Waypoint RPG

Epsilon Session 4 Coda: A Life Cut Short

"Nahan," said Reth the Prophet, as he rose into the bleary dark.
Nahan nodded at him. Whirling fog hissed around them, churned in the air like oil in water. She was seated on a cushion before a floor table adorned with incense, a bloody dagger, six calligraphic poems of Zsitui the Blank, and a pot of tea. This existed as a mote of light in a sea of darkness. Until Nahan lifted the tea kettle and a ripple of clarity whisked through the air and peeled back the darkness. It left in its wake an emerald green field and a tree with shimmering golden leaves swaying gently in the breeze. Nahan gestured for Reth to sit, poured him a cup.
"That's the tea set we took from the abandoned caravan," said Reth. He seated himself across from her. Then took the cup she offered and held it in both hands for a time. "The fourth day, was it?"
Nahan nodded. "You told us not to take anything. That night, I brought it to you in secret."
"That's right," Reth's eyes crinkled in a smile. "You committed a sin in the name of love. You were a master of the Forgotten Wind before I even began to teach you."
Nahan took a sip of her tea. "As much as anyone can be master of a lie."
Reth felt that like a paper cut in the knots of his soul. "It wasn't a lie, Nahan," he said.
"Just a mistruth then?"
Reth sighed. "Your righteousness is clouding your vision. Tell me, do you even know why I did what I did? Do you know how it haunts me, how I hate that I committed those acts?"
"No," said Nahan. "And I don't want to know.  You suffer, and you believe it is the truest of crucibles to have had your pain. And so you inflict your emotional prison on the world. That is what I know." Nahan put her tea on the table, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath in of the pollen-laden breeze. She said, "Everyone in the Vide does this. In little ways. In big ways. I did it. My friends have done it. My fairth and madrie did it. You will tell me that it was for good reason. You will say that I do not understand, that the world will be better. But you did not consult the world before you acted. You wouldn't even if you could have. You created more suffering. And because of you, there may never be an end but suffering."
The way the wind tousled the fronds of grass near Reth's elbow was enchanting. There was sweat beading on his forehead, but it was cooled in this ephemeral spring. Somewhere, the song of wind chimes, just over an unseen hill.
"Why are you here with me now, Nahan?" said Reth.
"Because I wanted you to know that you are a fraud," said Nahan. "I could not endure my afterlife knowing that you might believe yourself absolute, even in your own mind."
Reth offered her a pitying smile. "These events have hurt you so, Nahan. I suppose I cannot hold it against you."
Nahan finished her tea, and snuffed out the incense on the table.
The breeze vanished and the air went still as moonless night.
"If I had not had the privilege of sitting with Lerisinn," said Nahan, "You may have fooled me as you always do with your condescension. Alas, I know it for what it is, and so do you." She rose to her feet. Silence hung like a sheet draped over a corpse.  "I wonder. Now that your path has led you here, what can you say of regret? How long will you find security in a martyr's cloak? How long until you remember that you are just as much the gibbering coward as every single being that has ever opened their dewey eyes to morning light?"
She turned from him and walked away, and the blue sky was oil black, and the grass warped to vaporous shadow.
"So we begin," she said, "So we return. In my own way, I am a coward for depriving you of your succor. Luckily the gods will forgive me." Nahan levelled a calm gaze at Reth, at the edge of roiling darkness. "The three gods live again, Rethilei Ut-Atir. My dearest friend has undone your work, now I will undo you."
She was gone, then.

Reth opened his eyes to darkness. It was quiet. No one out in the yard, no scribes in the corridors. There was no breeze through the open window.
He sat up and tossed the blankets from his legs.
The whisper of boot leather on stone from the hallway, somewhere in the darkness. The faint tinkle of metal on cloth.
"Hello?" called Reth.
There was no answer. 

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Alpha Session 3
All aboard!

Two days later…the group have been traveling on the Great Interstate Railroad, headed for warmer climes, holed up in a single compartment shared between the four of them (and Baxter (and Elinor's cauldron)) and are starting to go a little stir crazy. Whilst they’ve managed to keep their magical abilities under wraps, for fear of spooking the other passengers, Roe has discovered she can understand her animal pal and is quietly freaking out about it. Serra, meanwhile, is exhausted because Baxter — who is “disguised” as a gnoll, since the train doesn’t allow pets — keeps whispering mean things to her through the night. 

On the third evening they are awoken in the middle of the night by a rapping at their door. Elinor, on the bottom bunk and particularly sensitive to being “caught”, cracks the sliding partition just a little to find a well-dressed orc with a waistcoat, slicked-back hair and sleeves rolled up to reveal some sweet ink. He claims to be doing a ticket check, since the train just crossed a border into a new polity. Elinor is dubious, since his uniform doesn’t match that worn by the rest of the train crew they’d met so far, but everyone nonetheless hands over their tickets, hoping they can get it over with quickly and go back to sleep. There hopes are dashed when the orc mutters something about “double-checking with his boss” and quickly slams the door shut; immediately leaping from her bunk, Roe (in her jammies) follows in hot pursuit with Baxter, who follows the trail of the orc’s fragrant pomade up the corridor to the door between train cars, where it goes cold.

Fi joins her in the empty hallway, noticing there is a ladder next to the door into the next carriage. Elinor watches from the doorway of their compartment along with Serra, who is wearing a nightcap (very important) and asking Baxter — at a super high-frequency only he can hear — what’s going on. The dog shrugs, or at least the closest approximation to a dog shrug. Fi decides to impulsively climb the ladder and see if that’s where the orc headed, but the rungs have become slippery as they left the wintry frosts of Barent, the snow thawed. She stops short of falling in the space between the train cars, but Roe — unconcerned — has succeeded in scaling the ladder, poking her head over the top of the next carriage. She sees the orc, two cars along, sprinting at a fair pace before climbing down through a hatch. He has a whole stack of tickets under his arm, one of which slips from his grasp and smacks Roe square in the head. She pockets it and clambers back down.

Having communicated this information to the rest of the party, the slightly dozy Serra realises this orc is not an official ticket inspector, transforms into a cat and slinks through the next carriage — figuring that she wouldn’t want to wake the others passengers, for propriety’s sake. After she’s scratched at the doorway and had Fi open it, the rest of the group tip-toe quickly behind her, through a carriage where everyone is asleep but in regular seating instead of compartments (the cheap seats!), and find the door to the following car — which Roe saw the orc descend into — locked. Again Roe tries to scale the ladder next to the door, but it’s old and fragile, the rungs snapping as she tries to find purchase on them. 

Instead, she lifts Serra up and has her peer through the darkened window into the car with her cat-vision. It’s the luggage car! She can make out the orc stuffing his handful of tickets into a sack which, presumably, contains even more stolen papers, although he is no longer actively fleeing. Instead, he is pacing around nervously, eyes darting back and forth. She surmises he is about to make his escape, albeit not through the next door, which leads to the front of the train and is firmly secured. Serra suggests Fi simply blow the door to the luggage car open and tackle the thief, to which Roe backs off — ready for the plan to go ahead — whilst Elinor seems more skeptical. From nearby, they hear a horn sound, but are unable to make out its provenance.

Summoning a burning brand in the form of a fireball wielded in her palm, Fi smashes a huge hole through the doorway, which obviously gets the attention of the orc, who looks terrified. Serra leaps through and transforms into a human in mid-air, hoping to bodyslam the thief to the ground, but gets the angle wrong and instead clatters to a heap at his feet. Baxter follows her in, and the horn sounds again, much closer this time, to which the orc stops looking concerned and instead grins. Outside the luggage car, Roe realises the horn must be coming from some other form of transportation — his getaway vehicle? — and a gust of wind from in the other direction tips Elinor off to what it is: another train, coming the opposite way on the tracks parallel to their own. At that, the witch puts together the orc’s scheme — steal a bunch of tickets and run — and realises it makes no sense she can see, yelling as such through to the next car. The thief looks a little hurt to have his plan-making mocked so, but only for a moment, as he slides open the side of the carriage, box car-style. The train opposite is keeping speed with them, the adjacent carriage also slid open to reveal a bunch more orcs, albeit with their faces covered. One gestures for the thief to leap across and, after a moment’s hesitation and Serra’s failed attempt to grab his ankle, he does. The druid plumps for making an “I’m watching you” gesture with her two fingers pointing at her eyes and then him, but he can’t see her glare behind the skull she’s wearing. 

The door on the other train shuts and it begins to peel away. Fi has pushed past Baxter and Serra and attempts to fling her burning brand through into the next car on the other train, but doesn’t quite time it right and suffers burns from the blowback of sparks and embers as a hole is scorched into the carriage opposite, her nightclothes catching alight far easier than her usual adventuring gear would. Elinor storms in and slaps her round the back of the head, scolding her, “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT, IT’S ONLY TICKETS!” At that, everyone decides the chase is over, the other train disappearing off into the night. Cutting their losses, they close the carriage side-door and trudge back to their compartment for the night.

Back in the seated carriage a family of lizardfolk have been awoken by the noise and the heat from behind them. Agitated but also only half-awake, one of them asks what all the commotion was; Roe holds up Serra, back in cat form, and claims they were tracking down an escaped pet. Unfortunately, when Serra tries to conceal the skull she is wearing over her feline head, she fumbles her magic — still in a daze from stacking it at the orc’s feet — and begins to change back into a human. Roe quickly swings her back behind her and flees from the car, again followed by Baxter. Fi and Elinor are left to deal with the questions of a lizard who is suspicious about the cat story. The witch manages to palm them off with a version of the truth where an orc stole a load of tickets but was also responsible for the whole burned in the luggage car; placated, the last lizard awake curls up in her seat for warmth and tries to go back to sleep. Elinor can’t believe it worked, but doesn’t look that gift lizard in the mouth and returns to the group’s compartment with Fi. Serra has already fallen asleep, face down on her bottom bunk, and Fi climbs up top to do the same, licking her wounds (not literally, ew).

Elinor and Roe, meanwhile, decide it’s probably a good idea — based on the lizard woman’s suggestion — to go inform the guards about what’s happened. Heading in the opposite direction through more sleeper cars and the dining carriage they find the back car, with a single compartment. On the window there is a sheet of parchment daubed with the sign “DO NOT WAKE BEFORE 6AM.” Elinor worries that it’s too early, although she hasn’t adjusted her pocket watch to the local timezone and can’t know for sure, but Roe waves off her protestations that dawn has yet to break. “We’re being good citizens!” she insists. “We’re reporting a theft!”

Knocking on the door despite the sign, the pair are greeted by Rurron, a sleepy-looking tiger woman, who paws at her eyes and asks, annoyed, “Did you see the sign?” They explain what happened — with Elinor’s addition that the orc was responsible for tearing up the luggage car door — and Roe worries about them being thrown off the train without their tickets. Rurron confirms that they did indeed cross a border, but it’s not usual protocol to wake people in the night to do a ticket check. She reassures them that, in the morning, she can go through and check everyone off on the manifest she has on a clipboard by the door (Roe, lacking a traditional surname, has hers listed as “Baxter”). Rurron levels with them: she’s still a little tipsy, and really wants to just go to sleep, but promises everything will be fine in the morning. Suitably convinced, Elinor and Roe return to their compartment; the former reiterating that she doesn’t know why this whole escapade was their problem anyway, and the latter telling a half-awake Serra that everything is fine.

Early the next morning Antonio, a magnificent white tiger person with a moustache and the correct train uniform, raps twice on their compartment door and then lets himself in, giving a prim and proper “Good morning!” to rouse the group. Rurron shuffles in behind him, sheepishly, also in uniform. Antonio asks them to repeat the story delivered to his colleague, which he challenges at the point about the luggage car door: he has carried out a full inspection on his rounds and seen no such damage. He’s also not sure why they all acquiesced to giving their tickets to somebody clearly not wearing the correct uniform. Confused, the group are put on the back foot as he asks for identification in lieu of their tickets, suspecting them of being illegal stowaways. Lacking any official papers, Elinor hands over a flier for her old medicine shows, Serra shows a locket with her photo and name and hair in (which would have been given to her betrothed if she had remained in her High Society upbringing), whilst Roe waves the ticket that hit her in the face triumphantly. Baxter, whom Antonio still believes to be a gnoll despite him licking his feet and sniffing his leg, responds to Roe talking to him and she panics. Having seen enough, the ticket inspector affirms that they are to remain in their compartment until they reach the next station, where the situation will be handed over to the proper authorities.

Antonio leaves but Rurron stays a moment after, apologising profusely for misleading the group; she had just wanted to go to sleep, but she believes them, and finds the situation as strange as they do. She leaves when a porter brings them breakfast on a trolley, squeezing past him and closing the door, apologising again. “Compliments of the chef,” says the porter, gesturing to the silver tray on his trolley; the group are immediately suspicious, since they a) didn’t order breakfast b) are sure prisoners don’t get room service c) can’t smell any food beneath the tray cover and d) the porter is an orc.

He keeps insisting, Elinor resisting, Serra quietly suggesting he leave from her bed whilst menacingly drawing the skull out from beneath the pillow she keeps it under. Frustrated, the orc porter — who Elinor identifies as being different from the thief — keeps insisting they enjoy the breakfast, before giving up and lifting the lid of the tray himself. Underneath is a stack of papers and a quill. “They might be listening,” he says, shushing the group. “Let me explain…”

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Epsilon Session 3
"I am the Law!" from the Vomitorium.

- Rested in Kasuto


- Nahan gets a package with a note. It is the future-seeing mask from before. Mask is representative of two gods: Leirsinn and Onair. Beyond that, Qalib was not able to figure much else out. He mentions in the letter that he is headed Northwest, to a place where he believes that a mask of his has been taken.


- Vimala attaches herself to Nerys, following her around and mirroring her posture like a child. Breakfast is awkward, not only becase of this but because of some weird energy between Nahan and Nerys.

- The gang discusses where to go next. We decide we're headed northwest to see the Guardian of Words and Wisdom.


- Reynard hands Mala a knife. Nerys does not think this is a good idea. Aurata is so excited to have Mala along.
- Shopping montage where we outfit Mala in knives and armor.


- Start to travel, Nerys goofs up the navigation and we head down the wrong road. Aurata cooks up some poison berries (by accident). Most people were able to notice they were bad, but Nerys, Aurata, and Mala chowed down and barfed like crazy.

- All that barfing made it really hard to keep a good watch, so Nahan failed to see all of the ant people sneaking up on us. They announce in unison, "DROP FOOD AND WEAPONS AND YOU MAY LEAVE". There are three ant people and one GIANT ant with a barbed whip that seems pretty pissed off.

- Reynard grabs the food and flies away. Or tries to. But just flaps his wings and crashes into a tree.

 

- Nahan leaps to her feet and rushes the nearest Antperson with her staff. It bites at her, but her holy symbol catches in its teeth.


- Aurata decries "I am the law" from the vomitorium. BY THE POWER OF THE SCARAB GOD bleeeh YOU SHALL FLEE. Doesn't work.


- Nerys uses her badass swordsmanship to slice open the earth and raise the ground up to smack the nearest antperson.

 

- Reynard taps Mala on the shoulder and says we should run. Mala does not want to run, and instead rushes into the fray. Reynard sighs joins the fight because he's all about survival, but kids are important too I guess.


- Nahan steps forward and intercepts the whip from the BIG ant and disarms it with her staff

 

- Aurata uses the blue flame, but fails… She becomes weakened and her arm bursts into flame.

 

- Vimala gets hurt. Nerys swings an earthy blade at an antperson, gets a good hit in, but the ant hits back harder. Nahan leaps into melee with the Big Ant and they trade blows.


- Aurata tries to put her blue firearm out. It looks like a chunk of her is missing now (???!). She steps up into a defensive stance.

 

- The ants try to grab Mala, but Aurata stops it. Everyone else is embroiled in the melee. Nerys is fighting near the Vomitorium. Nahan is fighting the big Ant and one of the small ones. Reynard throws a very well placed dagger and it lodges into the knee joint of the big ant. Nahan smashes her staff into the big ant's face to finish it off.

 

- The drones bolt and run away, and Nerys , Reynard, and Aurata try and cut them down before they flee.


- The party heals up and gets ready for the next day. We turn around and decide to go the RIGHT way and head Northwest again. Enter into a snowy region, lots of trees.

 

- At one point, Mala goes up to Nerys and asks if she can be trained. It doesn't go great and the next day Mala's arm is in a sling.

 

- We come to a place, the mist is thick, and the trees are dense. Unsure of where to go next. Reynard discerns reality and realizes that some of the trees here are duplicates, but the way that the light reflects off of the mist make it look more dense. Nerys refers to her small library to research the nature of the mist. Nothing in the books about this particular forest.

 

- Nahan communes with the wind and asks 1)What is your relationship to the mist? A: The mist is part of the guardian. The mist is my brother. 2) Who are your other relatives? A: The mist is our brother. Our father is the northern wind, sister snow, words are cousins. 3) Where is the guardian? A: The wind blows, and a path opens up in the mist.

 

- We follow the path deeper into the woods. It does not appear to change the time of day and eventually we are led to a point where the mist is at its thickest. It swirls, and the shape of a large wolf appears before us, suggested by the mist. Aurata displays the blue flame. The wolf bows.
"You hold Onair's grace. What would you ask of me?"


- We ask how we can help, basically. Wolf seems pretty happy about it. But it turns out that the guardian is in the Grave with Leirsinn.

 

- The wolf, Boreas, turns out to be a liason between Onair and the words of the island. It held this knowledge in its library, but its library has been taken away by some asshole mortals somewhere in this forest.

 

- "The Final Chord", the name of the sect that the Prophet belongs to, the people who struck down the guardians. There is also another, a "new person", the one seeking the "same end."
 

- There used to be a paladin to the two gods. He spoke to the "new person". Totally the captain.


- The Final Chord wanted a new balance, rejected the answers provided by Leirsinn and Onair. They demanded instead, that which could be. They want to change things. They went to the grave and demanded another option. That of "Possibility". And in doing so, it shattered all three.

- If we want to restore any of them, we would need the hearts of the gods if we want to restore them. Their essence was shattered and the Court took it.


- Nahan asks how to get to the wolf's libarary to help recover his stuff, and a Korok pops out to guide us.

END OF SESSION

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Beta Session 2
Too Many Bilfords

 

Approaching the fishing village of Bilford to rest and resupply after their adventure on Zarellus Island, the party has a chat about what they saw there, including the petrified dwarves and the vision Vagor had of the Infernal Machine. Osred says time measures have changed since his time slumbering in stone, and he is evasive about the dwarves seen in the flooded ruins.

Penance mentions that they may want to inform to a nearby fire elemental known as Ragelion, who has an altar atop an island south of Bilford. It may be prudent to inform a major guardian spirit, but Ragelion is notorious for his temper and burning up those who approach him without a worthy gift. Leonardo says he isn’t interested going near Ragelion’s isle, seeing as he apparently burned up a fleet of ships some time in the past. Penance says he knows the Izuku Tree and would respect agents of his, but we should still come correct.

The ship docks at Bilford, pulling up at a small pier. The explorers meet a birdman scribe from Wayfinders, Melphin Utility, and they vaguely agree to meet him later for dinner talk about their adventure (Vagor isn’t planning on showing up). Melphin seems excited about getting notes down about the encounter with the Behemoth of the Depths, which Penance immediately shares during this brief encounter. Leonardo is not pleased.

Leonardo goes into town to sell (probably worthless) rocks he picked up from Zarellus, and also to get some ship-bells tuned by local tuners. Speaking to the party about what they can do in Bilford, he advises seeking work and trying to get payment for what the party knows about Zarellus.

Osred goes to the local market and has some leatherfish, local delicacy, from Binky Fishgutter’s market stall. He overhears that the trapper Dellan Bilford and his sons went missing in the bogs north of town some days ago. This means that Binky and other merchants will run out of leatherfish. Binky goes off to see the mayor in a huff. He enjoys the food and some live music performed by a local band playing an assortment of strange instruments.

Meanwhile the rest go see Silja, a church official of Typhon. She is disturbed by the idea that the machine’s green fires are still being stoked and wonders if the Behemoth of the Depths is aware of this. It's not like them. Silja says that they should keep this information a secret to prevent people from trying to access the machine. She is not happy to learn that Osred, a dwarf and a priest of Jahtal, God of Civilization, is elsewhere and may be talking about the discovery. Penance asks if he's in danger, Silja clarifies that he is the danger.

Penance goes to get Osred from the market and bring him to the Typhon temple. By this point no leatherfish stands are open. Osred arrives and defies Silja’s recommendation to keep machine secret, noting that her source on this is super biased against Dwarves and was also often full of shit. She knows he's not wrong, but she still sees danger. He mentions the letter(s) he sent to others about their Zarellus trip. Penance offers to go stop it, but Silja says no to this.

Osred tells the others about the job opportunity regarding getting leatherfish trappers out of the bog. He says they can go talk to the town’s Mayor, Angel Bilford, and see if they can get paid for dealing with the problem. Amaryllis and Penance agree to help with the quest. As they leave Penance does a cool wall jump and returns to bird form and flies off to scout the bog.

Silja takes Vagor aside after the others leave and asks him to destroy Osred’s letters to prevent word of the machine from getting out. He agrees and go to intercept the parcel boat before it departs to deliver the day’s mail. Vagor meets the captain of the boat, Tobarra Snowy, and offers the blessing of Typhon in exchange for letting him remove some letters from the day’s delivery. She agrees and takes her crew out for drinks while Vagor finds, reads, and burns both of Osred’s letters.

Amaryllis and Osred attend a public meeting at the town hall where Mayor Bilford is trying to calm an angry crowd of merchants, trappers, and families of the missing trappers. The Mayor reminds the townsfolk of treaties they have with the beings of the bog, treaties that were violated by the trappers increasing intrusions into the bog to seek more leatherfish. The townsfolk point out that some trolls killed a local farmer’s sheep in retaliation before the disappearances of the trappers that are now missing.

The discussion gets heated and Osred steps forth to announce his intent to go into the bog to bring back the trappers on behalf of Jahtal. At first this goes well, Osred talks big game and promises success the politician did not. Amaryllis is troubled by this coinciding with some angry townspeople talking about “cleansing” the bog of unwanted influences, and she speaks up about this, incurring the wrath of Binky Fishgutter and his three young buck-men companions. A tomato and then a stool are tossed in her direction, and a brawl starts in which the dryad headbutts the pigman fishmonger and knocks him out.

Vagor - who had arrived moments before – slams his sword down into the floor of the assembly chamber, stopping the situation from getting further out of hand. The Mayor speaks with the party about an expedition into the bog to rescue the trappers, Amaryllis steps forward to take leadership of the trip in her role as Emissary of the Blooming Wildwoods. She mentions that the local bog trolls are fond of intoxicating themselves by ingesting local varieties of fungi. Angel asks the party to avoid upsetting the spirits and creatures of the bog, but to try and bring Dellan and the other trappers safely back home. He arranges for Kel Bilford, a young and naive trapper, to join the party as a guide.

The adventurers venture into the marshlands north of the fishing village, with Penance scouting ahead in the sky while in her bird form. From her aerial viewpoint she can observe the bioluminescent fungi glowing in the misty deep of the swamps, and she spots an encampment of bog trolls huddled around some old ruins. She can tell that the local nature spirits are watchful but keeping their distance. The scene is like something out of an N64 game. Foggy draw distances and so much colored lighting you'd think it were just invented.

Rain begins to fall and the muddy terrain threatens to slow down the expedition. Amaryllis is able to help guide the group to tree roots and other, sturdier terrain to avoid getting bogged down. Osred hangs back with Kel and proselytizes to him about the virtues of Jahtal and his role as the originator of towns. They share some rations and Amaryllis advises the party to steer clear of the hallucinogenic fungi that populates the bog, pointing out some edible berries instead.

Checking out the ruins where the bog trolls are encamped, the party decides to seek out a local nature spirit instead, hoping he can tell them where the trappers are currently located. Penance, who they are surprised to see is perched on the tree above them, reports that she saw no sign of them. The crew hatch a plan to go find a big bog spirit Penance saw, with Penace leading the way in crocodile form. As they approach the hill she darts ahead through the reeds and rushes, however, the rest of the party spots some nasty thorny vines pursuing her. She turns to see the bloodthirsty plant as it reaches out for a reptilian snack….

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Delta Session `
Unnecessarily Long and Perfect

https://youtu.be/Wn1JByBjdPw

"Unnecessarily Long and Perfect: 'Draw maps and leave blanks,' but are there blanks big enough for these fuckin' names?"

In which 5 people play a game of Microscope to worldbuild, but really they just make a list of increasingly long and frustrating (perfect) names.

Players: curewiki, Kirby, Syris, CJ, and MC Gigglepants

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Epsilon Session 2
"Those who are forgotten have died their final death" - Aurata

- We arrive in a mirror dimension, hazy, people are on fire?


- Girl gets mad because we went with her. Tells us we have to leave. "This is not death's dimension. This is a place of memory; it touches the divine."


- Aurata asks what's going on. Girl: "Kasuto is blessed by the goddess. She allows us once a year to visit a corner of the realm where we can visit those who are no longer with us."


- "These aren't souls. They're memories. They're being forgotten."


- Nahan tries to poke one with a stick. The person turns out to be solid-ish. They turns to her and asks what's wrong with her face. Nahan takes off her mask, thinking  that her real face will be a good answer – but then the ghost goes crazy and attacks. Nahan drops her mask and falls. Then Nerys  tosses her mask back to Nahan.


- Aurata pulls her shield and defends Nahan while she puts her mask back on. The girl comes up and scares the people away with a recitation of a prayer of some kind. Apparently, the masks are what allow these "memories" to see us. But our real faces make the memories angry and jealous of our corporeal forms.


- Nerys asks how we get out of here. Girl is here for a purpose. Girl is named Vimala. We decide to go with her to do the purpose. She is trying to find her parents.


- Head to graveyard. Statue of woman. One hand has flame, in other hand is book of inscribed names. Inscription: Those Who are Not Forgotten are Never Lost.


- Vimala has tokens to meet with the Lady. We must get our own by facing our fears. There are mausoleums all over the graveyard with symbols relevant to our memories. Oh boy. Nahan is darkly excited to see Aurata's suffering – but Aurata offers to go into Nahan's door with her.


- Reynard goes to his Heist. He holds a forged ring. There's another ring on a statue of a thief on the pedestal ahead of him. A person from the druids rats him out to the guards.

 

- Nerys eyes a door with a bloody sword.

 

- Nahan goes to a door with a falling winged person. Once inside: Feeling of pride. I'm an adult the world can't stop me. Run and jump off of a cliff into the wind. Flying, soaring, wonderful! Yes! Then, the wind shifts, a pocket of heat, and we're falling, falling.


- Nerys steels herself and goes into the door. Sees Vimala before she goes in – suddenly the ground caves in and she falls down.

 

- Nerys is killing Nahan's Prophet. He is surprised at first to see the blade coming for him, then he opens his arms and accepts his fate. And then, Nerys is running. Running. Master will be here soon.


- Reynard breaks off the statue's hand. Bolts. A guard pulls a blackjack and tells him to stop. Rey keeps it together. Rushes up the stairs, avoids the guard, who then trips down the stairs and falls down onto the druid that ratted Rey out. Originally, the ring was not taken at all. So Rey exits, with the ring, and then out into the mausoleum.


- Nahan hits the ground. Both Aurata and Nahan tumble out into the Mausoleum. Holding a bloody pinion feather. "Looks like one of mine…"


- Nerys turns and walks in the direction of her Master. Ends up right where she started. Turns around and sees where she should possibly go. Then there's a blue memory ghost. The Prophet. Asks "Why?"
"I'm sorry," says Nerys, "It was never supposed to happen this way."
"Why did it happen at all?"
"I don't know," says Nerys.
The Prophet pauses. "You're just a child, aren't you?"
Nerys just stares.
Prophet puts a hand on her. "I know I deserved this. I don't think you knew the reasons why, but I did. I accept it. I… I hope you find something worth fighting for, young one. Just – I hope I am the last person who you will kill without reason."
As he walks away, Nerys hears in the distance: "And take care of Nahan for me, won't you. She was a better gift in the end then I deserved."
Nerys has the holy symbol from the Prophet, but it has a cut in it.


- Reynard goes up to the statue in the graveyard. Tries to snatch the bookmark from the book. Cuts it with his dagger. The stone feels like flesh to cut. There is a strange shuddering. Reynard smirks. "You are not the first god I've taken something from."


- Aurata rushes away to her memory. She is trapped in a web, small and feeble. There is a presence above her.


- Once she gets her composure back, Nahan checks on Nerys, who freaks out and says she's fine. Then goes and examines the statue.


- Aurata reaches for her knife. In the legends, spiders wrap you up and eat your soul. Aura's knife is not at her side. Despite that, she bites her way out of the web with her mandibles. The spider is hulking above her. Aurata crawls away, praying. The sunlit silhouette of a giant scarab appears. The light, however, starts to dim, and then go out. A voice says: "You left me."
Aurata is then outside of the mausoleum. In her hand is a small crushed spider's nest.
 

- Reynard goes to pick the lock on the mausoleum with a cup on it. It is Nerys's memory.
 

- A fire appears in the statue's hands. Nerys examines it and finds that there is no heat or light coming from the flame. Nahan tries to think of something, but fails. Then she tries to call on her deity. And it appears, a being or whirling blue light behind her.
"Flames are tools of loss. An offering is wanted."

"We need to give it the tokens of our memories," says Nahan. Both characters show each other their coins. Nerys apologizes, and shows the cut holy symbol of the Forgotten Wind.


- Aurata heads into her next door. Rey really just wants to keep picking locks. Opens Nahan's door. Nahan turns away from Nerys and rushes into her door.

Running down a road, sandy. There is a commotion ahead. People move out of the way. The holy symbol is covered in blood on the ground by the dead Prophet. Nahan weeps, manages to shape the memory and bring the prophet back. The prophet tells her to focus on the happy memories, and not this. Nahan is like – "Bulllllllshit!". Prophet says, "We tried to fix it all, but we broke everything." And Nahan is all: ???

Appears back in the mausoleum with a game piece from a meditative chess-like game.


- Aurata is trying to help a dying girl, but her god's light won't shine on her. The girl can't be fixed – there's something missing. The memory loops again and again, Aurata cradles her as she dies. Aurata stops the memory from looping again, she holds the girl, apologizes for not being able to do anything.


- Nerys is in a tavern. It's the one where she decided to leave the village. She pulls out her blade, the one she didn't have in the memory. She rises and attempts to head out of the bar to find one of the people who attacked her. She gets outside, and does indeed find them – but now, there is a woman with peculiar markings, N'Kita. She is handing the people a bag of coin. After that, the attackers turn to go and AnKita strikes them down. Nerys turns around and strikes the building in anger. It falls over flat, like a façade. It is pulled back up by a string. N'Kita holds the string on a marionette, and everything is attached to her hand.


- Aurata cradles the girl, silently mutters, wonders why her god has forsaken her. Girl falls to ash. Aurata reappears in the mausoleum with an invitation to the girl's funeral.

- We go through the statue after offering our tokens (except Reynard, who wants to keep his). A blue flame is gifted to Nerys, one that allows the user to see things as they used to be. We arrive in darkness, hear Vimala chanting. Then we are in a strange chamber with the masks of death and foreign words inscribed on the floor.


- Then SERPENT EATING THE GROUND plays and a massive figure bursts out of the ground. It's a horrible angel creature with a bunch of masks floating around it and it extends and hand and tears away our masks and tokens.
"I can't see!" It shrieks. "Who am I?"
Nahan yells to Vimala, "What is the goddess's name?"
Vimala says, "This is not the goddess, just an aspect of-"
 
- Aurata rushes forward and takes the brunt of the sudden attack that the creature launches.


- "- don't know its real name. It's a guardian of the village."


- Aurata uses I AM THE LAW. The pure white mask from Vimala is on the creature. A voice says, from the corner: Help Me.


- Nahan tries to discern the words on the ground, turns out they are written in Kassai. But can't read them for shit.

- Nerys brings up the blue flame. Things no longer look damaged or horrible. Inscription on the ground "Entrusted to Kasuto, the One who Remembers.".

- Reynard uses the ring to try and convince the Aspect that it is actually the thief from an old story. It doesn't believe him, reaches up and destroys the mask of the bandit from Reynard's memory.


- Aurata finds the broken bottom half of a mask. "H-h-help me," it whispers.
"How?"
"Put me back."
Aurata throws it at the creature.

- Blue flame: "Due to the loss that we all share. The gods grant upon us the guardian. Gods grant us both Memory and Progress."

- Nerys throws the blue flame at Nahan and she catches it on her staff. Branches grow from the staff. Nahan goes up to the creature and holds up the flame.

- It reaches for the flame, and crushes it: "Remember"

- And all goes silent, and the masks restore. The creature is called Memorium. Memorium says: Thank you. So much. How can I assist you?

- Nerys asks where we are. Same answer as before. Nahan asks what happened. Memorium says she was attacked, sundered, along with the others. "These are the last parts I remember:" she conjures a blue flame and we see a group of strange people-shadows. There is a gigantic ant person, a polarbearman, a huuuuman. One person comes forward. The Prophet. (!?!?!?) When he was 18 – 21. "We apologize for this," he says, "We don't mean you any harm, but this must be done. There is pain to every birth. We will try and make this as easy on you as possible."

- Nahan is shocked. Asks about the holy symbol of the forgotten wind, of the spiral with two horizons.
- Memorium draws a spiral of glowing light. "In the beginning, there was a loss. Something so painful. In response, the divine cried out." She draws two lines in the center. "A pair of gods shared one heart. The line coming before, represents the female half. The forward line, the male. In all things, they were counter. They were separate answers to the loss. My goddess believed you hold on to loss. To the right, is the other god. Our brother and greatest rival. He believed it was best to move on. To build forward. He was Progress. They have many names, depending on who you ask. My godess was Purity or Stagnation. He was Momentum or Ruin."
- Nahan: So what is the third line? The one on my symbol?
- I don't know. I can't feel the gods anymore.

- There should only be two other gods. But now there's a third one with the third line?
- "Where do the other guardians reside?" Asks Nerys.
- Memorium touches each of us on the forehead and we "remember" where the spirits were in the world. Different guardians in different regions.


- It wasn't just emotions that the attackers altered. It was time. They're tearing the world apart. Creating something and destroying it at the same time.


- Aurata asks Memorium if she can show Vimala her parents.
-  Memorium touches her and she faints. "If the gods aren't dead, they shattered. She is part of this. She doesn't have any parents because she wasn't born. She is a shard of my goddess."

 

- Memorium conjures fourth a bright blue flame. "If I would send you fourth to free the guardians, someone would need to carry this."


- Reynard volunteers. Memorium looks at Reynard and says, "You're new. If I were to shine this light on you, how many faces would it show me?"
"Only the ones I would want you to see."


- It is decided that Aurata should carry the flame. Aurata takes on the flame, and it kindles inside of her. It feels there next to her soul.


- Memorium gives us back our masks.

View
Alpha Session 2
The main attraction

Having informed the rest of the group about the fearful sight of a skeletal, headless horseman within the observatory, Serra transforms yet again: this time into a mosquito, with the intention of making a stealthy approach inside to gather more information. Meanwhile Baxter leads Roe and Elinor on an investigation around the other side of the building, in search of a potential other entrance. The witch digs around in her spellbooks and pulls out a pamphlet for the observatory, aimed at tourists, which tells of an exciting new exhibit which was recently added…but no details on what it is. Roe finds a small window, below which are a dusting of gunpowder and a crate containing research equipment which she cannot identify, but looks to be more heavy-duty than a run-of-the-mill observatory would require. Inside, Serra has managed to determine that the horseman is clasping a skull under one arm — ethereal green flame pouring from its eye sockets — and is standing on the upper floor of the observatory, the front door being on the ground floor. Unfortunately, she buzzes a little too close to the horseman, who notices her and swats her away, dizzying her for a moment.

Meanwhile, Roe and Elinor have called Fi over to see if she can identify the source of the gunpowder. Fi recognises it as coming from a human-made weapon, a pistol of the sort she encountered when she was run out of her hometown. Roe is spooked by the idea of such advanced weaponry, being more used to bows and swords. Elinor watches as Roe climbs atop Fi’s shoulders, to see if she can open the window above them. After wiping some of the frost from the glass and seeing the green illumination of the horseman’s skull (albeit without knowing where that coloured light is coming from), she tries to prise the window open with a handle; instead, she snaps it off. Exasperated, Elinor throws her hands up in defeat and walks back to the front of the observatory. The rest of the group join her, and Fi flings the front door open without fear.

They walk into the lobby of the observatory. The marble floor is covered in a fine film of dust, along with more torn papers and books from the archive — as previously reported by Serra — and a scattering of odd-sized bones. There is a desk off to the side, and a plinth with a plaque in the centre of the room, but nothing else. At the back of the room is a spiral staircase leading upward. They can hear a buzzing noise above them, along with a low rumbling. Having collected herself after being swatted away, Serra flies down to the lobby and explains what happened, and reveals something interesting about the horseman: drawing on her early education in legal history, she recognises an insignia on the skeletal apparition’s armour as belonging to the long-abolished monarchy of the land, which has not existed for centuries. The sound of rumbling increases, and everyone gets ready for battle: Fi prepares another burning brand, Serra slides the skull she carries on her back over her head and transforms into a giant snake, Roe draws her weapon, and Elinor dramatically sets down her cauldron before sheepishly picking it back up.

Her adrenaline pumping thanks to the sight of gunpowder awakening unhappy memories, Fi leads the charge up the staircase alongside Baxter, followed by Serra, then Roe, then Elinor. The steps are covered in more pieces of paper, bones, and twigs remaining from Rowan’s ill-fated expedition into the observatory. On reaching the upper level, the horseman turns towards them, his steed — jet black, with the same glowing green flame pouring from its eye sockets — whinnying and charging at them. Fi, flaming sword raised, runs right at their attacker, only for the horseman to disappear, leaving a trail of green flame in the direction of the front door. Relieved that their enemy appears to have retreated, the group relaxes somewhat. Naturally inquisitive and bookish, Serra begins to sift through the papers scattered over the floor, both to try and identify what the horseman might have been looking for, and because she’s curious. She recognises them as star maps, which Roe — who has seen a few skies in her time — confirms. However, she does not recognise them as any night skies she’s seen. The low rumbling sound that was apparent on their entrance to the observatory has not abated. 

Whilst the group picks over the mess of the observatory, Baxter chews on one of the more sizeable bones amongst the detritus. All of a sudden, the one in his mouth begins to shake, before being pulled from his mouth most cruelly, as if by an invisible force. It soon transpires that all of the bones in the observatory are moving, collecting in the middle of the upper floor, scraping up from the lower levels and locking together by its own accord. Elinor, smartly, moves towards the back of the room, expecting the worst. The bones reconstitute themselves in the shape of an enormous whale, floating a few feet in the air, its deep and sorrowful song echoing about the domed room. Serra identifies the whale as the “exhibit” that Elinor’s pamphlet had been touting, and was missing from the lobby. It sweeps its tail in an opening attack, with Serra dodging and everyone else being knocked back. Elinor quickly curses the whale, causing it to hesitate on each attack it makes, its movements becoming slower and more stilted. Fi shapes her burning brand into a ball of flame and flings it at the enormous skeleton, succeeding in knocking some of its fin bones to the ground, singed and covered in soot. Serra, still in snake form, attempts to take a bit out of its tail, but just misses. With the help of Elinor providing a distraction, she tries again, succeeding this time in grabbing ahold of the whale’s jawbone and pulling it clear off. It moans louder, as if in pain. 

At this, Elinor asks the group, “Are we just attacking a scared animal?” Serra assures her, and the group as a whole, that this is not a dead whale who has returned to life. Part of the reason they’re in Barent, and why it’s such a tourist destination this time of year, is because it’s the solstice; the perfect time for casting magic, whether good or bad. “Well, actually, it’s been animated by somebody else,” she explains, “and is not a sentient animal in its own right.” Roe doesn’t have to be told twice. Baxter has been eyeing up this delicious collection of bones and, concerned for his safety, she blows her dog whistle to try and distract the whale. She succeeds, and Baxter goes for the tail nevertheless, but misses as the whale begins to raise it for another attack. Roe manages to duck the strike, which hits the ground behind her instead, but a bone is chipped off and strikes Baxter, who becomes a little more hesitant about trying to chomp on that whale tail again. Fi summons another burning brand and hurls a projectile that knocks off the whale’s remaining flipper. Having shifted out of her snake form, Serra transforms into a samoyed, attempting to attack the whale but once again missing. The whale doesn’t look to be in good shape: it is shaking, its movements even more awkward and unnatural. Elinor, having taken a step back, surmises that the horseman may be in control of the whale, having noticed that same green flame between the loosening joints of the skeleton.

At this, Roe attempts to reason with the whale, hoping perhaps the horseman will be able to hear her. He definitely seems like bad news, but perhaps he is simply not truly in control of himself, or aware of his situation as an undead headless skeleton man. Unfortunately, the whale is not one for negotiation, and at her awkward approach it just repeats its howls of pain. Serra, still a samoyed, takes the opportunity to leap off the stairway bannister and further loosens the whale’s vertebrae. The beast collapses at this final attack, and Serra tumbles off the side of the upper floor, hitting the lobby hard and taking some damage. The whale collapses into a pile of bones, which Baxter eyes with no small amount of delight, and which Serra expresses an interest in too — much to Roe’s concern.

Elinor and Fi race downstairs to see if they can catch sight of where the horseman fled. The green flame has faded, with some hoof prints in the snow visible through the open doorway. Serra, meanwhile, rushes back up (still in dog form) to take a look through the observatory telescope. Roe semi-patiently stands behind her, badgering her with questions: “What’s there? Is it good?” Serra sees a shooting star disappear behind a dark, unseen celestial body, guessing that it might be an eclipse, and suggests they go outside for a better look. The pair follow Elinor and Fi outside, where they gaze up at the gorgeous shimmering sight of colours in the night sky — an aurora! Nothing magical or untoward, just a beautiful natural wonder. Fi, meanwhile, has found more of those hot golden coins sunk into the snow, along with more scattered hoof prints headed in the direction of town. The group poke their heads into the bothy, where they see that a couple of darkened leaves have appeared on the pile of twigs that used to be Rowan, along with a scattering of seeds. Roe and Serra collect a few of the seeds, leaving a few behind, with the intention of perhaps “planting” their mute friend somewhere less cold. 

The group wander back to Barent, the hoof prints and coins soon disappearing entirely. On entering the town limits they are met by a harried, nervous-seeming guard in ill-fitting uniform. He is stunned they returned from the observatory in tact; Serra manages to convince him that the “danger” that was being reported was overstated, that the building simply requires some maintenance, and there were a few sharp icicles dangling over the front door. Elinor informs him that it looked like some vandals had broken in and trashed the place, with particular damage being done to the whale skeleton on display. The guard seems disappointed at this, but thankful that the observatory is apparently safe; he tell the group he will write to the observatory’s owner with this news, as he is not in town, then bows — his helmet falling off his head — and he returns to the inn he came from.

Ready to unwind after their expedition, the group take a load off. Holing up at a tavern in the a tourist town not exactly wanting for such, Serra orders an elegant cocktail, lightweight Roe drinks a little too much and tries to order whale steak (whilst secretly feeding Baxter some bar snacks under the table), Fi has calmed down some and is enjoying a hearty stew, whilst Elinor gets a stiff drink to deal with the fact that this group is far more adventurous — and spoiling for a fight — than she was prepared for. They hit the hay in the beds available upstairs, resting up in anticipation of catching a train out of town the next morning.

View
Epsilon Session 1
You have suffered a terrible fate.

Time grants perspective. In order to see the shape of the present, we must first see the shadow it casts into the past.

Nerys stands before her rival, Ilmari, on the dueling grounds. Their mentor, Ankita, looks on impassively waiting to pass judgment. This is their graduation, one shall be granted their title, the other will leave in shame. Nerys, who had left her forest through books long before she walked away, was unwilling to disappoint Ankita and struck as soon as an opening presented itself. She struck like lightning, her blade striking faster than Ilmari could react and steel found flesh. Ilmari knelt, disarmed and dishonored, and looked with venom at Nerys. Before he left he swore he would exceed her by magic, if he couldn't match her by blade. This threat was soon forgotten in the exhilaration of Ankita bestowing Nerys her title; Arcane Duelist.

Reynard didn't realize what had happened to him until he looked up and saw Death. Black robed and imposing, the only certain feature were the eyes that bored through everything you were. The eyes widened in surprise when they beheld the fox before them. "AH… ONE OF YOU. NOT QUITE YET, THEN. BUT SOON." A dismissive gesture from within the darkness was all Reynard needed to bolt for the gates of Death's domain. When he opened his eyes in the land of the living, he found a black nail gripped in his hand, something he had snatched from the gate in his egress. Reynard smiled, he had stolen from Death himself. He spun the nail in the air and whistled. "It has a decent balance, maybe I will work you into a dagger."

Aurata stood before the Divine Council, struggling not to stammer or blush. "it's just… I had been following the third precept of our God. You know, sharing drink?" The priests stared down at her. Of course, they know the third precept, they taught it to you!<u> </u>"Umm. Well, the weaver I spoke with was distraught, it seems she was charged for her taxes again. And well, she had already paid her taxes twice this month. She said she wouldn't be able to buy fiber and then how would she even think of paying next month with no goods to sell." Aurata took a breath and steeled herself to say this proper, like she practiced. "I think we need to stop charging the people so much." Clicking mandibles echoed throughout the hall. "Thank you, Paladin Aurata Klaxon, for bringing this to our attention. Of course we will make certain this matter is taken care of." A stone tablet is passed to the speaking Priest. "Ah yes, Weaver Tantari was the woman you spoke with yesterday I see. We will speak with her and ensure she is dealt with." Aurata nodded, relieved she had been able to help. "There is also the matter of your destiny Aurata, we all feel you have already done so much for the city and its people… that perhaps your talents would be best applied outside our walls. For one whose destiny is so great, surely it lay somewhere out there in the world. Somewhere else…"

Nahan sat on the starboard side of The Oracle's Secret trying to keep their meal down. The ship had been turned about by storms and harsh waves and the ride had not been pleasant. The hold already smelled so much of sick that Nahan dared not venture below with food in his stomach. Captain Vowskept walked past them without acknowledgment, but the symbol on his wrist stood out like a second sun to Nahan. A spiral with three lines branching from its center. The symbol of their faith, The Forgotton Wind. Turning on Vowskept, Nahan excitedly asked him about the symbol, what he knew of their god. Vowskept turned in anger towards Nahan. Berating him for wearing a symbol he knew so little of and offering him a chance to see what their god was capable of. And so Nahan joined Vowskept that night at the helm. Vowskept wore a strange mask, etched with a symbol of their faith and offered it to Nahan. Wearing it he saw an island where none had previously been. That was where Vowskept was taking them. No sooner had the realization that the Captain had purposefully led them all of course then the storm raged and lifted The Oracle's Secret into the sky. Panic turned to screams and the screams gave way to deafening, dark silence.

They awoke together in the wreckage of their ship,pulled to shore away from the other floating corpses. A strange oil or ink was smeared across their eyes in a bizarre pattern. It was quickly removed as they took stock of the situation. The sands showed them having been dragged to shore and a single set of bootprints leading north into the forest. Scouting ahead, Reynard shifted into the form of a raven and was able to follow the trail until it met a road. They discovered the body of a giant ant-creature. It had been slain, but this did not stop their pursuit. Nahan called on the Forgotten and the ant answered his questions, confirming suspicions that the tracks had been Vowskept and the creature had been slain when it ambushed him. Before the magic left the ant's body it jerked to attention and another seemed to seeing through its eyes. "I see you." were the last words spoken before the corpse slackened back into death.

Following the road North, our band rushed to assist a cry for help. A man in a rabbit's mask was driving a wagon, with two of the ant-men climbing on it, a wheel had been knocked free as he crossed the bridge. More heroically than one would expect of shipwrecked strangers, the charged to man's aid. With the exception being the natural exception. Our raven friend saw the opportunity and while the battle was fought he snuck into the merchant's cart and found it to be full of masks. He snatched one made of precious materials and merged it into his animal form before joining the fray. However, by then the battle was already won. After a quick exchange of blows, Aurata had managed to talk down the ant-men. One fled with his carapace cracked and bleeding, the other with a sack of stolen masks. The merchant introduced himself as Qalib, a maskmaker. He was on his way to sell his wares at the festival in Kasuto Village and would be happy to have their aid further along the road. They accepted the chance to ride in his wagon and were each gifted a mask for their bravery. Along the way they discovered many things from their conversation with Qalib; that there were on an island called Bereal, a place that seemed to grow stranger with every pacing moment. They also learned that Vowskept had passed by Qalib and traded him his own mask in exchange for directions. Qalib informed them that the temple he sought was in the Grave. A black, storm-wracked region that was easily the most dangerous place on Bereal. He cautioned them against proceeding there if they valued life. Nahan, interested in learning more of his god, requested the mask Vowskept had given Qalib, which he begrudgingly agreed to give Nahan after he had studied the mask for the evening. Nahan was disquieted when he noticed that the mask's carved face was missing one of the central lines, it was a modification on his divine symbol.

Upon arriving in Kasuto, they were greeted by strange people with strange customs. Each wore a mask and had a peculiar name such as the leader of the festival, A Face in the Crowd. He answered what he could for them, but was unable to shed light on the Grave, for it is taboo for those outside the clergy to speak of their Gods. However, a festival is nothing if not alluring and soon they were all spread out and taking part in the fun and games. Each had their fortune told and drank much cider. Aurata won the pie contest by default after eating all the pies the had prepared, but felt dejected after her advances to the Riddle Merchant were rebuked. Nerys spent much of the festival pondering one such riddle, to the point of distraction in the dueling circle. Nahan was more interested in the people than the games, and did his best to make inquiries, but the populace was uniformly discreet. Reynard, perhaps curious to see what use he could make of his companions, wound up using each in his own games. In a challenge of skill, he wound up in defeating an ape-man in wooing Nerys(much to her chagrin). With the potion won from the ape-man, he worked with Nahan to best the beast-tamer. No one knew what to expect but Nahan grew to towering heights when he took the potion and pinned the bear under one taloned foot. Nahan and Reynard were given a beast egg as their prize, Reynard made himself scarce once the prospect of having possibly become an adoptive father became clear. Finally, he lifted Aurata's spirits by having her help him and a game of three card monty(the dear didn't know it was a scam). After tricking their mark, Aurata chose a minute, stone key as her prize.

As all children must learn though, all fairs come to an end. This one signified by the toll of a bell. The town gathered at the central well, where a young girl had stood all day in quiet contemplation. As the sun finished setting, the water had begun to glow a bright, deep blue. Reynard had perched atop the fountain, refusing to give way even after rocks were thrown. The apparent ritual continued however, and the girl was lowered into the water of the fountain and disappeared. The fountain glowed brighter and Reynard was sucked down as well. Seconds later, Aurata dived in after the girl. With a shrug and a groan, both Nerys and Nahan followed suit to wherever this well may lead.

View
Alpha Session 1
Magnetic north

The group have ventured to the town of Barent, the farthest point north on their collective map. It’s a tourist village, sustained entirely by the scores of people coming to visit and stargaze. Being almost literally at the top of the world, it offers the clearest views of the night sky, and it’s said this is the closest you can get to the stars with your feet still on the ground. They disembark from their train in the early morning, getting some odd looks from their fellow sightseers thanks to their adventuring gear (each is decked out in what they consider appropriate for the weather, knowing they’ll be trudging farther afield than your average person there on vacation). Serra, our druid, pets a Samoyed tied up outside a tavern under the auspices of getting to know it well enough that she can transform into it later. Everyone else seems pleasantly oblivious of the attention they are getting; nobody is openly antagonistic or gawping, but there a lot of double-takes. Mostly the quartet are happy to have left behind their respective old lives, separated by many miles of railroad track.

The chance to stargaze is scuppered somewhat when they learn that the observatory, Barent’s main attraction, is currently closed. Usually there is good business for sherpas leading people the couple of miles walk north of town to the building, one of great scientific repute, but apparently it is not open for tourists this season. Being an adventurous (or possibly reckless) bunch, the group head on regardless. After hiking for a period the path they had been following began to disappear beneath the freshly-fallen snow, and they were funneled into a valley with high, sheer walls of ice they can not see beyond. In front of them they are faced by a lake of ice floes: clearly, at one time, this was a solid ground of ice, but something has broken it apart. After weighing up the situation, they realise the only way to get to the other side of the valley — and solid ground — is across the floes.

Whilst everyone else is tentative, considering other ways of crossing, Fi throws caution to the wind and leaps across to the closest floe, landing dead in the centre and balancing perfectly, the floe more than strong enough to support her weight. Roe follows suit, after having caught sight of hoof tracks scattered in no obvious path across the ice, whilst  Elinor decides on an unorthodox use for the cauldron she carries with her: adapting it into a rowboat she propels using her broom as a paddle. Having previously attempted to prod one of the floes with her stick and almost falling in, Serra opts for transforming into a duck (one of the only birds she has experience of in her swamp home), and surveys the scene from above. She confirms that a straight line across the floes is the only real path, and also catches sight of a pile of gold coins at the other side. From her literal bird’s eye perspective, she also detects movement a few yards ahead of the rest of the group, as something is causing the floes ahead to bob up and down.

The provenance of the movement becomes clear when Elinor brings her broom up from the water and finds a semi-translucent blue worm wrapped around it. She curses it to become allergic to humans, and instead of attacking her it retreats back into the water. Fi legs it to the other side, skipping gracefully from ice floe to ice floe, and reaches solid land safely on the other side of the valley; however, the sound of her escape attracts the attention of one of the three worms headed towards Roe. Seeing that another is leaping out of the water straight for Roe, Fi casts Burning Brand and scorches it in mid-air, a pile of ashes falling to the ice before her partner’s feet. However, she had to lean one of her legs out onto a floe to steady herself and get her aim right, leaving her susceptible to a worm which emerges and wraps itself around her extended thigh. Meanwhile, Elinor has to contend with two more worms who have been attracted by the light and sound of her cursing the first worm, one of which flings itself out of the water and attaches itself to her shoulder, drawing blood. Still circling above in duck form, Serra tries to help by transforming into a dog and hitting the floe next to the cauldron, but rather ungracefully crashes straight into the water next to Elinor. Collecting herself, she is helped into the cauldron and attempts to bite the worm biting Elinor, but misses as it wriggles and chomps the air instead. Elinor curses the worm to believe her shoulder tastes nasty, so it loses interest and slinks back off into the water.

Meanwhile, Fi punches the worm wrapped around her leg, which responds in turn by biting her. One more punch is enough to finish it off and see it plopping back into the icy water below, limp and lifeless. Roe still has one to contend with, which ends up wrapped around her arm. She tries to slice it off with the help of Baxter, her canine companion, pulling it taut between his teeth, but he loses grip just as she goes to slice it. In retaliation, the worm bites Roe’s arm. Sensing she could use a hand, Elinor curses the worm with the same allergy spell as before, causing it to come out in hives and slink, coughing and spluttering, back into the water. Serra returns to her duck form and flies across, allowing Elinor to swing by in her cauldron and pick up Roe and Baxter, ferrying them to the other side where everybody meets up. By this point Fi has already collected the gold coins Serra spotted previously, finding them curiously warm to the touch; if she hadn’t been wearing clothes, she gets the sense it would have been uncomfortable, possibly even painful, to hold for an extended period. She pops them in her pocket. Elinor offers a healing potion to Roe who, having had a bad experience with some of the witch’s “products” in the past, declines.

Leaving the valley, the group are greeted with the site of rolling hills covered with fresh snow in the noon half-light (it’s starting to get dark, because of how far north they are). At the top of the hills in front of them is a domed building of wood and iron: the observatory! But sat at the foot of the hill is a small wooden hut, about the size of a shed. Serra approaches it and recognises it as a bothy, a place for travellers to rest temporarily whilst out in the wildlands, perhaps something she recognises from home. Through the frost-covered windows she can make out a light source of some kind, and the silhouette of a figure. She raps on the door insistently with her stick, once, then again, with no response. She decides to just open the door and walk into the bothy, with Roe and Baxter close behind. They see a figure in robes slumped over at a table, which has a gaslamp on it illuminating the room. There are also four bunk beds against the far wall. It’s small, cosy, but all three are cautious about the figure. Once they have walked in properly, Elinor and Fi join them, the former being the first to approach the figure. As she gets close the figure looks up, revealing not a face, but a bundle of twigs pointing out the hood. Elinor is taken aback, but Serra rolls with it and says hello. Soon everyone is greeting the twig-person, who responds in kind by waving, a “hand” of twig bundles emerging from its sleeve. It soon becomes clear that it cannot talk, lacking all the usual humanoid facial characteristics, before Serra suggests letting it write.

The group conducts a conversation through writing with the twig-person, who reveals that it was the first of its forest kin to visit this place, that it intended to be the first to see the sky beyond what the treetops concealed. Unfortunately, it was attacked by “something very powerful, very bad” at the observatory, although it appears to lack the vocabulary to describe exactly what attacked it. Responding to a request for what it can offer, gesturing to a bindle stick behind it wrapped in a dock leaf, it professes to have little in the way of material possession; however, it responds to a request to illustrate what attacked it with a shaky line drawing of a four-legged creature and a large blob. When Roe asks the scale of each creature, it draws a stick figure (natch) of itself first next to the four-legged creature — suggesting it is the same height as the twig-person — and a very small one next to the blob — suggesting the creature is far larger. On the back of the drawing, it introduces itself as  Rowan, and says it was glad to meet what is clearly a driven and powerful group. It then slumps forward, the twigs that made up its “face” collapsing to the ground. In short order the rest of the twigs fall to the ground, leaving a slack robe on the seat. Baxter is expressing a great deal of self control not to seize any of these sticks for himself. Fi has no such compunction, suggesting they use the twigs to build a fire to keep warm, to the shock and horror of everyone else. They compromise on resting briefly, wringing out any wet clothes and collecting themselves before continuing.

Leaving the bothy, the group make towards the observatory. On the way up they find more of the scattered hoof marks, as well as more of the coins, which have sunk deep into the snow and created slush beneath them with their heat. Serra picks them up and hands them to Fi, who puts more in her pockets and a couple in her shoes to warm up her feet, meaning she gives off a trail of steam as she strolls onwards. Upon reaching the observatory they find a front entrance: a large, curved doorway, with a smaller (person-sized) door within it. Rather than bursting right in, Roe and Baxter using their combined tracking skills to follow the trail of hoofprints and gold coins. They lead not to the doorway but around the back, to the dome where the telescope emerges through a slit, which is where the trail ends. To enter this way, the group would have to climb a sheer wall. Serra once again transforms into a duck and soars upwards, where — through the gap — she catches sight of a headless horseman overseeing some sort of work. Around him there are snapped twigs, suggesting this is the place where Rowan was mortally injured previously. There are also shelves of academic texts that have been ransacked, the pages torn out and scattered across the ground in search of something. She returns to the ground and informs the group on what she saw, and they plan their next move.

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Beta Session 1
The Behemoth of the Depths

  • The party stands on the beach of Zarellus Island – place with big dwarf statue sticking up from ground
  • They've come at the request of the Great Izuku Tree to investigate the isle and plant some seedlings there
  • Osren talks to stone, learns name of ruin, goes inside to investigate
  • Vagor and Penance follow
  • Dwarf ruin has some statues, including one of a noble dwarf on a throne
  • Descend steps into chamber with a tidal pool that flooded it
  • Signs of a big tentacle in pool
  • Osren tosses a rock into the pool, tentacle snatches it, tosses it back when it finds its not edible
  • Crabs with faces on their carapaces (Carafaces) scuttle out and attack
  • Penance swoops and pins a crab. The crab jabs back, so she becomes a Jaguar and tells it to stop. It is hungry though, many more crabs approach, some being grabbed by the tentacle.
  • Osred tosses rock into pool after Penance suggests pitting the tentacle and crabs against each other
  • Tentacle grabs Osred, Vagor stabs the tentacle then uses waking eye symbol of Typhon (his deity) to cow the creature and cause it to retreat to its underwater lair
  • Whirlpool sucks Osred down into dark water
  • Amaryllis rushes onto the scene, tries to rescue Osred by offering him her spear, gets nipped by a crab
  • Vagor and Amaryllis dive into the water after the dwarf cleric
  • Jaguar Penance, having discovered earlier the pillars were weak, collides with one to collapse the ceiling of chamber, unfortunately sealing off exit from water but squishing crabs
  • Osred sees petrified dwarves on the seabed below (around 50); looks for a way out, discerns that there’s some other being than the Behemoth of the Depths and the crab things that calls the ruins home
  • Penance shapeshifts to a howler monkey and calls the party to a way out, helping with loud calls and vines
  • Osred, Vagor and Yllis get out of the water – Osred has to abandon the petrified kinsmen to be buried by more rubble falling from the ruin underwater – some of the petrified dwarves may be killed or injured by the debris, but most should be intact
  • Depart the ruin but hear a voice warning them – it belongs to a creature that calls itself Eurok, Son of the Behemoth of the Depth, Prince of Zarellus. It says it won’t interfere with them planting trees on the sand of the island, but never to step on the stone of Zarellus’ ruins again.
  • Vagor, wondering what here offends nature, gets a vision from Typhon showing some infernal machine in the dark depths of the underwater ruins of the dwarven city – it glows from within with some green eerie light
  • Penance (still a monkey) gets sapplings to plant out of the ship, plants 5 of them
  • Osred writes two letters – one to his patron at the church of Jahtal, saying there was nothing of value on the island; the other to the leader of the dwarf refugees, mentioning the precise location of the buried petrified dwarves
  • Vagor sketches the image of the infernal machine, which seems to have been burned into his mind’s eye
  • The party prepares to depart Zarellus Island and make for Bilford, a port nearby where they can rest and resupply
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