Dominium

In Dominium City
Session 24: The Lost Boys

Ciro explains that Rohjee and Avel (nephew of the Smirns) went down to the abandoned towers (grain silos) at the intersection of Lampblack Alley and Addle Street. Rumor has it that a band of strange halflings, armed to the teeth, has been seen entering and leaving the area recently under cover of darkness. It’s been a few days now, and they haven’t been seen since.

Slide has investigated this, and has seen a number of halflings he suspects to be Death Dealers moving about at night near the intersection of Lampblack and Addle. There are more of them than he’d like to tackle alone.

He returns to the Jaundiced Jellyfish to find Shadow and Cyrus eager to help. In addition, Andreus, formerly in the employ of House Thission and now a disciple of Ioun in the service of Elysia, has arrived with the party’s shipment of healing potions from the Shrine. Slide conscripts him to help out in the reconnaissance of the grain silos. He nervously agrees.

The heroes arrange an ambush. Andreus walks towards the stalls of the Farmers’ Market, calling the names of the lost boys. Suddenly knives fly from the darkness and the fight is underway. Shadow fires at a dark figure atop the silo. Andreus is wounded, poisoned, and tries to flee. Slide leaps to the attack, suspicious that their assailants are Death Dealers, the halfling assassins corrupted by the Dominium to maintain order amongst the halfling slave population. Slide hates Death Dealers.

A vicious battle ensues. The Death Dealers’ poison slows those that are hit, wracking them with pain. Cyrus and Slide battle between the stalls of the market as Shadow snipes from the rooftops. Two of the three Death Dealers are slain. Slide pursues the third into one of the abandoned grain silos, and slams the door, apparently trapping him within. As the party catches their collective breath, they’ll have to decide whether to pursue the Death Dealer, or resume the search for the lost halfling boys.

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In Tolaria
Session 41: The Shard of Night

Returning from the depths of the chasm with the Tear of Selûne in hand, the party again passes through the chamber of the obelisk. However, instead of being impenetrably black, a mechanism can now be viewed within it. Some kind of orrery, orbiting spheres, rotating gears, and metal arms, viewable within. Experimentation reveals that the surface of the obelisk can be penetrated, but the party decides to focus on the recovery of the Tears and leaves the mysterious orrery for another day.

Based on the information provided by the spectral elf, Tanithil Eroth, the party determines that they will attempt to recover all three of the fallen Tears. Since the first Tear was delivered to Castroneves, the mayor of Tolar, the party returns to Castle Nero to reclaim it. The third Tear is thought to be in Kajan, perhaps near where they first entered the realm of the archipelago under mysterious circumstances.

The mayor seems oddly distracted, but determined that the newly-recovered Tear should be delivered to “her”, the “queen” in the floating tower fragment, the Shard of Night. It is unclear whether he is referring to Selûne, an agent of hers, or some other force. He has delivered the first Tear to her already. The party agrees to escort the mayor to the tower. He assures them that it will be accesible in the moonlight.

Crossing the city under cover of night the party arrives at the plaza at the base of the tower. There is a disturbing sensation of shifting in space, akin to what they felt when they crossed over to the Faewild. The tower resolves into a complete, if damaged, structure and a band of undead warriors charges forth, heralded by a cloud of bloody fog. During the skirmish that follows, Gunga Din determines that there is a figure of some sort inside the tower who is likely controlling the undead. He steps into range of the thing’s will and is temporarily dominated, turning his bow on his companions. Having defeated the undead, the party charges to close with the shade in the tower. Zalumna falls, rendered unconscious by accumulated wounds from the last few days. Akron turns his arcane attentions towards the shade in the tower, Gunga Din frees himself from its domination effect, and Wisp slips from the shadows to unleash a massive strike against the shade.

As the party recovers, they decide that they will have to ascend and search the tower for the first Tear. What dangers await, and who may be holding the Tear will be revealed next month.

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In Dominium City
Session 23: A Human and a Halfling Walk into a Bar...

A greenish-yellow wooden triangle with yellow rope “tentacles” hanging from it forms the sign that advertises the Jaundiced Jellyfish, a slightly-seedy tavern/inn in Dockside. Cyrus, a paladin of the Raven Queen, has been sent here to bring a message to Cordroy’s Security Service. The message is a favor repaid for services that the party provided for the Mortuary Church of the Raven Queen (namely, that they were willing to investigate the desecration of graves and treated the dead with the respect they deserved, in the eyes of Mother Calana the head of the Mortuary Church.)

Cyrus delivers a warning that Pius Acharnes Eleftherio, a powerful official of the Erathian Cathedral has been investigating the disappearance of Father Darius Eleftherio (also a member of the House of Eleftherios.) The names of Slide, Shadow, and other memebers of Cordroy’s Security Service have been mentioned.

As Cyrus delivers his message the halfling Callous, an employee of Ah’nika Tupelo’s boarding house who was befriended by Slide arrives with the grim news of disaster at Daylain’s shop, the Wonders of the Fey. He tells a tale of explosions and fire and angry Eladrin folk from out-of-town. Slide is off to Lampblack and Addle to look for Rohjee and Avel. Mazzy and Tiffany have gone to warn Fritz that his plot for ascendancy in the Vandals Thieving Guild may be premature. Cordroy is off on some mysterious mission for Sackwidth. Shadow is alarmed. With only Randoon to turn to, he enlists Cyrus as extra muscle, and races to Daylain’s shop.

The place is a ruin. The folk of Anchius’ square are cleaning up after the explosive event. While Shadow and his friends investigate the shop for clues, they find a body, which turns out to be that of an Eladrin other than Daylain, much to their relief.

Suddenly they are attacked by a band of Eladrin wielding swords and magic. A furious fight follows. Whirlwinds, acid, and fire are conjured. Cyrus nearly falls. In the chaos, one of the Eladrin, a female named Várda, tries to parley with Shadow. She claims they are kin. Both from House Darány. One of the Eladrin falls to Cyrus’ spear. Taszár and Somodor agree to yield. They take the party to the Frog Prints, a nearby Inn, where Daylain is being held.

The Darány Eladrin are looking for a relic called the Subtle Knife. It can be used to create openings between parallel realms, and the Darány believe that someone has done that recently, and nearby. They believed it was Daylain. Now convinced otherwise, and told the tale of the party’s recent other-worldly adventures, they have enlisted the party to return to the far mountainside through the gate. They hope to recover the Subtle Knife before someone else uses the powerful relic for dark purposes.

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In Tolaria
Session 40: The Triune Gates

The phoenix. The three-bladed sickle. The twin dragons. These are the symbols that adorn the doors that lead from the chamber of the obelisk beneath the Fane of Iolar. The party, each of whom is adorned with a mysterious phoenix tattoo, decides to choose the phoenix door.

Beyond they find a long corridor guarded by circular apertures inset with rings of gold. The first ring hums and crackles ominously as it is passed. Gunga Din’s hair stands on end as he steps through. The second ring is marred, as if someone or something sought to tear it from the stone. The third aperture has no gold ring, and the stone work is ruined. A recent desecration as best they can judge.

The corridor opens into a mighty vault. In the center is a dais with a phoenix and the mysterious ouroboros symbol with three heads consuming the tails of creatures they pursue: a dragon, a demonic tiefling, and a phoenix. When Bob boldly steps onto the dais, a spectral elf appears. He is Tanithil Eroth, brother of Anaharae, an elder of the Teu-tel-quessir. The spectre warns them of the dangers below and tells them of the power of the Tears that Selûne has shed upon the earth, and her hope that a band of champions may arise and save the ancient cycle of the archipelago from the threat the aboleths represent.

The Tears combined will act as a key, opening the Henge gates to the champions and allowing them to pursue and destroy the creatures that have crept into this realm from beyond the stars.

The party then descends into the chasm through a well-like pit in the floor, using Bob the Bold’s climbing prowess and the combined lengths of all their rope. Near a pool on the floor of the chasm they find an aboleth, one of the three-eyed horrors from beyond. They overcome it and recover the Tear of Selûne from the pool. Now they must convince the mayor of Tolar to yield the Tear that they delivered to him, and hope that they can find the last one back in Kajaan before some other dark force recovers it.

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In Tolaria
Session 39: Obelisk

“When you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Scrambling through the ruins beneath the Fane of Iolar, the party finds a stepped chamber dominated by a mighty black obelisk. Pillars at the corners of the room represent the Four Free Gods (Iolar, Avandra, Corellon Larethian, and Selûne) and their spheres of influence. Several braziers lit by magical fires illuminate the room. The floor of the stepped levels is adorned with faded tilework in an ouroboros circle with three heads consuming the tails of creatures they pursue: a dragon, a demonic tiefling, and a phoenix.

The surface of the obelisk pulses with unnatural radiance and two horrors emerge. These hulking creatures conjure a flight of lesser horrors, like flying sheets of undead flesh, from the flames. The nightmare beasts assail the party, but they are routed.

Three doorways lead from the room. Deeper into the ruins, down towards the root of the chasm, and closer to the fallen Tear of Selûne that they are seeking.

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In Dominium City
Session 22: That Which Waits Beyond the Stars

“The Sleeper is the herald. His dreams call to That Which Waits Beyond the Stars. When the Sleeper is awoken, He will dream again.”

Father Darius believed that Randoon was the Sleeper, also known as the Vaeyen, and was somehow a key to the gate beneath the Shrine of Ioun. The party does not know what that might mean, but Randoon has told them of the horrific vision that the priest revealed to him…

Randoon’s Dream
You struggle with a slim humanoid with a nest of tentacles where its mouth should be. Its robes are adorned with a three-bladed sickle symbol. The tentacle-faced humanoid stabs you with some kind of arcane knife-like energy, and you feel a sick infusion of some sort. You slam the side of the horror’s head with a rod you are holding. Your vision fades to blackness, and a haunted sleep engulfs you.

Not knowing the priest’s plans, or what danger might lie beyond, the party pursues Darius through the gate and find themselves on a strange mountainside in a twilight realm lit only by strange moons and unfamiliar constellations. They find some signs of the priest, and follow them as best they can. As they do so, they realize they are being shadowed.

They trap the creature shadowing them, and it is revealed to be an ancient and somewhat crazed Illithid (mind flayer) named Ezekiel. He tells them of a graveyard on the side of the mountain that he tends with its thousands of dead, and the power which waits within the mountain. That Which Waits is apparently counting souls towards some event or capacity that will allow it to emerge or escape… Ezekiel assures them that the priest is dead. To verify his word, the party explores the mountainside further, discovering an eerie cabin full of frights, the corpse of the priest, and some dark shafts sunk into the mountain.

Satisfied that Father Darius poses no further threat, they opt to return through the gate and leave the haunted mountain behind.

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In Dominium City
Session 21: Return to the Surface

The noted scholar Claudius Ptolemaeus of the Akademeia Zau-Sais must be delivered safely to the Shrine of Ioun to help combat the incursion from the Far Realm. Stepping from the sewers into the Goblin Market, the party again meets Kalliban, an agent of the Vandals and the market-master of the Goblin Market. He recognizes Mazzy, and speaks of the recent “stirring up” of the Blackworm goblins. He mentions that her brother Fritz is looking for her, and seems to be “making a move” in the Vandal thieves guild hierarchy.

Since the party has greased his palm in the past, Kalliban gives them what aid and information he can, and they arrive at the shrine safely. Elysia, a priestess of Ioun, and Barnabus, a disciple of the shrine greet them, and explain that Father Darius of the Erathian Cathedral has threatened to destroy the shrine and turn out the followers of Ioun if the troubles there cannot be resolved promptly.

Meanwhile, Slide debates the urgency of the letter he received from Ciro, the maid of the Jaundiced Jellyfish Inn, who has written to say that two of the local halfling boys are missing under mysterious circumstances.

The party descends through the Ascalon family crypt to the Inverted Tower and the ruined machinery it houses to the gateway that has been opened by the Order of the Starry Night. While exploring the area they are confronted by Father Darius and a squad of Protectorate soldiers. The priest tries to convince them that Randoon is the key to closing the gateway. It is evident to the party however that the priest is concealing some vital piece of information. Finally, in frustration, Darius seizes the scholar Ptolemaeus, and tries to force the party to cooperate. A melee ensues and Ptolemaeus is slain by a Protectorate soldier. Darius invokes some strange magics, and when the situation gets out of his control, he flees through the gate into the eerie realm beyond…

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In Tolaria
Session 38: The Chasm of Tolar

I yearned mightily to enter this fascinating yet repellent city, and besought the bearded man to land me at the stone pier by the huge carven gate Akariel; but he gently denied my wish, saying: “Into Thalarion, the City of a Thousand Wonders, many have passed but none returned. Therein walk only daemons and mad things that are no longer men, and the streets are white with the unburied bones of those who have looked upon the eidolon Lathi, that reigns over the city.” — H.P. Lovecraft, “The White Ship”

The western half of the city of Tolar lies in almost complete ruin. At the center of this wasteland yawns the Chasm — a canyonlike crack in the earth split by one of the three Tears of Selûne. At the pier on the river is the river-gate, manned by the bravest of Tolarian soldiers, because only the bravest have the will to stand at the edge of the abyss. They all wear the silver-eye and triple-tear sigil of Selûne.

Tolar selune

The party meets Captain Petruchio, who, at the urging of Arlecchino, agrees to allow them to enter the city and proceed to Castle Nero. At the castle, they meet with the mayor of Tolar, Helio Castroneves, wizard of the Fraternità del Azzurro, the order that Arlecchino serves. Castroneves accepts the Tear that they have recovered and employs them to enter the Chasm and seek the second one.

The party accepts the mission and journeys to the Fane of Iolar, a temple ruin on the edge of the Chasm. Iolar is the god of the wilderness, nature, and the sea. She is both the wild beast and the peaceful forest, the raging whirlpool and the quiet desert. Iolar is one of the Four Free Gods, along with Avandra, Corellon Larethian, and Selûne, also called “Moonbow”. She is the antithesis of Erathis, the embodiment of civilization, and also dislikes Asmodeus. Like Avandra, Iolar has no astral dominion, preferring to wander the cosmos.

Iolar is revered by Tolarians of faith as the antithesis of Erathis (the patron of Dominium City.)

Beneath the Fane the party finds a strange chamber with multiple altars and luminescent pillars. Lurking in the shadows, they find aberrant creatures that assault their minds. And, from an apparently bottomless well, a great beast with three red eyes set one atop the other rises up and attacks. They defeat it after a mighty struggle and begin to explore the depths…

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In Tolaria
Session 37: The Secret of Tuono Albero

“Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as I… tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay” – Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

Four bound villagers are all that had survived whatever horror overtook the village. The horror revealed itself soon enough, and the party was attacked by the undead minions of the Arcanum Sanguineus. The people of the village who had been slaughtered were then animated as undead, some of them combined into a hideous golem. The creatures of the swampy riverbed were also ensnared by the Red Wizards, and forced to fight the party.

Despite the host of foes, the party emerged victorious and secured the boats they needed to travel downstream to the city of Tolar.

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In Dominium City
Session 20: The Belly of the Serpent

Keeping to the sewers to avoid Romulus the assassin, the party soon wanders into the tribal territory of the Blackworm goblins. Many of this tribe also serve the Vandals above, but below they are notable for their cult, devoted to the Blackworm of Hammers, a black dragon.

The tunnel opens into a cavernous chamber with three great pools linked by channels of sewage. In two locations ladders lead up to barracks that have been formed out of the tunnels leading in, each about ten feet above the floor of the chamber. A raised dock-like structure extends into the room, about ten feet above the floor.

Around the corner from the entrance stands a massive, 20-foot statue of a dragon of tarnished bronze, an artifact of the era of the Blackfriar. A ring of goblin runes ten feet across is inscribed in the stone around the base of the statue.

“For the serpent we train, by his mercy we live, unto the blackworm we come.”

Ximenes, the leader of the Blackworm goblins captures Mazzy and Ptolemaeus and the party is forced to battle the goblins to free them. The goblins, overwhelmed by the furious rescue attempt, resort to summoning the Blackworm itself. Gathering their captured comrades, they flee the warren and the wrath of the Blackworm.

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