A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Sep 2019

    Default Adventure Out of Time campaign journal

    A while back I decided to try my hand at DMing again, and rounded up a few friends and a good story to get some practice in. The party, consisting mostly of players from SleepyShadow's Planescape campaign, has been having a great time, and asked me to back-fill the campaign journal here so anyone who is interested can follow along.

    Below is a list of the party, as well as a smidge of backstory for the setting. I'll be posting every couple of days until caught up to the current session.

    Spoiler: Characters
    Phoenix - Desert Elf, Four Elementa Monk 5
    Phoenix is always looking for a good fight, and makes her money in the fighting arena circuits. She won a small grand prize recently and is splurging with a first-class experience on a cross-country zeppelin trip.

    Temerity - Tiefling, Arcane Trickster Rogue 5
    A trickster with an unconventional background, Temerity is looking to do his own thing and makes a point of not listening to his family. He's smarter and stronger than he looks, so don't underestimate his ability to talk or fight his way out of a problem.

    Jasper - Wildhunt Shifter, Shepard Druid 5
    Returning home from a walkabout in the Merelland forests, Jasper is a wandering man of nature who prioritizes helping people over anything else.

    Elandra Tanner - Changeling, Twilight Cleric 5
    A career doctor and professional coffee drinker, she's aloof and quiet, but has a soft spot for people in need.

    Brigid O'Sullivan - Human, Shadow Magic Sorcerer 5
    Just out of high school, this talented writer snagged a dream journalism job and has been assigned to the zeppelin's maiden voyage as her first solo piece. Inquisitive and insightful, she's always looking for an opportunity to use her writing to help people.

    Black Falcon - Wood Elf, Bounty Hunter Ranger 5
    When his parents told him it was too dangerous to join the army, he got a government job instead- as a spy. Fastidious at note-taking and serious about his job, he's the no-nonsense type of 007.

    Drew - Half Orc, Circle of the Stars Druid 4 / Fighter 1
    A sailor, more at home on the water than the land, he's returning home from Merelland after business dealings over the purchase of new fishing boats for the family business. Soft spoken and patient, he unironically doesn't like to make waves.

    Spoiler: Countries of Yllanmara
    Some of the local countries, briefly:

    The Kingdom of Merelland
    Dutch Victorian in style, it's an old and powerful country with well-established spelljammer connections. Has a long-standing rivalry with Sable.

    The Republic of Sable-sur-l'Eau
    A French/Arabic fusion, it's land is predominantly deserts and is largely inhabited by a subrace of elves specially suited to the harsh climate.

    One of several provinces between Merelland and Sable which changed hands every few decades as the two big powers periodically wage war. Ten years ago, by way of a previous party's actions, they rebelled and achieved independence.

    Federated States of Arkos
    America, in the wild west era. Currently stirring up trouble with it's neighbors by usurping territory through colonization and combat.

    Argentum Terra
    Rome, in it's late period of decline. Has already lost most of it's former territory and is in a constant state of internal crisis.

    Spoiler: Session 1
    We begin our story aboard the "Saffronia", a hydrogen zeppelin sailing from the Dutch-inspired country of Merelland to the Americana-themed Federated States of Arkos. The party, having not yet met, are all on their way separately to dinner.

    Brigid, a young journalist, was in for a treat this evening, as she had been given special permission to join the captain at his table for an exclusive interview. Captain Thomas Morrow was happy to talk at length about the Saffronia and the maiden voyage. The Captain went into detail about the ship's safety features, explaining how such a large ship was able to remain aloft with the use of customized levitation and spelljammer magic, and how every facet of the ship employed the latest and greatest in safety and comfort. "There's no ship like her in the skies or on the seas. No one but a god could sink her." How prophetic.

    While waiting for a table, Temerity was handed a note asking to meet behind the main staircase. Intrigued, he went to check it out and was introduced to Andrew Conkling, a orc businessman who had a delicate matter and a business offer for the rogue. Conkling explained that a former employee had stolen a valuable business document to ransom back, and he was in no mood to comply with the demands of an ex maid. He offered Temerity, a thief of some renown, 500 gold in exchange for the return of the letter. Temerity, intrigued but suspicious, agreed to look into it.

    As Temerity was leaving the dining room to meet with a mysterious stranger, Black Falcon, a Merelland government agent, was also handed a note directing him to find his way to the gymnasium. Once there he made contact with his partner, a no-nonsense half elf named Penny Pringle. She gave him his mission dossier and explained that a Merelland colonel is on board under the guise of inspecting embassies, but is believed to be a member of the Black Hand and in possession of a valuable stolen book of poetry that is to be exchanged for secret military information. Falcon's mission is to identify the contact, intercept the exchange, and recover the book.

    Phoenix was seated with a small party of strangers, all of the tall, lean, and pale, and looking very uncomfortably out of place. They get to talking with Phoenix and one of the women introduces herself as Innemar, and explained that they were Ronay refugees travelling to Arkos to receive aid from a woman named Claudia Traum. Innemar talked for a bit about her people and how they had mastered the ability to teleport to different worlds using magical books. She went into further detail about how their civilization was destroyed 300 years ago in some kind of cataclysm and their families were among a small group who escaped to an island through a book. But that island was recently threatened by an awaking volcano and when they tried to flee back to the old abandoned city they ended up here instead, an error she couldn't explain.

    As Jasper was walking to an empty table he was latched onto by a woman from his past- Lady Georgia Lambeth. She enthused about their impromptu reunion and went on for a bit about her recent woes. Her failing marriage to Lord Charles Lambeth, his mounting debts to Andrew Conkling, her regrettable affair with Sasha Barbicon, and her increasing fears at she was in danger. She explained that Sasha was on board the maiden flight taking artwork to Arkos, and during their affair she saw him dealing with members of the Black Hand terrorist group. Having her husband, his moneylender, and her ex-lover onboard at the same time was suspicious to say the least. She slipped Jasper a valuable diamond necklace and asked him to keep it safe until they landed.

    Elandra's evening started with her being swept off her feet, literally, as a man tripped into her and sent them both sprawling to the ground. As they stood up he apologized profusely, blaming his old bum leg for losing his balance. He introduced himself as Lonnie Mosley, an ex-adventurer who was crisscrossing the continent looking for arch mages to help him with a conundrum. Ten years ago his party found a magic book that teleported them away if they touched the picture inside the cover. The whole party went through but he got cold feet and stayed behind hoping they would came back, but they never did. He's running out of people to ask and no one seems to know how the book worked. His last hope was a woman called Claudia Traum who was supposed to have knowledge of unusual magic. He talked wistfully about Kora, his party's rogue, and how much he missed all of them.

    Drew was waiting patiently for a table when a boisterous gentleman, Max Siedelmann, suggested they skip the dining hall and go grab a bite at the café instead. The half-orc was agreeable, and upon arrival the gentleman introduced Drew to a pair of acquaintances- Colonel Zeitel and his protégé Willie von Haderlitz. The Colonel explained that he was on his way to inspect Merelland's embassy in Arkos, and Willie was joining him before continuing on to study cultural anthropology at the university. While the conversation was pleasant, Drew noticed that Zeitel and Willie seemed suspicious of each other.

    Introductions took up most of the session, so we'll get into the meat of it next week.
    Last edited by Cerrita; 2021-11-10 at 11:03 PM.
    Princess Battle Flower

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Sep 2019

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    Zeppelin 2: Electric Boogaloo
    Where the true chaos of the party is made clear to me.

    Spoiler: Session 2
    While Brigid was leaving the dining room, she bumped into a pair of siblings arguing in the hall. They were Shailagh and Jack Hacker, traveling home after Shailagh's employment abruptly ended. Brigid pushed for information, and Shailagh confided that she was on the run from her old boss, Andrew Conkling, who had taken her as a mistress and now that there was a baby he was trying to take the little boy to raise with his wife. She had stolen a few documents from his office on the way out, hoping to ransom them back in exchange for being left alone, but had realized that one letter dealt with the poor quality material used in the zeppelin's construction. Jack wanted to ransom it for a lot of money, and Shailagh just wanted her son Eddy safe.

    Shailagh was terrified to see that Conkling was on board and was trying to avoid him, and they had checked the letter in with the purser's office for safekeeping. Brigid asked to see the letter to document it's importance, and promised to expose Conkling if anything happened to the trio. They tore the letter in two, keeping half with the purser and half with Brigid to provide extra security.

    While this discussion was going on, Temerity was coming back from his meeting with Conkling, and decided to stealth close and listen in. Intrigued, he waited for them to leave before going to the Purser and asking to see the Hackers letter. The Purser wasn't having it and shooed him away but Temerity decided he, in fact, *was* having it, and cast Charm Person on the unwitting man. 60 seconds later, a recovered Purser and security staff were attempting to chase the blue rogue through crowded after-dinner hallways. Temerity's stealth check was no issue, and he vamoosed down a side passage and lost the guards.

    In the meantime, Phoenix got bored with the Ronay and found Beatrix Conkling, a stuck up fashionista, and spent some time trading verbal barbs while Beatrix complained about ungrateful house staff taking advantage of their good employment. Phoenix eventually bored of Beatrix and cast about for a more entertaining table mate. She found one in Sasha Barbicon, art dealer and general sleaze ball. He immediately turned on the charm to wine and dine the elf lady. Phoenix, a simple woman, decided that she really wanted to punch him in the face, and concocted a plan to do just that. No, this doesn't interfere with my plans at all

    Phoenix wined and dined him right back, and it wasn't long before he was showing her back to his cabin. Once there she really got him talking. He showed off some of his expensive artwork, all stored in his cabin where he could keep an eye on it, and included a particularly nice piece, an outlandishly expensive diamond necklace. Phoenix teased for more info, and he admitted that it belonged to an old lover, Georgia Lambeth, but she was suffering from "paranoid delusions". Sasha and her husband Charles had a plan- Sasha would use his connections to sell the necklace for a 20% commission, and Charles would use the rest to pay off his debts, put Georgia away in an institution, and start a new life. Georgia (or rather, Jasper) was currently in possession of a very convincing fake.

    The players were understandably outraged at this point, and began coming around to Phoenix's face-punching ideals. And well, the elf didn't hesitate to deliver.

    As soon as Sasha put the diamond necklace around her neck he leaned in for a lecherous grope, and she hauled off with a right hook that would make any heavyweight boxer proud. He crumpled like a limp rag and Phoenix took off into the hall, screaming like a fair maiden in distress and playing the part to the hilt. The Purser, still in pursuit of Temerity, redirected his attention to this new crisis and Sasha was swiftly arrested.

    Brigid was also there, with Elandra and Lonnie loitering nearby, and saw Temerity lurking down a side passage suspiciously. She called him out on it and he gave contradictory explanations for his whereabouts during the kerfuffle. She then learned that the half of the letter with the purser had been stolen, and reasoned that it was the tiefling's doing.

    Jasper checked on Phoenix and quickly learned the facts of the setup, but couldn't even be mad when Phoenix explained the plan for Georgia. Jasper explained Georgia's side of it, showing off the necklace she had entrusted with him. That's when Phoenix realized that she was still wearing the real necklace, and handed it over to Jasper for safekeeping. Just casual hot-potato with a 15,000 gold piece necklace…

    We ended the session with Drew getting a message from Willie to meet in the gymnasium at midnight. They practiced some fencing while Willie sussed out Drew and deciding to trust him. He explained that he was a double agent infiltrating a group called the Black Hand, whose mission was to destabilize the region between Merelland and Sable into war. Zeitel was also associated with them, and was supposed to be exchanging a valuable stolen book for military secrets and code-breaking cyphers. Willie explained that he had hidden the book rather than meet with his contact, and the Colonel was suspecting him of being a traitor. He then gave Drew his signet ring and told him to hold onto it in case something happened to him.
    Princess Battle Flower

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Sep 2019

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    Spoiler: Session 3
    At breakfast the next morning Falcon brazenly sought out and joined Zeitel and Max for breakfast, hoping to catch the colonel off guard and learn anything about the supposed exchange. It looked like they had been in a heated debate before the interruption, but made small talk until Falcon decided he had unsettled them enough and moved several tables away to listen in. Willie was nowhere to be seen. He managed to overhear Zeitel say that Willie had been "dealt with", and finding the missing book was their top priority.

    Elandra met with Lonnie again, continuing to discuss his missing party and the mystery of the teleporting book. As the spoke they were interrupted by a young woman asking if Elandra was a doctor. She was Claris Limehouse her mother was having an especially bad day due to her illness, and if Elandra could do anything to assist. The cleric agreed and was easily able to alleviate Mrs. Limehouse's pain. Claris thanked Elandra, saying that it was one fewer thing for her to fret over. She'd had plans to meet a young man named Willie for breakfast, as they had for several days now, but she hadn't seen him all morning and was worried. The players were all worried about Willie at this point, but had no leads to follow.

    On the way back to the dining room Elandra and Lonnie ran into Drew, who had sat down with the Ronay and were making small talk. Innemar explained how their people's magical books worked, and Elandra suggested that they look at Lonnie's book. The old ranger reluctantly handed it over, and Innemar confirmed that it did seem to be a Ronay book, and though she wasn't educated in how to read the elaborate glyphs she did recognize them as the system used for book-writing.

    Drew remembered suddenly that he had Willie's ring, so he and Elandra went to see Claris, and she was dismayed to be handed the ring. Willie had told her that anyone who brought her the ring was trustworthy, and to tell them that there was the book of poetry and a notebook of names. The only clue she had was that the books were "limping" to safety. They immediately reasoned that the books were in Lonnie's possession, the only person they could think of with a limp, and put the idea aside for later.

    Phoenix and Temerity ran into each other in the hall, realizing they were literally two rooms apart, and quickly hatched a plan for crime-time. With Sasha indisposed in the brig, all the valuables in his room were ripe for the taking, and boy did they take. Jewelry, statuettes, paintings, a fancy tiara- whatever caught their eye. They even found the folder which contained documents of authenticity for each item. I let them get away with quite the haul, almost 20k in gold plus 500 platinum, but how valuable is it really? We'll figure that out later

    While the two were making their getaway they ran into Jasper, but their antics were interrupted by a strange gentleman, and Jasper decided to talk to him. The man chatted for a bit like he knew the trio, offering commiseration that "those two don't ever change, do they?". Jasper rolled a history check and realized that he had never met this man before in his life. The gentleman then apologized, saying he forgot that this was their first meeting from the party's perspective, and introduced himself as Leyland Trask, professional medium and psychic. He provided some cryptic clues, advised them to stay on their toes this evening, and parted ways, leaving far more questions than answers.
    Princess Battle Flower

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground

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    Jan 2021

    Default Re: Adventure Out of Time campaign journal

    it should also be mentioned that Temerity absolutely refuses to get rid of the tiara. it’s his now, and he’ll never willingly give it up.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Sep 2019

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    Spoiler: Session 4
    Having heard from several sources that Willie was missing, Brigid decided to start off the session with investigating. She sought out and interviewed several crew members, and worked out that there had been a death cleaned up in the gymnasium the night before, and the body was being stored in the medical office. She met the captain there and managed a convincing bluff that she knew the victim. The captain was alarmed to see that news of the incident appeared to be spreading. She spun a yarn about how she knew, and promised to sit on the story for the rest of the trip in exchange for the full scoop. Captain Morrow explained that there was a government agent already onboard who was investigating the situation, an elf with the code name Black Falcon. Brigid promised to keep the captain updated with her own investigation, and went looking for Falcon.

    It was time for answers, so the party gathered in Phoenix's room to discuss all the information they had to date. As they were reaching some remaining dead ends, I asked for a series of perception checks. A few managed to hear a very slight shuffle outside the room, and Phoenix threw the cabin door wide open, surprising the eavesdropping Max and dragging him into the room by his lapels.

    Max grumbled a bit at being manhandled and wrinkling his suit, and generally refused to talk, but when Phoenix started dragging him towards an open window he got a lot more cooperative. He explained that he worked for Sasha, usually as a middle man handling exchanges with their contacts. Just prior to Sasha's arrest Max had been given a painting with military secrets written on the back, and was given instructions to meet with Willie in a crew passage to exchange the painting for the book of poetry. But Willie never showed. Zeitel had told Max that Willie had been murdered for his betrayal.

    He explained that the heated discussion between Max and Zeitel that Falcon had interrupted the day before pertained to uncovering where the book had been hidden. The painting was still in Max's cabin and Temerity volunteered to go get it while Elandra and Jasper left to find Lonnie.

    Taking Max's cabin key, Temerity left to retrieve the map. It was easy enough to find, and he spent some extra time in the room defacing each and every one of Max's expensive tacky suits just for spite. While he was doing that I had him make a perception check, which turned up nothing. Oh well. Satisfied with his handiwork, he headed back to the party.

    While Temerity was busy, Elandra and Jasper found Lonnie's cabin. He was surprised to see him, but admitted that a young kid asked him to hold onto a couple of items, saying they weren't safe in his possession. He handed over a very expensive book of poetry, and a little notebook with a dozen names on the first page, titled "Black Hand leaders". Before they could go on, everyone was interrupted with the sound and violence of an earth-shattering kaboom in the distance and the sensation of the zeppelin pitching downward, which seemed like a good place to call the session.
    Princess Battle Flower

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Sep 2019

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    Apologies for the delay, the holiday and all

    Spoiler: Session 5
    We started the session on a tight timeline and a timed mission, with the zeppelin reeling from explosions and passengers in full panic. The party quickly discussed their exit strategy and recalled that there were emergency escape gliders on the two lower decks, and debated which ones to head for. Half the party wanted to head aft on deck 2, despite it heading in the direction of the explosions, and half wanted to head forward on deck 1. It was pointed out that this was during dinner, and the vast majority of passengers are already on deck 1, so the group agreed to try their luck on deck 2.

    They had 10 rounds to navigate the labyrinth of increasingly dangerous passageways and hazards, and had several opportunities to assist with a variety of NPCs. Some examples, in no particular order:

    • One of the Ronay cabins had collapsed as the superstructure buckled, trapping two of their people inside. The party teamed up for the strength check and cleared enough debris to allow escape.
    • Claris Limehouse was struggling to help her mother to the gliders in time, and Drew offered to carry her ahead.
    • Max fell through a break in the floor and was stuck in the metal frame, and after a brief debate they doubled back to pull him to safety.
    • A disoriented family of orcs who didn't speak common were pointed in the right direction by Elandra, who could speak their language.
    • Shailagh and Jack, who were looking for Beatrix Conkling who had suspiciously been on hand right at the start of the emergency to steal baby Eddy from them in the confusion.

    The party was pretty spread out at this point, and assuming that Beatrix had the same idea about which gliders to try for, they raced through the rest of the labyrinth. Just as they reached the last hallway, Zeitel appeared and fatally shot Max, claiming his was sorting out loose ends on behalf of the Man in Red. He then taunted Jasper that he could continue his escape or go back and try to find Georgia. When asked why he was involving Georgia in this Zeitel simply said that the Man in Red paid him to arrange that she died on the voyage "as intended". He also shared his surprise that they hadn't found her already. Elandra and Jasper doubled back, performing some fantastic sleuthing and figuring out *on the first guess* where Georgia was hidden. I was quite impressed. They found her bound and gagged under Max's bed under invisibility, and made it to the gliders with little time to spare.

    Not out of the woods yet, the party realized that of the two gliders in that area, one was already full and ready to launch, and the other was stuck on the other side of the locked gate, and the crew was unable to find the key. Temerity rolled a series of frustratingly low lockpick checks, and even Phoenix bodily throwing herself at the gate couldn't budge it. That's when Phoenix saw Beatrix, baby Eddy in her arms, and the elf decided she was taking the baby back.

    Beatrix resisted at first, declaring that the baby was her reward for helping the Man in Red, but the party wasn't having it. Phoenix deftly and bodily put Beatrix in her place, face down on the ground, while grabbing Eddy and safely returning him to his mother.

    But the situation is getting dire. The sound of exploding hydrogen was drawing closer, and the gate had refused to budge. While the party tried to breach the door, Jasper bumped into Leyland Trask, who philosophically discussed death and the afterlife, and mused over what awaited him there. Watching Temerity struggle with the door, Leyland exclaimed and produced a key. "I've wondered what this key went to ever since you gave it to me." He handed it to Jasper and to everyone's surprise the key worked, and the door swung open. As they ushered their NPCs and any other nearby passengers into the glider, Jasper asked Trask about the key.

    "You told me to hold onto it, so I did."
    "When did I give you the key? We've never met before this trip."
    "Well, you haven't given me the key yet."
    "What… ? Are you coming with us?"
    "No, a far more interesting journey awaits me. Good luck, and I'll see you soon."

    With that cryptic farewell the party filled the last glider as full as possible, the druids even wildshaping into tiny creatures to make more room. Brigid had a use of feather fall, and decided to stay back with a handful of brave volunteers to jump after the glider. And with that the party escaped the doomed maiden voyage of the Saffronia.
    Last edited by Cerrita; 2021-11-30 at 04:10 PM.
    Princess Battle Flower

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Spoiler: Session 6
    The survivors of the Saffronia were picked up by rescue ships in the area, and taken to the nearest port city in Arkos. From there, the party discussed what to do next. The Ronay refugees were pretty lost, unsure how to reach the capital to meet with their contact, so the party offered to escort them. Lonnie tagged along, curious to learn more about his mystery book and hoping to find any arch mages in Plainsboro that he hadn't already met. Most of the NPCs went their separate ways, and several promised to be in touch again.

    They boarded a train bound for the capital. The train made several stops, and the party got off at one point to check out a small town and do some shopping. Phoenix and Temerity wandered off to buy the latest fashions while Elandra checked with the local alchemists for healing potions. Most of the group were content to window shop and do the tourist thing.

    The pleasant trip was interrupted by the sudden appearance of a gang of primitively dressed warriors on the street, overseen by a mysterious masked man in red. History checks revealed that the warriors were accurately dressed for the prehistory era of Merelland, some 5,000 years ago. The warriors proved to be little trouble despite the party separated and unprepared, and they noted that each downed warrior vanished without a trace.

    Once the fight was over, the man introduced himself as Roan Cayahnich, and dispassionately explained that he had arranged this demonstration to see what the party was capable of, and that the warriors had been returned unharmed to their own time. Arcana checks confirmed that he dealt with temporal magic. The party realized he matched the description of "The Man in Red" and called him out on the zeppelin disaster. He didn't deny it, and wrote off the tragedy as collateral damage from his attempt "to set the timeline right". The party pushed for details, and Roan only offered that his sisters had a tendency to meddle, and it was his duty to un-meddle. And with that, he bid adieu, leaving only confusion with his cryptic words.

    Shopping and combat took most of the evening, so we ended the session there.
    Princess Battle Flower

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Spoiler: Session 7
    Back on board the train, they reached the capital city of Plainsboro. There, they were met by Jane Summers esq., representative of Claudia Traum and was there to escort the Ronay to her estate. The party insisted on going along, which didn't fuss Jane either way, and they soon arrived at a grand country villa.

    The entire group was met on the front stoop by a regal looking woman in golden yellow robes, who introduced herself as Claudia and ushered everyone in to discuss recent events. She was very distraught about the zeppelin, and was very upset that she hadn't foreseen it's fate when she should have. But it all made sense when the party mentioned Roan's involvement. She explained that he was her brother, and gave half-vague explanations about their nature. They were two of six siblings, not gods but not mortals either, and each had a domain of sorts. Roan had the domain of time, and she the domain of dreams, though all of the siblings had an overlapping proficiency for the other domains, which is why Claudia could see small glimpses of time. She and another sister felt an obligation to involve themselves in the events of mortals for the better, and Roan believed they should leave the fates unaltered.

    Claudia believed that the Ronay were meant to die rather than arrive in Merelland, and Roan had destroyed the zeppelin as a petty show of his intention to undo this meddling. The party asked if she was responsible for the Ronay's arrival in Merelland and she said no, but she wanted to help them anyway.

    Claudia apologized that they were early, "I will have a task for you and those events will not be in motion for several weeks. You were not supposed to be here so soon, but Roan's involvement has altered the timeline." She also gave them some additional information on how Lonnie's unique Ronay book worked. "The book is attuned to him. It will go where he goes. So make sure Lonnie is the last one through or people will be left behind." She then paused, told the party to enjoy their next destination as she recalled it fondly, and politely dismissed them while the Ronay were settled in.

    We ended the session early, with the party finding a hotel back in town and debating what to do next.
    Princess Battle Flower

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Spoiler: Sessions 8 & 9
    After much debate, the party decided to use Lonnie's book to look for answers about his missing friends, after running a few errands of course. Falcon stopped by the Merelland embassy and did the necessary secret handshake to speak with the head of covert operations. He turned over the stolen book and the painting, and was paid a handsome fee for a job well done.

    While Falcon was doing that, Phoenix, Temerity, and Jasper [a nearly inseparable trio dubbed "the 2 1/2 men"] found their way to the Sabeline embassy, where Phoenix took the lead with the deskman, schmoozing him with charm and convincing him to call out his boss, to whom they handed over the notebook of Black Hand agents. The superior was quite impressed, and instructed the deskman to write them a substantial check for their assistance with homeland security. On their way back they swung by a restaurant that served "the best authentic Argenti cuisine in Arkos". They bluffed their way into the back, where Cousin Vinny greeted them. They showed off their haul of valuables from Sasha's cabin and asked about black market value. Vinny spent some time going over the items and the records of authenticity they had snagged, and offered them 4,000 gold for the lot, almost a quarter of their original estimate. He admitted that this Sasha was a fraud- to no one's surprise- and most of the items were high quality fakes. With stellar insight checks they were satisfied that Vinny was telling it straight and happily took the 4k and departed, after a round of pasta "on the house" for being new clients.

    Everyone liked Cousin Vinny.

    Once they were ready to use the book I felt the need to remind them out of character that they were not aware of any way home, but they decided to go anyway, confident that they would find a way. Lonnie reluctantly opened the book to the first page, and one by one everyone touched the image and disappeared into the book. Once everyone was through Lonnie joined them, and was relieved to see that the book had come with him as expected.

    They had arrived at the edge of a lake, enclosed in a cavern that went on for miles and disappeared in the gloomy distance. The lake water emitted a soft orange glow which the party correctly guessed was bioluminescence. Nearby was a cabin, dark and ominous near the waters edge. The party, of course, wanted to immediately investigate.

    As they walked towards the cabin Temerity got the idea to test the book and convinced Lonnie to let him try it again. Lonnie was hesitant, but gave in, and was relieved to see the tiefling reappear several yards back where they had originally arrived. Whatever happened, at least they could return to this place.

    The party poked around the cabin for a while before finding an unlocked door. The inside was hoarder-like and filthy. As they explored, they heard rustling in the far bedroom, and upon inspection found a dirty and disheveled half elf muttering to himself amid a pile of rags. He noticed them immediately and pulled his sword, yelling for them to leave his home. As Falcon and Elandra tried to talk him down, Jasper got the idea to ask Lonnie if he recognized the voice. And sure enough, he did. The deranged half elf was Jean-Michel, the old party's bard. The two bantered briefly, then Jean-Michel began muttering about the party following him to the basement to look at some things.

    Suspicious, arcana checks were rolled and they confirmed that he was under some sort of charm effect. Elandra used her channel divinity to dispel the effect, and Jean-Michel began to panic about the thing in the basement. The party, curious, went to investigate and found some abducted locals in cages. While freeing them they were jumped by a group of skum. Once they were dispatched of, and the rescued prisoners safely moved upstairs, the party opted for a short rest before proceeding further down the tunnel.

    The Following Session was dedicated mostly to combat with what lay beyond, the lair of Zlorthishen the Aboleth. It was a good fight, with Elandra's channel divinity making all the difference with the charm effects. Temerity and Phoenix took the front line and tanked most of the combat, taking quite a beating but standing their ground. It looked pretty bad when 8 cultists and guards arrived to provide backup, but eventually the party sunk enough damage into Zlorthishen that he was forced to flee, departing via teleportation and dropping the charm effect on the cultists. We unfortunately had to cut the session there, with the party helping the survivors out of the cabin.
    Princess Battle Flower

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2019

    Default Re: Adventure Out of Time campaign journal

    Spoiler: Session 10
    We ended last session with the party dispatching of Zlorthishen, who retreated from the cavern to nurse his wounds and his pride. While the party assessed the surviving cultists and prisoners a boat arrived on the shore, and the party was introduced to Theodore Pace, the unofficial mayor of the settlement on the island. He explained that many of the locals had gone into a sudden panic, exclaiming that "he" was gone, and they had come to investigate.

    The party informed him of the goings on of the aboleth, the mind control, and the innocence of Jean-Michel as another victim. Curiously, Theodore recovered from his utter confusion about what, exactly an 'aboleth' was, and instead inquired to the party's origins. The elves were easily identified, but the non-humans present were greeted with fascinated intrigue. Theodore explained that most of the villagers are locals from the surface civilization, but a few off-worlders have come in through various books. Despite that, the party continued to receive curious glances from the locals, with Temerity and Phoenix receiving a majority of the interest with their unusual blue skin.

    The party, the relief team, and the survivors all made their way to the island, which the locals said was called Ae'gura by the old Ronay residents. The island had been the old Ronay seat of government, and the whole island had been carved and sculpted with grand government buildings, glamourous estates, and spacious courtyards.

    The party split up at this point. Jasper, Phoenix, and Temerity asked around about historical records and were pointed to the temporary archives in the old museum. Elandra, Falcon, and Brigid talked with Theodore about census records of the recent habitation, specifically looking for Lonnie's old party, and he suggested they go see the Guild of Maintainers, a sort of hybrid police force/department of licensing group who managed legal records and oversaw safety. Drew decided to go fishing.

    The 2 1/2 men found the museum easily enough, near the main courtyard, and spoke with the librarian managing the place. They were specifically looking for any historical documents uncovered from the Ronay that might tell them anything about the aboleth's presence in the cavern. Some stellar investigation rolls and they found what they were looking for- a king from millennia ago, Ahlsendar, had fulfilled some prophesies by leading the Ronay to victory against invading forces. He then secretly financed the creation of a powerful plague and released it in the worlds of his enemies, possibly killing billions. Ultimately overcome with guilt, Ahlsendar had himself sealed alive in the catacombs under Ae'gura with the afflicted books.

    Years later some of his descendants who worshipped him in a cult opened the catacombs to take his body out as a holy relic. But the engineered plague had survived in a weakened state, and it devastated the Ronay for centuries. Rumors also circulated that some victims of the plague were developing strange symptoms- cold clammy skin, respiratory trouble, altered mental states, and such. In other words, aberration symptoms. The catacombs were resealed until 7 years ago, when a team of archeologists tried to enter to begin restoration work. There was an accident which killed the whole team, the catacombs filled with lake water, and people begin to go missing under mysterious circumstances. The party reasoned that the aboleth had taken up residence in the catacombs and intended to finish him off for good... by breaking into the cursed catacombs. I'm sure it's fine.

    Meanwhile, the trio meeting with the Guild of Maintainers spoke with Arandoline, a dwarven off-worlder, who helped them look into old census records and transfer requests. They found records from various years with some curious results. For the last 8 years only Jean-Michel was registered in the cavern. But 9 years ago Noah was listed as still being around, though the rest of the old party seems to have already moved on. Curiously as well, Claudia Traum, the Lady of Dreams, is also noted as being in the cavern. The party made a note to ask her about this when they found a way home.

    They also found that there was a emigration request of sorts by the remaining unaccounted-for party members to leave through a book with no immediate intention to return. Arandoline explained that the Guild had the responsibility of inspecting books and restricting travel to unsafe worlds, and to note who leaves for extended or permanent departures. She admitted, however, that day-trip and short visits could not be effectively logged. With no departure paperwork for Noah, he might still be on this planet. Elandra in particular was eager to find a way to the surface and find Lonnie's old friend.

    Finally, Drew. While casting his line in the harbor he was approached by an older man, who seemed not altogether comfortable being in the cavern. He, Gibson Crane, was looking for his daughter Hailey, a linguist who had come to the cavern to study off-world languages. They were estranged, so he didn't have much information other than a description of her and her dog Ollie. As he put it, "all of you off-worlders seem to use gold as your money, so I'm offering 50 pounds of gold [2500 gold pieces] to anyone who returns my daughter to me." Drew promised to do what he could.

    We ended the session with the party put up in a particularly nice townhouse on the island, undecided where to go next.
    Princess Battle Flower

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Pixie in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2019

    Default Re: Adventure Out of Time campaign journal

    Spoiler: Session 11
    So, having gotten a long rest in, the party debated what to do next. Temerity went back to the librarian and interrogated her about the cure for the old plague. She said that there was no known sample, but she had some fellow archivists working on out-worlds that might know more and offered to get in touch with them while the party was busy. Satisfied to put the cursed catacombs on hold, the party agreed to explore the surface and try to track down the elusive Noah in the town of Clearwater. A couple of villagers also recalled that Noah had been in the company of a woman named Sarah before they disappeared, and that she was a local surfacer from that town.

    Theodore, the mayor, gave them a rough map of the surrounding surface lands, and some advice for dealing with the surface, suggesting that agreeing with whatever the locals thought of them rather than explaining the truth and avoiding the authorities were their best course of action to stay out of trouble. He still advised against the trip, but admitted that he couldn't stop them.

    They reached the surface without incident, emerging from the edge of a long-dormant volcano in the middle of a seemingly endless desert. Once on the surface, Phoenix's desert elf powers activated, and she took the lead. She quickly found a set of vehicle tracks amid the sand, and the party spent the night following the tracks north.

    Just as dawn approached, Temerity and Drew spotted what they thought was a mirage a mile in the distance, and while Phoenix oversaw the setting up of a desert hospitable camp, Temerity and Elandra went off to investigate. When within half a mile, Temerity sent his crow familiar Acaron out to take a closer look, and the bird returned with the report of a man tinkering underneath a truck. Acaron was sent back with a note offering help, and returned with a new note accepting it. As they approached, Temerity disguised himself as a human.

    They were introduced to Bobby, a local rancher's son, whose drive home from repairing fences had the misfortune of running off the road while attempting to avoid a creature in his path. Temerity brazenly showed off his Mending spell to the baffled local as truck was swiftly repaired. With the truck fixed, but no coolant left, they invited Bobby back to camp to pass the heat of the day. His bafflement continued upon arriving at the camp, where Temerity's spell finally wore off and Bobby tried to make sense of the eclectic group of travelers.

    After being reassured they were just "a con" doing some camping, the party settled down for a long rest. During that time Bobby explained the mysterious vandalism going on in the area. Ranchers were finding sections of their fences torn apart, and entire cattle missing or mutilated. Theories ranged from vandals to aliens to chupacabra. His family had lost 15 head in six months, and the local ranchers had a princely sum set aside for anyone who could put a stop to the problem.

    As dusk approached, and moon ride as the sun set (Phoenix's player took and sudden and intense interest in the sun and moon, and their eclipse potential), the party headed back to the truck, topped it off with water from their supplies, and drove into the sleepy town of Clearwater. They asked Bobby if he knew of anyone named Noah Walker, and he said there was a Noah and Sarah McMillian on a ranch outside town, but they were the withdrawn type, and didn't interact much with the townsfolk. He added that Sarah had grown up in Clearwater, but no one knew where she picked up the mysterious Noah. Bobby offered to drop them off outside the McMillan ranch, and suggested an inn back in town "if they don't shoot you for being on their property".

    Once Bobby had departed, Jasper knocked on the front door, and the party nervously stood back from the entrance just in case a gun-wielding maniac came bursting out. Instead, they were greeted by a middle-aged half elf man, who gave the party a long, hard stare before asking "which one of you is the cleric?" He invited them in and introduced himself as Noah, and his standoffish behavior dropped away when Lonnie and Jean-Michel stepped into the room. After a manly reunion, he again asked for the cleric, and despite Elandra not volunteering herself Noah picked her out anyway. "I was a cleric myself, I know the look." He showed Elandra into the back bedroom where Sarah was resting. Noah explained that she'd fallen from the roof and was paralyzed, and he'd do whatever he could for the group if she had magic powerful enough to fix her. One Lesser Restoration later, and a healed Sarah was brought into the living room for introductions.

    While Elandra was doing her thing, Jasper was accosted by the youngest resident of the ranch- a 9 year old boy. "Uncle Noah just calls me Buddy" he explained, and asked if Jasper was a giant. Buddy had heard stories of life on Noah's home world, and he quickly drug Jasper outside so the druid could show off his magic.

    Meanwhile, the party spoke to Noah and Sarah. The couple explained that the rest of the party had gone to a garden world called Eder Gira to find a way home. Many of the book worlds were uninhabited aside from the explorers based out of the cavern, but they thought they saw civilization outside the garden estate and wanted to investigate. Noah was originally supposed to go with them, but there was an unexpected eight month delay in their plans, and by then he'd met Sarah and decided to stay behind while the trio left. The cause of the delay? Buddy, of course, Kora's son. Newly pregnant before arriving in the cavern, she left her son in Noah's care while she was gone. But after two years of hearing neither from the trio or from anyone through Lonnie's book, Noah and Sarah chose to move Buddy to the surface and start a new life.

    The party was onto my tricks, though, and grilled me about the identity of the father. Several investigative rolls were made, but no one could say for certain if the 9 year old boy looked enough like Lonnie to justify speaking up. Then Sarah offered to make dinner for everyone and Noah went to the back door to call in the boy. "Leyland! Come on in and get cleaned up!"

    There was a pause, then the party lost their minds.

    Jasper put it together first, and asked young Leyland if his last name was McMillan. "No sir, it's Trask. My mother's name." Leyland Trask, the time travelling medium who had helped save them from the zeppelin disaster. I allowed everyone to roll a history check, and Elandra realized that if Lonnie shaved his beard he could have passed as Mr. Trask's brother.

    Little Leyland was distracted by Jasper, who gave him the glider key he still had and telling him to hold onto it until it was needed. When Jasper explained that the key came from a zeppelin, Leyland excitedly asked if they were time travelers, and if they were on the Hindenburg. That would be so cool because "nothing exciting like that happens in New Mexico!" At that point everyone finally figured out what Phoenix's player already knew.

    Noah then explained that a decade on this planet had drained his magical powers, "like the planet is sucking the energy right out of you", which is why the former cleric was unable to magically heal his wife. He reassured them that the effect wasn't immediate, but if they stayed here too long it would start to take a toll no matter how much practice they put in. He also explained the dead and missing cattle situation, and offered to take them out the next day to one of the scenes to investigate.
    Princess Battle Flower

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