Session One Summary (Graveyard of Empires: After the Fall)
Session 1, July 1 2020
As the space station XenoTel2 plummets toward the atmosphere, the party shadow steps down to Meidia on their quest to close the portal linking their world to Hell and defeat the devils raining down on their homeworld ...
1st of Tenrilden (October) at 12:00 pm noon. 1 year and 12 hours since the beginning of Graveyards of Empires
Clear Day, c. 80 degrees/27 C, in rough terrain near Old Greybeard, home of the four matriarchs.
We worked our way to the path up the mountain. We traveled all day and set camp in a gully with a lookout near the top. The DVL in the countdown clock is still there and says he is waiting until we find out about the next apocalypse so he can count down once again.
The next day we continued and finally came to the bottom of the trail and left an offering of food via Vikram.
At the next totem, there was a sphinx resting under a rock outcropping out of the rain. Rallion greeted her, but did not have an offering she liked. Kauri gave her a golden torc and told Kauri that she can't help restore magic to the de-magicked items. the rest of the party was ready for combat, but we avoided a fight.
The next totem we left another food offering from Vikram and then saw the golden shiny eagle on the next totem. The eagle kept one totem ahead of us, and settled on the rock outcropping that is eagle shaped over the cavern entrance where the stream tonight.
Azra was keeping watch and lowered her bow when she recognized us. She was glad we returned. She told Timon we were there, he greeted us. He told us that the village of Montoa was razed and the survivors came here. Not sure if Shem or Hizou did it. Kaliha is the shaman and in charge. Druetta was a Montoan and came with us, but was lost to the undead infection.
Timon introduced us to the deep gnome Braadler and his cave fisher pack animal. Braadler was sent by someone or something he called "Clickthump" to find us. We are not sure what that is. We have welcomed Braadler into our group.
We went to one of the now many repaired buildings to drop off our extra gear and the dwarven make stuff to avoid offending the Matriarchs before going to visit them. Vikram stays behind to watch out stuff.
We go into the maze and have many disagreements about which way to go, and only made it part way in. We left off with a puzzle of a lever that could release death if we don't interpret it correctly.
Session 1 July 1st, 2020
1st of Tenrilden at 12:00 pm noon. 1 year and 12 hours since the beginning of Graveyards of Empires.
The party shadow steps to the southern foothills of Old Greybeard in the vicinity of the cockatrice lair. The survivors, Bavmorda, Kauri, Lambertus, Oxkhar, Peronnel and Rallion find themselves nearer the cavern of the dead than the peaks of Old Greybeard. They are accompanied by Vikram the DVL and the tacit Apocalypse Clock DVL. The day is warm, the air crisp. Above the horizon, gouts of linear flame in the atmosphere herald Media’s newest immigrants. Grimnly reminding the terrestrial natives the latest calamity to fall upon their home. Vikram voices his consent when the party decides to ascend northwesterly. Apparently, he is eager to visit the Matriarchs as much as Rallion and Bavmorda.
The northwest trek to Old Greybeard is uneventful for hours. While everyone scans the terrain for familiar totems, individuals examine their possessions for residual enchantments. All the nano carbon items are depowered, Kauri confirms their DVLs are absent. Those with Drow items are disappointed to discover the adamantine has decohered to a sand like silt that crumbles away when jostled. Moans, groans and expressions of disappointment or resolve are shared among the adventurers. After hours of ascent, an encampment is established in a hidden depression in the foothills.
A watch is manned overnight. Oskar, Laris, Bavmorda and Rallion sentinel the camp. As he sups, Kauri notices the apocalypse clock DVL is still present. When asked, the clock DVL explains he has stayed with the clock for so many eons, he doesn’t know where else he should be. Jovially he volunteers to mark time for an unnamed expectant heretofore unknown apocalypse. In the night sky the Constant Star still sits though the party knows the Crystal Palace is no more. This night, the Constant Star twinkles not, its shine constant and somewhat brighter than before. It must be the star gate, irised open by the will of Azreal. The rain of fire has abated greatly but the night sky is occasionally pierced by other spits of flame.
Laris confers with Vikram during his vigil. Their conversation was their own. Perhaps the discourse was about the weather, the party’s ambition or Vikram’s purpose? Whatever it was, Laris kept their conference in confidence.
The 2nd of Tenrilden begins clear but true to the tropics, the sky turns overcast and leaden with little warning. The change in the weather intensifies when Rallion discovers the first Totem. Before proceeding past the Totem, Rallion dumps his adamantine dust onto the ground. Upon contact with the falling the rain, the decohered adamantine dissolves into a grey green sludge ‘more goopier than quicksilver’. Though the downpour has increased, the adamantine sludge doesn’t flow away but rests where Rallion poured it.
Next Rallion polls the party for a suitable offering to no avail. Vikram volunteers to create fresh fruit as an offering. Rallion drops the DVL offering into the plate at the foot of the totem. Rallion leads the party to the next totem. A sphinx guards this totem. Rallion negotiates passage unsuccessfully until Kauri offers a golden torgue. The torgue delights the Sphynx who retreats to a shallow cave. Rallion beseeches Vikram once again for an offering. As we depart, the Sphynx admonishes Rallion. It explains that it is unwise these days to hand out names. Doing so can give power to others. Then it reassures Rallion that a friend is just ahead.
To keep up our paces, Rallion enlists Vikram to create an offering of fruit for every totem offering plate along the trail. After ascending for 20 minutes, another totem is passed, then another 15 minutes later. That is when we see a glowing avian perched on the next totem. Now the rain is a torrent. Rallion announces with glee that he knows this bird as the bird of his glowing feather. As the party ascends, the glowing avian alights to the next totem, then the next. Doing so, it heralds and escorts simultaneously.
The path levels. Cascading water from above diverts to the left and right of an outcropping of rock that wreaths a cave entrance. The water pools on either side of the entrance before draining away. The sun has moved two hours past its zenith. Bavmorda waves to an archer observing the party. The archer, an older woman, waves in reply.
The archer is Azra, she stands watch over lots of native islanders. There are wailing children,adults cooking and others industriously repairing and furnishing caves for residence. On a shelf of rock there are numerous fresh graves. Azra invites the party within and explains Timone is helping new arrivals to the Gray Beard refuge. She is happy to see the party has returned. A stooped wizened man happily greets us, effusly shaking hands with some of the party. Azra tells the story of refugees fleeing razed Montoa. How they followed their shaman for the promised safety on Grey Beard, their trek escorted by warriors calling themselves the Matriarch's Daughters. Azra is summoned to speak with Kahlea the shaman. Before leaving, she offers accommodations for the party and introduces the party to a physically disfigured deep gnome.
The deep gnome introduces himself as Braadlur Quartzwarper, a Servant of the Prism. His saga began in the underdark of Media where he had some sort of relationship with an earthen entity he calls ClickThump. He says ClickThump is a leader of the Stone People, a race of elementals that defend deep gnome communities. ClickThump prophesied the loss of clerical magic then commissioned Braad to find people with answers on the surface. Despite ClickThump’s accurate prophecy, Braadlur is nonetheless alarmed by the flashes of flame in the sky and dismayed by his loss of clerical power to heal. Though unclear as to how long he means, Braadlur implies it has been years since Czizek-Jagartha, the First of the Prism, trained his nascent clerical talents. Somehow convinced we are the people ClickThump sent him to find, he offers his help and that of his insect pet. A pet the size of a large dog, covered front to back in chitinous armor and seemingly well trained to respond to Braad’s whistles with a variety of behaviors. During the interview, Braad insists Drow magic still functions though he admits his people avoid Drow and the Silence when they have a choice.
After Braadlur’s introduction, the party stows the remaining DVL items in the tent allocated for their use. During our deliberations, Vikram enquires about our destination. He is confused that we continue to discuss ascending the mountain though from his point of view we are not at the foot of a mountain but a level plain stretching to the north west. When asked to validate the existence of the cavern entrance or the diverted waterfall, he denies them. Then his tone shifts to uncertainty. Saving face, he suggests standing guard over the DVL items. We enthusiastically accept his offer and surrender those items to his care. The apocalypse clock is also left with Vikram.
Sans Vikram, the apocalypse clock and many DVL and non DVL items, the party passes through the ascetic chamber into the entrance chamber where the following inscription is found:
- Those who Pass Beyond these Doors
- Shall Face Tests to Prove whether they are Worthy
- To Enter the Presence of those Matriarchs
- Who Stood Against the Outsiders
- Cerida (North), with Logic as Cold as the Northern Ice
- Brita (East), As Vigorous as the Dawn’s Symphony of Bird-calls
- Feldma (West), Protector of Wisdom’s Dying Light
- Oswitha (South), Warm Bloom of Southern Isles’ Compassion
- When Those from Beyond Threaten the World
- The Way shall be Revealed in Cataclysm
- For New Guardians of our Inheritance and Home
- To Claim the Shard of the Mother from its Resting Place
After the entrance our pathfinder is unsure of his path. Faced with a door to the north and another to the east, Braadlur volunteers to investigate alone. Impressed by his bravery (foolhardy or not) we watch as he disappears down the eastern cavern for ten minutes. He reports the cavern collapsed and suggests we take the northern door. Brilliantly Braad leads the party successfully to another intersection 20 feet beyond the northern door.
The next intersection heads either east or west. Ten feet to the west there is a door with the following inscription: “Cerida’s Gifts, / Reason Incalculable, / Will not be Divided”. Forty feet to the east the cavern has collapsed exposing a cavern below the level we are on. Heeding the Western door warning, we suggest Braad investigate the cavern below via rappelling since the hole gapes without any sides. There he discovers a cavern running north to south, its southern end obstructed by loose debris whereas the northern end is finished construction capped with another closed door. After joining Braad below, Laris reads it’s inscription: “First Brita’s (East) Courage and then Feldma’s (West) Wisdom, Look then to Cerida (North) and Oswitha’s (South) Sacrifice is Unnecessary”
Laris opens the northern door and discovers a thirty foot diameter circular room decorated by a lone central lever jutting from the floor. The lever sits evenly between cardinal points on the periphery. The ceiling is mostly ten feet above the floor, however there is ten foot to the side square cut out looming above the lever another 10 feet higher. Quite the stage for a suspenseful act.
The time is 5:10 pm, an hour after Rallion lit his lantern.
Curabel, After the Fall Session 1, July 1, 2020
The Chronicles of Laris Dolivar
Good Intentions Make Excellent Pavers for the Road to Hell.
(We shadowstepped from the portal down to near the Matriarch’s with the plan to contact them and maybe learn magic from something called a Codex for those of us who have lost our powers.)
Well.... That didn’t seem to have worked out like we’d hoped....
I do believe that we’ve swapped one apocalypse for another. I’ve followed these folks to the stars and back and helped thwart imminent doom to Media. The Dwarven Armada, likely the Dwarven civilization, is if not annihilated, it’s severely diminished. The DVL’s have been freed but at what cost. The Dwarves wanted materials, the DVL’s want souls. Either way it sucks. And the Portal is still up there, open and raining DVL’s down onto our world from the City of Brass if I understand Vikram’s explanation correctly.
Our agreement with the DVL in freeing the entity Asmodeus from the Probability Sword defeating the dwarven horde has unleashed literal hell across the multiverse from what we understand. Vikram has been cautiously helpful, keeping within his restrictions as a City of Brass native in what he can and cannot communicate to us directly. I’m certain there’s more to what he’s telling us but I lack the context and knowledge to piece it together. Maybe as our conversations continue, more will become clear. We talked a lot tonight after setting up camp in a defensible gulley with a good lookout position nearby. Putting his commentary and knowledge with what we learn from the Matriarchs may give us a direction. If we put our heads together, maybe there’s a solution that doesn’t include permanent hell on Medea.
Closing the portal above Medea is likely a start, at least for this world... but without access to extra dimensional power (Magic) or technology such as what the dwarves wielded, we’re up the creek without a paddle... or a boat... shit, we don’t even have a change of clothes.
Kauri’s apocalypse clock DVL was a bit talkative to start, but soon clammed up. His description of how ‘magic’ or extra dimensional power comes from was interesting. It appears that if one travels from another dimension there is sometimes a power differential that can be tapped and focused to create what we learned to harness from the DVL enslavement practices of the dwarves through Xenotel. He spoke of ‘electricity’... I may ask to borrow Edan’s notes on some of that stuff and see if it makes any sense.. He says the Dragon’s of old used something similar but different than the Dwarven DVL enslavement, but it wasn’t Codex of which I understand the Matriarch’s have access to...
Kauri, Lambertus and I have all have lost any connection to the magics we’d learned. Of course we knew that once Xenotel was defeated and the DVL’s freed that would be the case. In our ignorance, we did not think to restrict the newly freed DVL legions from any harm to our world, or any other for that matter once they dealt with the dwarves. Lambertus is in a funk without his ‘divine’ connection. Peronell is still much the same as where she was I think. She’s still taking
everything in and I’m keeping her apprised of the goings on. We’ve made some progress with her understanding of common, but with little time passed since she’s been conscious again, it’s not there yet. Vikram (who’s magic doesn’t appear to have been affected) is troubled but willing to accompany us and help where he can within his limitations. I think he’s interested in seeing what happens in the near future out of his own curiosity. He appears to me to be genuinely interested in our well being and that of our world. There could be strings attached that he has no control over. I’m paying close attention to not only his answers and stories he tells, but in how he tells us to see if there’s an underlying theme/conversation he’s trying to have without having one.
Travel to the Matriarch’s:
I took a flanking position during our travels as my cloak is still functional after all the festivities. Which I’m very happy to have found.
Vikram provided offerings at the totems as we approached and there was a cat-woman with wings we encountered at one of the totem sites. She wasn’t immediately hostile and Rallion had a conversation, Kauri traded a bauble for some information and we were on our way. Bavmorda and I positioned ourselves for doing what we do best if things turned violent. When we asked her name, she was evasive and said it’s unwise to share that in this new day and time. From here on, I think I’ll take her advice on that. As soon as I remember, I’m coming up with a new moniker. As we continued our approach to the cave, a Golden (the color) eagle stayed a totem ahead of us. Rallion said that’s where his golden glowing feather came from.
Oh, I forgot to mention it’s been raining like a cow pissin’ on a flat rock today....
Some of the party’s items, particularly the ones of adamantine and drow make have turned into dusty sandy substance that once it got wet in the rain, it turned into a sludgy, grey green goo with the consistency of quicksilver but a bit different. Seems to be reminiscent of some fungal growths some of the party encountered while down there.
As we approach the cave where we’ve been heading there’s an eagle shaped rock where a stream of water from above hits it and splits into two streams forming two pools at the cave entrance. There are many fresh graves nearby. A woman with a bow at the ready observes our approach. There’s a warm welcome to the party once Rallion and the others are recognized. Her name is Azra and she’s quite happy to see them/us. An older gentleman name of Timon welcomes us into the cave and shows us to a somewhat repaired building we can use as a camp. He says he and Azra are the last of the Aesthetics.
Timon’s news: the vast majority of occupants of this cave are refugees from the Montoan tribe which was razed by either Shem or Hizzou, I don’t remember what he said exactly on that just that the invaders were lead by a Shaman. Their leader Kahliha, their shaman, wants to speak with us. I can’t see that conversation going all that well… Drueta was from this tribe and died secondary to being infected on Lonely Isle… I’m sure that won’t go over well. After we rescued Captain Nigel’s first mate, it seems that things took a turn toward the negative for the Montoans. I just hope Rallion’s silver tongue can keep them from attempting a lynching.
Timon introduces us to a strange little fellow, Braadlur Quartzwarper, who has a piece of metal bolted to his head. He’s a ‘deep gnome’ cleric of Tzig Jagthar a healer. He has a pet cave fisher…. named ‘Fisher’... whew, imaginative fellow that. He’s a bit odd and says he was sent here by one of the stone people’s leaders named ClickThump. The stone people and the deep gnomes have a mutually beneficial relationship protecting each other. He was sent to meet some people here to continue his quest to find out what’s happened to magic (the catastrophe) and if there’s anything to do about it. He’s pretty sure we’re the people he was sent to meet. We talk with Braadlur a bit and learn that the Drow magics still are functional, and so are the Silence’s ways…. I didn’t get a lot about the Silence…. he was sort of silent on that subject… He gave us a rundown of his culture. Sounds like they’re pretty good at finding and retrieving gemstones and precious metals and have a penchant for staying between the power struggles down there… that may be handy to know for future reference for an information gathering operation… ahh well, here I am working angles that don’t exist yet. Sheesh, I’m getting itchy for some good old intrigue that’s not immediately deadly, world shattering, or soul sucking. Is that too much to ask? …. Yes, I guess so….
Vikram cannot perceive the mountain, only a small hillock.… which is quite disturbing to me. Is that to hide the Matriarch’s from the DVL’s? Did they see this coming?
So after a bit of story swapping we put extra gear and any dwarven items in the care of Vikram for now and head to the ‘labyrinth’ as described by those that have been here before…. to go seek audience with the Matriarchs.
They mentioned once we were about to go in, that the name of this labyrinth is ‘The Caverns of the Dead.” I think they did that on purpose…. sheesh.
We enter a chamber and there’s an inscription between two doors, one to the west and one to the north and a passage to the east. ****Not sure I got this right on exits from this chamber***
Those who Pass Beyond these Doors
Shall Face Tests to Prove whether they are Worthy
To Enter the Presence of those Matriarchs
Who Stood Against the Outsiders
Cerida, with Logic as Cold as the Northern Ice
Brita, As Vigorous as the Dawn’s Symphony of Bird-calls
Feldma, Protector of Wisdom’s Dying Light
Oswitha, Warm Bloom of Southern Isles’ Compassion
When Those from Beyond Threaten the World
The Way shall be Revealed in Cataclysm
For New Guardians of our Inheritance and Home
To Claim the Shard of the Mother from its Resting Place
Door to the West, Inscription over it: ****Not sure this is in the right place… might at west end of the T intersection of the North door out of the main chamber*****
Cerida’s Gifts, / Reason Incalculable, / Will not be Divided
Door to the North opens into a 20’ long passage with a T intersection at the end.
East passage: Blocked by a collapsed floor that Braadlur examines and estimates it’s about a 20’ long collapse. Going N-S there is a passage below that we can access.
Passage below the collapsed east passage from the main chamber: South is another collapsed passage and to the North there is a door with an inscription:
First Brita’s Courage
and then Feldma’s Wisdom,
Look then to Cerida and
Oswitha’s Sacrifice is Unnecessary
We open the northern door out and find:
a circular room, in the center of the room there is a lever. Slots N/S/E/W directly above the lever an recession in the roof of the room 10’ up. 10’ up from there, iron spikes are there and look to be ready to fall on anyone messing with the lever.
I’m thinking we tie 4 pieces of rope to the lever in the cardinal directions and pull according to the inscription above the door like someone already suggested, just maybe with the ropes, we might not lose a limb… or worse….
Session 1 End. Game time: 5:10pm Tenrilden 2, have used 1 hour of lamp oil in our explorations so far.