Dreamers Deep - A Strange Aeon's Campaign

Well, only one got away.

MirrorDoppel got away…again.  To be fair, pretty sure we know where she will be running off to.

We explored the fort a bit more, but other than some hungry dogs, the place seemed to be pretty deserted.  The last place to look was the donjon up on the walk.  They were either there, or they had abandoned the area and fallen back to Iris Hill.

Bloody. Rope. Trick.

We start going up the stairs to go to the donjon, and we get pincered on the fort walk.  Again.  We fell for it again.  OK, so the first time, there was no way we could have guessed that we would be encountering telepathic oozes that could alert the whole fort.  But rope trick?  We should have at least thought of it.

Enormous battle between us, I think there were 9? zombie guards, a sorc, a shapeshifting ooze (freaking oozes!), the dopplemirror, and some big brute deep one.  I could get into detail, but here's what it boils down to.

Dopplemirror got away.  To be fair, that was an amazing dive, and I need to give her credit for that.  Seriously.  Well done.

Everything else died.  There were arrows, explosions, energy bursts, a hippogriff, healing, and Orson thinking that he was invincible.  Seriously man, I applaud your dedication to taking hits so that I don't have to, but after being rendered unconscious multiple times and waking up due to Vasily keeping your ass alive, maybe you should seek a modicum of survival instinct.  Fall back and regroup, believe it or not, is a valid combat strategy.

So, we've retaken the fort.  Sleepless Agency is disseminating the information that we are not enemies of the state (or at least not their state).  Do cultists have a state?  Some do, I suppose.  Not sure on these.

We're taking a day to recover.  Unfortunately that gives the cultists a day to organize, and they know for sure what is going on because dopplemirror escaped, and can easily provide them with information.  Iris Hill is next.  We know it.  They know it. 

But we need answers, they're tied up in some way with Lowels, and even if they're not, we need information from inside that building to figure out what he is up to.  Maybe find a way to get our memories back?  Again, it appears that our memories are not gone, but more…blocked?  Stressful situations have resulted in flashbacks for others.  Of course, I have gotten jack shit so far, so maybe mine are gone.  Maybe not.  I get the feeling that more of my answers will be within Iris Hill proper.

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I don't have enough bombs for this.

Fought some deep ones.  Fought some of the guard/merc/whatevers.  Fought some more deep ones.  Fougth some more guard/merc/whatevers.

Honestly, the big thing at this point was with the mirror doppleganger.  Soul Sliver or something like that, according to Iustin.  It does explain the "trustworthy individual" who was answering at the front gate.  Anyway, s/he/it can jump through or in mirrors, look like a mirror image of someone else, and knows how to use pointy weapons to pretty good effect.  We're busting mirrors now whenever we see one.

We decided to take up camp within the fort itself, in the area where the ghost was, as it was an area avoided by those who had taken up residence here.  We laid down some false trails, etc.  Vasily did go back into town briefly to update the Sleepless Agency, and to properly bury the remains of the ghost.  No point in sleeping somewhere if the ghost is just going to pop back up and jump in and out of the walls at us again.

We got moving the next morning, after hearing them searching for us through most of the night.  They set up some explosive runes by the cistern, so the fort is aware that we're back in and moving.  Killed a couple more merc/guard/whatevers, destroyed another mirror.

I'm wondering if they're still here, trying to maintain control of the fort, or if they have fallen back to Iris Hill.  Seriously hoping they're still here.

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Party's back together
Something something hate rez

After spending the day resting and recovering from the disastrous first attempt to enter the fort, the remaining members of the party settled into the new chapel to make plans on what to do next. Around that time, Iustin kicked the door to the chapel open, threw down an unconscious villager, and told them that the cult was watching them. Winter, the kids, and a boy from town named Sholn(?) were with him as well. There was a long story about how Iustin was rezzed, and then how the cult had been infiltrated by an outsider who had set Iustin free.

Iustin also had a scroll of raise dead and two scrolls of greater restoration, which may or may not have been acquired on credit (spoiler alert: they were). Orson was brought back to the land of the living.

The next day led to another attempt to infiltrate the fort, this time through the town's communal cistern. After using water breathing to breach the fort, the party cleared the basement of a group of deep ones and a ghost that used spring attack and incorporeality to really annoying effect.

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#@#*&^#@^

Orson and Iustin are dead.  And honestly, I'm not sure what other play we could have made.

There were other plays, of course.  There always is.  We explored our options fairly thoroughly, actually.  We looked into tracks.  We discussed information with the Sleepless Agency.  We scouted the town.  We tried talking to people.   We tried following up with the merchant we were talking to, but verified that he was responsible for taking Winter and the kids.  We have all but verified that there is another Star Stella within Iris Hill, but with no information on how to utilize them.  Pretty sure they teleport, but is it teleportation within an area?  Between each other?  Doesn't matter, we don't know how to use them.  There was a note for us from the merchant Jarreth, saying to meet them at the bookseller's at midnight if we wanted to see our friends again.

Obvious traps, areas of questionable access, and missing people.  We decided on trying to sneak into the fort.  The fort that nobody hears from anymore.  That reliable people have disappeared into, that may give us assistance in infiltrating Iris Hill.  We have a plan to sneak in.  It is a good plan.

And we get destroyed because we didn't know that they had telepathic confusing oozes that could alert the entire fort.

There were two oozes, there might be more (gods I hope not).  There were the guards, which I'm not sure what was going on with them, but pretty sure they're undead?  There were Deep Ones wielding magic missile wands.  We got split, and we got destroyed.

GC is down and bleeding out somewhere.  His hippogriff carried him off.  Iustin got surrounded and splattered.  Orson put up an amazing fight, but one good hit and he died, falling off of the wall.  Vasilly and I jumped off of the walls to escape.  We grabbed Orson's body since it was there, but not sure what we can do.  We have no capability of bringing back life, nobody in town is able to.  Our base of operations is known, we are injured, we need to heal up GC, and if we have time, do we go to the trap at this point, to try to save the lives of Winter and the kids?  Would it even matter at this point?

Honestly not being defeatist here, but there is a TON of snap calls we need to make right now if we're going to have a chance to survive the night.

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Running in Circles

We've been spending our time running in circles and pulling threads that lead nowhere.

We dropped off the "witch" back at the Sleepless Building, and they have her locked down for now.  The person that she had been communicating with we think is in the Iris Hill building complex, which we discovered is surrounded by an impenetrable wall of thorns.  We even walked around it to make sure.  There may be an entrance through the gatehouse, as it was reported that some individuals have been seen going into Iris Hill, even after the count took off on his bug boat.

There is suspicion of the fort, as they have locked up and are not letting anyone in.  We went up and knocked, and tried to pull our former clout of working with the count to let us in, but the person who answered refused us entry.  Thing is, with all of the disappearances, one of the few places in town that would allow for holding that many people would be the fort.  The Sleepless Agency has already scouted the warehouses, etc. on the waterfront, which admittedly would have been my first guess.

Then there's the sudden influx of people in town, merchants, traders, people looking to be minor nobility.  Every one wearing yellow, from what I can tell.  Of course what makes things all that much more suspicious is why the hell are they here?  Suspicion is that they're probably some sort of cult.  I don't know if I would necessarily go that far (yet), but it is probably true.  There is no other reason for them to be here.  Seeking the count's favor?  He's gone, and nobody knows when he will return.  Trade?  The town is almost lawless, with only a minor merchant area.  We tried to make some noise of trying to get in with whatever it is that they're going on about, and even got a small bite with someone who talks of getting benefits if the price is right.  Even talked without blinking when we mentioned one of the old gods.  Didn't go much of anywhere at this point though.

We checked out the old temple, that appears to be binding something in?  Whole place is looted except for a golden jeweled cup sitting on the altar, and it looks like there is a circle turned inward around the altar.  Yeah, not going to bother with that.

Anyway, end of the day we go rest at the new chapel, when we hear a call for help.  We run out to discover an agent of the Sleepless Agency unconscious, at the intersection between the fort and one of the two star stella (which, no clue what's going on there).  Took them back to the Sleepless Agency, where we hope they'll recover.  We get back to new chapel to rest…

And Winter is gone.  There's a note, saying to stop snooping.  Hell no.

So, 4 possibilities.  1, Iris Hill.  2, the Fort.  3, the merchant.  4, the Star Stella.

I'm willing to poke into some possibilities during the day, especially info on the star stella with some of the locals, etc.  Maybe even try to get some info out of one of the merchants.  But if it hits night again, I say we should hit the fort.  If Winter is kidnaped, most reasonable place to hold is the Fort.  Worst case scenario, we anger one person, who is hiding behind the walls anyway.

If I'm even willing to wait that long.  I think some fireworks are in order…

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So much not right

So, everyone has those moments where you ask yourself "What the HELL was I thinking?"

For the record, it is especially fun when you really don't remember what you were thinking.

So we wake up in the morning, and go to the Sleepless Building, because if anyone has any information on what's going on, it's going to be there.  CrankyLady tells us that there's some disturbance in a sea cave outside of town, and rumors are that's where the Briarstone Witch is hanging out.  Doubtful.  Whatever.  We decide to go there to check it out, maybe get some answers.

On the way, GC, or Kanan I guess (?), meets an old friend that he doesn't know.  They talk about a card game, seeing him being suspicious down by the docks, etc.  We decide to go see what we can find down there, as the fisherman who has seen things in the sea cave is also in that area.

We go out on the dock, find the bag he and Blue had stashed there and went back to shore without incident.

Just kidding, there was a FREAKING MONSTROSITY OF TEETH AND GIBBERING AND UGLY HIDING THERE.  It swallowed me, I blew it up from the inside, it was nasty.

The bag had some things in it with a note, written to themselves.  So there must have been a suspicion that a memory wipe would be possible?  Anyway, note listed some confederates, people to stay away from, looked to be against Lowels.  Stuff in the bag was a downpayment to someone who was in town for some contraband.

So, two things.  First, fishy stuff in the bag.  Necro juju, nondetection potion, etc.  Where did they get this stuff?

Second, I was listed as one to stay away from, as I was completely loyal to Lowels.  Was I?  What was I thinking?  Was I playing a game, actually against him?  Was I loyal to him?  Did I get in too deep?  Fuck if I know.  I was rolling around this in my head…are my memories gone?  Could I get them back (destroyed vs. blocked)?  If I could get them back, would I want them back, if they lead me back to being loyal to him?

But then I remembered I'm not a fucking idiot.  Even if I was loyal to him, I'm clearly not now.  The things that have occurred would break that loyalty, even if it were true.  And nobody steals from me.

Anyway..met the sailor, he agrees to take us out to the island.  We met the contact in the tavern for the contraband which was…scrolls of Erase.  What the hell.  Highly empowered scrolls of Erase.  Guy says that he can smuggle us out of town.  We ask him to hang around a bit, cover his inn bill, etc.  He says he can.

We go out to the island.  I hate this place…so much.  We were attacked by the vines on the island.  We were attacked by some kind of invisible POS, and then by wolves THAT SHOT FUNGUS DOWN MY THROAT!

Then there was the stupid druid that was blasting us with lightning and tried to get away.  We put her down, but then Vasilly saved her for some godsforsaken reason.  Seriously, why?  When she wakes up she'll just turn into an air elemental again and escape.  I…I don't…gah!

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Return to Civilization?

Huh.  Turns out I hate it here too.  Starting to wonder if it is a general disdain of stupidity, or if it has more to do with the past that I cannot remember.

 

So we're finally out of the asylum. Near the docks we found a couple other survivors in a shed.  Also mind-whammied.  Odd thing though – they appear to have more of their memories than the rest of us have.  Orson, a human who's on a bit of a hair trigger on…well, on everything.  He killed Jeff for some reason.  Had to go through the whole ritual to get him back again.  I can tell Jeff's getting frustrated with not being able to communicate effectively.  I'll have to work on that.

 

Anyway, the other is a cleric of P.  They survived by locking themselves in a shed, put down the ghouls and other things that came towards them.  After finding them, we made arrangements to head to Thrushmoor.  That's where Winter was heading back to in order to report in, and try to figure out what was going on.  Wren stayed back with the survivors of the asylum disaster to manage things until Winter can get some people back to help them.  Everything else aside, many of them are very ill through various reasons, and throw on the terror of what just happened?

 

GC had a hippogriff show up on the boat ride down the river.  So that's a thing.

 

We get to Thrushmoor, and it is not right in lots of ways.  First, it is bigger than it should be.  Lots built up, but not enough support for it.  Second, there are chalk drawings on the sides of buildings that appear in the middle of the night.  Nobody knows how they're getting there, but more on that in a minute.  They have a distinct artistic style of alien architecture.  Third, people are disappearing, nobody knows where.  Fourth, those in authority, including Dear Leader, have either holed up or left.  Fifth, Accuser Omari has disappeared, much to Winter and my consternation.

 

While the others went shopping and to offload some things, I went with Winter.  Some woman there that I didn't bother remembering the name of was pissed to hear that myself and the others had returned.  Apparently we have a reputation in town, all tied to Lowels in one way or another.  We got a bit more confirmation of that from the bartender at The Stain.  He skipped over me though.  We're going to have a talk about that later.

 

Look, to an extent I think the clean slate of my head has done me some good.  But nobody steals from me, and like hell if I'm going to let that go.  If I can't remember it, I sure as hell am going to research it.

 

We headed towards the temple in town to try to get some answers, as that's where Vasilly was before he lost his head.  There was a mob around a nearby house though, targeting the painter who lives there as the culprit of the chalk drawings and the disappearances.  We did a quick investigation, since as I mentioned before all authorities are MIA, and determined that most likely it isn't him.  He has been painting merging cities and other of his dreams, which is a bloody bad idea right now.  He asked for us to sit for him to paint our faces into some dream painting he did, but yeah…hell no.

 

We went to the temple, but by this time we knew that it was empty.  The head of the temple had disappeared.  We stayed the night, but a constant wailing made it difficult to sleep.  Not impossible, just a pain.  We went to the Wailing House and dug into it a bit.  Found the owner deceased and trapped behind a shelf in his basement.  Doing a proper burial, and hopefully that will put an end to it?  Damn haunts.

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Cost
End of Book 1

The Tatterman is dead.  He's not the only one.

We decided that we needed to make a final push.  We are too far out of resources to wait much longer.  Wren told us that one of Z's followers was in a tower in ghoul territory, and that taking him down, or at least encountering he/she/it would help.  We went back into their area to try to clear it out.  If anything, clearing the ghouls would help the cultist followers survive, so long as they didn't mind starving.  But better starving than starving and being chewed on.

We moved in, only for a wall to drop on us.  Some ghoul was being clever and setting traps.  We killed the ghouls that dropped the wall on us, and moved on.  We found another room with ghouls, and they were keeping 2 hostages.  Kind of.  One human chained to the wall, and something under a crate.  We killed the ghouls, saved the guy, and the guy warned us to not let the thing out of the box.  It was a "bad dog" made of horror.  Turned out he wasn't hallucinating, he was right.  This…thing…dog with a beard made of veins was what was in there, and it was.  Well, it was.  It was ugly.  Holy hell, if anything, I'm viewing myself as prettier and prettier every day after being in here after seeing some of this crap.  Wish I could unsee some of this crap.

Anyway, terrordog killed the prisoner, and we eventually put the thing down.  We then killed a few more ghouls, and found the tower where the Vapor Cultist was.  Yeah, they have some long name, but screw it.  Vapor Cultist.  Couldn't see the thing through the fog unless you were right up next to it, but if you were there you were in danger of being knocked out by the fumes.  So that happened to Brovaick, but eventually we killed the cultist and the smoke stopped appearing here.  Still lots around though.

On the way back down we checked out one more door, only to find the ghoul king.  Stunk..a lot.  He was wearing his hand as a necklace.  Weird chap.  Anyway, he's dead now.  We almost were too, so we decided to take one more night to recover before making a final assault on Zendallas and his happyfuntime cult.

Every day I wake up, thinking that yesterday had to have been the worst day.  I never figured myself to be an optimist (of the little memory I have), but turns out that every day is indeed worse than the next, and even after our stay here, I can't imagine that it is going to get better anytime soon.

We make the final assault on the cultists.  It was a drive out of desperation, but…we should have planned it out better.  I don't know how that would have changed anything though, unfortunately.

We encounter the true believer guards, including the crazy cat lady who likes strangling people.  Before we knew exactly what was happening, they swarmed Brovaick and killed him.  He lived long enough to keep them off of us, but one cultist with his dying breath, smashed in Brovaick's skull.

At this point…we're down a man.  We recruit one of the useless guards from Winter's crew.  Turns out, this one wasn't so useless.  In fact, he was damn good, as far as it went.  I'll give credit to him.  Not sure where he was when we were "proving we aren't dopplegangers," but whatever.

We move on, and find 3 more Vapor Cultists, sitting in a room filled with Zendallas' drawings.  Seriously messed up stuff.  Stripped all of them off of the walls, and the cultists just kinda sat there watching us…and letting their foul smoke dribble out of their mouths.  The drawings are probably worth nothing, but there's probably some crazy nut who will hear about what happened here.  For some reason, even terrible artwork increases in price once the artist is dead.

Anyway, we attack the Vapor Cultists finally, and…well, there was a lot of sleeping.  Eventually dropped them and everyone woke up.

We move down the hall and encounter He Who Once Was Zendallas.  Yeah, that's not him anymore.  Someone is using him as a Meat Puppet.  He was doing the whole Princess and the Pea bit with lots of mattresses, and he didn't want to talk to us.  Just started slamming our brains around, and the voice that was coming out of his mouth wasn't his.  Definitely was Tatterman running the show.  We destroyed the puppet easy enough.

And then the smoke came barreling out of his body, and Tatterman manifests.

We…were not prepared.  Tatterman dropped the guard and outright slaughtered Istanu.  I threw everything I had at him, and it wasn't enough.  He kept healing whatever I did.  Iustin ran and tried to get help, brought in Wren and went for more.  GC and I did what we could with what we had, but was largely ineffectual.  Managed to get a potion into the guard and get him back up.  Only benefit was for a while I had him stuck to the floor.  Eventually that ran out too, and Tatterman…disappeared.  Just before he left, we discovered he was weak to silver.  For some reason.

Iustin found Tatterman, as he was going towards the encampment of survivors with Winter's crew.  We found the Chain of Nights book and a few other odds and ends, and went down in search of where Tatterman went, only to run into Iustin.

We rushed down, and between GC's silvered arrows a hell of a lot of luck, and lots of hitting with silver daggers after he went down, the rest of us survived.  Tatterman got to about 10 of the survivors, and most of the "cultists" were happy to not be cultists anymore.

There were 5 of us who woke up imprisoned by the crazy nurse doppleganger.  Now there is only 3 of us left.  And, risking to speak for all of us, we have a bone to pick with Hasteron Pragmis Lowels IV.  A sharp bone.  In his spleen.  The bone is also on fire.  I will make sure of that.

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Taking a flying leap

I said it before…I really hate it here.

So with food supplies dwindling, we really need to figure out how to get out of here, or at least get to the kitchens, or so we thought.

First, we decided to clear out the outdoor area near where the survivors is.  That wasn’t great, but ultimately a good idea.  There was a…thing…flying around, and it decided that I looked like a fun playtoy to hug and fly away with and…bad touch.  I shoved bombs in its face, and the archer did what the archer does.  The thing put me up on a ledge for a moment.  Fortunately after all the bombs and arrows, I was able to put a last bolt in it to put it down.

After that, we looked in on the morgue, shed, thing.  Basement of the area fell out, and it goes down further than we are going to look into, unless we really have to.

We returned to the cultist’s encampment, and looked in on the kitchens.  Unfortunately, it looks like all they have left is about a day’s worth of potatoes, and then they’re out of food as well.  All other stores have been crushed by debris, or spoiled by a haunt near the ovens.

We conned the guards into letting us through the barricaded area to try to find more food.  More food would be good, but we’re still on the hunt for the tower where we may find some way to put an end to this garbage and get out.

We were ambushed by some ghouls, which we were really not surprised about.  What we were surprised about was being led on a chase and ultimately attacked by a FREAKING UNICORN.  That…just wasn’t right.  Blue boy almost bought it, but we managed to survive.  Put down the unicorn, found a body that we buried that the unicorn seemed attached to.  Hopefully that calms things down?

We were running pretty ragged at this point, but decided to explore just a bit further, especially since the guards decided that they weren’t going to let us back in without any food.  Looked around and saw UGLY!  Little thing with a big mouth that yelled really loud and had a lot of pointy feet.  We played tag for a bit before he finally got the jump on me, and then the dwarf.  Managed to get it killed though, and we got it skinned and brought back to the cultist camp.  I hope that it is edible.  Maybe.  Hope.  Sure.

We absconded with some potatoes, and went back to talk to Winter.  Tomorrow we have to make a hard push to try to resolve things.  We are out of food by morning.

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Sleeping Transformations

So apparently the Tatterman can change people in their sleep and turn them into his…servants?  Thralls?  Uncontrolled agents of chaos?  Some or all of the above?  Don't get me wrong, I like some chaos as much as  the next, but this is pushing things quite a bit.

So we went back to talk to the kid about his lantern so we could lay his brother to rest.  He demanded we get his toy soldiers from his room first.  I…sigh…fine.  So we head back only to find that the old bleeding lady has filled the hallway with blood completely, and unless we decide to swim up-blood, we were going to have to find another way in.  We went back to the waiting room and went outside to find yellow fog everywhere, and headless bats tunneling out of the ground and swarming us.  Blew em up, but man…ugly.  We get inside again, where we fight some giant blood clots. That was…I can't think of a nasty enough word.  Maybe there's something in orcish?  Covered Brovaick, which probably isn't healthy.

Anyway, we search the area, search the rooms, find some oddities (lantern flame frozen in time, inmate who kicked  a couple cultists to death before dying himself, and the toy soldiers for the kid).  Big thing though was finding someone alive, barely.  Was having a nightmare when we found him, but before we could wake him and help, he died, and then woke up again as a ghoul.  We heard that the Tatterman "turns people into who they truly are," so this could be that?

Dwarf got blasted by the blood river from bleeding lady, but we got across and I snuck into the medication area.  There were a few cultists who were…partaking.  Gave lady her medication, and apparently she has stopped.  Killed halfling ghoul, and he had a pretty nice crossbow on him.  Will use it for now.

Went back to the main group and talked to the kid.  He wanted to come with to help calm his brother.  Cleared it with Winter, and went back.  Lantern, kid, light..creepy paper thing fell apart and the room lit back up.  Took the kid back after that.

We then finally find the cultist encampment.  There appears to be a split between true believers in Zendallas and those who are cowed.  Guy came out pretending to be a doctor and took us aside, temporarily calming the guards.  His name is Wren, and he's given us a lot of information on the kitchens, a possibility of stopping some of the weird by assaulting the tower where one of Zendallas' minions is sitting, and is posing as a confidant for the moment.  Everyone here has nightmares every night.  Don't trust him – he'll sell us out if it saves his own skin.  Not sure I like how much some of the others are trusting him and his information.  Hopefully he's on the up and up, but yeah…

We manage to walk back out and return to the main group to sleep.  Like we're going to sleep anywhere but with the Desna statue.  Which we were almost forced to do.

Sleepwalker among the survivors decided to turn into a doppleganger and tried to smash the statue.  Or so they told me.  I'll admit, I was exhausted and slept through the entire thing.

Tomorrow we probably head back to the cultists, though I'm tempted to try checking out the one interior outdoor area, just to clear that so that nothing comes out of there to come after the main group.  Then we can deal with cultists, ghouls, the tower, try to get some food, etc.  Maybe we can try smuggling food out in the magic backpack we found?

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