The Helltreaders

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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This whole campaign is a murder mystery.... really

The party assembles in Valena and learns that a rash of murders has occurred over the last 3 weeks. King Itheus asks the party to track down the killer, and the party insights that this is the first real challenge of Itheus’s rule since the end of the Hellmarch (as he has been riding high on selecting the party and forward thinking enough to address the threat)

Before the party meets Itheus, they are confronted by Teagan of House Virrid. Teagan is obsessed with dueling Voronwe to prove he is the better swordsman (despite the fact that Voronwe no longer wields a fullblade). The party ignores him, despite his childish provocations and the gathered crowd is impressed. Teagan is made to look like fool.

The party begins tracking down the murderer and Brood becomes aware that the parties actions are being watched and interfered with by Alevar’s spy network. In the wake of the Hellmarch, Alevar (the ruler of Rethem) lost face when he attempted to leverage offering his support for personal gain. Voronwe has publicly rebuked Alevar for this, and Alevar has grown increasingly paranoid over the past couple of years. The once vibrant trading hub that was Rethem now more closely resembles an oppressive police state. As Alevar is convinced the party is after him, he gets his spy network to interfere with whatever the party is up to as often as he can.

The party manages to see past the mis-information and comes up with four suspects:

  • Azoun the churigeon, who has been obsessed with the Hellmarch since its conclusion and has been seen repeatedly visiting the sites where the corpses have been found
  • Tanwen the scrivener, who used to serve as Lilith/Synelle’s personal scribe, and who is said never to have left her side for years before she was exposed by the party
  • Mellothrin the brickmaker, a religious devotee of Erathis, who has been publicly critical of the Helltreader’s breaking into the temple of Erathis’ archives, even to the extent of demanding your public execution for your slight against the church.
  • Erky the locksmith, who served and an irregular during the Hellmarch, and who was captured by a devil legion early in the conflict but released soon after, completely unharmed. Rumors swirl that he sold his soul to spare his life

The party is granted access to the bodies, and Voronwe cannot find evidence that a specific devil is serving as inspiration. He finds several scenes from Kaldor’s history on the bodies, and determines that the killer must have received a formal education. Brood finds a long hair that is assumed to be the murderer’s (Azoun is bald), an uncoroperative witness, a young girl named Pug (an orphan n top of it) is intimidated into helping the party and spotted the killer while he or she was dropping off a body, and is able to relate to the party that the killer did not have elven ears. The party doesnt give into their prejudices in assuming that Mellothrin is not educated merely for being a brickmaker, and adds a primary check to the skill challenge to determine if she is educated (making it an 13/3). She is not, and the party focuses on Tanwen. the party also learns that Tanwen must have captives, owing to missing common symbols on the victims (that the patterns suggest were written on several victims).

Owing to some insights by the party earlier in the challenge, the party knows the general area of Tanwen’s hunting ground. They quickly find the specific zone, and in no time spot Tanwen between several hundred yards away. Using the crowd as cover works until the group fails a stealth check, and Voronwe is caught in the open. Tanwen takes off at supernatural speed. The chase is on!

Brood manages to keep up, Kalkanesh rallies bystanders to help impede Tanwen’s progress. Voronwe fails to make sense of Valena’s winding roads, but Isaac’s knowledge of Arcana reveals that the burst of speed Tanwen used is only temporary, and the party is able to figure out his ultimate goal of a depressed area filled with abandoned buildings. (SC passed, 13 pass, 2 fails)

Tanwen is unable to kill off his remaining captives, but is able to knock two of them out, start a fire, and douse another victim in highly flammable oil. Brood is able to release the oiled captive almost immediately. Tanwen attacks, and it is clear that his body has been warped by infernal magics. The party manages to kill him, but then Teagan and his cohort shows up. They have seized the opportunity to catch the party in a fight. Brood attempts to buy some time for a short rest, but then takes on a more threatening tone, and manages to convince one of Teagan’s allies to abandon the fight. the battle continues, and brood is dropped, but he recovers. session ends on a power failure

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Dues ex, sorta

The party was on the verge of capturing Teagan and rescuing the remaining captives when they are suddenly teleported to the Plane Above. Teagan makes his escape and the fire causes the building to collapse, dooming the remaining captives (though the party doesn’t express much concern for their fate when they meet the chosen of Erathis and Garagos, because they are stone-cold mofos). The party meets Malaric, Rowan and Merkersa. In a tense and adversarial conversation the party is tasked with finding and stopping Vesemir Sevelda. Vesemir has never actually been seen in public, but is known to the party as an important member of House Sevelda.

The party was tasked with this mission because Vesemir used a ritual (whose magic is not understood since such a spell would be beyond the capability of a mortal lifespan to cast) that allows him to hide, at-will, from anyone (god or mortal). The party was insulated from the effects of this spell because they were within the borders of Du’Cell’s prison when whatever ritual Vesemir used was completed. The magical properties of Du’Cell’s prison apparently protected the party and as such only they have any chance of finding and defeating Vesemir.

Vesemir intends to become a god. The other ritual he cast allows him enter into the godly realm (which should likewise be impossible for a mortal to cast such a powerful spell), and thus would allow him to threaten the gods directly.

It is likely that Erathis and Garagos are the deities whose domains are most directly threatened by Vesemir’s plans. Yet their chosen are particularly unhelpful in providing clues (you insighted that they really have no idea, but refuse to admit as much to the party). Finally the chosen of Correlon and Sehanine (Sateaka and Keara) appear, and treat the party with respect. Malaric, Rowan, and Merkersa leave the party with a threat to serve as the agents of divine retribution should the party divert from their mission, and then they leave. Keara affirms that Vesemir is indeed a threat and suggests that the party try and find out how Vesemir managed to cast two such powerful spells, and how exactly he intends to become a god. Keara gives Veronwe an Incendiary ring (level 14), and the party is teleported back to Valena.

Teagan attempted to spread a story of the party attacking him while he was fighting the murderer, but this is refuted by the rescued captive and the member of Teagan’s cohort who Brood convinced to abandoned the fight. King Itheus rewards the party 1,000gp and house Virrid gives the party another 1,000 gp in order to avoid losing face (and they publicly disown Teagan).

The party then attempts to obtain some leads on Vesemir (the party failed the challenge, but learned the following):

Helpful Goddess: The party learned that one of Vesemir’s ancestors (Irena Sevelda) became the subject of Sharess’s fascination, and took from her some object that has likely been passed down through the Sevelda clan over the last 600 years.

Sharess visits the material plane occasionally so that she never becomes indifferent to the mortal plight (like how the gods summoned you and were completely indifferent to the fate of the murders captives). During these visits she sometimes becomes infatuated with exceptional mortals whose lives are said to be forever charmed thereafter. Irena was one of these.

The party learns that Sharess herself (or at least an avatar) is currently visiting a festhall in Valena, and further realizes that Du’Cell (the devil you freed from his prison) gave you a brass bracelet with the Symbol of Sharess on it, allowing you access to this festhall.

The Children’s Fable: The party knows of a fable where the village of BlueHollow was destroyed by raiders. The raiders are said to have succeeded because the people of Bluehollow succumbed to their sins when they would have prevailed had they led righteous lives. The story is known all around the world, and there are dozens of different versions of it, but there is always one consistent element: a cleric is said to have discovered how to become a god himself, and devoted his efforts to attaining godhood rather than help defend the city. The party becomes aware of this fact when trying to get help from Freugion, who they discover is missing. In Freugion’s office they find his notes that cover a wide variety of topic, and they discover that he spent a great deal of time studying the Bluehollow fable.

It is also known to the party that there have been sightings near the Enduring Forest of a “Mad Mage” that is said to be in possession of a rune inscribed skull. The party suspects this is Vesemir and that the skull is that of Ezren the wizard, who the party killed and whose corpse was found, sans skull, in the city of Peran in the home of Mercentius Sevelda.
The party further learns of an account transcribed by an archivist that was discovered in the archives of the Erathis temple. It describes a soldier 700 years ago (before the previous Hellmarch) who deserted the army and sought refuge in the Enduring Forest. There he found an abandoned village in pristine condition. That very night the village was attacked by ghostly forms, the sight of which drove the solider mad.

The Enduring Forest is said to be impassible to all but those who are in perfect harmony with nature. The only known humanoid settlement is a sacred grove maintained by the druids of Silvanus (god of nature). The party realizes that for the solider in the account to have survived the Enduring Forest, he must have been helped by the druids. Therefore Bluehollow must be close to the grove.

Since the account of the soldier suggests that the Bluehollow fable has roots in fact, and since all versions of the fable tell of a cleric who discovered how to become a god, finding Bluehollow may provide clues as to how Vesemir intends to attain godhood himself.

Alevar’s Chalice: The fact that the party was summoned by Erathis and Garagos jogged a memory in Veronwe. Back when he worked on Alevar’s secret operations team he was part of a mission where a specific caravan was raided in order to obtain a crate belonging to the Sevelda house. This crate contained a chalice that had the symbols of Erathis and Garagos imprinted in it. This is too much of a coincidence to not be related to Vesemir’s plan (in that the chalice was in the possession of the Sevelda house, the chalice was specifically identified with Garagos and Erathis, and then those very deities summon the party to hunt down Vesemir).
Veronwe received the mission via the Rethem embassy office in Valena, and it was coordinated by the diplomat that still serves there (Breela, a gnome). The party breaks in to her apartment and finds her in a drug induced stupor. Veronwe uses his healing knowledge to make Breela able to talk, but also to think she is having some wonderful dream.
The party learns that Alevar had the chalice stolen by Veronwe’s team so that he we could demonstrate the extent of his reach, and the capabilities of his spy network. The chalice was delivered to Alevar himself, and Breela relates that it is his most prized possession. Therefore it is still with Alevar, and very likely related to the party’s quest (though it is not clear why at this point).

Unfinished Business: While breaking into the embassy apartment, the party discovers a pin was worn by Teagan during their fight in the murderer’s hideout. After sneaking past some guards, the party discovers a poorly concealed hidden safe, which Brood unlocks. Inside are documents that reveal that a sizable sum has been paid to Alevar by house Virrid (Teagan’s noble house). They also find a letter from Alevar that says that Teagan has assumed the identity of Jax, a famous gladiator in Rethem who died while protecting Alevar from an attempt on his life. Jax always fought with his face concealed, so Teagan was able to take his place undetected. Therefore Teagan is in Rethem posing as a gladiator.

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Ride the snake
  • Legion is a thought to be invincible guardian of a inner sanctum in the Temple of Profane Sorrow
  • Arabel wants the Tears of Shar plant so that she can restore Neeva’s free will.
  • Sharess may agree to share knowledge with the party, and Triss recommends the party retrieve Neeva and Freugion to help their case

Session summary:

The party “decided” to pursue the “Helpful Goddess” lead, which brought them to a festhall where Sharess herself is in attendance.

They arrive and are granted access after showing the bracelet they received from Du’Cell. They are led through the Festhall to a private chamber occupied by a group of people that are apparently in a perpetual state of bliss. These are Sharess’s enthralled; mortals who in their excessive pride sought an audience with Sharess thinking that they could charm her and she would become infatuated with them, but ending up surrendering their will to her when her charms stripped away their sanity

Next they meet Triss, the high priestess of the temple. She dances around the obvious presence of her mistress, but is eventually told by Sharess (via soft breeze) that she may indeed audience with the Helltreaders in a few nights.

Triss tells the party they can help their case by retrieving Neeva and Freugion, two of Sharess’s enthralled who were taken by Arabel, Neeva’s sister. The party leaves and investigates Arabell. They discover that she has recently returned from the temple of profane sorrow. The party also learns that Arabel is Raki’s sister (Raki was the spy Halbarad sent to follow the party in Peran. The party easily caught him, but when they attempted to convince Raki to feed false information back to Halbarad, he refused, even upon the threat of death. The party killed him, and later encountered his vengeful spirit in hell, right before the party faced Lydia. They convinced Raki to forgive them, and he disappeared to an unknown fate).

At Arabel’s house, the party has a tense conversation with Arabel and it is revealed that she took Neeva in the hopes of restoring her free will. She took Freugion thinking he may have information about Legion, the invincible guardian of the temple of profane sorrow, but Fruegion can only babble about meeting the Goddess. Arabel traveled to the temple in the hopes of retrieving the petals of a tears of shar plant. It is said that this rare plant grows only at the sites where blood is spilt in betrayal, and it is thought to be one of the few things capable of restoring the free will of one enthralled by Sharess.

The party states that they will attempt to retrieve the tears of Shar, and leaves Freugion and Neeva at Arabel’s. The party gathers info on the Temple of Profane Sorrow and Legion and performs extremely well:

Temple of Profane Sorrow: Many thousands of years ago Olmar, a fire giant of legendary skill in architecture and artifice was tasked by Zehir, the god of assassins and serpents, to build the temple. When it was completed Zehir slew Olmar so that no other temple could be made like it. Before he was killed Olmar grew suspicious of Zehir, and so he constructed a protector out of impenetrable armor, and imbued it with the ability to absorb the souls of those it kills in battle (hence the name). Although Legion failed to protect Olmar, it is still bound to the temple, and slays all who approach the inner sanctum. By this point it contains thousands of souls

Legion has never been defeated, though there are scattered tales of someone landing a lucky blow and it apparently being damaged. Most tales say that weapon strikes just bounce harmlessly off it.

Legion is indominable: If an effect can end with a save, the colossus does not suffer from it. The colossus is immune to all forced movement. If it suffers from an effect that ends at the end of a creatures turn, the effect ends at the end of the colossus’s next turn.

A bard tells you that the souls within it still have their personalities intact, and the creature often argues with itself while fighting. It seems that the souls constantly vie for control of Legion

A band of dwarven fighters remained in Velena after the Hellmarch and were certain that they knew how to destroy it, as they had a similar legend in ages past. They left town laden with water skins and a keg of fresh water, but were never heard from again.

The party ventures to the Temple of Profane Sorrow and discovers that it has already been repopulated by the Yuan-ti followers of Zehir. Fresh symbols indicate that the temple is in the process of being re-consecrated by the Yuan-ti. In one of the ensuing encounters, the party is also attacked by a human assassin. After defeating her they find a Zehir tattoo on her body and identify her as a member of the Deep shadows assassin gang (the party previously encountered them as they were tasked with assassinating Dylena, the Dutchess of Peran). Although a follower of Zehir would be welcome by the Yuan-ti, this particular assassin, when not being dazed out of her mind, displayed a disturbing familiarity with the party tactics.

The party reaches a ruined section of the temple where a narrow ledge crosses a chasm and a hallway branches to the east. Here a Yuan-ti of some status offers to allow the party to venture into the section of the temple where Legion resides in exchange for not attacking them and not attempting to reach whatever is down the east corridor. They party insights that they must have arrived at a critical stage of the temple consecration rites, and that the Yuan-ti is sincere in his offer (as he believes that Legion will kill the party). The party successfully bluffs the Yuan-ti into believing that they have accepted offer, but really they just agree so that they can ideally position themselves. In the ensuing combat, the Yuan-ti is killed before he can take a single action.

The party wins and then ventures down the east hall. In a chamber there they find a masked captive bound to a stone altar…

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meeting 4!
the fourth meeting

The party realizes that the captive on the altar is a medusa, and a powerful looking one at that. The bronze mask on her face both prevents her from speaking and prevents her from using her petrification powers. Despite the risks, the party removes the mask to talk with her.

They learn that she is Sashra, ruler of the Caves of Menace deep in the Enduring Forest. She was betrayed by her brood sisters and handed over to the followers of Zehir to be sacrificed in the temples consecration rites. She was specifically selected because they cultists believed that her blood has special properties because she wields magic.

In the ensuing conversation the party learns that she has been alive for over a century, and that she charges a toll for people to pass through the Caves of Menace (since it is connected to a deep gully that provides quicker and safer travel through the forest).

When they ask about Vesemir, she says she has heard of the Mad Mage, but that he never troubled her. She does not know of the Bluehollow legend.

When the party asks about the druid grove, she says that they each keep to themselves. But she knows from travelers passing through her domain that within the last couple of years some of the druids were suddenly afflicted with madness.

The party decides to release her, and she vows to greet them warmly should they ever go to the Caves of Menace.

The party then proceeds to Legion’s chambers and sees that the floor is covered with the ground bone dust from all his previous opponents. In the chamber are four flame pillars, an altar, Legion, the tears of shar, a treasure pile and a mirror fragment. Legion turns out to be immune to damage. They party has done enough research and deduction to realize that it can weaken Legion by exploiting the varying and contradictory personalities of the souls trapped within him. Later the party notices a series of small weak points that represent the accumulated strikes of thousands of defeated opponents over several thousands of years. Finally the party realizes that the Altar in Legion’s chamber also helps sustain the construct. The party narrowly prevails when they successfully exploit Legion’s few weaknesses.

The party retrieves a single bulb from the tears of shar plant, and they realize that they can only use it on Neeva or Freugion, but not both. Isaac retrieves the mirror fragment, and recognizes it as a piece of the Shalathi Mirror, a powerful artifact that he believes he must re-assemble to sever the ties that evil being use to influence events on the material plane, as well as saving his own soul from eternal torment.

The party decides that in order to best “help their case” they must return both Neeva and Fruegion to the Sharessan Festhall. To do this they lure Arabel to an ambush site and pull off the perfect scheme, which is only complicated by Voronwe using like 4 powers to throw a net.

The party brings Neeva and Fruegion back to the Festhall and is chastised by Triss for simply obeying every order they are given. It turns out Sharessan’s are kinda fickle that way. The party then learns that they will be granted an audience, but only to one member of the party. You all realize that whomever is chosen risks losing their sanity. Brood cannot pass up the opportunity to charm a goddess, and volunteers.

Over the course of the evening, Brood barely scrapes through with his sanity intact, but more importantly he is able to gain the infatuation of Sharess. The party helped in this endeavor by performing various capers around the Festhall, and was able to restore some of Brood’s healing surges and buff his skill checks. Most notable was Kalkanesh’s acrobatics performance, which she loathed but which will soon become the talk of the town, simply because she’ll hate the attention.

During the evening Sharess revealed to Brood that several centuries ago (600 years) she had been briefly infatuated with one Irena Sevelda. Among the favors she extracted from Sharess was a pair of lips fashioned from a single ruby. Irena had insisted that Sharess infuse it with a tiny essence of her divinity so that Irena would never be apart from her as long as she had it. As other such relics had a tendency to launch bloody and wasteful crusades, Sharess also built a flaw into the jewel that would allow her to destroy it at will if its existence was doing more harm than good, or if she felt its possessor was not worthy of it. Strangely enough, Sharess could sense that Irena never kept the jewel on her, and that no one had even touched it for 600 years thereafter. Around the time of the Hellmarch, Sharess suddenly felt that something had picked it up and was examining it with evil intent. She instantly willed the jewel destroyed and detected the psychic feedback of a deep and profane evil. She does not know anything else except that the event took place at the ruins of Lothering Castle (you know of this place, it is a few days march south of Valena).

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meeting 4!
the fourth meeting

The party realizes that the captive on the altar is a medusa, and a powerful looking one at that. The bronze mask on her face both prevents her from speaking and prevents her from using her petrification powers. Despite the risks, the party removes the mask to talk with her.

They learn that she is Sashra, ruler of the Caves of Menace deep in the Enduring Forest. She was betrayed by her brood sisters and handed over to the followers of Zehir to be sacrificed in the temples consecration rites. She was specifically selected because they cultists believed that her blood has special properties because she wields magic.

In the ensuing conversation the party learns that she has been alive for over a century, and that she charges a toll for people to pass through the Caves of Menace (since it is connected to a deep gully that provides quicker and safer travel through the forest).

When they ask about Vesemir, she says she has heard of the Mad Mage, but that he never troubled her. She does not know of the Bluehollow legend.

When the party asks about the druid grove, she says that they each keep to themselves. But she knows from travelers passing through her domain that within the last couple of years some of the druids were suddenly afflicted with madness.

The party decides to release her, and she vows to greet them warmly should they ever go to the Caves of Menace.

The party then proceeds to Legion’s chambers and sees that the floor is covered with the ground bone dust from all his previous opponents. In the chamber are four flame pillars, an altar, Legion, the tears of shar, a treasure pile and a mirror fragment. Legion turns out to be immune to damage. They party has done enough research and deduction to realize that it can weaken Legion by exploiting the varying and contradictory personalities of the souls trapped within him. Later the party notices a series of small weak points that represent the accumulated strikes of thousands of defeated opponents over several thousands of years. Finally the party realizes that the Altar in Legion’s chamber also helps sustain the construct. The party narrowly prevails when they successfully exploit Legion’s few weaknesses.

The party retrieves a single bulb from the tears of shar plant, and they realize that they can only use it on Neeva or Freugion, but not both. Isaac retrieves the mirror fragment, and recognizes it as a piece of the Shalathi Mirror, a powerful artifact that he believes he must re-assemble to sever the ties that evil being use to influence events on the material plane, as well as saving his own soul from eternal torment.

The party decides that in order to best “help their case” they must return both Neeva and Fruegion to the Sharessan Festhall. To do this they lure Arabel to an ambush site and pull off the perfect scheme, which is only complicated by Voronwe using like 4 powers to throw a net.

The party brings Neeva and Fruegion back to the Festhall and is chastised by Triss for simply obeying every order they are given. It turns out Sharessan’s are kinda fickle that way. The party then learns that they will be granted an audience, but only to one member of the party. You all realize that whomever is chosen risks losing their sanity. Brood cannot pass up the opportunity to charm a goddess, and volunteers.

Over the course of the evening, Brood barely scrapes through with his sanity intact, but more importantly he is able to gain the infatuation of Sharess. The party helped in this endeavor by performing various capers around the Festhall, and was able to restore some of Brood’s healing surges and buff his skill checks. Most notable was Kalkanesh’s acrobatics performance, which she loathed but which will soon become the talk of the town, simply because she’ll hate the attention.

During the evening Sharess revealed to Brood that several centuries ago (600 years) she had been briefly infatuated with one Irena Sevelda. Among the favors she extracted from Sharess was a pair of lips fashioned from a single ruby. Irena had insisted that Sharess infuse it with a tiny essence of her divinity so that Irena would never be apart from her as long as she had it. As other such relics had a tendency to launch bloody and wasteful crusades, Sharess also built a flaw into the jewel that would allow her to destroy it at will if its existence was doing more harm than good, or if she felt its possessor was not worthy of it. Strangely enough, Sharess could sense that Irena never kept the jewel on her, and that no one had even touched it for 600 years thereafter. Around the time of the Hellmarch, Sharess suddenly felt that something had picked it up and was examining it with evil intent. She instantly willed the jewel destroyed and detected the psychic feedback of a deep and profane evil. She does not know anything else except that the event took place at the ruins of Lothering Castle (you know of this place, it is a few days march south of Valena).

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meeting 5!!!

The party decides to use the tears of Shar bulb on Freugion. Arabel leaves Neeva at the temple and casts out to find another tears of Shar plant and doesn’t like the party very much.
Fruegion comes out of his blissful stupor, and is at first ambivalent about being released from perpetual bliss, but soon regains his normal personality.
A discussion ensues, in which he relates the following:
· Lothering: When the Sevelda Clan was granted noble status just over a thousand years ago, they built a castle to serve as their home. This is a source of some embarrassment to the current generation of Seveldas as it was built in a place of no strategic importance, cost too much to build, and was generally regarded as a clumsy attempt to gain the trappings of nobility, but only served to demonstrate how unsophisticated the Sevelda clan was. It has since fallen into disrepair
· Vesemir: Freugion researched the Sevelda clan since your run-ins with Ezren and Mercentius were important events. The birth of Vesemir Sevelda is recorded, but Freugion found no records about him ever since.
· Druids: The druids rarely allow outsiders into the grove, for they deem all who come from the ordered places to be polluted. He does not know about the madness, or the sightings of the “Mad Mage”
· Sashra: No knowledge, save for that many an adventurer is thought to have perished trying to pass through her caves. Double-entendre unintentional
· Alevar’s Chalice: Its original name is lost to history, but it is said to have been forged ages ago in the time before the gods imparted the magical arts upon mortals. Before the rise of the cities, Erathis was a weak god, for all inhabitants of this plane lived in tiny bands and warred constantly. Eventually a powerful leader united enough tribes that he was able to pacify enough land and peoples to establish the first cities. It was a long and bloody endeavor, but in honing the art of war, and in planting the seeds of civilization, both Garagos and Erathis grew in power. To reward this hero they forged the chalice, and since then many a crusade has been launched to claim it. Freugion doubts its existence. Many a forgery has been created. A thousand years ago it was thought that the Sevelda Clan had successfully retrieved it, but their own Patriarch (Blakkan Sevelda) announced it was a forgery. For his honesty King Itheus’s great ancestor granted the Sevelda house noble status, and the fake chalice became their house symbol.
As Lothering castle is on the way to the Enduring Forest, the party decides to check it out. They note that it is indeed built in an unusual place, and seems to have no purpose (and must have been tremendously expensive to build). Large parts of it have collapsed but the party eventually finds a stairway in that has a constant flow of mist flowing out.
The party enters and Voronwe’s keen senses immediately detect the presence of two Blighted treants and some harpies. The party defeats the monsters and finds nothing on them.
In the same room the party discovers are glowing set of runes that were made to attract monsters to Lothering. The party also finds that a hole was built into the floor of this room, but the roof above it was intentionally collapsed to seal it off.
Finally the party finds that a cauldron was spewing out the mist, and this was giving the monsters here some combat bonuses.
Through the next door the party encounters a band of Cyclops. In the ensuing combat the Cyclops successfully draw the party into a kill zone, and they are totally about to pull off an insane maneuver that will see the party struggling to survive turn to turn when… the party pulls of a switcheroo and darkness combo that shuts down the Cyclops battle plan. Epic smackdown ensues.
The party finds 2,500gp and Kalkanesh’s level 15 bracers (or something).
The party finds a chapel that was apparently never used. It must have been built to keep up appearances, but evidently the Sevalda’s of that time worshiped no gods.
In the next room the party discovers a Blighter druid, some monstrous wolves and some seemingly innocent captives. In the ensuing battle Voronwe manages to set Isaac on fire. The captives turn out to be death hags, a twist so novel that Jay faints in surprise. The party prevails and the session ends.

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dream dream dream

The party, having defeated the blighter druid in the prior session, determines that this druid has been a blighter for much longer than the tales of madness from the Druid circle in the Enduring Forest have existed. So she was therefore not specifically linked to the druid circle in Silvanus’ grove. The party finds 2,000gp in valuables among the monsters.
The party finds a trapdoor that was once covered by a statue (the statue was apparently smashed to allow it to be opened). A magical rune trap is discovered on the door, which Isaac unsuccessfully attempts to disarm. The trap is sprung and people take lightening damage.
The party descends into the trap-door passage and discovers a staircase that, although old, looks to have been used only once. In the dust of the passage Voronwe can make out a single set of footprints leading out, and he determines that whomever it was passed through over a year ago.
The party finds what looks to be the living quarters of the caretakers of the chanters (discovered later). In this room the party finds the corpses of 4 human females.
The next chamber has four chairs facing an altar with some sort of phrase written in an arcane language above the altar. Around the room are stone tablets that address the basic pronunciation and somatic elements that the party determines accompany the arcane phrase, together comprising some form of ritual chanting. The party determines that children born here were taught how to perform the chant before being brought to the chanting chamber (found later)
The next room is a kitchen. In the ceiling of which is a hole blocked by stone. This hole was used to lower food and supplies to the people sealed in this complex.
This chamber is filled with corpses whom all appear to have been killed by something within their skulls exploding outwards. The corpses look to have been rotting here for less than a year. The arcane phrase you saw in the classroom is written in a continuous border all along the walls, and the stone floor is dotted with the grooves of human feet that have been stepping on the same spots for centuries. Near each corpse are a sleeping mat and a crude chamber pot. There are tiny holes in the ceiling that were made to allow the sounds of the chant to reach the chamber above this one. Every corpse in this complex appears to have been from a very narrow gene pool, based on the fact that they all have similar features.
In the room to the west the party discovers a deep pit filled with bones. Brood explores but finds nothing except that the bones go very deep. The party determines form all this that people were sealed in this complex to perform a multi-generational ritual. From the time they could comprehend, they learned the chant. When they were ready (around mid-adolescence) they graduated to the chanting room where they spent the rest of their lives. They performed the chant, pausing only to eat and sleep, until they died or were too feeble to continue the chant and then disposed of in the bone room.
The party explores the upper chamber and discovers a bedroom that looks like it has only been in use for the last 30 years (based on the contemporary works in on the bookshelf). There is also a statue of an old man that the party determines to be of Blakkan Sevelda, the patriarch of the Sevelda clan who saw the Seveldas elevated to noble status (and who built this castle). The party discovers a fragment of the Shalathi mirror, as well as Ezren’s skull. Ezren’s skull has runes written all over it that the party determined served to allow the skull to be used as a conduit for magical power at the conclusion of the multi-generational chant performed in the chamber below.
Vesemir probably was brought here while very young and was thereafter raised in this room, all the while being somehow affected by the ritual being performed in the chamber below. This would explain the lack of records on him. As the castle was built 1,000 years ago, the party can conclude that the chant has been going on for that long. That it was performed by multiple generations of people on a continual basis over all that time explains how the Seveldas managed to cast a spell powerful enough to allow Vesemir to enter the godly realm (if you recall from the first session, the chosen of Erathis and Garagos stated that the time required to cast such a spell would be measured in lifetimes).
As the party is pondering all this, all goes black and they suddenly find themselves in what they determine to be a Dreamscape; an imagined landscape existing in Vesemir’s mind that the players have been trapped in. There Vesemir mocks and questions the party, though mostly for the entertainment value, as he does not view them as any kind of threat. When the party is able to identify him by name, he is somewhat stunned. Vesemir relates to the party that he senses that the Deep Shadows are trying unsuccessfully to catch up to the party. Vesemir tells the party he is manipulating their dreams to lead the Deep Shadows to lathering, where they will seal the only entrance to the underground complex and trap the party here forever. As this is a dreamscape the party learns that seconds and minutes are hours and days in reality.
Vesemir decides to be sporting and constructs a fantastic landscape that he will only allow the players to escape from if they defeat the creatures he has populated the dreamscape with. In the ensuing combat, the party realizes that the Dreamscape is unstable and successfully forces Vesemir’s consciousness to reveal itself. When the party attacks this projection of Vesemir’s mind, the result is so jarring that the dreamscape crumbles and the party finds themselves back in Lothering, quite well rested. In the distance, however, the party can hear the sound of stone on stone as the Deep Shadows attempt to push the statue over the trapdoor…

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last time on Helltreaders...

Aroused from their battle in the Dreamscape where they fought Vesemir, the party finds themselves back in Lothering, and can hear in the distance the sound of a heavy statue being pushed towards the trapdoor entrance. To avoid being sealed in Lothering, the party prints back to the entrance. Kalkanesh finally gets to use her wall-running to great effect, but Brood still beats everyone there. Meanwhile Veronwe gets molested by the suddenly animated corpses of the inhabitants of Lothering.
The party emerges from the trapdoor and finds several Deep Shadows assassins, an epic battle ensues. Several more assassins emerge from their various hiding places but Veronwe finally emerges from the trapdoor in time to keep the party on its feet. The party finds a level 16 alliance band (for Veronwe).
Outside Lothering, the party finds the Deep Shadow’s cart and a strong box containing 7,500gp, as well as a man named Dotar shackled inside it. Dotar implores the party to release him and claims to be a Rethemi gem merchant who was kidnapped by the Deep Shadows at the behest of his competitors. Veronwe sees right through the lies, and Dotar confesses he is a minor agent from one of Alevar’s spy networks, and that he was sent to contact the Deep Shadows to let them know that it was the Helltreaders who killed Tuladin at the Deep Shadows hideout in Rockshatter Cave. Not being the trusting sort, they kept Dotar prisoner in case they were being led into a trap.
As Dotar now feels no particular loyalty to Alevar for putting him in this position (and in the interest of saving his own skin), Dotar agrees to help the party should they ever go to Rethem.
The party proceeds to the Enduring Forest and soon finds themselves lost. After a little effort they are able to orient themselves and discover that something is deliberately trying to make them lost. After constructing a trap, they confront a Dryad who they convince to leave them alone.
The party is next finds a desolate patch of rocky terrain for which they cannot make much sense from. Brood challenges the vast expanse with a bluff check to call out any who may be casting an illusion. While this has no effect concerning an illusion, it does prompt a psychic impression of some battle fought here, and that the area is devoid of all life and nothing should be able to grow. This is significant in that Veronwe’s passive perception is able to pick out a tiny fern leaf growing amidst the wasteland, which will be news of some significance to the grove druids.
The party gets partway through the wasteland when a stampede erupts from the forest behind them. The party manages to sprint to a flatter and more wide open expanse before the creatures (bears, deer, beastly looking reptiles of all kinds) envelop them so that the creatures are more able to move around the party rather than over them. The party is tiring and still in danger of being trampled, but a timely endurance check keeps the party moving while Brood and Isaac are able to corral the mass of animals away from the party.
The party finally reaches the Caves on Menace and is greeted by Sashra and a stone statue of an enormous giant. Sashra indicates that she has not been able to retake the caves as they are teeming with the monstrous minions of her sisters. She offers to team up with the party (and the party gains a faction benefit rather than an actual party member). Veronwe attempts to assess Shashra’s motives, but is unable to tell if she intends to betray the party or not…
The party enters the cave and is attacked by Cyclops’ who are aided by some hags. The party prevails and finds 600gp worth the precious stones.

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