Open Heart

Excerpt from Lucien's Journal

Excerpted from Lucien's journal:

Having demonstrated it's treachery in luring us down to the beast infested basement, it was time to use the possessed cat to free our captive comrade. I grabbed the creature and carried it back upstairs to the mirror room, where we rejoined with most of the  rest of our party and exchanged the cat for our wayward Eido.

We headed back into the kitchen, where Dietricht was still engaged in some kind of awkward stare-down with the goblins; the things didn't even speak common, how desperate for followers can a god be?

Seeing some futility there, one of our more straightforward companions, Saldo, applied a (frankly, unreasonably large) sum of gold to each goblin to coax them out of the manor house. Eido seems to have joined him in this; if I ever were to decide to part ways with this crew, I should remember them for charity; plausibly they will save me the trouble of robbing them by simply providing their purses?

As the goblins exited the manor, they triggered that same strange curse that set upon us when we entered – an unnatural darkness closed over the house as they crossed the threshold, and dissipated only after they were well away. The place was both literally and metaphorically shrouded in darkness. Ill omens, but we had our job.

We went back into the basement; I slipped downstairs, only to find that the door at the far end of the basement entrance already stood ajar. The corpses in the basement antechamber seemed unmoved, so perhaps something had come out from below? This seemed like a prime chance to investigate.

We advanced into a large chamber; seemingly once a store room, now housing an altar to a dark god. Eido seemed particularly unsettled by the thing, proclaiming things like "This place has been desecrated".

A trio of ravens sat upon the damned thing, and somehow Kalibri got the damned fool idea to try and talk to them? Wizards. Pah. Fortunately, if these birds were treacherous, they haven't shown it yet. They have claimed to be ex-adventurers, transmuted into birds by the dark elf that has been working here. They indicate that one of the doors from this room is where the Drow takes his captives, and that they never exit once they enter.

We look closely at the door; it is entirely too fine of make for such a basement – the dark wizard must have spent a fortune installing it in this place? I swear, these magicians are inscrutable. Fortunately, they are also a bit asinine; while I'm convinced that the ostentation around the door marks it as a diversion or a trap, Quokul seems to have no compulsion to wait for reason, and simply opens it.

Once again I was shown to be over-cautious; while the door wasn't trapped, it did lead in to a dungeon chamber with three unconscious prisoners – a Goblin, an Human, and a Half-Elf, along with a final human skeleton, with each in chains, and a set of four nearby levers.

Eido revived the half-elf, who asked us to pull the third lever to free her. Without much further interrogation, we comply. Fortunately she isn't such a turncoat as that blasted cat, and she tells us more of what has transpired here.

She says that the Drow has been taking their blood, and that the skeleton in the room is in fact undead (not to mention unsettling). The cleric and paladin jointly demolish the unholy thing.

We advance into the next room and find a bloody stone table, a chained up human, a lever set into the wall, and vials of blood. Eido touches the prisoner, who awakes and tells us that the lever summons "the cleaner". Ominous.

We exit the room with the previous prisoners in tow, and find that it leads back into the altar room; once the door closes it seems to meld into the wall – if it's a mechanical trick, it's beyond my discernment.  I'm reasonably certain that it's more of this place's magical bullshit.

We escort the prisoners back to the front door, and send them back towards Open Heart. In case I need to call in favors later, they were called as:

- Yenjion, the Half-Elf
- Willgourd, the human from the stone table room.
- Jamhand, the human from the cell room.

The ravens want to stay and help catch the Drow, who they hope can turn them back.  For completeness, they are called as:

- Nordak
- Wilster
- Xavfalcon

We head back into the house, and find that the Boris has been moved! We re-open the secret door and head upstairs. When we reach the greenhouse, this time we don't hesitate. Dietricht and Kalibri tried to burn out the shriekers from afar, but they simply started screeching. Quokul ran ahead, insisting that they weren't dangerous; damned fool wizards. We killed the things anyways.

We found ourselves on a Terrace with a Telescope, a Sky Map (with fresh ink) on a stone table. Nordak and company took flight and circled the manor, seeking to spot signs of a fleeing wizard, but came back empty-clawed. Unsure of what we would find, Kalibri recorded a message of our adventure so far, and sent it back to town with Nordak.

We went back downstairs to the Kitchen, and entered the door we had bypassed earlier. We found a hallway, lined with suits of armor. At the end of the hallway was another of the unreasonably fancy doors found in this place, but this one was more curious than most; it opened, but directly into a wall! Given the dimensions of the house, and the previous tricky movements, I'm convinced that this is further magical bullshit, and turn that investigation over to the casters.

Seldo thought that there might be a trigger hidden amongst the armor. In his usual straightforward way, he proceeded to simply knock most of the suits down. We didn't find a trigger for the bullshit door, but we did find a passage back into the cursed dining room. Eido did pick up some of the armor bits for his own use; I'll remember that he's got a touch of a thief's heart in him as well – maybe that will be useful later.

The magicians seem to agree that the Drow fled the house through the bullshit door, and sealed it behind him, so we are left with a responsibility to clean out the rest of the house and report back. We go back downstairs to the altar room, and un-desecrate the altar.  (redesicrate?  undesanctify?). We make another pass through the prison chambers, and pull the "cleaner" lever – it turns out to call an enormous jelly beast down from the ceiling. We quickly closed the door on that particular brand of magical bullshit.

We went up to the top floor, and found a disheveled bedroom, with a sarcophagus on a canopy bed. Eido used a device he called a "stick of poking" to open it. (aside: I'm unclear on the properties of this device, and how it differs from a simple pole). The casket was empty.  Eido threw it out of a window, which seems wasteful of an expensive looking sarcophagus.

Having exhausted the top floor, we returned to the dining room with the magic mirror; I traded places with the cat and entered the mirror world, and experienced the strange phenomenon of being compelled to make the mirror place match the real world. Quite unusual; I did manage to convince my compatriots to remove the silverware from the dining room, at which point I was able to pilfer the mirror-silver, including a cup that seems to have some kind of magical properties that the wizard has yet to decipher.

Eido broke a teacup in the real world, and I spent the remainder of my time in the mirror attempting to break bits of a teacup to match. Meanwhile, Kalibri talked to the cat, which turned out to be less treacherous than we had inferred; it was a gnome that had been transfigured by the drow. The cat told Kalibri that the dark elf was a lady.

Seldo found a small woodland creature, and used it to free me from the mirror-world.  Poor beast.

The wizard set some spell upon his eyes to spot magical items, and we did a sweep through the house. In addition to the obvious items (the cup in my possession, the scrolls we had found, the crows and the cat, the front door darkness), we discerned that the statue of Boris was also magical, as were some of the vials from the basement.

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The Man in the Mirror

<meta />Whispers from inside the head of Eido Tenebris:

  • First of the Month of the Cube: Eido is deeply focused on the door, while the rest of the mortals investigate the obvious magic in the room. The small one is endlessly curious, spouting out endless theories, and licking wood to taste magic. I admire his spark.

  • The adventurers discover a hidden tome, bursting with spells scrap-booked from all over. The small one detects young, barely legal spells, and taboo words of power. They debate the ethics of such collection; I find it quite resourceful.

  • The mortals are trying to grant the petrified elf a name. The purpose of this earth ritual escapes me. The sneaky one suggests “Boris”.

  • Boldened by boredom, and ignorant of potential threat, Eido ascends the stairs and passes through the door at the top. He emerges into a lush, spacially confusing  garden, pulsating with the verdant magic within. The shirtless animal enthusiast joins Eido in the garden. By my divine influence, I stop Eido from walking into an obvious trap. Shirtless Mortal wisely identifies this creature and educates Eido on the dangers of this situation.

  • Eido struggles to put down his halberd, but ultimately joins the adventurers in exploring the rest of the mansion. They come across a fanciful dining room, set in expectation of an upcoming feast. They come across an artifact of impressive power. Inside a mirror is a perfect reflection of the current room…except for one mortal trapped inside!

  • Eido stupidly knocks on the mirror and drags us into the mirror world, restoring the trapped wizard to the real world.

  • Due to my vast knowledge of body language, I am able to decipher the conversion through the mirror. The wizard known as Quokul tells the party his tale of how he got trapped in the mirror and the animals that occasionally let him out. He seeks vengeance on a drow still in this mansion.

  • Eido discovers a cup that does not exist in the real world. Overtaken by thirst and curiosity, he consumes its contents.

  • The party leaves Eido. Stars know if they come back to rescue the fool.

  • FINALLY, they’ve come back! And with another creature! At last, they can…oh, oh there they go.

  • Eido continues drinking.

  • ZZZ

For those not trapped in a mirror world, the remainder of the day proceeded as follows:

Quokul lead the party on a mission for vengeance throughout the rest of the mansion, and hopefully a creature to save Eido. The party came across a cluster of off-duty goblins in the kitchen, sleeping peacefully. Without giving the party much room for discussion, Quokul immediately opened fire on the goblins with a flick of a knife. The party restrained the hasty wizard and convinced him to cool his jets. Dietrich used this event as an opportunity to heal the goblins and convert them to his lord.

Meanwhile, Saldo and Lucian noticed a cat in the room, possibly one of the curious creatures spoken of by Quokul and Lady Cressa. After Colibri’s failed attempt at subduing the cat with Mage Pat, Saldo allowed the beast to lead the party through the rest of the mansion.

Upon descending into the basement, Lucian stopped the party in front of a closed door. He peeked inside, discovering more guards waiting for them. Lucian suggested an ambush, but the party’s noise caught the attention of the creatures inside. One knocked on to the door, to which Lucian politely responded “hello?” The foes responded with an equally polite rapier through the door.

The druid shouted, and the goblins flew. With a powerful thunderclap, he smashed them about the room. The foes were battered, but the sound could be heard throughout the mansion.

In rather impolite fashion, Quokul turned against the party and flung a dagger into the air toward one of our heroes. Several daggers. Plinking against the wall. They all missed. He may learn to regret his aim.

The heroes seem to have the upper hand (except for Eido), but what of the noise? Who knows what sort of trouble our heroes will face next session.


 

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Map of the Realm

Open Heart Campaign Map

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...and so it begins...

30th day past Harvest, Gibbous Moon

Today I met with Lady Cressa, and apparently I am expected to work with others in accomplishing some tasks that are causing the town's leaders some concern. I shall endure their company for now as a previous adventuring party of three never returned from the first task on the list of issues to be investigated. Thus, teaming up with others seems unavoidable, and they seem a knowledgeable and capable lot if a bit boisterous for my tastes. It is unclear if these events are related to the imbalance, but it seems likely. 

The tasks which warrant investigation are, in priority order… 

  1. Investigate an abandoned Woolford familial estate that appears to have been claimed by sinister forces. No one has actually seen these forces, so of course every suspects foul magic is afoot. The locals seem to feel that cats and birds are somehow doing the bidding of whatever dark forces have claimed the dwelling no matter how unlikely this sounds. 
  2. Investigate the city catacombs where all of the city's grave diggers, save one, have disappeared. Curiously, the only surviving grave digger is the eldest of the lot. 
  3. Determine the fate of Open Heart's resident Arcane Advisor, Moymeran, who hasn't been seen or heard from in over two weeks. Lady Cressa was likely the last to see this wizard, and she claims that he was of sound mind in her last encounter. 

My companions are an odd assortment. There is…

  • Eido, a holy warrior of some sort
  • Calibri, a wizard of unproven skills but inquisitive nature
  • Lucien, a shifty sort of adventuring type but clearly capable
  • Dietrict, a proud cleric of Lathander (as he'll happily inform you, again and again)

The group seemed somewhat indecisive, but it was clear that the Woolford Estate posed the most imminent threat to the balance of nature, so I set out in that direction first. The rest of the group followed, of course. 

The Woolford Estate was a curious 3-story structure with some sort of greenhouse and domed edifice on it's top-most story. Lucien scouted ahead and discovered a parlor. Given that this posed a clear and present danger, he summoned the rest of us forward. 

Before approaching the manor, Dietrict cast holy light upon his mace. I was dubious of this action at first, but it turned out to be fortuitous, for as the rest of us approached the building and unnatural night fell upon the land surrounding us. Undaunted, Dietrict approached the front door and opened it with nary a thought for caution or investigation. 

Inside the front door we found a foyer with three doors and a stairway leading up. We confirmed that there was, indeed, a parlor to the right of the entry with a group of chairs gathered around a low table. There was another exit from that room, but rather than investigate this path fully, Eido chose to open the door across the hall, to the left of the entry. 

The left door opened into a study, complete with books on shelves, a desk, and a curiously detailed marble statue of a male elf in a rather heroic stance, weapons at the ready. Dietrict informed us that the statue was of no god. I investigated it more closely but could determine nothing else of significance. Lucien discovered some sort of mechanism attached to the inkwell of the desk, and after much deliberation and ham-handed experimentation, the group discovered that the mechanism opened a secret door in the external wall. This door SHOULD HAVE LED OUTSIDE. I am certain of this. My direction and spacial senses rarely fail me, and yet, this door led to an impossibly spacious library. At least I assume it was a library, but the shelves were all empty. There was a table of odd height in the center of the room. I believe that Calibri referred to it as a "consulting table," whatever that means. There was also a circular stairway leading into what I assume would be more impossible rooms where none should be. 

Calibri convinces the party that it would be worthwhile if we allowed him time to cast a ritual spell so that he might analyze the magical nature of this room and anything within it. This uncovers several things. The room itself is, of course, magical. The statue of the elf was also magical. Lastly, it would appear that there were scrolls of a magical nature secreted under the tall table that Lucien discovered at roughly the same time as Calibri. Calibri informed us that the scrolls were spells of Water Breathing, Comprehend Language, and Fireball. I am familiar with the first two spells as they are commonly used within The Circle, but Fireball sounds dangerously powerful and skirts the legal limits of magic within this land. 

My adventure has barely begun, and yet I have already encountered magics as only told in children's fairy tales. Circle Elders, where have you sent me? I fear that I am not equal to the task you have set me, but I will trust in your wisdom and endure. By the time you read this, you will likely be reading a small bundle of reports, and I hope that the group of them shed some light on the mysteries I have only just begun to discover.   

Yours in faith and Keeper of the Balance,
Kuun-Saldo

 

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Adventurers sought
Inquire within

Attention all persons of bravery!

Are you a sturdy adventurer in need of casual employment?  Do you perk up at the idea of dangerous missions with commensurate rewards?  Are you brave enough to work for city government?  

The City of Open Heart is seeking <meta />several fearless adventurers in search of treasure, danger, and glory, not necessarily in that order.  To be considered, appear in person TOMORROW MORNING at the main entrance of the Assembly Rooms & Gardens (just opposite the Holy Well) where Lady Cressa will examine your credentials.  

Good moral character preferred but not required.

 

 

 

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