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Session 15, Prelude

23rd of Mirtul of the year 1492

Given that it was only about 3am, nothing was open including the Blackbutter Inn.  The front door was locked and all lights out.  There was not a single light in the town that could be seen.  The storm had just ended, and everyone was huddled inside their homes. Deciding that it would be better to seek some shelter nearby than to try and waken someone at the inn.  Moving the wagon and horses to the edge of town and off the road, they camped attempting to catch up on their rest.  It was snug in the wagon with everyone cuddling everyone else except. ISAC who did his sentry’s rest outside on the driver’s seat. Vladimir seemed very comfortable when using Fogo as his furry pillow.

With such a deficit of sleep the group slept in just past noon awakening to the sound of dogs barking and the general noise around rural farming and cattle areas.  Fogo started up the meal making while ISAC and Vladimir harnessed up the horses and got the wagon ready for departure back into town. Vladimir suggested they head to Waelvur’s Wagonworks and store the wagon and horses there while they are not needed.

While on the way to the Wagonworks, Fwoosh dropped out of the back of the wagon in such a stealthily manner, that everyone was able to notice and see him go.  It did not seem that anyone was worried or cared, so they continued to the Wagonworks leaving Fwoosh to his own errands.  Arriving at the Wheelworks, the place was not very busy and had several wagons in different conditions of repair.  None of which looked like it was excellent work, just marginal.

Chatting up the very drunk proprietor Ilmeth Waelvur they were able to rest some space for the wagon and horses for the next tenday.  Vladimir was able to do some quality bonding and was awarded some of Ilmeth’s prized drink, he homemade moonshine which doubled as paint remover.

Ilmeth Waelvur

While Vladimir and Angelica were wooing Ilmeth, the rest scattered into different directions.  Fwoosh had headed to Lorren’s Bakery, Avery, Fogo, and ISAC all headed to the Blackbutter Inn to secure rooms for the evening.

At the bakery, Fwoosh seemed to pass some sort of secret handshake and finger symbols such that Mangobarl Lorren recognized Fwoosh as belonging to the same organization that he did.  Asking Fwoosh to wait, he brought out his new assistant to work with Fwoosh directly.  Someone that Fwoosh new well and had seen somewhat recently.  After a little discussion, they parted ways, but not before Fwoosh bought a baker’s dozen of the bear claws.

Mangobarl Lorren

Jepos Copperhand

From here, Fwoosh went to Vallivoe’s Sundries for some miscellaneous gear.  It was a crowded shop run by a shy little man who seemed to employ many children as his helpers.  Sharing some of his bear claws, Fwoosh was able to make a very good impression.  Endrith Vallivoe was very friendly and seemed to enjoy his time chatting with Fwoosh as much as the children enjoyed getting some sweet pasties.

Endrith Vallivoe

While at the Blackbutter Inn, Fogo immediately went over to talk to Gwendolyn Venelli. He began trying to negotiate being able to talk to the chef of the Blackbutter Inn to get some cooking lessons to be able to improve on the camp meals he has been cooking.

Gwendolyn Venelli

Eventually, Gwendolyn led him to the kitchen where he was very surprised since all the counters in the kitchen were not even up to his knees.  Everything was at just over a foot and a half high. While he was looking around, he was greeted by four goblins.  Goblins dressed in white chef uniforms all wearing little white chef hats. After an introduction and some back-and-forth Xaasz agreed to teach Fogo cooking but required that Fogo go purchase a nice set of kitchen knives, a leather apron, and some knee pads, since everything in the kitchen was at goblin height and not built for the seven-and-a-half foot tall Fogo. At the end of the conversation Fogo departed, mentioned to his friends that he had errand to run, and then left the building to acquire what he needed to start his lessons.

Xaasz

Avery and ISAC stayed behind to check into the Inn for the evening.  Some attempted flirting by Gwendolyn was missed by ISAC, but they were able to secure two rooms they needed for the night. It did not take long until Vladimir and Angelica arrived and joined these two.  They then started waiting for everyone else to arrive.

Focused on his errands, Fogo visited the Chansyrl’s Fine Harness shop.  The person handling the front room was Phaendra Chansyrl and it did not take long for Fogo to express his needs, be given a price and that it would be available tomorrow.

Phaendra Chansyrl

Heading off to Luruth’s Tannery to see if he could find a buyer, or at least someone who could be able to experience dealing with odd skins that Fogo might collect.  Within was Ulhro Luruth, and older heavy man who clearly was not able to smell a thing anymore. Attempting to sell the giant lizard skin, giant poisonous snakeskin, and the heavy skin of the ogre. Ulhro agreed to attempt to work the reptile skins but did not promise anything would come out of it.  He took the ogre skin for the efforts and promised a discount if anything could come out of it later.

Ulhro Luruth

Moving on to the Tantur Smithery, Fogo was on his last errand, acquiring some nice kitchen knives. Surprisingly he met up with Fwoosh who was attempting to apologize for his previous behavior and was offering bear claws to Laefra to help with that. Both took care of their business and together went back to the Blackbutter Inn to meet up with the others.

At the Inn, Vladimir seemed to keep seeing things and after a bit of fun and time, they realized it was most likely Kieran the previously invisible friend of ISAC’s.  At least that is who they hoped it to be, otherwise they were all haunted.

Kieran (Glowing Spheres)

Kieran (Old Man)

Eventually the shenanigans ended and everyone except Fogo headed to bed.  Fogo headed to the kitchen instead to work the afternoon and evening in the kitchen.  Late that night after everyone was already asleep, Fogo slipped into one of the rooms, climbed into bed, and ended up being the big spoon to Vladimir’s small spoon.  Everyone slept very well that night.

24th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Sometime in the morning, the slightly exhausted crew got up, ate some breakfast, and Fwoosh purchased a much-needed magical hair of the dog to help with his pounding head.  Fogo took the opportunity to start a conversation with Dhelosk Quelbeard.  What little the party could hear; it seemed that Fogo was having a deep conversation about the nature of magic and the goddess Mystra. It lasted about half an hour before he seemed to be somewhat satisfied with where the chat ended.

Dhelosk Quelbeard

Avery and Fogo stayed behind so that Avery could have a short conversation with Dhelosk.  Avery wanted to purchase some spells to help fill out his spell book a bit as well as some magic ink to be able to copy the spells to his book.

Everyone else headed to the Allfaiths Shrine to collect some additional healing potions for Vladimir who has an addiction to them. Both Imdarr and Lymmura were engaged in attending to heavily burnt men and women.  The thunderstorm had managed to set on fire several of the buildings on the edge of town.  Those that could not be healed completely were brought here for care. Angelica finally received a letter from her sister. Avery and ISAC arrived shortly afterwards. It did not take much negotiation to acquire the things that were needed, and then everyone headed over to the butcher’s shop and hopefully the constable.

Imdarr Relvaunder

Lymmura Auldarhk

Arriving at the Butcher’s shop everyone filed in and waited for Jalessa to notice them. After a period of everyone just staring at each other, they finally asked for Harburk.  Buying some salted meats to placate Jaleesa, she directed them to the last building to meet her husband Harburk.

Jaleesa Orna

When the party arrived at the last building, they could hear a woman wailing inside.  Rushing inside to see what the source of the noise was.  Inside was a woman kneeling on the floor wailing and crying with another man keeping his tears back but attempting to placate the woman.  While difficult to understand, she seemed to be worried about her two daughters for some reason. Harburk stood in front of them speaking in a low voice to them.

Harburk Tuthmarillar

When Harburk saw the group come in, he told them that the woman’s daughter has been missing since early this morning.  They were last seen heading to the berry patch to the southwest of town, about an hour away.  The children had been excited about getting out since the storm had ended. He asked the group to go search for the little girls, one six and the other eight years old.

Running out in the direction directed, they were able to find the tracks of the little girls with a little help from Kieran.  Within an hour they had gotten to the berry patch, and it was evident that the girls had been here.  Their small baskets were overturned on the ground near the berry bushes, and many adult human sized shuffling prints were on the ground near them, and then leading further to the southwest. Concerned for their welfare, the group moved quickly following the obvious shuffling marks on the wet ground.

Within another hour, they had arrived at Lance Rock, a huge jutting stone from the ground, and straight to a cave entrance into it.  As they moved in, they could see some dead bodies near a passageway leading north.  When approaching, the dead bodies stood up and they were faced by some zombies.  They were dispatched somewhat readily, and the group moved further in.

Zombie

They were concerned with the shuffling marks and the zombies that the girls might have been harmed, or worse, been turned into some undead like those they have been facing. While inspecting the zombies, they realized that some of them had clothing that resembled some of the bandits they had fought at the Ruined Moathouse. Before moving into the next room rocks were dropped upon them from above as zombies dropped from a ledge to ambush the party. Such low numbers of zombies were quickly killed off, but not before ISAC managed to use his golden statue to set off an explosion that covered the zombies as well has, he and Angelica. One of these besides having bandit and commoner clothing, one had a tattoo on his chest.

Tattoo

Moving deeper into the tunnels they came to a large room with a stone that was almost ten-foot square covered in wet as well as dried blood. It appeared that many people had died on that rock, and not for any obvious reason. Just a bit further, within another room they were shocked to see four zombies dressed in costume.  A bear, a trollop, a clown, and a tiger. It was such a shock that the zombies were able to close in and attack them in surprise. But four zombies were little effort for them to clear out. Continuing once again, one of the passageways lead to a much larger room, one with 40-foot ceilings and decorations only a sick and demented person would enjoy.  As they entered, a voice rang out.

“You dare to pit yourselves against the Lord of Lance Rock? Death is your reward!”

And this is where the session ended.

Campaign Notes

They finally got a little rest but have already been tossed into the next adventure.  The Lord of Lance Rock is looking at them right now.

Sune

Titles: Firehair, Lady Firehair, The Lady of Love, Goddess of Love, Goddess of Beauty, and Love, Beautiful One, The Fickle and the Beautiful, The Princess of Passion

Portfolio: Beauty, love, passion

Domain: Chaos, Charm, Good, Protection

Worshipers: Lovers, artists, half-elves, adventurers, bards

Sune (pronounced: /ˈsuːni/ SOO-nee) was the greater goddess of beauty and passion in the Faerûnian pantheon. Lady Firehair, as her symbol depicted, was the goddess of beauty in all its forms; whether it be sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and feels, the experience of pleasure was the touch of Sune. The Lady of Love was the goddess of all love, including the more negative aspects like obsessions, murderous passions, and the tragedies that could be born from love, but also of deeper connections, of matches destined and forbidden, as well the transformation of ugliness into beauty.

“Beauty is more than skin deep; it issues from the core of one’s being and shows one’s fair (or foul) face to the world.”

— A Sunite saying.

Description

Sune is the deity of beauty, with governance also over love—typically love based on outward beauty.

Sune is benevolent and sometimes whimsical. She always appears as a radiantly beautiful red-haired woman of incredible charm. She alternates between deep passions and casual flirtations and has been romantically tied to many of the other Faerunian deities. Sune enjoys attention and sincere flattery and avoids anyone who is horrific or boorish. Lady Firehair loves and protects her followers, who in turn manifest and protect the beauty of the world.

When Sune appeared to the mortals of Faerûn she did so as a human female of unearthly beauty dressed in only a near-transparent gown of silk. She was known for her lustrous, impossibly long red hair, the color of which persisted regardless of any other permutations in her appearance, and which often assumed the appearance of flames. Aside from this, her physical manifestation would change from time to time. Her skin might be golden, mahogany, reddish, or ivory, and her eyes might be sky-blue, forest green, almond-shaped, or of darkest amber or honey. her eyes of shining emeralds, and ruby red plump lips. She occasionally wore ruby gemstones in her hair.

Personality

Sune was a benevolent goddess that abhorred the destruction of beauty. She thrived on the tenderest of emotions and truly loved and protected her followers, reserving her deepest love for the mortals who revered her. She was also one of the vainest entities in the cosmos, enjoying attention and sincere flattery while avoiding the horrific and boorish.

The sometimes-whimsical Princess of Passion alternated between deep passion and casual flirtation with others. When she was truly interested in a person or God, she wholeheartedly believed in these deep-seated feelings, but though she was one of the most passionate beings in existence, her focus lasted only a short time (as long as the subject continued to be enticing) before she lost interest and moved on.

Powers

To look upon Sune’s avatar could very well end a battle before it began. Her looks, if unclothed, could kill if she so desired, a powerful form of death magic difficult to resist. Even when garbed however, she could enrapture anyone she wanted within 90 feet (27 meters). Such was her appearance that it was almost impossible to tear one’s eyes away after so much as a glance, and none but immortals could resist at least getting a good look. Animals would never attempt to harm her, and upon seeing her no male being of any kind would either, the latter to the point that even thinking to do so was simply impossible.

Sune could cast spells from all arcane schools and divine spheres, but her charm magic (including spells of the charm sphere and school of enchantment which affected emotions, beguiled, enthralled, commanded, persuaded, or otherwise worked similarly to charm person spells) were four times as potent and much harder to resist.

Possessions

The silken sash Sune wore acted as a +5 whip, enchanted with chaotic, defending, keen, and shock properties.

Realm

Sune shared a realm with various other goddesses, originally with just Tymora and Lliira, but later expanding the group to include Sharess and Waukeen. That realm was Brightwater, located in the outer plane of Arborea in the Great Wheel cosmology and a plane of its own in the World Axis cosmology. Brightwater was a well-settled realm devoted to beauty, among other things, all of which shined from every face and building; constant entertaining activities went on in Brightwater, and it was no less glamorous than Arvandor for its civilization.

Brightwater was structured like a Material Plane city into wards or sectors, each a divine realm, with Waukeen’s in the middle and the others arranged around it, and Sune’s realm was known as the Heartfire Quarter. Smaller, quieter, and much more private than most of Brightwater’s other locales, the Heartfire Quarter consisted of small rooms and hidden courtyards, the night air filled with the aromas of incense and candlelight. The outer reaches were lined with Festhalls, matchmaker shops and inns for young couples, and every street was marked with a monument to love’s triumphs.

Though devoted to the ideals of love, it was not without its dangers. Most paths were unexplored, and crimes of passion were common, as were rumors (never proven) of succubi and incubi infiltrators. The only ones willing to dare the inner precincts were the stout of heart and petitioners seeking to merge with the goddess, the winding streets near the center said to destroy some forever and merge others into the realm.

The Heartfire Quarter stood juxtaposed to Lliira’s Quarter of Orange Lanterns, both geographically (being separated by Sharess’s realm of Rapture) and philosophically. It was deeper than Lliira’s domain of constant celebrations, a realm of beauty inhabited by those wanting more than just a party. It was a place of quiet mysteries whose contemplative denizens, drawn in by Sune’s secretive smile, sought something beyond material gratification and even love. It was unclear what awaited those drawn to the center of the realm, often the adventuring sort who came after the delights of the other realms dimmed, but it was known what they sought: serenity, bliss, perfection, and true passion.

During the Spellplague, Sune moved Brightwater to Selûne’s realm, the Gates of the Moon. Most of the other goddesses joined her in her romantic city, though Tymora had her own area within the Gates known as the Great Wheel and Waukeen’s Marketplace Eternal moved to Amaunator’s realm.

Relationships

Sune had been romantically linked with many members of the Faerunian pantheon in the many myths of the realms; for example, she was said to have been smitten with Torm for his actions during the Time of Troubles, and many deities, including Torm himself as well as Amaunator, had become smitten with her in turn. Regarding such matters, the Lady of Love was simultaneously distant and flirtatious.

Sune was served by both Lliira and Sharess and allies with Milil, Lathander, and Selune, the latter of which was also a servant of Lady Firehair in the past before going her own way, though they were still extremely friendly and cooperative. She also gave her aid to Mystra in her struggle against Shar and the Shadow Weave, for she had earned the service of Sharess when she saved the demipower from being subsumed by Shar, and as such was considered an enemy by the Nightbringer.

By her nature, it was difficult for any being to be angry at Sune for long, and so the goddess had no true enemies. Those foes she did have included the Gods of Fury, whose functions destroyed many beautiful things both living and non-living. She helped to limit the destruction caused by the rages of their leader Talos and was envied by the Bitch Queen Umberlee for her beauty. She also had no love for Talona goddess of disease, or Tempus, the god of battle, on similar grounds, although the latter considered her too flighty and irrelevant to be worth the conflict or even disliking.

Outside of the Realms, Sune was considered a “backwater power with delusions of grandeur” by her deific peers, such as Freya, Aphrodite and Hanali Celanil, but otherwise they got on well together – Sune of course, believing that she was the most beautiful of all of them.

Worshipers, Clergy & Temples

Aside from those who despise love and beauty as a manifestation of weakness, the church of Sune is widely loved throughout Faerûn and has many adherents to its teachings. However, as most Sunites are seen as flighty, vain, and superficial but basically harmless, the church of Sune has less influence than its prominence might otherwise suggest. Sunites have an intense rivalry with the followers of Hanali Celanil, the elven deity of beauty.

Sunites are aesthetes and hedonists, who actively seek out pleasure and beauty in all things. The pursuit of aesthetic enjoyment is their life. They created great works of art, became patrons for promising actors, and imported exotic luxuries like satin and fine wines. Whenever Sunite clergy must perform dirty tasks, the use of disguise is encouraged to protect the body as well as to conceal identity. The devout clerics always hires or supports adventurers and others to destroy things who vandalize beautiful creations. Her followers also enjoyed looking beautiful, and hearing tales of romance. The stories ranged from star-crossed love, true love overcoming all else, to following one’s heart.

All clergy of Sune also strive to create beauty in a personal way, preferably as a creator of static fine art (blown-glass ornaments, paintings, or tapestries are all fashionable), but as a dancer if one fails at all else. When one of them gains expertise in crafting things of beauty, she or he is obliged to pass on such learning by training others and turning away no one who shows genuine promise. Any money made through such trainings should be given to the church to further the growth of beauty and love everywhere.

Sune’s clerics are expected to keep their appearance as flattering as possible and shower others with sweet words at least five times a month. Sunite clerics tend to multiclass as bards or rogues.

Little is thought of a cleric dropping everything and going bounding off into the wild, particularly if the goal is some beautiful object or some beautiful individual, and such behavior creates little scandal in the church.

Sune’s clerics sought to bring beauty to the world in many forms, all of which were pleasing to the senses. They created great works of art, became patrons for promising actors, and imported exotic luxuries like satin and fine wines. Her followers also enjoyed looking beautiful, and hearing tales of romance. The stories ranged from star-crossed love, true love overcoming all else, to following one’s heart. The negative aspects of love, as would be expected, were downplayed, and kept from public view in the interest of making the faith welcoming for all.

Her temples usually held social salons and displayed mirrors for use by lay parishioners. Some of them even had public baths for the local populace. Her shrines often stood on the corner of busy city streets. They would have a small ornate overhanging roof with a mirror underneath. They were used to check one’s appearance while honoring Sune with prayer. Some shrines even held perfume and cosmetic items for those who could not afford such luxuries themselves.

Temples

Sunite temples are either stunningly beautiful edifices of fantastic design or classically elegant structures strategically enhanced by sculptured landscaping constructed with numerous picturesque paths and promenades and surprising and enchanting nooks in which to share moments of love, beauty, and passion. Many Sunite temples sport formal gardens with gorgeous flower beds, trellises and bowers of well-trained vines, and carefully pruned trees and topiaries. Fine sculptures and sumptuous fountains that play with soft, magical lighting provide focal points in most Sunite temple gardens. Some of the temples double as social salons, and some of them even had public baths for the local populace.

Her shrines often stood on the corner of busy city streets. They would have a small ornate overhanging roof with a mirror underneath. They were used to check one’s appearance while honoring Sune with prayer. Some shrines even held perfume and cosmetic items for those who could not afford such luxuries themselves.

Rituals

Sune’s clerics pray in the morning after a refreshing scented bath (or after at least washing their hands). Greengrass and Midsummer Night are both Sunite holy days, celebrated with a great deal of outdoor frolicking and with night-long flirtatious chases through forests and parks. Individual temples celebrate numerous local holy days as well.

At least once a month, the church of Sune holds a Grand Revel, a large party with dancing, poetry recitation, and heartrendingly beautiful or soulfully rousing music to which outsiders are invited with the intent to attract converts.

A Feast of Love is a more intimate, quiet affair, open only to the faithful, who lie on couches and indulge in liqueurs, appetizers, and sweet pastries while lone dancers perform. These dances are interspersed with readings of romantic verse, prose, and songs of love sung by skilled minstrels. Such rituals always break up into private gatherings, though bards are always on hand to relate tales of courtly love or mysteries of Faerûn for those who do not feel like socializing more privately.

Sunites also offer personal prayers to Sune by standing in a pool or bath and looking into a mirror lit only by natural light or candles. Sune sends guidance to them by visions visible in the mirror, often by altering the reflection of the worshiper in some way. The influx of adventurers into Sune’s clergy in recent years has reduced the huge former gender disparity in the church so that now females only outnumber males four to one.

Dogma

Beauty is more than skin deep. It issues from the core of one’s being and reveals one’s true face to the world, fair or foul. Believe in romance, as true love will win overall. Follow your heart to your true destination. Love none more than yourself except Sune and lose yourself in love of the Lady Firehair. Perform a loving act each day and seek to awaken love in others. Respond to love at least once in a day. Encourage beauty wherever you find it. Acquire beautiful items of all sorts, and encourage, sponsor, and protect those who create them. Keep your own body as comely as possible and as attractively displayed as situations warrant. Let hairstyle and clothing best suit your personal appearance, striving to stir and delight others who look upon you. Moreover, hide not away, but always seek to present yourself to those around you in a pleasing variety of garbs and activities to move them with love and desire. Love those who respond to your appearance and let warm friendship and admiration flower where love cannot or dares not.

Orders

Sisters and Brothers of the Ruby Rose: A knightly order affiliated with the Church of Sune, made up of bards, fighters, and paladins. Their primary mission was to guard Sunite temples and holy sites, and occasionally accompany clerics doing good works or questing for something important to the Lady of Love. Initiation into the order was done by standing vigil in a temple of Sune for an entire night. If the goddess showed her favor by granting a vision or some other boon, the candidate was accepted into the order.

Notable Sunites

  • Adon of Sune
  • Histra of the Edificant Library
  • Taegan Nightwind
  • Joelle Emmeline

History

Sune’s history was mostly told in myth regarding her various romances and flirtations with other gods. Tales existed of her relationships with practically every god except Talos, Umberlee, Malar, Auril, Tempus, and Talona, whom Sune abhorred for their acts of destruction.

During the Time of Troubles, Sune rescued Sharess from death at the hands of Shar and restored the corrupted deity to her original state before Shar’s influence affected her.

During the Spellplague, Sune’s plane of Brightwater was destroyed, but Selûne invited Sune and her exarchs to join her in the Gates of the Moon. During this period of transition, it was revealed that many lesser powers of love in the Realms, most notably Hanali Celanil, were all aspects of Sune. Sune, along with Tyr and Lathander was one of the triumvirate of deities who declared that Cyric should be imprisoned for the apparent death of Mystra.

Church of Sune

The Church of Sune (pronounced: /ˈsuːni/ SOO-nee), also known as the Church of Beauty, was the primary religious organization dedicated to the worship and service of Sune, goddess of love and beauty.

Activities

In Waterdeep, the church of Sune hosted an annual exclusive ball at the Temple of Beauty. Invitations were passed out by the clergy of Sune.

Organization

The Sunite church’s hierarchy was quite loose. The clergy was decentralized, and rank was mainly based on artistic feats and seniority. In late 15th century DR, the ranks were: Novices, Acolytes, Esthetes (confirmed priests), Craefters of the Third Altar, Craefters of the Fourth Altar (and so on, up to Ninth Altar), Philocalist, Archphilocalist, Enrapturand, and High Enrapturand.

Vestments

Sunites are not bashful about their bodies. The standard ceremonial garb of Sunite clerics is monastic robes for men and habits for women, both cut to show off the figure of the wearer and dyed a deep crimson. Hair is normally worn long and allowed to fall free during rituals. At other times, clerics bind their tresses back with crimson scarves and wear clothing appropriate to the situation but always flattering to the form. While red hair is considered touched by the deity, all shades of hair and skin are welcome, provided they are unmarred and lovely.

Bases

The temples of this faith always came in one of architectural philosophies, either being fantastical edifices of beauty or classically elegant structures whose beauty was enhanced by sculptured landscapes. Many featured formal gardens with landscape that had been precisely manicured, with trees and topiary that had been carefully pruned, picturesque beds of flowers, as well as bowers and trellises that were snaked by well-trained vines. Fountains and sculptures were often a focal point of these gardens, as they were enchanted to give off soft lighting.

A common feature of Sunite temples was life-sized and smaller statues statuettes of beautiful women, usually partially unclad. Such statues were often posed depicting a dance and expressions of rapturous joy, though not always. Sometimes these statues were depictions of the goddess Sune herself, but more often they were of priestesses who had passed.

Notable Location
  • Dawndancer House, a shrine in Silverymoon
  • Flame Grove, a shrine west of Drawn Swords
  • Theater of Joy in Crimmor
  • Temple of Beauty in Waterdeep

Istishia

Titles: The Water Lord, King of the Water Elementals, God-King of Undines

Portfolio: Elemental water, purification

Domain: Destruction, Ocean, Storm, Travel, Water

Worshipers: Bards, elemental archons (water), sailors, travelers

Istishia (pronounced: /ɪsˈtɪʃiɑː/ is-TISH-ee-ah[1]) was the neutral primordial deity of elemental water and purification. While other powers governed oceans, pools, streams, storms, or simply those that had business with the water, Istishia was far more abstract. The Water Lord was mutable and dynamic, representing constant change with an essential constant at its core, the god not of any specific body or state of water, but the water itself.

Istishia is the elemental embodiment of water, but not any specific formation or body of water (unlike Umberlee who governs the oceans and ocean storms, Eldath who has dominion over pools, springs, and waterfalls and Valkur who strives to protect those who travel the waves). He represents the essence of water itself, the nature of slow change over time, and the ability of water to enact change.

He is one of the four elemental deities worshiped in Faerûn but, like all but Kossuth, has a very small following. He cares only slightly for his followers and is almost predictable in his incomprehensible and alien unpredictability. Most mortals consider his actions incomprehensible and like the other elemental lords he is almost indifferent to his own worshipers.

Description

Istishia was depicted in a wide variety of forms ranging from a drop of rain or ocean wave to a water weird or gigantic water elemental. When he manifested, it was as a 40​ to ​60 feet (12​ to ​18 meters) tall, 20​ to ​30 feet (6.1​ to ​9.1 meters) thick, column of water. This form maneuvered effortlessly over or through any obstacles in its path, its movements sounding life the surf pounding on the shore and was known to divide into several parts in an effort by the Water Lord to confuse his enemies. When he spoke, his voice was at once the sound of rushing water, a babbling brook, and a gentle rain.

Personality

Istishia was a slippery, dispassionate power whose reasons and logic were incomprehensible to most. He provided an atmosphere for life and provided a vital resource yet would not grant the life itself and cared not how his gifts were used. He was relatively aloof towards his own followers, ignoring and favoring them seemingly on a whim, so alien, uncaring, and utterly random that his unpredictability was itself predictable.

Divine Realm

Though Istishia did not have a court in the conventional sense, and despite his follower’s belief that he encompassed the whole Elemental Plane of Water, he did maintain a distinct divine realm on that plane within the Great Wheel cosmology called Sea of Timelessness.

Relationships

Istishia had ties to deities with a relation to water, but no strong relationships. These included the likes of like Deep Sashelas, Eadro, Eldath, Persana, Shekinester, Surminare, Trishina, Umberlee, Valkur, and the Water Lion. Of these, he worked loosely with Sashelas, Trishina, and Eldath to maintain the life cycles of the sea. Conversely, he had no interest in Umberlee’s storms of Valkur’s sailors.

Istishia opposed Kossuth in every way. He sat back and watched the struggle of the archomentals of water, Ben-Hadar and Olhydra; presumably he would intervene if one would achieve a real chance to get control of elemental water.

Worshipers

Istishia was worshiped by sailors, pirates, water Elementals, water genasi, some aquatic elves, and others who felt a bond with the ocean’s destructive power.

Centers of Worship

Calimshan had several important shrines and temples to Istishia. The city of Keltar had a shrine known as the Steps of Istishia that was built thousands of years before the 14th century DR. The city of Calimport had the massive, seven-story Palace of the Cresting Wave.

Worshipers, Clergy & Temples

Istishia is worshiped by Sailors, Pirates, Water Elementals, Water Genasi, some Aquatic Elves, and others who feel a bond with the Ocean’s destructive power. Like all the elemental lords, Istishia is relatively unfeeling toward his followers on Abeir-Toril. His reactions are utterly unpredictable and thus, in an odd way, predictable in their unpredictability. The reasoning behind Istishia’s actions is incomprehensible to most of Faerûn’s inhabitants, including his worshipers. The alien and uncaring stance of Istishia and the other elemental lords has led to the mistaken impression in the Realms that they are only lesser powers and their followers merely oddball cultists.

The Water Lord’s faith has four major sects: the Church of the Magnificent Storm, the Church of the Sacred Sea, the Church of Watery Paths, and the Church of the Eternal Transformation. These sects work together with each other, though disagreements have been known to occur. In general, the Istishian faith is constantly evolving, and new sects are diverted from or absorbed by old ones as the decades pass. The church uses a unified ranking system so even members of different sects know their relative positions.

The Church of the Magnificent Storm believes in the cleansing power of Istishia. In its eyes, Istishia washes away the impurities of both the land and sea and purifies the air. “Stormers,” as they are known, always try to be present during thunderstorms and other severe weather.

The Church of the Sacred Sea believes that large expanses of water represent the body of Istishia. Its members pray for calm seas and to protect both ships and port from the Water Lord’s power, but they also call upon the oceans to deliver Istishia’s wrath against those who oppose the church.

The Church of Watery Paths believes that the rivers and streams of Toril represent the far reach of Istishia’s power. Its members view rivers and streams as the veins and capillaries of Istishia and point out that no place on Toril is not shaped in some way by water, even if it is shaped by the absence of water.

Finally, the Church of the Eternal Transformation believes that just as water moves from one state to another yet remains eternally present, so life moves from one state to another yet continues. Life exists on terrestrial bodies like Abeir-Toril on the Prime Material Plane and across the many planes of existence, and when life ends on one plane it is merely transformed to a form more suitable for its existence on another. All the universe is therefore symbolized in the water cycle.

Most Istishian priests minister to the needs of the faithful in one region or are attached to a particular shrine, temple, or holy site. However, the church believes that those who remain in one location and are immersed in the same company for too long become stagnant, so all Istishian priests move on to new postings on a rotating basis (so that all priests are not traveling to or learning new positions at the same time). In general, a priest serves in one locale for five years and rotates to a new posting at the anniversary of the closest major holiday (Midwinter, Greengrass, Midsummer, Higharvestide, or the Feast of the Moon) to the date at which she or he became a full priest. Postings may be extended by petition from a priest or his or her congregation for year-long periods until 10 years of service at one locale is reached. At that point, a priest must move on to a new post. Postings are overseen by the prestigious Elder Oversight Committee, and most of the church politics in the Istishian faith surround the actions of the Oversight Committee or attempts to influence its future actions. The life-long appointments to the committee are fiercely fought over—when such positions open due to death or retirements.

Keeping waterways pure and clean is one major goal of the church, and this responsible long-term goal has made the Istishians one of the more easily accepted elemental “cults” to visit a town. Wantonly polluting rivers, streams, seas, and oceans is considered an insult to Istishia, as well as likely offending several other nature and water deities.

Other ongoing goals of the church are better communication among the aquatic races and between the aquatic races and surface dwellers. Many Istishian priests dream of a day when all water dwellers can be united in their goals and efforts underneath the benevolent guidance of the church. That this goal is utterly unachievable and presupposes the extinction of numerous major faiths seems not to sway them from clinging to it nonetheless—nor does it mean that they hold any malice toward other primarily aquatic faiths.

Istishian temples are well-known for crafting excellent pottery. Using water, Istishians priests mold clay to a desired form, dry the new pots in the air, finish them with fire, and (often) use them to carry water or other liquids. The interactions of the elements are demonstrated in making pottery, as is the mutability of water and its final triumph.

Worship in Zakhara

On the continent of Zakhara, Istishia was called one of the cold gods of the elements. As those were seen as uncaring for human affairs, they were considered opposed to the Land of Fate’s pervasive culture of Enlightenment. Few Zakharans were willing to worship a cold god to gain power.

Vestments

Priests of Istishia dress in blue-and-green robes with coral decorations for ceremonial occasions. Exact decorations and garment construction are not mandated by the faith, but shaded or rippled dying, graceful embroidery or bead work, or layered construction are often employed to convey a water theme. The wave of Istishia is usually carved into a gemstone incorporated into a medallion, a brooch, or a ring. Often the gemstone is jade, emerald, malachite, aquamarine, or water opal.

Adventuring priests are free to wear whatever clothes they deem appropriate, though they are fond of wearing items in white, blue, green, and blue-purple hues. The use of armor heavier than chain mail is frowned upon by the church and forbidden to water walkers.

Hierarchy

Novice Istishian priests are called Searchers. After completing a series of at least three one-on-one courses of learning (a sort of apprenticeship in the faith) with Istishian senior priests, novice Istishians become full priests. In ascending order of rank, the titles in general use by the priesthood are Essential Servant (full priest), Spring of the God, Tidal Messenger, Cephalin, Full Flood (senior priest), Monsoon, Oracle (head of a temple or large shrine), Grand Oracle (senior or elder head of a temple), Stratus Primae (leader of a region’s temples and shrines) and Delphine Regent (hereditary leader of the faith). A priest who has slain or soundly defeated an enemy of the church (usually a high-ranking priest of Kossuth or a fire-based creature of power) may add the honorific “True” to the beginning of his or her title. Specialty priests of Istishia are known as Water walkers.

Temples

Priests of Istishia tend to establish shrines on the shores of bodies of water. Large temples exist primarily in port towns and cities. Other Istishian houses of worship are entirely under water and so inaccessible to most surface dwellers and uncommented on in their history or lore, though such Istishian holy sites have figured prominently in the oral and written histories of the aquatic races. The typical Istishian temple is of quarried sandstone or marble in clean, elegant lines and usually sits out on a pier or next to the water or incorporates a great many streams, ornamental pools, and fountains to make water a vital part of its landscaping.

Rituals

Each morning priests begin their day with a quiet prayer said in Istishia’s name over a drink of water, and each night ends the same way. Spring tide and neap tide are celebrated with festivals by the church. During these festivals new members of the faith are dedicated to Istishia by being boisterously tossed into the sea or a lake or by diving into fountains or pools. Surface-dwelling communities of the faithful are often visited by water-dwelling emissaries from Istishia’s aquatic churches during these fetes, and underwater churches in turn host surface-dwellers through magical accommodations.

Waveriding is the ritual that Istishian specialty priests celebrate upon reaching a level of skill great enough to summon a water elemental from the Elemental Plane of Water. This ceremony is preceded by an hour-long responsive reading and chant, after which the elemental is summoned. The elemental then carries the celebrant on a long ride on the waves of a large body of water. When it returns with the priest celebrating the ritual, the elemental is tossed garlands of flowers, gifted with drafts of fine wine, and given beautifully crafted pieces of jewelry, pottery, or sculpture to carry back to Istishia’s realm as it leaves. While giving thanks for a drink of water. Spring tide and neap tide are celebrated with festivals that involve the boisterous tossing of new converts into water and a great deal of diving. Visitations between surface-dwelling churches and aquatic branches of the faith are common at such festivals.

Orders

The order of Istishian crusaders is known as the Cavaliers of the Seven Seas, whose members are natural water-breathers, and the Cavaliers of the Ever-Changing Truth, whose members are natural air-breathers. Istishian crusaders guard holy sites, escort emissaries of the faith, and pursue the ongoing feud against the church of Kossuth on a personal level.

Mystics of the faith belong to the Order of Cryptic Transformational Purity. The symbol of this order is a human shape changing into a fish. Because this symbol looks somewhat like a merman and the name of the order itself is so lofty, mystics of this order are often referred to colloquially as “fishtishians” or “the Water Lord’s fishmen”—much to their chagrin.

Dogma

Everything is interconnected and cyclical. Water always triumphs, for earth dissolves through water, fire is extinguished even by steam, and air becomes clouds and then rain, completing the eternal cycle. The Water Lord is the great equalizer and leveler of the elements, acknowledging change but holding to his essential nature. Do not try to be what you are not; rather, excel at what you are and carry this message of personal excellence to the world. Be flexible but not unreasonable. As the rains flow down to the ocean in the folds of earth and not up mountains, so do the truths of Istishia spread throughout the land through their natural routes, not through rank force. The mysteries of life are to be enjoyed and puzzled over but realize that some answers do not come in this world, but rather in the next. Realize that the cycles of life are mirrored by the cycles of fate; be prepared to pay the price or reap the reward for the actions of your past or your future.

Appearance, Manifestations

Istishia has manifested many more times than he has sent an avatar to the Realms. Any significant source of water is viewed as a manifestation of the Water Lord by his faithful. Rivers, lakes, and streams are all viewed as sacred, as are the oceans and seas, fountains, rain, and even puddles. Istishia sometimes sends servant creatures from the Elemental Plane of Water such as water elementals, nereids, marids, and tritons to do his bidding or aid followers. He also sends water creatures such as fish, dolphins, whales, octopuses, or even the leviathan. The discovery of water when drilling for a well or when in a barren land is viewed as a sign of Istishia’s favor.

Relationships & History

Istishia is one of the four elemental lords who seem to stand apart from history, unchanged by the passage of time. He has ties to other gods concerned with the element of water, including Deep Sashelas, Eldath, Valkur, and Umberlee, but no strong relationships. He opposes destructive Kossuth at every opportunity.

Mystryl/Mystra/Mystra (Midnight)

Titles:

  • 1st Incarnation: The Lady of Mysteries, The Mother of All Magic, Mistress of Magic, Our Lady of Spells, The Mother of Mystery, Lady Magic, Lady of Magic, Lady of Might, One True Spell, Goddess of Magic, Derogatory: The Whore, The Harlot
  • 2nd Incarnation: The Lady of Mysteries, Lady of Mystery, Our Lady of Spells, The Mother of All Magic, The Muse, The Hidden One, Controller of the Weave
  • 3rd Incarnation: The Lady of Mysteries, The Mother of All Magic, The Lost Goddess

Portfolio: Magic, spells, the Weave

Domain: Arcana, Good, Illusion, Knowledge, Magic, Rune, Spell

Worshipers: Elves, half-elves, incantatrixes, mystic wanderers, sorcerers, spelldancers, spellcasters, spellfire channelers, wizards

First Incarnation (Mystryl)

Mystryl (pronounced: /ˈmɪstrɪl/ MISS-trih), the Lady of Mysteries, was a greater deity and the first incarnation of the goddess of magic. Later incarnations of the goddess were named “Mystra”. Mystryl was most notably known as the being who embodied the Weave, the primary source of magic in the cosmos. She supplied and regulated magical energy to all, making possible spells and magical effects. But her portfolio also included knowledge and energy, invention and creativity, song, time, and the season of spring.

Description

Mystryl manifested herself in many ways through many conduits, but her followers usually described her as a beautiful human woman with intense blue eyes that wore gracefully refined blue-white robes of fine, thick silk. Her skin glowed and her hair was every color of the rainbow.

Manifestations

When being mysterious, she was depicted as a swarm of rainbow-colored will-o’-wisps in the vague shape of a humanoid female, but usually a subtle manifestation was all that was necessary: her trademark blue-white aura pulsing on the person, place, or thing she wished to illuminate. Occasionally this aura would coalesce into a point of light that she used to lead her faithful in a particular direction, write a message, or even cast spells.

Mystryl’s followers and those who used magic for good or ill were sometimes made aware of her approval or disapproval by a gift, a message, or aid in some form. Gifts were often blue or clear gemstones (perhaps containing an agathinon), multicolored tourmalines, beljurils, shieldstones, or a rogue stone. Messages, aid, or warnings were usually delivered in the form of small, translucent, magical creatures or normal creatures such as blue jays; sparrowhawks; pseudodragons; white cats; dogs; beasts of burden (horses, mules, donkeys); unicorns; pegasi; selkies; and mephits from the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Radiance. For more exigent circumstances, the goddess might send hollyphants; gem or metallic dragons; guardinals of any kind; incarnations of hope, faith, or courage; einheriar; light aasimons; devas; or a dreaded marut. All Mystryl’s incarnations, messengers, and servants had blue or mismatched eyes.

Personality

Mystryl had a mercurial personality that reflected her chaotic nature. She could be coldly serious one moment and laughingly boisterously the next. She could be blushingly innocent or sagely wise, blithely unfocused, or relentlessly dedicated, but in all her capriciousness she tried to do what she thought best for the Weave and practice of the Art in Toril. If she had a flaw, it was that at times she seemed naïve and too trusting.

Abilities

Being the embodiment and consciousness of the Weave, Mystryl could wield magic like no other being. She had no practical limitations on how many spells she could cast, how powerful they were, how often she could cast them, or what form they could take. Unless she willed otherwise, she was immune to all spells except those that bypassed her control of the Weave and drew on the raw magic from which the Weave was woven. She could withhold magic from any entity, making spellcasting impossible, and even prevent them from using magical items if she so desired. She could block other deities from accessing the Weave, but she could not prevent them from granting spells to their priests through prayer.

Activities

One of the aspects of her portfolio that Mystryl paid particular attention to was time and the continuity of the timeline. To prevent abuse of time travel, she created the time conduit spell and made its restrictions binding on all other attempts at traveling back in time. She was aware of anyone attempting time travel and caused all research into circumventing her rules to lead back to her time conduit spell as the only solution. Her awareness even extended to other planes of existence, preventing reentry to the Prime Material Plane for those that attempted anachronistic mischief.

Relationships

Mystryl distrusted Shar, who was one of her progenitors, because Shar constantly sought to usurp her power and role. She regarded her other progenitor, Selûne, as overly maternal and sometimes acted contrary to her motherly advice. Mystryl was an eternal enemy of both Kozah and Moander, whom she saw as trying to corrupt or destroy all that she and her worshipers sought to build and accomplish.

Worshipers

Mystryl’s relationship with her worshipers and followers was open and welcoming to members of all alignments. Most of her venerators were human, but all seekers of arcane lore were accepted.

History

Legend has it that at the dawn of time Lord Ao created the universe, and out of the early chaos came twin deities: Shar of the darkness and Selûne of the light. Together, these two beings created the spheres in the firmament, one of which was the world of Abeir-Toril and its spirit, Chauntea. Chauntea desired new and more abundant life for her world and asked the sisters for light and warmth to nurture it. In this, the two beings could not agree. Selûne eventually acted on her own and gave Toril a sun, which Shar immediately sought to put out, thus beginning the battle between light and darkness that raged for eons.

At some point the Dark Goddess got the upper hand and doused many of Selûne’s motes of light. In a desperate move, Selûne tore a piece of magical essence from herself and hurled it at her sister. When it hit, Shar also lost a portion of her essence and was cast into the void for centuries. From the blending of dark and light energies, Mystryl was born as a being of pure magic inextricably tied to the Weave. Both twins were diminished as a result, with the Moonmaiden’s wound being graver. However, Mystryl was ideologically closer to Selûne, and being created from both light and darkness, Mystryl (and later goddesses of magic) acted as a balancing force between Selûne and the Lady of Loss.

In −339 DR (3520 in Netherese reckoning), the Netherese archwizard Karsus took it upon himself to defeat the phaerimm that were threatening the Netherese empire. He had spent years researching Karsus’s avatar, the only 12th-level spell ever created, which was designed to temporarily rob a deity of their power and grant it instead to the spellcaster. Karsus chose to rob Mystryl, and when her godly essence poured into him his mind and body were overwhelmed and he found that he was incapable of wielding such power. Mystryl’s hold on the Weave was weakened and it began to unravel. Magical effects doubled in power briefly, then became wild and chaotic. To save the Weave from permanent damage Mystryl chose to sacrifice herself, which broke Karsus’s connection, killing him, and stopped all magic for a short time. In the time it took for the mother of All Magic to reincarnate herself, most of the floating cities of Netheril crashed to the ground.

When the goddess of magic was reborn—this time as Mystra—she used as a vessel a beautiful peasant girl who was just learning cantrips but who had the capability of one day becoming an archwizard. She immediately took control of the Weave and magic returned to Toril. In the aftermath of the Fall of Netheril, the new goddess took a much more lawful view of magic use and laid down some rules, including a decree that the most powerful of spells would fail utterly.

Rumors and Legends

  • It was believed that the newly reincarnated goddess either destroyed Karsus’s notes on his ultimate spell or sent them flying off to the far corners of the multiverse.
  • Ancient Mystrylan tomes spoke of three-time gates—permanent edifices that were imbued with the time conduit spell. One was believed to be buried in a cave in the Spine of the World; another was atop Misken’s Peak north of Novularond, which was sheared off by the Great Glacier ages ago; the last was on Andrus Peak near the city of Cedarsproke in the Vilhon Reach, which has seen many volcanic eruptions over the centuries.

Second Incarnation (Mystra)

Mystra (pronounced: /ˈmɪstrɑː/ MISS-trah) was a greater goddess of the Faerûnian pantheon and the second incarnation of the goddess of magic after her predecessor Mystryl sacrificed herself to protect the Weave from Karsus’s Folly. The Mother of all Magic was destroyed by Helm when she defied the will of Ao the overgod and attempted to leave the Prime Material Plane during the Time of Troubles. At the conclusion of the Godswar, Ao offered the position of Goddess of Magic to the wizard Midnight, who reluctantly accepted and took Mystra’s name to smooth the transition after so much chaos.

I am Mystra. I am the Lady of Might and the Mistress of Magic! I am Power Incarnate! Wherever magic is worked, there am I – from the cold poles of Toril to its hottest jungles, whatever the hand or claw or will that work the sorcery! Behold me and fear me! Yet behold me and love me–as all who deal with me in honesty do. This world is my domain. I am magic, mightiest among all those men worship. I am the One True Spell at the heart of all spells. There is no other.

— The Mother of All Magic to young Elminster Aumar

Description

The only known description of the mortal that became Mystra was of a “beautiful peasant girl” who was just beginning her studies of the Art.

As a goddess, Mystra could shape change at will and mortals who saw her reported she changed constantly. Others described her appearing in a form resembling a multicolored will-o’-wisp. When Mystra revealed herself to Midnight just before the gods were forced to walk the land of Toril, she was at first just a dark figure surrounded by an aura of blue-white light. As she created the pendant that held some of her power, the glow revealed the face of a “beautiful, willful young woman, with hints of a long-borne pain.” Mystra’s avatar at the time was a slim, young girl named Caitlan Moonsong who had a graceful bearing, large, dark eyes, and short-cropped blond hair. Caitlan went barefoot and wore plain ankle-length robes of a dark hue. When possessed by Mystra, she appeared taller, and her hair moved as if it were alive.

Personality

This incarnation of the mother of All Magic was quite the opposite of her predecessor, Mystryl. Whereas Mystryl was quixotic and quick to change, Mystra was said to be a manifestation of the Cosmic Balance—maintaining order in the world of magic by correcting great inequalities if things went askew. Indeed, in the wake of the Fall of Netheril, one of her first acts as the Lady of Spells was to ban the use of all magic greater than ninth level. Among sages and historians this was known as Mystra’s Ban. She was not as concerned with the ethics of Good versus Evil if the laws of magic were upheld.

Early in Mystra’s tenure, she chose a champion, called the Magister, to wander the Realms, applying the Art as he or she saw fit, choosing enemies that would bring glory to the title. She fully expected that her representative would be challenged and eventually defeated by other mages, only to be replaced by another spellcaster worthy of the office. It was her belief that in this way the Art would be strengthened and improved through conflict and adversity.

Toward the end of her reign as the keeper of the Weave, she had grown tired and bitter, fed up with the schemes, maneuverings, and blatant attacks that her preeminent position attracted from every power-hungry being, sycophant, and fawning parasite, for century after century. Her pride in her status, and the kindness and respect she received from those that aided or worshiped her for other than magical gain, kept her hopes alive.

Abilities

The Lady of Spells could cast any spell ever known at maximum level, one offensive and one defensive spell per minute. The only exceptions to this were if she cast wish, time stop, alter reality, or gate, which required enough concentration that no other spell could be cast in combination. She could shape change at will and could grant other creatures spell knowledge by touching them. She controlled and provided the Weave, allowing (relatively) safe access to the power of raw magic to mortal spellcasters and magical craftsmen.

Activities

Mystra kept watch over magical research and regulated the advancement and dissemination of magical knowledge throughout the mortal world.

Relationships

The first Magister was Azuth, a powerful and brash young wizard who found joy and beauty in works of Art. Eventually, she sponsored him to godhood to serve her and he became a demipower, the Patron of Wizards, passing the mantle of Magister on to his successor. Another strong wizard, this one efficient and methodical, caught Mystra’s eye and she also sponsored Savras the All-Seeing to godhood. Azuth and Savras both sought the favor of Mystra (some say romantically as well) and the two fought for many years, both gaining in power, becoming lesser deities in the process. Eventually, Azuth defeated Savras, reducing him back to demigod status and imprisoning him in a jewel-encrusted staff, the Scepter of Savras. Azuth grew to be Mystra’s friend and adviser and they had great affection for each other.

The Lady of Mysteries was known to work with Oghma and his cadre (Gond, Milil, and Deneir), although she had some sort of rivalry with Gond. Bane attempted to wrest power from Mystra at some point and he captured and tortured her avatar during the Godswar. Talos was another deity that did not get along with Mystra.

In the 8th century of Dale Reckoning, Mystra possessed a powerful sorceress named Elué, and in seven years she had seven daughters known collectively as the Seven Sisters. As a result of Mystra’s presence at conception and birth, all seven daughters were strong immortal spellcasters. They each served Mystra in their own unique way. Outside of Realmspace, Mystra was an ally of Wee Jas from Oerth.

Mystra’s Chosen

Mystra also had powerful unaging servants among her ranks of followers, including Elminster, Khelben Arunsun, the Seven Sisters, and the necromancer Sammaster.

The Church

All manner of spellcasters (clerics, crusaders, druids, monks, paladins, rangers, shamans, and wizards) were included in the hierarchy of Mystra’s church. Wizards who primarily followed Azuth or other deities would usually show some devotion to Mystra as well.

History

Moments after the Fall of Netheril, a peasant girl with rudimentary magical training but an aptitude for spells became the new Goddess of Magic and managed to catch three of Netheril’s floating cities as they plummeted, bringing them to rest on the ground and saving thousands of her people. Being of a more lawful disposition than her predecessor, she laid down new rules for all spellcasters, banning spells above 10th level, limiting who had access to magic, limiting how many spells of each level could be held in the mind, increasing the time it took to cast spells, and forcing long periods of memorization or prayer each day to replace spells cast previously. Arcanists no longer had to specialize in a form of magic but could generalize. This eventually led to arcanists being called wizards.

Little is known of the acts of the Lady of Mysteries except through the words and works of her church and her Chosen. Her known deeds are:

  • She established the title of Magister to be granted to one master of the Art at a time and let them do as they willed for good or ill.
  • She sponsored Azuth and Savras to godhood, asking them to help her govern her rather deep and vital portfolio.
  • In 240 DR, she made Elminster Aumar one of her Chosen.
  • In 292 DR, Aloevan of Ardeep became a Chosen of both Mystra and Sehanine Moonbow
  • In 464 DR, Mystra rewarded the self-sacrifice of a wandering wizard tutored in Myth Drannor by rescuing him from death and making him the Nameless Chosen, later known as Khelben “Blackstaff” Arunsun.
  • In 761 DR, Mystra schemed to create the Seven Sisters by possessing their sorceress mother Elué. All seven grew to be powerful in their own ways and became her Chosen.
  • In 851 DR, Sammaster the necromancer accepted the offer to become a Chosen of Mystra.
  • The House of Wonder in Waterdeep was dedicated to Mystra in 1215 DR.
  • In 1358 DR, in the last hour before the gods were banished to walk the land as mortals, Mystra entrusted Midnight with a portion of her power in the form of a pendant and asked her to keep it safe for a time.

As the centuries passed, Mystra grew tired of the ceaseless grasping for power through pleading, flattery, or treachery. She and her portfolio were the target of gods and mortals alike and that took its toll on the mother of All Magic. Being thrown down to Toril with all the other gods and then being captured and tortured by Bane was apparently the last straw; Mystra sought dissolution. After securing a portion of her power with Midnight, Mystra disappeared. Days later, Caitlan Moonsong pleaded to a group of adventurers (Adon, the mortal Kelemvor Lyonsbane, and the mortal Cyric) to rescue her mistress from imprisonment in Castle Kilgrave in northern Cormyr. Midnight accompanied the band of heroes on the rescue mission and with her help they succeeded in freeing Mystra from the clutches of Bane.

Immediately upon being freed, Mystra possessed Caitlan as her avatar and retrieved the pendant from Midnight, regaining much of her power. She then opened a gate to the Ethereal Plane and took the group to the Celestial Stairway, which was guarded by Helm. Mystra argued with Helm saying she had nothing to do with the theft of the Tablets of Fate and to let her pass so that she might speak to Lord Ao and regain her rightful place as keeper of the Weave. Helm steadfastly refused to let her pass and gave her fair warning.

Furious, she attacked him with bolts and beams of energy, fire and ice, mystic blades and magical hammers, and dread creatures with fangs and claws, coils and maws, wings, and tentacles. Helm held firm, absorbing, or brushing off each of her assaults. Weeping blue-flame tears of anger and frustration, she grappled with Helm and fire leaped from her mouth. Helm held her off with one hand and raised his visor. As their gaze met, Mystra let out a terrible scream heard across the Realms as she saw her doom written in his face. Helm drew back and punched his gauntleted fist through her chest and Caitlan’s body exploded in a blindingly hot flash of devastating power.

When the heroes regained their sight, they were standing on a circular stone foundation; all that was left of Castle Kilgrave. The landscape around them was charred and blasted for a half-mile (800 meters) in every direction. Helm had lowered his visor and stood in the mouth of the gate. He admonished the group to seek out the Tablets of Fate with more wisdom than the former goddess. He then vanished through the gate as it closed behind him. Midnight looked down to find Mystra’s pendant lying at her feet.

Rumors and Legends

  • Those who thought Mystra was eternal said that she gave the races of the Prime Material Plane the first lessons that unlocked the secrets of magic. Those with a wry wit said she regretted this ever afterward.
  • It was a widely held belief among practitioners of magic that Mystra adjudicated success in magical experimentation to create new potions, spells, and magical items, and with good reason.
  • It was believed that the newly reincarnated goddess either destroyed Karsus’s notes on his ultimate spell or sent them flying off to the far corners of the multiverse.

Third Incarnation (Midnight)

Mystra (pronounced: /ˈmɪstrɑː/ MISS-trah), formerly known as Midnight, was once a greater goddess who guided the magic that enveloped Toril and its surrounding space. The Mother of all Magic tended to the Weave constantly, making possible all the miracles and mysteries wrought by magic and users of magic. She was believed to be the embodiment of the Weave and of magic itself. Mystra’s symbol was a ring of seven stars surrounding a rising red mist, spiraling to the heavens.

You think that magic is a tool, like a hammer, something that you pick up when you need it, swing it around for a while, and put down again when you’re done with it. Not so. Magic is a living thing—part of the Lady of Mysteries, a deity to whom you only pay lip service. You can’t just grab onto her when you need magic, squeeze the power out of her, and discard her when you’re done. That sort of treatment comes back to you. There’s a reason why most old mages are obsessed or insane— Mystra punishes them for their lack of respect.

— Khelben Arunsun, a Lord Mage of Waterdeep

Powers

Mystra’s secret was that she was more powerful than any god, save for Lord Ao, but therein lay the secret. Roughly half of her power lay in her Chosen and in the lesser power Azuth, as planned by Ao so that Mystra did not rule all Realmspace. After the Second Sundering, being spread across the Weave on Toril made Mystra much harder to find, and even harder to target. As the Lady of Spells, she was the source for other gods’ spellcraft, making her normally immune to the direct effects of such spells, though not its after-effects.

Activities

Dracoliches such as Daurgothoth would become her targets only now they stepped beyond gathering magic (which she encouraged), and onto restricting it from others. Azuth and Mystra were likewise wary of Ioulaum and his attempts at controlling the Weave. They allowed him only minor successes, to keep him away from his more nefarious plans. Mystra and Azuth punished egregiously deceitful auctioneering of magical items, such as when an item was covertly exchanged for another or was not magical to begin with.

Divine Realm

Mystra ruled over the divine dominion of Dweomerheart. However, no mortal was aware that after the Second Sundering, Mystra abided within the Weave. In this way, she was ever-present & hidden across Toril, able to create other-dimensional spaces for mortals or servants seeking audience. Mystra’s failsafe ‘echoes’ resided in Azuth’s divine realm (also called Azuth), within a royal castle and surrounded by blue mists.

Relationships

Mystra’s customary adviser was Azuth, and she was also served indirectly by Savras and Velsharoon. Other allies of hers included Selûne and Kelemvor, whom she knew as a man when she was a mortal. Mystra’s greatest enemies were Shar, who created the Shadow Weave to oppose Mystra’s Weave, and Cyric, who was a mortal along with Mystra and Kelemvor.

Worshipers

The church of Mystra preserved magical lore so that magic would continue and flourish in the future even if the dominant races of Faerûn were to fall. Its members also sought out those skilled in magic or who had the potential to use it, keeping a close eye on those who were likely to become skilled. Her clerics were encouraged to explore magical theory and create new spells and magic items. Sites dedicated to the goddess were enhanced by the Weave to allow any spell cast by her clerics while in them to be affected by metamagic. Mystra honored commitments to members of her predecessor’s clergy who’d joined the church before the Time of Troubles, preventing them from being forced to leave the clergy due to alignment differences.

Mystra’s Chosen

Mystra also had powerful mortal servants among her ranks of followers, including Elminster, Khelben Arunsun, and the Seven Sisters.

History

Before her ascension to godhood, the third Mystra was a woman named Midnight, who, along with several other individuals, including the future Kelemvor, played a large role during the Avatar Crisis, also known as the Time of Troubles.

Early Life

Midnight, born Ariel Manx in 1332 DR, was the second child of Theus Manx, a merchant, and his wife Paiyse. Midnight had an elder sibling named Rysanna who assumed the role of the family’s demure “princess” whenever wealthy suitors called. As a teenager, Midnight became familiar with the night’s populace of bards, thieves, sorcerers, and fighters and was eventually nicknamed “Midnight” by these friends, a name she immediately preferred to Ariel.

Midnight’s first taste of magic began with her tryst with the conjurer Tad, who set her on her path. She began to exhibit less interest in her hedonistic pursuits and more in the quest for magical knowledge and training, gradually becoming more obsessed with her magical quest. Eventually, Midnight moved out of the family home to seek her own path.

It was during this time that she fell into the worship of Mystra, whose attention Midnight attracted during her time of service in one of Mystra’s temples. From her 21st year on, Midnight began to feel a presence from time to time. She would feel her skin tingle coolly and began to feel that she was somehow being followed or observed. After such attentions, she always found that spells, which she had labored over for weeks, would suddenly work without any problem. Midnight soon suspected that she had been granted special attention by Mystra herself and believed that she was being groomed for the position of Magister.

Sunlar, high priest of the Deepingdale temple of Mystra, took Midnight under his supervision. It was during this time that Midnight’s knowledge of self-defense and magic improved leaps and bounds and Midnight spent a year in the temple at Deepingdale before she left. For the next three years Midnight devoted herself to Mystra’s worship and pursued every scrap of magic she could.

Ascension

During the Time of Troubles, when the gods were cast down by Ao, Midnight joined with Kelemvor Lyonsbane, Cyric, and Adon in the search for the stolen Tablets of Fate. During this time, the previous Mystra was killed by the deity Helm for defying Ao’s command and trying to climb the Celestial Stairway back to the heavens. Her death caused great damage to the Weave, but eventually Ao selected Midnight to replace the destroyed Mystra, restoring the magic of Toril. Immediately prior to her ascension, Midnight killed Myrkul, the god of death, in a duel in the skies over the city of Waterdeep.

“Death”

Midnight was not long the goddess of magic and in the Year of Blue Fire, 1385 DR, Cyric supposedly murdered her, at the behest and with the aid of Shar, who sought to obtain control over the Weave. The results of Midnight’s disappearance, however, were far worse than Shar had supposed it would be and the Spellplague soon followed, causing magic throughout the planes to go wild.

In the beginning, only Mystra’s temples knew that Cyric’s slaying of her had ushered in the Spellplague. Soon after, it became well known that she had sacrificed herself to save everyone.

Resurrection

In the Year of the Ageless One, 1479 DR, while recuperating in a cabin in the King’s Forest, Elminster felt Mystra’s presence calling to him. He found her much diminished, possessing the body of a bear that had guarded a cache of items Mystra’s still-mortal form had collected. She asked her most trusted servant to find new candidates to become Chosen and to recruit Cormyr’s War Wizards.

Only a few weeks later, having been restored to his full powers as a Chosen by absorbing the silver fire of the dying Symrustar Auglamyr and then that of the Simbul and Manshoon, Elminster returned to Mystra (in agony from absorbing too much of it) and returned much of it to the Lady of Mysteries, restoring much of her power and divinity. This event became known as Mystra’s Return. But it was not until 1487 DR that the goddess was whole again.

Church of Mystra     

The Church of Mystra, also known as the Church of Mysteries and by other names, was the primary religious organization dedicated to the worship and service of the goddess of magic, Mystra, or her successor, Mystra.

The church of Mystra is very powerful across Faerûn and includes many adherents among the populace. Were more wizards and sorcerers’ devout worshipers of the Lady of Mysteries, the faith would undoubtedly be the most powerful in all Faerûn. Mystra’s followers have lost a great deal of influence since the Time of Troubles when magic ran amok and caused great destruction. The deity’s actions over the past decade have only driven more worshipers, particularly evil wizards, and sorcerers, into the arms of Shar.

Mystran clergy work hard to preserve all magical lore so that magic can flourish in the future regardless of what befalls the thinking races of Faerûn or the powers of the planes. They maintain secret libraries, private safe holds, well-guarded research laboratories, and small, hidden stashes. Mystrans also search out beings skilled in spell use and keep watch on the power and behavior of individuals likely to become magic wielders of importance.

The clergy actively seek out sources of old magic, often from tombs, dangerous ruins—even liches. They consider it more crucial to know the precise location of artifacts and items of magical power than to possess them, but wherever possible, they work to wrest control of such things from the aggressively evil, the irresponsible, and the unsound of mind. While some of Mystra’s clerics follow the teachings of the older, lawful neutral incarnation of the deity, most have changed alignment in accordance with her current incarnation or have left the faith.

All clergy of Mystra are expected to devise their own new magic (whether it be spells or items) upon gaining sufficient experience. In this way, magical study remains a growing, vibrant thing, and magic is not merely seen as a handy tool for rulers and engineers to tame Faerûn but remains a thing of wonder. Mystra’s clerics usually multiclass as sorcerers or wizards.

All priests of Mystra can cause their own flesh—all of it, or specific areas, such as a hand—to glow at will with a soft, blue-white radiance as a boon from Mystra. This radiance, known as weaveglow, is enough to read by or to allow a priest to clearly see items and surroundings within 5 feet. Most Mystrans keep this sign of the favor of the goddess secret from nonbelievers. As something mysterious, it is more useful, allowing them, for example, to feign affliction or magical attack. Weaveglow is granted to priests after their initiation, which is often a Starflight ceremony.

Dogma

The church of Mystra typically did not employ idols like statues of the goddess but had no commandments against it.

Activities

The church apparently sent out communiqués to its members with news of the opening of new temples and such. The church also found a duty to help folk driven insane by failed spellcasting. Many Mystran clergy wandered the land as itinerant clerics, seeking out and preserving old magic.

The church of Mystra preserved magical lore so that magic would continue and flourish in the future even if the dominant races of Faerûn were to fall. Its members also searched out those skilled in magic or who had the potential to use it, keeping a close eye on those who were likely to become skilled. Her clerics were encouraged to explore magical theory and create new spells and magic items. Sites dedicated to the goddess were enhanced by the Weave to allow any spell cast by her clerics while in them to be affected by metamagic.

Organization

From 1358 DR, the patriarch of the church was Adon, who had been the first priest of the new Mystra. Even itinerant clerics like Tunaster Dranik would remain in at least yearly contact with the church and be in good standing. They had superiors among the settled clergy at the temples.

Hierarchy

The hierarchy of the Mystran faith is wide and varied, separating into orders concentrating on one form of magical energy or another. Clerics, specialty priests, wizards, and bards can all he found in its ranks without regard to experience level or origin. The general rule of the Mystran faith is that talent and ability outweigh social rank or legendary feats. Only those clergy members who gain their spells directly from a higher power gain their spells directly from the goddess, but all are welcome within the church’s hierarchy.

The priests of Mystra are known as Servants of Mystery. Higher level priests, both those with title and lands and legendary adventuring priests, are called Ladies or Lords of Mystery. Titles within the faith vary from temple to temple and follow no standard form across the whole of the church, though most temples are rigidly self-consistent.

Temples

Temples of Mystra can be almost any size and style of structure; some shrines are natural caves or grottoes. All are living works of art—or rather, “Art-raised” with magic and wrapped in countless spells. Most are filled with magic items, many of which are of an esoteric rather than practical nature. Most include an open central courtyard in which daily services are held and from which one can see the stars at night or a magical representation of them. Lesser rooms house libraries of magical lore or serve as workshops and laboratories for experimentation in the Art.

Sites dedicated to the deity are enhanced by the Weave to augment spellcasting power. Through the grace of the goddess, Mystran priests who stand in a place sacred to Mystra can cast spells for the maximum possible damage, duration, or extent of effect (their choice of which). The benefit ends if the recipient leaves the location of the temple.

Rituals

One Mystran religious service took the form of an astronomy show, in which a priest pointed out, named, and revered various stars and constellations.

The Plea for Guidance was a simple prayer that was known to all devotees of Mystra. The clerics of the Lady of Mystery taught it to anyone who cared enough to learn it. The prayer was uttered while kneeling into the nearest lit candle or a visible star. The Plea was often evoked when followers Mystra faced with unknown magic or uncertainties of signs and dreams that their deity could’ve sent.

Magefire is renewal; it is the exciting feeling of great magical power surging through one’s body, blazing out as flickering blue fire as it spills forth, cleansing and renewing. With enough clergy powering it, this cooperative ceremonial magic can heal all sorts of fell conditions. Mystrans describe it as “the most blissful feeling one can know.” It is spectacular to watch. The Mystran to he affected lies down on the ground and the circle of celebrants pours power into the worshiper—until his or her body, blazing with blue fire, slowly rises to hang in midair above those fueling the ceremony, humming, and crackling with the power of the magic surging through it. Magefire often ends in a Starflight ceremony, provided the celebrants intone the correct incantation.

The Hymn to the Lady is a solemn ritual performed at funerals and mage-moots, that calls up visions of dead mages and Mystran clergy as a plainsong dirge is intoned by the living clergy present. Mystra often uses these visions to insert her own guiding scenes. A modified Magefire ceremony may be employed at the end of the Hymn to raise the honored dead aloft into a floating pyre on high.

Mystran clergy celebrate the 15th day of Marpenoth, the anniversary of Midnight’s elevation to divinity as the new Mystra, with a huge festival centered around the House of Wonder that ends in magical fireworks that go long into the night. This holiday is being gradually adopted by shrines and temples of Mystra throughout Faerûn. Otherwise, they have few calendar-related rituals, focusing more on a personal style of worship.

Wedding Ceremonies

The Mystran weddings were known for being short and simple with little fanfare. It allowed for small groups of guests and always at least one witness of the union. The ceremony was reformed by a wizard devotee of The Mother of Magic or one of her priests. If no clergy members were available, the ritual could be performed by an elder confidant of both newlyweds who prepared the Ring. The ceremony started with the officiator uttering the following words: “In the name of Mystra, be welcome.” This greeting was followed by striking a bell or a gong (deeper tones preferred). After the toll, newlyweds were escorted to the clergy person performing the wedding one at a time. The escorts were carrying sources of light, mundane or magical, while the newlyweds carried Mystra’s stars. Usually, the brides’ or grooms’ loved ones, most commonly their parents, were the escorts. The bride and groom were dressed in their best finery of no style.

The Ring was a circle drawn on the ground where the newlyweds were to stand after being escorted to the officiator. It was decorated with seven blue-white stars. The design left two gaps between the stars where two new ones were added during the ceremony, symbolizing the union in Mystra’s eyes. In the ceremonies lacking “the Art” users, the stars were made from paper, while when mages or clerics were present, these glowing stars were conjured through magic, reminiscent of Mystra’s holy symbol.

When the newlyweds reached the Ring, escorts extinguished their lights and stepped aside. The officiator continued saying: “In the name of Mystra, be welcome,” to which the newlyweds responded with, “In the name of Mystra.” Following the greeting, they tipped forward and lowered stars of Mystra onto the Ring’s gaps. Then, the newlyweds faced each other and answered the question: “Do you wish to become one?” As both confirmations were voiced, the officiator concluded with: “Before Mystra, these two desires to become one.”

After this, two newlyweds rose in the air through levitation or flying spells if possible. This was known as the “touch of grace,” during which the newlyweds recited their vows, embraced, and kissed. Typically, the votes were recited one at a time, traditionally starting with the older partner. “I am (full name), and I give myself to you,” was the final promise, followed by kissing of their own fingertips, then extending the kissed palm out and upright towards each other. Both parties moved closer, first locking kissed palms. Then the officiator announced, “The blessing of Mystra, Our Lady of Mysteries, be upon this union. Laugh together, and work magic together, and be greater thereby,” with a wizard’s wand lifted in the air. The officiator then stepped out of the Ring, and the couple locked lips.

Vestments

The ceremonial garb of Mystran clerics consists of simple blue robes, sometimes trimmed with white, accented by a cloak of deep blue in colder climates. Some form of blue headgear is required, though this may range from a plain skullcap for the scholarly orders of the Sword Coast North to wide, ornate hats and helms in southern lands.

Mystra’s symbol was a blue-white star before the Time of Troubles, but both old and new symbols are still in use. Mystran clerics are very tolerant of the older worship of Mystra, as they feel that progress comes only by learning about the past. They let established symbols of the old faith stand, but when creating new symbols, they always use the new sigil of their deity.

In the field, priests of Mystra wear armor and bear the new symbol of Mystra on their shields as a display of their faith. If armor is inappropriate, they dress in the fashion of the land they inhabit appropriate for the inclement weather.

Festivals

Lady Day, the annual spring multi-day festival, most prominently celebrated in Halruaa. The festivities ended in a grand magically illuminated skyship regatta above the waters of Lake Halruaa.

Items

The Flame Blade was a magical artifact that once belonged to the Sisterhood of Silver Fire. The enchanted short sword usable only by Mystra’s clerics. It was shaped like the Lady of Mystery’s holy symbol and engulfed in her silver flames.

Regions

By 1374 DR, the kingdom of Cormyr did not have even one temple to Mystra. In that year, a Temple of Mystra was constructed in Wheloon, but it turned out to be a false temple run by cultists of Shar and Cyric.

Relationships

The Church of Mystra was opposed to the church of Cyric, just as Mystra was opposed to Cyric.

Affiliated Orders

  • Children of the Starry Quill
  • Order of the Blue Moon
  • Order of the Shooting Star
  • Knights of the Mystic Fire
  • Sisterhood of Silver Fire

Session 14, Prelude

Powerful lightning bolts strike from a sunset thunderstorm in the Arizona desert.

19th of Mirtul of the year 1492

After winding up at the Ammakyl store and saying their goodbyes to the merchants they rescued, Sky suddenly spoke up.

“Hey guys.  I just remembered something my mother had told me about where to look or what to do if she ever disappeared. I am going to run back to Waterdeep and start there.  I am hoping to not end up naked again.”

And with that, Sky ran off with small amounts of dust following his heels.  Tina Ammakyl escorted Fogo, Fwoosh, and Angelica to Wescott’s Saddlers to help them purchase a new ride.  With Tina helping, the group was able to get a used wooden covered wagon and four draft horses.  There was not really much negotiation, but Fwoosh was quick to make a friend of Nesbis and accepted the prices offered.

Tina Ammakyl

Nesbis Westcott

 While one group was purchasing the wagon, the second group of Vladimir, ISAC and Avery went to the Stone Stallion to get a room for the night for everyone.  After ringing the bell on the counter for over 15 minutes someone finally came to serve the ones waiting. For a small fee they were able to rent a medium room on the top floor again.  The floor that was the most damage and set aside for mercenaries and those most likely to cause troubles. Signing in as “The Watchers” which only caused a serious eyeroll from the girl serving them. Going up the room, the only thing that was new were several deep scars in the wall of the hallway of the sixth floor.  Which was a bit amazing since all the surfaces were protected by magic.

Avery rushed to the bath while ISAC rested on one of the couches within the room not watching Avery, nor paying for it.  Vladimir headed downstairs to wait for the others to arrive so they would all know where the room is and be able to go to dinner together.  Eventually the rest of the group arrived with Vladimir asked if they had also acquired any wagon fluid, which confused and concerned Fwoosh. It was then Vladimir explained that it was just a joke which Fwoosh was not at all happy about and did not understand.

Vladimir stayed behind for his bath while the rest went to the Stag’n’Flag for a late meal.  Upon entry, the inside had not appreciably changed except the middle of the room had been emptied with an eight-foot woman standing there encouraging any burly man available to wrestle with her. The group made their way to a table ordered some food and drink.  The mix of patrons within the Stag’n’Flag was a bit different from normal.  There were far less nobles within than any of the previous visits.  There were more merchants and even soldiers from the Iron Terminal, the new fortification being built on the edge of town.

Stag’n’Flag Waitress

The large woman was able to talk the muscled guard into a wrestling match which took more time to talk about it than the actual bout.  She picked him up by the top of his head, spun him around and slammed him into the ground.  She then one-handed picked him up and dropped him into a chair at the table he had so recently vacated.  It did not take long for the large woman to make her way over and started talking to Fog, who was also over seven-feet tall. It seemed she had found her newest opponent.

Dlara

Fogo was willing and was able to last an entire three rounds before a quick suplex laid him out flat and unmoving. He was carried by the large woman back to his table and introduced herself as Dlara and a friend of the owner. After being offered a bottle of fine wine, she opened and answered many questions from the party.  She revealed that she was a wizard and wrestling was just a fun pastime for her.

She talked about having moved here from Waterdeep with her friend. Dlara specifically researched planar activity and movement.  She was interested in the wider multiverse, but was not that familiar with the elemental plans, there were not an area she had interest in.  When asked about the odd things happening further north, she did admit that it was odd, and smelled like the elemental planes were somehow intruding on this plane.  She explained, it could be gods, demons or devils, artifacts, wizards, planar holes or portals, elemental lords trying to push their way into this plan, or even any or all those possible combinations.  It could even be something she knew nothing about.

She also talked about the rumors of a set of ruins hidden under Horse Pond.  The tomb of a barbarian maiden queen buried hundreds of years ago.  Her tomb hidden inside some sort of pocket or plane under the water.  She has been searching for it but has of yet not found anything.  The Horse Pond is almost 800 feet deep at the deepest and is artificial.  When the tomb was built, the pond was dug up and then the whole thing filled with water burying the tomb and any secrets under the water.

Avery took advantage of her good will and had her determine what the scroll was that they had found in the Ruined Moathouse.  Looking for the coin and not adding these to his spell book in the future, Avery sold the scroll to her for a small amount of gold. It was with that entry that Fogo wanted to know more about arcane magic, and she briefly spoke about the Tapestry and how wizards pull the threads of it to create their spells.

It was then that Vladimir entered the tavern. It was at that point that Fwoosh decided that he should also joke with Vladimir.  She convinced Dlara the body slam Vladimir to the ground, which she happily responded with a smack down that almost knocked out Vladimir. It was at that point that the party started discussing what a practical joke really was. With that she departed and wandered over to the bar counter.

Before everyone split up, there was a quick discussion for the plans in the morning, and then Angelica and Avery headed back to the room, with Fogo and ISAC headed to Horse Pond to have a location to have a quiet chat, leaving Vladimir and Fwoosh behind with some partially empty bottles of wine and another order of biscuits.  The two left behind at the tavern drank a little more and then also headed back to the room.

Fogo and ISAC had a lengthy discussion on the naturalness or unnaturalness of what ISAC is. It was a long and somewhat esoteric conversation that covered a lot of subjects about what is alive, what makes a person, their shell or their inside, and just what seems to make sense between them.  Nothing was fully resolved, but Fogo did admit while still feeling somewhat uncomfortable, was willing to support ISAC still fully in the party and would still do everything he could to support and protect him.

Eventually everyone made it back to the room and they settled in for a rest they all felt they deserved.

20th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Starting early the next morning, Vladimir went to the saddlers by himself to get everything ready for their trip, while Avery visited a poorly managed egg and poultry store purchasing a dozen eggs. 

Murial Maerlbar

Angelica, Fwoosh, and ISAC headed to the sundries store. Purchasing as many healing potions they could find as well as some random gear that they hoped would help them more in the future.  They were offered and mechanical canary but only Fwoosh was a little interested but was talked out of the purchase.  They did discover that a gnome had been by that they through was probably Jepos. ISAC found an interesting little cat pendent that seemed to be interesting enough for him to purchase. Once completed, they headed to the saddlers.

Saul Blockgnasher

Cat Pendent

While everyone else was occupied, Fogo headed to the Dwarvish Smith’s forge.  He arrived at loud banging and pounding as the forge was active and busy. Meeting one of the young female dwarves inside he attempted to negotiate for some ratty reptile skins he had, but finally settled on giving them a very large pile of cash to have the chiton of the Ankheg turned into a breastplate for himself. Heading to the saddlers to meet everyone else, the group was once again together.

Akrosz Ulvinhand

For some reason, Avery seemed to know about the cat pendent to which ISAC gave it to him. When Avery found out that there were mechanical birds available, he ran off to the sundries store and bought the canary as well as a mechanical owl.  He rejoined the group and all of them got on to Long Road and headed to Red Larch. Only Fwoosh was unhappy since he had wanted to purchase the mechanical canary but felt that ISAC had talked him out of it.

By the time they finally got on the road it was midday, the farthest they would be able to reach would be the fortified outpost to the north. During the trip Fogo concentrated on the magic ring they had acquired from Lareth and Avery seemed focused on his new cat pendent.  Only an hour later Avery dropped out of the back of their wagon, stroked gently and with care and yelled out the following.

“Felis Volans”

And a medium sized hairless cat appeared with a saddle and seemed to be ready to be ridden by Avery.

Hairless Cat Mount

Hopping on, Avery took a ride on his new acquisition. 

It shrunk back down into its pendent for with which Avery put it back on and hopped back on to the wagon. They eventually arrived at the fortified outpost just before dark.  They were once again greeted by the guards, a different set from previously.  With some conversation with the sergeant that met them at the gate some additional information came to light about their commander back in Amphail.

“So, you met the commander; he is a hoot.  Every man here would die for him. It would have been better off if they had not told him to retire. There is not a better man you could have guided you or driving you. None of us would be here without him.”

After a quick inspection of the people and wagon, the party was allowed to camp near the outpost for the evening. Avery yelled out as they set up camp.

“Felis Absconditus”

And his hairless riding cat disappeared back into its pendent form. Fogo continued to strive to make a meal for the group, it was not horrible, nor was it great, but it was edible and somewhat tasty. Deciding that this camp site was most likely safe being adjacent to the outpost, everyone slept as if their lives have never been in danger.

21st of Mirtul of the year 1492

Morning arrived without anyone being stolen for a snack, no surprise attacks, just another normal morning, one of the first in the last two weeks for them. As they were getting ready and with a quick move Vladimir seemed to be able to see behind his back and saved Avery from being kicked in the head by one of the horses named ‘William”.

It was at that point, that Vladimir requested Fogo to look for any additional magic around the wagon. It seemed that most of the party members had been hearing a voice of an old man in their heads.  ISAC pointed out he had talked about this before, that he had a friend Kieran that was around.  Everyone suspected that he had been communicating with them for some reason.  When pressed for more information, ISAC explained a bit more about his friend.

After a quick meal they got their wagon and horses ready and after an hour or so managed to get back on the road again. The day progressed without any issues, but at some point, Fogo noticed a pair of hippogriffs flying parallel to the long road for a period and flew off to the north.

Hippogriff

The afternoon rolled by, and evening was approaching the party find a camp site near the road for the evening. As they started setting up, the weather began to change once again.  Black clouds have continued to grow further south.  Lightning was frequent and the roar of thunder could easily be heard as the storm was moving toward them.  While not raining on them, it was only a matter of time before it reached their location.

When looking around and seemingly directed to a location, ISAC found a pile of large dung.  Calling Fogo over to identify it, it seemed to Fogo that it came from some sort of bear, but not quite.  Bears are omnivores whereas this stool came from a carnivore of some type, but still resembled bear feces.  This news only concerned the party that they might have a large creature in the area.

Approaching Lightning Storm

Powerful lightning bolts strike from a sunset thunderstorm in the Arizona desert.

The group headed to bed attempting to have some sort of watch at night to try and keep the camp safe. It was during late at night that the storm arrived.  The lightning was blinding for those on watch and the loud thunder not only made all the horses nervous, but also prevented everyone from getting a full night’s rest leaving everyone fatigued.

22nd of Mirtul of the year 1492

With everyone awake far too early with the storm pounding the outside of the wagon, everyone was feeling tired and not just a little irritable.  Working together to get the wagon and horses ready they were ready to get out of the storm and get to Red Larch.  The storm kept away any creatures that might have attacked them, but at the end of the day they were still a half day away from probably safety.

Deciding to push on and further exhaust themselves and their horses even more they attempted to make the remainder of the trip to Red Larch.

23rd of Mirtul of the year 1492

It was early morning, and prior to sunrise, the storm finally broke several miles away from Red Larch allowing them to reach the town in rough condition with everyone filled with exhaustion and the horses ready to drop.

And this is where the session ended.

Campaign Notes

It was a long trip, but they made it safely back to Red Larch.  With everyone with several levels of exhaustion, the group will not be able to do much for a couple of days.  They are very close to the conclusion of the Prelude and only have a few things left to find and accomplish. Maybe then they can take a small rest, much like the calm before the storm.

Session 13, Prelude

17th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Starting the morning on the edge the swamp, the weather was remarkably warmer than the previous several days.  It took only a day to reach the Long Road where they decided to camp on the side of the Long Road.  It was a nice change to have the merchants take care of the camp and everything related to setting up the camp.  While not stated, it was evident that the group needed some camp nannies to help them out.

At some point of the day, Angelica noticed that one of the merchant drivers kept looking up confused. When asked about it, she was told.

“I saw something weird flying above us not long ago. It seemed like a horse with wings or something.”

Later in the day one of the other drivers also noticed something flying in the sky. The report was basically the same as he first description. Deciding that if someone were on top of the wagon, they might be able to get a better view of whatever might be flying around.  Fwoosh and Sky decided that they would be the ones to watch from on top of the wagons.

Later during the afternoon, Sky was able to notice far away some creatures flying.  It was not horses with wings, but a creature with an eagle in the front part and a horse in the rear part. After discussing it between themselves, they were able to figure out that it was a hippogriff. Now that they were more aware of what might be flying, they were able to watch more carefully.

Hippogriff

The hippogriffs seemed to be flying parallel to the road and occasionally there were more than one flying, and looking closer, they noticed that people were riding these creatures. Vladimir was able to remember that there have been some military forces that have used flying creatures in some of their more elite units. He vaguely remembered a former Waterdeep unit that had all quit together and moved somewhere else.  They were called “feather-something”, he could not remember the entire name.

The group finally reached the Long Road as night approached.  The merchants quickly set up camp and took care of the horses and wagons. At some point Fwoosh looked for Jepos and noticed that he had started putting together some new clothes to replace his rags, some new shoes, and even started tailoring some of the clothing from the dead bandits to fit him. The rest of the night was uneventful If not a little fearful with the thought of those creatures flying above them somewhere.

Jepos Copperhand

18th of Mirtul of the year 1492

The morning was simple, and everyone worked together to take the camp down, the party, the former prisoners, the horses, and the remaining two wagons all headed south toward Amphail.  Nothing happened on the route south, however, ISAC stopped everyone to look at where they had been ambushed two weeks ago.  It was very puzzling and alarming.  All the bodies were gone, the fallen trees gone, the ground seemed to have been repaired.  It was like the ambush had never happened.  Fogo pointed out that it must have taken a druid, or powerful magic to have fix everything like it was.

While still on top of the wagons, Fwoosh and Sky kept an eye on the sky but instead of hippogriffs, they instead saw that the sky north of them was no longer a dark orange, nothing unnatural, there were only a few dark clouds.  It was toward the late afternoon Fwoosh was able to see faintly four things flying in the sky.  Something to the east of them. Four creatures flying in formation.

The last few hours of the day passed, and they began to reach their camping site, they saw a fortified outpost sitting on the side of the road.  As they approached, ten soldiers came marching out, soldiers that were all wearing Waterdeep uniforms.  The same uniforms as the soldiers in Rassalantar.

Waterdeep Soldiers

These soldier unlike the ones in Rassalantar, these were all older me, scarred and much more serious. Vladimir was able to recognize their specific unit. They were a well decorated and were veterans of many wars.  While he did not remember their commanders name, he did remember the two nicknames he had, which was “The Law Giver”, and “The Butcher”. A strict man, one that kept the law very rigidly.

Stopped and queried by the sergeant they were instructed to park and camp next to the outpost.  After an inspection by the solders and the group sharing some information about the Ruined Moathouse, the party was told that they would be escorted to Amphail the next day and brought to the Commander, who now was the Lord Warder of Amphail.

Getting the camp set up, the group rested with a contingent of guards wandering around their camp during the night. Another uneventful night passed them by.

19th of Mirtul of the year 1492

With the soldiers coming to the camp before daylight and attempting the roust the group, the merchants managed to get the party together and on the road with the soldiers jogging beside the wagons as everyone else road them.  Arriving at Amphail another surprise greeted them as they could see a large Motte and Bailey being constructed by several hundred workers.  The wooden walls were already constructed, a 70-foot hill sat in the southern part and a stone tower was being constructed.  The small fort would easily be able to hold at least a hundred men.

As they slowly road into town, they were also able to smell the Middens.  It seems that someone had burned it to the ground since they were here last.  The sergeant led them into the fort and had them park while he ran up the staircase up the hill to the tower.  There were also two stone fortified buildings being built inside.  The entire fort would be completed before the end of the month.  It was at this point that the party realized that Jepos was gone and no longer with them.  They were not sure at what point he had run off.

They with the sergeant waited to be called by the commander. When they told him about the missing gnome, the sergeant seemed to be confused since he and his men had not seen the other gnome, nor had recorded his presence.  They gave a description and what little details they had about him.  After an hour they were finally called up to meet the commander.  Sky and Fwoosh used this opportunity to rush and run to the top of the stairs.  Only through their excellent dexterity allowed them to get up those uneven and treacherous steps and not fall and seriously injure themselves.

They were escorted into the commander’s office and seated in chairs fanned out around his desk.  There sat the commander, Briiathor Alogarr.

Briiathor Alogarr

A tense discussion then took place, mostly tense for the characters and much less so for the very stern commander. They explained about themselves and how they managed to rescue the Ammakyl merchants with most of the details of what they had found and faced. They gave him their map from the Constable and later during the conversation the letter they found in Lareth’s room.  He was also surprised by the varied weather and temperature changes in the swamp, and even that there was a swamp in the valley.  After being told about the bleeding eye tattoos, he seemed to recognize it and told them that the name of the commander of those bandits was called Lucius Morgan.

He was also apprised of the possible water cult using the drow water symbol. The Lord Warder asked a lot of clarifying questions and pushed for answers in several different ways.  While asking questions, he also revealed more information about the different forces in the valley and their distribution. He was curious about what had been encountered, how many of different types, and how skilled each group they encountered might have been.

They had also mentioned that they had seen several hippogriffs with riders in the area as well.  Briiathor remembered about a unit from a few years ago called the Feathergale Knights that had been serving in Waterdeep under the command of Thurl Merosska.  There was some sort of scandal with nobles and their leader led them all away to somewhere else.  It was assumed they had become mercenaries of some sort. He also expressed his admiration for the Knights of Samular, and that they are considered very trustworthy.

He did query into all their circumstances and reasons for being in the valley and specifically Red Larch.  As a final part of their discussion, they also mentioned that there had been a gnome with them but had disappeared. The party was requested to tell them if they encountered this gnome again. He also requested that they seek and destroy any remaining bandits since they had not yet killed all that were around.  It would take many more bandits to have taken out the Ammakyl wagon train than they had encountered so far.

Before departing they were given a small, silvered coin with a gauntlet with lightning bolts on it.  It represented this military unit and would allow them to make contact and request assistance sometime in the future.

With the merchants, the group headed down to the Ammakyl store to settle accounts and deliver the freed merchants.  The once again met Tina Ammakyl and other shopkeepers.  There were a lot of sad stories told as the merchants talked about who was missing.  In the end only eight came back out of the over 40 that had left with the merchant train.  Tina rewarded them and even bought the contents of the wagons and any else they wanted to sell no matter the source.

Tina Ammakyl

And it was here where the session ended.

Session 12, Prelude

15th of Mirtul of the year 1492

After finishing a short rest, Fogo did a quick Detect Magic to see if any of their ill-gotten gains were magical, and it turned out that one of the maces and the breastplate the priest had been wearing were both magical.  Stashing them away and cleaning up their impromptu camp the group was ready.

The party decided to finally look at and attempt to open the last heavily fortified door.  It was not locked and proved to be the priest’s office and bedroom. The room looked like it had been ransacked.  All the furniture had been beaten up, a table and desk bashed with a hard blunt instrument, a bookcase tossed over, and finally, a large pile of burnt documents sitting by the door.

It seems that the priest before running out to engage the characters had paused to burn anything important to ensure no information leaked in case the combat did not go their way.  Avery stepped over to the desk to see if he could find anything remaining while Fwoosh dug through the ashes hoping for a remnant piece of paper.

The desk proved to be completely empty, and secret compartments in the desk had been opened and dumped, and the desk itself bashed enough times to break it in half. The ash pile was not even warm anymore.  It was evident that the hour-long waits gave the small fire sufficient time to burn down anything that was there and to cool completely.  As he continued to dig through them looking closely, he saw a sheet of paper under a chair nearby.

While in a hurry, the priest seemed to have missed something.  Fwoosh scooted over and grabbing the paper. It was clear that it had been in the fire, and through some means had escape before burning completely.  Most of the message was obscured by the burnt hole in the middle.  If they had only gone into the room sooner, more might have been recovered.

There was one passage that seemed to stick out for them:

“I have contacted our spies in Red Larch to keep an eye on them and remove their presence if needed.”

Otherwise, the room was empty of anything else.  In fact, it seemed overly empty.  The room had been almost completely cleared out of anything.  There were not any clothes, knickknacks, or anything, it was bare except for smashed furniture and a burnt pile of documents.  When everyone examined the rest of the space, it looked like the soldiers had completely emptied out the areas only leaving their packs.  They were ready to depart in just minutes before the characters had arrived and interrupted their exit.

Knowing there was nothing else to find everyone convened in the main room. A lengthy dialogue occurred about what their exact plans should be. It was decided that securing the exit would be the best plan before gathering the prisoners.  They also remembered that there were supposed to be ghouls somewhere in the ruins that they had not yet met.  There were only a few areas they had not visited, but they felt the urgency of needing to get the prisoners away to be the most important.

Heading down the tunnel, they were finally able to reach the end of it after over 500 feet.  The tunnel was straight and in the last 50 feet the ground started becoming frozen as well as the walls until they reached the4 end where the walls, floor, and ceiling were sheathed in a thin coat of ice.  Looking out into the open area they could see a damaged wagon just outside of the opening, and two wagons with horses tacked up and ready to go.  They also heard voiced.  Rough and ruff voices to the right and left of the opening as well from one of the wagons up ahead.  Voices speaking in a language that only Avery could understand.  Goblin.  There were bugbears waiting outside with the wagons needed for the escape.

Huddling around further back in the tunnel, the party started making plans.  It was good that the bugbears were further away and were not expecting invaders since the group were not speaking in hushed tones.  There were several close calls as the bugbears are well known for their ambushes, assassinations, and capability to hear very well.

Deciding on a path of action, Fogo used Disguise magic on himself making him resemble the priest exactly.  Moving out through the exit it did not take long for the bugbears to notice the characters.  Avery split off from the rest in anticipation of hostilities, which made the bugbears much more suspicious because none of the party was recognizable except the priest to them.

A larger bugbear began speaking loudly at Fogo, unfortunately Fogo did not speak goblin.

“Lareth, is everything ready to go? Where is Sar?”

At which point Avery answered:

“Sar is dead.”

“Who are you? Lareth, what is going on?”

It was at this point, that Fogo interjected in the common tongue since he did not recognize any of the previous conversation.

“It’s alright, it’s alright. We found these guys, and everyone has a price. We were able to convince them to join our cause and we are bringing them with us. The rest of the people are back and are almost done packing up. They will be here in just a couple of minutes. In fact, it would very helpful if someone could give them a hand.”

“The wagons are already packed.”

“There were just a couple more things that they needed back there.”

“Can we get two or three guys going back there?”

The bugbear boss started yelling at some of the other ones and four of the six splits off and started running down the secret passage. It seemed that Fogo’s persuasion worked and most of the bugbears departed.  Fogo continued.

“We got into a bit of a scuffle with these guys before they decided there was a better option them.  I wonder if we have any healing potions, we can give them so they can be at full strength for the journey.”

The bugbear boss responded in goblin.

“Only if you packed something, only you would know what is in there.”

Not understanding, Fogo just kept nodding his head in agreement, but the conversation continued in goblin.

“Why did the gnome say Sar is dead? Where is Sar?”

Using that opportunity, Avery decided that the jig was up and let off with a Ray of Frost missing the bugbear, but fully alerting him that something was not right.  Yelling for the last remaining bugbear they attacked the party.  It did not take too long to finish the two of them off, but their constant yelling did attract the other four who made it back just as the others died.  The combat continued until all the bugbears had been killed except one that they captured to question later.

Finally having time to start inspecting the wagons they found enough arms and armor for at least 20 to 30 people and food for a 100.  There were two small chests and a single large one.  There was also a particular long box full of black cloaks.  Avery took a cloak, one of the small chests while ISAC took the other small chest.  It was getting very late, and darkness had already descended, and the cold was biting into them a fair amount. Untacking the horses attached to the wagons, they moved those 12 horses into the hallway to prevent them from freezing, abandoning the two lame horses outside as well as the two warhorses that would not allow them to get too close.

Moving the horses about 150 into the tunnel they left ISAC and Fogo to guard the horses while the rest began shuffling the merchants down to the soldiers’ barracks room. The merchant who had been hanging in chains and heavily tortured had died at some point not been healed. As the time neared midnight, the party started their watches relieving those guarding the horses every two hours and keeping the heavily fortified doors locked.  It was before the first watch ended that Fogo realized that his bugbear prisoner was imminently about to escape.  Not wanting to deal with it, he just bashed in its skull killing it.

During Sky’s watch he allowed the horses to move forward deeper into the warmer tunnel until the lead on was stopped by the closed door in front of the barracks.  There was some consternation with the next group having watch as the horses were occupying all the open space.

Sometime during the night as ISAC was resting, he lost focus and began dreaming again.

“Your body feel light and gently floating.  As you open your eyes, you see an open void.  The inkiness of the void is very stark, but at the same time you do not feel lonely.  You feel companionship nearby.  Something familiar is close to you.  Your body slowly spins around, and you can see the golden statue.  It seems much larger that you are, it feels like you could fly around it.  It is transparent, as if it is not fully there, or that it is only partially represented in this space.

As you close in on the item, the four blocks of the bottom split out and start making a slow orbit around the top part. As you watch, you realize that the top part is really an eye.  A closed eye, but it is attempting to open, but cannot.

You feel it drawing something from you, some sort of internal essence.  You feel weaker as it draws from you and while that happens, you are slowly becoming more transparent, while it seems more solid.  As it becomes more solid you can feel the eye attempting to open again, but still cannot, something is preventing that.

A shape pain strikes your head, your brain, your being, and you awaken with a severe headache and the dream fading with the morning.  The golden statue rests in your hands.

Upon awakening, the statue was truly in his hands and Fwoosh did not have it. While somewhat disturbing, Fwoosh seemed to be happy that it did not seem to be attached to him any longer.

16th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Early the next morning the party, the merchants, and the mysterious gnome all headed out. It took them to nearly noon to get the horses back out of the hall, tacked up to the wagons, and get everything ready to go.  While working outside, the four horses that had been left outside were all dead.  It was not sure if it was because of the cold or some large creature since the two warhorses had large bites missing from them, one of the lame horses clawed into pieces, and the second lame horse missing, and clearly dragged off into the frozen swamp somewhere.

Before departing the gnome insisted that they burn the last remaining wagon to ensure they were not leaving anything for the bandits.  Putting the Ruined Moathouse behind them, the group all traveled forward.  The small trail they were able to follow first headed to the east, then made a turn to the north until they exited the swamp.  The closer the got to the edge of the swamp the warmer the weather was becoming, and the muddiness of the trail and swamp more prevalent.

Reaching the edge, they could see the trail then headed directly west.  Nighttime had already arrived, and they set up camp for the night. Fwoosh put on a little show to entertain the merchants and the opening of one of the barrels of brandy helped the night pass well for everyone.

As the evening moved on, ISAC had Fwoosh investigate the two chests.  The small one was opened and contained a large amount of gold coins, probably some of the bandit payroll. The larger chest was heavily trapped with poisonous darts and difficult lock but was nothing in front of Fwoosh.  Contained within was a multitude of wealthy goods.  It looked like all the expensive goods from the priest.

Theories and ideas were shared, and that perhaps the cold was related to the water group, and maybe the heat was related to a fire group. It generated many different hypothesizes and directions, but without any evidence they could only guess what it all meant.  But as more pieces of information came it started creating a larger and complex picture of what was happening.

With some input and arguments for what direction to go, the group decided to head to Amphail the next day since they would be halfway between Red Larch and Amphail.

Deciding to revisit the statue, ISAC was able to demonstrate that it did have additional powers that it did not have previously.  In fact, it now had some offensive power to compliment the previous defensive powers.  The new attacks where of the four different elements, each one new and different from any magic any of the arcane casters have heard or seen of previously.

17th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Morning came and the camp was packed up with everyone starting to head in the direction they believed was toward the Long Road.

And that is where the session ended.

Campaign Notes

The Ruined Moathouse comes to an end.  They encountered a new group, ones that seemed to worship water as a source.  This is now two of the four elemental symbols they have come across.  The merchants rescued and they are near the road, safety is near, or at least they all hope so.  The Gold Statue has changed, it has more power, what else does it have?

Session 11, Prelude

15th of Mirtul of the year 1492

The mid-morning started off some serious dialogue among the party.  ISAC had to get some information off his chest about what had been happening to him.  He explained that he is never asleep nor has ever needed to breath, but when the giant bug had ambushed him, his thoughts vanished for a period time, and then there was the dream.  A dream that made him feel suffocated and unable to breath, a unique experience for him.  And he too heard a voice speak out.

“I shall tear the breath from all of you, I will give you unending agony of being torn asunder and spread your blood and flesh over the wind”.

It was clear that the party had now dreamed of the four different elements, and something dire at the same time.  The conversation then veered around different tactics that they might want to employ the next time they got into combat, especially trying to control Sky’s need to run forward, something he himself did not seem to really understand why he did that.  Something deeper within him was the cause and anxiousness of that.

The discussion also covered the need to start using the members of the party to take care of the actions that they were best at, such as searching, trap finding, and other aspects of general exploration and adventure. Once the talks were complete, the group began moving forward again.

Sky was able to notice that the eastern most doorway seemed to have had the most amount of traffic.  Working carefully to not set off another alarm Vladimir and Fwoosh worked together to ensure a smooth and quiet entry into the area behind the door.  No trap, nor alarm was found, but a long corridor that went south and had a branch that went southeast just a bit passed the door.  They could feel cold air come from the southern passageway.

Hoping that this would lead to the exit, they skipped the southeastern passageway, but Avery did notice that it went about a hundred feet and ended in a door. As they creeped south, they found another junction in the corridor, this time one heading straight west into additional hallways. They were also able to see a staircase that would take them further down and south. Fwoosh was able to hear the faint sound of water splashing coming from the southern direction.

Wanting to be more thoughtful and careful with their actions and movement, Vladimir and Fwoosh headed down the stairs leaving the rest of the group further up the corridor and safely out of the way. Just past the stairs to the west, the passageway opened into a room.  It was not too large, but it was mostly filled with a large pool of water.  The pool was large enough to almost reach all the walls of the room.  The more horrifying sight was that there were 30 to 40 skeletons scatters around the room.  All in different positions, none had any remnants of clothing or belongs, as if they had been tossed into the different limited open spaces around the pool.

Thinking that whatever that was in the room, was not going to be pleasant, Vladimir decided that retreating was the best option.  While coming to that conclusion, Vladimir was able to notice that something very large was swimming in the water.  As he attempted to look closer, he noticed that it seemed to be a person on the top part and a long fish body on the bottom.  Nothing he had ever seen, nor heard of before. The swimming figure seemed to be chained to something in the water.

As they both turned around and began to depart, they heard a young woman’s voice calling out to them.

 “Can you not leave; I am trapped here. I am afraid they will come back and kill me. Can you please help.  I can help a little bit, but…. I am chained here by magic and cannot escape.”

“What are you?”

“I am a mermaid; these water worshipers summoned and trapped me here.”

“What is with all of these skeletons here?”

“There is a priest here, he sacrifices people here to his water god.”

Vladimir was strongly doubting her words and determined that there was just something wrong with her and what she had been saying but was not able to figure out anything specific, the mermaid seemed to be honest with him.

“Hold on, we will be right back”.

“Don’t leave me, you are the first non-worshipers I have seen here.”

“We will be back in just a second.”

Moving somewhat quickly, Vladimir and Fwoosh rushed up the stairs.  Discussing the issue with the group, Angelica was able to remember about other primitive god worshiping that might have had sacrifices like what was described.  The green glowing chains that held her there were an interesting point. Maybe if they could be removed, she would be able to return from wherever she had been summoned from. As a result, Vladimir pulled out his broken dagger to ask it for an Augury about trusting the mermaid.

“WOE.”

Getting an answer that did not bode well, he suggested they just leave her there. With the rest of the party ready to drop her like a bag of dirt, they began discussing where to go next, when they heard another different voice behind them, from down the stairs. A haggard, creaky, and just old sounding female voice.

“Oh, my little lambs, you could have made this so much easier.”

What Vladimir and Fwoosh were able to see was an old woman approaching them. She looked like she was covered in ice, and as she approached, a freezing cold mist spread out over 30 feet from her decreasing the already cold temperature to something well below freezing.  Cold enough to start causing them pain and damage.

As battle broke out, anyone that entered or stayed in the misty area took damage.  The battle raged further up the stairs with the hag first engaging them with different ice spells and finally closing in to attack them with her claws.  With a fair amount of effort, the party was finally able to kill her.  Upon her death, the freezing area dissipated, and she melted into a pool of water.

Exploring the now unoccupied room, they were able to find a fair amount of coin, and using his innate Detect Magic, Fogo was able to find a magical stone lantern as well as what appeared to be a scroll case.  Avery looked at the scroll inside, and it was evident that what was contained on the scroll was some sort of arcane writing, but Avery would still require a fair amount more training and experience to be able to read or utilize that scroll.

Moving on to the southeastern angled corridor the party made their way to the door at the end of it.  While all the doors in this basement had been replaced with new and reinforced door, this was the first time they came across one that was so heavily banded in iron.  Even though there was a locking mechanism, the door itself was not locked.  Taking a cautious method of opening it, they group could see another door immediately to the north with the same reinforcements as this door, and a very long somewhat straight corridor heading directly east.

After a quick listen to the door, the party decided that going down the long corridor was a much better idea.  They began walking down that hallway, but it proved to be much longer than they expected.  After traveling over 400 feet and a slight slope upwards they stopped.  The party could feel that the further they walked the colder the temperature became.  Figuring that this was probably the exit, they then went back to that last door to ensure no one would be ambushing them from behind.

After preparing for entry, they opened the door to a group of soldiers who all immediately opened fired with their crossbows.  Attempting to position themselves more intelligently and tactically they cast several spells, while the group hoped that the soldiers would advance, but that would be in vain.  The soldiers, much better trained in tactics compared to the bandits, kept their distance and moved in and out of the far room for cover and only exposed themselves to fire their crossbows.

Knowing that they needed to close, the party rushed forward and engaged in melee with the men.  A slaughter ensued except for one brave soldier that managed to hold out for well over a minute.  The men in front were replaced as quickly as they were killed, and then the sergeants replaced them, finally a lieutenant entered the fight, and finally their boss who stood in the back tossing out damaging spells at the party.  At one point, he even managed to Banish Angelica to some remote realm.

But, even the heavily armed, armored, and spell casting boss was defeated but not before causing most of the party to have been wounded and several to be knocked out. Angelica at some point transferred back to this world without any difficulty except for falling on a large pile of dead soldiers.

With the battle over, the bodies looted, and everyone gathering in the room at the end of this hallway, they were faced with another heavy door to the east.  After a lot of chatter, they decided to start resting right here and not open that beckoning door.

This is where the session ended.

Campaign Notes

The group managed to get to the local boss in time before he departed this base for the next one.  If they had spent just a little more time and they would have missed out on a lot of things.  The ice hag was obviously feeling under the weather and did not fully execute all her powers but made for an interesting encounter.

Session 10, Prelude

14th of Mirtul of the year 1492

Everything started off with a discussion about the health of the prisoners and that because of their condition, the party might consider taking them all away now instead of trying to keep them hidden and alive somewhere in the Moathouse.  Most of the party agreed and talked about how to prepare about coming back, or just skip completing this mission.  This was the general assessment until they realized that because of the falling temperatures and the poor condition of the former prisoners, it would be difficult if not impossible to bring them back without some sort of transportation.  None of the people saved would be able to survive attempting to walk through the swamp, even when it was warmer.

Swamp

It was at this point the discussion moved to where they could put the people to keep them safe while the party could finish their exploration and elimination of threats and looking for something to transport them by.  There should be wagons somewhere.  A lot of wagons had been seized by the bandits, and they had to be somewhere. Deciding to use the Ogre’s room again, they moved this set of prisoners there and while planning on moving the dead Ogre’s body to the old larder.

While in this process of moving dead bodies and starting to get the former prisoners settled, Fwoosh noticed that there was another secret door in the room where they had originally come down.  A doorway on the east wall and when opened led to a staircase going down. Deciding that exploring further was the best of all their limited options.  Fogo once again warned about the Bugbears and their fiendish ways.

Heading down the stairs, it led to several other hallways, one leading south, and one leading east.  Light was non-existent and trying to keep their lantern set on low as to not alert anyone ahead of them meant moving was very slow for the entire group. Looking for tracks, it seemed that there had been more traffic to the south than the east.  Taking the route less traveled, they moved to the east.  Strange noises kept being heard, rattling noises, perhaps rocks falling, it was unknown. But it also reminded the party that they were no alone down here.

Moving further east they came to an open room with an opening to the north and three doors to the east.  Sending in Benny as the designated target and the party waiting to see what happens, the ambush Fogo had been warning about finally happened.  Several javelins pierced through Benny alerting them to the presence of the Bugbears in the room to the north.  A heavy and difficult fight ensued with the party once again prevail, but at the expense of almost everyone becoming heavily wounded.

Bugbear

With the battle behind them, they explored the Bugbear area looking for any new treasure.  More Ammakyl boxes of food was found, much it not eaten. Again, looking to take a short rest they made the unfortunate decision to investigate the doors first.  Even with looking them over carefully, they missed the wire that was attached to the door they opened which set of a loud clanging alarm which could be heard throughout the entire underground.

Realizing that staying was a bad idea, they began running back to the Ogre’s area.  In their way was a portcullis that had fallen in the corridor before the stairs.  They were trapped, but not for long since Dolores the wildfire spirit of Fogo, was able to teleport a few of them at a time to the other side of the portcullis, only stopping them for about a minute and allowing them to continue their retreat and away from any approaching danger.

After getting to the Ogre’s room, they found the former prisoners attempting to hide in the room and huddling in corners frightened by the alarm and the sudden appearance of the characters. The party rushed everyone forward to the stairs in open area to the west.  Shooting it with an Eldritch Blast, all ISAC managed to do is to splatter it around instead of killing it.  Avery was quick to come by and using his burning hands burned it all away quickly.  The path was clear for them to go up the stairs.

Carrying the more heavily wounded of the prisoners, everyone started going up the stairs.  Again, everyone was moving slow because of the need to help many of the others.  The stairs did go up all the way to the ground floor, a full 70 feet upward.  The alarm could still be faintly heard from the underground.  Meeting up with the first three they had rescued it was once again decided that moving to the larger bandit room was the safest option.

Digging up some ice from the frozen swamp outside, provisions were made available for everyone. Blocking the door and setting up camp in the room with a warm fire in the large fireplace everyone attempted to settle in.  However, the weather outside continued to worsen.  It was becoming even colder than before causing everyone to huddle as close as possible to the fire.  Using the same watches as before, the night passed without an event except for the noises of large creatures moving around outside.  It was deathly silent outside, not even the insects were moving or making noise.  Traveling right now in the cold would be almost impossible to survive except with a lot more appropriate clothing than they had. The night passed safely.

15th of Mirtul of the year 1492

It was in the morning in a conversation with the remaining leader of the Ammakyl merchants that they found out that the merchants were not aware that they were in a swamp, and that they had been ambushed on the Long Road.  Postulating that they must have been drugged or poisoned for that trip because none of them knew about it, and it was only here in the prison was when they awoke. While this story was being told, the gnome came over.

“We’ve had our eye on this spot for a while. I was sent here to investigate bandit problems.”

“Who do you work for?”

“My employer”

“There have been different issues with the flow of goods and money, this is one of the spots that we had identified.  The Bugbears were out and about and managed to ambush and capture me.  I have been here about a week longer than the others. The bandits would bring in people, usually merchants.  The Ogre seemed to have an allowance but would occasionally come in for an additional snack, and then there are the grey things that would grab people occasionally.  They also seemed to be on some sort of schedule.  When the number of people would run low, more would show up.  The Ogre would eat a person a day, more if he could sneak one.  

We think there is some kind of boss in here, but given what we have heard you talk about, there must be another 20 to 30 bandits somewhere. We suspected that they had multiple outposts and only came together for a big attack and then split up again. I was watching this place for about a week until they captured me.  I was not aware there was an underground until I was captured.”

The gnome continued about the dangers of the swamp, and that he was not aware of where the wagons may have moved to.  He also expressed his concern about more bandits showing up.  He described the bandit operations in some more detail.

“When they operate, they seem to be overly organized, almost like a military force, but sometimes they are just bandits.  There seem to be some of them, the leadership that are a little stronger, harsher, more regimented, more disciplined.”

When asked about the Bleeding Eye, it was not an organization that he was aware of. He also stressed that whatever was here needed to be taken care of, otherwise they would never be found again.  When shown the map from the Wererat, he did not display any change of expression, but Avery noticed something, something in his expression showed an interest with the map. When talking about the swamp stated.

“There is no information about a swamp. I did a little research of this area, and the swamp was not mentioned It’s like there was not a swamp here ten years ago. There was a river, and some small wetlands, but nothing like this.  This is unnatural.”  

“There is that word again.”

There is an accumulation of water here that is just beyond what should be possible in the area.  It is an arid grassland everywhere around here.  Why would there be a swamp in the middle of arid grasslands. Wouldn’t you think that is a little unnatural?”

“Indeed”

The gnome also suggested that the party search for the arms and armor wherever they might be and destroy them. Otherwise, it would end up in other bandit hands if left here.  This was a known location to the bandits. He was expecting more bandits to eventually show up since they brought their goods to this location. When explaining about the bandits, he again mentioned that the officers of the bandits were a nasty bunch, and that they all seemed much more disciplined and fanatical than the regular bandits.

“They seem to be willing to die for whatever the cause they have, which is unusual for any bandit. Bandits tend to run when you inflict enough damage to them. These seem to have a mission.”

It was then that he mentioned an armored men in black that gave orders to the bandits and the bugbears. He did not know much about them, and when a Deathguard was described, he told them that there was no resemblance between the two sets of men.

With a firm plan to move through the rest of the basement, they quickly moved forward moving through the secret door, down the ladder, and finally down the stairs.  As they started travelling down, they noticed that the alarm was no longer sounding. Having Benny and ISAC lead the way the group made their way via the south passage.  Attempting to move as quietly as possible ISAC eventually made his way to a large open room with three doors to the south.  Almost stepping inside, he was able to notice that the room was filled with Orcs in an ambush position, but they had somehow not seen him. These were Iceshield Orcs.

Orc

When trying to move back quietly, ISAC was only able to stumble and alerted the Orcs behind him.  With a lot of yelling, it was clear that they were aware of him.  The two groups converged on each other with the party having an initial advantage.  That changed when the Orc Shaman got involved and began commanding and interfering with different members of the party.  It was severely aggravating to Avery since the Shaman used the exit into the room as a hiding place and only briefly popped out to cast his spells.

Orc Shaman

With a hard enough push, the party was able to finally kill the orcs including the Shaman.

And this is where the session ended.

Campaign Notes

Another rough session.  Bugbears and Orcs are never a fun fight.  The Shaman played a few games with the characters using his Command spell causing a bit of chaos, especially when combined with his Bless and Spiritual Weapon. This is their first real encounter with a smarter caster, and it caused a fair amount of difficulty.  It did not help that most of the combat occurred in a hallway bottlenecking both the Orcs and the characters.

Session 9, Prelude

14th of Mirtul of the year 1492

“Attack?”

A most feeble utterance from Fogo to get the action started.  With only Fogo and ISAC in the room, the combat quickly became a bottleneck as they moved further in and allowed the ogre to move to the doorway and prevent any of the rest to enter the room.  This severely limited the party’s ability to gang up on the Ogre and did not allow all of them to display their powers to their full extent.  It became a battle of slow attrition on both sides.

Ogre

An added wrinkle was added in when they discovered that the Ogre was able to heal itself by grabbing a character and taking a bite.  This proved difficult for Angelica who was grabbed twice for a munch and some healing for the Ogre.  Sky was able to summon from within himself and several astral arms appeared around him allowing him to strike over and around Angelica providing some additional support, but just not quite enough.  Eventually after the second bite, Angelica was tossed unconscious into the room behind the Ogre so he could move on to the next snack.

It was then Vladimir’s turn to also suffered a small chew, and it was when he was about to be grabbed a second time and smokey ghostly figure of a thin man with glasses and a large smile appeared in front of him and blocked the blow. The figure disappeared after that and left Vladimir a bit shocked.

“Benny?”

The Ogre was somewhat quickly dispatched after that point and the party tended to their wounds and started pestering Vladimir on what had happened.

Benny

Going through his feelings and what happened, Vladimir felt sure he could replicate what happened.  Concentrating he focused on his thoughts and feelings and tried to bring Benny back again.  But nothing appeared in front of him. Benny was gone and had saved him once again.  Until that is, a hand was on his shoulder, not very heavy, but carrying a great weight.  As he turned around, he could see the smokey and wispy Benny once again standing behind him.  They were once again together, connected through Vladimir’s growth and strange powers he was able to demonstrate.

 Just seeing his old friend, even as this wisp of something, made Vladimir feel better, like something settled in his heart.

Searching the room, Fwoosh was able to notice a shabby clock in the stained Ogre bed that seemed to be of higher quality than the rest of the rags. There were several remains of arms and legs on the side of the bed. It seemed that the Ogre enjoyed late night snacking while resting, although his snacks were from parts of people.

Taking a short rest to allow the group to heal a little and prepare for whatever might be found next. They dragged the remains of the Ogre to the front of the door to the south leaving the door to the west somewhat uncovered. Angelica used her Ring of Biting Retort to insult and then apply healing to Fwoosh which made him feel a little hurt and healed at the same time.  Deciding that the larger Ogre room was better for a rest, everyone spread out with Fwoosh diving into the nasty, stained, and smelly pile of clothing in the corner where the Ogre used as a sleeping area.

Once everyone had a little rest and additional healing they moved on to the doors. When inspecting the two doors to the west and south, Fwoosh heard a very faint voice from the south door.

“Help me.”

“Help us”

While checking the south door, ISAC discovered that the door had six heavy latches hidden in the door frame that were not visible from a distance.  ISAC was able to muscle one open.  Concerned that there might be something bad on the other side, Fogo started looking for anything magical and noticed that the cloak that had been found was magical, and when looking around further, he also noticed that the shield and sword they had found upstairs were also magical.  When peering at the south door, nothing magical was seen. Vladimir was excited to be able to replace his Ogre chewed shield, but when attempting to work the items through their paces, he found that they were resisting his use of them.  He would have to spend at least an hour focusing on them to gain more insight.

Girding their loins and shaking their bravery awake, they started opening more of the levers to get the door open.  After a fair amount of time, Vladimir was able to finally open all the levers and pull the door open.  Everyone was ready for action, but to their surprise, inside were two beaten humans and a scrawny gnome.  Piled in the corner were more arms, legs, and torsos that had been ripped off more humans.  This was the Ogre’s larder. The smell that wafted out was pungent and sickening.  Blood, offal, and body parts made for a ripe sensation.  Looking inside Vladimir noticed that the two humans had small insignias on the clothes.  They were people from the Ammakyl family. It seems they had found some of the missing merchant train.

“Help us, food, water, hurry, the Ogre is going to come.”

“Don’t worry, the Ogre is dead.” Replied Vladimir. Fogo rushed in and gave them some Good Berries to give them a little healing and food.

“There should be over 30 of us, there is a prison nearby here. The Ogre just pulls some of us out and eats us.”

Requesting assistance from the party to help find the remainder and help them get home. Only after mentioning the possibility of a reward, was Fwoosh a lot more motivated to assist. It seems that they had been ambushed on the Long Road and then knocked unconsciousness. The party was also informed that they had been attacked by at least 40 bandits.  Their wagons were filled food, arms, and armor.

With the healing and food, the gnome approached Fogo and gave him an iron ring and told him that he could seek help from other gnomes in the valley if he showed them this ring. Avery was able to determine that these rings are made through some alchemical means and given to their benefactors when something extraordinary was done for them.  The gnome clans had a unique ring for each area where they lived.  Using another alchemical substance, the gnomes could identify any specific ring.

With a tremendous amount of effort, they were able to bring the three former prisoners up the stairs and finally the ladder.  With them being very feeble and weak, it took a lot of effort and time to bring them upstairs. They were moved to one of the rooms with a door in the corridor. Planning to rescue the rest of the prisoners and then making a run for Red Larch to drop them off and then finishing their exploration of the Ruined Moathouse, Vladimir realized that if there is an organization here, they will either reinforce and set up ambushes, or just leave and take any clues with them.  Understanding that this was their best time to complete their mission and waiting would not be good in any way.

Heading back down, the group moved to the west door in the Ogre room hoping that it led closer to the prison cells and the remainder of the prisoners. Having found out that that there were wandering Bugbear guards, Fogo warned everyone that they are nasty creatures and master of ambushes.  Everyone needs to keep on their toes and watch out. Opening the west door, they found it filled with odds and ends covering the floor.  Any attempt to move across the room would most likely make noise and would have been a wonderful warning for the Ogre if he had been alive. The party seemed to make the most of it and stomped on much of the junk on the floor, with only a few tripping and falling on their faces.

Opening the other door, they could see cells lining the west wall of the corridor heading to the south and an opening on the east wall halfway down of the southern corridor, and to the west was a staircase going up with piles of boxes lining the entire west wall. Splitting the group up with Sky and ISAC heading south, and the rest waiting for something to happen.  Which it did.  As Sky came to the opening there were a group of Zombies that waiting were for them, which then also signaled for some to come out of the one open cell and additional ones behind the southernmost pillar.  All the Zombies were wearing the Ammakyl uniform.

Zombie

As Sky seems to frequently do, he ran into the room with the Zombies to engage them leaving ISAC in the hallway. Activating his astral arms, he applied some additional damage.  It did not take long for him to be knocked unconscious and once again turned into smoke and reappear naked elsewhere in the torture chamber. The rest of the battle moved to the hallway and the rest of the party was able to start engaging.  Benny made several appearances since every time he showed up a Zombie would whack him.  The Zombie elimination seemed to be going smoothly except that they did not actually fall.  Angelica informed everyone that unless they are killed with magic or a direct hit to their head, they would not die and be able to continue to attack indefinitely. With that information the group was eventually able to kill off the zombies with Fwoosh killing one most spectacularly by tossing a playing card through a Zombie’s head.

Once the Zombies were cleared out, they started exploring the torture chamber and the cells across the hall.  A heavily tortured Ammakyl merchant was found hanging in the room who was carefully brought down and healed with a good berry.  It did not help much with his overwhelming wounds, which included broken fingers, amputated toes and fingers and many broken bones throughout his body. When exploring the cells, they found four men and two women in three of the cells.  All were battered and in poor condition.  The women seem to be most wary of all the men in the party and were quick to take cover behind Angelica, the only female in the group. When questioning the Ammakyl merchants they found out that there were also some Ghouls that occasionally came and grabbed prisoners as well.

Avery, Fogo, and Fwoosh moved over to the stairs and the boxes on the west wall of the more northern hall.  When walking past the stairs Avery noticed a ledge above the stairs with some Green Slime on them.  These slimes would have been difficult to see on the way down and could easily drop on top of anyone unaware.

Green Slime

While Avery was observing the slime, Fogo and Fwoosh were inspecting the boxes, most of which had the Ammakyl symbol upon them, but more importantly, there were a pair of doors hidden behind the piles of boxes.

And that is where the session ended.

Campaign Notes

The group killed the mighty ogre Lubash with only a few pieces missing.  Many prisoners were rescued, but what will they do with them.  It seems everyone has forgotten that is much below freezing outside and all the prisoners are weak and barely able to walk.

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