A Relic of the Past

Session 27
The Accidental Trap

Loneday, 1844 Wind 1

Zora is briefly affected by the gibbering mouthers’ blinding spittle and madness-inducing gibbering, but she slays two of the creatures. D’Jango snaps Veluar out of his stupor, who then responds with a rather fortuitous combination of flaming sphere and rays of frost to lock the slow creatures in one place and burn them up. Vayol rescues Elias, though the young man’s body is practically radiating chaos energy, and he writhes on the ground screaming.

Eventually they finish the mouthers off. Veluar explains that this stone is tied to the same realm in which his daughter was lost so long ago. It’s some kind of beacon, a bridge between the worlds. At the moment, that bridge can only be crossed when willed open by someone holding the Void Stone. However, a stronger link could allow more chaos creatures to spill over into our plane unbidden.

Given that the stone is a sort of beacon, they decide to hide a safe distance away from the experiment site to see if anyone shows up. Before long, three figures in red robes appear and begin investigating. Elias had dropped his notes, which they find. They are also examining the remnants of the magic circle and the corpses of the oozes. These figures’ robes are lined with gold instead of bronze, and the appear to be much more methodical.

The party decides to ambush these Roathians. Veluar stays behind with Elias, who is in no condition to fight or sneak or be left alone. As the party closes in, Zora feels a twig snap underfoot. The Roathians take notice, but it gives an opening for Vayol and D’Jango to act. Vayol hits two of them with hold person. D’Jango fires a crossbow bolt…

Session 26
The Void Stone Experiment

Loneday, 1844 Wind 1

Veluar experiments with the Void Stone. He learns that it’s ancient and part of a larger piece of similar stone. The stone is unfamiliar, probably not from any of the Isles of the Empire. Elias has been taking notes, having been sent by the Iris to assist.

They decide to try to activate the stone in a controlled setting. Veluar sets up a magic circle in a forest clearing. Vayol takes the stone and activates it from within the circle. It summons a gibbering mouther, just as before. Then another. D’Jango and Zora attack, yet the gibbering mouthers appear to be looking to Vayol for orders. When none come and the mouthers are attacked, they move to defend themselves.

Veluar is paralyzed with horror. Vayol retreats to safety, disturbing the magic circle. The mouthers escape the circle, and another one pops in. Eventually Vayol realizes he needs to let go of the stone as one more mouther appears. Elias tries to help but is struck down and nearly consumed by one of the oozes…

Session 25
How To Get A Head (or two)

Almsday, 1833 Rain 28

While Vayol is being inducted to his new office in the Church, D’Jango and Zora decide to ditch and deal with the cursed sword.

A witch named Lavinia tells them they need to either take on an ettin or a dire wolf:

To break attunement will require a fang and claw of lupine dire.
Restoring is a different fee: bring two heads where one should be.

The dire wolf parts will allow him to discard the cursed sword, but both heads of an ettin will restore the blade and allow him to keep it. They opt for the latter and drop 600gp on a dose of Torpor poison—an ingested poison that incapacitates the target—and an entire boar.

A nearby ettin and its pet dire wolf aren’t hard to find. D’Jango and Zora poison the boar carcass and hang it from a tree just outside its lair, hoping the ettin will come out and eat it, easy-peasy. However, the dire wolf comes out to investigate first. Its keen sense of smell makes it difficult to remain hidden. D’Jango’s invisibility only masks his image. Shortly after the fight begins, the ettin emerges also.

Zora is holding her own between the dire wolf and the ettin. Perhaps recalling that ettins are very territorial, D’Jango targets the ettin with phantasmal force of another ettin. The illusion takes hold, enraging the two-headed giant. As the ettin swings wild at the figment, Zora strikes the dire wolf, sending it retreating back into the cave. Then the two gang up on the ettin and slay it with ease.

As they are lamenting the unused poisoned boar, Zora gets the idea to feed the boar to the dire wolf and try to capture it. The plan works, and now they have a very groggy dire wolf. Bringing it into town is a non-starter, so they chain it to a tree outside of town while D’Jango has his cursed sword restored to a +1 rapier.

Session 24
Disorder in the Court

Soberday, 1844 Rain 27

  • Armed with a few magic wands, the Roathian’s coordinate an attack targeting the evidence guards.
  • One of the Roathians grabs the Void Stone. He tries to activate it, but Veluar and Szordrin work together to counter it temporarily.
  • Many bystanders escape.
  • Szordrin is struck down but saved at the last minute by Vayol‘s healing magic. He’s grateful, though a bit confused.
  • The Roathians are dispatched. In the chaos, the Codex page and the Relic are both missing from the table. However, the Void Stone is recovered, and there are no casualties.
  • Iris Rothschild dismisses the charges and promotes Vayol to Pilgrim. He instructs him to recover the Codex page and gather all the others together.
  • Vayol asks Veluar to begin investigating the Void Stone.
Session 23
The Trial

Soberday, 1833 Rain 27

  • The party is put on trial for a variety of crimes against the Church and the City of Baleton: conspiracy, trespassing, grand larceny, assaulting an officer of the City Watch, resisting arrest.
  • The Accuser, an officer of the Church of the Vigilant Eye, explains the phases of the trial.
    • The first phase is accusation, where the Accuser attempts to prove the charges to the judge. It ends when the judge issues the verdict. (The judge in this case is the new Iris.)
    • The second is sentencing, where the judge pronounces the sentence for the guilty party.
  • Due to the sensitive nature of the items in question, the first phase is closed to the public.
  • The Accuser would much rather skip the whole thing and have everyone confess. She offers reduced sentencing already approved by the judge. The party declines.
  • It comes to light that Elias has already plead guilty to conspiracy. Following Vayol’s earlier instruction, he is telling the truth.
  • The witness stand is enveloped in a very powerful zone of truth. The evidence is on full display yet well-guarded.
  • Each member of the party testifies. Other witnesses include Elias, Veluar, some of the guards (including the one the party saved).
  • The Accuser plays up the amount of secrecy and mistrust, particularly between Vayol and Elias.
  • Elias is profoundly uncomfortable being on the witness stand, and he fumbles quite a bit.
  • Vayol’s main defense is that he was operating under direct (albeit posthumous) orders from Iris Edwin Price.
  • The trial concludes, and Iris Sebastian Rothschild IV retires to deliberate. People are invited to review the evidence themselves.
  • The party notices several figures hiding red robes moving through the crowd toward the evidence table.
Session 22
Arrested Development

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

  • The party makes their way to the Vawaryn manor.
  • D’Jango notices a few people in the crowd that look like they’re watching the house. They opt to use the back entrance in the alley.
  • Curious about what the surveillance team is up to, they try a couple of different ways to lure one into the alleyway. Zora waits in ambush while D’Jango and Vayol make a scene. Eventually they succeed and they manage to knock a female member unconscious.
  • After tying her up, they spend some time debating how to proceed. Once they have their plan, Vayol wakes her, and she reveals she’s part of the City Watch. During their banter, it becomes clear she’s stalling. Her backup arrives—City Watch in full uniform with crossbows trained on the party—shouting instructions to back away and keep hands visible.
  • The party surrenders to the cops. They are placed in iron manacles and searched.
  • Inspector Szordrin T’sarrim of Dabokva arrives. He explains he was personally requested by Iris Sebastian Rothschild to investigate the murder of Iris Edwin Price. He outlines how reconstructing the events leading up to the Iris’s death led him to track a package to this house, and now he’s found three individuals who
    • have assaulted one of his officers,
    • roughly match the description of those in the Grand Library’s vault, and
    • are in possession of items from that vault.
  • Szordrin invites them to offer an explanation, because he loves to hear a good story.
  • D’Jango explains that they were operating at the direct instruction of Iris Price. Szordrin retorts, “That doesn’t sound like a denial. That sounds like a justification, which isn’t my concern. That’s up to the new Iris.”
  • Vayol starts to explain what the Roathians are trying to do, but Szordrin dismisses it as the ravings of a madman. He instructs his officers to cart them to prison. D’Jango shouts for Veluar. The party tries to resist arrest, but Szordrin throws out a hypnotic pattern, subduing the party.
  • Veluar emerges from his house as the party is being dragged to the paddy wagon. He and Szordrin exchange words. Veluar watches helplessly as the wagon departs. He shouts after them, “I’ll free you somehow! You saved my life!”
Session 21
All Hail the New Iris of Baleton!

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

  • D’Jango pays a street urchin to invite Elias to meet Vayol at The Ugly Mastiff. However, D’Jango also disguises himself as an old man and tails the urchin to observe the delivery.
  • The new Iris arrives in Baleton: Sebastian Rosthchild IV. He gives a brief speech assuring the populace that he will seek justice for the former Iris while also investigating a recent break-in. During the investigation, however, the entire Grand Library will be closed to the public.
  • D’Jango overhears Sebastian berating Elias, specifically picking out the phrase “personally responsible” as the new Iris points at him.
  • After the speech, Elias is visibly shaken. The urchin delivers the message. Elias stops at his apartment on the way to The Ugly Mastiff. He emerges ready for a long journey.
  • When Elias reaches The Ugly Mastiff, he explains that he’s the primary suspect in the vault robbery.
    • Elias thought it would be done quietly and with no one noticing until it was too late. Instead, the explosions attracted a lot of attention.
    • The surviving guards explained that the maintenance crew had wiped out the invaders, yet the vault had been cleaned out.
    • And who scheduled the maintenance work? Elias.
  • Elias explains he’s been summoned to testify in a zone of truth, and he’s not sure what to do. He is prepared to leave town, perhaps to join Vayol and his allies.
  • Vayol instructs Elias to tell the truth and gives him the former Iris’s letter, heavily redacted, as proof:

If this missive reaches you, waste no time mourning my death. The ranks of the Church have been infiltrated by Roathian heretics. No doubt their goal is to bring about a second Great Burning, setting civilization back millennia. I trusted you with [REDACTED], and your isolation has kept you free from their influence. Now I charge you, by the Axiom, to continue my work of rooting them out and foiling their plans.
However, this must be done from outside the Church. I know not where the loyalties of the other Irises lie, and the High Pupil has been sequestered 20 years now. Exercise wisdom and keep your circle small. Regrettably, in times such as these, Knowledge is most potent in a sea of ignorance. Retrieve the contents of the Library vault before my successor discovers them.
Belief and truth,
Edwin Price, Iris of Baleton

  • The group decides to visit Veluar and ask him about the Inscrutable Codex. On the way, they defend a homeless old man from a group of young thugs. Zora has little hesitation escalating to lethal force, chasing after one of the fleeing teens to stab him in the back.
Session 20
Lore Dump!

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

After a successful heist, the party meets at the Ugly Mastiff and takes inventory:

  • Two sets of scale mail, sized small and medium, each emblazoned with the symbol of the Church of the Vigilant Eye.
  • A bag of gems, all worth about 400gp.
  • A bag of currency: 31pp, 18gp, 66sp, 190cp.
  • Slip of paper written in Edwin Price’s hand:
    • 1821 Songs 6th: Received jawbone of Adrian Roathe, also known as the Mouth of Heresy.
    • 1825 Hearths 17th: Silenced its whispers with a precise primordial ward discovered by Azdrid Alestone. Only an entity of pure chaos could unwind it.
  • A page describing something called the Inscrutable Codex.
    • It resists being copied. Attempts come out as gibberish that doesn’t match the original text.
    • It was separated into 6 pieces after the destruction of the Lamprow Grand Library by Adrian Roathe.
    • Each piece resides in a Grand Library vault.
  • Treatise on the Roathian Heresy, a work in progress by Iris Edwin Price. Its contents include a description of the Roathian heresy, its refutation, and what lessons can be taken from the whole ordeal.
    • Roathe’s core claims were:
      • He understood the Inscrutable Codex.
      • Its contents were dangerous and it ought to be destroyed, even if it meant destroying other knowledge.
    • Roathe’s claims were not true Knowledge:
      • “Belief without Truth is delusion.” His claims were unverifiable.
      • “Truth without Belief is doubt.” Even if he was correct, he was unable to convince others by rational means and unwilling to share what he claimed to have understood. When charisma failed, he resorted to violence.
    • What we can learn:
      • Avoid centralizing contents to a single Library.
      • Reverence for the Letter is crucial in the spread of Knowledge. (This section is incomplete.)

And the party levels up.

Session 19
Uninvited Guests

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

Roathian heretics have blasted their way into the Baleton Grand Library’s private collection, where the party is in the process of accessing its vault at the direction of the former Iris.

  • The explosion and gunfire are loud. The party expects Library guards to show up any time.
  • Vayol is already in the vault. He grabs the treasure from the chest, the papers from the desk, and the small set of armor on the armor stand. When it’s clear the Roathians are headed his way, he closes the vault door almost all the way and hides.
  • D’Jango, Zora, and the other guard try to hold them of. The Library guard is severely injured and falls back, and the two party members regroup.
  • When the Roathians see an open path to the vault, they rush forward and their squad leader emerges. His spiritual weapon spell proves to be a nuisance.
  • The Roathians plant explosive charges around the vault doors and blast it open, creating a cloud of dust and smoke that obscures them. It also gives Vayol an opportunity to exit the vault undetected.
  • As the dust begins to settle, a melee breaks out near the vault entrance. Five more Library guards enter the private collection from the main entrance. Four of them rush forward. One takes his fallen ally to safety.
  • As the guards are rushing forward, the Roathian leader commands one of his bombers to detonate himself. Surprisingly, he obeys. The explosion vaporizes two of the Library guards, destroys an entire section of shelves, and creates another cloud of dust and smoke.
  • Vayol engages the leader and receives an inflict wounds spell for his trouble. He’s hurting badly but persistent about repelling the attack.
  • The other bomber detonates himself, even though doing so will kill one of their archers. The guards near him are hurt but they survive. Zora is seriously injured but survives. Another section of shelves topples over.
  • Zora finishes off the leader, but not before he speaks into a sending stone: “It’s not here—”
  • The surviving guards are very surprised that these nobody electrical workers could be so formidable combatants. D’Jango uses friends and spins a tale about being part of a secret strike force within the Church. He then orders them upstairs to evacuate the building, assuring them his team will secure this area. The guards oblige, but the party is on the clock, as friends doesn’t last long.
  • Zora grabs the other set of armor from the vault, and Vayol quickly picks a few important-looking items off of the leader’s corpse.
  • The party flees through the blasted tunnel, which emerges in a back ally several blocks away.
Session 18
Inside Job

Truesday, 1844 Rain 23rd

  • The party discusses several options for getting into the vault, including pressing on the engineer who did the electrical work in the private collection. They eventually decide to approach Elias, who seemed to be loyal to the former Iris, and confirm his loyalties.
  • Vayol returns to the Grand Library and tracks down Elias. Elias is reviewing the same books Vayol had looked at earlier.
  • Both clerics are very suspicious of one another. D’Jango and Zora stay where they can watch and intervene if necessary.
  • The two clerics go to lunch in a loud public place where they can be seen but speak privately.
  • Vayol convinces Elias to voluntarily fail the save for a zone of truth spell. He grills Elias about his allegiances. Satisfied, he reveals the former Iris’s letter.
  • D’Jango and Zora witness the waiter seemingly preparing to poison Vayol. Elias sends the drinks back. (He was in on the plot but changed his mind.)
  • Elias is willing to help them enter the vault. He schedules maintenance of the electrical systems in the private collection for early the next morning.

Zealday, 1844 Rain 24th

  • The party disguises themselves as laborers. They smuggle their gear in using large bags usually used for tools. A single Library guard accompanies them.
  • While they’re down in the Library’s private collection, one of the emergency doors is blasted in from the outside. Thugs with swords, bows, and apparently guns and bombs (!?) rush into the private collection.
  • With the help (perhaps an overstatement) of the one Library guard who accompanies them, Zora begins to repel the attackers.
  • D’Jango and Vayol use the dual key system to enter the vault where Vayol retrieves its most prominent feature: an ancient document with inscrutable writing under a glass dome on a pedestal. He hides the page inside of a stray book to keep it intact in his bag. There are a number of other items in the vault but not time to grab them all:
    • Two sets of armor (one small, one medium) on racks.
    • A desk with a handful of documents.
    • An unlocked chest in the corner.

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