The Puppeteer

Averting Disaster

Session 4

Beren’s Fall

The party teleports in front of the Iron Keep, where Beren Elestar drops heavily onto a bystander: Gilgul Neshamot. The bystander recognizes Beren as a friend and idol, but also quickly notices he is not breathing after being in the water for over 5 minutes.

After a few heal checks and some tears (especially from Tal Rasha) it is certain that Beren Elestar is amongst the living no more. And then, once they establish the fact, an Angel of Tyr appears at Beren’s corpse.

“I have come to take this Fallen Hero in name of Tyr, our great father. May Tyr bless you and shine his light upon you. May you follow the laws of the land, punish the guilty and reveal the truth where-ever you go. In his name we shall shine. Fare-ye-well!”

After these words the Angel of Tyr disappears together with the corpse of Beren. The only thing left behind is the Treasure Chest Beren was still holding when he was teleported out of the water.

Iron Keep

After this the party goes into the Iron Keep where Cara Irandum asks their buisness. The party tells about their mission with the Durthan and the note they have found, and ask to speak the Iron Lord. Cara goes in to ask the Iron Lord if this is allright, and comes back to ask where Beren is. Upon hearing of Beren’s death Cara is shocked and walks away, forgetting to invite them to go into the throne room.

The party goes to the Iron Lord and tells him pretty much the same. He says that it’s a shame that the country lost a hero like Beren, but doesn’t react very emotionally, to the frustration of Tal Rasha, who directly starts thinking bad of him. In the end it is deceided that the party will take Gilgul Neshamot, the Shou waiting outside, to replace Beren in the party. Then they should travel to Urling to inform the witches. The party is also kindly rewarded for their services.

Outside the Keep

The party steps outside and together they decide to take horses (since they no longer have a Griffon). But before they can go and rent horses somewhere, a female commoner bumps into Gene Parmesan. Gilgul Neshamot warns Gene to check his pockets, but Gene is already on it. Finding his amulet, ring and even his boots missing, he sprints after the thief, closely followed by both Ulik Brightvolk and Gilgul Neshamot.

Susy Lavorne

In this skill challange the individual party members can all chase the girl. They get a bonus depending on their speed (+2 / 10ft >30), a bonus for each succes (+2 / success) and a penalty for each failure (-2 / failure). Any character getting behind > 2 failures loses sight of her. On 3 successes in a row, or a successful skill challenge they catch up.

First the girl tumbles up on a roof. All three party members follow her easily. Next she jumps over a roof, and still all three follow, getting very close. Then she balances along the edge of the roof to afterwards jump into the crowd, but Gil, being the only one who is able to balance after her, catches her sleeve and throws her off the roof into the arms of Gene Parmesan, who, having lost his balance, was already down.

It is quickly apparent that Gene already knows the girl: Susy. He asks his possessions back and gets a choice between a dozen amulets on her neck and almost a dozen rings on her fingers. She is already wearing the boots, but has flexible shoes inside the boots on which she wants to walk away. Gene stops her and offers her 575 GP, ‘because I know she needs it”, which she accepts. She goes away less angry and even blows Gene a kiss before going around the corner.

Urling

The party rents horses and after almost 6 hours of hard riding they arrive in the evening at Urling. They directly go to the house of the Eldest, Lady Yhelbruna, and are invited in by Nythra of the Seven Rivers, who apparently knows Gilgul Neshamot pretty well. The Eldest uses her high sense motive once again to fill in any blanks the party leaves in their story, which also makes her the only one who gets the honest story about Beren’s death.

After the Eldest reads the Durthan Plans she thinks together with the party on what to do. Especially Tal Rasha is helpful, suggesting that they delve into history to see if a blast this size, with an anti-magic zone as a result has ever happened before. According to Lady Yhelbruna there was such an anti-magic zone, of an even grander scale, in Rashemen when the Witches of Rashemen first settled the land in 133 DR. The witches were the ones who restored the balance to the Weave, repairing the anti-magic zone.

With this new information the party pays a visit to the local Hathran historian: Tessa. The somewhat older woman invites the party in her home, which is stuffed with books, in bookcases but also at every chair and table. She says that in the Witches’ Lore is no mention of how the anti-magic zone had come about, but that she had found information in the Barbarian Lore, which dates back to before the Witches settled the land. (On a sidetrack it was explained that the Barbarians where the original settlers of Rashemen after the Raumathar empire fell. The Barbarian tribes eventually grew into the Noble families of today, of which Ulik Brightvolk is part.)

The oldest Barbarian Lore tells that the Barbarians settled the deserted land left after the empire of Raumathar was destroyed. Those lands, who had been flourishing and full of magic before, where then left ruined and without a trace of magic. This suggested that the anti-magic zone was originally created by the weapon that was used by Narfell to destroy Raumathar.

Following this lead Tessa suggested the party paid a visit to a befriended Theskian archeologist: Grevor d’Ortaion. Tessa teleports the party herself in front of the archeologists guild building.

Archeologists Guild (Tammar)

The guild looks very deserted and only one old man, Boris Colone, welcomed the party members and Tessa, who he knows. He was helpful and explained that Grevor d’Ortaion was in the Great Dale, which is unaccessible to travelers, because of the strict laws of the Circle of Leth. On an idea of Gilgul Neshamot he writes a letter and gives the party adjusted badges (which have, in small letters: TRAINEES, added). He is obviously a person of the old school, writing a grand letter with his autograph and a special seal.

Then the party rents horses (once again) and travels to the Great Dale

The Great Dale

It is well into the night, about 5:00 am, when the party finally arrives at the border and they camp right on it. As a pun Tal Rasha moves the border sign a bit into the forest, to shut up Gilgul Neshamot who says that they should not go into the forest uninvited. To make sure they all get some sleep Tal Rasha wards the tent with an alarm spell.

Only 2 hours later, at 7:00 Gene wakes up because of two talking females. He wakes up the rest, but they also trigger the alarm spell, which rudely wakes up Gilgul Neshamot who was left sleeping. After this they all get out of the tent, all sleepy-faced, to gaze upon a most extraordinary creature: Bibbie – a strange kind of angel with green wings, almost no clothes and a most perfect female body. Everyone except Ulik Brightvolk is taken aback by her beauty. Only after the other female starts talking they notice that also a ranger in more clothing with parrot feathers and a real parrot on her shoulder, is the leading figure of the extraordinary twosome. Or threesome as it appears, since the parrot is no ordinary parrot, but is very intelligent and even claims to be a polymorphed queen, that needs to be talked to with respect (on which Gilgul Neshamot immediately drops to his knees).

Melly, the ranger, asks in obvious anger about the party’s buisness. Moving the border post and sleeping in the Great Dale. The party says they need to go inside the Great Dale and this only makes her more angry. The parrot also doesn’t help, making pointed remarks (“You tell them, ducky”). Eventually they show the letter and are grumblingly led to the archeologist in question: Grevor.

Grevor d’Ortaion greets the party, thanks them for bringing the lovely females and then introduces himself with shine. He obviously thinks a lot of himself. He explains how he successfully found the ruins he is camped before by following an ancient map and digging all over the place. He has just finished uncovering the door and is unable to penetrate the walls inside.

The Ancient Tomb

After Grevor is convinced of the necessity for the party to investigate the tomb, he opens the tomb through a special mechanism and shows them the first red, fiery wall and the ancient sign saying “Only those who master the natural can pass.” A smart question from Gilgul Neshamot about the meaning of natural in ancient Narfell gets the party the information that natural in this case only means the things in nature. “Like water?” Gene asks. “Yep, like water.” says Grevor.

After some thinking about what to do of the wall, and Bibbie’s astounded exclamation that the wall is somehow not integrated in the magical spheres and therefore not sensible to magical detection (which is translated as “It seems magical, but doesn’t function like normal magic, making it undetectable through magical means. For magicians the wall is simply ‘not there’”), Gene finally loses his patience and gets a bucket of water out of a nearby stream. He comes back, throws it over the ‘magical’ fire, and poof, it vanishes.

There are six more walls, each more deadly then the next, but the party dissolves them pretty quickly, using rock, earth, fire, wind, living matter and sunlight. After destroying the last wall they find themselves face to face with an ancient mummy lord.

The Mummy Lord

By weird chance only the NPCs are stunned by the Mummy’s despair, and they quickly attack the abomination. The combat doesn’t last long, and while Tal Rasha is for once unable to do anything useful (spell resistance, damage reduction, immune to sneak attack), the other party members are very unimpressed by the mummy and after tripping him, they quickly end him.

Central Room

In the central room the party finds ancient texts about each of the King’s buried here. Especially the last king, who lived only 25 years, appears to be a key to uncovering the weapon of ancient Narfell.

The party decides to take a look into the sarcophagus of the last king: Destavor Derinar. They find a staff and a diadem with a ruby at his skeleton, as he was wearing in the pictures. After a moment’s discussion Gilgul Neshamot takes the diadem and the staff, and gives them to Tal Rasha for examining. Just like the items of the mummy, and the other ‘magical’ things in the tomb, the items do not detect as being magical. Still, they probably are, so Tal Rasha, overtaken by curiosity, puts on the diadem, and immediately hears the thoughts of the party members and the NPCs. He takes only a second to focus on Bibbie’s thoughts, but then quickly takes the wretched thing off, getting moral dilemma’s with it’s use. He also tests the staff, but can’t get it to work in any way. (Bibbie is also unable to). After some fishing he finally tells the party about the diadem and together they come to the conclusion that although the staff and the diadem were used by the ancient wizard who destroyed Raumathar, they were probably not the weapon itself.

The party decides to take the items back to the Eldest, and after a moment convincing the archeologist of the necessity, they teleport in front of her house. Tal Rasha has in the meanwhile thought up a plan and tries to convince his friends that he is going to destroy the diadem. While the other party members are unsure what to think of this turn-about, Gilgul Neshamot and Ulik Brightvolk go in to meet the Eldest, while Gene Parmesan follows Tal to check out what he is actually doing.

Gilgul Neshamot gives the translated written notes of the tomb texts to Lady Yhelbruna and explains about the staff and the diadem. She takes the staff from him and gives it to Nythra of the Seven Rivers for safe keeping in the vault. Then in her unusual way of stating the obvious she hints the party that they should be looking into this Raw Magic, which is probably the weapon by witch Raumathar was defeated.

The party meets back at Gilgul Neshamot’s house in Urling and the diadem is not destroyed. (Tal says the party was supposed to think this to fool the Eldest’ epic sense motive, but the plan didn’t really work out as it was supposed to).

All clues and papers are thrown on the table and the party starts discussing the issue at hand. They now know it is Raw Magic, specifically a Raw Magic Circle that is most likely the weapon used to destroy Raumathar, but what else do they know? Slowely they gather more from the paper and helpful NPC’s (Tessa and Nythra of the Seven Rivers):
  • As is known to history Narfell was destroyed at the exact same time as Raumathar. The ancient texts suggest that only Derinar family members made it out alive, although it can be interpreted that of their family only a few make it out alive.
  • Each of the Derinar family members has a unique ability that would better be described as a special ability than actual magical talent as we know it today. Still it seems to be the thing called Raw Magic. (It took Gil a hero point to fully get this).
  • The Raw Magic Circle probably consisted of several Raw Magic users, and those were probably all Derinar family members. In the big picture with the Raw Magic Circle the figures are all drawn ornately and richly.
  • There were obviously several family members that survived, they might have kept the talent somewhere in some civilization.

Eventually the party asks Tessa to find out if there are still people by the name of Derinar in today’s country’s surrounding ancient Narfell. After some more puzzeling Tessa comes back that there is one reference of a Derinar, but it’s still vague and from a longer time ago. After a while though she comes back again, saying there are several unique cases of criminals and other mysterious happenings that could be declared as Raw Magic. Those are all in Thesk, mostly around the area of Telflamm.

Telflamm

Having really only one real clue to follow the party eventually decides to travel to Telflamm. Knowing no better place to go to Tal Rasha teleports in front of the Shadowmasters HQ. They enter and are once again approached by the officer that guided them last time: Diego Gorvelli. After using the diadem to read his thoughts Tal Rasha also lets him in on the situation. Diego is helpful and thinks along with the party. He says he’s heard something about something before that could be described as Raw Magic. He gets a colleague who had been working on it to explain.

The colleague says that there have been several people with unusual abilities in the city and that they are strictly monitored by the Shadowmasters since some of them have done some unorthodox, and even harmful things. He also said that he noticed a message in the local tavern from someone trying to find more people ‘special like him’.

The Tavern

The party immediately goes to find the tavern, which isn’t hard. They are redirected to the billboard and then read a small note written by Sam Deran. The party members notice that the last name is pretty close to the old family name and the message asks anyone with an unusual singular magical talent to come to a mansion a bit out of the city. The party follows the directions to this mansion.

Sam Deran

The party arrives at the mansion of Sam. It is not in a good state and anyone knowing anything about nobility recognizes that Sam must be poor or desperate. They walk to the front door and are told to wait by a butler. Eventually a fat little man comes to the door, it is Sam himself. Sam first doesn’t even get what the party is talking about, him and his gathered friends blowing up Urling and using the diadem of thought reading only proofs that Sam doesn’t really know what he is doing. That he invited his friends out of an honorable initiative to get to know people in a similar situation. But before the party can convince Sam to prepare an ambush for the Red Wizard that Sam says is coming in the evening, they are interrupted by… a Red Wizard. The wizard speaks up to hold the party members, but they are already charging at him.

Combat

After already taking a blow from Gene and Tal, he starts to defend himself and nearly turns Tal Rasha to stone, were it not for Tal’s unusual ability to absorb the magical attacks made against him. Next thing they know also an Iron Golem walks into the room, ready to protect the Red Wizard. This could prove to be quite a challange…

But it’s nothing of the sort. Being a tad unprepared, outnumbered and certainly out-skilled, the wizard is taken down before he can cast another spell. The golem is more tough, but after Gilgul Neshamot enlarges himself through a potion and pins the golem, (can you imagine this?!) the combat is hardly a challenge anymore.

Eram Ekasoki

Before Ulik Brightvolk can take a few good swings to really end the Red Wizard he is stopped by Gilgul Neshamot, who says not to kill the guy. After the combat they wake him up and it is quickly apparent that although he is under the influence of some kind of mind-effecting spell, he still has enough of his own wits to hint the party at it. After Tal Rasha casts Protection from Evil he feels more clear and tells the party about the plan of his master, Lauzoril, who wanted to use the Raw Magic Circle to (yes they already figured it out) blow up Urling and Urlingwood.

The Circle

From here the party decides to go tell the gathered people the news. After telling them what they nearly did, the people disperse. Some following the advice of Gilgul Neshamot to go to the archeologists for more information on their talents and it’s origin, and some just wanting to go home. After a while the party is alone with Sam Deran and after saying goodbye the party teleports with Eram in front of the Iron Keep.

Iron Keep

The idea behind this teleport is to help Eram, who will be safe from magical influences inside the Iron Keep, since it is some kind of anti-magic zone (at least for non-hathran). Inside the keep they meet Cara Irandum, who is not very pleased to become a baby-sitter for the Red Wizard and leaves them to their own trouble. Luckily a guard captain is more helpful and promises to make sure Eram doesn’t leave the compound. They once again talk to Eram for some more information on his boss, but now both Eram and Gilgul agree that Lauzoril is a good guy and not evil. That Lauzoril wouldn’t do this, that it was probably his superior or something.

Urling

Not having time to waste the party once again teleports, this time to Urling. They go to the house of the Eldest and are too tired to explain the story in full. But Lady Yhelbruna fills in the blanks and is pleased that the threat is no longer a threat. On Tal’s advice she promises not to tell the other Hathran before trying to figure out which Durthan are unable to attend to the Moon Festival. This should be helpful to catch at least a few Durthan.

Asides from that the party is kindly thanked and rewarded handsomely. They are also told that Castor Black wants to meet them, and that Tal will know where to find the Vremyonni.

Then the party can finally go to Gilgul’s house and get some well-deserved rest. But not after they drink themselves unconscious with the Rashemi firewine.

The next morning they have a meeting with the othlors. It is mostly Lady Yhelbruna who speaks, telling first of the secret behind the domination of the witches over Szass Tam. It appears that the witches hold the phylactery of the lich in Urlingwood under careful guard. By having the soul of the lich, they also have come to an agreement, where the lich can still rule Thay, but is not allowed to attack Rashemen or even harm the lands. As well as the surrounding lands. For the last 16 years the lich has honed the agreement and stopped most threats against the surrounding lands (Although of course there are always a few evil’s amongst the evil that are not lawful enough to listen to their leader).

Because of this hold over the lich and the trouble with Lauzoril, Lady Yhelbruna suggests to the party that they use this to ask the lich to help destroy Lauzoril. He will help because the witches might destroy his soul otherwise, which would make him mortal and vulnerable, and could likely lead to his death. Another reason that he will help is because it is known that Lauzoril and Szass Tam are not best buddies. That Lauzoril has ignored orders of the lich in the past, and has taken Rashemi slaves and done other evil deeds against the lich’s wishes in the past.

As ever Lady Yhelbruna offers the party a chance to come up with a better plan, but once again the party has no response to her logic, or at least no better plan.

end of session 4

Rewards: 9.000 XP, 150.000 GP, Raw Magic ring of invisibility, unidentified nonmagical ring, unidentified *nonmagical brooch, *nonmagical half-plate, *nonmagical cloak

  • These items may be Raw Magic items, all from the same Mummy Lord in the Narfell Kings Tomb.
Memorable Deeds
  • Beren Elestar is taken by an angel.
  • Tal Rasha cries on Gilgul Neshamot’s shoulder, as the only one shedding tears over the dead paladin.
  • Gene Parmesan gives Susy Lavorne 575 GP after she steals his ring, amulet and boots and almost gets away with them.
  • The party meets Bibbie (and [[:melly and Reg)
  • Gene Parmesan throws water on the strange wall of fire and makes it disappear while Bibbie and the PC’s are still thinking of theories of how to breach these walls in a more spectacular way.
  • The party’s reaction on there being a note in the local tavern: “God damnit, we should’ve looked there first!”
  • Eram Ekasoki’s very surprised look when he pointedly *doesn’t turn Tal Rasha to stone. (Of course not, it’s Tal Rasha, the mightiest mage of Rashemen!)
  • Gilgul Neshamot shows his worth by pinning a Iron Golem, making it unable to do a single useful action for the 4 rounds the party needs to kill it.
Next Session:
  • Discover the identity of the Puppeteer, is it Lauzoril?
  • How to convince a 200 year old lich of helping him destroy his ally?
  • What the hell does Castor Black want?
  • Is it over now?

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