Part 6 Recap – Sanctuary

Adventure 6 – Sanctuary

Today would be the day.  The day that their questions would be answered.  Kendall slung his quiver over his shoulder and looked to his traveling companions Braun and Neozama as they prepared their gear.  They were an unlikely lot, but together the wood elf ranger, half-orc rogue and human monk had marched, climbed and fought the Cathedral.  They had encountered bear-monks, riddles, puzzles, traps, militants, zealots and holy fools to name a few.  Now at last they were on the final day of their journey together.  Today they would reach the fabled Oracle.

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And this is what happens when we run games at home… Our cats steal the show. 😉

Braun the rogue was weary from travel, but being so close to the Oracle kept his senses sharp.   As the party continued onward Braun relied on his trap sense to warn his travel companions of dangers as the Cathedral shifted around them.  No matter how the safely the rogue guided them though they always seemed to end up at a dead end.  Even the ranger Kendall was stumped when they party’s path was cut off repeatedly just when they thought a path forward was found.  After an hour the rogue and hunter took a brief rest while Neozama studied the walls.

“Anyone else get the sense that the Cathedral is alive?”, the monk wondered aloud.

Braun scoffed, “Where do you think we are, Scrimhunt Castle?”  He turned to double back only to find a series of stairs heading upward suddenly form behind them.

Kendall stood up and pushed past the rogue.  “The tale of Scrimhunt Castle is a myth.  A story meant to frighten young children.”  A hatch at the end of the small stairs led the party to the outside ledge of the Cathedral  that overlooked the Midland Sea.  The sun was rising over the east and sunlight spread over the marbled walls of the cathedral.  The party could see for miles, all the way out to the storm clouds gathering over Omen.  “My gods, I had no idea we were this high.  But how do we get up?  I don’t see any way back in but the way we came.”

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6.2 – Scaling the Cathedral

Neozama joined Kendall on the ledge and studied their surroundings.   After a moment he pointed to a ledge that wound up around the outside of the Cathedral walls.  “There, we climb up and hope to find a way in.”  Braun cracked his knuckles, eager for a challenge.  He had spent a good deal of time scaling building faces before to find items of interest, this shouldn’t be any different.  Some of his most prosperous heists were from Horizon.  Few of the wealthy citizens of Horizon had bothered with locks when their building could float in the air.  What fools they had been.  With great skill Braun led his fellow pilgrims along the ledge, pointing out handholds and warning of obstacles.  Several times the party had to press themselves flat against the Cathedral walls and let a gust of cold air pass.  It was rough business and Kendall nearly fell twice, but was saved by a quick grab from Neozama and Braun.  Eventually the party rounded a corner into a pocket of calm air where two roof lines meet. There, perched on a wide ledge, was a tent.

A red-robed priest with equally vibrant red hair sat just outside the tent, staring into the Cathedral through a window.  Neozama cleared his throat and the Priest turned with a start.  “Oh my, guests!  I do not see many folks out here except for my brothers.  I am Father Flambo, a Brother of the Flame Eternal.”  The priest stood and disappeared into his tent, only to reappear a moment later with a pot of simmering stew.   “Care to join me for a meal?”

Still thinking the man quite odd, Kendall carefully sat down near the priest.  “Err, why are you outside the Cathedral this high up?  One misstep out here would be fatal.”

“Oh, certainly.”  Father Flambo eagerly dished out stew into four small bowls. “But the study of Cathedromancy is a perilous ordeal after all.  I would be a fool not to expect challenges in my pursuit of enlightenment.”

Braun’s face twisted, confused, “Enlightenment found on a ledge 100 leagues in the sky?”

The red-robed priest laughed, “Of a sort, yes.  Nobody knows much about how the Cathedral was made, you see.  All most people know is that the Archmage and Priestess were involved in building it and the Gods of Light wove their will into the structure as well.  My brothers and I believe that by studying every inch of the Cathedral, we may be able to catch a small glimpse of the Divine.”  Flambo smiled, obviously proud of his divine mission.  “I myself have been charting the upper reaches, careful to observe and not participate as much as possible.”

“Tell me, Father, what have you learned recently?”  Neozama hoped the eccentric man may be helpful beyond offering a pot of stew.

“Information beyond measure.  Perhaps you have noticed in your travels the Cathedral shifting?  A wall or two moving around is not unheard of, but I have observed entire domains restructured recently.  The realm of Lenwe, god of illusion, was brought all the way up here from the sixth floor, for reasons unknown.  I’d wager the gods know something we do not.”

Kendall set his bowl down, “Sage wisdom.  Well, we must be going.  We’re seeking the Oracle, you see, and need a way back inside the Cathedral.”

Father Flambo smiled, “Ah, you’ll be looking for the Oraculum Delubrum Scriptor then.  Two stories up, just past the realm of Vishmilla.  Beware her nuns, they are feisty.  I can let you in through the window here.”  The trio thanked the man for the stew and help then climbed in through the large window, happy to be indoors again.

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6.3 – The Cathedral Shifts

The cathedral continued to rearrange itself as before, and this time clearly leaving one singular path for the pilgrims to follow.  They finally came to a room with the figure of two masks on the silver door, one smiling and the other crying.  “Oh great, don’t tell me – this is the God of the Theatre, isn’t it?” Braun joked.  “Will we have to recite a monologue in order to pass?”  Kendall smiled at the thought of this Half Orc trying to enact drama, then pushed the door open.

The room within was oval in structure with several large pillars supporting the large domed ceiling.  Hanging along the walls and on several pillars, several masks could be seen.  As Neozama took a cautious step within, he heard the rustling of leaves and a large treant shuffled around one of the larger pillars.  The groaning of its wooden frame sounded like growling as its limbs reshaped into fists.  Wordlessly, it charged the pilgrims, slamming in Neozama with massive force.  Braun quickly dashed aside in a twirl of shadows and Kendal fired several bolts into the treant’s form.

As Neozama struggled to ward off the treant’s blows, Braun took a moment to think in the shadows.  Thinking there must be something to do with the masks on the walls, he reappeared near one of the masks and quickly put it on.  When he looked up, he barely had enough time to duck as a massive gore covered skeleton had appeared in front of him and started attacking with sharpened bony arms.  He cried out in pain as the skeleton scored a vicious strike.

Neozama spared a glance toward’s Braun’s cry and saw the rogue bleeding and trying to dodge some unseen foe.  The monk quickly broke free from the treant and went to aid his friend.  As he did so, a large winged demon stepped out from the farthest pillar and launched a sizzling bolt of flame squarely at the Monk’s chest.  ‘What God keeps a treant, a skeleton, and a demon all in the same room?’ he thought as he changed direction to attack the demon.

Kendall saw fired two bolts into the treant, satisfied to see it fall.  As it hit the floor however, the ranger was confused to see it shatter into a blood smeared pile of masonry that made up the pillars of the room.  Braun continued to fight some unseen enemy, but Kendall noted the rogue was wearing one of the masks.  The elf snatched a rogue from the wall and put it on, seeing not one but two figures now attacking the rogue: The skeleton was now joined by a small goblin riding a large spiked turtle.  Kendall recalled his clerical training and quickly muttered a prayer of healing for Braun.

As the rogue’s wounds knitted back together, he finally managed to slide his dagger into the skeleton’s skull.  The undead creature let out a wail of horror then slammed against the wall.  A wave of light and the skeletal form was replaced with a section of wall that was propped up by two broken tracks along the floor.  Braun turned just in time to see Neozama strike his fist into the demon, and with a wave of light it turned into a pedestal carrying a nail launcher.  “Its all an illusion!  This must be Lenwe’s domain!”

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The thud of two arrows announced the goblin’s death as it crashed over, turning into another crumbled pillar.  The light continued to ripple outward, revealing the room’s contents for what it really was.  They could now see the shattered remnants of pillars, walls, and various construction tools that were all on moving tracks along the floor.  Throughout the entire room, however, were dead orcs, all victims of Lenwe’s trap.  The smear of blood carried out the door and into the hallway beyond – Apparently some orcs had made it through.

“If the orcs are going up as well, the Oracle is in danger,”  Neozama realized.  “We must hurry, we can’t let the orcish hordes have access to the Oracle’s prophetic visions.”  With renewed vigor, the pilgrims rushed forward.

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6.4 – Pipes of Maddened Love

The Cathedral’s shifting had slowed for some reason.  They did not find a single obstacle in their way until they reached a large bright pink door, the center of which bore two hearts pressed together.  Braun thought twice to make another joke about a god and carefully opened the door.  Within, they found a large room with fourteen sides and a single stand in the center of the room.  Upon the stand and running down into the floor was a collection of pipes.

The three of them saw no way out, so they went to inspect the pipes in the center of the room.  Music began to drift out from the center of the room, masking the sound of the door behind them closing and locking.  The melody drifted pleasantly throughout the room, and none of them could detect anything sinister about the machine.

A single thought entered Neozama’s mind: Braun won’t ever love you if Kendall is still in the way.  The monk instantly knew it to be true and turned to his ranger companion.  Kendall stood there, bow drawn, aimed directly at Neozama’s chest.  “You aren’t worthy enough of Braun!” Kendall shouted, “You’ll die here today!”  He loosed the arrow at Neozama who hastily dodged and charged the elf.

As the monk slammed his staff against Kendall’s skull, Braun realized a stark truth about their world: Not a single person is worthy of your masculine prowess and beauty.  The rogue sneered at the two unworthy cretins in the room with him and twisted into shadow.  As the monk and ranger continued to trade blow for blow, the rogue took his time to line up his attack.  When the time was right, Braun reappeared behind Neozama and drive his dagger into his friend’s back.

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The monk turned and looked back at Braun smiling at his masterful strike.  He shook his head and realized the music was making them all do this!  Neozama quickly dropped into a fluid stance and dodged around Braun and Kendal to reach the machine.  Neozama slammed his staff against the pipes, making them produce a wrenching sound in their notes.  Kendal and Braun both winced in pain, the rogue blinding charging ahead at Neozama.  Kendal shook his head and realized what was going on.  Seeing Braun started to recover, the ranger quickly shot two arrows into the pipes, fouling the music it created.

Braun stopped mid stroke from bringing his dagger into Neozama’s gut, the spell broken.  Sheepishly, he sheathed his dagger.  “Err, sorry about that.” Braun looked to the machinery again, “Gods do I wish to be done with Gods.”  Braun twisted a piece of the pipe and was happy to see a hidden door open up on the far side of the room.  The three of them quickly exited, eager to leave the treacherous room.

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6.5 – The wrestling nuns of Vishmilla

A few hallways later they found themselves in front of a stone door with the picture of a strong woman wrestling a gargantuan ant.  As Braun touched the door he felt a small shock of electricity jump out out to his fingers.  Kendall saw this and said, “Vishmalla, no doubt.  Her priests occasionally travel to the Wild Woods to find large beasts to wrestle.  It typically doesn’t end well for them.”  Kendall knocked an arrow, “Best be armed, Father Flambo said they were a feisty lot.”

As Neozama opened the door, he found a curious room.  The marble floor of the cathedral had been broken apart in the center and carved into a large earthen pit.  A large barbarian woman was wrestling a celestial ant the size of a full grown man.  The woman twisted and pinned the beast to the floor where it dissipated in a burst of white energy.  Another woman approached, “Welcome!  The nuns of Vishmilla welcome you to the proving grounds.”

Neozama raised an eyebrow, “Proving Grounds?  What do we need to prove?”

The nun placed her fists on her hips and proudly stated, “You need to prove your strength and skill in combat.  Any that want to proceed must do honor by Vishmalla in a test of strength.  There are three of you and three of us Nuns here.  Perfect match.”  The two nuns behind her cracked their knuckles and smiled.  It seemed they were excited for an opportunity for new contestants.

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The pilgrims agreed and moved toward the pit in the center of the chamber.  The three nuns took to the opposite end and said a short prayer honoring Vishmilla.  When they finished their chant, they charged with a furious cry.  The nuns crashed against the pilgrims unleashing a deadly series of kicks and jabs.  Neozama was used to training alongside unarmed warriors and felt a thrill at facing an equal opponent.  The monk traded blow for blow with two of the nuns, careful to avoid her grapples.

Kendal was not so lucky, quickly succumbing to the Nun’s barrage of attacks.  Before he knew it the nun had the ranger in a headlock, twisted him up in the air, then slammed him back on the floor.  Dazed, the ranger was saved by the quick intervention of Braun as he reappeared from the shadows to attack the nun.  A decisive blow was followed by two arrows and the nun collapsed to the floor, raising her hands in surrender.  Braun and Kendal ran to Neozama’s aid.

Neozama had managed to deflect some of the Nun’s attacks, but was suffering from the assault.  He landed a solid kick against the larger nun but had left himself open to a grapple from the other.  As the two wrestled against each other, Braun finished the first nun off.  Kendall quickly fired two arrows at the Nun’s back, who quickly realized her defeat and surrendered.  The three nuns all collected themselves then congratulated the pilgrims for their show of strength.  “Vishmilla praises your strength and has found you worthy.  You may proceed onward.  Vishmilla watch over you.”

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6.6 – The Oraculum Delubrum Scriptor

The door from Vishmilla’s realm lead immediately to a flight of stairs leading upward.  “Father Flambo said it was only two stories up.  The Oraculum must be close.”  Kendal was getting anxious, he had hoped the Oracle was safe.  At the landing atop the stairs they were horrified at the hallway before them.  Numerous guards and orc bodies littered the hallway leading up to a once beautiful oaken door.  Blood smeared the floors and walls and the door was cracked in on itself.  A scream echoed out from within.

Neozama rushed forward with Kendal and Braun hot on his heels.  As the trio pushed past the shattered remains of the door, they found a room open to the outside air, a single peninsula of raised stone reaching out into the morning sky.  Atop the stone outcropping a portal was being held open flanked by four orc archers.  A fierce looking orc warrior near the portal was holding a woman by the arm and barking orders to the rest of the orcs at the landing.  The leader saw the pilgrims entered and roared out a command to the rest of the orcs.

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Braun winked into the shadows, knowing he had the best chance of rescuing the Oracle.  Kendall fired two perfect shots at the first wave of orcs, hitting them right between the eyes.  As the two fell, Neozama moved to engage three more.  The monk quickly defeated a nasty looking berserker, delivering a sharp kick to the orc’s face.  The orcs fought back viciously, concentrating their efforts on holding the pilgrims back.  The archers near the portal all raised their bow and let loose a volley at Neozama and Kendall, but missed every shot.

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Seeing his front line failing, the leader reached to his bracer and began fiddling with the runes to control the portal.  He had no time to react when Braun reappeared behind him and sank his blade into the orc’s back.  Furious, the leader threw the woman aside and attacked Braun with full force.  The rogue took most of the blow, rolling away before springing back for a second trike.  When the orcs nearest the portal noticed their line had been broken two of them retreated through the portal.  The two remaining orc archers stood their ground and redirected their shots towards Braun.

Neozama made a sweeping blow with his staff, knocking the warriors around him back.  Seeing the orcs caught off balance, Kendal tapped into his limited magical ability and unleashed a bright chain of lightning at the front line.  The already wounded orcs were electrocuted instantly, eight of them falling before the unexpected torrent of energy.  With only the leader left, Neozama sprinted to the leader.  As Braun struck the leader, Neozama joined with a deadly flying kick to the leader’s head.

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The orc commander fell to the floor, but not before activating a final set of runes on his bracer.  The portal exploded outward in a shockwave of purple energy, knocking everyone to the floor.  When the trio stood up, they found no trace of the portal.  The woman was lying on the floor, but slowly regained her footing.

“Braun, Kendall, Neozama.  I thank you for saving my life.”

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Neozama brushed the dirt from his robes, “Of course.  You are the Oracle I take it?”

The woman sheepishly lowered her face, “Sadly, no.  My name is Serena, a handmaiden to the Oracle.  The Oracle was taken, as she knew she would be.”  Serena looked to the three adventurers, “She asked that I hide when peril would come and deliver a message to Braun, Kendall, and Neozama.”

Kendall gasped, “She knew?!  She knew and did nothing to save herself?”

“Yes.  The Oracle is tied closing to the fate of our world.  She tries with all her might to resist changing it.”  Serena looked out to the horizon.  “She asked me to deliver a message to you.  She is taken by the Orc Lord and will require rescue before he unleashes horrible destruction across the Empire.  You three shall be the ones to rescue her.”

The party paused and looked at each other.  Neozama was the one to break the silence, “How?  Where will we find her?”

“You must find her yourself.  She would not tell me where she was, only that you must find her.  Please, for the safety of the Empire, you must bring her back to safety.”

Neozama closed his eyes, “We must do as we must.  That much is true, this seems to be our destiny.”  The monk looked to his two companions.

Kendall offered a small smile, “Well, if this is a search and rescue mission you will need a ranger.”

Braun considered for a moment.  “These days I serve the Emperor.  I sought the Oracle to find traitors in his ranks, but instead I found an even greater threat.  The Orc Lord must be stopped.  I couldn’t think of a better pair of adventurers to accompany me with.”

(Sarah)    (Ben)

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Part 3 – 5 Recap – Strange Ways

GM Note – Due to scheduling restrictions, I had to condense adventures 3-5 into one mega session.  What follows are the highlights of each session.  I could not pass up the awesome trap room of the All-Mother in session three, or the storyline of Hayot and Saru in session four.  I was eager to incorporate the connection to Darkskye and Jont Urner so you will see story elements from there as well.  The order of events is a departure from the written adventure. 

The heavy iron doors closed behind them, sealing away The Victor’s realm.  Patches had decided to stay with the Victor in hopes that the God may help him on his quest for justice.  Kendal sighed sadly; he was just getting to like the big brute.  As he glanced back, he thought he heard the sounds of battle echoing from beyond the doorway.  If there was any place for Patches to find fulfillment, it would be by the Victor’s side at least.  The ranger turned to address those of his party that remained, “Come, we keep moving.  The Oracle awaits.”

SymbolLifewarden3.6 – Path of Life

The stairways seem to wind up more than a single level.  The walls of the stairwell had a variety of different paintings, each depicting different individual at different stages of their life.  The adventurers were so concerned with making their way through the Cathedral they did not stop to admire the artwork that surrounded them.  When they reached the next door, the adventurers found it constructed of ivory bordered in reddened copper.  Braun traced his finger across the smooth surface, finding the faint image of a woman walking toward the horizon on it.  The rogue’s fingers twitched at the thought of how much gold such a finely constructed door could fetch.  Before the rogue could ponder the thought further Neozama reached forward and pushed the doorway open.

An older comforting voice drifted outward, “Welcome travelers.  I am the All-Mother.  I guard the way onwards.  If your hearts are pure you may proceed with my blessing.  Come, walk the path of life with me.”  A rush of air and a blinding light engulfed them and the party found themselves in a large octagonal room, dripping with blood.  Trained with inner tranquility, Neozama was the first in the party calm enough to study the room.  The walls were slowly contracting inward.  Gifted with keen eyesight, Kendall was first to spot the door in the distance and alert the others.  All three of the adventurers rushed forward, Braun readying his tools should they need it as they ran.  As the walls threaten to close completely on them, Braun hastily pulled the door open.  Another rush of air and light engulfed them.

The Half-Orc still had his thief’s tools in hand as he took stock of his new surroundings.  The party was in another octagonal room, this time with the statue of a stern woman holding her finger admonishingly.  The walls of the room each had a collection of figures all in movement marching counter-clockwise around the room, all of which looked anywhere but at the statue.  Kendall took a step as he looked around the room and quickly flung his hands against the sides of his head in pain.  When Braun went to help her up, he too doubled over in pain.  Neozama froze where he stood and looked again at the paintings, “Neither of you move.  The figures are all walking counter-clockwise.”  Neozama carefully made a step mimicking the painting’s direction and felt nothing.  The monk carefully continued until he made a full circle of the room and vanished.  Braun and Kendall shook their pain off and did the same, finding themselves transported to a doorway looking in to another octagonal room.

The next octagonal room had a statue in each of the eight corners.  Each statue held a variety of items that matched their outfit.  A warrior held an axe, a scholar read a book, a farmer wielded a scythe, a regal king bore a crown, a priestess brandished a symbol of the All-Mother, a brigand held a coin in his fingers, an explorer held a map, and a mage gestured a wand in the air.  A lone empty pedestal sat in the center of the room, with a gentle light illuminating it.  Kendall noticed a plaque reading ‘Find Your Place’.  The hunter turned to tell the others what the plaque read, but as she turned she saw Braun trying to snatch the Crown off the king statue’s head.  As the greedy rogue touched the crown he was lifted magically off his feet and pulled back toward the center pedestal.  The light from above turned dark red and Braun again cried out in pain.  Kendall helped the half-orc rogue down, “I think you need to find something that fits with you.  And I don’t think you very kingly.”  Neozama walked over to the scholar and removed the book from the statue’s hands.  The monk was lifted to the center pedestal and vanished.  Braun settled on the coin, while Kendall took the map.  In a blink they found themselves in the next room.

The PathKendall sighed, “You would think the architects here would get tired of building Octagonal rooms.”  Despite the ranger’s exasperation, he could not help but feel a sense of calm permeating the air.  The light was warm and comforting and the scent reminded him of the wilds.  Braun carefully did not move or touch anything, instead scanning the room with a trained eye.  He noted the multitude of hand-prints covering the walls, but also the tracks of foot prints in the dust on the floor.  The foot prints mostly went around the edges of the room, but several seemed to walk into the center of the room and stop in smudges as if they fell down.  Carefully, the rogue placed his hands along the walls and inched his way around the circumference of the chamber, finally reaching a previously hidden door on the other side.  Kendall and Neozama followed his lead, and together they all three pushed the door open.

Darkness crowded the lone candle in this chamber, stretching shadows against the wall.  From what the party could make out, a statue of an angel bore the candle in the air, and numerous collections of tombstones, bones, and mementos of the dead littered the chamber.  Braun whispered darkly, “I know you won’t often here a rogue say this, but stay in the light.  Trust me.”  Carefully, the three made their way across the room.  As they passed the candle, the shadows shifted around them and dark spectral claws lashed out at them from the darkness.  Kendall and Neozama were wracked with pain but Braun nimbly dodged away and toward the next door.  He noticed a small plague on this side of the angel reading ‘Loss is unavoidable, and all paths must end.’

As they pushed their way through the door, they expected to face another series of traps.  Instead they were greeted with an entirely empty and well light chamber.  A voice filled the empty chamber “You have walked my Path of Life and have not been found wanting.  Step into the light and continue your journey.”  The floor shimmered with a soft white light, solidifying into a solid platform.  The three of them climbed aboard and were lifted up to the ceiling, which faded away in ripples like water.  Bright light blinded them and a heavy wind brushed against them.  As their sight adjusted, the found themselves looking out into a giant cavity in the Cathedral.

SymbolHyot4.2 – Riddles in the Sky

They could see part of the Cathedral below them, connected by four towering spires, the larger part of the Cathedral above.  The spire they were next to had a doorway identical to the ivory door they saw earlier.  Kendal gazed across at the other spires, and saw that one of them had another door.  Floating in the air between them and the other spires were numerous floating islands, mostly made up of bits of Cathedral masonry and rock.  Several of them drifted lazily about, and Neozama spotted a few priests and monks meditating on their surface.  For a second, he envied them for such a prime meditation spot.

Braun smiled and looked about at the islands.  “I’ve handled worst obstacles than this.  A few months back, I broke into a lord’s floating estate in Horizon.  Easy job.”  He looked about then leapt across the gap toward the nearest island.  He skillfully managed to leapfrog his way across the gap, closing in on the far off spire.  In a short time, he had made his way to the landing.

Neozama took a moment to steady himself and attempted to do the same.  He made it several islands across before misjudging a leap and crashing hard against the edge of a rock.  The monk on this island cheerfully reached a hand toward Neozama and pulled him back up.  Neozama recognized the symbol on the monk’s robes: broken wavy lines like an earthquake.  “You’re a priest of Hayot.  God of Tests and Trials?”  The monk silently nodded then resumed her meditation.  As Neozama made to leap to the next island, he heard the woman clear her throat.  Neozama looked back and the monk jerked her head in the direction of another island that offered a better route.

In several leaps, Neozama made it to the landing.  He made it just in time to hear a loud screech accompanied by the frenzied beating of wings.  He turned to see Kendal being born across the gap by a large eagle, gently dropping her down on the landing.  When Neozama asked why the ranger did not offer that in the first place, the ranger shrugged.  “You both leapt off to your near deaths before I could say a word.”  Kendal rubbed the eagle’s beak before feeding it a treat from his pouch.  “I knew this helpful fellow was local and willing to aid us.  As the royal handler of the High Druid’s beasts, animals often can aid me when in need.  We share a special connection.”  Kendall ruffled the eagle’s feathers and sent the beast on his way.

As they moved toward the door, they noticed an elderly old man sitting cross legged in front of it.  Braun tilted his head to Kendall, “When did he get here?  I’m not crazy, he wasn’t there right?”  Kendall shrugged.  The man opened his eyes and looked at the three pilgrims.

“Guests!  Oh how we do miss guests up here.  Hayot told me you were on your way.”  He offered a wide smile before standing up shakily, “Hayot has given me a vision, you see.  You are needed above but need to gather some items for your duties.”  The elderly man was walking between the three of them, looking them over.  Neozama was just about to ask what he meant when he eagerly stated, “You’ll need a pendant with a crane on it, a token of a hero, a piece of foundation from the Cathedral and a lock of hair from the trickster-god Saru.  Just bring those to me and I’ll grant you a boon to help you along your way.”  Without another word the man stepped off the side of the landing and onto a rising island.  The island lifted upward and shot away, ascending high along the Cathedral face, the man smiling broadly and waving goodbye.

Braun shook his head, “I could do with less crazy people in this cathedral.”

SymbolPaceri4.3 – Dreams of Death

The doorway led to a winding stairway that took them up the spire onto another level of the Cathedral.  Eventually the three found themselves in front of a door that seemed to be made up of a metal with swirling clouds under its surface.  Affixed in the center was a crane with his head pointed toward the sky.  Opening the door revealed two circular rooms connected to each other, lined with numerous private rooms, and a variety of comfortable couches and pillows scattered about.  Several different priests bearing the symbol of the crane sat listening to visitors describe their confusing dreams.

A short rotund dwarf approached the trio, “Welcome to Paceri’s domain, goddess of rest and dreams.”  The dwarf gestured to the couches behind him, “Please, stay a while and relax.  If you like, we will offer dream interpretation in exchange for a small donation to Paceri.” Braun looked at the bulging coin purse on the dwarf’s belt, thinking they must run a profitable service here.  Looking toward a nearby end table, he saw a very elegant pendant with the image of a bronze crane on it.  Carefully, he sauntered over and pocketed it.  They could stand to give a little to the needy, and Braun thought himself very needy.

Kendall and Neozama were moving through the room, inspecting their surroundings.  A rest may be nice, but Neozama would not be seeking interpretation.  His dreams of the Great Gold Wyrm should only be shared with the Oracle until he could make any more sense of them.  As Kendall made to sit down on a particularly fluffy couch, a crash echoed from the other side of the chamber.  A young priest with a symbol of an eight sided die on his chest burst into the chamber.  “RUN!  The ritual has gone horribly wrong!”  Nobody had any time to react before a collection of skeletons and zombies crashed into the chambers.

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Braun flung his cloak around him, vanishing into shadows.  He would strike when the time was right.  As Kendal barked out orders to the frightened visitors, he loosed three arrows towards the undead.  Neozama rushed forward and readied his three-section-staff, determined to hold the undead back.  The hail of arrows from Kendall managed to destroy several of the skeletons in short order.  Two of the larger embalmed dead engaged the monk, attacking with decaying swords.  As Neozama began to feel overwhelmed, he saw the glint of Braun’s dagger emerge from one of the zombie’s throats.  The monk seized the opportunity to drive a kick into the remaining zombie.  Together the monk and rogue made quick work of the undead.

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The young priest from before came forward, barely stopping himself from shaking.  “I am so sorry.  I am a priest of Apmylos and was performing the last rites in the funeral chamber down the hall.  My work was interrupted when something large and green crashed through the chamber, sending all my instruments into disarray.  Before I knew it, the dead within the chamber were rising around me.”  The priest thought a moment, “Apymlos’ teachings tell us to honor the dead and those that safeguard our passage to the beyond.  I would be honored if you assist me in the last rites for my charge.”

Kendall had limited experience with the priestess, but he knew that the priests of Apymlos were held in high regard for the service to the dead.  To be granted such a high role in a ritual like this was an honor.   The ranger pressed his hand to his chest, “We would happily perform this honor.  Please lead the way, we will do whatever we can to aid you.”  Braun thought first to object, but thought he might find an item or two of interest among the dead.

SymbolApmylos5.2 – Jont Urner’s Funeral

The funeral chamber was not far down the hallway.  Within, there was a single body of a half-orc bearing tattoos all over his body.  “His name was Jont Urner.  He was famous throughout the Empire, an explorer of sorts.”  Braun looked in awe at the passed adventurer.  Most Half-Orcs knew of Jont Urner, he had been a paragon of the adventuring spirit.  Solemnly, Braun offered to be one of the pall bearers.  Surprised at the change of character in the rogue, Neozama and Kendall also offered their services.  The priest readily accepted their offers of aid.  “His last wish was to be returned to the divine earth, amid the Taramann’s fields above.”

The four of them each took a handle of the carrier for Jont’s body and carried it out into the hall.  They were surprised to see a large collection of people waiting to begin the precession.  They priests of Hayot, the Victor, Droga, Gorgeth, and more.  Numerous adventurers of a variety of age and race lined the hallway, and more than a few public figures attended as well.  They all had come to bid one final farewell to Jont Urner and a token of respect to his legacy.  Slowly, they carried the hero’s body through the cathedral halls.  Several priests opened the doors of their domain to honor the dead as they passed, and gentle songs drifted through the chambers.

SymbolTaramann5.3 – Glass and Grass

When they ascended the final stairwell, they approached a chamber of equal size to the Victor’s.  This was not battlefield however; it was lined with rolling mounds of dirt dotted with an endless variety of grain and grass.  The walls of the cathedral had been replaced with large elaborate windows depicting farmers, bakers, families and children all honoring the blessings they were given.  The priests of Taramann, god of grass and bountiful fields, all stood in reverence for Jont’s procession as he was brought to rest in a tomb carved into the earth in the center of the chamber.  As a priest of Ampylos said the last words to seal the hero’s soul to the beyond, the earth closed in on itself, sealing Jont’s body back to the earth.

As the funeral attendees began to disperse, Kendall moved toward one of the large windows overlooking Santa Cora and beyond.  Looking south, she could see the vast untamed Wild Wood and floating above it, the island of Darkskye.  Braun moved to join her, eager for some company after such a solemn affair.  Kendall looked to her fellow pilgrim, “He’ll be well cared for here.  It was an honor to have helped such a great man be put to rest.”

GlassWindows

Braun nodded his head and was scanning the horizon, when his eyes went wide.  Kendall followed the rogue’s eyes and saw a red winged blue crash into Darkskye.  Whatever it was, it was massive if they could see it from this distance.  A few seconds later, a brilliant purple light exploded out from the island, sending a shockwave of energy traveling in its wake.  The shockwave ripped across the Wild Wood, over the plans and then through Santa Cora.  Kendall screamed for everyone to take cover as the shockwave slammed against the Cathedral’s face.  The large glass windows shattered inward, huts collapsed, and crystal debris was flung everywhere.  What was once a peaceful place descended into chaos.

Neozama had been standing outside a small shed when the shockwave hit.  After regaining his feet, he hurriedly began trying to rescue those trapped under the debris.  Braun had run to Jont’s burial site and began to rally people together in the clearing.  Seeing several farm animals running wild, Kendall quickly went to help.  Using her skills learned as the High Druid’s animal keeper, she calmed the beasts into submission.  When the purple cloud from the shockwave had settled, the party saw the complete destruction around them.  Numerous priests and citizens were all trying to regain themselves after the shockwave hit.

“We have to get these people to safety.  The healing pools toward the bottom of the Cathedral will help them.”  Neozama was trying to corral the wounded together.  “They need to get help and soon.”

“That may be a problem.”  Braun gestured to the doorway where they had come through.  Large marble stonework from the Cathedral had moved and closed over the doorway.  As they watched, masonry continued to move around the now-shattered windows to provide more support.  “The Cathedral apparently takes care of itself.  In so doing, it hasn’t taken care of us though.”

Kendall grabbed hold of a nearby priest, “Do you know of another way downward in the Cathedral?  We need to get these people to safety.”

The priest shakily replied, “That was the only way down I know of.”  As the adventurers looked around in despair, the priest quickly added, “If its safety you need, Thorodin’s realm is the best place to go.  His is the realm of the builders and safe harbor, one flight up.”

Neozama looked around at those terrified refugees around him.  “It is the best chance we have.  Braun, Kendall, let’s get everyone moving.”  With some doing, they were each able to get the sixty or so refugees together.  Instructing them to take only what they needed, the adventurers guided the mob upwards into the Cathedral.

SymbolGaaslaanian5.5 – Tail of the Scorpion

The journey through the now-shifting and damaged Cathedral walls was not without peril.  The dust had collected into bizarre crystalline structures which exploded when refugees came nearby.  Several died before they had learned to avoid the crystals.  In addition, the cathedral was hastily rearranging itself to bolster its supports.  Moving walls, pillars, and doorways slammed into several of the refugees, tragically taking the lives of the wounded.  Most of the Gods’ domains they passed had doors sealed shut, barred from entry.  One, however, stood open, its door bearing the tail of two scorpions forming a heart.  When the cathedral shifted and closed off the hallway, it became clear that the only way to proceed was through the door.

As they entered, they found a room full of shards of shattered glass, cracked statues, and all of it covered in sand.  One of the priests nearby fearfully grabbed hold of Kendall’s arm, “This is the realm of Gaaslan, He Who Smites the Wicked.”  When Kendall explained that he was not a wicked man, the priest shook his head.  “All are wicked in Gaaslan’s eyes.  His followers are the most zealous, the most eager to destroy any trace of evil in the hearts of men.”  As he finished speaking, several of the nearby refugees screamed out, holding freshly bleeding wounds that had appeared along their bodies as if they were ripped.  Drops of their blood fell to the floor and combined with the sand to create wicked looking Scorpions.

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Neozama quickly interposed himself between the scorpions and the refugees, trying to hold them back.  Nimbly dodging the blows, he returned the attacks with punches and kicks.  Braun was readying himself to vanish when a whip lashed out and wrapped around his arm.  Looking to one of the statues, a robed figure bearing a whip and sickle smiled gleefully at him, “The wicked must be punished.”  The rogue twisted and charged the man, eager to end his life.  Kendall quickly took charge of the situation, guiding the refugees through the sand filled chamber toward the next doorway.  As he raced along, he fired shot after shot at the scorpions.  Once through the doorway, the ranger turned to assess where his companions were.

Neozama had ditched the two scorpions and was aiding Braun in fighting the zealot.  The rogue dodged under the zealot’s sickle and sank his blade into his back.  The zealot cried out and conjured more scorpions to attack the wicked trespassers.  Neozama was happy to see one of Kendall’s arrows bury into a nearby scorpion.  Seeing the pilgrims safe across the chamber, the monk and rogue delivered one joint blow the zealot, sending him crashing to the floor.  As more scorpions began to rise from the sand, the two bid a hasty retreat out of the chamber into the hallway with the rest of the refugees.  Kendal slammed the door shut, grateful they had kept the remaining pilgrims safe.

SymbolThorodin5.4 – Thorodin’s Bridge

With Gaaslan’s realm behind them, they found the flight of stairs reaching the next floor.  A large stonework door opened to reveal a large void within the Cathedral spanned by a long stone bridge.  The void was impossibly deep given the cathedral’s size, stretching far below into darkness as if into a chasm to the earth.  At the other end of the bridge,a glowing archway stood resolute. Chanting filled the chamber in a dwarven tongue.  Neozama had studied the language in the last as a scribe and translated it for his companions “Thorodin, god of stone, builders, and safe harbor, guide the home.”

Braun moved forward on to the bridge, satisfied with its strong construction and could see no threat in the darkness below.  “Come on, let’s get these people to safety.”  Eagerly, the rogue lead the way across the bridge, followers in tow.  As they reached halfway across, a tremor ripped through the Cathedral and pieces of the bridge began to break away and fall into the depths below.  It seems the Cathedral’s restructuring of itself had damaged the bridge.  “RUN!”

Braun quickly ushered the pilgrims across, making sure to spot the way for them and avoid any weak spots.  Kendall and Neozama pulled up the rear, racing across the crumbling bridge.  As they neared the end, the bridge gave way under Neozama.  As the monk fell into darkness, Kendall thought fast and flung a rope down to him. Neozama barely grabbed hold of the rope and was pulled up to safety.  The refugees had all seemed to make it across, and one by one were now walking through the glowing threshold to safety.

As Neozama slumped down on to the floor, a priest of Taramann approached with a small satchel, “I wanted to thank you for seeing us to safety.”  She opened the satchel showing a collection of potions and elixirs, “You will need these more than we will  Someone needs to see if the Oracle is safe after that shockwave hit us.”  Grateful, the monk nodded and took the gift.  It would indeed prove useful in their journey.  When the last of the refugees walked through the portal, it shrank back and was replaced by a solid stone door.  Braun picked up a small piece of stone from the floor, remembering Hayot’s request. The stone must be ancient, it would suffice.

SymbolSaru4.6 – Treasured Laughter

The stone door led to a small hallway with a golden door at its end.  Braun went to admire the door but when he touched it, he was saddened to see golden paint wipe away on his fingers.  As he removed more paint, he found the image of a ripe fruit split open.  “What god are we facing now?”  Neozama wondered aloud before pushing the door open.  Inside, they found an odd collection of statues of large exotic birds and moving paintings of monkeys changing between poses.

The center of the room was raised and as they neared it, they heard a voice yell out, “How DARE YOU profane the temple of Saur on his holy day?!?! Guardians!  Attack!”  Two of the larger bird statues came to life, spreading their wings threateningly.  As the large birds charged forward, the adventurers moved to meet them.

Braun reached for his dagger but found it missing, looking backwards he saw another bird holding its dagger in its beak.  “Hey!”  When the bird was caught, it dropped the dagger and made a squawking noise akin to laughter.  Braun snatched the dagger back ready to defend himself, but the bird kept laughing, now joined by laughter drifting from behind a nearby wall.

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Neozama was engaged with the two larger birds, trying to defend himself.  After dodging a blow he felt his foot slip on what looked like a banana peel.  The monk crashed to the floor but he continued to parry the blows of one of the bird’s vicious pecks.  Kendall had seen both bird’s reactions to Neozama and Braun’s ordeals, and tried something unorthodox.  Catching the remaining birds attention, the ranger made the most ridiculous face he could at it.  The bird stopped attacking and joined its fellows with more squawk-laughter.  A very confused Neozama and Braun carefully maneuvered backward.

“HAH!”  A door slid open and revealed the same elderly man they had met in Hayot’s realm earlier that day.  “Oh boy, did I have you folks fooled.”  He placed his hands on his sides, bracing them from laughter, “And then you slipped on the banana peel!  Classic!”  The man slumped on the floor, obviously overcome with laughter.

Neozama glanced to his companions, unsure what to make of this foolishness.

“I stopped it before you got hurt of course.  But it was worth it!”  The man was overcome by giggles before finally muttering, “And that face you made!  Priceless!

Kendall sheathed his bow, “Saru is a trickster.  This was all a joke at our expense.”  The ranger had heard some rumors about Saru’s followers. They did whatever they could for a laugh.  “Sir, we’ve provided you with your entertainment for the day, but I believe a promise is still a promise.  You said you’d help us if we gathered your things.”  The ranger displayed all of the items they had collected for the man.

The priest stood back up, wiping his eyes of tears, “Oh yes, certainly.  Saru may lie for a laugh, but he’s good on his word at least.”  The man gestured toward the other room, “You are welcome to reside here for the night, joke free if you insist.  Saru welcomes you to his realm.”

(Sarah) (Ben)

Part 2 Recap – Clerestory

Adventure 2 – Clerestory

The Library of the Oracle was a welcome respite for Patches.  His upbringing among his clan of barbaric humans rarely offered such comforts as he found within the cathedral walls.  Sadly, his time among his people was long past.  Ever since he had found his village burned to the ground and his family murdered, he had done whatever he needed to survive the harsh wilderness.  When he reached more civilized lands, he turned to the Prince of Shadows for employment and assistance in finding his family’s murderers.  When word had reached him that the Oracle may know their identity, he knew that he would have to investigate.  After completing his trials, he had spent a night resting in the library before he would ascend the cathedral more.  Perhaps he could find some willing companions that would climb the cathedral steps with him….

Braun had been spending his time in the library pocketing some of the records he found.  Sure, the book about his fate would prove directly useful, but the other tomes could offer insight into notable figures.  He secured another booklet in his coat when he felt a tap on his shoulder.  A large barrel chested man with a greatsword slung behind his back towered over him.  “Are you heading toward the Oracle?  Ellindria told me I might find you capable travel companions.”

The half-orc rogue glanced around him again to make sure nobody was watching.  “Yes, a few of us are making our way up the Cathedral.”  A quick assessment of the large man showed he was a capable warrior.  “We might need someone of your… talents.  We were about to leave once Neozama finishes his meditation.”  The rogue pointed to the human sitting cross legged with his eyes closed.  “Says it helps him center himself.  Come on, I’ll introduce you.”

Kendal moved back to Neozama, her fate book in hand.  “Neozama, we are ready to ascend the Cathedral.”  She looked over to Braun and the battle-hardened following him.  “It appears Braun has found us a friend.”

Neozama’s eyes flittered open, his dream of the Golden Wyrm fading from his mind.  The man following Braun had an aura of strength and purpose to him.  He would be useful in their pilgrimage, Neozama thought.  Before Braun could open his mouth, the monk raised a polite hand to silence him.  “Welcome pilgrim, we are ascending the cathedral steps.  Some of our party is staying here in the library, but we look to push on.  We would be honored to have you with us.”

Patches nodded happily, “The honor shall be mine.  I seek the Oracle, but I think some of these trials may be better accomplished among many.”  Kendal smiled and gestured toward the front door.  Together, all four of them left the library to the floor above.  Kendal closed her eyes momentarily, eagerly imagining what trials they would face.

The ranger would not have to wait long.  As they reached the next floor they found themselves in front of two very large golden doors with shadows creeping in around its edges.  The center of the door showed an image of an armored woman with bright yellow hair, holding a mace glowering like the sun above her.  “Pelnora, Darkness’ Bane and bringer of the light.”  Braun muttered unhappily.  Pelnora’s followers tended to dislike individuals who operated in the shadows as he did.  Patches pushed the doors open to a large marble room bathed with intense sunlight.  At the other end of the chamber, a miniature sun pulsed brightly.

Pelnoran Room

A small man walked toward them in pearly white robes.  His fellow priests were all lining the walls of the chamber chanting softly.  “Welcome to Pelnora’s illuminary.  Please excuse my brothers, they are praying to Pelnora for guidance.”

Braun noticed that the monks were here aplenty but could not see any of the famous Pelnoran paladins who had so happily attempted to smite him in the past.  “Where are your paladins?  I only assumed they would be here.”

The man bowed his head, “They have gone to the domain of the Victor for aid.  Pelnora has sent a message.  Shadows infiltrate the cathedral; we must be on our guard.”  He hesitated for a second, “As a matter of fact, I cannot let you go further without Pelnora judging you herself.  Please understand.”  The priest glanced around nervously, obviously afraid of causing any trouble.

Patches pushed his way through his companions, proudly stating “I have nothing to hide.  Let us be judged.”  When the priest gestured toward the miniature sun at the other end of the chamber, the Barbarian eagerly strode forward with his new companions in tow.  “Pelnora, you will find my purpose true.  I seek justice for the slain members of my clan.”  The Barbarian smiled confidently at his companions before a searing pain tore through his head.

A voice ripped through their minds, “They consort with shadows!  They must be destroyed!  Guardians, purge their souls of darkness!”  The cracking of stone sounded from behind them.  Turning, Neozama saw three large marble statues of saints coming alive and disengaging themselves from the walls.  Picking up large blades bathed in sunlight, the marbled saints moved to attack.  Kendal fired off an arrow as Neozama quickly assumed an opening combat stance to greet his foes.  Patches let loose a terrible battle cry and launched himself at a marble saint in a frenzy.  Braun twisted his cloak and disappeared in a twirl of inky shadows.  “The shadow has entered the chamber!  Destroy them!”  The rogue, as usual, was getting them into trouble.

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The marbled saints moved forward with frozen faces, swinging their sun-touched blades at the adventurers. Neozama deftly danced between his attacker’s swings and retaliated with fist and staff. As the monk built towards a finishing blow, the sun behind him pulsed brightly searing at his back.  Everyone not hidden in shadows behind the pillars was scorched. Braun reappeared behind a marble statues and struck true with his knife, severing an arm of one of the statues. As the marbled saint turned to engage the rogue, it was intercepted by Patches fury. The barbarian hacked away at the towering marble figure with all of his unspent rage. Another pulse of the sun and the marble figure regained its composure, pressing its attack.

Statues2

As the sunlight bathed their marble bodies, the statues seemed emboldened and begun to attack faster. Kendal ducked behind one of the pillars with Neozama, finding solace in the shadows. As the sun pulsed again, Kendal and Neozama felt a rush of calming energy as the shadows seemed to soothe and comfort their stay. The ranger stood his ground in the shadows, gracefully launching a barrage of arrows at the nearest statue, shattering it to pieces on the floor. Patches fed off the thrill of fallen foes and with a victorious cry, crashed his sword through another statue’s head.

Statues3

The two remaining statues tried to continue their assault, but the numerous damages they had suffered took their toll. Kendal noticed that their successful swings seem to only occur when the were in direct sunlight, and relayed it to his comrades. Working together, they were all able to harry the marbled saints together into a group. Once the marbled saints had been backed into a pillar Neozama and Patches delivered fatal blows to the constructs. Braun watched with delight as their remains made a ruined heap on the floor.

Statues4

The small priest from before peeked around the pillar he had hidden behind.  “Please, we wish you no more harm.  The saints of Pelnora are zealous in their pursuit of justice.”  Braun sneered at the priest.  His opinion of Pelnora’s followers didn’t improve at all by this encounter.  Kendal spotted the exit and gestured her companions to follow.  Outside the chamber of Pelnora they found a curiously rustic section of the cathedral.  Dirt and grass were spread out where marble should have been.  As they moved onward they saw more marble ripped up and small gardens planted in the dirt.

SymbolBejamAs they turned a corner, they found a very peculiar image before them.  A small hut had been built of discarded marble flooring, cathedral pews, and spare bits of masonry.  Running around the hut was a flustered looking dwarf and anxious halfling, both of them swinging large nets at what looked like Flying Lobsters?  The halfling spared a glance at the adventures and yelled, “Don’t just stand there!  Get them back in the crates!”  Kendal was excited to see a new creature and happily picked up a net and went to help.  Neozama climbed the nearest tree and tried to catch the beasts that flew by.  Patches knew his strengths and tried to intimidate the beasts into tighter circles that were easier to catch.

Together they were able to round up the remaining flying lobsters into the crates.  The dwarf breathed a sigh of relief and leaned against the locked crate.  “Oiy, thank ye kindly.  Someone traipsed through here and smashed the crates.”  He wiped his brow and picked up a mug of mead, “My name is Father Rumelowe, leader of this chapter to Bejam.  This here is brother Gamage, my assistant.”

Kendal was examining the lobsters through the crates, “I’ve never seen this before.  Where did you find these beasts?”  One snapped at her fingers and she quickly ducked back.

Brother Garnage smiled, “We got them from Darkskye the last time it flew by the Cathedral.  We trade them the mead made by the monks of Cathol and they provide us with those lobsters.  It is our trade which provides enough food for the attendants on this floor.”  Rumelowe and Dolcis invited the lot to sit and relax a while.  They were excited to hear the tales of the pilgrims and happy to share their knowledge of the cathedral.  From the two of them they learned that the paladins of Cathol had joined the paladins of Pelnora in seeking aid from The Victor.  Apparently something had put them on high alert lately.  After a few more traded stories, they merrily set the adventurers back on their path.

SymbolMonkBearSymbolCatholSymbolMonkBear

The ground continued to be composed of raw earth and grass instead of marble across the rest of the floor.  They eventually found themselves in front of an iron gate with a white shield and cross dripping with golden honey dominated the face of the door.  Neozama breathed a sigh, “The priests of Cathol.  They are a humorless lot, very straight to business types.”  Pushing the door open they found themselves looking on a large collection of pine trees all with small beehives hanging from their branches.  A bloodied body of a gnome leaning against a nearby tree caught Neozama’s attention – He recognized him as one of her neighbors in Santa Cora.  “Friend!  What happened?!  Who attacked you?”

The gnome was shaken but look relieved to see Neozama.  “My sister and I came to purchase some mead like we always do.  But this time, the monks went wild and attacked us.”  He winced and clutched at his side, “Their paladins are gone.  Apparently they partook in the mead and their god has punished them by turning them to bears.  Please, find my sister in the trees – I can’t leave her behind.”  Neozama nodded then looked to his companions.  The monk silently directed his allies to spread out and move in to the woods.  They couldn’t afford to leave an innocent in danger.

The woods were eerily quiet and it didn’t take long to find the gnome woman crying for help up one of the trees.  As Patches went to help her down, a rampaging bear burst through the underbrush nearby.  Three more joined him and as a pack they fell down upon the pilgrims.  Neozama and Kendal made short work of the first one, scoring several lucky blows.  Braun once again twisted in to shadows before reappearing behind the bear attacking Patches.  The barbarian wrestled down two of the bears while the half-orc snuck cut after cut at the bear monks.  In short time, the four bear monks were all unconscious and reverting back to their normal forms.

Bear Monks

“We don’t want to be here when they get up,” Braun said darkly.  “Let’s get the girl to safety and move on.  We need to get to the Oracle soon.”  Patches successfully helped the gnome girl down and gave them some food to see them out of the cathedral safely.  With the gnome siblings rescued, they made their way up another flight of stairs.

The door before them was hard wrought iron trimmed with bronze.  A statue of a warrior holding two axes above his head stood triumphant over countless foes.  Patches smiled, “I know this one.  This god is The Victor, God of Valor, Glory, and War.  My clan paid him respect and honor frequently.”  The memory of his fallen kin wiped the smile off his face.  They needed to get to the Oracle sooner.  Grabbing hold of the door frame, the Barbarian pushed the doors open.  Kendal gasped.

This entire floor of the Cathedral seemed to house The Victor’s realm alone.  A massive battlefield stretched before the party as far as the eye could see.  Numerous paladins stood fighting wave after wave of demons and orcs.  Arrows flew across the field into charging troops.  A voice boomed over the din of battle, “All must prove their valor.  Show your respect for the warriors of old!”  Neozama looked at the battle before them and a vision flashed through his mind.

Battle1

“This is the Battle of the Abyss.  The last effort by the Golden Order to push the Demons back before the Great Gold Wyrm sealed the Abyss himself.”  Neozama looked over at the crowd of Orcs attacking a group of Paladins.  “Although I don’t remember anything about orcs in this battle.  It was only Demons that the Golden Order faced.”  The monk didn’t have time to ponder the situation further before a pair of orcs charged at them.

Patches found himself in his perfect environment and ran to his attackers eagerly.  His misses over made him fly into a deeper frenzy as his blood boiled and his rage built.  Kendal scampered up the nearby ridge to get a better view of the battle.  A nearby rise held a dozen Golden Order archers firing down on their foes.  Neozama engaged the orcs fighting Rob, starting his fighting form maneuvers.  Braun made to disappear into the shadows and felt himself pulled down to the floor as if by an invisible fist.  The voice of The Victor boomed out again, “Stand and fight honorably!”  The rogue cursed and tumbled away from more charging orcs.

Battle4

Kendal saw it before the Golden Order did – A large demon flying through the sky to their position.  It crashed down among the Golden Order, swinging its four axes and horns at the surprised archers.  Two of the golden archers perished, bursting into golden smoke as they died.  The ranger decided to help the archers and fired a volley at the large demon, enraging it further.  Below the ridge, Neozama found him attacked from behind as a winged demon descended on him with sharp talons.  The monk twisted around and beat the demon back.  As the demon died, it burst into black smoke and a cheer from the Victor boomed across the battlefield.

With a strong swing, Patches sliced through the two orcs in front of him, watching their bodies tumble to the floor below him.  Kendall noticed that the orcs didn’t dissipate like the demons and paladins.  The ranger gasped, “Those aren’t part of the battle!  Those orcs are real!”  Braun heard the ranger’s warning and didn’t want to risk going toe to toe with an orc.  However, he was pretty certain he could trick the large demon.  With another swirl of shadow, the rogue twisted away confident he would succeed.  The Victor did not stop him this time, apparently satisfied with the rogue’s courage.

Battle5

Neozama and Patches pushed forward, coming under heavy attack from the numerous orcs charging their way.  Kendal continued to plug arrow after arrow into the large demon, adding to the considerable volley the Golden Order was already putting into the monstrosity.  The demon raised his four axes ready to finish off the remaining order when Braun appeared above the creatures head, driving his long knife into the demon’s skull.  Thrashing wildly, the demon finally collapsed defeated.  As the demon dissipated into black smoke, the entire battlefield around them shifted and faded away leaving behind a large marble room.  The Golden Order and demons all dissipated.

Braun glanced around the empty battlefield, “We’ve got a few stragglers.”  The rogue pointed to the remaining bodies of several orcs.  One of the orcs was coughing up blood, on the brink of death.  “They aren’t creations of The Victor.  That’s real blood.”

Kendal moved to the savage creature.  Carefully, he examined the dying warrior.  “He’s real alright.  Why are orcs in the Cathedral?”  She looked to the other bodies as if hoping an answer would present itself.

Neozama nudged the orc and held out a healing potion in front of his gaze.  “Listen, brute.  If you want to live, you’re going to answer some questions.”  The warrior carefully nodded, his eyes not leaving the bottle held before him.  “Right.  Why are you in the Cathedral?  Where are you going?”

The orc coughed up another glob of blood, “The captain brought us here, said we had a job from the Lord himself to do.”  He winced against the pain and reached for the potion.  When Neozama pulled the potion back, the warrior grimaced.  “I do as I am commanded.  We were going up.  Only the captain knew.”  He pointed to the orc slain by Patches.  “The potion.  Please”

Neozama carefully handed the potion to the orc.  He would stay true to his word.  Besides, the orc would still need to find a way out of here on his own.  If the gods saw fit to let him go, he deserved his freedom.  “Come friends.  It appears we’re not the only ones ascending the cathedral.  We must make haste for the Oracle.”

GM Note –

Due to holiday scheduling craziness, I had to edit the sequence of events and gods visited in the adventures.  For the Pelnora chamber, I thought it would be fun to highlight the god’s hatred of shadows.  So I used Braun and Patches’ history with the Prince of Shadows as reason for the goddess to send her followers after them.  The sun pulsing and shadow safety seemed like a neat mechanic in combat so I went with it.  Instead of using Ceith in section 2.5, I borrowed the domain of war from adventure 3 and created a god to match a new player’s character.  Patches’ had a history of worshipping the god of war and glory, whom I named The Victor.  In order to better match other characters icon relationships for the setting, I placed the Victor’s realm as being a large Battle of the Abyss.  This highlighted Neozama’s relationship with the Great Gold Wyrm.  I also included the orcs showing up as I wanted players to have an ongoing element to investigate and be wary of beyond the threat of the Gods.  I was very happy with how flexible the adventure and game was to all of these changes.

Also, please forgive all the unpainted minis.  Spending time with our lovely family and friends this holiday season ate up all the free time we normally dedicate to painting figures for our players and our games.  The players all picked brand new miniatures so, alas, the party will be only primed white in all photos.  

(Sarah) (Ben)

Part 1 Recap – Ranger Ex Cathedral

Meet the Party…

Grinder (Forgeborn Paladin) – “I have been tasked by my God to mechanize nature. The high druid does not appreciate my endeavors and her followers and I have had problems in the past. I am the prized creation of the Dwarf King – A warforged built by a sovereign’s hand. I need the Oracle’s guidance to help mechanize all of creation.”

Crisper (Gnome Barbarian) – “Fire Rages within me. When I get angry, things catch on fire. I suspect the Diabolist gave me this ability for better or worse. I am a capable fighter and the Three could use someone of my strength and skill. The Oracle can help me find a way to master the rage the burns in my heart.”

Kendal (Wood Elf Ranger) – “I hold the great honor of being the High Druid’s animal handler to her wild menagerie of beasts. The High Druid entrusts me with her prized animal companions, often sending me on tasks she trusts to no other. I also serve the Priestess as a messenger of secrets to important figures. The High Druid has asked me to retrieve a necklace to charm any animal and the Oracle knows where it is.”

Neozama (Human Monk) – “You ever have that feeling where you’re not sure if you’re awake or still dreaming? I am here because I know something. What I know, I can’t explain. But I feel it. I have felt it my entire life. There’s something wrong with this world. I don’t know what it is, but it’s there. The Golden Order of paladins serving the Great Gold Wyrm claim I am the one to help hold the demons of the Abyss away. The Oracle can tell me what the prophecy of my role as the One will mean.”

Braun (Half Orc Rogue) – “I am a collector of the world’s most bizarre and odd items. My career of thieving landed my in the Prince of Shadow’s tutelage but I lost his trust when I tried to steal from the prince himself. He left me as a patsy on a job to steal from the Black in Drakenhall and I’ve been pursued every since. I have found safety in the Emperor’s care, executing tasks for him that are best not known to the public. I seek the Oracle’s prophecy to find traitors in the Imperial Ranks”

Ozreal (Hellborn Sorcerer) – “I don’t know why, but I always cast two shadows, and I swear I’ve seen one of them acting independently. I’ve long since served the Prince of Shadows as an acolyte in a shadow cult. In addition to serving the Prince, I have also done several missions for the Diabolist herself. The Oracle can tell me where I come from and who gave me my second shadow.”

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This is not how you should roll for Barbarian Rage…

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Adventure 1 – Ranger Ex Cathedral

PriestessThe sun had barely broken over the rooftops of Santa Cora as Grinder made his way across the Cathedral courtyard. The forgeborn only needed a short period to recharge his body as opposed to the full night’s sleep that other races required. Sleep was one of many weaknesses of the flesh according to Mechanar’s teachings. Teachings that Grinder had vowed to help advance and spread through the world. The Paladin pushed open the massive oak doors of the Cathedral and made his way inside. By his god’s command, he was seeking the Oracle’s guidance on how to mechanize all of creation.

Cripser rested his healing leg up on the pew in front of him. The wound still itched from the spider’s bite, but it seems like the healers here knew a thing or two about anti venom. When the gnome barbarian was dragged in the night before, he had accidentally set a pew on fire in his rage. Things tended to spontaneously combust when he lost control of his temper. The curse had been with him all his life and he suspected the Diabolist was to blame. If he had any luck, the Oracle would tell him how to master the fiery anger that burned within him.

Out in the courtyard, Kendal was playing with the young shadow cat, Blink, that the high druid had entrusted her with. Being the handler of the High Druid’s personal menagerie of beasts was a rewarding task for the young wood elf. It also awarded her a high level of trust from the High Druid who had entrusted her with the task of retrieving an amulet said to control the mind of any animal. The artifact had been lost for ages but rumors about its resurgence were building. With the Oracle’s help she was hoping to find the amulet before anyone else would.

Neozama looked up as a most unexpected guest entered his small but humble book store. It was a female paladin in full regalia marking her as belonging to the Golden Order. The paladin surveyed the store to make sure they were alone before approaching Neozama. The monk put down the book he was reading. So it had come to this. After years of hiding the troubling visions of demons pouring freely into the world that haunted him, the Golden Order had finally tracked him down. The visions were all different but ended the same – The Great Gold Wyrm’s face looking down and calling him to his duty. The great dragon claimed fate had something more in store for him. Neozama did not believe in fate. He did not like the idea that he was not in control of his life. The life of a monk was one of balance and control. The paladin introduced herself as Trinity and leaned in close to whisper in his ear. “You are the One we have been searching for you. I know what you’ve been doing… why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you study your books. You’re looking for an answer. The answer is out there, and it’s looking for you. Climb the steeps of the Cathedral and seek out the Oracle. You are the one that has to find it.” With that she was gone. After some thought Neozama picked up his three section staff and headed towards the Cathedral steps.

It was surprisingly easy sneaking in to the Cathedral, Braun thought to himself. The prince’s lessons in infiltration had served the half-orc well in his years. Sadly the Prince’s opinion of Braun had fallen to pieces after he tried to steal from the Prince’s own collection. Braun couldn’t help it – He just had to build up his collection of odd and interesting things. After the Prince had left him for dead in Drakenhall, Braun had surprisingly been saved by an agent of the Emperor. The Emperor could use a man with his skills and placed Braun in his service – with the threat of eternal imprisionment if he disobeyed. It was under the Emperor’s will that Braun found himself here today – The Empire suspected a prominent traitor in his ranks and wanted the Oracle to help divine who the transgressor was. Sending a guard or member of the court would be too obvious. This mission required someone the traitor would never suspect.

Everywhere Ozreal went, people stared. A hellborn in Santa Cora was an unusual sight in itself, but one with two shadows trailing behind her was even stranger. The sorceress was constantly aware of her second shadow and swore that it acted independently when she was not directly looking. It had been like this for as long as she could remember – As a youth and on into her adult years working as an acolyte in the Shadow Cult in Shadow Port. When she heard that the Oracle had returned to the Cathedral, she had booked passage to Santa Cora immediately. She was determined to ascend to the heights and discover why she had this other shadow.

It had been an hour past sunrise when the Aasimar priestess rallied together the various pilgrims milling about the Catehdral’s knave. Each adventurer headed toward those gathering around the Aasimar. The cavernous structure stretched above them for several floors, flooded with light rom the stained glass windows depicting numerous different God’s sigils. “Brave souls, gather here for the pilgrimage to the Oracle.” The Aasimar’s voice drifted up into the Cathedral’s heights, “My name is Ellindria and I will be your guide to the Library of the Oracle. If you will all please follow me, we can begin our ascent.” The priestess ushered them to a nearby stair well that climbed upward. “In the cathedral we host many gods and goddesses who will require observance and trials to be completed by you. Show respect to the God’s when you are in their realm and they may grant you their blessing. I must remind you that I am here principally as a guide and will answer your questions but it is you that must complete the trials set before you.”

SymbolDrogaAs they climbed, they could hear sounds in the distance of a great amount of work being done. As they reached the first landing at the top of the stairs they found a long well lit chapel with several planter boxes where pews would normally be. Several priests bearing the symbol of a double ended sickle were tending to the constantly growing fruit off the plants before shuffling it to a gigantic feasting table near the rear of the chapel. “Oh dear,” says Ellindria, “the Followers of Droga have started their harvest early. If you wish to continue your pilgrimage you must negotiate your way past them. A warning though, they do not negotiate well and may become… intransigent. Belligerent even. They don’t like outsiders.”

As their guide spoke, a squat humanoid with the face of a rat snarled and marched toward them. “NO NO NO!!! I have told the Priestess hundreds of times – No pilgrimages can go through when the harvest ceremony is under way!” Rascalar planted himself in front of the pilgrims, “You will have to wait until the harvest is complete. We are already three days in and only half way complete.”

Grinder walked right up to Rascalar, standing uncomfortably close. “Listen rat, you will let us through. Mechanar demands I reach the Oracle immediately and you harvest means nothing the the will of the Mecha!” The rat man bristled at the audacity of the paladin but held his ground.

Ozreal slid in between the Paladin and Priest. “Listen friend, we meant no disrespect to your ceremony. We only need to pass through the chapel – Can’t we just walk through? We won’t touch anything, I swear.”

Rascalar made to object again but was distracted by a sound off to his right. The priest turned to see Braun tripping over one of the planter boxes. The rogue had been attempting to sneak by when he lost his footing. Rascalar raged at the sight and grew twice his height. “SACRILEGE!!!” As the priest grew a multitude of celestial harvest rats burst from the planter boxes and charged the pilgrims. Rascalar pulled two sickles from under his robes and turned back towards Ozreal. “All of you shalll pay for your insolence!” With that, Rascalar and the swarm of harvest rats attacked.

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Neozama knew that the priest must be dealt with and quickly assumed a stance to close the distance to him. The monk gracefully slipped by the rats but his blow was deflected by Rascalar’s sickle. Using Neozama as a distraction, Grinder channeled the power of Mecha into his blade and leveled a smiting blow into the priest. Ozreal used the cover to slink back, gathering her strength and power together. Out of the corner of her eye, the sorcerer saw Braun disappear in a wink of shadow, to where she did not know.

Kendal thought fast on how to deal with the swarm of rats. She knew how to soothe most beasts so she whipped out a flute she had retrieved from her time in the Wild Wood. Playing a tune, she was able to ensnare several of the rat’s attention. They sat raptly attentive to the melody she played, saving her allies most of the rat’s attacks. Crisper saw the remaining rats charge in and cleaved his large battle axe through them. As the rats were either enthralled or defeated, Rascalar was quickly overrun. As he struggled to defend himself, Braun reappeared behind the Priest and sank his knife into the rat man’s back.

“I yield!” Rascalar spit up blood and held on to the necklace bearing Droga’s symbol. His god would keep him alive and in service. “You may pass through. We will begin the ceremony again. Just please, bother us no more!” Satisfied, the party all marched through the chapel and toward the next chamber. Ellindria led them to the next door.

SymbolLuminaThe door they arrived at bore a large symbol of the moon with a tranquil eye at the center. “I must welcome you to the domain of my own god, Lumina.” Ellindria pushed the door open to reveal a large oval room with an intricate swirling pattern on the floor and no other doors or windows. “The pattern before you is a maze that will test your soul’s spirit. You must all walk the path on the floor to find your way through.” She began walking the white swirling pattern. “It took me several tries to master the path, but with diligence you will find your way.” No sooner than she finished the sentence that she disappeared. Braun was impressed – if there was a trick, it escaped his eyes.

Neozama studied the pattern for a moment and took the first step within the curved of painted white line. Immediately he felt an icy cold wind buffet against him, but the monk closed his eyes and slipped into a state of tranquility. When the monk opened his eyes again the cold winds did not feel so cold and the weight on his feet had been lifted. “Come, let’s go together. I’ll lead. This is a test of truth.” As they each formed a line and begin to walk, they could feel themselves pulled and pushed away from the line. Crisper and Ozreal nearly fell off completely as icy gusts of wind came out from nowhere to batter against them. Neozama, in the lead, suddenly found himself looking at a large moon in a snow covered wood. Howls behind him sounded but he instead looked to the horizon where he saw a golden glimmer. With a rush of wind, The Great Gold Wyrm was suddenly before him gazing into his soul. “Today is not the day I die,” Neozama whispered. “I am born for greater things.” With a rush, the wood was gone and he found himself in a red stone room surrounded by his companions.

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Cripser stood up rubbing his arms, “Did anyone else see the wood and wolves? I was ready to fight when I saw a flash of gold and I was suddenly here.” The gnome looked towards Neozama. “What did you mean that was a test of truth? What truth?”

“There was no storm.” The monk offered no other explanation as he turned to face Ellindria who was rushing towards them with a smile on her face. “I’m so grateful you all passed! And so quickly! Lumina must have great faith in all of you!” Braun looked around at the rough hewn stone walls. The chamber they were in lead to a larger one with a massive four armed statue in the center holding the ceiling up. “This chamber belongs to the god of Prowess, Gorgeth. He and his followers value those that excel beyond the capabilities of their brethren.” Lining the walls of the chamber were several statues depicting champions. Far behind the statue were three plinths of different heights.

SymbolGorgethKendal was interested to see another trial and walked toward the statue. As she did so, the statue moved its four arms along the ceiling, chunks of mortar falling. Its large bald head twisted toward the pilgrims and in a booming voice said “HALT! You trespass upon the halls of Gorgeth. To continue onward you must prove your prowess. Behold, the solution behind me, but only in the light of discovery shall the truth be revealed. Make haste, for only your strength shall award you safe passage!” As more chunks of mortar began to fall from the ceiling, it became apparent that they had a time limit here.

Grinder made his way to the three plinths in the rear of the room, careful avoiding the falling mortar. Looking at the first plinth, a plaque read “Jon ‘Big Iron’ McRidek – The dwarven warrior, strong as a bear, that vanquished the great frost giant Icebreaker on the slopes of Mount Karganthus in the Frost Range.” The second read “Melathura – Human Warrior princess, sly as a fox, that marshaled a quest to the Red Wastes to free the scythe of power from the fabled Pit of Lost Souls.” The third read “Erc the Fearless – Half Orc Barbarian, fierce as a lion, with more hunting trophies from the Dire Wood than any other hunter in the Dragon Empire.”

Crisper yelled out from the earlier room, “Theres statues of four dwarves, three human women, and two half-orcs here. How are we supposed to know which ones we need?”

Ozreal thought over the plaques again, “Each of them mention an animal. Bear, Fox, and Lion. Do any of the statues have those animals on them?”

Crisper studied the statues. He quickly found a dwarf wearing a bear pelt, a human woman with a necklace of a fox’s head, and a half-orc with that tattoo of a lion on his chest. “Found them. Now help me get them over there!” With great effort, Neozama, Crisper, and Grinder were able to life the statues and place them on their respective plinths. When the last one was in place, the four arm statue shifted his hands to support the ceiling again. A door behind the plinths swung open revealing another hallway.

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Ellindria walked forward, beaming proudly at them all. “Good work! Gorgeth’s trials are always fun to watch.” She gestured the pilgrims onward down the hallway. “Now I am taking you to see a friend of mine before you continue your pilgrimage. You would do well to be open and honest with Nalina. She can help you.””

SymbolOreanThe room she took them to was an expansive room filled with a wide shallow pool of blue liquid. A woman in long flowing robes was holding a horribly wounded warrior in the waters. As they watched, the warrior’s wounds knitted together completely healed. The warrior stood, thanked the woman, then exited the far doorway.

The woman slowly approached the pilgrims, “Welcome, my name is Nalina.” Nalina moved toward Braun and took his hand in hers, “Tell me, what brings you to the Cathedral?”

The Half-Orc thought for a moment – He needed to keep the Emperor’s task secret. “I am here to see the Oracle. To ask her where my father is.” He happily smiled, confident in his lie.

“Why do you deceive me? Tell the truth.” Nalina waited expectantly.

Sighing, Braun broke down. “I am here on the Emperor’s business, to find those disloyal to the empire.” Smiling, Nalina nodded and moved to the next pilgrim. One by one, she asked their reasons for visiting the cathedral. They all answered truthfully and were given chance to rest in the pool’s healing energies, restoring their health. As the party rested in the pool Nalina moved over to have a chat with Ellindria, but none of their words were overheard by the party.

After awhile Ellindria moved on to the next door, “We had best get moving. The last chamber you will find on this floor belongs to the goddess Koreena. She is goddess of wisdom and beauty. Her followers believe truth is beauty, and beauty is truth. A true believer in Koreena is not afraid to reveal their inner faults and flaws so that they do not accumulate imperfections that ultimately destroy their overall beauty. Thank you again Nalina!”

They carried on until they had reached an immaculate marble doorway embossed with several beautiful figures. In the center of the doorway stood a statuesque woman with skin of ivory and obsidian. When Ellindria pushed the door open, they saw a colossal statue of the same woman, her skin composed entirely of diamond. Multiple other beautiful statues lined the walls. Ellindria offered some words of wisdom as the party moved into the room. “The shrine of Koreena is a museum of art, and a testament to the saying that beauty is truth and truth is beauty. To proceed further you must each confess a deep secret, or be willing to prove your righteousness through a test of battle. Do not lie, for Koreena punishes lies. This is the third and final test before we reach the Library of Oracles”.

Braun’s fingers twitched greedily as he entered the room, but the thief couldn’t think of a way to smuggle a sixteen foot diamond statue out of the Cathedral undetected. As he contemplated the logistics, a lyrical voice filled the chamber, “Filthy hearts and dark deeds are the enemy of all beauty. If you do not bring your darkness into the light, it will surely destroy you. Pronounce the truth and be spared the foul corruption of your soul.” The door behind them slammed shut and the statues began to twist into horrible figures. The avatar of Koreena’s skin began to change from diamond to coal as she started to slowly move.

Grinder dropped to one knee and lowered his head. “My lady, I know the truth of your words. I must confess I have had carnal relations with a being of flesh. It is my greatest shame!” The rest of the pilgrims looked awkwardly at the forgeborn paladin. He continued to kneel in front of the avatar, her face of coal glaring judgmentally down at him. Darkness started to twist around the room.

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Crisper looked around nervously and cleared his throat, “Lady Koreena, I confess that I killed a young gnome in my village in a rage. I see him every night when I sleep, his face haunts me.”

Ozreal looked towards her companions before speaking up. “I have dabbled in the dark arts, embracing my demon heritage. It gives me power and I like it.” The sorceress didn’t often admit such things openly. As the statues around the room twisted more, they became undead horrors of decomposing terror. They shambled toward Neozama, Braun, and Kendal who had kept their silence.

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The avatar of Koreena towered above them, her skin now turned completely to coal, “You have spoken the truth and will bear witness to the depths of your sins. To those that remain silent, you shall be judged.” Neozama, Braun, and Kendal found themselves under attack from the undead horrors closing in on them. Desperately they used knife, fist, and bow to whittle down their oncoming attackers. The avatar swiveled its attention to Grinder and peered into his mind. Pain ripped through him as the images of his sin played over and over in his head.

Ozreal stepped back, unleashing the demonic power she possessed in violent arcs of lightning. Crisper had had enough and tapped into his instinctual rage. As he let out a horrible cry, flames started bursting around him and throughout the room. He savagely began to hack away at the avatar. Grinder finally shrugged off the visions in his head and delivered a smiting blow tot the avatar as well.

Neozama and Braun were holding the front wave of the figures off before the Rogue once again disappeared in a twist of shadows. The monk was left alone to ward off the numerous undead as they hammered judging blows down upon him. When Kendal released a hail of arrows into the undead swarm, he was able to defeat the rest. Braun reappeared behind the avatar, sinking his knife in a vital juncture along her side. She twirled to deal with the rogue, and Crisper saw his opening. Letting loose a terrible cry, he swung his great sword through the avatar, shattering her to pieces.

As they pulled themselves together, Elindira looked over the shattered avatar of Koreena. “A pity, she was always so beautiful.” Their guide ushered the pilgrims out of the room, “I’m afraid that this is where we will part. We have reached the Library of the Oracle, where your fates will be written and kept by the brothers of Dasaan, God of Truth and Insight. Consult with Father Pertronis, he will undoubtedly know you’re coming and have your fate ready. If your hearts are pure and your cause is just you will find what you seek. Walk with the gods of light.”

SymbolDasaanWhen they had reached the library, they struggled to hide their awe. Shelf after shelf held numerous tomes full of prophecies and destinies. Neozama’s own book store paled in comparison to the amount of tomes held here. In the center of a massive library, a large tree grew, with eyes centered upon its leaves.

The adventurers moved freely through the massive library. It would be easier to become lost among the rows and rows of books and scrolls. Neozama picked up a few books, but found nothing but cryptic prophecies on each page. The writings appeared useless to anybody but those they were intended for. When the monk shared this information with his companions the party began searching for any books about themselves. Neozama was the only one to find a golden book with his name scrawled on it, but the pages were blank. When no one was watching he pocked the book beneath his robes.

As they moved through the stacks of records, they were directed to Father Pertronis’ desk. On the second floor overlooking the library, they found the aged man. He looked up at them solemnly, “Ah yes, Dasaan told me you were coming. I’m afraid your prophecies are not yet written. All knowledge starts with a seed, you see, a kernel of knowledge upon which events grow and unfold. Your fates have yet to take root, yet to grow into a prophecy. You must hear your fates from the Oracle in person. Go upwards, every upwards, and may Dasaan bless you.”

Player feedback:

“I liked having new gods and challenges for each level of the Cathedral we entered. It keeps us all from getting too complacent about our approaches to problems.” – Player 1, Kendal

GM notes:

GM Note: Since we were pressed on time, the Lumina encounter was avoided by use of an icon result.  The original Gorgeth chamber puzzle required players to find shields matching to the heroes, but I changed the puzzle to be more about the heroes description and it played out just fine.  My group doesn’t do spiders (Insert Link to previous spider change), so I changed up the Koreena encounter to be a statue of diamond turning to coal.  The Cathedral adventure is definitely different than the previous two six-week organized play adventures and I’m hoping to plug in more connections to the characters and icons in future sessions.

(Sarah)    (Ben)