Vitio Maxime

The Talonan Temple

Rhys gives the party a gem that they can use to teleport back to Suzail, and so they depart for Sembia and the Talonan temple. They end up in a swamp, a half-day’s journey from their destination by a little-used road. Light is diffuse. You can smell the rot of the wood. They work their way down to the road, making a left at a fork to head in the direction of the temple (TODO: Check out the other fork).

The area is pretty desolate: there is little flora and no fauna to be found; the sky is a sombre grey. Life is pain.

Kai-to casts arcane eye as they approach the temple. The eye travels 45 minutes to the temple. It finds an elongated hexagonal building, about a 200 ft along. There are no windows. There is a 4” diamond with spikes pointing forward from the center of it. Blood is running down the spikes. There is a chimney, but the eye runs out of magic gas as it descends the chimney.

Orsik blindly shoves his hand onto the spiky diamond, and a door opens.

Inside, they find a room with a one-foot-thick ledger, but no one recognizes the scrawled names. The front of the ledger is decorated with the triangular symbol of Telona.

The place looks like it has been deserted for not too long: there is a meal molding in the next-door kitchen.

They enter a couple of other rooms, and eventually they stumble into a place of worship: there are rows of seats facing an alter. Janya smells something. The pews are askew. Before they know it, the party is rollign for initiative against a handful of cordyceps lions. Orsik finally finds a use for one of his domain spells, blowing the spores of the lions away from the party and reducing the number of con saves they have to make.

Fungal felines fallen, the party continues to explore the worship area. They find a handful of containers, most of which contain poisons. They take a few noteworthy items: a censer, a vial of poison, a vial of particulate matter, and a vial with an oily, piney residue.

A lot of exploring occurs. Here are the highlights. For more details, see Kai-to’s map.

The Lion’s Den

The party enters a room with three couches. After drawing straws for little spoon (sorry, Orsik) they notice a large hole in the wall. The light from the whole appears to be coming from outside, despite the fact that Elan cased the whole building and found it enclosed. As Elan peeks his head into the whole, a giant scorpion shoves 7” into him. Simultaneously, Kai-to an ambush is attempted on Kai-to from the fireplace, but the diviner sees it coming. The overgrown arachnids turn out to be all hiss and no sting, and are summarily defeated. The fireplace-dweller has a fire lit under his ass.

As they continue to explore, there are a few noteworthy sights:

  • A dead man in a spartan room
  • Some giant and dead, pock-marked leeches (there’s gastropods afoot!)
  • A statue of Tamora.
  • A room with evidence of a confrontation.
  • Guest quarters

The Menagerie

They backtrack and enter the courtyard area (from the temple area). The area is about 50 yards across with cages lining the walls. Some cells contain creatures. Other cells appear to have previously had animal, but they escaped via acid burning the bars. Some creatures include scorpions, cordyceps lions, giant snakes, and leeches; all of which produce poison or spores. The last enclosure has an equal mix of water and land. Whatever was in it is no longer in it: there were bar barriers, but the bars have been pushed outward and broken.

The packaging room

They find a store room with both medical supplies and poison supplies. They find medical kits nearby with the marks of Timora and Tyr.

The next room has a more sophisticated poison trap on the knob. Kai-to mage hands it open to find a conference room. In the corner of the room is a small (3’ by 5’) door. Orsik enters with ample clearance and finds a tool shop for needlework and daggers.

Library

They enter the next room to find a library/classroom. The books are almost entirely about poisons, unguents, and fungus. They enter the next room which appears to be another library/classroom. This one has more advanced books in it. As they step around the desk, they find the trail leads to two large leeches that are dead. They have some sort of pox or infection; there are also slash wounds on the outside of their carcasses.

In the final room, the party encounters 2 boil-ridden monks. The monks deal quite a bit of damage, and lower everyone’s constitution except Janya’s. Eventually the party pops their boils.

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Apparitions

After the breach of the embassy, Naerissa’s appreciation for protection during is realized by a handful of nifty magical items.

The party is still trying to make sense of it all.

They have a poisoned knife from one of the intruders. Naerissa sends it to a lab to be tested.

They also have one captive enemy. They ask Naerissa for dibs on questioning (Orsik licks his lips), and she grants it. They tie him up. Orsik casts zone of truth. The enemy makes his saving throw. So does Elan. Elan attempts to intimidate him. He doesn’t speak. Kai-to casts detect thoughts and subs his die to force him to roll a 10. All that is detected is a state of thoughtlessness: his mind is completely placid and vacant. The party checks his vitals: he has reflexes and his eyes react to light.

The party asks Naerissa if she has seen this condition before. supposedly, it happens sometimes when a person has been damaged from being possessed. She brings in an Elf priest who heals the enemy. The priest claims the body is as healthy as can be, but it’s clear the problem is in the mind. Orsik sighs with empathy. The party unties the enemy, and he doesn’t move.

Kai-to detects magic in the library. He detects divine magic that has three constituents.

  1. layer of the shadow that we have seen before.
  2. layer of corruption.
  3. Something very old that Kai-to has never encountered.

Naerissa attempts to scry the attacker who sent in the teleporters. She fails.

The next day the party heads to the surveyor’s office. Keegan is very excited to see us again. We need to talk to Alaphondar directly if we want to see the OG map. We try to detect magic inside the castle, but we are warned by Keegan that this would upset the War wizards.

Kai-to detects magic on the Traitor’s Isle map copies. He detects the same triple-layer of shadow/corruption/something old. Keegan informs us, upon inquiry, that Lady Dauntinghorn is responsible for copying the maps. They make an appointment with Lady Dauntinghorn the next day, and depart. Guards stop them and inform them that there has been an attack in the market: something came up from the sewers and killed two merchants. They hurry to the market to investigate.

The party is stopped by a low level war wizard who says that we cannot enter. He gets his supervisor, and Janya authenticates with her hidden ring. This is what they see upon entering the crime scene:

[[File: | class=media-item-align-center | 200×600px | ]]

Orsik heals one of the guards. The guard says that it appeared out of nowhere in the market and started attacking. It tore into the crowd and the guardsmen, killing two of them. Elan investigates the body and recognizes the pants as those worn by prisoners on Traitor’s Island. One of the war wizards says that the creature was teleported there.

As we leave to go check on Naerissa, a purple dragon is telling the War Wizards that another creature was teleported into the center of the purple dragon fortress.

We run back to the embassy, while Kai-to sends his arcane eye to check out the body of the creature at the purple dragon fortress. He looks like this:

We decide to track down Rhys and ask him to relay a message to Calydor about these prisoner/creature teleportations, and also ask Calydor how many prisoners are not accounted for. When we arrive at the castle, the guard says that Rhys was about to send for us. Our weapons are not taken. Rhys tells us about a third event, in the area east of the market (the “bad part of town”). He shows us this image of the creature:

The party tells Rhys about the magic trifecta that we have detected. We tell him that it is on the maps that Lady Dauntinghorn has been copying them. He vows to investigate. We tell him about the pants on the creature, and we tell him about the attack on the Elven embassy. Lastly, we tell him that the magic trifecta was detected on when the infiltrators penetrated the embassy. He tells us that over 100 prisoners have been lost. Rhy tells the party that the attacks were directed from the fortress in the Ice Rim Mountains.

Rhys says that we need to resolve this issue before the Royal Mage gets involved, because he will blame all of this on us, since we were in charge of the investigation on Traitor’s Island.

The party contemplates their options: 1) Stay here to question Lady Dauntinghorn, 2) Head to the mountains, and 3) Jump through the portal.

One of the aids that Rhys had sent returns with The High Priest of Timora, Clifford. Lord Rhys greets him cordially: they obviously know each other well. Rhys asks Clifford to identify the magic on the maps. Cliff uses some high level spell to contact another plane. As he is casting it, a fissure of light breaks across the table. An image appears that is almost blinding <insert>. It has a woman holding two halves of a broken sword.

A man that we recognize as Keegan’s father, Alaphondar Emmarask, enters the room and asks what has happened. Rhys conjures a representation of the image that was seen before. Alaphondar has detected Talona has affected those creature’s bodies, Talona must be the “corruption” part of the trifecta. The nearest Telona is in Sembia, just on the east side of the Vast Swamp.

The party asks Rhys if we could search through Sen Dauntinghorn’s office. He says yes, so long as he supervises. He gets them into her office and casts true-seeing. The party searches the place and find nothing.

The party decides to go back to the embassy to have some tea and rest. They update Naerissa on our newest findings before sleeping.

In the morning, we check in with Rhys about Lady Dauntinghorn. He says no, but that she has been working in the field. We also ask Naerissa to scry on the image that she saw. She gets a name: Avarae. Somehow this name is associated with this image. We tell the war wizards about this name before we head off to Sembia to visit the Timolan temple.

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Security breach!

The party tries to collect itself after the late-night attack. Naerissa tells them that she does not know who those three thugs were. She is surprised her guards were not involved in the battle. Janya carries the two bodies back. They investigate the bodies. They are male humans. No distinguishing marks. Dark hair. Nice (but not +1) leather and weapons.

The dead don’t lie

Orsik memorizes “speak to the dead” and “zone of truth” so the party can revive the thugs and learn from them. The party stores the bodies in (magic) cold storage. Naerissa learns from Nirainor that the guards did leave with them, but that they have not returned. Nirainor sends out guards to check for them.

Kai-to detects magic on the dead bodies. He detects shades of shadow on them.

While the Cleric and Wizard are chanting around the dead bodies, Nirainor’s agents bring return with Naerissa’s personal guards, who were found at the Cormaeril mansion. Kai-to detects a curse, divine magic that is of the shadow flavor. Naerissa calls for a priest, who removes the curse form the guards.

The bodies are placed in cold storage. The party takes shifts watching the bodies throughout the night, building a blanket fort in the kitchen while they bide their time. In the morning, Naerissa inquires about their little sleep over, and they remind her of the disintegrating prisoner on Traitor’s isle.

The party takes the bodies out of the city under the pretense of performing a burial. After performing Speak to the Dead and Zone of Truth, Orsik begins to question them.

ROUND ONE
Q: Who sent you?
A: The saint.

Q: Who sent you?
A: The saint.

Q: Who sent you?
A: The saint.

Q: Who escaped?
A: The sword.

Q: Where is the saint?
A: The sword.

ROUND TWO
Q: Why did you want Naerissa?
A: Because she is the heart.

Q: Did you want to kidnap or kill her?
A: Capture.

Q: Where do you meet in the city.
A: We don’t.

Q: Which office does the mole work in?
A: I don’t have a mole.

Q: Who modified the maps of Traitor’s isle?
A: I don’t know anything about that.

Orsik casts gentle repose on the bodies before we bury them. We head back to the embassy to bathe before heading to our appointment at the surveyor’s office.

Buttering up the greenhorn

We ask Keegan Emmerask “who has the ability to look at the maps?” He replies, “Anyone talks with the king; any landowner. All of the nobles.” The original surveyor’s map has a ward on it, copies do not. Interestingly, all of the copies (but not the OG warded map) are missing the cave feature. We request all of the maps of the Traitor’s isle in Naerissa’s name. Keegan says he will put in the request, which must be approved by Lady Sen Dauntinghorn, head surveyor.

We take Keegan to the bar, where he dreams drools over his uncle, Alaphondar, who made the status of sage. He loves what he does, and is grateful for having a job. He well represents his ravenclaw—err, Emmerask family.

Elan woos Keegan with the prospect of friendship with the cool kids, accruing street credit with him via shared adventuring stories. Janya provides backup via seduction.

After thoroughly buttering up Keegan, the party heads back to the embassy.

The Ancellan

Earlier, the party had informed Naerissa of their new findings from the recently deceased.They leave out how they got the information. She is startled to be called “the heart,” and explains that she cannot divulge information that would betray the Elven kingdom.

At 3am Nirainor wakes the party up, claiming that Naerissa urgently needs to see them. She has spoken with Evermeet, and received clearance to tell us some very ancient elven secrets, under ElveNDA (the party cannot discuss this knowledge with anyone, even amongst themselves) . She tells them of the Ancellan, an artifact of the Seldarine, used to incept the embassies of the elven people, to create a small plot of the elven forest wherever the embassy is created. In order to create the embassy, it must be bound to a living creature, the heart of the embassy. She reveals a green emerald embedded in her chest and says that it is the heart. The Ancellan is also used to create gateways. It is very close to the identity of the Elven people. It has been stolen, within the last decade. It was stolen from another embassy. The embassy was destroyed. The ambassador destroyed himself before rather than allow his heart to be captured. They have found no answers as to who has stolen it or where it has gone.

Until recently, Elves were certain that the perpetrators did not know how to use the Ancellan, but now they think otherwise: the Ancellan requires a heart to operate. No one has ever stolen a heart.

Q: What could one do with a heart and the Ancellan?
A: They could create life, being. It is the inception of life. To bring life is a gift, in most circumstances. But what then lives, and what are the bounds of that life?

Q: What does it look like?
See the wiki page

After some time, she turns to Nirainor and says (in elven): Someone is trying to breach the wards. The group quickly moves to the library, a room lacking any windows. Despite Naerissa’s insistence that the embassy is safe, she the infiltration attempt is successful, and Naerissa loses consciousness as 9 invaders appear in the library.

The battle is somewhat unremarkable. Elan creates a mirror image of Naerissa. Janya repositions the party in a defensive wall around her. Orsik’s spirit guardians repeatedly reduce the HP of the goons, while Kai-to delivers some potent magic to finish them off. They manage to hold one of the perpetrators for questioning.

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Having a ball

The party awakes in the Fae embassy. They do some minor exploring, and spar with some guards in the backyard grotto. Elan Miklos takes notes on Elvin fighting styles, specifically weaknesses. Janya inquires about the lovely magical flora. Orsik scratches his beard.

Elan investigates the library to see if there is any literature on the cormyr-sembia wars. They have a couple of books.

Findings, In short: Elves talk about humans in Cormyr as only marginally better than hu,ans as a whole. There is a general sense of disdain of humans. The Lord of Cormanthor, however, struck a deal with an elven leader in long ago that is still upheld

While chatting with Naerissa, she explains that the embassy has special powers: The embassy will aide you if you are in battle there. There is no teleporting onto the grounds while naerissa is there. But the powers of the embassy scales with the inhabitants. Specifically, Naerissa’s presence has a large impact on the defensive capabilities of the embassy.

Naerissa encourages the party to think of a backstory before they go to the party that evening. They decide to pose as adventurers, investigating some Elvin ruins around Wheloon. They’ve had some interesting findings, about which Naerissa has some questions. They are trying to recover an elvin relic stolen by an evil-shadow-undread-dragon cult. This gives the party a convenient reason to stop by the surveyor’s office and attempt to unearth some information as to why or how the maps from Traitor’s isle were altered to conceal the existence of the cave which parties unknown were using to send prisoners on a deadly mission into the Ice Rim Mountains.

The party stops by the surveyor’s office in the royal palace only to discover that they need an appointment. Elan cases the joint, and discovers, as one might expect from a royal palace, that the place is guarded like Fort Knox.

The party prepares for the party that evening, hosted by the Cormaerils family. Janya dons a deeply open-backed dress and conceals hand axes beneath it. Elan cleans up as well, and keesters a knife.

We make a request to Lord Anszar, the Chamberlain for the castle, to make an appointment at the surveyor’s office. Everyone’s access to anything goes through him. He agrees to help us help the ambassador.

At the ball

We arrive at the Cormaeril manor house. The stairways go up to a second floor stairway with a balcony that is 25 ft above the ground floor. The vast majority of the attendees are humans, with a few elves and dwarves. Southern wall of ball room is lined with mirrors. There are a couple of chandeliers.

Orsik fails to fraternize with a couple of dwarves, spilling his drink on himself and babbling like a fool.

Janya and Elan dance with eachother spectacularly. Janya terminates their footwork by dipping Elan. The crowd is amazed.

A bit later, Naerissa is now chatting up two elves. Elon walks up to Lord James’s brother, who is talking to a couple of humans. His accent is detectble. His brother asks how a Sembian gets through these doors.

Keegan Emmarask is at this soiree. Late 20s early 30s. He is one of the Junior surveryors. Lady Sen Dauntinghorn is who he reports to. This is his first position, as a clerk in the surveyor’s office. He is sort of a first tier decision maker and notary. They will meet with him the following day, at their appointment.

Elon sneaks to listen to this relative of James. He and his compadres are disparaging some woman for something that is unclear. She may have made a faux pas, or had a disagreeent. It is unclear. What is clear, is that this man is a “poopy dick.”

After leaving the party, the party is jumped in the street by hooded figures who have concealed their faces. They ask one of them to “stop or we will kill you,” to which the assailant responds with the exact same phrase in the exact same voice. After quickly dispatching two of the assailers, the copycat becomes invisible and double-dashes away, the mark of a rogue. With an insanely lucky roll (98%), Janya hits the fleeing foe with a long-range hand-axe throw, and maneuvers Elan into position to strike on his next turn. While the party manages to bloody the foe, he escapes before they can incapacitate him.

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Welcome to Suzail

The party is teleported into Suzail, specifically, into the purple dragon fort at the southeast corner of the walled city.

They meet the Naerissa, the elven ambassador, who hosts them at the elven embassy.

After a day of rest, the party decides to stock up on potions and weapons. They visit a Tymoran Temple to find scrolls and potions, and they visit Corbit’s Store in search of weapons and armor.

Elan disappears to handle some secretive business. Meanwhile, Orsik and Janya head to the bar to throw a few back. They are met by Calydor. He congratulates them on the mission, and says that the elves want to hear about it. He says the the magic that was used to transport the prisoners was “primo stuff.”

Elan returns, and Calydor asks the team if they “like to party,” with a wink, to which Orsik scoffs. Calydor promptly leads them to a brothel. He encourages them to enjoy themselves. Orsik indulges, while Elan and Janya have a few drinks at the bar and talk a bit about their personal histories (mostly Janya does this). After some hours, Orsik emerges with a look of combined regret and satisfaction.

Heading back to the embassy, the party is intercepted by Naerissa, who was probably paying or faux sleeping or something. She kindly offers to push back their meeting with the ewar wizards regarding their findings at Traitor’s Island.

In the “morning,” the party meets up with Naerissa, who is eager to learn of their experiences on TI. She expresses some disdain at Caldwell’s escape, but reassures the team “not to worry,” because she will make sure he gets what is coming to him.

The party de-weaponizes before meeting the war wizard council, led by Rhys. Rhys says that the portal used the shadow weave, and that its terminus was the Ice Rim Mountains.

“They” offered the prisoners wealth to fo on a mission, showing them chests of gold and gems.

But why? Why go through all of this trouble to build a base on a prisoner island when they could find easier targets elsewhere?

The team finds out that the cave where the portal was hosted had always existed. It was on the earliest surveyor drawings, but it appeared that its location had been erased in more modern drawings. They deduce that there must be someone in the city who is working with “them.”

So the party’s options are:

  1. Go to the Ice Rim mountains to find the terminus of the portal.
  2. Go through the portal.
  3. Try to smoke out the mole in Suzail

While Jayna longs to be in the cold mountains, majority rules to stay in the city and seek trouble in the civilized way.

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A trick is what a dog does for biscuits.

The party attempts to penetrate the Grunt’s camp using Eton’s nationality. It works so-so. They get by the guards, but Patrick expresses great resentment about the Sembian government’s lack of effort to extract him and others from the prison.
Having been rebuffed by Patrick, the group approach one of his higher-ups, a combat leader. Janya tries to insert herself into the combat training, showing her martial prowess, but this only irritates the drill sergeant. The leave the camp with many angry eyes on their backs.
Then, Eton has a stroke of genius: using a minor illusion and a major image, he creates the illusion of one of the lost inmates. The illusory inmate yells toward Patrick’s camp, “I know what you did!” and then turns and runs away.
The party tails Patrick and ends up at the main tower for the Innocence. After one failure, the team manages to plant one of the three “bugs” that were given to them by Calydor on Caldwell. They hear Caldwell enter a room, and recognize the voices of the camp leaders, whom they witnessed entering the tower as well. Patrick tells them that “one of them has returned.” The leaders discuss a mysterious “them.” Patrick describes the events to them and is met with incredulity.

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Welcome to Traitor's Island

The party meets with Lord Calydor, who asks them to go undercover into a prison island called Traitor’s Island. The penal island is mostly autonomous: Cormyrian guards drop off supplies, keep a headcount, and extract children from willing parents, but there are no full-time guards within the walls of the prison. Instead the island is largely governed by four clans:

The Grunts: A group of mostly Sembian POWs. Led by Patrick Fourfingers, a Sembian captain with the eyes of a Siberian husky and a solid reputation.
Island Devils: A group of scoundrels and murderers. They are led by the tiefling Aylen Coinpurse.
The Tribe: A “middle of the road” clan. Led by a beautiful druid named Maiden Kayla, a freedom fighter for her people.
The Innocence: A perverse and psychotic group of convicts. Led by Caldwell, imprisoned for slave trading.

Killing the Innocence will build your respect with the Tribe. Killing the Tribe will build your respect with the Island Devils. Killing the Island Devils will build your respect with the Zaibatsu, but come on, everyone hates the Zaibatsu.

The minimum Island sentence is 15 years. Weapons and armor are illegal on the island, and casters wear weave shackles.

Lord Caldyhor has noticed that the headcount of the inmates has been steadily decreasing. They have sent in undercover agents to investigate, but all previous agents have ended their missions with their memories wiped. Fearing that whoever is wiping their memories might also be reading their minds, the crown has contacted our misfit group because they lack (sensitive) information.

Lord Calydor gives each person on the team a dark lantern ring.

The team are assured that the ring cannot be removed, and Mido immediately regrets his placement of the ring.

The team store their belongings, dropping all of their armor and items. The party’s casters don faux weave shackles. Lord Calydor tells them that their belongings will be stored in an extra dimensional pocket on the island, but that obviously they should avoid using magic or items as it would reveal them as agents. They then split up, so they are not associated, and depart in separate wagons for the island.

On the journey into the island, Mido introduces himself with overly-friendly small-talk and some indecent exposure. The group are dropped off with equipment and supplies, and Mido decides to take some of the supplies and duck into the crowd. A member of The Tribe removes the box from Mido’s possession just as Aylen Coinpurse to arrives. Aylen assumes that the Tribe-member has stolen it, and after some discussion with Kayla about Rules and Order, he takes the member into his possession.

The party seeks refuge with the Tribe. They accept them, but warn Mido of the tenuousness of his status. The next day Mido and Orsik attempt to speak with Captain Patrick, but roll very poorly.

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Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.

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