Adrift Again


Second half of the last session, GO:

So we finished testing out the new toys Papa HeeNo gave us, and content like adventurers always are (read: immediately looking for the next great conquest) we set back off for our ship. The other players had to help me onto my bat, and the humiliation and frustration resultant meant that I pretty much vowed to never LEAVE my bat again, until I was capable of flying under my own power (or found an upgraded mount).

We made our way back to the SS Ironman, and found she was still unhassled (along with the hiding skeleton crew). So with some difficulty we pushed back down the river and continued sailing further up. the other path. On deck, we took a closer look at the two six-sided dice the dragon shaman had found in the medusas gear.

One die was mostly incomprehensible arcane symbols. Knowledge Arcana skill checks revealed a little more about what they meant. The symbols were summed up as "Draconic", "Giant", "Skeletal", "Fiendish", "Unnatural", and "Swarm". The other die had animal symbols on it. A Wolf, a Bird, a Spider, a Tiger, a Rabbit, and a Humanoid. Knowledge checks turned up nothing.
Factotum: ...Well? Throw em!

So we cleared a spot on the deck and the dragon shaman rolled the dice. It came up "Giant" and "Tiger". For a moment nothing happened, but then the dice turned solid black, and a HUGE tiger flashed into existence standing above them. The tiger looked at us, roared, and charged in attack. It was strong, but we still managed to mop it up with a minimum of real danger. The dice had turned solid black, but we could see they were slowly changing color. We figured that was our indicator of how long before we could use them again, but it was too early to tell if it was once a day, or a few times per day, or what.

The dice seemed... interesting. They were a wild card, for sure. It was obvious that it summoned a monster based on what roll came up, but the monster clearly also had no loyalty to the dice-thrower. Hopefully it would just attack everything nearby at random, meaning we could find ways to use it to our advantage (clear range, have kobold throw dice from rafter, watch chaos).

We sailed up river, looking at the shoreline for anything suspicious. Finally, we saw another ship anchored by some trees up ahead... and closer examination? Revealed that the thing was utterly swarming with insects. In fact, they were swarming so thickly that the entire vessel was in a thick black cloud of them. Even from the other ship, we could tell that some of them looked clearly dangerous. There was no way we were going to board the ship.

The Factotum raised the possibility that the bugs were some kind of defense mechanism. A shield for the ship or something, while the owner is away. It was working. We kept our distance from the cloud of possibly venomous insects (possibly carrying malaria or something). But we knew this was a lead we had to check up on. Especially when we snaked around the ship and got ot the shore, only to find an obvious trail of insects crushed under human feet leading off into the trees.

Naturally we stumbled off in that direction, tracking down whoever it was. What did confuse us was that it was only one set of tracks leading away from the boat. Either the person at the helm could handle it all alone (less than likely), or they were pulling some shenanigans like us with a fake crew. Either way, the person we were tracking was not someone to take lightly, so we approached cautiously, amazed at the sheer number of crunched bug corpses strewn about. At one point during the tracking, we found a crystal-cantrip casting bug crushed under foot, and looted the two remaining crystals (mage hand ones, oddly enough).

We actually had to track for two days at a brisk pace, with a few small random animal encounters on the way. Finally we came to a valley, and saw where we were going. It was another ziggurat... one that was almost IDENTICAL to the one back on the egyptian continent. Only this one was unearthed, and came almost to the top of the very very deep valley. It was easily fifty stories, with a base the size of several city blocks.

Our DM had us roll spot checks, and we noticed that, in this area? Things weren't quite right. The vegetation was growing in strange patterns. Leaves were thicker in some areas as opposed to broader. Insects had odd numbers of legs, too many legs... we found spiders with wings. Lizards with multiple eyes.. and so on. Like this area was full of mutations or something.

We suspected the ziggurat as the cause, and pressed on, following the tracks to the base. We could see no way in, but that wasn't our primary concern, since the tracks actually led up the side. So we just flew up, keeping an eye for where the dead insects were the heaviest, until we finally saw it leading into a crack in the side of one of the levels (give or take thirty stories up).

We squeezed in (literally, it was a squeeze for large creatures, and the bats are large) and continued following the tracks. There were bugs on everything, and the further in we got, the thicker they seemed to get. It was the earlier ziggurat all over again... the deeper we got, the more we heard this creepy insane muttering in an entire smattering of languages. The babble would go from common, to infernal, to celestial, to ignan, to a language none of us knew, and back again...

And again, we round a corner to find our beloved Drifter pacing through a massive swarm of bugs, angrily babbling to himself in a way that only the insane can seem to muster. A lot of it we didn't understand, but we did catch the phrases "Ultimate Parasite" and "ascension".

We remember what happened last time. This guy almost single handedly took out our party. We were debating trying to sneak attack him, or whether we should try to start a dialog (from a distance obviously) when our decision was made for us. Some of the nearby bugs started chittering and flying at an increased intensity. So intense that it spread like a wave, the entire open chamber the Drifter was in turned into a scream of tiny insect wings as they alerted him to our presence. He turned to the doorway, and muttered louder, "Who who who who?"

So... we got ready for grief and poked our heads around the corner.

He barely even reacts to recognizing us. Just mutters "Bothering us again again still bothering us thought we killed them Priest was right they're still alive bothering us.". He stuck his tongue out and pulled a centipede crawling across his face in with it and bit down with a crunch.

Our factotum starts to say "We don't want to fight, we just want to know what's going on." But the drifter just angrily mutters "No no no don't listen to them we're done here anyway we have to leave".

And with that, giant insectoid wings tear out through his back and through the filthy rags he wears, and he immediately begins fluttering up into the darkness. Now we start to fly up after him, but we're hit with another massive swarm of stinging venomous insects. By this level, we're fighting them off pretty well... and we think we'll be able to do a general mop-up with fire breath and high-level tricks, but that's right around the time the giant spiders descended from the ceiling on silent strands, and the spellcasting bugs began swarming us (hitting us with FIREBALLS and VAMPIRIC TOUCH ). We were definitely outgunned, and actually took to running away once our hitpoints got too low, and the bugs showed no sign of stopping. The factotum did manage to pocket three Fireball crystals though.

By the time we fought our way back into the daylight (where the majority of the bugs didn't venture back out into), we couldn't see the Drifter in any direction. He was probably crafty enough to duck down into the trees, rather than soaring blatantly through the mid-day sun. We flew back to the ship, and the Drifters ship still sat there, still cloaked in a cloud of angry bugs. He'd either taken off on his wings, or he'd hidden below deck. We landed on the deck of our own ship (and lit his ship on fire from a distance, just to be sure) and eagerly set off to get back down the river.

It was around this time that it hit me. Our bats had taken a severe pounding during the bug fight, and they were now critically important to my survival and sanity. I took my own bat down below decks to keep him safe and out of harms way, and began thinking of ways to start healing/protecting him a little better for the next few levels. We don't have any reliable way to generate negative energy, so right now he's sitting at dangerously low hitpoints and I'm feeling remarkably vulnerable.

We've discussed it a bit since then. Cleric (for Inflict spells) is out, because only one of us have the WIS necessary, and he's not multiclassing. I hate to delay my warlock progression any, and I certainly am looking forward to getting Fell Flight as quick as possible, but I may take a level of Dread Necromancer the next time we level, just for the ability to pump unlimited negative healing into my now-oh-so-important SkyRat. It's not like I don't already have the whole "undead aficionado" thing going for me.

We're still up in the air about what to do now. Mercyglade Asylum is back in the temperate continent controlled by the royal empire. Even the Dragon Shaman thinks going there as soon as possible is a good idea. We also know that the villains plot is starting to come together, and we do want to bring the heat to them.

Going to Mercyglade first will probably give us some critical backstory, and maybe even a necessary key to winning The Good Fight(tm). On the other hand, we're adventurers, and we can probably pull off something Just Crazy Enough To Work(tm) if we go straight to the other ziggurat.

Or next game is tonight, so we'll see what happens.

And WHEW, all caught up. It's a good feeling. This is a little shorter than the first half, even though it took about the same length of time. Out of necessity, I cut back a little on the extra details, so I could have the core critical stuff posted before our next game session (if I start falling behind, things'll get very abrupt when I'm trying to write it all out )

Glad everyone's still enjoying my ramblings though.

What To Do?


Next Gaming Session

So we found ourselves in an unusual situation for our group. For the first time since the angel had been kidnapped, our Dragon Shaman wasn't interested in pursuing her trail directly. His rational was that by this point, she's either dead due to that being the plan anyway, or alive due to them needing her that way for whatever they were getting ready to do.

The way we had hit multiple ports all within a week of each other meant that we weren't actually THAT far behind the group at large. We still don't know what Therin did, or where he went, and we still don't know what (if anything) was up with the unidentified fifth man. We do know that they now have a whole mess of black onyx, a live angel, and a new strain of stronger spellcasting bugs. We knew that the ziggurat we were in had caused mutations (It's even possible that The Drifters insects wings were from prolonged exposure to the ziggurat, and not from some class or spell specifically), and that the mutations had probably been changing what the spellcasting bugs did. It occured to the factotum that the Vampiric Touch casting bugs were the first ones we'd encountered that were using NECROMANCY spells... Between that and the black onyx? Well, we still don't know what exactly is going on, but it's starting to look like it's all definitely connected, and it's definitely something we don't want to LET happen.

At the same time, the Drifter is flying under his own power. He doesn't have the wind at his back speeding up the process, and even when he gets to the continent, he's probably still going to have to set things up. Making a side trip to the Empire continent will only change our target destination by just under two weeks. Since we'll be avoiding docking at a major port, to get us closer to the city Mercyglade is contained in, it'll only be a days flight by bat. We all agree that, whatever else is going on, we need to know more about Priest and hopefully find out how to shut down those returning fighters of his.

So that's what we all collectively agree (for the first time in quiet a while) needs to happen. We set sail northward, bringing us close to (but not directly on) the coastline of the temperate continent. We pick an area that's give or take near where Mercyglade is, tell the skeletons to circle in the waters, but to avoid any other ships, and take to the skies, flying in over the forest. Thankfully, zombie bats don't get tired, so a few hours later we were still coasting along happily, and spotted the outskirts of a major metropolitan city.

The city wasn't our destination though. Mercyglade was an asylum, built a decent way outside of the city directly (No one wants lunatics in their back yard, after all), on a mountainside facing away from the city itself (don't want the lunatics looking out the windows and getting ideas, after all). So we steer further north and come in low, flying just over the treetops. Eventually, we spot our destination a few hundred yards off into the distance.

Black Hawk Down


And right around this time, a giant rock comes hurtling through the trees and nails the underside of my bat, finally knocking it down to zero hitpoints and sending me and my dead mount tumbling out of the sky and onto the hard ground. Fortunately, we were only 50 feet up or so, so I survived the fall damage. Unfortunately, I was essentially helpless, laying on the ground next to a large dead bat, and watching the lumbering Hill Giant running awkwardly towards me and cheering about how he caught his dinner. He was still around 200 feet off, out of range of a lot, but fortunately I nailed him with an Eldritch Spear. Unfortunately, I rolled horribly and barely annoyed his hitpoint total.

I was still able to spiderclimb at will, assuming I could drag myself (5 foot move rate) to one of the trees (20 feet away) before the hill giant came up and started pummeling me into pulp with his club. The option sounded... less than ideal. Fortunately, the next round of combat involved the Dragon Shaman calling for the Swashbuckler to throw him his rapier, catching it in midair, and flying off the bat to make a charging/piercing Dive attack for double damage, which was more than my puny blast had done.

The Factotum and Swashbuckler both landed their respective bats in the treetops and jumped down to help us out, but used all of their actions doing so.

Which meant it was the Giants turn again. He opened with a full attack on the Dragon Shaman, hit both times, and took over half of the dragon shamans hitpoint total off in a single round, when we'd barely scratched him. I was still laying in the brush a few hundred feet away, so all I could do was Eldritch Spear another blast into the giants face (rolled better this time, at least) and send my normal sized bats flying in to try to create a distraction. The Dragon Shaman took off flying in a (justifiable!) panic, as one more full attack would send him into negatives, but he hit the Hill Giant for a good chunk of fire damage from his fire breath too.

The Swashbuckler closed the distance and made a two-handed true-striking power attack (thank god) for a massive chunk of damage, and the Factotum circled around to get into flanking position and made a really sturdy sneak attack. We all kind of winced, because it was the giants turn again, and frankly, the two combatants still in range were not built to take full-attacks form greatclub weilding giants. Worse, the Giant, being angry about the sneak attack, elected to open his full attack on the KOBOLD .

Now, I may have mentioned this, but between his size, various bonuses, ect, ect, our kobold actually has the highest AC in the group. The way the giant rolled was actually two near misses, effectively rendering the giant moot for his turn. I told the kobold he needed to RUN, because the giant could actually reasonably roll well enough to send the kobold to -10 in a single turn. The kobold just shook his head and stayed in flanking position.

I fired off another eldritch blast, feeling for all the world like a portable turret system, and rolled another good hit of damage. The Dragon Shaman used a good portion of his healing touch to bring himself above the "one shot kill" ranged and circled into position for another dive attack. The swashbuckler made another two-handed true-striking power attack, for another beautiful damage roll. The Factotum made another sneak attack, but rolled poorly and didn't really do much damage.


Giants turn. Frustrated with the kobold, the giant makes a full attack against the Swashbuckler instead. And he elects to mimic his assailaint in kind, two-handed power-attacking him. In one turn, he knocked him from full hitpoints, to NEGATIVE EIGHT. The DM described it as just a Steroid Fueled Major League Baseball SLAM that literally sent the swashbuckler tumbling heels over head (over heels over head, over heels...ect) backwards and spinning out unconscious into the grass.

I fire another eldritch blast .

The Dragon Shaman, being too far from the Swashbuckler to help, elects to make another dive attack for double piercing damage. The swashbuckler bleeds out to -9 and fails his stabilization check. Fortunately, the kobold has his ridiculous move speed (and is everywhere we need him to be), because he cleared the gap between himself and the swashbuckler with move to spare, and used his last inspiration point to bring the poor guy up to four hitpoints.

Swashbuckler: Four whole hitpoints? I could kiss you!

Except the Factotums inspiration has run dry.


Giants turn again.

He initiates a charging bull rush against the Dragon Shaman, who is currently AIRBORN, a size category smaller, and not really all that strong. Yeah, the giant blew the Dragon Shamans opposed check out of the freaking water, and pushed him back effortlessly back something like 100 feet.
I won't lie, I had a moment of temporary cowardice. The Hill Giant was now closer to me than he was to the kobold and swashbuckler, and our dragon shaman didn't really have much meat to bring to this fight. And I was prone and helpless. I seriously considered trying to drag myself to a tree to climb up it instead of continuing an attack. But I wound up shaking my head and firing off another eldritch blast all the same.

1, 1, 1, 1, 2. Talk about bad karma. Or that was fates way of telling me cowardice exists for a reason

The bats closed the distance and started swarming around the Hill Giant, but he refused to acknowledge them in favor of the whimpering target that kept firing bright shiny pulses of magical energy at him. The Dragon Shaman took a piddling swing, but barely scratched the behemoth.

The Swashbuckler and Kobold both got up and started sprinting back to the fight. With the kobolds move rate, he got almost in range, but not quiet. He intentionally stopped shorter than he could have, to keep himself out of the giants move range, knowing he could close the gap on his next turn if he didn't get himself killed on this one.


The giant bullrushes again, this time knocking the dragon shaman from airborn to prone, and right next to me. I fire another eldritch blast, the dragon shaman breaths fire into the giants face. Neither roll was very good. We're a little concerned here, because on the giants next turn, he could realistically power-attack and kill either one of us flat, without really breaking a sweat.

Which is when the kobold, moving a ridiculous distance lightning fast, makes a charge attack and FLINGS himself at the giant, with nothing but his itty bitty little sword, strength penalty and all.

Apparently, the Giant had had exactly three hitpoints left, because four was enough to knock him into negatives and make him fall face first in the dirt

Factotum: Can I do a one-handed handstand with the grip of the sword sticking out of the hill giants back, doing gymnast like poses in midair because I'm just that awesome?
DM: I don't see why not!

So we all collect ourselves, start healing up those in need (swashbuckler waved his hands frantically), and figure out what to do now. I ask if I can re-stitch the dead bat as a weaker version and re-animate it? No dice. A zombie dies when its not structurally capable of EXISTING anymore, that bat is pulp, says the DM. The Dragon Shaman suggests that I can ride with the Swashbuckler, like he's been riding with the kobold. By weight it should work, especially with me lacking legs. I just sit there moping for a moment, before it hits me.

ME: Is that hill giant still breathing?

DM: He passed his stabilization check, yeah, he's at -3 hitpoints.

Me: I fire a an eldritch blast into the base of his skull and start rummaging through my pack for more black onyx.

The whole table gave me this face

Me: What? He's large sized. He's got legs, I need legs. I'm turning him into a skeleton, cracking open his ribcage, and riding around inside of him until something better comes up.

The table continues to stare

Me: Someone help strap me to his spine and pad his hipbones.

So, I got new legs, which is interesting. The DM ruled that it's basically like any other zombie mount. Controlling him takes some of my turn if I want him to do anything tricky, moving is more or less straight forward, dismounting will take twice as long since I'm literally held in place with leather straps. I'd better avoid populated areas until I find a new option. He also can't fly, but his base move rate is better than mine was when I HAD legs, and it matches the zombie bats fly speeds. So it'll do for now.

Plus he still has his greatclub

As an aside, after that fight, we leveled up. I basically flipped a coin as to whether or not I was going to take a level of dread necromancer or another level of Warlock, but in the end, I decided on staying pure warlock. My current ride is ridiculously sturdy compared to the bats, and by the time it's a concern, I'm sure we can find other options for mounts for me and the others. Plus Warlock 7 is a good level, I get fiendish Resilience to allow me to heal myself, contributing to our overall group hitpoint total.

So imagine our surprise when the (severe attention span problem) Swashbuckler announces that he's taking a few levels in Archivist next. We asked why, and he said "You've all got healing, we might as well round it out. Besides, now I can heal everyones mounts during down times. And I think I want in on this undead action myself." So now he's a Swashbuckler 4, Sorcerer 2, Archivist 1, contemplating staying in Archivist until he gains access to Animate Dead.

And now our group has two fledgling necromancers. The Dragon Shaman face-palmed.


I'd also like to point out that we ALL face-palmed when we realized that throwing the dice from the air and summoning "Question Mark" creature to soften up the hill giant would have been WAY smarter.
Our DM even laughed at us and said that's what he'd expected us to do, because the hill giant was a tougher fight than we should have been up against.

Hindsight's 20/20, right?



Picking up where I left off (leveling up on our way to the asylum), this is the tail-end of our last gaming session.

I should point out that me and the DM basically got together and sat down outside of the game sessions so he could teach me about the asylum. What it had been like, and so on, so I wouldn't fumble and shuffle awkwardly if someone asked me about the backstory.

So we trek on towards the asylum. Me in my Giant skeleton (who I'm considering getting a giant hooded robe for to try to pass off as some kind of real giant in a pinch), and the rest of the group circling above on our two remaining bats (who are in less danger of being destroyed thanks to a few handy dandy inflict spells).

The asylum itself is a massive compound, three individual buildings surrounded by two layers of wrought iron gates topped with spikes. One of the buildings has a series of towers jutting out from it in random locations. I mentioned that they had cells at the top for high-risk-of-escape patients. The Factotum asked how I knew, and I mentioned that the third one from the left had been mine. I drop a little exposition, that the asylum wasn't actually a terrible place. The doctors were mostly holy men of varying degrees, and truly wanted to help. They didn't torture us or anything, I was just high risk because I kept trying to escape.

So we press on, and the closer we get, the more something seems wrong. We can hear a really faint echo from inside, sounding like a small group all crying. And the place looks to be abandoned of any activity. When we get to the outer gate (with me staying hidden out among some trees) we can see that, yes, something is definitely off. There's no one. No guards, no doctors, no patients walking in the courtyard. Windows are broken, no movement is occurring inside... The place doesn't look decrepit. It isn't falling apart under the elements just yet... it seems there's no one left.

Relatively confident that our riding around with a posse of undead creatures won't draw massive amounts of attention, the fliers land and we all go in through the front gate. The hinges creaking garners us no extra attention. We can still hear crying echoing through the courtyard, and it's getting louder. We pass through the open terrain with no incident. We debate the best place to start searching for information (or the source of the crying), and come to the conclusion that this is one of those times kicking in the front door is not only acceptable, it's borderline desirable.

So kick in the front door we do, and rush into the lobby of the asylum and take up defensive positions, darting our eyes everywhere for anomalies. We see papers scattered everywhere, and it's very, very dark, but aside from those two details, everything seems normal. Dusty, clearly unused for weeks, maybe months... but normal. Having been met with no resistance from our SWAT team style entry, but still clearly hearing faint crying echoing through the halls, we suddenly become much more unsettled, and opted to press on more carefully. We snaked through the abandoned halls, occasionally poking our faces into rooms only to find more of the same scene (papers everywhere, filing desks overturned... as if someone had been searching for something). Finally, we ascended to the second level, and entered a room that had a balcony/walkway circling and overlooking a great hall full of tables and benches.

And everywhere we looked? Floating apparitions, looking for all the world like incorporeal patients in asylum gowns, weeping and babbling and muttering to themselves in a mad rolling wave. Suddenly, they all noticed us in unison, and began to disperse. Sinking into the floor, floating back through walls, floating into support columns... the crying, insane noises surrounded us, coming through walls and floor and ceilings... and everywhere we looked, we'd see spectral palms just barely breaching the surfaces of everything in sight...

Dragon Shaman: How are everyone's FORT and WILL saves these days?

Factotum: ...Bad...

Swashbuckler: Middling

Me: Same, not as low as the factotums...

Dragon Shaman: I guess I'm on point... Anyone have anything that works especially well against ghosts?

Me: Nope. It's all got a 50% miss chance...

Factotum: This is so so bad.

Which is when one of them raises from the floor in front of us, babbling incoherently. We all roll will saves, but even with using an inspiration point to boost his saving throw, the kobold fails spectacularly. His eyes glaze over and he just stands there, swaying lightly, babbling to himself sadly the same way the ghost had been. The Dragon Shaman scoops him up and flies out over the grand hall, banking in tight circles to keep him away from the ghosts while he's helpless. The Swashbuckler thanks his lucky stars that he took Magic Weapon as a spell known. He debates on whether or not the spell should go to his own blade, or to my skeletons greatclub. The reasoning being that he can make better tactical decisions, but the giant won't stop smacking ghosts around until there are none left, even if we all go catatonic.

Eventually he decides to cast it on his own blade, but tells me that if he gets mindsnapped or something to have my skeleton grab it ASAP. He quick casts it and swings at the nearest ghost, connecting for a good bit of damage.

I fired an eldritch blast at the ghosts face point blank. It went through the miss chance, and rolled One 4, One 5 and Three 6s. I guess my dice knew I was mad at them. It was enough to make the ghostly creature disappear in a sad quiet puff of light. I beleive that's when I hummed the ghostbusters theme song.

The Dragon Shaman was close to getting swarmed by flying apparitions, but a quick check revealed that his breath weapon was a Supernatural ability, which meant it could affect the ghosts (with a miss chance). He reared up as high as he could and breathed a cone of fire straight downwards, catching as many as he could in the blast. He got four or five of them, but not enough to destroy any, and the whole group kept pursuing him.

The kobold continued to stare in abject horror while babbling like a lunatic. We needed to keep him safe, as he was the only one of us with an attack that could directly affect the ghosts (Opportunistic Piety could either turn them, or hurt them outright). Even if he were able to act though, we were definitely getting swarmed by way too many of them for his presence alone to turn the tide.

The Swashbuckler took a jump onto the edge of the balcony and swung out at the flying cloud of ghosts trying to get the dragon shaman (ignoring the growing cloud of ghosts that were swarming our position). But due to the miss chance, his sword just swung through them and caused no real harm.
I Fired an eldritch blast at the group behind us, but it just blew through them like they weren't there (well, because they weren't).

The fight basically went on like that. Hopeless. The kobold finally stopped babbeling incoherently at one point, and managed to get off a Turn Undead, sending four of the ghosts screaming and clawing straight down through the floor to escape his divine wrath. Unfortunately, the next turn, the swashbuckler and kobold BOTH failed the will save to avoid becoming babbeling messes again, and were both rendered helpless. We were taking wisdom damage left and right...

I shouted to the Dragon Shaman that we needed to BOOK, and fast. He agreed, and banked to the balcony to join the escape. I had my giant skeleton chasis grab the incoherant swashbuckler, and we both started to run back to the front door, carting our helpless compatriots along with us. It was daylight outside. If we could just make it back into the sun?

Which was about our last thought as the swarm of ghosts finally wisdom drained us into nothing, and sent us into a catatonic restless state full of nightmares and tremors...

Meet the Staff


We woke up from our horrible coma to brand new surroundings. Each of us sat in a plain metal chair, manacled into place, and utterly motionless. We could make out that we were in an office, and we were facing a large desk. A tall bald man with glasses sat scratching at the desk with a pen. A spot check revealed two things. There was no paper, the desk there was almost solid black with repeat applications of ink without any effort to actually record what was there.

The second thing we noticed, was that we could clearly make out the wall through the man.

He sighed, and stopped scratching at the desk with his pen (though the pen just sat there pointed down as if he were still holding it). He rubbed the smooth top of his head and sighed again.

"We prefer not to have impromptu visitors here, you know. It gets the patients so worked up."

Not knowing what to do, the Swashbuckler just squeaked out "Sorry Sir."

"You might have undone an entire weeks worth of treatment for some of our more encouraging ones"

The dragon Shaman squeaked out "Yes sir, sorry... we weren't trying to cause any trouble."

The (apparently) ghostly director once again started scratching at his desk with the pen, before sighing again. "Well, there's no sense dwelling on an honest mistake, is there? Tell me, who were you here to visit, anyway?"

We paused awkwardly, before the Factotum said "Actually, we're really just here for information. See, there's a man. Calls himself Priest... We think he's been here before... maybe a patient? He's been causing trouble, and we were hoping to find out more about him...?"

The bald man looked up from his desk, startled, and suddenly the manacles holding us in place unlocked and opened all at once. The director laughed, and said "I'm sorry, I didn't realize you were constables! My mistake, we should have been expecting you back, what with all the trouble occurring here!".

We all rubbed our wrists, and I looked around for my Giant skeleton. He was nowhere to be seen.

The director continued "A patient here you say? Come with me, we'll check the hall of records and see what we can't find out for you!"

I sat awkwardly for a minute before the Dragon Shaman offered to carry me piggyback... Humiliating, but I was grateful for the help all the same. So the four of us cautiously trailed the ghostly director as he floated down the dark and abandoned halls of the former asylum. Everywhere we looked, we would see the occasional pair of eyes, or even a face, pressing out of the walls and furniture...watching us closely. Occasionally we'd see a spectral doctor or orderly keeping tabs on us as well...

Finally we made it to the hall of records. Drawers slammed open in unison and papers began flying out in a rapid wave, circling the room as if a small tornado had been let loose. The director asked "Priest, you said? I'm terrible with names, always have been, but I'm not finding any records of a man named Priest serving as a patient here. I'm much better with faces... perhaps you could describe him?"

When he said that, I made a point of looking down and back, covering my face a little behind the Dragon Shamans head.

The Swashbuckler fielded the question. As soon as he said the phrase "Horrible grin", the papers all stopped flying and immediately settled on the floor. The director looked at us with a mixture of recognition and sadness. "Oh." he said, as a whole new set of drawers slammed open, and a whole new set of papers began flying around. One leafed out through the mess and flew in front of our group. The kobold snatched it, and began to skim it
The director went on "Priest wasn't a patient. He was sent here as a temporary aid from the church. He was only with us for a few weeks before this ghastly trouble all began."

The kobold nodded, and asked "Why did they send him?"

The director sighed. "One of our patients had a... problem. We were doing all we could to help her, and keep her from escaping. But it seems we let her down on both counts." I buried my face deeper into the Dragon Shamans back. "She sold her soul, it seems, in a bid for dark powers. Used them to escape in the middle of the night... we never COULD get the markings off her cell. Seems the shadows and symbols in the process burned themselves clean into the walls and floor. After so many years of trying to remove the markings, Priest came in to examine the cell and learn more about what had occurred... But after a few weeks, well. Everything went to hell one night. We're still trying to sort through the whole mess, you see. The cells in the east wing caught the worst of it. Ghastly, ghastly business."

The swashbuckler asked what had happened to the east wing. The room we were standing in faded to pitch black, and suddenly when the lights faded back in, we were standing in a different room. Only this one had suffered serious fire damage. So serious that sunlight streamed in through a few weak holes in the ceiling. The director floated cautiously between them.

"The fire struck at the same time half of the patients began some kind of riot. That's why we're trying so hard to keep them from getting worked up now, we don't want a repeat of that unfortunate night. Thankfully, most of them seem to have forgotten what happened..."

We started floating out into the burned out shell of the hallway. Doors lined either side. And inside each cell, we could see an identical scene of utter horror and depravity. The cells were all burned out as well. But each of them contained a single corpse, nailed to the floor on top of some kind of strange symbol, that looked like a bird made of fire. Their heads were all facing the cell doors, upside down, mouths opened in a charred scream.

The director said "I try not to speak of it in front of the others. But my own personal belief? Is that this Priest character somehow found out how our patient had sold her soul. Found the raw mechanics and actions that transpired, that is. I believe he's taken the souls of these poor patients here..." The director stopped to face us. "If you can find a way to right this, we would be very grateful."

We nodded in agreement. The Dragon Shaman asked, hesitantly, if the director could tell us anymore about the woman who'd sold her soul. I looked at him from across the table, and mouthed "no, no, no" doing the throat slashing gesture.

The DM just smirked. All three of us kind of glared at the Dragon Shaman then, with an expression of angry disbelief. It was pretty obvious I was the escapee that had sold her soul. The Dragon Shaman was just stirring up trouble .

The director gave a few more details. She heard voices, kept trying to escape, the director had done everything he could to help, but in the end had failed her... according to the guards, she officially sold her soul one night, and by the time they could open the door to intervene, she'd already used her newfound powers to blast open the lock on the window, climb down the tower wall on the outside, and sprint off into the night.

Which is when, as I'm sure even DEAD people have guessed by now, the director ***** his head looking at me. A wry smile crosses his face... and all he says is "Oh. Welcome Home." Before the entire group is once against swarmed by Wisdom draining apparitions. We ran. We made it about 30 feet...



Before we each woke up, this time separated, in various predicaments. We still had all of our gear, fortunately. The DM went around the table describing what we saw when we woke up.

The Swashbuckler woke to absolute blackness. He thanked his lucky stars that he had a Light cantrip, and cast it, only to discover that he was in some kind of featureless pit with a trapdoor above him. They'd thrown him into some kind of solitary confinement pit.

He managed to two handed power-attack the door hard enough to knock it clean open, which drew a lot of attention from the "orderlies" who began floating after him. But a good acrobatic jump, a climb up through the door, and he was sprinting towards the nearest window. He took a few wisdom draining attacks from ones that got too close, but was moving really quickly (despite the cluttered and difficult terrain), before he finally tucked and rolled through the window (taking some slashing damage in the process). Still, he was home free... the ghosts didn't chase him into the sunlight. He jogged around to the front courtyard, naturally, taking note that the sun was indeed starting to set.

The Kobold woke up in the middle of the hall we were first attacked in. Completely surrounded by the ghosts of former patients, who all seemed very busy doing nothing. None of them were paying him any regard. Probably because he wasn't actually doing anything. He was afraid to move, but he took advantage of his shadow template ability to hide in plain sight, and made a high-rolled check to sneak the heck out of there.

He managed to make it to the front courtyard without blowing a single roll, and ran out into the protective daylight around the same time the swashbuckler did.

My situation was a little tougher. I woke up in my old cell, charred arcane symbols and all, with two ghost orderlies watching me from the doorway. I dragged myself over to the window and looked down, only to see the surface was facing away from the sunlight, and that ghostly hands were reaching out through the wall and skimming back and forth across it slowly. Spiderclimbing down was clearly not an option.

Fortunately, the undead bats in the courtyard were still under MY control, even if we considered them the kobold and swashbucklers mounts. I called for them to come to me, and waited until they were in sight before blasting open the lock on the window. The orderlies moved to attack me, but I managed to drag myself up and over the edge of the window in time to go tumbling out and onto the back of one of the bats, flying around to the front courtyard myself. It IS the obvious meetup point in that kind of situation, after all.

Once in the courtyard, I could see my hill giant skeleton standing in through the front doorway, from when we'd almost successfully escaped. He'd been waiting motionless the entire time, like a good mindless creature. I called him out, and had my friends help strap me back inside of him.

The Dragon Shaman actually woke up in a padded cell. He tried running against the door repeatedly in an effort to knock it over, but he wasn't quite strong enough. In the end, he wound up TORCHING the outer wall with his fire breath, taking cover against the doorway (and taking some wisdom draining attacks of his own in the process) until enough of the wall had burned away that he took a flying leap at the top section, bursting out into the open air and flying around the outskirts of the gate.

Once we were all together, we agreed that an IMMEDIATE departure was called for, as the setting sun meant the ghosts wouldn't be confined to the building any longer. We debated setting fire to the building, but thought the most prudent course of actions was to simply run for our lives and back to our boat.

Those who fight and run away, after all.

So now we're caught up before tomorrow nights session :).

Hope it's even better!



Last nights session.

It was a doozy. Fortunately, I managed to get the entire thing written up

So we collectively agreed on something for the first time in a while. It's high time we go poke our nose back to the villains main base and see what trouble we can stir up. We still haven't decided what we're actually going to try to accomplish when we get there, but we can worry about that later.

Or quote the Swashbuckler "Once again blurring the line between bravery and idiocy!"

So we set sail from the northern Empire continent, and head off back to the Egyptian lands. The trip itself is relatively brief and uneventful, once again made more brief by the fact that our skeletal crew labors tirelessly while the rest of us are tucked in our bunks at night.

When we get close enough to the egyptian continent that we can start to make out the shoreline and the port that we last escaped this place from, we start to circle in place instead of charging in full steam ahead, circling in the open waters for a few hours until nightfall.

We're concerned that they haven't forgotten either our ship, or our faces (not to mention the whole "Undead monstrosity" thing I'm riding around in). So we wait until darkness falls, and send the kobold on a bat flying in to do a little scouting out of the city. We all wait patiently on deck while he flits about on silent wings in the dead of night, and finally returns to us with the news.

"There's no one there."

Swashbuckler: “Like, everyone's gone home for the night and left the place unguarded?”

The kobold look at him blank and repeats, "There's no one THERE. The city's EMPTY."

So... well, crap.

We opt to stop circling aimlessly in the open waters, and pull in to the city at large. We dock and tie up the ship, and a glance around reveals that the kobold was 100% correct. The place is deserted.

Me: “On the plus side, I don't have to be sneaky with my skeleton.”

The dragon shaman gave me a sideways glance, but agreed that it did make our approach much easier, considering the only one of who could belnd in isn't exactly the master of diplomacy (swashbuckler).

We go in cautiously, sending the kobold to ghost a few hundred feet in front of us before giving us the clear. About halfway through the city, we realize it really IS deserted, and rather suddenly. But not so suddenly they didn't have time to lock their doors and make sure everything was in proper order.