Open Heart

Swamp in a Sand Castle? I never.

Ah… so we head to the desert. Hiro, the mechanical man… the man-like machine… whatever, directed us to the deep ruins. I have my reservations about him, however. He is the first of his kind that I have laid eyes upon, and if my companions are to be believed, I am not the only one receiving messages about even greater hands at work to hasten our undoing. Hiro may seem docile and helpful now, but who is to say what end he means to serve? In any case, with the time growing shorter for the world's fate, any lead, even if it may be a trap, is better than none. If anything, we may get closer to learning who is behind these machinations. Hiro, hmm? We shall see.

Eido has been stranger and stranger as of late. And, if I am not mistaken, has been dabbling in the arcane. While I am not up to speed on all the different faiths out there, I am pretty certain that no god grants servants to carry keys… If this is not a divine gift then, as much as it pains me, I will have to report this. No chances can be taken with the arcane and the untrained. But that is neither here nor there. And where are we? The desert.

The locals have informed us that there have been an unusual amount of sandstorms as of late. At the mention of this, Lucien broke out into an unfamiliar tune. He did this as we were being told of the storms. Taking offense, the locals started to refer to him as "Da Rude." Indeed. Despite this, we learned that it was our misfortune that many of these storms had affected the area where the supposed deep ruins were located. Not only was there a danger that the roadways would be blocked, but even if we were to get there, the ruins could be covered in sand.

Luckily the road was not as difficult as anticipated and our travel, thankfully, was uneventful. Soon we came upon, what looked to be, parapets jutting out of the dunes. Saldo took a quick survey of our surroundings and quietly announced, "Someone or something has taken occupancy here recently." In response, Lucien sent out his owl to inspect further. After a few minutes the owl returns and Lucien reports, "There is smoke coming from a building in the distance. There are also some guards on the lookout. We can't see them from here because they are taking refuge in the shade."

Saldo, in his fashion, took the form of a giant cat and furtively headed towards the structure. Taking his cue, Lucien and Onari, give me and Eido a quick nod and instruct us to create a distraction when we get the signal. Before I can ask what that means they are gone without a sound. Eido stared at me for clarity. I shrugged.

What seemed like hours passing is interrupted by Lucien's owl. Ah, the signal! Eido and I shake off our restlessness and head towards the gate of the half buried fort. A distraction? Well, of course! While a simple trick, I focus my mind on the image of a horn blaring out the arrival of royalty. The sound of fanfare erupts from our direction and the guards, formerly oblivious, were now at attention and headed towards the part of the parapet above what would have been the entrance.

"Who goes there?"

Eido answers before I can respond, "We are here on official business and you must let us in!"

"Oh, are you here to help with the mining?" Ah, this is curious, I thought.

"Uhh… yes, I mean, no!" Eido was sounding less convincing. "We are here to investigate some magical disturbances. You are hereby ordered to grant us entry!"

"Oh, is that so?" And that is when the first arrow flew passed my face. A horn is sounded and more guards appear. I will have to remember to enlighten Eido about subtlety and obfuscation at another time. For now, run!

Eido is less inclined to retreat and works his way up to the guards. Luckily, they are quickly being dispatched by our companions. Some silently, others, rended apart by giant feline claws. We try to reason with the last of them, but he refused and jumped off a ledge, using a spell to slow his descent. Unfortunately for him, giant cats are no stranger to dropping from great heights, and his slow descent meant a lifetime of terror as he haplessly awaited his doom at the fangs of Saldo patiently waiting below.

Behind the fortification we find more buildings, particularly, the one which had been described as emitting smoke. There was a chimney and Lucien was quick to suggest plugging it to smoke out its inhabitants. After a good amount of time, no one emerged. We unplugged the chimney and headed reluctantly into the building.

Inside we find what seems to be an empty building, a clever ruse, except that no abandoned building would have traps like this one did. These contraptions were no match for Saldo and Lucien's cunning, however, and we soon found ourselves in a hallway lined with urns. These were placed methodically along the walls every ten feet. And they stunk. The smell was familiar, and one that I would soon not forget. It was "water" from the swamp, and whatever strange effects this water had to exaggerate incendiary effects was not relegated to location. It seemed as though the effect was a property of the "water" itself and I found myself, again, quite useless. My magic hampered and unpredictable. Curses.

If the traps and the urns had not been enough indication that this was not an abandoned building then the sudden ambush from behind certainly confirmed it. Lucien uttered a spell and a wall appeared between us and our attackers. He put his finger to his lips, "Illusion." I rolled my eyes at him, "I know." A short sortie later and we are left with one ambusher left, an acolyte of sorts. Eido and Lucien try to interrogate him, but to no avail. We do, however, are able to get out of him that this "place of power" had been used for many divine purposes and there's was only the latest.

We continued to explore and Seldo finds and opens a hidden door. Within is a holy symbol consisting of a hammer and chisel, a "maker" god as Eido put it. Hiro is nowhere to be found.

Once More, Into the Drink!, Breach!

Brown Bear Mating Season, 4th Day of the Waxing Moon

In search of “the bog people” and answers to the myriad mysteries we have collected, our party descends into the bog using this strange device that the locals call a “bathosphere.” It’s a large sphere made of metal with circular glass windows that can be lowered into the water while maintaining a pocket of air within. It strikes me as being similar to using a reed to breathe underwater, but the bathosphere allows us to enter the depths of the bog together as a party and travel to a depth much greater than the length of a reed.

Descending to the mucky bottom, we see a half humanoid woman whose lower half is composed of swirling waters, and she has taken an interest in the bathosphere. As usual, we debate our course of action endlessly. We also discover that Arcane magic is suppressed by the waters of the bog. Colibri feels impaired and rather vulnerable without his spells, but he graciously consents to allow me use of the Water Breathing scroll he’s been carrying as it seems that divine powers are not affected by the waters even in the slightest.

Granted the ability to breathe underwater, the party departs the bathosphere, leaving Colibri and Klukaa behind to guard our retreat. As I exit, I assume a form more appropriate to the environment, a giant octopus. Shortly after our exit, the water woman, who Klukaa informs us is some sort of genie, decides to beat on the bathosphere. We attempt to dissuade her, but she seems determined. Eventually, in frustration, we attack her, and after a thorough beating she is driven off. We send the bathosphere to the surface, assuming that the explorers of the party will be able to make our way to the surface on our own.

On the mucky bottom we find many keys, 118 to be exact. Most of these are nondescript metal keys, but we also find five wooden and lacquer, three ivory, and one of intricate bone. Our group makes two other discoveries simultaneously. Eido, Onari, and myself discover a large half dome of glass containing subjugated kobolds. Lucien finds a half-buried statue of curious and diminutive size.

Eido and Onari converse with the kobolds, learning that these kobolds have been hiding at the bottom of the bog, awaiting the start of their rebellion. Meanwhile, Lucien seeks my aid in unearthing the statue, and I am shocked to discover that the “statue” is actually a seemingly deactivated Warforged of roughly Halfling size. At least, I assume that’s what it is as it matches the descriptions I’ve heard in campfire stories. Lucien sends a mental message via his owl, Victor, and asks Colibri to bring the bathosphere back down. Upon loading the warforged into the sphere, Colibri excitedly regales us all with the history of Warforged as a race, considered to be property by many but also recognized as possessing agency of their own and freed by some cities and countries.

Feeling that we have explored the depths enough for the moment, we decide to surface. At the time this seemed the right choice, but in retrospect I see that we uncovered yet more mysteries rather than any of the answers we sought. Unfortunately, as we surface, two events occur in rapid succession leaving no time to carefully consider our next action.

The Warforged awakens the moment we are no longer submerged. Luckily we thought to bind its limbs before surfacing. We learn that its name is Hero, and through subsequent questioning determine that it has been submerged in the arcane-suppressing bog for almost 500 years. It recognizes the names of some of the elven opponents we have faced, but knew them as lowly apprentices just getting their start in the world. Hero seems eager to continue on the last mission set by its master 499 years ago, but also unwilling to share the details of that mission with us. I inform Hero that we cannot release it until we know if its mission is related to our current quest or if it poses any danger to those people and places we hold dear.

As we disembark from the bathosphere but before we are finished negotiating with Hero, we see the town’s mayor running toward us, chased by Kobolds. At first, we think that the Kobold revolution has begun, but then we see that the Kobolds are, in turn, being chased by Lizardfolk. The major rushes past us, leaps into the bathosphere, and takes it into the depths. I shout a request to parlay with the Lizardfolk but am met with aggression. So be it. I entangle most them with mystic vines, and combat ensues.

We vanquish the Lizardfolk rather handily, and much to the surprise of everyone, Colibri manages to intimidate them into talking despite his short stature. We quickly ascertain that the Lizardfolk are only trying to reclaim their land and we secure an agreement to leave the bogs unmolested provided that we do so immediately.

Given little choice in the matter, we hastily depart the bog. Hero informs us that his next destination is “The Deep Ruins,” should we set him free. Luckily, Lady Cressa’s latest missive, delivered by a rather uncivilized and bloodthirsty messenger, also asks our party to investigate The Deep Ruins. Apparently a group of “questionable paladins and clerics are digging where things are best left buried.” Thus, we agree to take on Lady Cressa’s latest assignment and part ways with her messenger so that she may deliver our response. Rather than deal with lugging along a bound Warforged and recognizing that our goals are, at least for the moment, aligned, we also release Hero’s bonds. Thus, we set out for The Deep Ruins.

During our travels we discuss the mysteries we’ve uncovered and what we’ve learned thus far:

  • Many arcane spell casters have been killed in pursuit of one or more goals.
  • There is at least one person (or faction) who has either traveled forward in time or recently awakened from some sort of deep and slow-aging hibernation.
  • There’s a Dooms Day cult who may be responsible for the sinking of Minotaurdûm.
  • We have encountered several wild or anti-magic areas in the course of our travels.
  • Magic items have been hidden (or suppressed in some cases) since being outlawed, but they have started resurfacing lately. Our latest encounter with the Dwarves recovering magic items from the bogs (and laundering them through Minotaurdûm is only the latest example.

This concludes my report for now. Please send word if your wisdom or distance grants you insight into patterns that I am unable to see up close.

Yours in faith and Keeper of the Balance,

A Vast Improvement

Human paladin, open your heart to me and place your faith in me. You seek out light, but do you also seek out truth?

At last, he listens and responds to my call. Eido Tenebris, call upon my powers and I will reveal to you both light and truth.

The curious mortals continue traveling through their onion of mysteries. Thirsty for danger, they flee a sinking island and make a beeline to a dangerous hedgehog forest.

With a squick, squick, squick, the mortals trudge through a marsh, finding themselves at a boardwalk of Dwarven construction (You can tell by the precision of their right angles). The party finds two stout guards who share with the shirtless one their woes. Several younglings have gone missing, a distraction that appeals to most of the mortals. They swiftly set off across the boardwalk, in search of clues.

I can smell that the Weave is not balanced here. There is a certain…twist in the air. And a stench. The mortals would be wise not to…oh, the short one is now glowing.

Shirtless one discovers small tracks. They follow a mysterious light and voice. Classic trap.

As predicted, the less friendly inhabitants of the marsh reveal themselves. A party of malignant prunes and a mote ambush the party. The quiet and shirtless ones swan dive into harm’s way. In a flurry of sand, explosions, frogs, and enchantments, the party clashes with the hags. Eido at last calls upon my powers and…oh dear. I may have overestimated him.

The mortals danced on the edge of life and death, taking several claws and flames to the face. The quiet one speaks his last word, and falls to the ground. The party pools together their healing potions and wake the monk from death. Haha jk that would n…by the stars that actually worked.

Oh no he now speaks all the words.

Shirtless one tracks the hag-scent to a pool of quicksand. After educating the simpler members of the party on the dangers of quicksand, shirtless one morphs his body into something more octadextrous, and fishes out the bodies of the missing children. Seven are reclaimed, all at varying degrees of decay. The mortals return to the village and inform Darles of their children’s fate.

While resting after the haggard ordeal, the party learns of the brief history of this village. It had existed for a mere 18 months, serving as a base of operations for artifact salvaging. Perhaps the persistent scent of magic suggests something is still buried under the bog? This village has done business with the minotaurs, so their connection to the mystery so far is all but guaranteed.

Before the party gives in to their nocturnal obligations, they are warned to fasten their…”sleepbelt”…My vast cosmic mind cannot fathom what this means…until the shirtless and not-so-quiet ones are rustled awake by a collision… The huts themselves stand up and wander…and sometimes even fight each other. These huts, however, did not lust for blood…no, they had the traditional lust.

The following morning, the dwarves treat the party to a feast. A diminutive yappy servant sidles up to Eido and whispers into his ear, “Psst hey, the revolution is coming! Help free us!” Nothing can seduce him faster than the opportunity to liberate the oppressed. The fate of the party is all but sealed. The kobold, Lola, regales them with the story of her improved people, their democracy, and their enslavement to the dwarves. The kobolds have served this village since since it’s beginning, risking tail and scale for submerged artifacts. They dive into the dangerous depths with a massive metal chamber called a “bathysphere”…oh no. They’re already seeking out the mayor in pursuit of this bathysphere…How much deeper will they fall into peril??

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Minotaurdûm? More like Minotaurs: #doomed
An Excerpt from Lucien's journal

We had barely begun to parlay when Eido, incensed by some nonsense morality, decided that what we desperately needed then was to fight a necromancer. Bah.

She held high some kind of glowing talisman (amulet? other form of magical bullshit?), and our friendship with the accompanying beast men suddenly seemed… tenuous. They started growling at us. Very rude. Calibri, for his part, responded to this provocation with jokes, locking some of the Minotaurs in hideous laughter.

Kun Saldo and Onari begin attacking the sorceress, but found themselves slapping air as illusory mind tricks vanished under their blows. With her illusions dispelled, I made to attack the talisman (some kind of enchanted jar?), and succeeded in knocking it away. What I thought was an obvious pass to my companions turned into a bit of show; Eido tried to break it, then Calibri used still more bullshit to hoist the jar high above reasonable places to keep a fragile artifact of unknown power, and dropped it.

The thing shattered; I hope it wasn't important? It seemed too flashy and fragile, anyways. And then, the Minotaurs simply fell down. Ridiculous.

The sorceress lulled Eido and Kun Saldo into a magical slumber and turned invisible (which is a stupid amount of magical bullshit all at once) and tried to escape. Fortunately, we had her reasonably surrounded, and with quite some effort manage to strike her until she becomes visible again. Then she turned into a god-damn bird. Before the thing could fly away though, Calibri returned her favor and placed her under a sleeping spell. Sometimes I suppose it's nice for the bullshit to be on our side.

While she was unconscious, we tied her up, and roused Iannikus (but not the Eastern Minotaurs). We woke her and began our interrigation anew. She didn't say terribly much of particular use; we learned that she is working on behalf of some mysterious "masters" who have other agents. One interesting note: she mentioned that there was a "playbook", which was disbound and had its pages scattered.

We weren't interrogating her for long before the land quaked beneath us. As the eastern Minotaurs awoke it became clear that the entire minotaur island was sinking. Fast. We implored the sorceress to use her bullshit to stop this; she said she was willing to try. The eastern Minotaurs wanted to take her, but we weren't about to part with her yet when she is so obviously connected to these absurd happenings.

We headed southwest towards Smuggler's Cove. Along the way we found the bodies of Davhorn (né Boris) and Cruward. In some kind of strange death ritual, Onari tied the body of Davhorn to the wolf body of Kun Saldo.

While discussing our options, the sorceress did mention one more interesting tidibit here; she said "Everything interesting on the island leaves with us". I wonder what she finds interesting, but our follow-ups lead nowhere.

WHen Smuggler's cove came into view, we saw the Silent Market in chaos. Though the city hadn't yet fully sunk, parts of it were already submerged. Other bits were aflame, and amidst it all was bedlam and looting. Still in the harbor was the ship we originally sailed in on – we started into town with that as our destination. 

When we got close, we realized that a moat had formed around the town that we would need to cross. We managed to do so, but before crossing Kun Saldo left Davhorn's body behind. I didn't really understand why we were bringing it in the first plce, so… meh?

After some tricky maneuvering we crossed the river safely. In town we happened across the boy-werewolf ("Gaev"), in the midst of looting a chest from a building. I find myself liking the boy more and more; he has an enterprising soul. We pull him (and the chest) across another water trap in the city, and find that he's delivered to us a chest with a dozen healing potions inside! We liberate these from the boy and take him into our party for the journey back to the mainland.

After some deliberation, the remainder of the party decides that in order to minimize the cost of passage aboard the boat most of them would step into Kluka's other-worldly painted realm. I bear the painting along with my normal gear and negotiate passage abord the S.S. Minnowtaur (eventually costing four healing potions, ugh). Kun Saldo morphed into a vermin and crawled aboard as well, providing a nice backup, without additional outrageous expense.

Captain Moonray expertly navigated us safely back to the mainland, where I unfurled Kluka's painting and released the remainder of the party.

We find that we've received some correspondence while we were away at Minotaurdûm; Högni has sent me word of strange goings-on in Hedgehog Forest, and an old map showing an old path to the hidden bog. Kun Saldo has received a missive from the Lady Cressa asking us to return and deal with the catacombs full of living dead bullshit.

With minimal deliberation, we choose to follow my (obviously correct) information and head towards the hedgehogs. We make a stop to drop off Phaella (as we have learned that the sorceress is called), and the the eastern minotaurs with Colibri's circle of wizards.

While heading to the forests, I spent some time recalling Victor; it's surprising how much more comfortable I am knowing that he's there.

As we started to get close to the area depicted on the old map, we encountered a group of Kobolds. After a skirmish ended with several dead kobolds, a survivor tried to warn us off of going to hedgehog forest. He claims that there are rodents of unusual size; "Dire Hedgehogs". I don't think they exist. He further claimed that they were a group of "improved" Kobolds, who work for the dwarves that live in the bog. This all seems highly suspect to me…

Minotaurus Interruptus

Party PCs: Saldo, Eido, Onari | Lucien, Calibri (in absentia)
Party NPCs: Davhorn/Boris, Cruward, Gaev, Iannikus, Eastern Minotaurs
…and techically Kluka (rolled up in her canvas)

Persimmon Season, 2nd Day of the Waning Moon


We find ourselves battered but not beaten after dropping the Drow wizard. We have said wizard unconscious and wrapped in spidersilk, a shepherd boy cum werewolf, an extra gnome, a minotaur, and our core party. Before we can get too deeply into our usual lengthy discussion about next steps, an arrow strikes Cruward, the extra gnome. Quickly assessing our situation, we see three minotaurs dressed strangely, perhaps more crudely, than those we’ve seen before. Iannikus, our minotaur, informs us, “Those are Eastern Minotaurs. They should not be here. This is very bad.” He seems genuinely troubled, so we take this as permission to fight our attackers without pulling our punches. 

Much fighting ensues. We do our usual excellent job, by which I mean we barely scrape through, and there were many inappropriate minotaur jokes. (It’s interesting how our party tends to manage stressful situations with humor.) We dispatched the attacking group’s leader, sending her on to the next world. We were left with two unconscious minotaurs, one wounded and close to death and the other Calibri put to sleep at the beginning of our battle. This left us with someone to interrogate.


We learn a great deal from the Eastern Minotaurs.

  • Iannikus, our minotaur, has been banished from Minoturdûm and is, therefore, a fugitive within his own lands. This explains why he left our party to bluff our way off the ship we arrived on.
  • Minoturdûm is sinking, the entire island, and it's sinking faster on the Eastern side. There was some inconclusive discussion on whether or not this was the inevitable result of the island being split from the mainland or whether there might be some nefarious plot behind it. 
  • The Eastern Minotaurs are seeking "The Herald," whom they believe will tell them what to do. They seem to view this Herald as some sort of savior. Prophecy says that the Herald will pass through this village, but we all seem to have missed him or her. 
  • There is much discussion on whether or not the wizard we're seeking might be the Herald. No definitive conclusion is reached, though it seems probable unless there's yet another faction that we've yet to encounter. 
  • The Eastern Minotaurs confirm that the bog people are real and "somewhere on the mainland." This at least gives us a vague idea of where our fugitive wizard might be going next. 

During the course of our questioning we also ascertain that the Drow we've captured is not the Herald. However, Davhorn and Cruward confirm that this is the Drow who had taken possession of the Willford Estate and imprisoned each of them in different forms. Hoping to put an end to this chapter of our adventure and dissuade Davhorn and Cruward from continuing to follow our party, I asked them what sort of justice they were seeking, and after a short discussion I executed the Drow. Thus, we were able to convince 

We also realized that during the fight the young shepherd boy ran off. Lucien sent Victor to find him, but as of writing this report Victor has not yet returned. 

Given that our quarry has shown necromantic skills and no reservation in raising the dead to do her bidding, Eido also felt it prudent to dismember the corpses we were leaving behind. Onari performed some sort of last rites upon the bodies before Eido began his grizly work. I agree that it was a wise precaution, but I was also happy to leave the task to Eido.  

Given that our goals are at least momentarily aligned, we form a 24-hour truce with the remaining two Eastern Minotaurs who accompany us as we make our way back to the tower for a more thorough exploration. 


We find the tower empty but discover a well-concealed trap door on its lowest floor. This door reveals a ladder into a tiny room with another door. The stench of death is strong in this space, so of course Eido flings open the door. Zombies attack!

Upon defeating the zombies, Iannikus informs us that these were the last of his guard squad, so we hope there will be no more mintaur zombie gaurds in our immediate future. Given that we haven't had opportunity for a decent rest and the party is rather hurt we decide to retreat to the relative safety of the tower for a short rest. In hindsight, perhaps we should have pressed on, but I cannot argue that the rest was much needed. 

Continuing our exploration of the subterranean chambers we find a thoroughly ransacked storage room, clearly once stocked with supplies for withstanding a seige. More importantly we find an open tunnel which slopes upward, and this eventually leads us outdoors.

Now I must put away my pen, ink, and parchment, for we have bigger issues to deal with. At the end of the tunnel we were confronted by our fugitive wizard. Actually, there were several of her merging and moving together in a rather disorienting way, clearly some sort of defensive spell. She attempts to parlay, but Eido fervently felt that the very first question she must answer is, "Did you create all of the zombies we just fought?" I can think of many more important and informative questions. Sadly, when she responds, "yes, I supposed I did," Eido attacks. 


Yours in faith and Keeper of the Balance,

Over the Ocean and Through the Maze

Party PCs: Saldo, Eido, Lucien, Onari | Calibri (in absentia)
Party NPCs: Davhorn/Boris, Jamhand, Kluka, Cruward, Gaev

Persimmon Season, 2nd Day of the Waning Moon


     The battle's done,
     And we kinda won.
     So we sound our victory cheer.

In the aftermath of the escaping Drow Wizard and subsequent kidnapping of the newly werewolf'ed shepherd boy, we have a lengthy conversation with Jamhand, the elder wolfman. Jamhand offers to help us in seeking out the Drow Wizard, but Eido is of the opinion that we should leave Jamhand with Open Heart's clerics. Ultimately, the party is split on the desire to allow Jamhand to accompany us. I feel this is short-sighted. Given that Jamhand has his own grudge to settle with the Drow, I find it likely that we will cross paths with him again soon. It would've been better to keep him where we could keep an eye on him.

There are also some meandering discussions around our next steps. We know that the Drow needs werewolf, minotaur, and gnome blood, among others. We are uncertain which bloods we have taken from her, so it's unclear what she still needs other than, obviously, the werewolf blood she has acquired in the form of a shepherd's boy.

There are two major courses of action under consideration. We either deal with the army of undead in the town's catacombs or we pursue the Drow Wizard. We ultimately decide that we should discuss with Lady Cressa what priority she would put on the many different directions we might go from here.


Lady Cressa seems less concerned about the Drow Wizard's larger plot and more concerned about immediate threats to the town of Open Heart. Her reaction to the Wizard kidnapping the shepherd boy is… "The Wizard left and took a werewolf with her. Two problems solved. I hope these people got what they came for and will not return." I suppose this is understandable from her perspective, if a bit heartless. Perhaps now I understand why the town is named Open Heart, as the heart has been removed from the breast of its mayor.

The major further determines that the catacombs should be sealed off, thereby protecting the town from the undead army. This seems foolishly shortsighted to me as the army will continue to grow within the catacombs, but it is ultimately Lady Cressa's decision since we decided to put the decision into her hands.

The only lead we currently have on the Wizard's whereabouts is that she needs minotaur blood that she most likely lost to us. Given that we also have the cup they were using to find the various bloods they need, we decide that the only known location of minotaurs is Minotaurdûm. We set out for the coastal town of Sediment, a wretched hive of scum and villany, to secure passage to Minotaurdûm.


I assume The Circle is already aware of these things, but hundreds of years ago, when powerful magic users were a scourge upon the land and at war with the minotaurs, the mages cleaved the land in twain and created an island of the minotaur's lands. Since that time, there has been little contact with Minotaurdûm. It is unclear whether or not whether similar constraints were placed upon the use of magic in their lands. If I were in their shoes and thwarted by powerful magics, I might use my newfound isolation to learn how to combat such magics.


Davhorn seems to have attached himself quite firmly to our party. I'm okay with this, as I think we should be keeping an eye on all of the Drow's enemies lest they pursue their own revenge and muck up our own investigations.

On our way to Sediment, I couldn't help but notice a solitary follower skulking behind our party on a shaggy Moreland pony. (It was obviously a Moreland pony due to its distinctive splashes of brown and white coloring.) We confronted our follower, and determined that a roguish gnome, by the name Cruward, was interested in joining us in our pursuit of the Drow Wizard. Turns out that we've met the gnome before, but she was a good bit furrier at the time having been transformed into a cat at the Woolford Estate. Thus, she has a score to settle with the Drow, and we find our adventuring party increased by one.

As we settle in to camp for the night, Cruward informs us that the Drow was seeking werewolf blood, a tidbit of information we were already well aware of. More importantly she informs us that the Drow was also collecting pages from the spellbooks of captured spellcasters. It is unclear if the spellbook pages are a part of the Drow's larger ritualistic plot or if it is simply the typical Wizard's desire to collect magical knowledge. However, it seems uncharacteristic for a Wizard to treat any spellbook with such disregard as to cut pages from them.

As we rise the next morning, we find that Lucien has gained a new friend in the form of a small owl he introduces as Victor. Given Lucien's new spell casting skills,


As we approach Sediment, Davhorn warns the party that travel to Minotaurdûm is strictly prohibited and that we must be circumspect. He recommends that we seek transport at the Inn of the Last Flagon.

At the inn, we are approached by a "half-orc-sized" fellow in a great cloak with the hood drawn. He introduces himself as Iannikus, and quietly informs us that there is a rogue magic user he needs help with. We adjourn to a quiet, dark corner to discuss his Inannikus's needs, and Onari quietly informs me that he noted short horns under the hood, identifying our querent as a minotaur.

It turns out that Iannikus has been a member of the minotaur royal guard for many years, and he assumes he encountered this rogue spellcaster in the course of duty. He remembers that the guard had received word via courier animal that a village had lost possession of their watchtower to some sort of female magic user. going to investigate, but then he remembers nothing until suddenly he was in mid-step on the road to the village where he lives. He feels as if he returned home "as if by rote." Lucien smartly asks if there might be payment for our assistance, and the minotaur assures us that as a representative of the royal guard he can see that we are paid handsomely.

The party unanimously agrees that this is no coincidence, and the rouge spellcaster is very likely our fugitive Drow. Thus, we returned to Iannikus to accept his offer, and he sends word to Captain Moonray of the S.S. Minnowtaur. Given that travel between the mainland and Minotaurdûm is prohibited on both sides, Iannikus's recommendation is that we should assume the role of envoys from a druid circle of Minotaurdûm.


A Minotaur, introduced as Kankatan, leader of the Minotaur Elite Guard, boards the ship and asks all those disembarking to state their names and purpose in these lands. Lucien steps forward to speak for our group after wryly noting that Iannikus isn't going to do so. Stating that we are acolytes traveling to a local druid circle, Kankatan warns us that the village of Kephela has been plagued by a rogue spellcaster. He recommends that we stay aboard the vessel until the threat has been resolved, and informs as that the Elite Guard reserves have been summoned. We, of course, assure him that we'll be fine, and after Eido makes us all nervous by insisting on asking questions that yields no new information of use, we disembark.

Kankatan did, at least, verify Iannikus's story, and Iannikus informs us that Kankatan has assumed command of the Elite Guard in his absence. Iannikus sought us out, because he does not feel that the Guard are properly equipped to deal with a magic threat of this nature.


The village of Kephela is a small collection of huts at the center of a labyrinth. Of course.

There are no obvious signs of life in the village, and when we arrive at the village we find the ground littered with minotaur bodies. Eido, opening his divine senses, informs us that the corpses are not undead but that there are undead nearby. …just in time for a hoard of minotaur zombies to round the corner of one of the village huts and move in our direction.

Most of the party quickly moves into the nearest hut while Lucien, Davhorn, and myself clamber onto the roof. Well, in Lucien's case it was far more acrobatic and graceful than a clamber, but I would've expected no less from him. Colibri greases the area in front of the hut to impede the hoard while Onari quickly attacks the nearest zombie with a flurry of blows and a footswipe that renders it prone before retreating into the back of the hut. Much fighting, flames, and horrible stenches later, we stand victorious. Eido was knocked unconscious, but Onari fed him a healing potion.

Iannikus informs us that based on the minotaur zombies we've dispatched there are six more original members of his guard unaccounted for, and Lucien informs us that Victor has spotted two more zombies guarding the watchtower. That leaves four guard-cum-zombies unaccounted for, and possibly zombie minotaur villagers as well.


Iannikus leads us through the second half of the labyrinth to the tower, and we cleverly dispatch the guard zombies with a clever kiting retreat action while taking minimal damage. Approaching the watchtower, we find the door locked. Lucien carefully inspects the door and surrounding bits of tower, noting that there are no windows lower than the third floor.

After a short conversation, I volunteer to carry a rope to the top of the tower, bypassing our obvious means of entry. I transform into my favorite spider form, they tie a rope around my carapace, and I scuttle quietly up the side of the tower. I find a bare room at the top of the tower, with an unconscious shepherd boy in the middle of the floor. Entering the room through the window, I transform back into my human form. As I do so, I caught sight of movement out of the corner of my eye, spinning around to see the Drow flying out the window. I attempted to down her with a wave of thunder, but only struck her a glancing blow. The party successfully shoots her down. She falls on the far side of the labyrinth, and the party gives chase while I check on the Gaev, the shepherd boy.


Surprisingly, the party succeeds in chasing down the Drow Wizard and knocking her unconscious. I rouse the boy, ensure that he is unwounded, and then we repel down the side of the tower. I return to spider form and carry the boy over the labyrinth to rejoin the party. The party is, as usual, making a very big discussion out of what should be done with the Wizard, so I take the opportunity to cocoon her in spider silk. It turns out that the sorcerer who has been plaguing Minotaurdûm isn't the Drow Wizard.

Eventually, the party agrees to rouse the Drow for questioning. She cleverly tries to turn the tables on us, implying that we are competing with her to meet the same end goal. "You're carrying the blood of many species, and you have a minotaur and a werewolf." Clever girl. Eventually, through much circular conversation she reveals that (1) she's here because she heard a prophesy that this location would be important and (2) the minotaur villagers were dead when she arrived. Further, she didn't raise the zombies.

Onari questions Cruward, because she also previously mentioned a prophesy. She reveals that she'd heard about a page, loose from a book, that showed a werewolf and minotaur possibly being sacrificed.

After the Drow wises up and stops talking altogether, Lucien gets frustrated her and stabs her with her own dagger. The party then gets into yet another discussion of ethics which I end by sinking my fangs into her and draining her vital juices to the verge of death. After, I return to human form so that I can join in discussion around our next move, suggesting that we take the Drow back to civilization where we might apply divine or arcane magics to get the answers that we seek.



My champion continues seeking the light, but is blind to the path…

A full moon waits beyond the horizon.

The dark one yet lives, so the companions wisely disarm and bind her. Who knows what sort of secrets her head must contain. They pick her pockets and the room clean, save for a single feather.

Surrounded by filth and abominations, the companions seek a more discreet path back into the daylight. They fail at discretion.

While puttering about the winding halls, the sneaky one discovers the magic in the wine chalice. It’s power surges in proximity of an unknown stimuli. More scurrying around reveals the nature of the cup; it seems enchanted to locate various kinds of blood, consistent with the note found with the dark ones. The party leaves the body of a recently well-bloodied minotaur and renews their search for the exit. The feather is gone…

With minimal effort and a little bit of grease, the companions return to the surface and deliver their findings and contained caster. The party would later learn the valuable lesson of never letting a dark mistress out of their sight.

After an afternoon of much needed rest, Eido makes his vows to the struggle of Light. This oath is a distraction, and will not lead him to Truth. In the meantime, the party is battered by correspondence from their various mentors, warning them of dangers to come.

The adventurers meet up with the Stoned Elf, this time much sober. He warns them of a mysterious and recent string of sheep maulings, plus a mauled child. Beholden to their love of children, the adventurers proceed to investigate.

Simple human, Mott, describes the tale of how his son, Gaev, got injured. Currently, he is in the care of clerics in town. At the paddock shaped like a haddock, the party discovers canine pawprints leading into the wilderness. They follow and meet up with the Mediocre Wizard again. He warns of a lycanthropic menace, back from the realms of myth. The tracks terminate at an unassuming cottage, surrounded by human and wolf tracks. Inside sleeps the chained, but no longer chained, man Jamhand.

A night of bondage follows, and the morning arrives unhindered. Jamhand follows the party back into Open Heart to discover that both the mauled child, Gaev, and the dark one have both escaped. Thankfully, no one was scratched by the new young werewolf.

The plot thickens, and answers are out of reach. The mortals are still faced with the problem of an active necromancer, and now a fresh undead army underground.

Among the Dead
A letter


Forgive the haste with which I had to end my last correspondence. Gracious me, but it's been a busy time!

The adventurers with whom I am working continue to show that they are capable, and maintaining brevity is a challenge. I feel I am growing stronger, and hope to move on to the next phase of my training as soon as possible. I'm finding new ways to generate ki.

In search of the missing girl, we headed to the cottage I've indicated to the enclosed map, and was immediately dismayed to discover the entire area covered in the webs of giant spiders. The druid Saldo seems entirely too comfortable turning into something with far too many legs, but his spider-form proved useful in rescuing two cocooned victims, including a halfling woman named Irietrea and the missing girl, Murmella. Eido interceded to restore both to health.

I know you'll be shocked to hear this, but we then got into a fight with a giant spider. After dispatching the foul thing, we approached the house of the local witch, only to discover her half-eaten corpse and a hybrid spider-woman. I prepared for battle, but she turned out to be polite, and claimed she'd been summoned from far away. She claimed she did not actually kill the woman, and the others believed her and allowed her to leave unmolested. I did not argue, focusing on my ki. I am here to learn.

There was some ethical debate on the part of the others, but this was cut short because zombies. We found ourselves in a brief, pitched, and puzzling battle. The presence of the zombies coinciding with our arrival strikes me as in no way coincidental. We were joined in the battle by… I think his name is Boris Davhorn? I focused on my breathing rather than ask for clarification. The path we walk is not easy.

After we defeated the undead, Davhorn suggested that he can search and secure the witch's cottage, but oh, no, honey. We examined the witch's corpse and determined that she died by being stabbed with a bladed weapon rather than, say, a giant spider bite. Perhaps Meluah, the freakish and creepy spider-woman, was honest with us?

Lucien located another body, and I managed to perform the rite for their spirits. It would really help if I could explain to the others.

We returned to Open Heart to return the people we rescued and report to Lady Cressa, who I believe I mentioned in my last missive. Having completed that quest, we're directed to the local catacombs to locate Gribbo, the missing gravedigger, which I'm sure will end well. Lucien produced a clever map from… somewhere. After shopping during which I was torn beween Ugh, materialism and Ooh, shiny new bow!, we finally set off for the catacombs. Speaker, these adventurers talk a lot. I find myself tested.

When we arrived at the catacombs, the non-elves brandished torches. It's so adorable how they manage to compensate for their many deficiencies! I just want to squeeze them! And then tell them to shut up.

In addition to the expected dead, we encountered a cavern of corpses. Please send more members of the Order. I sensed deep suffering there; this is going to require a ceremony on a scale beyond what I can manage alone. We located Gribbo dead in his bedroom. I imagine you will be as shocked as I was. I'm not clear on what caused his death.

We continued to explore, apparently because we were not yet in sufficient trouble, and we managed to successfully locate an army of skeletons. Perhaps not an army. A battalion? Certainly more than I believe a group our size could handle, regardless of the power Eido wields. We turned around and left, which is the single most sensible action I can recall these adventurers taking at any point.

We weren't pursued, which was very convenient, but our explorations clearly picked up a significant pace. We then encountered a dead minotaur, and I got to experience surprise for possibly the first time that day. It was novel. There was a tapestry in the (minotaur's?) bedroom, behind which we found a secret tunnel, and through that, we found Shit Elves.

Saldo attempted to deceive them by turning into a spider. I have no words. Further, it actually worked insofar as we were able to surprise and defeat them, slaying a Shit Elf cleric and capturing their mage. We also discovered evidence of some sort of larger plot in which they were involved, and I've copied those letters on the enclosed.

We appear to be moving again, so I should pause this for now. I'd like to get these documents into your hands as quickly as possible. Does any of this nonsense sound familiar to you? I believe I understand why you sent me here. The adventurers have largely impressed me (except when they talk), and I feel we are accomplishing some good; I am glad to assist them.

I trust the Order is well. But seriously, send monks.

Moymeran's Tower, etc.
From Colibri, with love

"What do we tell Lady Cressa?" Colibri's quizzical eyes darted across the rooftops of the town below. He stared back into his crystal and resumed talking. "The Lady seems to think that we are nothing but house cleaners. At least, that is what we've done as of late. This new house had potential. The tower of Moymeran! The great wizard had been missing for some time and I had hoped he had been caught up in some great discovery, alas…" He scratched his chin and wondered about his own mortality. __________ The tower was an unimpressive four and a half stories. It would have been lost among the other buildings had it not been pointed out to them and the fact that, while unimpressive, it's height was still taller than the others. Deitrich, much to my dismay, had been called off for some religious duties in other areas of the country. In his place, the Lady Cressa provided an almost mute by the name of Onari. He carries a staff that he uses to passively suggest his course of action, and on other occassions will utter a word as accompaniment. While I believe in brevity as a means of efficiency, Onari fails to grasp that his lack of expression only leaves the rest of the group bewildered. In any case, into the tower… except, it was locked. Of course. This piqued Lucian's interest and, as if the rest of us had not expected it, the door promptly popped open upon Lucian's investigation. His furtive attempts to hide his instruments only mirrored his ability to mask his accent. Ahem, nothing to see here. As this was a powerful wizard's dwelling, we enter with the utmost caution, however were only greeted by a very lonely entryway that led into some seemingly unoccupied rooms covered in a few weeks layers of dust. House cleaners. The bill for Lady Cressa should be appropriate. Hmph. Onari, jingles his staff and starts searching. We follow suit and find room after room of disapppointment. While I know we wizards are not the eclectic types that we are made out to be, the lack of anything remotely intriguing is, admittedly, disappointing. Finally we find Moymeran's quarters. A bird sits near a window and there is a painting of a very elegant elvish woman. As we are looking for signs of Moymeran, we quickly try to exit since there seems to be nothing of import when suddenly a voice calls back. "Excuse me, I haven't seen anyone in weeks… would you help me?" The figure in the painting beckoned."I am a friend of Moymeran. The last I saw of him he was off to do another experiment and he has failed to return since. Would you please check his workroom?" After some conversation we learn that her name is Clucka and we decide that we are left with little much else to work with, so, we comply with the request. The bird, apparently was also Moymeran's familiar, and would accompany us to the workroom. Moymeran was a brilliant wizard who was known to push the boundaries of what was allowed with magic. When we arrive at his workroom there is a body slumped over the table. It is, to my dismay, Moymeran. What could have killed a wizard of his caliber? I wonder. Onari performs a quick ritual for the dead and Seldo does a quick ritual to rid the room of the smell of decay. I do my own ritual to see what magic may still be laying about and find that there is a very dangerous aura coming from the end of the table in a cabinet. Could this be what killed the old wizard? Seldo, being one dedicated to his task, opens the cabinet and a rope falls out and arranges itself neatly on the floor. I quickly advise that magical ropes are nothing to be trifled with and that if we have found a dead wizard such as Moymeran then we should treat it with the utmost caution. And so, we leave it where it lay. We return to Clucka and Ido shares the news with her. There is an honest reaction of grief and then a look of underplayed panic. "Please, she says, take my painting and send it to our wizard colleague. With Moymeran's death, it may be the only help left for me." She reveals that she is suffering with a rare magical disease and that the painting keeps her body in suspension. Moymeran was helping find a cure.


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