Lost Souls

In Which There are Bullet Points and ALL CAPS.

(These are my notes for our final two sessions! They haven’t been edited or prettied up at all, and they’re quite a bit more detailed than what usually goes into the written logs. Kinda goes without saying, but this is going to get pretty long.)

05/20:

- PREVIOUSLY, ON LOST (SOULS): had stepped into the Shadowfell and started exploring, fighting some weird undead thingies
- Riia tells us to keep moving now that we’ve attracted the attention of the entire cavern.
- We head off into the trench, the darkness closing in around us. Shadows seem to be moving all around us. Roswyn stays in the middle of the group.
- Carkal got his chunk of crystal at least. :|
- We are depending on Riia for navigation since the darklight only casts a small round of light around us.
- We descend some stairs that rickety, and then TRAVEL MONTAGE: tunnels and caverns and caves, not much to distinguish them. Start losing sense of time. Roswyn starts singing mentally…
- Travel broken up by periods of larger caverns that make us feel incredibly alone. We NEVER feel very safe…senses already playing tricks on us…
- AND THEN SOMETHING ACTUALLY LEAPS OUT AT US WHUPS. Shadow hounds. 
- FISTICUFFS
- At some point we grow weary through we still can’t tell how much time has passed. We get stalked by another pack of hounds, which we fight them off. We don’t necessarily sleep well…We press on!
- Pass two caverns of minor interest but can’t make out details…
- The journey begins to wear on us…two or three more ‘days’ pass, blurring together and it seems that we keep running into hungry beasts. Eventually the stifling darkness + constant battles start to wear us down. Each of us loses 8 points worth of something.
- We are shocked when we finally stumble onto a cavern full of light. Large but low cavern full of silvery quartz that reflect the light in the cavern and make it brighter. The light is a dull red light being given off by flames. Grazing among the fungi, we make out a herd of black firey horses. Nightmares. Also, bones. Also a group of three giants so tall they’re heads brush the ceilings. With axes carved with skulls and bones, trapped souls around them that are writhing in agony.
- There are large crystals around the cavern draw light towards themselves that draw us towards us, but we don’t know what they do.
- They hear us approaching…thanks Ozymandias. The Nightmares perk up and the giants stomp towards us, brandishing an axe.
- Various obsidian gems on the giants’ armor, within which circles some kind of life force. One has a bunch of souls that pull free to swirl around the first giant’s weapons…they get used in attacks…
- Carkal pulls out a sunglobe, which causes the entire cavern to light up with brilliant reflected light
- FISTICUFFS
- Nightmares not bothered by sunglobe, but the giants are.
- As they come in for the attack, we realize that Ozymandias can speak Giant! Finds out what they’re doing whoops
- Riia ricochets a thunder spell off a crystal at one point aw yeah :3c
- Battle over, we attempt to tame one of the remaining Nightmares. Ozymandias decides to try and ride it due to immunity to fire damage…taking off his armor first. After about five laps, Ozymandias is enough in control of the thing that though it still struggles a bit, it’s basically Ozymandias’
- We feed it soul gems…now it belongs to Carkal…
- We all tame Nightmares to ride…except Roswyn, who just doubles with Perra.
- With mounts we can make much better time through the Shadowfell; the Nightmares run fast. B)
- The Nightmares don’t care about the dark and they GALLOP LIKE STEEDS OUT OF HELL, we can’t even tell what all we’re passing but the Nightmares don’t give a fuck.
- We have to duck low outcroppings as they rush out of the darkness, eventually we just start keeping low. After a few hours of riding we’ve passed innumerable miles, and eventually we get sore from clinging to their backs that we have to rest.
- After fighting off a few more shadow creatures we remount and ride for another solid day. We’re attacked a few times, included some who drop from the sky. Some teleport into our path and try to attack the Nightmares, we have to fight them off because they keep teleporting.
- We get worn down a bit anyway…we finally burst out into a massive cavern, one that Riia recognizes. We’re getting close!
- Cavern nearly two miles long, one mile wide, one narrow winding path along one side of it. VERY TALL. We have to leap over chasms a few times where the bridges have collapsed. The path winds in and out of alcove and ledge, looking over a great, perfectly still sea. Riia knows that in the normal Underdark, the lake is something of a landmark, the largest cavern known and the lake is supposed to be inhabited by an ancient creature that is huge beyond reckoning. Carkal runs across the surface of the water using his boots, Riia takes his other pair of water-walking boots. The rest of us take the high road…
- A short way out, Riia also notices something clinging to the ceiling and swirling; souls and specters that have died within the cavern. There are hundreds.
- As we make our way along the road, a few of the specters break free and descend towards us on the road…
- Roswyn brings out the sunglobe. A brilliant light emerges around us. EIGHTY MORE SOULS FLY TOWARDS US.
- Whups. Put the sunglobe away.
- Roswyn uses Prestidigitation and Ghost Sound to try and mask our presence, light blend into dark and muffle the sound of our hooves.
- We speed, driving the Nightmares even faster as we wind our way along the narrow path, trying to guide them along the right path.
- Perra makes it! At times only clinging to his Nightmare by his arms. Roswyn, in turn, is clinging to him.
- The spirits catch up to his as Perra manages to burst ahead from Ozymandias and Edward. We’re almost there!!
- And then the water begins to froth under Carkal and Riia. The frothing quickly spreads…a tentacle whips out against Carkal.
- Riia had told Carkal there was a mystical treasure in the lake…they head out wayyyy into the middle, the opposite side of the cavern.
- WE ARE PURSUED! WE MUST GET TO SAFETY! PURSUED BY THE JEALOUS DEAAAAAD.
- Perra and Roswyn turn back to help Edward and Ozymandias. The spirits radiate cold…
- FISTICUFFS IN TWO PLACES
- Ozymandias decides to make an EPIC LAST STAND, telling the rest of us to run
- PERRA AND ROSWYN EPICALLY LEAP ACROSS THE GAP, POPPING DAILIES AND SUCH >)
- At one point the horse rears and almost throws Perra, but Roswyn saves him as he falls past her (holding on to the tail), using her wings. He gets flown back up onto the horse, catching Roswyn on the way back up and hanging her back on the horse. They take off into a little tunnel! Ozymandias follows.
- While Roswyn/Perra/Edward/Ozymandias desperately race for their life, Carkal and Riia make it to safety in a cavern and wander around looking for the treasure, fending off a few beast encounters as they do. Wander through tunnels shaped long ago, being to realize a pattern to the canals they’re crossing—old bridge endposts…as they explore they pick up a pattern to the tunnels themselves, something repetitive. Eventually realize they’re at an ancient site of the frog people, Koatoa. And don’t find anything of interest…(it’s all underwater).
- Riia and Carkal return to the material plane. Find themselves in a grand architecture marvel full of buildings all facing towards a central shrine instead of the ruins of a long-dead civilization. Everything is covered in a thin layer of dust, ornamentation is of bones. Carkal uses last sight vision on corpse and finds it to be that of a slave who is sacrificed by a Koatoa priest in an elaborate ritual.
- They start looting the place. Find a bunch of relics.
- They spend a few days trekking around the dungeon while we camp out in the real world, waiting for them to finish.
- Once Carkal and Riia are ready, Roswyn creates a teleportation circle in the material plane for Carkal and Riia to come over and join us. Yayyyy.
- They pass out some relics to the rest of us.
- Anyway, Riia recognizes our location as near some trade routes to the drow city we’re aiming for.
- We head back to the Shadowfell and fend off stuff as we make our way to the city.
- Two days in we arrive at caverns familiar to Riia, barely recognizable as twisted versions of themselves; landmarks are shifted around or collapsed. As we approach the city the attacks become more frequent and we eventually come across a cavern filled with denizens of the Shadowfell. Gnomelike creatures in capes and sharp teeth. We know we have to go through them to get to the cavern that we need, though they’re gathering. Riia strides forward…Heavily armed deep gnomes. :|


05/27:

NO DEEP GNOMES
WE ARE BACK TO THE POINT WHERE RIIA RECOGNIZES THAT WE’RE NEAR SOME TRADE ROUTES
THAT LEAD TO THE CITY THAT WE WANT

- We know that there’re a decent number of trade posts along the route, plus traders outside discussing business (of dubious legality)
- The city we want is just a little ways ahead
- We continue on through the Shadowfell, passing by the long-crumbled ruins of an outpost
- After half an hour of twists and turns we walk up a steep, broken flight of stairs and end up on a ledge that overlooks the long axis of the cavern
- Towards the edge of the ledge we know there to be a few buildings, they are collapsed in the real world. As we advance through the ruins Riia spots something approaching us…a large thing…lifting its head up it turns in our general direction and seems to be sniffing the air before pushing itself higher, making its way towards us, still sniffing. It’s about 12 feet tall, general shape is that of a large head, hunched back, and numerous legs that reach out around it. Spindly legs that seems to recombine and shift. We have enough time to take up positions as it gets to us. But as it gets to us, Riia spots another one that starts making its way towards us as the first one makes it.
- Composed of black energy, look like void when looked at, featureless heads that sweep back and forth as they make sniffing noises. Don’t look like they can sense. One hunches over, hiding, the other one stands up and merges its legs into four thick legs, spindly tendrils reaching out before it.
- FISTICUFFS
- We only see five squares except for Riia…
- Carkal’s Nightmare ends up spooking and racing away into the darkness.
- We make out the crumbled site of the great drow trading city we’re heading for at the bottom of the cavern. At the far side we see a huge underground lake/sea that allows for trading connections with aquatic races.
- We see a few huge markets where trading takes place. At the other side of the city is a huge domed temple to Lolth that’s mostly intact, even in the Shadowfell. The staircase leading up to it is covered in skeletons. The noble households are scattered at the far end of the cavern, around the great black lake. Riia can make out the Elendar household, which oddly enough seems to be the best-preserved building in the Shadowfell. In a lesser state of decay…
- The house itself is a large, slightly elongated spherical tower, suspended above the tower on three huge structural bridges of steel darting to the cliff around it, to the shore, and out into the lake, where it merges with a crumbled dock. Roaming the bridges and hovering in the air around the household is a whole herd of the creatures we just fought. However, we notice a slight disturbance in the air around the house itself; occasionally one of the creatures will drift towards the house, the disturbance flares up, the things recoil. No visible guards other than the shadowy things.
- Is fighting through a herd of these things is better than fighting through the drow’s guards and traps and such? There’re about a dozen of them…And what to do with the Nightmares…
- We argue for a while…
- Carkal ends are argument with his plan: we create a shadow bridge and ride out of the Shadowfell into the tower astride our flaming horses. Enough of the party agrees that we…agree…
- As we approach the tower the creatures pick up our scent(?) and start drifting in towards us…
- We ride out onto a stone promenade that defines the edge of the lake shore, and we see that there’s a central tower upon a circular walkway that connects to the bridges out, there are few windows which are (in the material world) warded against trespass. Carkal starts…casting the ritual to create a bridge…the rest of us stand ready to fend off the shadow creatures.
- As he readies to prepare the bridge he decides to cast a portal into the tower instead! Darting across the promenade, he shouts for us to follow. We do, as the creatures follow. He flings up the gate and we gallop through, the gate snapping shut just as the creatures converge on our location. They mill about confusedly for a bit, before re-picking up our scent and drifting towards us. We are now on the walkway around the tower.
- There is a main entrance nearby, with a large steel gate. Seems like the entire tower is wrought out of black metal. The main gates seem to be as stout in the Shadowfell as they are in the real world.
- Perra stuns himself smashing into the door as he tries to charge through…
- As he attempts to force his way through, Riia remembers that the back way into the tower might be accessible from the Shadowfell…
- We race around looking for it as the creatures race towards us. Examining the place, there are certain differences: like there are certain differences where the building had been “redrawn” in the Shadowfell. The first entrance is missing, but the second one is further up the wall and so we teleport. We make it up to one of the tower’s ledges, and none of the wards Riia knows seem to activate.
- We find ourselves in a room that is less upkept than the building’s façade. Carkal casts Hand of Fate, looking for the largest concentration of treasure in the real world. Riia recognizes the furnishings as probably being one of the rooms of a lesser daughter or perhaps a son. (ONE OF HER COUSINS!?)
- We follow Carkal upwards, backed up by Riia’s notes. She tells us the tower’s layout. Stairs spiral up the center of the tower. We follow it up.
- The stairs are sans railing and a long way down. We wind/teleport it up. We up on a ledge that looks down to the ground below, there is a small room beyond with doors that lead to the Matron’s quarters. The doors are covered in an ornate spiderweb pattern.
- After confirming that these are the doors we want to pass through, Perra dismounts and kicks it open after a few tries. It opens into a room of nothing.
- Riia recognizes the place!
- We’re in an ornately decorated room with several abutting rooms, a huge iron throne across from us. We close the door that Perra broke. Riia positions herself and tells us to get rid of the Nightmares. We ask how Riia knows where everything is…she says she worked there…Edward then asks how…she says not a friendly capacity.
- We argue where to drop out of the Shadowfell. Carkal is in charge of the ritual so we have no choice but to follow him. He goes into the Matron’s private quarters, having Perra kick in the door…Carkal has his horse try to kick the door in…it’s bent but not open. The horse succeeds where Perra has failed.
- The Matron’s room has a central pillar, with web vaulting covering the ceiling towards the wall piers. Edward communes with his mount…
- The room is filled with once-ornate finery and furniture, covered in dust and bleached white from age. Hideous-looking statues along one side, one bearing a great blade. The rest of them bearing cracks and falling apart. There’s one huge window—in the material plane it’s warded against passage. Carkal smashes the statue with a blade by throwing the silent sledgehammer at it.
- Riia is very edgy by now. Carkal…continues smashing statues…
- Anyway we position ourselves inside the room. Edward and Carkal are still on horses. The rest of us are not.
- Edward can maneuver his horse much more effectively after communing, but in return it communicates its bad mood.
- WE REAPPEAR IN THE MATERIAL PLANE. The horses appear with us. Roswyn is on a table.
- As the shadows find we find ourselves slightly disoriented in the same room, it’s much more richly adorned than it was before. Standing just in front of Riia, examining a shelf full of things while holding a vial of something, is a drow she recognizes very well. It is the Matron Mother of the Elendar, wearing a blackened mithril hauberk over her dress. Light armor…she’s wearing weapons at her side. The center pillar is actually made of crystal that glows with faint red light, illuminating the room in deep red. A curtain of shimmering iridescence separates the room at one part, illuminating much of the finery. The crystal window has an ornate stained glass abstract pattern. Perra finds himself standing in the midst of finely carved but grotesque statue. A few other miscellaneous decorations…including a four poster bed with deep, deep red curtains. The whole room drips with wealth.
- At the sound of our arrival, the drow spins on her heel, takes in the scene, and a wry smile cracks her lips. “I’ve been looking for you, Riia.”
- Undercommon conversation between her and Riia…
- Carkal get impatient and introduces himself with an attack.
- FISTICUFFS.
- ALSO SHE STARTS USING THE ROOM AGAINST US FFFFF. Summoning shadow creatures from objects.
- At one point Edward runs a wall of fire through the room…
- Also the golems came to life. Before the wall of fire.
- Roswyn gets smashed into a column, but she action pointed so she teleported away, while invisible. Edward cried out in despair, believing her to be vanished, until Perra informs him that he can still sense Roswyn over the amulet connection.
- Riia crit fails and everyone gets pushed one square away oh noes.
- The drow who joined the battle finally asks to parlay. Roswyn translates for the party.
- He refuses to toss his weapons into the Hunger of Hadar at Carkal’s request, and Riia interrupts Ozymandias mid-speech, asking if the drow knows who she is.
- HISTORY HAPPENS IN UNDERCOMMON :D
- And then Riia attempts to throw lightning daggers into his face, he dodges and waves blades menacingly.
- He tries to persuade us that he’ll be of use as a voice for us…
- We don’t trust him. Kill him and take his soul. As that happens Riia conducts a thorough search…
- Edward spots reinforcements coming as we finish looting. DROW AND DEVILS.
- We question the soul:
- The Matron, Savafey (?) replies that the Elendar has been working for Damokos to transport souls collected from the surface…Perra deduces that she is not a proper servant of Damokos as she still has her soul. She describes a pit in the Shadowfell where all the souls are taken, Damokos collecting them. It is guarded by soul reavers, the things we fought earlier.
- Bel’Turath, the capital of the old tiefling empire, is where Damokos is hiding.
- The Elendar have been working for Damokos for…well over a century. Surprise!
- We decide to blow up the bridges and collapse the tower, though it takes some work to convince Riia to come with us…we tempt her with treasure, despite her not wanting to work with stupid, naïve surfacers.
- We’ve taken so long that the reinforcements are at our door—!
- Edward starts casting the teleportation ritual back to Amarak while the rest of us prepare to fend off the attackers. Roswyn helps casting, tag teaming.
- Perra anvil-traps the door. Carkal flies out the window to set the charges on the bridges.
- Perra, Ozymandias, and Riia left to HOLD THE LINE.
- FISTICUFFS
- Just as Ozymandias falls, the portal flares to life! Roswyn quickly heals him, just as Carkal BURSTS IN THROUGH THE WINDOW, CHARGES SET!
- And then he gets dominated. THEN IT IS A RACE TO GET US ALL THROUGH THE PORTAL AHHHH
- WE MAKE IT ALL SAFELY! THOUGH AT THE ELEVENTH HOUR EDWARD WAS IMMOBILIZED OH NOES
- We’re back in Amarak!
- We note that though Perra did what he could to restrain Carkal (not much), he did manage to knock Carkal’s pack loose, which remains in Amarak. Carkal, alas, lunged through the portal and freed himself.

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