home) and started such a racket that everyone woke up. While the druid tried to talk to him, Zephyr and Hunter stood guard. After a bit the baboon calmed down a bit, but was still agitated and unable to communicate. Zephyr dropped his weapons and climbed the stairs alone to meet him. Communication was eventually established, to some degree, because he could understand some Common and Celestial, and it could imprint thoughts through a mind-meld process. Gestures and pictures drawn in the dirt also helped.
This island is sacred to the Predallen people. The people here worship Odin, and during difficult times with pirates, Odin gave Tatemay and Honne bodies and dedicated them to the service of guarding the people. The Guardians were well loved by the people for years until after the comet when Honne "went insane". She corrupted many people including the king and a civil war erupted, during which Honne desecrated the Temple area here on Last King Island. Honne lost the war, and the last king died, leaving Predallen to be ruled by a Council. The Baboon, an eternal spirit creature and given power to guard Last King Island by Tatemay and Honne, was protected by Honne during the desecration and he managed to save some of the gold artifacts of the temple there. We returned his treasures to him, and he replaced them in their correct locations in the temple area. He then led us to another chest he had buried, filled with healing potions.
— The next day we decided to travel around the island. We started by heading south and went around the southern tip. We discovered a lagoon along the western side of the island and soon an abandoned marble quarry. Spider webs covered the quarry area, and after lamenting our lack of torches, we went in anyway. A zillion little spiders chased us out again. We started a large fire, created torches for everyone, and returned, burning out the webs and the spiders therein. We found a steep path leading upward and emerged at the top of the ridge. Following the ridge revealed a series of statues thrown down but eventually led us to the obelisk on the southern peak. Close inspection found a loose rock, behind which were documents detailing the agreement between Odin and Tatemay/Honne. The signature of Odin was of exquisite workmanship (workgodship?). While the documents were of historical value and might fetch a fair price, we returned them to their niche. It's not wise to upset the gods without purpose.
— Continuing down we found a small port area, the only place on the island where big ships could approach without hitting a reef. Only stone foundations remained. Not far past that, on the northern side of the island, we found a stairway cut into the stone mountainside. We climbed the stairway for hours, switching back and forth, eventually reaching the top. Here was a crystal throne, used for crowning kings over the centuries and now the Council members. The oath of office was inscribed on the throne. A niche, similar to that at the Obelisk, contained two scepters used in oathtaking. Belonging to Predallen and not to Odin and also being bejewelled, we took them.
— Dusk had fallen as we were at the top, so we spent the night there. During the night, a ship from Predallen arrived. A party quickly searched the GhostMoon, burned the remains, and sent a party ashore. They remained a few hours, then left, leaving one young man on shore. Not only did they row back to the bigger ship, they then sailed off, leaving him behind. We started walking to the temple area, we caught up and talked to him. He is a young acolyte of Odin/Tatemay and sent here for a month of solitude and communion with history and the guardian. Upon learning we were formerly slaves, he is scared half to death of us. He is utterly convinced the whole world Outside Predallen is a violent, barbarian area and would not believe a word we had to say.

— 5 more characters advance to 2nd level

Left to do:
- Explore the Tombs of the Kings
- Get off the Island — but where to?
- ask guardian baboon where his chest of potions come from? did he make them?
- how is the water in the temple charged with healing?
- ask guardian baboon any other dangers in the sea? do the sahuagin ever come on shore?

Explore Tomb of Last King

The acolyte of Predallen has very limited knowledge of outside events. He only knows various religions extensively, his goal is to be a researcher and discover locations of all the "god" weapons on the material plane. We did learn a few things about Predallen: The capital city is on the western plain, and there are two other large cities on the northern and eastern plains. The central area is mountainous and largely unpopulated. Foreigners, except those survivors of the games, are not allowed onto Predallen. They may only visit a small island on the south side.
Finding limited information from the acolyte, the group heads off to check out the tomb. There Mojo notices a face of a creature spectre like in the upper portion of the Tomb entrance. We find a "shade" of a creature, not quite corporal. It conversed in celestial with Zephyr. This creature (name???) says they are the new avatar of Odin to replace Honne and Tatumay. It wants our group to be observers and provide information back to it of the situation on Predallen, what the people want and believe. It also asked each one of the party "What do you want/desire?"

Mojo asked questions of the shade about the rest of the Tomb. He was less that happy at the terse non-informative responses.

The party heads into the lower section of Tomb. Hunter and Lori-syphillis in the lead to use elven sight. We discovered 2 dead fighters in the tunnel, skewered by metal darts. Mojo picked up the 4 darts. This trap warned us of others to come. The group comes to a open room with about 30 body sized niches along the 2 walls.
The room filled with a bunch of rats. Lori started killing some and Mojo skinning for breakfast for group. The dying squeaks enraged the other rats and they swarmed toward the group. Most of the group pulls back to the narrow corridor and set up an oil blaze. Hunter stayed in room and went snow-rat-sledding with her shield, trying to squish multiple rats. One swarm jumped the fire break and Mojo, Kevlar, Obadiah all started stomping and rolling to kill the rats. Ace kept shooting ray of frost, getting 3 kills. Lori-syphillis also tries to emulate Hunter with puny success. Finally, the rats broke and ran away. Here the room was labeled "The Hall of Protectors". We found lots of usable armor and swords, just need a day of work to fix up for use. Group headed down hall to a seemingly dead end of a half-worked tunnel. Obadiah found a celestial glyph on rock wall above a hidden rock door in the floor, found by Lori. The glyph read "Predallen", and Zephyr recalling an ancient legend story repeated the word and Viola', the door opened. We found another nice worked hallway that led to another doorway. We are poised to move in, once we have rested. <end of session>

Obadiah and Lori-syphillis advanced to 2nd level.

Working our way deeper into the tomb we found a large room with an altar in the back of it against the wall. We noticed oil on the floor and investigated slowly with the torches safely back. We found a secret exit behind the altar. We brought up everyone but Ace and then moved the altar forward. Sparks shot out and ignited the floor. No one was hurt, but smoke was filling the room. Ace ran up to us taking minimal damage and the exposed hole had a draft that kept the smoke blowing back away from us. We decided to move forward and let the fire burn itself out. Beyond we found secret passages to bypass that room. We found a room with the counselors of the final king, sitting dead at a feast.They had some good loot on them!
We believe that when their king died, they decided to end their lives with the end of he kingdom. In front of each was a glass with a enchanted potion, one for each color of the rainbow. We figured out a riddle that said to drink the blue liquid to continue.

Further on we found the final room, a triangular room with 91 niches for ceramic jars, each labeled with the name of a king. Oddly enough, it seems that the room had precisely enough niches for each king, as if the Gods knew how many kings there would be! The first king of Predallen had his brain in a glass jar of fluid at the apex of the room. He attacked us psionically, stunning everyone except Ogrel, who claims to have broken the glass jar with a crossbow bolt. The rest of the party (having the natural prejudices endemic to the larger races) was incapable of accepting the truth of what happened, and decided instead to believe it probably broke from the strain of attacking so many of us. Anyway, we also found a dozen or so Masterwork weapons each worth an additional 50gp from encrusted gems. Being the end, we loaded it all up (taking a couple of trips) and went back to camp.

Having fully explored and looted this island we then had to decide what to do next. Our boat will carry us to Predallen, but only 6 at a time. Mojo wanted to kill our prisoners and sail to Predallen and finish the Gremlin's quest (The acolyte suspects that the being we found is called the Gremlin, an otherplanar being who appears from time to time in Predallen history.) Zephyr finally convinced him to trust them to keep their words because all but Mubu will be executed if the truth came out anyway. Saffron convinced the acolyte that his destiny was that Odin wished for him return to Predallen with them. He had seen the Gremlin as a young man on Predallen, and all of the acolytes see it to be judged by it when they get to this island - all except him! Surely this means that his destiny lies back on the main island, right? (?? They come to see the baboon, Will, not the Gremlin. The Gremlin appears very, very rarely in Predallen history, which is why the acolyte is convinced that something big is up and he could be part of it.)

Anyway, the plan is for many of us (the characters) to sail to Predallen, land on a haunted island for a night, then ferry onto the mainland and travel openly as a historical expedition (Details Follow). The acolyte will be a Predallen historian leading the expedition. The other slaves and our captives will wait 3 weeks or so and then make for the "Foreigner's Island" and sail off as they wish. If caught they were floating in the ocean until beaching on Haunted Island. Eventually the skiff also beached and they could leave. They can all go together because they made a raft of the 100 or so equipment boxes we never managed to open.



On To Predallen

The Plan
The people interested in fulfilling the Gremlin's quest will sail to Haunted Island 5 at a time (the captured sailor going back and forth) during the night. We will then move onto the mainland the next night. We will form up with the following cover story:

We are a historical exploration expedition, which is paid for by the House of the Two Doves. The rest of us were "barbarian" slaves from the GhostMoon who survived the attack and were brought to Predallen and survived the first gladiatorial games (where one group was eliminated, fought on Foreigner's Island. Four groups ganged up against group 5 because they were led by a necromancer. Always hide a lie by wrapping it in the truth!). At that point we were bought by the House of the Two Doves for this expedition. The acolyte will lead us. He will claim to be a historian also with connections to the Scholar's Vale. We will be looking for the actual location of the first meeting between Odin, Tatemae and Honne where they agreed to be protectors of Predallen in exchange for Odin's blessing and physical bodies. There has been interest for years in finding this location, but neither Honne nor Tatemae has ever said where it was, and no one else has found it. We will roam Predallen, meet the people, and form opinions to give to the Gremlin. We may even look for this location.

We discussed the dangers at length. We are depending on not running into anyone from the House Of The Two Doves. We hope that the acolyte remains convinced that his is a mission from Odin. Most of all, we hope to not meet any of "The Unspoken" - agents above the law and answerable to none but the highest powers! The ultimate goal is to get a boat and flee Predallen, but we must be careful, and our journey might be longer that we hope.

Transfer to Haunted Island (July 19)
The first wave headed over to make beachhead camp for rest of group. Mojo, Ace, Loricifera, Obadiah, Feyren and Edgtho were the first to go ashore. Our intrepid "expert" sailor nearly made it a one way trip, as he tried to navigate into the harbor lagoon, he over compensated the tide/current, crashing on the only big rock on the shore and causing a significant breach. Fortunately, the multiple Mending spells cast by Obadiah and Edgtho were sufficient to restore the boat to sea worthiness.

While establishing camp, Mojo noticed some figure far down the coast walking away. Mojo, Loricifera and Feyren headed off in pursuit. Edgtho headed back to the Last King Island with our "expert" sailor, letting Ace and Obadiah set up a camp. Loricifera, believing himself to be a new hybrid elf Tarzan, proceeded to run among the branches of the thick woods on the island, with Mojo/Feyren following on the ground. Mojo noted Lori seemed to be humming some ditty about "Elven man, elven man something something can can". Feyren, rolled her elven eyes internally at such crazy behavior.

After a few minutes of movement after this figure, Mojo and Feyren hear laughter coming from inland, and decide to head back to camp, while Lori continued his pursuit. Lori soon realized that the figure was pacing Lori, just enough to keep on edge of vision. Lori stops, then slowly reverses course and the figure keeps pace until Lori sees the figure out in open. Then it proceeds to take off from Lori, Lori decides to follow and soon ends up in an abandoned/destroyed village with a dock. Loricifera sees the figure on the docks and gets a clear look, its the "Gremlin" and then it disappears. Lori looks around and investigates, notices that there are rough cut wood ruins on top of more advanced marble ruins, with the wood ruins showing effects of a significant fire. Lori decides to head back to camp and on the way notices the spot the Gremlin had openly stood earlier. Lori proceeds to hastily get the entire group and leads them to the body of a dead young man, no more than 20. He was sitting around a small burnt out fire, with a bowl of dirt and small pebbles in his lap. It looked like he starved to death, which made no sense to Mojo and the elves, as they spotted plenty of wild fruit that would sustain a person. Lori also found on the body a nice necklace, a ring to match, plus a few other rings that suggest of some wealth, and a weird hat made from plants on his head. Mojo sets out to backtrack the dead guy, "Fred". Why call him Fred, because Mojo said so.

Fred's path was a wandering stumbling falling route for Mojo to track, clearly Fred was no longer in control of his senses. After about a mile, the party started to hear laughter and then see a young man and woman running/skipping thru woods. Fred's path lead to same direction and as we followed, Loricifera up traveling in the trees (seriously, Lori never missed a balance check the whole night) said he saw an opening up ahead. As we cautiously looked thru the woods, we came to see a wide grassy glade, and in the middle a huge willow tree, its branches providing shade to over half the glade. Around the glade, thronged a party of 30-40 young men and women, chatting, laughing, dancing, eating, drinking and frolicking about. Ace and Feyren, completely sucking at this game with terrible hide checks, are discovered by one of the young women, who calls on them to join. They decided to go ahead and check it out, trusting the rest of the group to provide cover when things have to go bad. Karen was the name of the woman who spotted Ace and Feyren, given each a garland of flowers. Ace held his while Feyren claimed allergies and threw it away. However, thru the gala, eventually both had a flower necklace placed on them. dun-dun-dun-ta-dun. Ace and Feyren each politely tokenly sampled the wine and platters of fruit and nuts.

Not feeling any side effects. Ace tries to ask about why Karen and her friends did not help Fred. They said Fred who, where was he and nobody is missing, then went on partying. Again Ace brought it up and several began to get angry, why does Ace ask them to go check out Fred, maybe Ace is the bad guy who killed Fred. Ace said no, it was not him and if he wanted to harm anyone he could have earlier, waiting when a couple left the glade. That seems to calm the partiers down. At some point, Mojo and Edgtho went to get Fred, (Jeff, Andrew - I might have sequence of events wrong) and to bust up this partiers naïve gaiety. Once they returned, Mojo wanted Lori to drop the body on the largest group of partiers.

At that point, the earth at the base of willow tree erupted open and out came these 3 foot long cock roach beetles, attacking the young men and women. Feyren and Ace, began to fire arrows and magic missiles at the monsters to help cover the fleeing partiers. Obadiah runs to the opening and swings, and swoosh, weapon goes right thru like a fog. The cockroach runs past Obadiah and bites off a leg of a woman. Mojo and Loricifera have to grab Ace and Feyren to stop wasting their shots. Ace goes on a rant, the group are all bunch of murders, cold hearted no good stinking scum to let the carnage go on. Only when Obadiah swears what Ace sees is an illusion, that Ace lets himself get dragged off. The group ties Fred to the willow tree, in order to see if he was real and see if could disrupt the illusion. Next morning, Ace garland of flowers is still fresh and he gets convinced something is amiss and removes the garland.

Our group heads back to the willow tree glade again and watch same results of previous night "attack" and investigate more. The willow tree is way too perfect, too big, so Obadiah tries to detect evil and is "blocked", Edgtho tries to detect magic and is "blocked". Ace tries a read magic and gets a brief flash of some glyph but not enough to redraw. Group heads back to destroyed town, find a boat(Fred's), some official papers with insignia that match Fred's ring and necklace. Also find a newer grave site about 15 years old, of about 30-40 people each with same headstone epitaph about the young being foolish reap their actions. So the group opens up one grave and on the body find crushed limbs or sawed off parts, as seen in the illusion. Since the Gremlin showed us the body of Fred for a reason and then last stop was at the pier, it must be a reason. Searching the pier uncovered 3 stone rods, each with a unique symbol on them. Feyren recalled that there were 3 stones placed perfectly around the willow tree. We decide to rest for the night after viewing the willow tree one more time. Lori clips off a strand of willow branch and piece of bark to see if tree is perfect next morning. During the night, Lori gets a dream vision of this motherly woman seemingly imprisoned by unseen bonds.

With the Predallen acolyte now shipped over, he is interrogated more about the story of haunted island. He relays that Honne and Tatemae came to the island to take care of a spirit creature and the battle resulted in this place being haunted. He believes the young group killed where interfering in some manner and thus accidentally triggered the cockroaches to kill them. He helps to determine that there is some order to the rods but can only provide which one is first. He warns group not to interfere and looks in dismay at our sacrilegious behavior. On the stones around the tree, each has a slot for a rod. Taking an educated SWAG at rods 2 and 3, the rods are slipped into the stones…we guessed correctly. There is a big thunder and whoosh of wind straight out in all directions from the tree. A section of the ground under the tree gives way and a large cave exists. The group goes into the cave and on a rock slab, is the woman from Lori's dream vision. She looks to be in a deep trance. Obadiah casts a healing spell and she wakes up. In shock she demands to know who we are, where is she and why does she feel as if she been in a nightmare.

In sharing of stories, this is a daughter of Freya. She thought she had agreement/alliance with the sisters and was caught by surprise by Tatemae when attacked. She tells our group to wait here and then teleports to Last King Island to talk to the baboon avatar as well as confirm other parts of our story. She comes back expressing her thanks of her rescue with a gift, touching each(+Con point). End of session.

Additional note, the papers of Fred are traveling credentials. He belongs to the "House of the Lantern". There is thought if a member of group matches the description, to impersonate Fred to help party as it travels Predallen.

The Pigeons Have Landed (Aug 2)
We did a lap around the Haunted Island to check the place out. It was too steep and rocky for there to be anything on the interior so we took a couple days to walk the perimeter. We found a couple of hidden camps that looked like they were places herb hunters came to. The island is very lush and there are plenty of plants to pick. The crossbow traps at the entrance were scary but we managed to avoid them with only SpiderElf getting a scratch near miss on the poison. We got ambushed by half a dozen kobolds but since we were all 2nd level we managed to take them out. Fearing a swarm of the vermin we continued the lap and came upon their canoe. Turns out they came over from the mainland to hunt and do not inhabit the island. We kept the canoe for our use. It was big enough to hold 2 people and it turns out one of Andrew's characters is an expert at handling a canoe.

The Daughter of Freya [name to be remembered by the DM soon] spent time blinking in and out checking on what she has missed in the last 120 years and we had an occasional chance to ask her a question. She would not say who her dad was. She existed when Tatemae and Honne were created and remembers their "birth". When we freed her there was a huge release of energy so it's possible that 1 or both of them know something happened. She feels more confident in our story having backed much of the information up. Mostly we got a bigger impression that her mental state is pretty messed up right now. The "dancing ghosts" seen around the tree were a manifestation of her nightmare of the kids killed when Tatemae attacked. She's spent 120 years reliving that so all is not well between her ears. We also got some more details on the untouchable orders. Tom has a sheet to read next time but there are 4 colors. Each color has a specific function. The lighter the color of your outfit the higher up in rank you are.

We made plans to move to Predallen. The plan was 2 people would take the canoe across the 2 miles and scout the other coast for a good landing spot while everyone else (all NPCs) transferred to the haunted island. This proved to be a very ambitious plan. We had about a week of bad weather and laughed as the expert canoeist tried not to drown. (It was an 04 kind of night with that being the high roll in 3 tries). There was a small village directly across the island and some good landing areas. We used the 2 ships to take us to the far side of the village (west) so that it would appear we were walking in from the military outpost on the bay. The ships dropped off the canoe at a designated spot on the east side just in case. All the NPCs are to wait 3 weeks before heading to the outsider island and getting away.

We spent the night off the road and walked into the village around noon. Our cover story was very plausible and no one questioned any bit of it. Groups of foreign barbarian slaves led by a citizen for a House must roam the countryside and no one thinks a thing about it. "We're on a mission and can't talk details" seems to be a pretty common statement and everyone accepts it. To our advantage they even assume it (more on that later). But it should be a easy peasy for us to throw that statement out and LAY LOW.

We did some interacting with the villagers and sold a few common items to get some cash. Spent a couple nights at the Inn to rest up and recoup from our weeks of camping. Nothing in the town stood out. it was a quiet place but they got traveler through often. Our presence was the news of the day but not a big deal. In the center of town there was a tent with a blue light hanging (magical necromantic). A middle aged guy in dark blue robes (i.e. low leve blue order). Laid out before him is a table with basic food and drink. The blue order provides for the people and this is for those in need. Turns out this guy is also a very bored drunk. Being in the order none of the locals will talk to him. Being just off the boat and stupid we sure will. He was demoted and exiled to this podunk hell for sleeping with the wrong girl. A charge he denies but since the order is totally corrupt blah blah blah. He also said there was a hive of kobolds that has lived nearby forever and been pretty harmless but lately has started stealing livestock and kidnapping a person once in a while for ransom. It sure would be nice if someone would slap them around a bit. The Paladin wasn't present but felt a disturbance in the force and about laid an egg as the discussion moved to us helping out this village.

Then the acolyte got summoned for a meeting with the high citizen who lives in town (House of the Lantern - same symbol as on the ring of Dead Fred from haunted Island). Several people went with him to help and good thing. He blew it stammering and shaking. The old guy though assumed he was blowing him off keeping our mission secret and dismissing his offer fro help. He got irate and demanded the whole party come over for diner the next night. The whole party goes and he's laid out a huge feast. No one dismisses the House of the Lantern and let it not be said they did not offer aid to the acolytes. The kid blows it again big time (Andrew really sucks as this game). Luckily the PCs interject and distract the Old Dude. He ignores the kid the rest of the night as we talk about our worlds. We are to spend the night at his manor. The Inn isn't good enough for us. The next morning we get ready to leave and there's a load of provisions and the guy's personal carriage waiting for us to take. He went totally over the top from the kid slighting him and dumped the goods on us. Crazy.

So now we're on the road with a train of good (can't remember if a couple mules were included) and a 2 person high end carriage with the Lantern House emblem on it. We have a letter to give to someone when we ditch the thing so it gets back to him. There is a coast road that goes all the way around the continent with a village a days ride along the way. We get to the next village and it's pretty much the same set up. We talk to a few slaves from another house on a mission they can't talk about. They were taken from some fishing village 10 years ago and love it here. They eat regularly and get treated better than when they were growing up. We were told again to stay away from the Orders. The Blues take people. The old and infirm - anyone unable to contribute - is taken by the Blues to be "cared for" and never seen again. Sure enough in this village square is a tent with a blue light and a kid in dark blue robes. Up hobbles an old guy on crutches as is apparently his daily routine. After a bit 2 guys in light blue robes appear and sit by him. Can the group just let this happen? Hell no. Laying low is for wussies! It's Obadiah freekin' rescue. In the end we get the guy to the Inn and have him convinced he was a huge help to up the other day offering advice. He now has plans to become the town's crotchety old guy telling everyone what to do. It looks like we got away with this and will be leaving in the morning. The light blue robes just let it happen and melted away. The kid however started stomping around about how he reported this guy like he was supposed to and he did not help anyone he's a leach. We managed to confuse the situation and shouldn't have an issue here but don't know if the light blues took note of us. They know that all this did was delay them taking him for a few days and it's no big deal. It just depends on how much of an annoyance they think this was to them. If they don't care then they'll probably forget the whole thing. If they were anxious to get out of this backwater hole then maybe they'll be pissed enough to jot down our description. Either way I say we steer clear of the Blues for a while just in case. Damn this roll playing. Has anyone thought about switching over to a LE party?

Traveling and A Lot of Backstory (Aug 16)
We continued our counterclockwise loop around the east side of Predallen hitting small towns. Between 2 of them we walked up on some bandits trying to rob a trio of wagons heading the opposite direction as us. They were pretty distracted so we prepared and got pretty close before they noticed us but as soon as they saw us they started attacking. Saffron sang, Loricifera and Hunter feathered them, Clopid cut them off at the knees, Hayden bled profusely, and Basil got slowly beat to shit. Three of the wagoneers managed to live and continued their way, 1 bandit ran off when the battle turned, but we surrounded and captured the leader. He begged us to kill him quickly rather than taking him into town. The penalty for being a bandit is the Blues get you. They suck out your life force and turn you into a little blue light so you can become something that contributes to society. We said we would make it quick if he took us to their camp so we could lewt. It was a day's hike away so the Acolyte and non-present members of the group took the carriage into the next town while we hiked to the camp. Our haul ended up being 10pt. We beheaded the bandit, had a brief wolf encounter that night, and headed to the village.

Lori spent more time observing the Blues and noticed that the light blue robes had some intertwined threading on the cuffs and collars so it looks like there is some rank designations. Word of the bandit attack had made it back to this town but there was no description of us, just vague references to outsiders showing up. We got a good night's rest, Basil finished healing up, and we took off toward Huntingchester Fell, our first true walled town.

About 3/4 of the way there we caught up with a fancy carriage moving slower than us with 8 mounted and heavily armed guards pacing it. 2 of the guys in back held up and politely requested that we stay behind and not try to pass. We noticed that they were all wearing the symbol of Honne (snow capped mountain). We dropped back and had a slow walk into town, getting there after dark. As we approached the Honne group took a left before entering the city and one of the guards said the priestess was sorry for delaying our travel and would either enable our entrance through the locked city gates or would let us spend the night in her temple, whichever we wanted. We picked temple without hesitation. We got a glimpse of the priestess as they helped her out of the carriage. Extremely old. Terrible scars from burns covering all the skin we could see. The Acolyte was summoned and came back acting like he's just had a big O. We outsiders were given instructions and provided for (baths, food, etc.) and later on given an audience with her.

Her name is Fepoa and she had an idea who we are. She opened up telling us the history of Honne and Tatumae and the war from a participant's point of view. She was middle aged when it happened (100yrs ago). Honne started spending lots of time off Predallen working with the other countries to bring in trade. She was "protecting" by enabling peaceful trade and interactions with other societies. What she missed while she was gone so much was the increasing influence Tatumae was having and the direction she was taking society. When the comet hit and magic was weakened Honne could not be gone as much and then saw what Tatumae was doing. Thus started the "it's on, bitch" war. The country was split east vs west with the central mountain range acting as the front with little movement in the trench lines. It turns out this sparsely populated country has plenty of room for the lesser races (kobolds, orcs, gnolls, etc.) to exist but they've remained low key. The civil war emboldened them and after 3 years of fighting they struck everywhere like a plague (possibly with Tatumae's urging). This was accompanied by a real plague that was equally devastating. Honne diverted a bunch of her army to deal with the menace within and to protect her people in the east. Tatumae did not and used the opening to break through and started to scorch the earth. Honne lost, Tatumae won and could write the history that the scorched earth in the east and raids in the west was Honne's fault. According to the priestess the story about Honne going crazy has a grain of truth to it. The devastation to the land and all the slaughter did unsettle her a bit. The goofy thing is that Tatumae truly does care for her sister and does not want to kill her. Tatumae is the stronger and could do so but wants to rehabilitate her, not eliminate her. [Group Hypothesis 1: the 2 are tied together and the death of 1 means they both die] Tatumae's "rehabilitation" however would hardly be conducive to an open society though.

The Priestess believes that Tatemae never "betrayed" Honne, but simply ran Predallen as she saw fit, the Lawful Evil way, while they were supposed to work together and balance each other (Honne being good, not sure of law/chaos). However, with Honne gone so much, little collusion occurred, and even the priestess felt that was a failing of Honne, not a secret betrayal by Tatemae. It is part misunderstanding and part overstepping to fill the vacuum created by Honne. There may be a possibility of getting them together again, but only if Tatemae would give up some of her power and let Honne's ideas be reimplemented. I suspect that will happen when Hell freezes over or when she is weakened and forced to submit.

Honne started the orders and Tatumae has since corrupted them. The Blues were to help the poor. They still do that for those who can be helped. If you're beyond help then it's time to become the little blue light of the world. The Reds were to help people find their calling or to escort volunteers to careers they could work at, not abduct people and force them to become what was chosen for them. The Greens were to foster the arts and Predallen culture, not be propaganda ministers and spies (Greens do not wear their colors like the others so any bard or acolyte could also be a spy). The Whites were to ensure the orders followed the rules and ensure no one gained too much power not be the secret police with ultimate authority. There's also a secret Black order that operated off the island doing things like the backing the pirates.

We wanted to know why she was telling us all this. She first claimed that she tells select groups the true history. Many people in the east know about the wholesale slaughter Tatumae brought but no one in the west knows. She wants the true record to be out there but we are not to start spreading it like apostles. We'd be killed if we started doing that. She also was not taking much risk. If a low level acolyte and a bunch of outsiders start running around claiming "the priestess told us this" she'd just deny it and we'd be killed. So we fessed up to being on the Moon and witnessing the Honne/Tatumae encounter. She said she suspected it was us. She had received word that an encounter happened but had no details but knew there was a group of survivors and was on the look-out for us. We told her what we saw happen on the ship and said we ended up on Ghost Island and about freeing Freya's daughter and then making our way onto Predallen and now we're wandering. We did not mention the Kings Island stuff or meeting the Gremlin although the conversation migrated to the Gremlin legend so she may suspect something there.

She confirmed other information for us. Honne's home base is Mt Fuji and Tatumae's is Mt. Kilauea, the one volcano on Predallen. Both of those locations have temples on them and the Reds are still performing sacrifices on both of them. The sacrifices used to be animals and food, but are now human also. We broke up throwing around courses of action.

Meeting the Resistance (Aug 30)
We stayed in Hunterchestertonfieldtown for a day which turned out to be the eve of their biggest holiday, the ending of the Time of Madness. It all started with children making wreathes, bouquets, etc of flowers and selling them and decorating the town with them. The Green order (propaganda) is out in force, and there is both excitement and fear in the air. The next day everyone dresses down (some in costumes) and everyone roams the streets. Free food and drink (but very simple survival foods, representing the poverty of the time) are given out at every home, and the people celebrate the end of the war. The Temple of Tatumae closes and the Orders are nowhere to be seen for a day. As the day gets later and later, and some are drunker and drunker, the talk and singing gets more and more Anti-Tatumae. No one seems to care, like it's one day where all is allowed. The House of the Lantern, which has a major headquarters (and treasury) here, are seen as heroes for their saving the town from getting sacked during the war. The soldiers parade around and everyone welcomes them and gives them the choicest food. No one takes advantage of the situation, and the Lantern soldiers carry the drunks home and clean up a bit afterwards. At dawn, the Tatumae temple reopens and the blues come back out serving breakfast. Every townsperson queues up to take a ritualistic bite and sip. Our accolyte, feeling rebellious, tries not to drink their offering, but they brought him back to do it correctly.

During the freetalk we learned that the ruins to the northwest is the ruins of a group of soldiers who fought Tatemae to the death during the war. Tatemae completely destroyed their fortress island and it remains haunted to this day. It's also a sanctuary for anyone running from the orders. We travelled there, found some signals left in dirt and moss, and continued to the lake. Ruins of a fort were visible on an island two miles out. We found a hidden rowboat and started ferrying people out. Our first group, stopped by a crossbow bolt as they approached the ruins, sat and waited while others arrived and negotiations began. They brought us into the keep where undead surrounded us and sniffed us then left us alone. Their foulmouthed teenaged girl leader was astounded we weren't attacked. They allowed us in at that point.

It seems that this is a halfway house of about 30 refugees, who stay here a bit then move on. In particular we met former agents of the Red and the Blue who decided they would rather flee than do their jobs. They were telling us all they know of people and policies, etc.


Learning About Predallen

The Order of the Key Island (Sept-13)
After finally gaining the trust, more or less, of the people here, we went into the tower where lots of skeletons were waiting. We chose to go upstairs first. The second floor was largely empty. The third and fourth floors had scattered undead around, but none were moving, and there was little of interest there. The fifth floor was the living quarters of a single leader type, but he wasn't to be found. He was found on the sixth floor, an open room with a central table covered in documents, books, and charts, etc and 4 fancy telescopes pointing out 4 different directions. The leader, a skeleton in nicer silk clothes, was looking out one of the telescopes and ignoring us. Zephyr began reading through the documents on the table and Mojo began looking out a telescope. When Mojo began adjusting the telescope, the Leader walked over to him and began showing him how the telescope worked, using gestures. Meanwhile Basil and Zephyr recognized that the writing was all about astronomy and timing the signs of some upcoming event. We eventually told the leader our story, and he let us know that we are one of the signs of the upcoming "Return of Honne" event, though he was somehow magically unable to tell us all he knew.

While the rest were conversing, the Hunter looked out the Leader's telescope to see what he had been looking at. She saw a group of 30ish militia at two campfires and a group of 5 (4 masked) leaders at another campfire with our carriage. At night she couldn't see the colors well, but assumed they were people from the orders. Later, once the gnome mentioned it, she realized she had low light vision and could see pretty well after all. Three were reds, one (unmasked) was blue, and one, the supreme leader, was wearing leather without insignia. Casting Detect Magic and Detect Evil let us know that the head (uncolored one) was evil, the blue priest, and the medium red were evil as well. The 2 lower reds were not evil or not enough to be detected and the militia were the usual mix of any human group. The blue radiated medium level divine magic, while the 3 reds radiated arcane, the leader had medium magic, the lowbies had minor magic. The uncolored had medium arcane magic as well. None of the militia had magical ability.

(Theory: the reds choose out any children with magic potential for incorporation and indoctrination into the orders.)

After a flurry of discussion and more info gathering from the red and blue here, we decided not to attack. Patrols such as this appear occasionally, and leave again regularly. This one is twice the usual size, but even so, the militia are just townspeople. We decided to head downstairs and found a huge room with about 30 small boats, each capable of holding a dozen or so people. There were also hundreds of skellies here just standing in formation: archers, pikemen, etc. A few skellies were maintaining the boats. A door on the back wall led to a pool and a cave exit onto the lake. We decided to bug out taking a boat; we'd leave as soon as the tide had dropped low enough to clear the cave entrance. Just as we were about to leave, the Leader came down from the top level and let us know we couldn't take a boat. HMMM!!!

More discussion and we decided to head out and meet the posse. We drilled our cover story into the acolyte, ferried ourselves back to the town, picked up the horse, and headed back towards the carriage. Their patrols quickly found us and took us to their camp. The acolyte bluffed quite well (KEY: have Jeff roll for the acolyte). Zephyr talked back to them and got a lecture from the blue priest about understanding one's place in the world and how Predallen works. Startled by Zephyr's question if the other leader was a White, he admitted it, speaking in fear and respect and told me to be extra careful. Feyren, meanwhile, challenged the white indirectly, asking the acolyte why he was putting up with their questioning as we had done nothing wrong, and especially from the [colorless] SLAVE of the Reds. That got him hot and bothered, but he finished with the statement that he would find out from the House of the Two Doves the truth of this whole matter, and that we were clearly not what we were pretending to be. With that, however, we were free to go.

Heading North: Meeting the Reds (Sept 27)

We headed north through rural territory, seeing scattered hills, farms, etc. A peasant girl was unafraid to approach such a group as we are to talk a bit, but was careful enough not to say much. Yes, the orders control the countryside effectively, which was my real question anyway. A bit further on we heard a woman sobbing uncontrollably. We found out her daughter had been taken by some reds. We got their direction and description and set off. A party of about a dozen on foot with donkeys (and bells, kidnapping is a festive occasion) heading north like we were. The two rangers took off to find them leaving markers for the carriage and rest to catch up. We passed another tiny group of farms with Plague flags hanging from the windows. We approached to heal them and found it was a farce to keep the Reds away. We moved on, but only after one simpleton let us know a resistance exists in the area around here.

The Reds stopped at a tiny cabin in a small woods beside the road. The Hunter moved in to scout while Mojo waited for the rest of the party. Four reds and the two abducted kids were in the cabin while the other 10 reds were outside. After setting up tarps against the rain, 6 sat around while 4 patrolled the camp. The Hunter watched for about 90 minutes until the party arrived, rode by, and stopped 30 minutes further down the road. There, after a long and somewhat heated discussion, the party barely decided to not attack and to go forward with the larger goal of stopping the sacrifices at Honne's temple. The simpleton farmer caught up with us to join and help us, but Mojo let him know he wasn't welcome. We rode on. We learned of a Red Fort to the north in a mountain pass.

The next day we rode past over 200 Reds. They had set up an encampment along the road, we supposed as a gathering spot for the smaller parties. We saw a dozen or more captive kids being settled down and kept entertained. The Reds are quite organized and militarily professional. Something else was happening in a clearing, perhaps magical, but it was too far away to see for sure what it was. We thought with 200 Reds here, their fort may be largely unguarded. We hurried north to find out.

That night put us at an inn beside a bridge. The bridge had been damaged in a flash flood, so no traffic was getting across. Lots of people were sitting around bored. Some, egged on by Ace, talked about further sabotaging the bridge, but eventually did nothing. Thinking it might slow down the Reds, the Hunter went out and did it alone. She caused enough damage to add a day to the repairs, but the bridge didn't come down.

The next day Clopid saw another gnome scurry around a corner. He followed and only found someone determined to make him go away. After various attempts to find what was going on, Basil saw someone enter a secret door in the side of the inn. Plans to do more were postponed as the excess of food had caused a wave of drowsiness to sweep through the party.

Vive Le Ristance (Oct 11)

We were still stuck at the Inn waiting for the bridge to be fixed. Our attempts to speed things up by magically mending the ropes were met with disgust from the union workers. The offer was met with "You want to take food out of our children's mouths?" and "Thay're tryin to terk er jobs!" so we walked away. In the mean time, with Mojo faking a sissy-fight with Heydon as cover, Clopid managed to finally figure out how to open the secret door at the side of the building and once open half the group rushed in, only to stumble down the hole. Almost literally. There was a main room with a few tunnels leading out, all about 4' high splitting into various directions. One way ended in 3 normal sized rooms containing weaponry and provisions (including a bar with beer!). Straight out toward the river was a series of dead-end spurs. The left path went straight out to 2 gnomes digging. Clopid brought the startled gnomes a couple of beers, to say "Hi" and asked them to join us at the bar. There they admitted being in the Hanne resistance and wanted us to meet with the brass since they were little nobodies, including the inkeeper.

That evening there was a general meeting of the local resistance with their leader known only as The General, but we became the topic du jour. We told them part of our true story and The General grilled us on details about the ship. It was obvious he used to be a sailor and may have been associated with the pirates. We left out the time on the islands and the Gremlin and told them our story of being bought by the 2 swans was a ruse. The acolyte was not present. We said he was with us under duress and was starting to come around but couldn't be totally trusted yet. They believed us enough to give us some info on them. The digging served a couple purposes. It was a meeting place for the group, they were looking for some lost sewers that connected the river to the next town half a day down the road, and they were digging an escape tunnel just in case. They decided we could be trusted if we passed a test. In the next town was a red who was way out of line taking kids for "personal use". It was bad enough that the whites would be "correcting" him soon but it will be a good message if the resistance got to him first. They wanted a public killing. They arranged for the union to look the other way as we took off. The carriage is gone - we gave the chit to the Inn keeper to collect the deposit in exchange for a mule and some provisions.

We also asked about the rumors of a high level red defecting. He pointed at a guy in the corner and said ask him yourself. The indeed is a defective red in the area. He was medium level management like Captain level named Pastor Arnold. Typical story - was sent to a location out here and saw what was really happening how the order was perverted and decided to drop out. Normally only about 40 reds come out for these reaping trips. Having a few hundred out is because of him. We asked him about the value of wrecking the "temple" in the pass and he said it would send a message but in the long run wouldn't accomplish much. However, if someone was going to do something like that now would be the chance. Most of the garrison was out looking for him although the supernatural creatures would still be there. Better yet would be to hit the village outside the keep where the ~100 kids were being "educated". The group passed around the possibility of freeing 100 children held captive and if the resistance could return them to their families if they were freed. We said our plan was to investigate doing that. They said that if the town red appropriately killed/displayed they would try to assist us if we could free the kids. No details were set. He also gave us more info on the sacrifices. There is a fanatical Tatume group conducting them that are not part of an order. They happen monthly at the respective temples. The orders aren't thrilled with what they are doing but not enough to put a stop to it.

The town was half a day down the road. We got there a couple hours before dusk and made for an Inn on the far side of the city with a "we're just passing through" story. The location of the red was the other side of town. He owned a pawn shop by the docks. Saffron went in to "shop", casing the joint. It was fairly busy with a guard dog in the corner and lots of shelves and stuff on display - nothing fancy. He was a pretty big dude. Walked around armed and there was a little area in the back with a table and stairs going up to his personal quarters. We decided on a blitzkrieg approach - a group heads in right before the store is set to close and jump him. Despite some dramatics it came off well. 6 of us tried to enter in a rush claiming we had stuff to sell for drinking money with the rest of the group stationed around the area as lookouts. He would only let 3 people in at a time so we protested and made noise at the door while the other 3 scattered about the place. He and the dog went on alert but were pulled in opposite directions. The druid tried to friend the dog but the spell failed and the dog attacked him. The red ran over trying to figure out what happened and we were on. A silence spell was dropped and we all rushed in. Clopid was able to live the dream with a max damage back attack, but he then realized he faced the fighter alone. But a well time hold spell from Zephyr (?) saved the day, and soon his head was rolling on the floor. The dog was the bigger hassle and we had to kill it. Searching the whole place we found a little cellar with a torture chamber and a chest containing all of his red robes. The first chest was trapped, but Ogrel easily… set it off and knocked out everyone in the room. Then the second chest… oh crap, again with the sleep spell! The thief need to work on removing traps. Luckily tho, there were enough of us outside the room to make it no big deal.

We rigged up the body of the evil Red shop owner in the robes, hung it, headless, off the 2nd story balcony, and drifted away in groups back to the Inn. The Gnome threw up a pyro display to attract the people partying across the street to the display and then spent the night spreading rumors. We safely left the next morning with the buzz going around the town.

We headed toward the red temple. It's a day off the main road to a small keep. We found a place to stay claiming our mule threw a shoe and needs a refit. We received a message to meet someone someplace that we assume if the resistance to thank us for a job well done. Or it's the Reds going to "thank" us. We'll find out next time.

[Post game thought - assuming we do free the kids we cannot assume they will all be cooperative. Some of them may have been there long enough to be turned. Also, if we free them we will also be setting free 100 people who can ID us to the authorities

DR Note: Agree very much. Its going to be very much like herding cats unless we have some leverage to get them to cooperate. Group must also agree that if task is too big to handle, we abort, says Ace quietly.]


We Strike Predallen
(Nov-08 session)

We met with the Resistance, a waitress at the inn at the crossroads, to learn where to deliver the children when we managed to rescue them. We learned that they were going to hide them with a very mercenary fellow who lived alone nearby. Hunter paid an initial fee to get his cooperation to speed up the process. We later learned that the inn we were staying at was owned by the Ghostmoon's orcish captain and bat friend, and this mercenary was the naked tattooed ogre. I think in the end, the fact that we couldn't kill the ogre saved us from attacking all 3. I also think everyone intends to return and get them later. We also had a report of the orc having "nice" stuff in his personal quarters.

We learned that the road into the box canyon fortress area of the Reds is accessed by a single road. That road meets up with a stream and cuts through a steep canyon before opening into the valley. Old ruined fortifications can be found as the road enters the steep canyon, and the Resistance would meet us there and hide the kids there for awhile until it was safe. The Acolyte, upon hearing our plan, or lack thereof, also decided to wait in the ruins. He supports us in theory, but lacks our confidence in fighting the military arm of the whole island's government, and pissing off a demi-god in the bargain.

We rented 2 wagons from the orc innkeeper/Ghostmoon captain and set out along the road. We passed through the ruins, the canyon, and waited at the mouth of the valley at the other end for darkness. We approached the town around 11pm and came in from the north. We let a hunting party head out unharmed, climbed the wall, and ambushed a pair of guards walking the wall. We attacked another pair of guards wandering the north end of the town, and headed to the main gate, where 2 more guards waited in each of two guard towers there. The first two went down pretty easily from groups entering from below and from the wall, but outside another group was spotted by a bouncer-looking guard near the school. He was held and filled with arrows, but was heard as he went down. A group of 3 guards from across the town started trotting down to our location. The guards in the second tower went down and the scattered characters were rejoining as the three guards arrived. We managed to take them down quickly and again without raising suspicion.

Five of us were now wearing red guard's cloaks and helms, and we headed into the school. We marched through the first building, finding nothing, across a courtyard, and into a second building, the dormitory. Zephyr, in the lead, saw another bouncer and bluffed him initially, but the ragged disguises didn't hold him for long and he attacked. We held him also and dragged him into the courtyard and killed him. We ordered the children to get up, dress, and pack up their belongings. We lined them up and got ready to march them out. Meanwhile a couple of people checked the back area of the school and found a teacher. She wasn't fooled by the bluffing for long, resisted the first hold, but not the second. By then the children were lined up and ready to go. We marched out the front door of the school and were heading to the front gate of the city, with some characters escorting from behind and beside. Others were still out front, waiting to ambush any other patrols that happened by.

Unfortunately, during that time we were crossing the main road, the Captain of the Guards saw us and shouted out a warning. Zephyr again tried a bluff, but she didn't seem to believe us. As she and her 5 guardsmen came down the road, we saw lights appear in the top of the barracks. Zephyr claimed that the Red commander had joined the Resistance and was threatening the children, and that we were ordered to lead the children to safety. The Captain saw through the story, dressed Zephyr down for sloppiness, but then commanded her men to help escort the children out of the city. We marched for an hour or so before hearing a commotion behind us. We hurried on, loaded the children on our wagons and got out through the canyon. We started an avalanche to block the canyon behind us, which was a huge success, and delivered the children to the Resistance at the ruins. By then several of the children were quite scared and trying to flee, but we managed to get them all there safely. Two of our number saw a light streaking over our heads as we passed through the canyon. We suspect it was a fire elemental messenger sent to warn someone to our east to catch us.

We succeeded in our first real confrontation with the order. Where do we go from here is the question. Our descriptions will get out once they question the people at the inn, and some earlier as some of us were clearly seen by the Captain and her guards.

Escaping Pursuit
(Nov-22 session)

After a lengthy debate on where to go next, we decided to cross the mountain ridge and head west through the forest straight to Honne's Mountain. Aurora, a half-orc female warrior, familiar with the local area, agreed to lead us across the pass and then return. We had little trouble the first night, sleeping in a cave behind a waterfall (where we found some stashed equipment), but then the next day we were attacked by hyenas. Four got us facing one direction then a dozen more suddenly charged in from the opposite direction. While Lori and Hayden finished off the four, on the other side Mojo and Obadiah were instantly surrounded and chewed up. While Mojo managed to stay afoot, Obadiah was pulled down and overwhelmed quickly. Our Battle: Hyenas suddenly became Mission: Saving Private Obadiah. Through everyone's efforts, Obadiah just got out alive, then as we turned on those around Mojo, their few survivors fled. Lots of fresh meat for all.

We crossed the ridge to the west (not seeing the ogres that live somewhere nearby) but saw a large fire back the way we had come. It was too far away to know exactly where or what it was, but we assume we are being followed. Across the ridge we entered a beautiful forested valley. Aurora turned back, but we agreed to stay to the path heading westward in case she encountered anyone pursuing us and had to return to us. During our first day, we heard a voice on the wind that said not to harm the trees. The second night an elven beauty (dryad?) named Willow motioned to our dwarf to come out and speak. He did and she asked our business, etc. He requested a meeting with the leader of the forest people. They separated and agreed to meet later. This was repeated the next night, since he didn't tell us about the first meeting at all. The second night he was seen entering the forest and followed. After a confused exchange, Willow spoke to the whole group. We learned the following:
The Leader of the area is a treant. The beings here suffered during Tatemae's rampage through the area a century ago, but have made an agreement with the Orders now. Any runaways from the Orders will be returned and in exchange the Orders would stay out of this area. Willow had no real understanding that the Orders were Tatemae's power over the people of Predallen, and is not unsure of what to do with us. She is afraid of us and our power directly, she is afraid of breaking the agreement with the Orders, and she is afraid the Orders will rampage through the forest like Tatemae's forces a century ago. It seems we need to speak to the treant to settle this out. Will we be allowed passage through the valley, or will we fight our way through?

Turning around: the Elemental and Heart of the Mountain
January 3

We agreed to head to Willow's home, so turned Northwest for awhile to meet the person who spoke to us when we first arrived in the forest. A huge stag led us and Willow showed up again to guide us the last bit of the way. As suspected, a huge willow tree was there, with 5 ensorcelled human men defending it and Willow. We were fed and watered (but an encounter with a human of the area told us not to drink the wine. Too bad no one warned the 5 humans.) There, an ancient druid, more plant than human at this point, was brought in. She was on a litter, and sprouts from the litter had grown into and through the druidess to the point where she was now "sewn" into the litter. Honne had used some of her power to make her "one with these woods". She is aware of all that occurs in these woods and will continue to be so long after her body dies. She suspects that gifts like this, often given by Honne, left her slightly weaker than Tatemae, and eventually causing her to lose the war. Anyway, here Willow told us a story and she hired us to do a job.
It turns out that as we were fleeing with the children from the Red Fort, the orc captain of the Ghostmoon, helped by Gwen the waitress, went into the keep and stole the Heart of the Mountain, the magical heart of Tatemae's Volcano. Tatemae had given it to a very powerful Fire Elemental, to keep for as long as he served her. Gwen arranged for it to be given to the treant of this forest, who was going to give it back setting the Elemental free and leaving Tatemae the weaker, but the captain kept it. Without that heart, the Elemental is now free not to serve Tatemae, which is good, but it assumes we were the ones that stole it. It doesn't know where we are, but is searching for us and is way too powerful for us. The druidess wants us to track down the captain and retrieve the Heart. It can then be given to the elemental, or as we suggested, given to Honne to empower her (we told them about the daughter of Freya, who can probably reach Honne). For taking this quest (and perhaps for payment for rescuing the kids) we were promised a permanent magic item each. A few items were kept by Willow, so we got those immediately, the rest to be gathered and given to us when we return. We received:
Potion of Darkvision - Mojo … … . Ring of Protection +2 - Hunter
Potion of Aid - Hayden … … … . +1 Large steel Shield - Kevlar
Potion of Tongues - Obadiah … … +2 Heavy Mace - Basil
Potion of Invis to Animals - Loricifera . Everburning Torch - Zephyr
Scroll: Silent Image - Pavelow

Having agreed to the quest, we turned around and headed back east. Our only hope is that Gwen would have some idea of where the Captain is, or that he left some clue behind at the inn. With the druidess and Willow's guidance, we left their forest without incidence, crossed Ogre Ridge, where we stumbled upon 6 dead bodies killed by the ogres, probably our pursuers. We crossed the next valley, keeping off the trail, but were found by 5 baby copper dragons wearing collars. They landed in formation and when we charged all breathed a gas that slowed us and then took off. Assuming we've been found, we immediately set off again, arriving back at the road near the inn at sunset to find a large group gathered at the cross-roads with lots of lights. Ogrel scouted out a large militia gathered there, but they are not under any leadership we can see. They are drunk and sitting inside a ring of fires, and it should be easy to avoid them.

About Face Again - Back to the Citadel to Chat with the Whites
Jan 17 (450 xp)

Ogrel completed scouting the militia. They are indeed a true militia from the nearest city called up by the whites to arrest anyone passing through although they're too busy celebrating something to pose much of a threat. We bypass them and head to the Inn which is in the process of being looted by the Resistance. The Inn itself is left untouched but all outbuildings are being cleared of anything not attached to the walls. Ogrel slides in and gets a message to Gwen that the party will meet her in one of the barns after the looting is done. After a "WTF are you guys doing back here" "Why did you double-cross us" exchange, she informs us of recent events. The whites called up the militia from town to guard the pass and not the regular army, no idea why. The reds are all back in the citadel and not moving yet while the whites sort out what happened although their first action was to let the townies stone to death the 2 highest reds for incompetence. That's what the militia are celebrating. She swears the Capt. double-crossed her and she never intended to get us framed. Belief of this is mixed. The Capt had an exchange with BigBoy and they are still not making up which threw the Capt's plans out the window so he is winging it on where to run with the Heart. Gwen's last info is that he did a quick packing of his room and took off down the road toward the Citadel valley. She has no idea why. We decided that looting the remaining contents of the Capt's room was the best course of action.

The 4 remaining Inn employees would not want the loot taken for several reasons and most of the party would not want to hurt them so Gwen drugged all their dinner (including her own to throw off suspicion) and we made our way into the room at midnight. Basil disarmed a poison trap on the door with his face, Ogrel disarmed the trapped chest with a mage hand allowing casters to practice creating water as a means of extinguishing fires, and we netted some coin, 3 potions, and a nice ring. The Capt had taken all the light and valuable stuff. As we were cleaning up the law started pounding on the door to inform the proprieter that they have captured some looters. A change self and quick thinking by Obadiah bribed the lawmen into turning over the captured resistance fighters to the Capt to personally punish. We arranged for Gwen to take them into custody as the party prepared to leave. Then BigBoy showed up screaming for the Capt to come out and finish this once and for all. We threw Gwen out the door to talk to him and she told him the Capt was gone and had run toward the Reds. BB and his companion bounty hunter took off after him. We decided to follow in order to use the Ogre and a means of finding the Orc.

We had to avoid the militia and then got stuck by the Red guards standing at the remains of the gate in the narrows. BB somehow got through or around but we wouldn't be able to do it without raising the alarm so decided to try scaling the cliffs a ways away to bypass the guards and avoid detention. After several hours of trying in the rain we gave up and did what we normally do and attacked the guards. They were dispatched and hidden and we boogied on down the road. As we left the narrows we heard dogs and people coming toward us. We hid as best as we could in the coverless rocks hoping the dark and rain would cover us. The dogs were acting strangely. They were not tracking whatever they were supposed to be looking for and were whining and whimpering. Unfortunately not everyone in the party is adept at hide skills and the Reds knew someone was in the rocks and set the dogs to attack. Instead the dogs took off in the opposite direction as soon as they were released with their handler chasing after them. We dispatched this group of Reds as well. While cleaning up the battle the 5 cute little dragons dropped in for another visit although 1 of them had a scroll case this time. The scroll was a summons and promise of safe passage from the Order of the Snow to appear before the Grand Inquisitor at the Citadel. It was still a few hours to get there and we had been up over a day traveling in the rain and decided to make camp and debate whether to submit to the summons. After debate we voted to head to the Citadel and present ourselves as requested. May as well kill the whole party in 1 swoop rather than piecemeal I guess.

At near dawn we were visited by a pain-racked human figure clad in glowing chains and a full helmet/mask. The metal was burning the flesh of the extremely evil figure which would magically heal and reburn. The party was awakened and on alert. Obadiah and Zephyr approached the figure who could barely speak through the pain and muffled by the mask. They cast healing and resistance to fire spells on it which helped with it's ability to be understood but not its message. The figure was absolutely insane from the torture. The creature turned out to be the one known as the Butcher who used to be the despot leader of the valley and was imprisoned and cursed by the combined efforts of Honne & Tatumae. The attempts to aid it from the party members also cursed them (-1 to Saves). We fled the creature and headed to the Citadel to meet our doom.

Since no man is freer than he who has nothing to lose some of the party members took the opportunity to taunt the Reds as we made our way through the town and were escorted to the Keep. The boldness grew as the response to our letter of passage and arrogance of the Reds increased during the trip. Eventually we reached the doors to the Keep with a "bring it bitches" attitude. Let the inquisition begin. And it did although there wasn't the expected torture. True to rumors the Whites had no interest in punishing us civilians and are 100% focused on finding out which Reds to burn for the child-freeing and Heart-stealing incident. We told a true story but tried to keep out a few details about individuals who aided us like the Red guard capt who let us go with the children. On day 2 though that Capt was brought to us and the whites already knew of her actions. We also met Gwen who the whites had summoned along with us so her cover is blown as well. She asked to be able to accompany us when we left since she had nowhere else to go. We are pondering that but probably will since she knows the area where we are heading and could be a useful guide.

Then the bomb dropped. The 2 highest level Matriarchs of the Whites met with the party alone - no scribes or witnesses. Their robes were a scintillating rainbow of all colors that bleed into white. They informed us that their position as an order is incredibly tenuous and they they themselves are being watched by an unknown order. The Whites are closest aligned with Honne and they claim that restoring her is the only way to return sanity to the island. There is another order counter to them that is aligned with Tatumae that is completely hidden. Perhaps if they are the order of All Colors, the other is the order of No Colors - the Invisible Order, as it were? They seem to be in fear of this mystery order and will not even speak of them because it draws attention. One thing they know is that the members of this order are not human. They also informed us that heading to Honne's temple would be a valuable step toward returning Honne. They will be able to keep the Reds busy scrambling for another 4 or 5 days but after that it will get suspicious and our safety cannot be guaranteed. If we can find the Orc in the next 3 days and return the Heart to them they will be able to provide something that will help us in the task of ending the sacrifices and Honne's temple. The group has already promised the Druidess that we would return the Heart to her and we have accepted some gifts from her already. We have the choice of honoring that deal or ending it. Assuming we can find the Capt and get the heart away from him. Oh, and those little Bronze Dragons are the offspring of Honne.

The Kitchen
Jan 31, 700xp
The Whites told us that in order to remove our curses we could either go to the capital and pay a lot/do a quest for some high level cleric, or go downstairs and face the Butcher in his prison area, his old area called the Kitchen. Anyone of the Orders who enters always dies, but anyone in the kingdom is allowed to enter. On the way down we slowed to read the murals on the walls. They told the story of Ancient Predallen and the origin of Honne and Tatemae. They represented Honne as a human with an eagle's head (air spirit), and Tatemae as human with a ?? head (earth spirit), and each was soon affiliated with a dragon, Honne with Tiamat and Tatemae with Bahamat. We learned from our guides that Honne and Tatemae have some sort of continuing relationship with dragons. There are no dragons on Predallen, but it is considered safe territory to raise young in, a duty of the Orders, should any dragon ask it.

We soon reached the entrance to the Kitchen. A barred gate stood there, unlocked as it always is. We went in to find a series of rooms. Nothing much has been touched in centuries, not only wood but all iron had disappeared over time. We did find a series of bodies, also generations old, one per room. They had some old coins on them, with an occasional magic weapon. The last one had a scrollcase with a single page from a journal, saying he was the last of 24 (or so), lamenting their decision to ever come here. Anyway, in the 5th room we found 26 skeletons which the clerics quickly dusted. We saw the bodies reforming on the intact bunks. We destroyed one bunk, but it took too long, so we shoved the others into a corner room (northeast) and moved on. In the next room we found 4 undead humans with cow heads sewn on. Battle began, and after a few rounds of enchanting weapons and fighting through a doorway, Hunter and Mojo vs 2 of them, we decided to close the door and leave. Arranz recognized them as mummies.

At that point, we heard the Butcher moving though the area. We followed the sound through three more rooms before finally confronting him in a room with a Balrog statue and an open chasm blowing cold air. Here, the Butcher lamented his curse, while we called out to him to submit to the pact made with Honne/Tatemae. (We aren't quite sure if that pact is the same as with the Balrog). The Butcher took off his helmet and cursed what had been done to his face (which looked stunningly handsome to us.) He was half-elven. At that point, a strong gust of wind blew most of us into the chasm.

In the chasm, each of us was alone with the Butcher. He was under our control, and we understood our choice: torture him until he received redemption, or simply kill him, granting him redemption. Torture or Kill. Each made his/her decision and we were back in the room as if nothing had happened. Zephyr and Obadiah's curse was lifted, everyone who was tested in the chasm received a permanent +1 to saves vs. fear, and those who killed the Butcher received another effect. When encountering undead, there is a 20% chance the undead will target only that person. Those who tortured the Butcher have a 20% chance to be ignored by any undead. We also understood how to kill the Butcher. His soul resides in a cow that roams around the valley. Kill the cow and the Butcher dies and his soul goes to serve the Balrog; don't, and he continues to suffer until he gives in to the illusionary torture he is under. His absolute pride and arrogance have made it impossible for him to bow, and his madness means he can no longer change. After a discussion, we all, except Arranz, agreed that he is all but harmless here, while if he dies, he again serves the Balrog, probably in the Abyss, but who really knows for sure? Better not to take the chance such an evil figure will be sent back to create such evil and chaos as he did 1000 years ago. Mojo chimed in that its best not to meddle in the affairs of the gods or even demi-gods.

We left off in that room in the Kitchen. I think we can continue or leave now.
XP total 700. +1 staff, dagger, light mace, large steel shield, 378 antique gp.

Cleaning the Kitchen
Feb 28 (650xp)
We completed a search of the chasm room and during that time the Butcher returned to his typical moaning as opposed to the blithering he had been doing. We figured he was going to be worthless so we formed up single file and headed down the unexplored hallway. It opened into a natural cave with a narrow path around a central pool of water. We kept the wall on our right and started out. After a little while we came across the scattered remains of what had once been a human 100 years ago. We would come across these periodically throughout the exploration. They were all 100 years dead so it was difficult to get an absolute read on what happened but bits of evidence pointed to something large attacking out of the water so we kept our eyes that direction. We eventually found their base camp. The way we figured it was we were walking backward from the way they died. Something had discovered and was attacking them so they fled deeper into the caves and were caught in a dead end. There was a battle in farthest room and they decided to make a run for the front exit fighting their way out and didn't make it.

Also at the back end of the cave we found the room this area was named after and where the Butcher did the things that got him cursed. There were some pedestals here-and-there that we think once had statues of the Butcher but were obliterated. There was a "war memorial" hall displaying tributes to units that attacked the citadel in the battle to capture the Butcher. Lots of things pointed to the current decor being deliberately set up by Hanne/Tatume in order to remind the Butcher that his past glory is gone and he is imprisoned. We could see that he walked everywhere throughout the cave except the actual kitchen room as if he was prevented by the curse from entering the one place where he might be able to relive glory.

We did discover a few unique things:
There was a column in one of the rooms inscribed with the contract between the Balrog and the Butcher. We copied down a chunk of it for later study to try and decipher what was promised.

There is another exit to the place. There is a natural sink hole that we determined was on the hill that sits above the citadel. We were at the bottom looking up almost like we were standing in a well. The sides were basically vertical and unstable so it can't be climbed without gear. The floor of this well was covered in the remains of natural things thrown into the well like berries and wreaths. We recalled that the citadel was not built on the highest point because there was some sort of sacred thing on that hill so this must be part of it. Some of the items were fresh so whoever is paying tribute to nature here is still doing it.

Someone had been down here recently using the well. No idea who other than humanoid and he had probably lowered a rope from above, came down, wandered around the cave, and then left. No sign of what he did or where.

We found 2 decorative swords. One was in a mucky area and the blade contains what looks like a map of a building with symbols in some of the rooms. The second was in the camp of the suckers who came down here 100 years ago. That one contained what looks like a legend explaining what the symbols are on the other sword. It also looks like the 2 swords are keys to open some lock. More research is needed.

There were 2 locations where it looked like the 100 year party did some digging. One area was pretty big (6' x 6' x 6') and the other a little smaller. No idea what they were looking for, those swords maybe?

There was an illusion of a chest in one room. It looked like a cool magic treasure chest but was too clean and out of place. We believed it to be an illusion and trap. It was in the same room where the small dig happened and there was evidence that this was the trap that set off whatever attacked the last party. We went with that theory and left it alone. I want to save the game and go back and set it off just to see what happens.

Mojo is part werewolf. We were attacked by the crocagators that live down here. 4 normal sized ones jumped us at the narrows. We killed one but big mom & pop were following right behind. They both spanked Mojo and knocked him down to 1hp round 1. He raged and did this teen wolf impersonation. Unfortunately he didn't distinguish between them and us after the gators were killed so we all pounded him unconscious. We tied him up and after a little while he returned to his normal ugly self. He recalled changing and said sorry and he has issues. Read his character summary for new additions.

After cleaning out the crocagator nest from all the cool lewt we left the kitchen cave. We didn't run into the Butcher on the way out but could hear him moaning around. We left the skeletons and mummytaurs locked in their rooms. The whites were a little surprised to see us like they were laying odds we wouldn't ever come out of there. They reiterated how confusing it is that anyone of the orders is slaughtered right away down there but a normal person is free to enter although the place is pretty dangerous. We now know much more about the place than they do but they didn't grill us for details. They seem pretty blah about it. They did tell us that we can release the Butcher from the area by "inviting him out". It takes little more that "hey, how about a trip up top" and he can leave. They can give us the rest of the day to recoup and heal and then we need to head out. They can keep the reds steppin & fetchin for 3 more days before it gets weird so we have that long to find the Capt and BigBoy and get the stone. The little dragons don't trust us and don't want to act as messengers. If we acquire the Heart Stone the whites suggest that we come back to the citadel and "surrender to the whites". If we do that they will be able to protect us under the guise of "questioning" us. Apparently this will not seem out of place and throw up alarms to the other orders but they also can then sneak us away somewhere safe. The little dragon squad might be able to help us narrow down the search area for the Capt but that's all they will do.

Take for the night:
Loot: 266 old gp
8 black gems, unknown value
2 ornate swords, maps and keys to some lost treasure. Held (and wanted) by Sibne
+1 halberd Held by Mojo
+1 small shield Unclaimed - carried by the Hunter
Staff of Size Alteration Unclaimed - carried by Ace
Rod of Enemy Detection unclaimed - carried by Arranz
Potion of Alter Self - carried by Hayden?
Quiver of Elhonna - carried by Saffron?
+1 Breastplate - carried by Zephyr
unidentified potion - held by the Hunter

We ended it being in the Citadel with the whites able to continue the conversation with them and get any final equipment. They also shared their plans for us:
We are to kill both Captain Morgan and also Big Boy, who they now begin to think is actually the more dangerous of the two, and not just physically. After that, they will take us to a secret location where we can rest up, equip up (including spells), and learn more about Predallen and what needs to be done to save the world from becoming part of Predallen.

END



Hunting Down the Captain and Bigboy
2/28/15 780 xp

The baby copper dragons gave us a location where BigBoy had been seen about two days ago. Since he came here 5 days ago, we assumed that was his camp. We headed towards the area, then veered off to camp nearby, since we were all but out of spells. During the night we saw a bonfire sitting where BigBoy was last sighted.

In the morning we went there and heard voices. Dogs barked as we were coming close, so the front few walked into camp and talked with the tracker/bounty hunter that was with BigBoy. He thought we were naive adventuring idiots and let us know BigBoy and the Captain were at a standstill, each had allies and each wanted the other to come to him. After a bit of a debate, we figured we'd go after the captain first, since he had the Heart of the Mountain, our primary goal. We circled around BigBoy and took a path up the side of the mountain to a fort-like ruins up there. As we were searching the ruins, we were attacked by 4 gargoyles. It was nasty, as it took magic to hit, and we had few magic weapons. More damage was done by the mages with magic missiles than by the fighters, but eventually we dropped 3 of the 4 and the last flew away.
Just as the first was dropping, the Captain came running up a corridor. While all cloaked up, his peg-leg identified him. He fired a ray at the Hunter and missed. Zephyr held him on his first try. Just then the Hunter dropped her gargoyle and two others rushed past her to take down the helpless Captain. He was carrying the Heart. He also had vampire fang marks on his neck. The bat fed off of the Captain.
We spent an hour searching/backtracking to get all the loot, when Ace mentioned that if BigBoy had the bat (a guess we got from the Bounty Hunter) and if the bat was now weakened from losing his familiar/bonded food/symbiont, it is possible that BigBoy now knew the Captain was dead. With that possibility open, we rushed to the front and looked down the long road up here. Sure enough, BigBoy was leading his small army of kobolds up the front road. Seeing the ruins were indefensible, we quickly decided to rush down to a narrows in the road up here where we could make a Stand at Thermopylae. Mojo couldn't get there soon enough, so we took up a lesser location. The kobolds all had slings and a lot of them, so we cast a Wind Wall, and are temporarily stalemated about 100 feet apart.

Loot:
+1 Short Spear - Suibhne
+1 Bracers of Armor - Hayden
+1 Javelin - Hayden
Potion of Timelessness - Group booty (Zephyr)
Scroll of Detect Undead
Scroll of Shadow Evocation - Ogrel
Quaal's Feather Token: Fan
+1 Dagger - Return from Siv..The Hunter would like but hasn't claimed it.
Wand of Cure Light Wounds - 0 charges (nice roll by Dave!)
2300 sp
1 gem

The Fight with Big Boy
3/14
743 xp

The group decided that melee was our best hope. They had the advantage at distance with a couple dozen crossbows so we moved up to the wind wall in order to charge. As we moved up they pulled back and the wall dropped but a glitterdust spell blinded nearly all of the kobolds preventing them from shooting followed by a mind blast that dazed them. Unfortunately BB wasn't effected by either and he took off running down the hill. All of the fighters took off after him including an enlarged Mojo at cruise missile speed. He caught up with BB and played cat and mouse slowing him down for the others to catch up. The non-fighters delayed to dispatch the stunned kobolds then came chasing after. The group got strung out during the chase and in the middle of it the misty vision of the Gremlin appeared imploring us to not kill BB. Most of the party missed this though and continued the chase. BB was desperate to reach the end of the sunken path so Mojo moved far ahead to cut him off. He was close to the exit but couldn't get there. Once trapped BB put his back to the wall and enraged for battle and bellowed for his reinforcements to move up. Everyone who could jumped on BB as another group of kobolds came up the path. These were holding blow guns but a well placed grease spell slowed them down and another glitterdust prevented them from shooting (undoubtedly poisoned) darts at us.

The battle was fast and furious. We were doing some moderate damage but BB was hitting hard. Two good hits took down The Hunter. Mojo raged into werewolf mode and scored solid hits. Mojo went down as Saffron came down the hill screaming to not kill BB. Basel backed off asking why but BB ignored him and kept the attack going. Hayden went down. The melee, arrows, and magic missiles had taken their toll though and Basel was able to step up and drop BB with a solid strike. The last of the kobolds were shot and we started picking though the wreckage. A few spells on Mojo got him back to being stable but we had to tie him up to keep him from raging on us. Hunter was saved but Hayden was deaddead. We put enough healing into BB to keep him from dying and mummified him with ropes while we cleaned up the carnage. Once conscious enough BB told us his sob story about the Captain failing them and how all he really wanted was to get back home in order to wage war on the Black Tower. Those of us from Loki's Belt were familiar with the story of the Black Tower and would also like to see it destroyed. BB had been one of the ogres genetically engineered to be a praetorian guard for evil Black Tower but he was engineered too well. He was too smart and too independently thinking for them so they planned to have him killed. He learned of the plot and escaped but wound up falling into the black ship and was enslaved for Predellan. The Captain was part of his class and they have been together until the Capt. screwed up and lost the ship and dashed BB's plans for returning to Loki's Belt to take revenge on the Tower. He offered a deal. We let him leave with only his 2-handed mace and we could have the 3rd sword and all the loot in his house. He would leave Predellan for Loki's belt by the fastest means possible. The group gave consent that a deal could be reached but we have work to finish yet before cutting him lose.

We took the captive Orge to the kobold hive and demanded they bring out everything they owned and all BB's stuff for display. Seeing the beaten and tied ogre they readily complied. We picked through the stuff for anything of value but the items included a caged large bat. The bat had formed a symbiotic relationship with the Capt. Neither were really master/slave although the bat referred to the Capt as master and requested that we bury them together. We retrieved the Capt's body and burned both of them together. Time to rest and recover.

[The 3 swords - together provide some type of map enabling the possessors to locate Klayshift's Castle]
[The Black Tower - One source of evil control in the Loki's Belt area of the world.]

Loot:
+1 long sword - Loricifera
+1 long sword - Mojo (halbert to Siubhne)
Mighty +4 composite longbow (Lori)
12 MW arrows (Lori)
+1 large steel shield with arrow deflection (Basel)
Necklace of Prayer beads - bless (Obadiah)
Scroll of heat Metal (Zephyr)
Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds
Potion of Neutralize Poison
Potion of Vision (Ogrel)
cash and gems - total (including sp and gem from Capt and 2x black 500gp gems (MW)) - 6930gp
nonmagical ogre chainmail
fancy skull helm
Book: The Treasure of the Kitchen

Sanctuary
3/28 500xp

We spent the night at BigBoy's, and before leaving we noticed that one of the rooms was somewhat personalized and femininized. We asked Big Boy about it and found he has a friend who visits occasionally. He wrote her a letter and we promised to deliver it or at least mail it out. Rose, it turned out, is from Ipswich, the town just west of here where we killed the pedophile Red. As BigBoy headed east to the coast, we went west, leaving the home alone and telling Gwen to let the Resistance know the furniture etc is free to take and distribute. As we passed by the inn we noticed a travelling minstrel with a bright (but old) gypsy wagon who was apparently secretly going back and forth from the inn to the wagon. Ogrel and Suibhne scouted it out and found a young retarded girl hiding inside. They are running from the blues, looking for "Sanctuary". We learned from an unwilling Gwen that the island we met the undead Watcher at was just a waystation (which we knew) but that the final destination was "Sanctuary", a magical pool of healing created by a goddess who saw ancient Predallen and cried over the horrific conditions here. Her tears still exist, but most consider it another legend, perhaps real somewhere…. Gwen thought she knew where it was, not that far away, actually. The Hunter immediately went and spoke openly to the father that we would help them and to follow us. A natural 20 became an 18, still good enough for him to join us despite his fear of anyone learning he was fleeing the Azure Order.
We had no problems getting to Ipswich, and Ogrel delivered the letter under an illusion of being a child. Rose, the recipient, is elderly and quite rich and well connected. She is an intellectual, knowing a lot, writing essays and discussing things with others around Predallen, and generally doing nothing. I hereby name her group the Illuminati, since that's all they did until they were all arrested and killed for pissing off the authorities. Anyway, she was a spellcaster, identified Ogrel under his illusion, and asked to meet the group that beat BigBoy. Half of us didn't want to meet her, the other half did, and they talked about threats to Predallen, like the Black Tower. She's very interested in outside threats (as if internal enemies weren't important) and wanted to hear about all our home areas and any dark societies we all had, etc. In exchange she told us all she knew about one topic of our choice. We chose "the Heart of the Mountain", and learned the following.
All Spirit creatures, like Tatemae and Honne originally were, gain their life from the terrain around them, great mountain ranges, forests, deserts, etc. At the same time the essence of that terrain, and the life force of the spirit creature, coalesces into a gem or such item. If a spirit creature is killed, it quicky is reborn, because it's essence remains. Also, the spirit creature can't leave the terrain area which formed it. If the essence is destroyed, it would take perhaps a century for the essence to reform (since the terrain feature remains) and then the spirit creature is reborn. Destroying her Heart would have killed Tatemae in her original form. Since Odin came and made Tatemae more than just a spirit creature, Rose didn't know what effect it might have. Despite us being interested in all this, Rose has no clue that this isn't just an intellectual question purely for debate. As far as she knows, Tatemae's "Heart" is still buried somewhere deep in her volcano, while Honne's would be deep in hers. Clearly Tatemae won't die if she voluntarily gave it to another being, but it must be very important to her. Perhaps the fire elemental's presence would even further refine it, adding to Tatemae's fire power. It could have been a symbiotic relationship.

Anyway, Gwen's Resistance connections failed to find a boat we could rent or borrow, but Rose had the connections, so eventually she met all of us as we boarded her friend's luxury yacht and sailed around the lake, two days of fine wine, food, and rest. We got off about where Gwen thought the Sanctuary was, a tiny fishing village. The rich townies thought we were crazy getting off there, and the local townies assumed we were richly connected and didn't know what to do with us. We spent the night in the little inn there and the next day, when we asked to go to sanctuary. A guide told us to follow, and ran us in circles a bit but eventually led us to a small lake with an impressive marble backing along the far side. It was vine covered and all very old, but still impressive. From our side, we simply walked out and waded into the pool carrying our dead. Hayden was raised (resurrection actually) and though he lost a level, anyone with him who carried him out and also failed a save, gave him 300 xp. Hayden gained enough to re-ding. The little girl seemed to gain some intelligence and her condition was less-obvious. Those who failed their saves saw a brief flash of three goddesses, Sif, Freya, and Frigga, crying over Predallen to form this pool.

Hayden's Vision

After staring over the pond at the temple ruins for a while Hayden turns to the group and quietly announces that he needs to go in there. And he thinks maybe we should all go check the place out.
When he was underwater and "coming back" he had a vision of this place from long ago when it was just being built. Etched into the walls beneath the weeds and vines there are reliefs of 3 gods - Sif, Frigga, and Freya. I think I saw their "representatives" arguing with a large Raven in that temple. After clarifying it was a bird, not a pompous paladin I started to figure out what was happening.
Let's go back a little. He turns back around to look at the temple as if the sight of it will help him remember.

I was underwater and everything was muffled and there were voices far away. It's like I could almost hear Mojo talking but sort of garbled. It was a very strange sensation but it wasn't like I was drowning. I was just floating and at peace. I couldn't tell how long I was down there but when my head popped above the water I saw this temple but it was brand new - so new there was still scaffolding up and they were finishing the carvings. It was beautiful. There was a camp over there [makes gesture in that direction] that was baing packed up and aside from the few remaining workmen there were a few people in robes of various colors walking around doing small clerical type things. Nothing special that I could tell.

No one could see me though and try as I might I couldn't get anyone's attention. I walked around a bit and eventually wandered into the temple and heard raised voices coming from down a stairway. I followed it down to a narrow path that cut back and ended in a room that I think is actually below the pond. It ended at a small dim room with a rock in the middle on which was a candle holder and candle providing the only light. There were 3 women in the room. Two were lightly armed/armored and the other had more of a "soldier" look. They were all arguing with the bird about the candle. There were phrases like, "inappropriate gift", and "insufficient for their needs", and "something more powerful must be given", and the big one about "even if the doors to the plane of evil are closed there's still many demons living in this land". Then the "soldier" woman said her Mistress had said her Great Sword would be an acceptable gift and she would go retrieve it.

That seemed to be a step too far because the Raven that had been just listening to them bicker finally shouted in a very loud booming voice that "It will be done as the ALLFATHER commands!" which stopped all discussion. He said things about "not bringing this land to the attention of the great threat" and "all the lands being engulfed in a thousand years" and "if things go wrong this land will be the plane's only hope". Then he looked at me as if he could see me but kept talking to them although I got the feeling he was saying this for my benefit more than theirs like he wanted me to know that "this gift should lay forgotten until needed and it should be given to the sisters at the right moment - not before, not after".

What felt really odd was I also had the feeling like I was not the only spirit witnessing this. The Raven looked and acted like he was speaking to an audience as well as me. When he looked at me I knew he was also looking at others at the same time. It was like he was speaking directly to me but at the same time speaking directly to other people too like he could somehow speak to many individuals simultaneously. But he also wanted me to know he was speaking to others. I assume all the others had the same impression whoever and however many there were.
Once he said "not after" the image started to fade like I had been dismissed because I had witnessed what I was supposed to witness. The 3 women and the Raven faded away but after they were gone something else entered the room that didn't feel right. It was a flash of a shadowy figure but I couldn't make it out exactly. It seemed to settle around the rock where the candle was. There was a sinister feeling but then I was out of the room and there were workmen sealing up the entrance to the stairwell.

And then I was being raised up out of the water by you guys and I was back. Then Hayden starts to ramble: I've been trying to figure out what all this means but need some help. There's something in this temple that I think needs to be given to Hanne and Tatume eventually but when? I think the other witnesses were people like me but at other "times" so that one of us will be here when the right time happens. Does that mean we should get the candle now and have it ready or just know it's there so we can get it if needed? Hanne is still pretty wacked out yet and will be until we stop the sacrafices so maybe we should wait until after that gets cleared up. The bird said it must be given to the sisters, plural, not just one so I think we need to wait until they are back together.
Or maybe it is too late. Maybe this was supposed to be given before they started fighting to prevent the split and whoever was the witness then missed the right time. What the heck does this all-powerful candle holder do anyway? Is it the candle or the holder or both?

I think I can remember the area where that stairwell was but if it was sealed up and covered maybe not. Even if I can though I'm not sure we should open it just yet. Something not good went down there to be sealed up with it. We might not want to meet that thing just yet. He turns back to the group. I need to check this place out but we might not be doing the right thing. I might get in there and say we should leave. I don't know what will happen. If anyone wants to stay out here I'll understand.

Honne and the Black Order and Trip to the White Temple
4/25 300-500xp depending on scenario

Well, after Hayden's vision we had to stay and check it out. We started searching around the shrine and found it had served as a hospital on the ground floor with offices above. It was all very functional, yet nicely made. On the top, between the spires, was a map of Predallen carved into the stone. There were a number of flat spots, like little markers could be moved around on it. A strategic battle map. A bit later, as we were exploring, a wave of magic hit us. All spellcasters had to save or be mentally washed back 800 years. Waves hit every 15-30 minutes, and we mentally went back and forth until we saw all we needed to see. The entire place is bustling then, with injured moving in and out like a MASH unit, healers and administrators everywhere, and Honne and Tatemae sitting up top, peering over the battle map and talking. This moment was captured for eternity because of its significance. As the two looked over the map, still mostly with black markers and talking about their losses from the last campaign, they lament their lack of manpower. Tatemae mentions again the only solution she knows: shanghai-ing people from distant lands using the Black Order (Brotherhood) and pressing them into service. at the end of the cycle Honne, distraught over her no-win situation, said, Let it be done.
After that we decided to sleep the night and head out in the morning. During the night some wild men talked to us. They had come to move the Sanctuary people on to the next location. We were told that we were doing it wrong. If we wanted Sanctuary, we were in the wrong place. If we didn't, we were sure to be found, as the Orders keep this place under constant surveillance. We packed up and headed out immediately. A ghostly patrol, also from 800 years ago, allowed us to pass. We pressed on all night and all day, and finally spent a night in an abandoned hut. While there, we saw a drill sergeant running his elite recruits around at night in platemail. Surely we were near a major military base. By noon, the copper dragons came back to deliver a terse message.
1. The Fire Elemental has gone rogue and is looking for you.
2. The druids want the Heart of the Mountain and are looking for you.
3. The Reds are looking for you.
You should:
1. Get to the White Temple as fast as possible.
2. Seek asylum among the druids
3. Claim Sanctuary.

We hightailed it to the temple, avoiding encounters, and miraculously arrived without having any.

(continued under At the Snow Temple).

END OF SUMMARY


At the Snow Temple

4/25 continued from last Captain and Big-Boy update

The whites welcomed us here and made the following deal with us:
We hand over the Heart of the Mountain
We stay here until the heat has dissipated, about 4 months.
We keep it quiet, bring no attention to ourselves, and never mention we were here.

They will:
Give each person 800gp to spend (originally 500 and a MW weapon each, but Arranz can make MW weapons, so we bartered for cash)
Train each of us in a skill (+1 to any skill, including cross-class)
Allow each of us to choose someone for a companion/ discussion / etc with whom we can talk, ask questions, etc.
Free access to their impressive library and other facilities. (including Free and unlimited 1st and 2nd level mage spells)

A split of all the group loot will get us almost 1000gp each. Final total to come soon. We are all to send Tom an e-mail with ideas on what we will do here. Next session will be individual meetings on personal actions and choices here.


Leaving Snow Temple
Summary of White Temple Events

Okay, news from around the world:

LOCAL: note; Most of the city folk will not openly talk about the city gossip to outsiders, but you can listen in, overhear, and find the few who just have to talk. We all know them in real life.

1: Something has happened with the Order of the Snow during the months the group was resting in this area. About a month after the group arrived there was a lot of activity in the castle. People coming and going, now almost no one is traveling at all. After this the Order seemed more tranquil than before, less tension between the factions within the order. Very odd that no one in the order is talking about this, they just act as if nothing had happened at all.

2: Trade coming in from outside the city has been higher then normal. Mostly basic supplies along with some odd secret shipments.

3; It has been a very good hunting season, hunting game is plentiful, even some animals that are rare have been spotted in greater numbers than in recent years

4: Every character has heard of stories this winter inside the city. They are talking about the friendly ghosts that supposedly reside here and haunt the city. They seem to take items but most of the time payment is left behind to replace the goods. In fact the city folk believe it is a good sign of luck if they have such a ghostly visit. As far as anyone can tell the ghosts have lived here as long as the city has been here.

Greater news.
1: Inside the capital city of STARSHINE a number of fires broke out during the winter, one to the great library Not much damage was done in any of these events, but the number of fires has some people wondering if something is going on, some sort of attempt to burn the city?

2. Rumors are coming from outside the land that the number of raiding ships coming back with spoils has decreased in the winter months. More than in most winter seasons?????

3; Winter overall has been very peaceful, with the rainy season in it seems any conflicts between the last of the resistance and the Scarlet Order in the east has taken its normal cooldown period. I mean who wants to march and fight in the rain after all?

4 A new leader of the Emerald Order will be picked this spring "exact time unknown" in the city of Starshine. The old leader of the order is retiring to some remote and quiet place to spend out her final years in the peace earned for a job well done.

The Fox (5/21) 400 xp

We spent a little more time at the Temple with some interesting results. Hunter saw one of the ghosts. Arranz suddenly lost library priveleges without explanation. The last thing she had studies were folk songs about The Fox, the Cat, and the Bird, a series of stories where three friends got into troubles, (all 3 are constellations) The Bird and the Cat usually argued, and the Fox eventually got them out of the trouble. She is wise and crafty. Relevance?? Also, the White Temple confiscated all local maps of the area from all sources and we were unable to get anything.

The Whites weren't willing to set us up with a House, so we decided to head southwest with a caravan, where we would earn pay once out of civilized areas. We chose southwest because two battlefields and a haunted cave lie that way. We had to wait 2 weeks to find a caravan heading that direction, and Zephyr also saw a ghost during that time. Finally we left and got to the first battlefield without event.

At Dropbreath Manor we learned that it was a house with strong military tradition. During the civil war, Honne went there and killed everyone there, Everyone. It's the only time it happened during the whole war. We found a strong fortress that had been breached with bodies everywhere, rotted skeletons still in rusting armor. We encountered a satyr while scouting the outbuildings, and Mojo ran him down, but questioning him only told us not to defile the site, in remembrance of the goddess. We entered and found the battle remains still sitting there after a generation. Only the front gate of the wall and the keep were destroyed, but those were totally destroyed. Inside the keep the first floor was deliberately demolished, all wall carvings smashed. Weeks of work went into the devastation, and nothing remained without jigsaw puzzle work. We determined this area had been consecrated ground a generation ago, and for even a trace to remain, it must have been quite powerful at the time. We found little upstairs, but downstairs was a temple area, again so thoroughly smashed up that all traces of what deity was worshipped here was scoured clean. We did the jigsaw this time and managed to piece together and mend a silver back with gemstones showing the constellation of the Fox. The Fox is a deity, not just folk stories and songs. Or was.

The satyr came back at this point with friends, satyr and centaur, and demanded we leave now without looting (gold chalices, candlesticks, etc were scattered around, smashed, but still gold.). We showed them the mended constellation sign, and his attitude changed to friendly, but said an oath made him unable to explain who the Fox is/was. Upon hearing we had spoken to the Gremlin, he became almost deferential. Only the Druidess, the Lady of the Woods, The Gateway, could explain the situation, he said. He couldn't go with us, but gave us a short series of notes that might keep us from being killed outright if we go there. Several of us are determined to go.

We believe that the Fox (unknown deity), the cat (Tatemae), and the bird (Honne) were all three sisters set up to defend Predallen. Somehow, the Fox is gone now, with all traces gone, and after only one generation entirely forgotten. The characters suddenly remembered our vision at the healing pool, where the 3 goddesses saw for the first time the horrible suffering here and wept. We noticed now for the first time that deities shouldn't suddenly be surprised to find an entire continent filled with warring demons. We also realized that Predallen's hiddenness goes beyond what a good pirate fleet could do, this land is somehow hidden by power so strong that it kept Predallen a secret even from the gods. That power causes anyone thinking about these questions to simply dismiss their worries and ignore the issue. Could this same power have erased the third sister? Wow.

Conjectures: The Fox, the third protector of Predallen set up by Odin, was killed/banished by Honne a generation ago and is now totally forgotten. Are the Gremlin and the Fox the same being? Would bringing the Fox back restore this land to peace and a balance, the orders acting for the good of the people again? We were also told the children remember the songs: do we need to figure out the meaning of those songs and do something? Are we, as outsiders, somehow immune to this forgetfulness and are the only ones capable of restoring the Gremlin (Fox). Prophecies state a group of outsiders will somehow settle this issue. Is it somehow strange that we decided to head to the nearest ruins without any hint by Tom, and there we tie together the stories from the White Temple with info we really needed to know. Did the Whites confiscate the local maps in an effort to get us to investigate the local ruins/battlefield? Does the fact that the songs exist have anything to do with the retirement of the head of the Green Order?

Duh, Whadda we do? (6/4, 400 total xp)

We ended in late afternoon, drizzle outside, at the ruined keep of Dropbreath Manor, and decided to spend a few hours searching for loot before heading out the next morning. During the night, a sudden quiet came across the area, followed by the sound of a stampede of giant rats heading toward the keep. We got lucky and got the window closed, and most just rushed over and by our ruined building, but some ventured close. We killed about 20 giant rats before that group was all dead, and Suibne and later Hunter followed the masses toward the keep. Inside the keep most of the animals (not just rats) headed downstairs, information that almost got Suibne killed as they aggroed him and forced him to run. As he ran, an invisible presence attacked him and tripped him. Hunter grabbed him and we got out quickly. A few of us could sense that presence, and saw the rain splattering off an invisible Fox-like shape. We ran, got the party packed and ran to get out, with our non-neutrals getting occasional nips as we ran to hurry us along. The satyrs later said they didn't think it was the Fox, it was her pet, back for the first time, probably because we restored the Fox constellation in the temple. They said they were all packing up and leaving; they weren't needed here anymore.

Our secondaries were sent off to gather stories about the Fox, Cat, and Bird while our mains went to the Druid Forest to seek guidance. As our mains went back eastward we came across 3 members of the Emerald Order who were quite happy to teach us Predallen history and tell stories about the Fox, Cat, and Bird. Tom related one whole story to us of the "Evil Uglies" and this trio of beings, (see Important Names section). We reached the edge of the Druid Forest without other incident and waited for someone to appear. The first night, pixies came and tapped on windows and doors, frustrating Pavelow, and when a messenger knocked on the door, Mojo answered, but both were insolent and wouldn't give their names, and the messenger left. The next morning both Hunter and Zephyr had some choice words to say. We then waited another 4 days before the messenger came back again, same watch. This time Mojo woke others up and we talked.

He said much the same as the Whites: we can't guide you except to repeat, "Find the ones who aren't there and talk to them." We pried some other information out of him, namely that there are three groups like us (including us), and one will end up determining the fate of Predallen. Different groups are reacting differently, including one Order (which?) that has decided to simply kill all three groups and stop any change. Anyway, thinking the clue meant the ghosts, we went back to the White Temple town and tried to find and make contact with the ghosts there. We had a few more sightings, but no possibility of contact. We were frustrated, and the DM was too. Finally we all felt that we were heading in the wrong direction, but to think back and remember all the hints given to us about where to go.

We have many hints to go to the capital city, but those hints kept sliding out of our minds, feeling like, sure, we must go there eventually, but no hurry. I guess we all missed our saving throws against this forgetfulness thing. Anyway, it seems that we must go to the capital city. The Gathering will be there, and there can be only One.

Off to the Capitol June-18 300xp

local time - 19-Feb-112
Learned of couple interesting stories of the ghosts. First story is of a beggar who got a "magic" winter coat from the "ghosts" a few winters back. She was slowly dying from the cold, having no clothes to keep warm. Then one day, a fur winter coat was placed by her hidey hole. It saved her life. Saffron was able to convince woman to show her "lucky" coat to several of party. The fur is not from any known animal to the group, but it does not radiate any magic per Detect Magic, it is just a very high quality winter coat. Second story is of a merchant when he gets drunk lets slip of his "lucky" coins that are special. Part of group tries to get him drunk and talk but get little info.

Asked around if any significance to the term "The people" but so far nobody locally thinks it is significant.

Group takes off on the main travel trade route to Starshine, capitol of Predallen. At a rest inn, hear story from a group coming from Starshine, they saw two "ghosts" running down road at capitol, then a few minutes later a fire breaks out in area the ghosts ran to. The ghosts were both male. After that the tale gets a bit more vast and wild. Later that night Saffron hears argument in hallway, two mercs were in disagreement on whether to report about our group, where we headed and other says no, "group not ready". We end up grabbing both of them and creating a bit of scene with inn owners, smoothed over by Saffron and some gold. The two mercs are on a silent contract, were paid to follow us and report our destination to unknown contact, they picked up our trail when we stopped again in Whitestown. Made deal for them to not follow us, the one merc is embarrassed they screwed up, it was so unprofessional.

We take off that night in pouring rain. Early morning, hold up in a barn. On watch, see a group of 10 heavily armed mercs, 8 fighter types on foot, 4 of them with polearms, 2 more on horseback including a half orc, super evil per detect spell. Mojo notices half-orc has tattoos, he is from (dun-dun-dun-dun) the "Black Tower". We follow them and they are marching pretty hard. We wonder if they are one of the other three "outcomes" group in competition with. We wondered if they were following us and gave them a chance to recognize us and attack, but they passed us by without even looking.

At one of the inns we stayed at, group heard of a different song/story of Cat, Bird and Fox and love. See Important Names section where both songs/stories reside.

(end of my notes for June-18)

Off to the Capitol
July-16 400xp
Mojo, Ace,
Pavelow
Ogrel
Arrenz,
Suibhne (aka Siv)
Hunter, Zephyr

local time 26-Feb-112

Continued to pace the Black Tower Half-Orc group on road thru valley leading to the plains to Starshine. Group curious if they would split off. Mid-day of traveling, we see a "traffic" jam ahead of us. Both directions on the road, wagons, horses and people all come to a stop and gathered in a circle on a spot in the road. Getting closer see some person sitting in meditative stance in the middle of the road………. and it looks to be Honne, in some trance. The group moves thru the crowd and note Black Tower Orc group off to one side, a couple of us hear the BT Orc explain, "thats Honne, dont look so tough, we can take her!" but the 9 mercs are not buying it.

All but one of the crowd keeps distance about 30 feet, a merchant type has placed food and drink in front of Honne and bowing, asking what is her needs. Arranz does a detect magic and tries to dis-believe, thinking this is an illusion but seems real. Given that information, Hunter, backed up by Mojo, approach to 6 feet as rest of group scatters out in the crowd, a couple keeping on eye on BT Orc group. It looks like Honne but not "tortured" look we saw on the ship. Hunter bows and greets Honne, asking what assistance can the group provide, is there something wrong. The merchant whispers already asked that. A few minutes later, the BT Orc comes striding thru the crowd, clad in arrogance of the powerful as the people get out of the way. He then starts insulting Honne, looking dirty, sitting in the dust, and not moving. Hunter, Mojo, and Pavelow trade insults back. The BT Orc sneers at us "outsiders", seems to measure odds of conflict and then starts walking away.

Just when he gets to edge of crowd, Honne stands and faces the BT Orc, calling out a long line of names, their ranks like a lineage until gets to end with term "People Hunter", looking at BT Ork. BT Orc turns and shouts "How do you know that?" Honne replies, "You are nothing but a piece on the board, what you and your 2 other black tower members did to Big-Boy is wrong in taking control of him. " Honne shifts in height and color, complexion and face, going from 6-2 white/silver to red armor, copper hair, reddish complexion. "I am removing you from the board AND THE GAME!" . Suibhne attacks BT Orc, dealing a crit-hit (x4 scythe), Hunter also attacks but BT Orc has cast a blink on himself. Crowd scatters away like marbles poured on a floor, the BT Orc mercs form a defensive half circle of shields and polearms. Then this "avatar(?)" Red-Honne moves in eye blink, grabs BT Orc and throws to ground and pins him there sitting on his chest, laughing and deriding the orc attempts. Suibhne, watching Honne reaction, plucks a dagger from the orc. Seeing no dis-approval, takes a wand off the orc. Honne glances over and says, the boots are nice as well. Honne "avatar(?)" snaps the orc's neck, looks at the 3 of our group members closest, "you need to be in Starshine", then disappears. We ended up with 2 wands, a ring, necklace, magic boots, money and 2 gems.

The mercs and our group measure each other, they only want the orc body to complete the contract. Captain of the mercs, sells us info about Big-Boy, he was re-captured by 4 BT members, 2 orcs and 2 half-orcs. This BT member was looking for information in Starshine about a staff with 4 parts hidden in 4 locations. We then decide to start force marching, since we had taken the BlackTower half orc horse and got a pony for Orgel, we made much more speed. On the way, pass a procession of the Snow Order, hear locals in adoration mention "Sara", "person of the people", "she is a sweetheart", some elderly woman, high ranked in Snow Order, "she must be heading back to home in Whitestown".

Starshine is huge, especially imposing to some of group who thought Whitestown was impressive. Walls are hundreds feet thick, and interiors are sections of business and govt offices. We see a zoo of exotic animals and Ogrel gets carnival-eyes over glamour talk of "Crazy Joe's House Emporium of Magic-ry and Mightiness", you wanna a deal and go see Crazy Joe". Ace, Pavelow, Zephyr, Ogrel go visit Crazy Joe's, it has everything there. Tight security, no items allowed inside main store, must be kept in keyed locker. Hunter, Suibne, Arranz go to zoo, see way too many exotic animals, just not making sense. There are special animals here that we feel must have other-planar origins, they didn't develop here.

Next day, all but Mojo, who stays at the inn, head to library, we pay for a medium rank "library aide" to help in our investigation. We start in astronomy and mythology section, going over stories of constellations, Ace finds out the Gremlin has astral place that is part of constellation of the Fox. Hunter meanwhile asks a pageboy for stories of Cat, Bird, Fox, takes us to childrens sections where there are 100's and 100's of stories of the 3, pays for a library aide who tells of a fire that destroyed a main section of books about the legendary 3 animals. The destroyed section was all about stories of a messenger coming to Bird, Cat, and Fox with sad information that would change them all, not always in happy ways. We feel this was the messenger from Odin coming to tell them they would be changing from spirit creatures to demigods. The story was not clear if the message to all three was the same; perhaps only two were to be raised. The librarians all insisted multiple times that these stories are complete myths, just fun stories. All of us at some point encounter frustration from the aides, that they already explained to us about links of the 3 legend animals and Honne/Tatumae when we know they kinda vaguely chatted past it. As we leave, one of the aides who assisted Hunter, apologized for being rude, feels like she(the library aide) is forgetting something, perhaps could fund some research of old archives. We think that her zeal to discover what is missing will fade quickly and she'll forget the whole thing, but who knows?

Thats where I remember us leaving off.

Magic items rolled:
Pavelow got a wand of stinking cloud
Kevlar got a wand of magic missile
Suibhne got a ring of counter spell
Ogrel got amulet of +1 prot
Mojo got boots of elvinkind

413 gold per each of 10 characters.

Off to the Capitol(library search)
July-30 500xp for Kevin and Ed, left early
700 xp for others. Dave H, DR, Andrew, Doug, Clayton

Primaries
Mojo,Pavelow,
Saffron, Basil
Arrenz, Suibhne aka Siv
Zephyr, Obadiah

local time 27-Feb-112

Mojo and Siv see "Red" Honne/Fox warrior woman sauntering down the street; Mojo and Siv walk up and Mojo asks Why is she here and anymore Black Tower Orcs to kill? She smirks and says "Dont know what you are talking about". Mojo and Siv persist and she makes a scene "Hey dont know you guys" to get attention. Mojo and Siv say sorry thought somebody else but still tail her when she takes off. She meanders around like she is deliberately leading us away until comes near to library then heads straight in past guards but those guards block Mojo/Siv and said have not seen our "companion" as we describe "Red" Honne/Fox woman. Mojo/Siv wait for her, she comes out after half an hour, walks right past guards who do not see her. She tells Mojo/Siv, "you are in last place", then disappears.

Meanwhile, back at the inn, someone started a fire (in a fairly safe place) and had 2 illusionary men run out. Not sure who is doing that, group puts out the fire.

Next day the library is a blur of activity and commotion. The Predallen "Mind Blank" has been weakened or faded as librarians looking at research discover sections are incomplete, like all the theses were not taken to full conclusion and neither the writers nor reviewers ever noticed. This ties in with the fact the Black Tower Orcs came to Predallen deliberately, which surprised and disturbed the Predallenites. This ties in fact that pirates are not as successful lately in returning with loot. The library researcher is busy trying to assess the "damage", Zephyr spills guts out, tells of the Predallen "mind memory" compulsive lose, we are a Chosen group from prophecy. She tells us she will try to get more info and to come back next day.

Half the group goes to the astrology/astronomy section, no fires there, no missing research. They have a story of 4 part staff, to be used to get into the place "The Beginning of the End", we surmise the pool of tears where we had that vision. There was a story also of the only time the library was robbed, 100 years ago. A large well trained attacking group fought in and then out and sailed off in 3 ships. The Predallen Navy chased them and met and destroyed 2 ships and went home saying job done, but one captain states there were 3 ships, these 2 ships a diversion to delay navy. This captain was from the House of the Fox city where elite came from to serve all aspects of Predallen, including this well reknown captain. The two ships were destroyed at SeaCatt Reefs.

Go visit former Green "Emeralds" leader held in "house arrest" outside the city during retirement. We fake as reps from the library to ask questions of the former Emerald leader. She goes on and on and on talking, to keep our group at her villa until too late to leave. Zephyr "flirts" with her and she responds, until it's time for the group to retire, getting alone time with Zephyr. She said she knows the past is a lie, but she had to retire for health reasons, meaning would be killed if she tried to tell anyone. The orders came from Tatemae. She tells the group to follow the ship wrecks, and follow the "All", a being(s?) who the Order of Snow knows about. She states it is the Blues, the Azure order, who are out to get us, as the portents indicate this is a key moment in Predallen history/destiny. With people in every town, they know everything going on and are the power behind most of what is going on. The Outsiders will decide the future because they are neutral and will "Follow their Heart" to save or destroy Predallen. She then acts all huffy and opens the door and tells Zephyr she is not that type of girl, you barbarian pig. At this point Zephyr objects, saying she didn't call him a barbarian pig, but rather an uncouth presumptuous chauvinist pig.

We got word from the library the next day that more information is missing/incomplete, including much of the early time of the clearing/removal of demons. We decide it is time to go and check the shipwrecks at SeaCatt Reefs. Sneaking out of the city, we go to a town to the south west. This area is desolate, a source of the plague in the war. The people are very bitter versus Honne. The wilderness lore people of the party can tell something is keeping the land affected and the desert is being held in place 2 centuries now for some reason. Stories relate this to explorers going to deserted city ruins and caused a screw up. Both Honne and Tatumae had decreed this area was out-of-bounds as it contained evil sites:

Malmead ruins was controlled by a dragon type creature, very evil.
Fallwitch ruins was the seat of an evil female witch like creature
Dinaskampton was the location of the start of the plague.
— Rumor says that the areas were cleared of demons, but the portals which they came through were only blocked, not destroyed.

We arrived at a south side small village, Mojo was able to contact a fisherman who knows to look the other way on dealings. Our initial story is we are heading to a nearby naval base/port town, but then told the captain we need the boat to go to the reefs. He says, 3 other groups had already been there, and after we paid him 200gp, we learned their descriptions and that two came back with a box each. He then took us directly to the spot.

1) Group of 3, from elven home lands, an elf, half-elf, and a human. Very arrogant, but fair. Got a box.
2) Azure order, 10 members, threatened our fisherman captain to keep his mouth shut. Didn't get a box.
3) Black tower, 2 orcs and a tattooed ogre (Big Boy) who all gave off a creepy feeling. They got a box.

The group is on an island in the middle of the reef where a ship is wrecked. Our fisherman captain states it is almost impossible for it to be there given the size of ship and the reefs all around; the ONLY way is to deliberately sail there during a storm or high tide. That's where we ended.


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