The Aia Chronicles

Ba'ask Vette
A Not-so-surprising Revelation
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Micar and a Nefarious Deal
Looks like a hag. Talks like a hag.
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Season 3 Premier!
Leaving the Harpoon Isles
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The Final Showdown
Divine Intervention & Unintended Consequences
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The Professor's Lectures
Take out your pens and paper, people!
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The Bone Pits
The return of an old friend...

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0 Days
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

Nydry makes her way down the spiral stair case exiting the Butcher's Sanctum and finds a room filled with bones and a mysterious fiery rune at the wall. She takes a quick note of the rune and goes back up the stairs to report back. Petal pipes in to tell the group that that is a defensive rune of Fireball, but that's all she can decipher from the sketch. She'll need to get a closer look to make out the conditions in which it will be triggered. She sneaks down the stairs as quietly as she can. She looks into the room to get a look at the rune, but she slips and her foot falls into the bones! Two skeletons burst from the pit and strike her as she flees. 

As she bursts from the stairwell, she tell the party what happened. The party decides they will turtle in the room and attack the skeletons as they walk through. They demolish the skeletons, but there are more coming. Before long, they realize that the skeletons will keep coming, and they work on making their way down the stairs behind Xanders who deftly defends himself from the undead horde as the the party fires from behind him. With some effort, they make it to the bottom of the stairs and enter the Bone Zone! 

As they step in and destroy the skeletons rising from the piles of pale skeletal remains, a voice echoes from the walls, "I have an old friend I'd like you to meet!" Lilian Voss plummets from the darkness above the pit, "Please… kill me…" Nydry and Xanders dash to the door and see that the porticullis is locked using an arcane Soul Lock … they'll need to destroy a soul to open this door, and they look towards the tortured soul of Lillian. The party rips into the soul with everything they have and liberate the soul from the body, but Gandling's control is still strong. She continues to attack in her ethereal form, but the party does not relent. Finally, they bring her down. "Please… take these…" she points to her glowing blades, "End this… I'm so… angry…. I just want to rest." Grog takes the blades, nods his head, and decapitates the ghost. Her head does not come off, but there is a gentle gust of force that emanates from the soul, and she sighs a freeing breath. The door opens, and Lillian's soul drifts away.

Nydry sneaks ahead up the stairs and hears… a lecture? She peers into a room to see a frazzled professor scribbling at a chalkboard lecturing about alchemy. Strange…

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The Butcher's Sanctum
I think they know we're here...

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0 days
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

The party's rest proceeds undisturbed with their rest although the sounds of screaming and magic occasionally giving them pause. As they finish their short rest, a magical aberration appears by the doorway, "So you're the meddlesome group that's been attacking my university." Grog casts Sacred Flame at the image to no avail. "Well, I believe I know why you're here. I'll make you a deal. I'll trade you the two whelps in exchange for the girl and her amulet. You can stop your war and leave Arakroka to me. We all win. Think it over. Dr. Krastinov is in the Butcher's Sanctum waiting for you…" The illusion vanishes, and the party reviews this new deal. After a short discussion, they conclude that it is not worth it to risk Gandling getting control of Arakroka and Petal, so they must press on … violently.

They go through the now opened portcullis and find a set of winding stairs. At the top, they see an open door. Nydry sneaks ahead and enters the room – she sees a gray elf (Drow by the looks of him) carving away at a corpse hanging from one of many meat hooks from the ceiling. The room is dimly illuminated by a floating red candles amidst the bodies, and the stench of the place is revolting. Nydry composes herself – this could be her chance to deal a lethal blow and make combat easier! She sneaks up to the Dr who seems busy with his work and unleashes a deadly blow. As her blade slices through the Dr, he whirls around, and the illusion vanishes! From the slabs of meat and corpses hanging on the chains drop two undead wielding bloody carvers! They surprise Nydry and nearly kill her!

The party rushes in to Nydry's defense but not before she is taken down by a carver's blade. Grog and Mizuki rush to her aid – defending her and giving her a healing potion. She's back in the fight but only barely! The party dispatches these cleaver wielding maniacs who seem to grow more and more powerful and reckless with the party's attacks. The last one falls. The party takes stock of themselves, and Nydry sneaks into the next area.

At the edge of this area is a stairwell and balcony overlooking another larger room filled with hooks and corpses like the previous one. She activates her Cloak of Invisibility and sneaks through the this desiccated maze.  She hears crying coming from the walls and goes to investigate. She finds sixteen prisoners hanging from the walls – all missing limbs or body parts of some sort. Not the people they are looking for though. She then finds Doc – this time she looks closely and makes sure that this is the REAL Doc. She heads back to the group to report back what she's found.

The party decides to set up an ambush by lobbing Fireballs and arrow into the room. With a thunderous explosion, the room erupts in flame and Nydry rains arrows into the room. Doc's compatriots fall quickly, and he is not looking good after the ambush. His eyes burn with bloodlust as he starts to tear into Mizuki, but she dodges deftly and kills him with a swift strike to the chest knocking him back into the wall … dead. The party talks to the prisoners and learns they have been abducted from various planes and times and used as sources for body parts. They release the prisoners and tell them to go back through the university and exit through the portrait of the Demilich. They leave, but an old man pulls off his necklace and hands it to Grog, "Here… Take this. You'll need it more than I. It's kept me alive through a lot."  

The party prepares to move forward.

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The Halls of Illusion & the Summoning Chambers
Unveiling the horrors of the necromatic university

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0 days
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

From the stone wall on the far side of the room appears the ghostly form of a woman clad in robes of changing colors.  Nydry and Mizuki get hits into the ghostly figure, but as they attack, they find themselves lulled into a quiet stupor…

Mizuki awakens in her old monastery being shaken by a young acolyte – "Mizuki! Wake up! Today is the ceremony in your honor!" Mizuki blinks confusedly, "You have attained the highest honors and rank within the Four-Fold Path of Peace, and we are having a celebration in your honor! Come on!"  Mizuki rises to join the ceremony, but there's …. something …. something she was doing…. What could it have been? OH NO! The kids! She snaps awake!

Nydry is shaken awake by her younger brother! "Nydry! It's your birthday! We're going to have a huge party!" As she rises from her soft, feather bed, she sees her whole family, alive and healthy, standing before her smiling. She feels a surge of happiness, and she embraces her family leaving behind all memory of what she could have been doing.

Nim shakes awake – she must've dozed off while baking a batch of cookies for her grandchildren. They run around her robe tails, playing and laughing. She smiles, but her contentedness is quickly broken. There was something…. something she has to do! THE SCHOLOMANCIUM! – she snaps awake!

Grog feels gentle hands on his chest as a beautiful woman, a woman whose face he remembers from a long time ago… He's lying in a simple, makeshift hut on the beach – a coconut filled with rum on his side table. From outside the hut runs in a small orc, "Papa! Come on, let's play!" Grog looks sadly at the child… He knows this is not his reality, but what could have been. "Papa?" Grog looks at the child, "I'm sorry, young one," he grabs the coconut from the side table, takes a swig – ugh, it even tastes real – and snaps himself out of this illusion.

Xanders awakens to a young woman's lips on his own. "My love, wake up! We are married! It is the first day of the rest of our lives together!" She smiles a beautiful, rich smile, and Xanders closes his eyes in happiness, any worry or fear or anxiety leaving his mind.

Those who awake from their illusion continue to attack the Mistress of Illusions, and as she takes repeated blows from Grog, Mizuki, Nim, and Petal, she bursts into a cloud coalescing into nine phantasmal images all blasting Magic Missiles at the party. The party hits the illusions, one by one they fall, and they find the real Jandice! She breaks from the group of images and unleashes an illusory barrage at the party! The party takes the opportunity to rip the illusionist to pieces, but she creates another group of images. The party tears through these images, and finally, Mizuki with a battering of fists and feet, fells the illusionist.

The party wakes for the Fire Elemental, whom Grog has named Magmortar, to shake off his blindedness from the sorcerers and then rush into the next chamber.

From the hallway, they can see a ghost wielding magical swords to great effect and holding off a flood of Boneguards! In the air floats a man surrounded by a swirling array of bones and shields and darkness, "Yes! Fight Lillian! Fight until you drop! Then you will be my weapon!" As the party enters, the ghost whirls around and yells, "You! From the monastery! Kill the Boneweavers before we are overrun!"  The party springs into action killing all the Boneweavers in rapid succession. As the last of the weavers falls, the ghost of Lillian sprints from the group towards the gate and running through it, "I'll kill you, Gandling, you bastard!"

The party searches the room for one of the necromantic book – they find nothing among the piles of bone the weavers were channeling from. As they finish their quick search, the green pool in the middle of the room bubbles, and a large golem of bones, steel, and flesh – Rattlegore has come! The construct rips into Nydry, rendering her unconscious, and fixes its blank, skullish gaze on Mizuki who has sprung to attack.

Petal steps out from behind a bone pile and unleashes a barrage of Eldritch Blasts that knocks the beast back 10 feet. The creature gets up and whirls towards Petal – it charges! As the blows land into Petal's ethereal flesh, she bleeds out a strange, ectoplasmic substance as she falls unconscious. The amulet around her neck begins to flail, and as the some of the party focus on the large monstrosity before them, others notice that the Amulet begins to crack and the air begins to swirl around Petal's unconscious form. Slowly all can hear amongst the battle, "YES! YES! I CAN TASTE THE FREEDOM!" Mizuki unleashes a flurry of blows, and as she knocks off pieces of bone and armor, doing no damage, she finally reveals the creatures core. With a mighty punch, she hits the core and the beast explodes knocking her back as the creature falls… dead.

Grog sprints to Petal and shoves a healing potion down her throat, looking anxiously at the amulet. As Petal's eyes burst open, the Amulet glows less and the voice grows distant. As she gasps, "SHIT! OW! Fuck! That… hurt. Let's not… do that… again." And she lays down, panting exhaustedly.

The party, drained of spells and HP, decides to try and take a short rest and to check out the loot. Hopefully, they don't get ambushed, but they need to take a break…

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Into the Scholomancium
Out of the frying pan...

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0 days
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

The students rush Mizuki and Xanders on the stairs, and, in doing so, they see Nydry as well. They summon Boneguards to their sides. They rush up the stair well and surround the players. Grog, Nim, and Petal rush to assist, but Xanders is hit with an icy spell causing him to slow down. As he navigates the battlefield in which Nydry and Mizuki are dominating the Boneguards with ease, he feels the chilly touch of this icy curse flow through his veins and lash out at his allies. They are both slowed down by 10 ft per round! From the platform, the party eliminate the students while being barraged by spells from the Instructor, and as the battle rages on, a raging blizzard begins to fill the back of the room. The students that get caught in the blizzard are instantly frozen and shattered as Chillheart absorbs their souls to her green gem.

After dealing with Chillheart's students, the party focuses their efforts on the Instructor, and Mizuki delivers the killing blow to the necromancer! Her spirit floats above her corpse and flies into the green gem, and it begins to fling spells at the party!

Grog goes and knocks the gem to the ground allowing Nydry and Mizuki to unleash their blows freely and the phylactery of Chillheart is also defeated! Grog's blessing will only last a short time longer, so the party rushes into the hallway in the back. Nydry sneaks ahead and finds the Hall of Illusions filled with casters focusing on large green candles. She sneaks up behind one of the casters and deals a killing blow from behind, and the Candlemage falls dead. She flees back to her party, and the party rushes in!

Nydry gets another surprise shot off at another Candlemage dealing a significant amount of damage but not a killing blow. The Candlemages summon Boneguards to their sides, and the party quickly realizes that these candles are focuses of the casters! They destroy one candle, but the other candle is nestled between two stone bookshelves and protected by a caster and multiple Boneguards. The party manages to kill all the Boneguards and destroy the candle before executing the Candlemage.

The room grows dark as the braziers go from green to purple, and a disembodied voice echoes from the walls, "It takes stonessss to challenge the Mistress of Illusions… Let's see what you've got!"

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The First Steps in Another Plane
A Ghost Town in the Shadow Lands

Start Pelor's Moon, 11
Duration 0
End Pelor's Moon, 11

Pelor's Moon, 11

The party finishes their Short Rest in the lair of the corrupted copper dragon. They harvest some meat from the dragon's body and loot his belongings to find a magical staff entwined by a snake at its end. The party cannot identify the magic item but keep it in their party inventory.  The party dine on fresh dragon tongue and walk over to the dark portal.

The portal is a horizontal structure with a skull-capped pedestal at the front. As they approach the opening, they see that it is currently just a large 30-ft bowl in the ground. Lily informs the party that that they need to jump into the bowl and someone needs to offer a drop of blood to the skull. From there, the portal should send them to Shadowfell.  Grog volunteers to offer the blood sacrifice rather than letting Lily or Nim expose themselves to the corrupting influence of the Dark Necromancer. A few drops of blood drop into the skull and within seconds the skull is overflowing with blood, and Grog jumps down into the bowl. The blood fills the bowl and the party submerges beneath the surface. Before the blood covers them, Lily shouts, "Petal says there's a tree outside the cave – a large tree – if we get separated, head to that tree and we will meet you there in an hour if we can. If we do not make it, follow the path from the cave until it hits the road. The road should quickly reach a lake where the Monastery lies."

Their visions go black and they feel themselves twisted, pulled, and squished into a thousand shapes until they are unceremoniously thrown to the ground a few seconds later.  Everyone lands on their feet and prepare for combat as they enter a new plane – the Land of the Dead, Pergatory, the In-between, Shadowfell.  The magic of this realm fills their bodies, and Xanders has a horrific realization that he is far from home and that he doesn't want to die out here. He grows convinced that this will be his grave and feels an overwhelming sense of Dread.  The party looks around the cave and see a ghostly feminine figure lying prone on the ground – Grog raises his weapon and asks who they are. "Grog, it's Lily! Did we make … " she looks down at her hands and realizes that she is now occupying Petal's body! "Oh! This is – " her face contorts and turns into a scowl, " – yeah… this is my body, Lily." She flexes her hands and levitates above the ground slightly. "It's been long time since I've been to this place. Let's go."

The party leaves the cave to find a still darkness awaiting them. The Dark Portal cave exits just above a forest – from the cave entrance, the party sees the vast expanse of Shadowfell illuminated by a white moon – much larger than in Aia and brighter but still darker than the sun. The party goes into the forest and quickly finds an overgrown path with the assistance of Petal. She leads them with a forgotten familiarity down the paths to a dirt road. From the dirt road, the party finds themselves at a large lake. Nydry scouts ahead unseen while Grog pushes the party forward as fast as possible – his home is under threat of war and it's up to them to stop it! The bridges lead to an island in the center where a town stands and a large building at the top of a hill.  "That's the monastery, but there was not a town here when I last saw this place… Be on your guard."

Nydry scouts ahead unseen by any residents, but she cannot see any once she steps foot on the island. A few buildings are in tact, but this town is crumbling for the most part. In the distance she sees what appears to be a blacksmith shop with items neatly organized, smoke coming from the smokestack, and the faint echo of hammers striking anvils… but no one is to be seen. Nydry is sufficiently freaked out and goes back to the party.

While Nydry scouts ahead, the party takes their first steps onto the island. They see the two standing structures near a shambling dock and a road leading up to the city when in the darkness they see a humanoid ghost materialize in front of them, "Who are you who come to this place? What is your business here?"  The party tells the ghost they are here to rescue two captives from the Scholomancium and destroy all those inside if they can.  The ghost breathes a sigh of relief and offers them a bag of Spectral Dust – the necromancers attacked and destroyed this town around 150 years ago, and although many of the souls and bodies of the residents have been enslaved in the Scholomancium, there are a few here in town who might be able to help the party.  "Talk to the residents and learn what you can. They will not speak to me as they do not believe they are dead. They go about their daily routines as they did in life. Do not tell them they are dead, for they will turn on you in a confused madness as their world crumbles around them. Good luck, adventurers."  He fades away to the wind.

The party go to a crumbling house nearby where Xanders, who now holds the Spectral Dust, can see a woman inside. He knocks on the door, and a ghostly voice calls out, "Who is it?" Xanders, putting on his most polite voice, says, "Excuse me, ma'am – we would like to talk to you. We have some questions about the, er, monastery." There's no response. Xanders knocks again, but no response comes from within the house.  He steps through a hole in the side of the house and sees a beautifully decorated but disorganized home with a pale fire in the crumbled fireplace. He enters another room and finds the young woman curled into a corner gasping for breath and forcing her eyes shut.

"Ma'am, are you oka – "

"Go away! I don't want to talk to YOU people!"

"What do you mean 'you peo – '"

"YOU'RE A MAN! YOU RUIN EVERYTHING! JUST GO AWAY!" 

"OK, I'm sorry. I'm going now."  Xanders hands the Spectral Essence to Mizuki who sees the same beautifully decorated home and a girl curled into the fetal position. "Hey, are you OK?" 

"Where did that terrible man go?" 

Mizuki assures the girl that he's not here and that she just wants to ask some questions. The girl introduces herself as Renfray – a local artist. Mizuki asks if she has any information that could help them in the Monastery. She frantically begins looking around tossing paintings towards Mizuki - "Sometimes I have these … visions. I don't know what they are, but I can tell I'm near the Monastery somehow. There's something dark in that building. It's not natural. I draw what I see, but I have never been able to discern any patterns. I'm sorry." Mizuki looks at the hodge podge of paintings and cannot discern any pattern either. Mizuki tells the girl that she will ask a friend to come in and look at the paintings to see if she can glean any information. Mizuki walks out the door, hands the dust to Nim, who then walks through the front door. "Are you that nice lady's friend to look at the paintings?" Nim kindly informs her that she is indeed here to look at the paintings.  Nim looks through all the paintings and is able to connect important points together. From the information, she is able to construct a map of the Scholomancium as well as the general locations of dangerous enemies! She thanks Renfray and makes her exit.

The party heads to the docks where it looks like there is some garbage that has been meticulously organized. The party gives Xanders the Spectral Essence, and he can see a grubby male ghost rummaging through the garbage piles. "Excuse me, sir?"

"Yes, yes, Magnus! I'll have your items by the day's end! Now quit harassing me!" He continues to work. 

"Uh, I'm not Magnus. My name is Xanders." The man whirls around.

"Oh! Well, welcome to Joseph Dirte's Wonderful Emporium of Junk! Let me tell you, junk really is valuable, you can learn a lot about someone from their junk. Just the other day…"  Dirte begins to ramble on about some junk he's found. It seems like Xanders might be able to glean some information about the Monastery from it, but between Joseph's frantic speech and the strange smell of the refuse, he cannot put together the information quickly enough and gets lost in Dirte's ramblings.  The party leaves the junkman who cheerfully goes back to his rummaging.

Nydry rejoins the party as they walk up the hill into the town. They walk through the gates into the main square of the town. Most of the structures in town have fallen apart, but there are a few standing structures left. Xanders sees a pair of twin girls playing by the crumbling fountain, and they run towards the party.  

"Hi! I'm Sammy!" 

"And I'm Melia!"

"Do you want to play?" they say in alarming unison. Xanders agrees.  "OK! We'll race to the other side of the blacksmith's shop! If you win, we'll give you a prize, and if we win, we'll make fun of you! Ready, set, GO!" The girls race off towards the dilapidated but standing building. Xanders keeps pace and attempts to jump over the a window sill but lands hard and has to climb over more carefully. The girls run straight through the wall and laugh at Xander's struggles. He sprints to close distance with them once more, but the other side of the shop also has a window to jump through. Xanders steels himself to jump over the sill, this time sure he will make it – but his toe hits the sill and he falls flat. The girls help him up and giggle at their fallen friend. "Haha! We beat you!"  Xanders storms off in frustration as the girls giggle and run off.

As they approach the monastery, everyone smells freshly baked bread and pastries. The party goes to the bakery where Xanders sees a portly male ghost working frantically on baked goods.  Upon opening the door, the baker whirls around and shouts, "WELCOME!" very jovially. Xanders purchases a pastry for 1gp and tries a bit. It's OK. The baker, however, is insulted and insists that Xanders tries another pastry.  Nim also wants to try some pastries, and she also purchases some ghostly honey. Perhaps it will play a part in the muffin of peace! As the party walks out the door, Xanders begins to toss the bag of Spectral Essence up and down causing him to disappear and reappear to the ghostly Baker.  "What the – what are you doing? What are you? What am I? OH GOD I'M DEEEAAD!" Behind the party, a thick, ectoplasmic shape appears. A disfigured humanoid shape that howl to the night and attacks the party. It attempts to possess Xanders who resists its will and then attempts to posses Grog who also resists its influence. The party slays the ghost, and the bakery fades from view of Xanders and the smell of freshly baked bread fades. 

The party enters the monastery. Nydry sneaks ahead and sees two skeletons standing guard at a doorway. Nydry nocks an arrow and fires from her hidden position and hits a critical weakness on one of the skeletons that then explodes causing enough damage to kill the other one. From the two piles of bones, two spirits rise. One, a blonde female elf, dashes through the wall screaming, "GANDLING! I'LL KILL YOU!" The other shouts, "Lilian! Stop!" He looks back to the party, "Hello. I assume I have one of you to thank for freeing me from my bony prison. Are you here to cleanse this evil place?" The party tells them of their mission to rescue Neerla and Kiriag from the clutches of the necromancers and destroy the Scholomancium. The ghost agrees to help navigate them through the university but will avoid combat. Necromancers have control over the undead, and he has no interest in being enslaved once more.

The party goes through the doorway the ghost unlocks and see a liquid well in the center of the room. "This was our secret attack plan. To infiltrate the Scholomancium from a portal… Many good people died for this access. Are you ready?"  The party jumps through the portal!

The land in a richly decorated hall in front of a picture of a demi-lich. Nydry sneaks ahead to scout their path with Xanders and Mizuki. As they approach the doorway, they can hear chanting within. Nydry leads and looks over the a banister. They are on a platform flanked by two stairwells in a library that is frigidly cold. A richly dressed sorceress leads a group of students in a channeling ceremony to a strange device.  The place hasn't been cleaned in years it appears, and the dust cause Xanders and Mizuki to both sneeze! The students and sorceress stop their ritual, and the halls echo with a wicked voice, "Who goes there? It matters not … Chillheart will have your soul!"

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