Prologue - Gideon's Folly
The first session

The party of 5 soldiers started out on a routine run from Tukakari, Riftward and Spinward in the Impernium. They were to deliver a large crate to the Imperial Captial of Gelborg as fast as they could. The crate seemed to be breathing, which no one took as a good sign.

Deep into the night, the train came to a break in the track. Soon the brave soldiers were beset by foul mutants. With fire, steam, and lead, the soldiers turned back the tide of wretches.

With the mutants dead, a voice came from the crate on the train. A damaged Steam Knight, one of the great shock troops of the Impernium, turned out to be the cargo.

With the Steam Knight in tow, scouting ahead and hoping to find someone to help repair the track and send message on ahead, the soldiers came upon the small mining town of Clearsprings Bluff. The town had been infected with mutation, everyone it is was dead or missing. All over were signs warning of a mutated villager, Gideon. In many of the buildings, there were huge piles of gently pulsing eggs.

A Megapede burst forth from the ground, falling on the party. The creature was mutated grotesquely, allowing it to reach out into the minds of the party. They fled before it, the Steam Knight providing covering fire. Eventually, the party escapes into the ruins of a church on the solid stone bluff near the ravine by the town. The megapede cannot burrow through the solid granite.

While the Steam Knight goes to kill the Megapede, the Soliders meet the other inhabitant of their little refuge. Gideon, the mutant from the wanted posters, has made this church his new home. He has infected an alter to Gaol with dark energies. He summons more mutant insects to his aide, and sets upon the party. With great difficulty, they dispatch him.

Leaving the church, they find the wounded Steam Knight dragging himself back to the church. As the approach, they realize that the Knight has been slain, and the megapede is dragging him with it’s stinger. The poor soldiers were consumed by the great beast.

The Red Light of Justice
An Adventure Begins

Lt. Arden of the city guard ordered Dracaena and Cora to investigate a murder. To go along with the pair, he sent Arnauld, also working with the guard to watch us and document the investigation, as well as Ms. Renard, a priestess of Gaol who was sent to gain additional field experience.

The murder was out at the mouth of the river Tear, in a park beneath a massive statue of Gaol. The victim was an elven woman with her throat slit brutally. No blood was on the scene indicating that she was not killed there but rather brought there as a message, she was not robbed, and there was a faint aura of protective magic around her.

When we arrived, the guard patrol was there trying to keep away a group of humans and elves wearing armbands signifying that they were members of the Stormers gang. The victim was Tasia, the sister of one of the gang members, Silas. He originally believed it to be the rival Spike gang. They were at the scene because while they were nearby they were told by a very large man that there was a murder. Silas was incapable of remembering any details of the man, and an arcane check showed that he had been put under some sort of enchantment.

After speaking to the guard, we found that they were alerted to the murder by a hooded human woman who later disappeared.

Also on the scene was a woman who found the body originally, and reported a short, shabbily dressed, hairy humanoid who was seen bending over the corpse and then ran away. The Stormers, upon finding this out, split up and went off.

Finally of note on the scene was a very rich, well dressed dwarf of the clan Biviel and his two Arbonal bodyguards. We had little success at questioning him due to the bodyguards, but he definitely seemed to know the victim and was extremely distressed at the murder. When he left, he pulled out and fondled gem studded necklace.

With further investigation proving to not reveal much new, we found a track and started following it.

The scene then switched to the two dwarfs, Argal and Eigil, at the Coal Heap bar. Eigil explained that there had been a murder, and after a few drinks decided to go alert the guard. On leaving the bar, they ran into the Stormers, now with an elven cleric of Vashti named Kinsky, who said they were going to beat information out of Eigil. Not believing Eigil when he said he didn’t do it, they started fighting.

Shortly afterwards, the party merged, and we beat the Stormers. Silas tried negotiating with us to not arrest them, as he claimed the guard would not want to arrest a cleric of Vasthi, as it would be more trouble than it would be worth. We arrested them anyway, and asked Silas more questions about the man who alerted him to the murder. He started trying to describe the man, but then found himself unable to speak. He had been inflicted with a lockjaw poison, with a rune on the back of his neck. The poison itself used some very rare ingredients. Since he was unable to speak, we made him write the description. It was of a large creature with a tail, he thinks it was human, but hard to tell. Had two small, blue horns and compound yellow eyes.
After arresting the Stormers, Arnauld decided the best course of action was to investigate sources of the poison ingredients.

Rain of Fire
Of Poisons, Parks, Pit Fiends, and Powerful Magiks.

The Stormers (including Kinsky) were hauled away by the paddy wagon. The Stormers under heavy protest, and threats of anti-guard violence. The head of that squad saw fit to inform Dracaena that the lieutenant still expects some heads to roll for the murder, heavily implying that they should turn in Eigil and be done with it. Dracaena, believing Eigil’s story, decided to keep Eigil and Argal in custody, as Eigil was the only one who had seen the potential murderers.

The group headed off to The Liquid Emerald. Upon entering, the shopkeeper looked a little cagey, and quickly disappeared into the back with Arnaud for some trumped up reason. Arnaud applied the subtle pressures of law enforcement but also customer to dig out some information. The shopkeeper had sold the offending poison, some paralytics, as well as some magycal items of whose precise nature he deigned to reveal. Tox also noted that the offending customers smelt strongly of brimstone, and such that they may have been demonic, or at least around sulfur.

Deciding that we might follow up the sulfurous smell, we headed towards Emerald Park (I think) which was now pretty much a dump, but situated just downriver of some of the larger chymical plants. The outskirts of the park were inhabited by hobos of various kinds, and they feared to move deeper into the park because of “The Green Lady”. OoOoOoooOoh. Legends of The Green Lady known to our crew, as well as gleaned from questioning hobos by various methods, described her as a savage creature known to shred those unwary enough to stray into her domain. She would leave bloody carcasses hanging from trees on the outskirts of the park as a warning to others.

During the questionings, Argal became agitated, as if something was wrong in the heart of the park. Thankfully some details were turned up that sounded suspiciously out of character for The Green Lady. Some hobo’s friends had been abducted, no bodies. That hobo guided our heroes deeper into the park. Argal’s agitation grew, and he was spoiling for a fight. About the time the hobo chickened out, a sulfurous smelling hole in the ground was discovered. It was surrounded by strangely verdant vegetation, considering the gnarled thorny scrub the heroes had seen so far.

Venturing in to the “cave” the players noticed light. Twas wise to send the stealthy members ahead to scout the nature of our enemy. Arnaud and Renard crept ahead, and just as Renard thought to cautiously ask Arnaud if he was checking for traps, there was a click. The floor fell out from Arnaud’s feet, and with preternatural awareness and grace, he flopped himself backward onto to the rough floor. Unfortunately the trap was also equipped with a steam whistle warning system.

The whistle summoned a demonic woman, Dawn, from her rooms. She had large blue horns and an imp on her shoulder, and was determined to stop the two heroes from interrupting her compatriot. The group didn’t know what he was up to yet, but could hear an ominous chanting coming from another room.

As dawn pulled out some pistols and fired on Renard, Arnaud levered himself up, and leapt across the pit using some sweet wall running moves. The rest of the crew joined the fray all safely leaping across the 10ft pit, the ungainly Cora using some additional luck. Unfortunately, Dawn had backup as well, and a massive, blue, spear wielding demon came out swinging. The party traded blows, and insults with the demons as the chanting grew.

Realizing the delaying tactics of the two demons, Arnaud acrobaticized his way around both demons and using quite the sleight of hand, managed to jimmy open the only remaining closed door in the room.

Beyond, a cloaked figure was carving green, firey runes into the air around a wicked looking hovering blade. With deft precision, Cora knocked the demon out of it’s chant, and the runes were extinguished.

The players handily defeated the demons. The last of which tried to retreat out the cave, only to trip and expire in his own pit trap. Each of the demons upon death, reverted to a normal person, revealing that they were simply possessing mortals on this plane, and were more powerful than the heroes first suspected.

Upon investigation, the magyk on the blade appeared to be something to do with summoning, and binding, and feeding ,and storage. Upon touching, Cora conjured the spirit of Tasia, and she answered 3 questions before evaporating.
The questions were…
1. What happened to you?
2. Who killed you?
3. Why?

The group, feeling happy with their victory, trudged out of Emerald Park heading back to the station to file their report with the Lieutenant. The rain slicked the cobble stones, but did little to dampen the spirits of the victors. An old lady approached the party in the street, and before anyone could blink, Dawn’s visage was upon her, and she smiled a delicious predatory gleam, threatening them for disrupting her plans. That is, until Renard shoved a knife in her ribs, and the old lady collapsed, dead.

Aal appeared upon a well-to-do portly man, and threatened the party much more convincingly, telling them that their city would burn for interfering with his plans. He summoned a huge ball of magyck, filled with horrible destructive runes, all swirling around in apocalyptic fury.

As the majick formed fully, he cackled devilishly, and dropped the despicable sphere to the stones of the street. The sphere touched the ground, and burst. It ignited the very rain falling from the sky, the majikal fire jumping from drop to puddle, until within a minute an entire city block was burning. The body of the man was incinerated even before it could fall to the ground. The heroes sprang for cover immediately, and began measures to combat the demonic spell.

Argal, using his heavy shield as a rain cover, began shepherding the citizens of the neighborhood away from their certain doom. Renard ran off to find the local bucket brigade. Arnaud took to his feet, and went to seek some priests from a nearby temple who could hopefully help.

Unfortunately, the water-igniting ball of doom appeared to be rolling… downhill… towards the river. Who new what would happen if it arrived.

Eigil, recognizing the runic magic used by the demons braved the burning sleet to approach the ball. Argal, assuming a more stalwart form than he ever had, followed, shielding Argal as best he could at expense of shielding himself. Bringing his hammer and the mightiest and purest of his runic magiks to bear, Argal smote the sphere. Cracking the surface, he forced his magick and his will upon the orb. It was pushed into the ground, and slagged his hammer. But the orb slowed.

Watching from a nearby doorway, Dracaena saw the efforts of the dwarves, and recognized a way to stop the sphere. She and the others collected as much scrap metal as they could and buried the sphere in a gradually cooling, still hissing, slag pile of metal.

Finally the sphere was stopped, and the rain extinguished itself. The party, exhausted and burned explained themselves to the now arrived priests and clerics, whom recognized the demon majgycks for what they were, and agreed to make sure the disaster was truly snuffed.

Thusly our heroes prepared to finally return to their home station.

Flood of Ashes
In which many things were said, but few were done.

On the way to the station, the group divided the loot from their last night’s adventure.
Each member received 50 gold pieces and $16 in imperial currency.

Outside the station, a large group had gathered. The Stormers had roused the
neighbourhoods under their control. People were demanding that the guard release
Kinsky. Well, that wasn’t going to happen yet.

Chief Inspector Arden greeted the group at the station and initially believed that Argal
and Eigil were the murderers that Arnaud, Dracena, Cora and Renard had been sent to
investigate. The group however explained to him about the devils and pit fiends they
had encountered and that Tasia’s murder was for a summoning ritual. Cora showed
Arden the book that they had found in Emerald Park containing the Infernal text.
Arden believed the group’s story, but it was not he who they had to convince. Instead,
some high-ranking priests of Gaol were at the station with the Chief Commander.
This was highly unorthodox. Arden told them that the night had been weird at the
station: after the report of Tasia’s murder had come in, Lord Priestess Kaja had come
to the station, demanding that Eigil be brought to justice.

Arden led the dwarves to a holding cell in the dungeons for further questioning away
from the priests, a few cells down from Kinsky. The rest of the group convened in
the hall. It was clear that they needed to prevent Eigil from being falsely tried. They
went to intercept the Chief Commander and Lord Priestess Kaja in their questioning
of the dwarves.

Renard and Dracena went to watch Lord Priestess Kaja question the dwarves. The
Lord Priestess and her entourage (assistant priest Ove and bodyguard Hilde) were
all dwarves of high ranking. They were from the Church of the Word—the part of the
Gaolian justice system that normally dealt with internal religious laws, not criminal
cases. Dracena and Renard learned that Kaja knew of Tasia, but not in what context.
As Dracena and Renard left, Arden received a report that someone had been burned to
death in their home, which made it the third death in such a fashion.

Back in the cell, Kaja queried Eigil’s knowledge of runes and suggested that the runes
of power that he knew and the runes that were drawn around Tasia’s body were from
the same source. She decided to continue the investigation, but detain the dwarves.

Cora and Arnaud remained with Chief Commander. Cora tried to decipher the
spellbook, but as she turned the pages, there was a smell of burning, and more names
appeared crossed off on the list; a total of five. Cora and Arnaud speculated that the
names referred to victims used as a source of power for spells for the devils to cross

The group reconvened and Arden notified them that Eigil has been slated for an early
trial (and execution). There would be an armoured carriage that would take him to
the courts. He also speculated that the well-dressed dwarf who was at Tasia’s body
at the park (Feldan of the Clan Biviar) was somehow associated with this. The group
decided then to split up to gather evidence exonerating Eigil and also investigating the
victims of the fire. However, the crowds outside prevented the group from leaving the
station, so they holed up for the night.

The next day, Arden arrived with some bad news: Eigil’s court date was that
afternoon, and Lord Priestess Kaja would be presiding over the case. Also, the crowd
outside (which didn’t subside overnight) had been given the group’s description, so
getting out would be tricky.

But, it seemed, it wasn’t that tricky. Arnaud, Cora and Renard disguised themselves
and left the station. Cora went to the University of Vectis to have the book translated,
but nobody wanted to admit to speaking Infernal. But she did find some information
on summoning rituals: the ritual that the group witnessed in Emerald Park seemed to
be a reverse summoning. Souls were what made devils powerful, and it seemed like
someone (or something) had been banking the souls that had been killed.

Arnaud went into the town to look for information on the next victim. He discovered
that the last victims were similar to Tasia: they were either lower or middle class and
moving up with ties to people of power. They had access to a life of privilege above
their own class.

Renard went to have a look at the records in the scroll library at Church of the Word.
She found that there was a pattern of murders similar to Tasia’s, where a trial had
happened quite quickly afterward and the defendant had been found guilty due to
witness testimony. In each of these cases they had been presided over by a high
ranking judge or priest. Also, all of the homicides had at least one large stab wound,
but otherwise there were different facts about the murders.

Dracena stayed at the station to interrogate Kinsky. Kinsky turned out to be more
cooperative than expected and told Dracena that Tasia was a close friend who lived
in her neighbourhood and supported her cause (by prostituting herself). Tasia had
recently stopped though, because she had found a wealthy benefactor who donated to
the Church of Vashti. On the night that she died, Tasia was apparently at home and
her benefactor had visited her.

Kinsky also admitted that she didn’t think that Eigil was the perpetrator of Tasia’s
murder and that she only wanted the Stormers to rough him up. Dracena agreed to
release Kinsky if they could get out of the prison. Kinsky gave Dracena the symbol
of Vashti that she wore around her neck and told her to go to the crowd outside and
ask for Zia — he was a member of the gang and would give the group information.

Cora, Renard and Arnaud returned to the station. The armoured carriage would be
arriving soon, and the group needed to orchestrate Eigil’s escape.

Frozen Pipes
Cannons, Carriages, and Carnage

With Eigil railroaded by the Church of the word, but obviously innocent to those that had dealt with him, a plan was formed to allow him (and Argal) to escape.

It was to be leaked that a carriage leaving the station would contain Kinsky, thereby rousing the Stormers to break her out enroute. All was going to plan, when Arnaud at the reins noticed a well organized group of mercenaries bringing small cannon to bear on the carriage as it neared the bridge cross the river Tear. This was much more firepower than the Stormers could bring to bear, and it was noticed that Dawn’s Imp was among them, glamoured up of course.

Amongst shouting, and flurry of shots and spells, Arnaud managed to avoid the cannon fire, and pull the carriage onto a side street and into an alley. Cora Thunderwaved the carriage wheel off to make things look less suspicious. The group hurried into the alley, finding a convenient sewer entrance.

Only as Arnaud dropped through the hole, did he notice the Imp watching them. Pulling out lights the group plunged into the reasonably well kept storm drain. A room opened up, with a rusted grate down into the sewers proper. It’s rusted hinges and locks proved too much for the group to just quickly jar loose. Before they could try again, they were accosted by a tattooed man claiming to usher in a Saint of the devils that had plagued the group before.

This tattooed monk turned out to be the devil Aal inhabiting his form. With a similar grotesque transformation, he confronted the party with his icy powers. The party quite handily did for him and his icy armor shards.

With nothing else to prevent the escape, Eigil and Argal escaped to the sewers, and Eigil’s hideout. The Officers, and the Justice returned to the station and Cpt. Arden.

A mission well completed was rewarded with Cora and Dracaena being officially terminated to further appease the pressure coming down from higher up. However, the Chief Commander, realizing their true worth, retained their services outside of the regular chain of command. They were to be super-secret secret-police!

Greyhawk Investigations, Inc
Grand Opening Sale

As our cover, we form and register ourselves as a mercenary company,
Greyhawk Investigations. We set up a drop schedule with Cirace to meet
him or an agent once a month at City College. Before we can get the
kind of jobs that would allow us to find out more about what the
devils are doing, we need to build up a reputation first.

Our First Job

Argal is again having a drink in the Coal Heap when he is approached
by a former coworker, the Civilian Dockmaster, Mr Strossen, along with
his two bodyguards. Strossen lets Argal know that if he is looking for
a more active role in the protection of the city, he may have some
work. Argal tentatively agrees and they arrange to have a meeting with
the whole group at a more private restaurant.

Strossen informs us that the Empire is trying to bring in a new model
of gol-man, and as a union man he doesn’t like it – the Gol-men take
away work, and he wants to avoid riots, as well as the Inquisition
doing another round-up to supply criminals for the conversion.

This new model of gol-man is housed in a textile factory upriver that
is producing exceptional amounts of high quality cloth, and that we
need to sabotage it somehow to provide a setback to the new model.
Arnauld negotiates our salary – $200 upfront, and $600 if we return uncaptured.

The Stakeout

We head to the factory – a large building with fortified walls, a
gatehouse, and ramparts manned with arbonal guards, most of whom are
from the Sap gang.

We get more information as Arnauld disguises himself as a worker and
scales one of the nearby factory – he spots imperial guards manning a
large factory building inside the walls with a boiler, as well as a
warehouse, a dormitory, and a sewer grate in the courtyards. As it
becomes dark and the shift ends, the boiler winds down and the
Imperial guardsmen escort out a column of women, hunched over, with
mechanical arms coming out and tubes trailing behind them –
apparently this new model still required an external power source.

Dracaena scopes out the sewer route and encounters a horde of rats,
and something possibly much bigger.
Meanwhile, Argal hangs out by the food trucks for more intel,
encounters two regular gol-men from the factory, and a number of
dwarves with clan Biviar livery.

The Plan

  • During the nights, Arnauld sneaks into the factory to leave a
    magic-mouth message prepared by Cora for the gol-men. The message is
    triggered when a construct comes near but no humans or dwarves (the
    imperial guardsmen) are nearby. The message reads that we are going to
    arrange for their escape – there will be a distraction at shift end,
    and that they should head to the sewer grate, and that we will get
    them away from the Impernium and to a better life.
  • Also that night, Dracaena would sneak into the warehouse and set up
    a timed incendiary device fashioned by Arnauld, along with an
    acetylene tank obtained by Argal. The device would be placed in the
    cotton piles, setting the warehouse on fire, and then triggering from
    the tank a secondary explosion. This would be our distraction
  • We would be going through the sewer, removing the bricked up grate,
    along with a spot welder to seal the grate back up after we had gone
    through and preventing pursuit.

The Fight

Through the sewer we encounter and have to fight an ooze. We wait for
the explosion – only to have it go off early, right before the gol-men
had exited the factory. We leave the sewer to see the imperial guards
holding shut a door and the gol-men trying to escape, while the
Arbonal guards are frantically trying to put out the fire in the
warehouse. A female guard captain commands them to ignore the fire,
and prevent the gol-men from escaping with their lives.

We fight them, killing the captain, several of the guardsmen, leaving
a badly injured guard alive as well as a second guard that was trying
to join the battle but stuck putting on armor.

We lead the gol-men into the sewer, for which they express gratitude
for getting them out of there. We lead them to the sewer for a handoff
to the gol-men liberation group that Eigil has contact with.

Back in the Sewers
No, seriously, they suck.

We led the Gol-Men through the sewers away from the factory and towards the dubious safety of Eigil and his Under-Nomad friends. Our hope was that Eigil might be able to make a contact with some of the Scarpers and find a safe haven for our freed prisoners. We traveled for some time, getting lost and re-finding our way before locating the Under-Nomads in a collapsed portion of Old Vectis.

As Eigil led us into his territory, he warned us that his friends had been suffering from some terrible, contagious disease and that we should keep our distance. The Under Nomads lived in what looked like an old collapsed temple area that they had excavated out. There were maybe 30 of them living in that area, mostly dwarves and drow.

There had been an initial wave of infection two or three weeks ago, which make its victims sick with a cough and boils before it subsided. Now, another wave was starting back up. No one had yet died from the disease, but it was unpleasant and sapped energy from those who could ill afford to lose it.

We decided to do a little investigation into this mysterious disease. Cora did a cautious analysis of one of the sufferers and found there were Rift energies involved. It was almost like an early form of mutation was her conclusion. As she did her study, a robed old man (who seemed to be ageless, raceless, and almost genderless) approached her and said “It’s not natural.”
As it turned out, Hertha, an old human woman who was the teacher of the children, was the first victim of this disease. We thought maybe it might have been carried to her by one of her charges and did some asking around. Eventually, we located Moises, one of the “kids” (at 33, this drow was older than most of our party.)

Dracaena skillfully questioned the young drow about the sickness and his explorations. Moises is a little evasive about if he had seen anything about the time he started to feel sick. Eigil pressed him (he makes a great authority figure) and Moises told us the story. He had been a couple of levels us when he saw a figure he thought was the Wise One (the robed figure who spoke to Cora.) The figure was standing in front of a pool of water fiddling with some vials. It turned out not to be the Wise One, but instead a figure dressed in some leathery robe, so Moises snuck up behind him and lifted a wand from his belt. Moises showed us the wand, which turned out to be odd combination of arcane and divine magics. We negotiated the purchase of this Wand of Divine Light for Cora for the sum of 50 gold pieces.

We got some rest and set out the next “morning” to find the pool of which Moises spoke. We located it – a flaw or collapse in the ruins had caused a large pool of fresh water to gather. This pool was directly over the little pool from which the Under Nomads got their water and was likely the sources for it. Dracaena spotted what Cora identified as a scrying eye, set so some arcane caster could monitor the area. It didn’t seem to be active.

We went back to the Under Nomad camp and consulted with the weird fish-like humanoid who lived in their spring. It said the waters of the pool tasted more like the place he was born, the deep dark places of the Earth, in the Stygian Sea, watched over by the Mad Gods of his people. Wonderful.

So, pretty sure this pool is the source of the disease, we decided to go back and stake it out to look for this figure. As we approached the pool, we heard the sounds of splashing, like someone sprinting away, so we followed in hot pursuit. It was quite the running chase; we finally caught glimpse of the figure, who really knew his way around. We followed him for long distance, out of the sewers into the old warrens.

Eventually, we turned a corner and there he was, waiting in ambush. He apologized to us, but said no one was allowed to interfere with his work, not now. He cast a couple of spells at us – a Sleep spell at Arnauld and some kind of immobilize effect at Draceana. Though we shot at him and knocked him down, he was wily, fast, and had an action point which he used to disengage.

(I should mention that stubby little dwarf legs had trouble keeping us with the taller members of the band, but that would be mean.) Off we went again, and caught glimpse of him going through a door, which he sealed with some type of arcane lock. Arnauld was able to defeat the locking mechanism (and in pretty good time) and we entered into what looked like old workers’ barracks in the old industrial district.

We started to explore the corridors quickly, looking for the fleeing figure. We came to a room that seemed empty but had some concealed monsterious figures in it – a fight started with some eye guys, ceiling crabs, and a large mutated turtle. We managed to defeat them and pressed onward a bit. We found some newly excavated tunnels through more of the collapsed workers’ barracks and, finally, a hole in the ground from which a chemical smell wafted upwards. A ladder lead down…

The Scar Plague Source
In which a Doctors stability is questioned

- Already deep in the tunnels beneath the city, we continued down a
shaft down into another hallway, that led to a hastily made tunnel, to
another room, to another tunnel. The roof was collapsing in places.

- As we entered the second room, runes on the wall began glowing with
glyphs of healing and repair. Rubble started flying through the air to
repair the walls and block off the tunnels. Argol tried to force the
tunnel open while Cora, Arnauld, and Eigol disabled the runes. We
managed to do so before the last tunnel sealed shut.

- We continued on to a large steel door to an abandoned foundry. The
door slammed shut, and we heard muffled shouting – “Damn your maggoty
hide, shore up those doors before the mercenaries show up”

- We forced open the door that was being held up by a giant
Frankenstein dwarf and into the smelting room

- The wizard, a Dr. Conlon wearing tattered robes of Astranos tries to
tell us to stop – saying that he knows he is harming the undernomads,
but he is trying to create a vaccine for mutation. He had tested on
animals, tried on himself, but still could not find someone that could
provably resist the illness. He claimed he needed more time.

- We deliberated for some time, but ultimately decided since he was
crazy and the undernomads were at risk, that we had no choice.

- We made it through a difficult fight that involved fighting the
giant dwarf, mutated insect swarms, and the doctor himself. Arnauld
managed to get him in a garrote and quickly finished him off.

- We searched his room for the journal and found the following:
Reading through the various texts of the Mad Doctor Conlon, you are
able to piece together what he was trying here.

He had been a Doctor at the Astranos Hospital on the Island. He was a
learned man, and a practitioner of the Arcane Arts.

He would often accompany mercy groups into the Riftward reaches of the
Empire. He was more then capable of lending a bit of punch to an
otherwise peaceful outing. There he was faced with mutation every day.
He became convinced that the reason the divine magic of the Clerics
and Priests was ineffective was that the curse was Arcane in nature,
coming, as it did, from Zbraxian.

To that end, he created a wand that would meld the two worlds of magic
together. His hope was that this would allow him to treat the mutated.
Sadly, as is often the case, this novel act of magic brought down the
power of Zbraxian on his works. He was mutated, his eyes gone wrong.
The small creatures around him, the bugs in his laboratory, were
mutated into those swarms you fought.

He tried to go about his business in the hospital, hiding him
mutations behind thick goggles and bulky robes.

His wand was not enough, tainted as it was by the touch of Zbraxian.

And so he began to search for a way to build up a resistance to the
mutation. He distilled crushed creatures from the swarm into a very
dilute form of tainted energy. He then fed this to his most critical
patients. Perversely, the mutations seemed to often keep them alive.
Alive long enough, at the least, to start raising questions. It wasn’t
long before he had to flee to the sewers to avoid the Inquisition
being called down on his head.

Using the notes he has given, you know what to expect from the disease
rampaging through the Under Nomads. You are sure that, with treatment,
you can keep anyone from dying. You will have to find them a new
source of water though. And, it is totally unknown if they will end up
mutating or not. The Doctors research had never found anything that
would reliably halt mutation. He was mostly working on the theory that
the energies of the rift would work like any other toxin.

The Later Adventures of Carter Gelborg
Not named after his dog.

The gang started cleaning the Under Nomads water source, found a more
permanent home for the Golmen with the Scrappers.

They returned to the surface world and claimed the reward for the
factory job, got scolded for not killing the Golmen, but were let off
the hook on condition they never resurfaced.

Returning to the university looking for help translating the book
written in Infernal, Cora and Arnauld (accompanied somewhat
unhelpfully by the unworldly dwarves and a more helpful tree), got the
runaround from the department heads, including:
- Prof Livianus, head of history (the Dwarfiest Eladrin we’d ever seen!)
- Prof Galacius, university head
- Prof Halvana, head of natural sciences

Eventually they gained an hearing to attempt to gain access to the
archives, with the three professors and one new addition, Francois.
Arnauld, in typically eloquent fashion, managed to talk the professors
into granting access, at which point the professors examined the book,
with varying opinions as to its nature, including an encoded text and
writings in an outer planar language.

However, access to the archives was suddenly and almost violently
denied by the Inquisitor (of indeterminate sex and race, hidden in a
suit of armor with no apparent personality, with a magical mask
matching lip movement and an asexual voice).

Francois seemed particularly outraged at Greyhawk Investigations being
denied access to knowledge, and nodded assent when Eigil asked him to
meet the group later that night.

Later, at the Coal Heap, Francois showed up, and complained at length
about the Inquisition. Later, surprisingly, the rest of the professors
joined him, and Livianus gave back the book.

Becoming more secretive, the professors asked Francois to leave, and
offered to give over more information if the group was ok with their
memories being wiped afterwards.

Information the group gained, but then forgot:
- the book is in Old Infernal
- just by reading, a person can become susceptible to control by the book
- the book can’t really be translated, the text is imbued with the
intent of the creator, which doesn’t translate
- the Inquisition cannot stop what’s coming

All that remained was a name, Howard Carter, a famous author of pulp
adventure novels, and an item to give him, a pipe.

Turning up at Carter’s door, they were greeted by Burroughs,
apparently his dwarf Golman sidekick, and were led to Carter.

Carter had a very strong reaction to being shown the text, and
immediately thought of someone who could help with the translation.


We caught a train from Vectis Grand Central to an archaeological dig
in an ancient, buried city unearthed by the Rift, to visit a “sage” of
Carter’s acquaintance, Hordair.

On arriving, we switched to a horse and cart and made the rest of the
trip to the dig. Before entering, Carter cautioned us: If anyone asks
I technically own Burroughs (Golmen not being permitted to be free).

The ruined city is carved deep into the living granite, and is
totallly dark. Horned figures are engraved on the walls, in disturbing
poses, culminating in a scene with a familiar figure seated on a
throne before a blasted landscape, kneeling at his feet is Alexandra,
current queen of Hell.

We know Alexandra killed her father, Asmodeus, so these carvings and
the city are incredibly old.

Carter intoned: Oh wise sage, please grant us access to your wisdom.

An old man in a carving opened his eyes, cursed Carter out, but seemed
amiable and asked to look at the text.

Hordair explained that in order to understand the text, we would have
to experience it. Cora and Eigil volunteered, Draecena holding the
text (a tree won’t get tired standing in one position for hours),
while Carter showed Argol and Arnauld the rest of the ruins.

Cora and Eigil saw a place of black rock, hearing millions of
creatures outside, man screams.
Overriding all else, a feeling of loss, abandonment.
More images, blue, insectlike imps, lightning, shadows, a woman of
horrible beauty.
The ravings of an angry devil.
Runes in the language of the gods.
Devils awaiting figures cloaked in all black.
Impressions of a black ice blade killing.

Hordair stopped here, clearly scared, demanding a price for completing
the learning process and revealing the nature of the coming doom: his

Stepping aside, Cora and Eigil grilled Carter on Hordair’s nature -
Carter thought he was a construct or a spirit, but clearly he is
unspeakably ancient and powerful, to survive imprisonment like this.

Regardless, the coming doom seemed more threatening than Hordair, so
they agreed, and began following the instructions for freeing him.

The group descended deep into the ruins, and found the doors Hordair
spoke of, 30 feet wide, locks filled with flame, and magical, 200lb

The fiendish locks meant both keys had to be turned at once, but using
one key (found embedded in the nearby rock and freed by Burroughs’
jackhammer hand) to turn the other (burning hot) key in its lock and
simultaneously jamming the mechanism to stop it slamming, the dwarves
(with some assistance, and by amplifying their strength with the
ancient dwarf ritual of fistbumping), managed to get the locks working
in unison, opening into a vast room lined with cages, chains running
into each one.

One of the chains began to rustle.

Prisons within Prisons
Burroughs is the man! (That is, the dwarf!)

As the party entered the cage-lined room, a gate came crashing down, leaving a flaming wall where the entrance had been. Arnaud, who had stayed a step behind to guard the door, was cut off from the group. A tall wall created an interior perimeter within the vast prison.

Exploring the chamber, the group observed chains connected to rails running along the floors and up the walls of the chamber. An open collar connected to one chain lay on the ground.
Using light to get a better view of the space attracted the attention of something at the end of a chain. That something turned out to be a non-human creature, a skeleton around which darkness did not dissipate. The light was extinguished to avoid attracting the attention of the creature and whatever friends it might have lurking about.

Argal scaled the wall to get a view of the core of the room. Above columns in each corner of the room were locks having similar mechanisms to the locks the group had dealt with to gain entrance to the prison. The group made their way into the interior area within the chamber. Argal, Eigil, Burroughs and Carter each headed for one of the columns. Before Argal and Eigil could reach the columns, wraiths attacked the adventurers. As Cora, Eigil and Dracaena fended up the wraiths, Argal ascended the wall to reach a platform. Eigil and Dracaena followed with wraiths on their tails. Eigil managed to land a grappling hook at the top of the column. Dracaena climbed the rope and defeated the devil at the top of the column to gain access to the lock. Burroughs and Carter prepared to handle the locks at the tops of their respective columns. Burroughs summoned an imp to manage the unmanned column and the imp exploded near the lock, causing the final lock to open.

The unlocked doors slid into the floor, from which light came pouring out. The wraiths vanished, and as the group adjusted to the onslaught of light, six figures chained to a wheel became visible. The creatures were angels wearing collars with spiked interior surfaces. As the wheel turned, the angels were forced to walk in endless circles, bleeding silver light from their wounds. Eigil recognized a sigil created by the trail of blood from the angels as a rune of binding, and gained a binding power as the rune seared into his brain.

The largest angel in the center hovered, head down, and spoke the word “sinners.” Cora and Burroughs spoke to the angels, trying to convince them of their intent to free them, but the angels only retaliated, battering Cora with their pain. In response to Cora’s effort to heal some of the angels, the angels forged spears from their chains.

Burroughs told the group that if they could keep the angels still, he could free them. The angels fought back as the adventurers tried to subdue them, the blood of the injured mingling with the blood in the sigil. One by one, the angels were released. Angels that could be incapacitated had their chains severed by Burroughs’ infernal jackhammer. One by one, the angels’ collars were turned to slag as the angels disappeared in fire. Angels that were killed ascended, freed from their chains, and disappeared.

An old man walked out of the opening where the sigil used to be. He uttered advice to run from the coming war, warning that the world is doomed to burn and that the four devils written of in the book cannot be stopped. The old man’s shape changed, revealing the form of an enormous red dragon. As the dragon opened the door to allow group to exit the prison, Arnaud appears in the doorway, having assembled a team to help him work at opening the door with a cleverly rigged system of pulleys.

The group surfaced and headed for the train. As the group began the journey back to Vectis, the freed dragon took flight and disappeared beyond the horizon.


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