Erstril

Caravan escort from Lilsalin to Rala
Excerpt from the journal of Darius, cleric of Desztus.

The group decided to wait for the island to move its way back near Lilsalin, where we would sail a boat to the island. We would use the island’s speed to reach our destination at the old kingdom held by the Gnomes (Awnira).

In the meantime we have chosen to take a job as a caravan escort for a spice merchant and his son to Rala. The merchant had some culinary skill, serving a ‘bracing’ curry which impressed Lydia to the disfavour of Althea.

We were attacked by Ghouls on the first night. This prompted an investigation into the Ghouls at a nearby lake yielded:

  • interesting tome of cultist origin
  • scrolls logging the members of the crew.

It seemed that the root of the problem was an amulet that was wielded by a sorceress, but fell to her ambitions. This cost the lives of her and the crew. The crew contained a variety of different peoples, but mainly consisted of mountain dwarves. I deemed the amulet too dangerous to exist in its current state and destroyed it.

The path should be safer to future travellers now.

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On the fourth day, there were Gnolls
Excerpt from the journal of Darius, cleric of Desztus.

This job has been much more eventful than expected.

We encountered Gnolls who had ambushed a patrol just an hour outside Rala. One had already died before we intervened, and another during the fighting. The patrol explained to us that the Gnolls were starting to get very close to the town lately, which made the ambush that much more effective. We were able to help with the patrol’s injuries before entering Rala.

We completed our job in escorting the spice merchant and his son to Rala, and arrangements were made for another job at the local temple. However, there is still the problem of the Gnolls almost reaching the grounds of Rala. We will need to investigate their rise in courage.

P.S. Althea does not seem to enjoy being referred to as ‘wizard.’ Might need to find other alternatives (witch? wizardress? she-wizard?)

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"Fresh" Sea Food

Its been 4 days on the road with Gnoll ambushes and ghoul swamps isn’t quite enough for Lydia who has secured us a bounty if we deal with the Gnoll Infestation.

Word is that a lone Human survivor of another caravan may have some insight, i rather doubt this when we find him drinking heavily at the Thunder Lizard’s Nest in the middle of the afternoon. Darius strikes up a conversation and offers aid in recovering his lost property. They may have been a ‘discussion’ about stone doors.

Plans are made, dinner is consumed and sleep is attempt.

In the interest of time, vomiting, tracking, hole, enter, Gnolls, Spider eggs, Giant Spiders, lots of fire, Gnolls, Loot. Oh yes and sleep spells.

Some items found of note:

Orcish Idol of the goddess of war/death/bad things.

Pearl of Power Uncommon wondrous item This pearl comes in many colors but is average in size and luster. When grasped, it feels warm to the touch. After the pearl’s magic is discharged, it feels like any other pearl. Property: Once per day, as an action, you can speak the pearl’s command word to regain one expended spell slot of up to 3rd level.

Slippers of Spider Climbing Uncommon wondrous item Woven from spider silk, these soft slippers fit snugly and comfortably. The wearer quickly notices that the soles of the slippers adhere slightly to surfaces that aren’t slippery. Property: While you wear these slippers, you can move up, down, or across vertical surfaces or even upside down along ceilings while leaving your hands free. You move in this way at your normal speed and without needing to make a Strength (Athletics) check. The slippers are not useful on very slippery surfaces, including those that are icy, oiled, or greased.

Glamoured Studded Leather Uncommon magic armor (studded leather) This armor resembles normal studded leather, but the metallic studs that cover its surface are etched with fine lines that trace complex patterns. Crafted in conjunction with skilled illusionists, this armor is ideal for a spy or assassin who wants to blend into a crowd. Because of the origin of this armor, some cities where intrigue is the norm have passed laws outlawing glamoured armor—although the armor’s nature makes such laws difficult to enforce. Property: You gain a +1 bonus to AC while you wear this armor. As an action, while wearing the armor, you can speak the armor’s command word to change the armor’s appearance. The armor assumes the appearance of a normal set of clothing or some other kind of armor. You decide what it looks like, including color, style, and accessories. The armor retains its normal bulk and weight, however. The illusionary appearance lasts until you speak the command word again to change its appearance.

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Success is haggling down two silvers

Rala

  • With the gnolls defeated the bounty was collected and business in Rala was finished.
  • Althea and Lydia went their separate ways.
  • Althea went to look for old libraries.
  • Lydia for muscle and the chance to kill things along the way.
  • Escorted a gnomish shoe traders who was carrying various hides to the the Capital to be crafted into shoes of the latest styles.
  • Due to previous events in the area four days’ travel went without a hitch.

Back from Rala and in the Capital

  • Met Kelker for supplies and potentially magic items.
  • Saw non-combat staff that could provide detection of nearby enemies. Didn’t buy.
  • Brought retracting metal quarterstaff for Caelano that has runes that enable understanding of Gnomish.
  • ‘Successfully’ haggled for price.
  • Brought four potions of healing. Current total: 6

Used ship to get to island. Set up camp at boat.

Visited dungeon in island with seal.

  • Used topaz pyramid in Awnira slot instead of Lilsalin. Nothing happened.
  • No reliefs/glyphs/markings to indicate what evil is sealed within.
  • Advanced magic and mechanics used.
  • Mix of architecture and technologies of various kingdoms (mechanics of gnomes, dwaven architecture, advanced magic of Icarrii, etc.

Other notes

  • Current map is very outdated. May need to be updated.
  • Caelano read the ‘Independence of Nhethemar’
  • Three days of travel spent on island without incident
  • Goblins came across the island. Found out it travelled around, and used this knowledge to raid ships, take them over and travel to the island. There the ships were looted and picked clean.

Reminders:

  • Get/buy Bag of Holding (might come in handy)
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Meet Sledge
and his black and white cat

The party disembarked from the island near Awnira and set out through the forest towards the city.

While camped out the first night Horven heard sounds of arguing that lead us to a group of hobgoblins camped nearby. They had a prisoner in a cage and a gnome leg cooking on a spit. The ensuing fight was dark, confusing and full of fire. Two hobgoblins escaped.

The prisoner, who had busted out of the cage during the fight, turned out to be an intimidating, purple eyed and grammatically challenged warforged blacksmith named Sledge. His group had been ambushed by the hobgoblins and he and his cat Tin Foil were the only survivors.

Caelano critically searched the dead gnomes’ luggage then everyone headed back to camp. Since Sledge knew the area and had no other plans he offered to lead the party to Awnira in the morning.

Once at the City of Awnira the group split up. Darius, Sledge and Tin Foil went to see the elders of the Church of Deztus to ask about getting an audience with the Queen to ask her about the pyramid gem. He was told that even if he got an audience she was unlikely to share that information.

Caelano started networking/drinking with/palm greasing local sages and historians in an attempt to find someone with access to the secret royal library that might have more information on the gnomish gem. He wasn’t very good at it.

Horven went picking pockets and made a small fortune. It’s not how many pockets you pick, it’s whose pockets.

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Cocodiles can sneak attack too!

Shortly after their arrival at Awnira, Caelano and Horven respectively summoned their familiars, Otto the Owl and Sigmund.

After a day of exploring the City of Awnira the group gained access to the royal library with help from the Order of Dezstus, under the guise of recording the history of the royal gnomish family.
Darius, Caelano, and Horven decided to enter the library while Sledge found work with blacksmithing and leather working. Most of the day was spent searching around the library for clues about the pyramid that belonged to the gnomish kingdom of old. The following details were found:

  • Library has three storeys
  • The librarians had good taste in liquor, but were surprised about the possibility of sub-levels
  • Most records only date back approx. 1800 years
  • Interior of the library had been burnt down and rebuilt.
  • There are A LOT of enchantments in the building, but no trapdoors found.
  • Blueprints of the sewer system, particularly in the nearby area, but not of the library itself.

Given the attention the group was starting to attract a plan was made to use the sewer system to find a way into the sub-levels. Since there were many guards during the day the group decided to enter at night.

Sledge had finished work and met the rest of the group before entering underground. Dark, wet and full of excrement the group was attacked by swarms of rats, and a single crocodile. It took a while but the group emerged victorious and continued to their destination – a particular section of wall. Using hammers Sledge and Darius managed to break the wall and found a dark room that was used to restore books.

The group prepares themselves for what may be lurking in an area long forgotten…

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It's automat-A, not automat-ON

This week the group found themselves in a room that was devoted to book restoration, and were met with a door that had signs of rot. The room was checked for loot. Cautiously the door was opened, opening into a room filled with shelves full of books, and a wooden floor lined with carpet. Lighting a few of the sconces a ticking was heard, with its source being a rusted automaton with a crossbow in its chest. A fallen familiar, a broken crossbow string, a few javelins, spears and torches later it was Sledge’s shield wall that proved to be the trick to retire the old guard.

A search of the shelves were met with little success, so the group decided to continue through the door at the far end of the room, still standing at 25 feet tall. Slightly opening the door the group heard what appeared to be a male gnomish mage, a female elven ranger, a female gnome rogue and a human male fighter rappelling down, talking then leaving out of vision. Darius tried to spook the other group with no avail before deducing that it was an illusion due to a lack of fading steps. At the far end of the room the group found a 3-foot deep crevice with a clockwork-like wind-up mechanism above it. Deducing it was the place that the automaton was held before patrol, the group continued down a flight of stairs armed with their new knowledge.

Due to Horven possessing darkvision he scouted ahead to find another automaton, ticking yet parked inside its crevice, at the end of the flight of stairs. Remembering their success with the shield wall it was employed again with the same success. The main difference this automaton had was a pair of arm-mounted blades. Seeing the potential to sell it for reverse-engineering in Awnira the blades, along with the arms were removed. After checking the tables nearby the group continued onward.

Around the corner the other fighter and the mage appeared again, dressed in dark blue robes with symbolism similar to the librarians above ground, but in different styles. One was worried about the robes, and was reassured by their ally that the gnome was sure that they wouldn’t be attacked as it won’t attack scholars. They opened a door and travelled through it. Then, the next time the adventurers blinked or averted their gaze from the door, the door they just saw opened appeared closed and locked.

After the watching the illusions walk through the door the group noticed the numerous books strewn across the floor with three bookshelves leaning against the wall. Investigating the area around the bookshelves a door was found. Knowing there was danger behind the previous door the group decided to move the bookshelves aside and open it. Not checking for traps changed everything as an alarm went off and a couple of members started to hear ticking.

The party was quickly rushed into action:

  • Caelano opened the door, setting off the alarm again and closed the door behind him.
  • Sledge and Darius started to barricade the other door.
  • Horven started to look into disarming the trap on the door

The room that Caelano searched through contained a variety of valuable books, deducing that the room was meant to have restricted access. Books would have been taken out only be read in the next room before returning back to the shelf. He rifled through the books, taking as many as he could.

Outside something started to hit the door at the other end of the barricade, trying to get through. Ball bearings and caltrops were set below the barricade. Soon blades ripped through the top of the door as an opening appeared. Seeing the urgency spears and javelins and the occasional spell starting flying through the hole trying to weaken what was coming through.

Caelano and Horven both found the trap on each side of the other door and it was disarmed then opened. Daggers were soon being thrown at the hole in the door.

Soon the two automata burst through, unhindered by the ball bearings and caltrops. A fight ensued and gouts of fire were involved, turning the trampled bookshelves into small embers. Teamwork made the fight brief and with little incident. Once the fight ended the embers were put out and the room full of books were taken with no rush.

The group decided to have a rest before they continue onward.

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being gnome is weird

(Account of the continued adventure in the ruined Awnira Royal Library, as told by Sledge.)

after short rest. group head downstairs, feel weird. friends look like human fighter, gnome mage and elf ranger. look down at self, see top of head and also from odd… big word… perspective.
Caelano Jassan suggest we go back up see if odd stop. it don’t. we in hall with 2 doors, we see and a T at end.
Sledge open door. but no see hammer, bang it on wall make noise, hammer there… but can’t see. Horven Torgaxe almost put foot in hole that wasn’t there. tricky gnomes. all in room is more books.
Caelano Jassan cast detect magic looking for… gnome magic make things look funny… big word… enchantment
Caelano Jassan and Horven Torgaxe go to next door looking for holes and find. Caelano Jassan uses staff to find size. we go around hole.
In room small bone man… big word… skeleton. in blueish broken cloth. had pretty belt buckle.
Caelano Jassan points at me. i look like me…. no more weird look down. can see hammer.
At T to right short passage, door. to left long passage and right turn. noise behind door.
Horven Torgaxe go to look around corner. long passage , door in middle right and right turn.
See three people but not there people talking again. something. about one shouldn’t have died and other said wouldn’t have if been more careful.
Argure about going in door. Horven Torgaxe can’t unlock, lock on other side. I want to go others, worry about spiders. I win, smash door. They right.
I cover in web. Horven Torgaxe put on spider silk shoes. walk on roof past. I try break web and others try cut web. I hit with hammer Caelano Jassan and Brother Darius throw spells. Horven Torgaxe fight on roof.
Others hear clanking and see automata in hall. It see them no shoot. comes closer as we bash spider. get to door see last spider. shot spider. I hammer, last spider dead. bash automata it stop.
in room round corner find more web and bigger skeleton nice bow and quiver. out of room Brother Darius normal.
Down hall find stair. another vision fighter angry at mage say you no care. mage say I come to far you not stop me and magic at the fighter. we find headless skeleton…. no weapon.
go down.
lots of books. Caelano Jassan drool.
see opening far end of room, go careful.see gnome mages. try fight them. they poof. and come back. tricky gnomes.
Try to keep gnomes in view and work on hitting them.
gnome approaches
colour spray. only Caelano Jassancan see
I swing hammer. they here somewhere
Caelano Jassan fire ball ends gnome. BOOM. we find loot. focus gems. books.
Caelano Jassan look happy

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The Black Opal Pyramid
Library whole library.

The party returned to the Spare Cog with a haul of ancient books and loot from beneath the Royal Library.

While everyone else worked their day jobs (and Horven was nearly arrested for it) Caelano scoured the books for information relevant to the quest and discovered that long ago the Gnomish Queen had disappeared on a mysterious week long trip shortly after returning from Adendali and returned with a black opal pyramid. The pyramid remained a symbol of office for some time after.

The group needed a plan for getting access to Queen Dalya to ask about the opal and for getting rid of the pile of books they’d taken from the old library. That plan was (eventually) to present the books to the Queen as recovered treasures. To get some legitimacy the group made a deal with Zonkern, a high-ranking member of the Merchant’s Guild to “donate” a first edition Book of Evolo in exchange for arranging the meeting. He also required the endorsement of the Church of Deszstus and a deposit.

The meeting with Queen Dalya went surprisingly well. While Sledge unloaded books from the bag of holding Brother Darius and Caelano explained the quest and requested the black opal pyramid to reseal the prison on the island. Dalya agreed to loan it to the group for 300gp per 10 days, which would be handled by the Church of Deszstus. The group decided to leave the opal for now and pick it up when it’s needed.

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Trolls and the Little Fire Mage

Back at the Spare Cog a elven bard is playing a ballad that talks of a Great battle and a turning point in the relationship of the Gnomes and Elves. Caelano Jassan believes the tune is similar if not the same to the notes Bow makes when shot. He proceeds to try and jam with the bard. Intrigued the bard comes over and invites us to visit the site of the battle in search of knowledge and treasure.

As we make camp the second night Hadarai (the bard) is disturbed while foraging by the sounds of large footsteps. Hadarai is not very stealthy and leads the beast right to us. Sledge insists on talking with the troll first finding out it has found dinner. Caelano Jassan loses fire attacks each round damaging the troll significantly, the troll surrenders and promises to leave us alone. I (Horven) lets the troll go wearily. The next morning we hear two more trolls looking around the battle site, they just wanted to meet the little fire mage that handily spanked their friend and shake his hand.

We continue to the ancient battle site and find a tree with a magical door, Hadarai rushes headlong down the portal, and the rest of the party quickly follow.

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