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ZEITGEIST The chronicles of Team Big-hearted And Determined (B.A.D.)


With Ella dead, I gave her player control of Vitus.

Session 80
Courtesy of Drift's player

Right from one chaotic bedlam to another… as we began our session not in the Bleak Gate surrounded by monsters, but in Ella’s family home watching her relatives squabble over dinner. Gran Clara set a place for an absent Ella, while Auntie Ana became increasingly exasperated with trying to serve Tinker pie. The engineer kept insisting that his piece be “smaller”, until Ana irritably informed him that any smaller and there’d be no slice at all! In an oddly calm voice, Tinker replied: “Now it’s as small as her.”

An invasion of chickens disrupted the scene and foiled Marcel’s attempts to question his brother-in-law, but through it all Tinker’s gaze remained fixed on the mantelpiece: where a small wooden glider - previously tied to Ella’s soul - sat slowly draining of magic. As Tinker watched, the last of its ethereal essence faded, and so too did the scene: cutting back to the scene of Team BAD stranded in the Bleak Gate.

Having exited the Ob palace they found themselves facing ghosts, guards and a hissing shadowlisk that seemed all too aware of their identities. Neither side had a chance to act though, before shattering glass heralded the arrival of a fifth Obscurati guard: this one plummeting from a second story window. A haloed figure followed them out, glowing with light as he jumped toward the falling guard and unleashed a vicious flurry of blows before slamming the guard into the courtyard below.

Not to be outdone, Angharad strode forward with all buffs blazing: showing off his scorched, elementally charged skin for all to see. Ghosts flew in, John’s bullets flew out, and combat was initiated.

The surprise Clergy entrant beelined for the shadowlisk: slamming his feet into it but having difficulty locating the creature’s flesh through its shrouding shadows. Meanwhile, Angharad’s short-lived attempt to 1-v-1 a ghost ended in possession, as the spirit seeped into his flesh and directed him to kill Leone, AKA Grappa. John summoned a swarm of dogs on the shadowlisk and Lisandra - seeing naughty word hit the fan - summoned magical protections to aid against both Angharad and the Obscurati.

Needless to say, things were not going well. The shadowlisk annihilated John’s hounds, Angharad slammed a fire blade into Grappa, and calls from the Ob guards to stand down were ignored as a ghost drained Grappa’s health and John shot Angharad unconscious. The ghost that had been possessing the kineticist slithered out and chased Grappa out of the room, and all the while Lisandra was desperately trying to keep people alive and destroy ghosts at the same time.

The shadowlisk entering the room was really just the cherry on top of the cake. Fortunately John’s expert marksmanship gunned it down before it could do much and Vitus crashed through a window to pummel one of the ghosts out of existence.

Between Lisandra’s mass cure spell, John healing Angharad awake, and Angharad stabbing the remaining ghost in the face, we suddenly found ourselves with only the four Obscurati guards to deal with. …Until four more arrived and pointed their guns at the other guards.

This confusion was compounded by the arrival of two more shadowlisks and their immediate execution by none other than Amielle Latimer and another set of Ob guards. The ghostly tiefling seemed unprerturbed by the infamous Team BAD’s presence and explained that she’d come to rescue the - clearly now very dead - Ob officers.

She followed up all of this with a calm comment to John: “Nice gun.”
“You should see my other one.”
“Oh, you toned it down for the evening’s affairs, did you?”

And thus, with the weirdest gunsmith flirting ever, we found ourselves out of immediate danger. Vitus Sigismund the godhand was awkwardly introduced and Amielle asked what the party’s plans were. Upon learning that we were trying to leave the plane, she suggested searching the lighthouse - all of the Ob’s most important magical items were kept there.

This discussion was briefly interrupted by a screaming man full of butter knives falling through a doorway with Alloquacious behind him and Angharad deciding to stuff a shadowlisk in a web.

Throughout the convention, I played Alloquacious as both jealous and murderous. Beyond Angharad, he was the only colossus faction member to survive, as the party pointed out a vent for him to escape through.

Eventually though, we politely refused Amielle’s offer of a guarded escort, accepted her other offer of a convenient distraction, and set out in search of the lighthouse - Vitus tagging along at Lisandra’s invitation. We hadn’t made it far before we found Cula’s body hanging from a tree; a dark fey lurking in the shadows beneath. It grinned at us and vanished, leaving Cula’s blade on the ground.

Before voting, the party overheard Vicemi ask Macbannin to check the island wards. He wanted to ensure no monsters interfered with tonight's affairs. Naturally, Macbannin sabotaged the wards instead. Knowing it's only a matter of time before he is found out, he will fight alongside the party once the council arrives.

Lisandra retrieved it, Vitus blessed John’s gun, and we finally wound our way around to the ocean side of the palace. Down by the beach a steamship was loading passengers, and Lisandra could still hear ghostly screams echoing from a rocky island, but we ignored all of that in favour of reaching the lighthouse as soon as possible. A quick opening of the door courtesy of Steelshaper, I mean Grappa, revealed four guards and a ghost waiting for us.

One of them swiftly raised the alarm, calling “They’re here!” and emergency anti-Team BAD measures were activated. These apparently involved Antonio the guard refusing to use a gun he didn’t know how to shoot as another guard scolded him profusely. While they were arguing, Lisandra instructed Grappa to bring down the elevators the guards were standing on and cast Serenity at Antonio and his companion. John then shot the revolver in Antonio’s hand for good measure.

The Ob built a small compartment inside the lighthouse walls, shielding by thin glass stating: "Break in case of Team BAD". The Ob guards cracked this glass, which triggered an alarm spell. It contains a revolver and a letter from it's creator, Vicemi. The unique six-chambered +1 unholy revolver is loaded with three slaying (human), distracting bullets (distracting), one slaying (tiefling) distracting bullet, one slaying (animal) bullet, and one slaying (magical animal) bullet. The last two bullets were designed for the druid's animal companion and Ella's familiar, respectively (though, Ella's familiar died in Book Three). For those that don't know, the distracting property makes spellcasting more difficult for the target struck by the bullet.

The letter reads:
To the unfortunate soul that happens upon this letter,

Please find encased this glass chamber uniquely commissioned weapons to combat the threat of Team BAD. Please distribute the revolver to the healthiest of your comrades. I have etched these bullets with sigils to disrupt the magics that sustain heroic physique and focus. Within the chambers are six bullets, one for each member of Team BAD and two for any accompanying animals. The white bullets are for humans, red for the tiefling, brown for the lion, and blue for the bird.

If the revolver chambers are emptied upon Team BAD, you may be lucky enough to succeed. Unfortunately, you cannot comfort yourself with statistics — it is unlikely you will survive to fire a second bullet.

I suggest fighting boldly. Otherwise, you will have the pleasure of answering to the council.

May your impending death grant you the mental clarity to maximise your utility,

Vicemi Terio,

Spectral Archmage,
Head of the Ghost Council

The guards on the second elevator weren’t spared their share of humiliation, as Grappa tipped their elevator out from under them and they fell 60 ft to the floor, landing wounded but alive. Meanwhile, the ghost in the centre of the lighthouse had drifted down to ground level and Angharad looked ready to stab it with an angry fire blade.

Will Angharad burn down the ghost and the lighthouse with it? Will Antonio ever get to shoot his special gun? And will Team BAD make it out of this alive? (Well… most of them.)

Find out next time, on Zeitgeist.

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Session 81
Courtesy of yours truly

This session began with a bang. Several, actually. Antonio (which I now realise is the default I use for naming Chrysilliri men) desperately fired at the godhand, who lept onto the elevator with ease. The bullets skimmed past the agile monk, defending by both magics and might. Meanwhile, John dropped to his knee to fire his rifle, and the scene flashed back:

Slate’s summer sun glistens through the vast window that lines the eastern wall, tinted of course to obscure curious onlookers. Facing this window stands Nigel Price-Hill, the Viscount Inspector, who stares at his reflection sternly. In the reflection, a complex rifle sits atop a pine table. Then, Nigel sees the door behind him open, revealing a younger John. He tips his hat to the Viscount as he enters, though his eyes are immediately drawn to the rifle.

The Viscount Inspector speaks solemnly: “A gift for you, son. I am not playing favourites here. I consider this an investment as much as a sign of appreciation, I have great faith in you.” As John inspects the weapon, Nigel makes introductions: “A Mosin-Nagant M1891 Rifle. Advanced Drakrn technology. Mr Scoursoft had to retrieve it from storage, it’s been quite some time since it’s seen the light of day. I’ve been lead to believe it’s quite a reliable weapon. I do hope you find it to your liking.”

John thanks the Viscount Inspector, who explains the weapons origins:
“John, you know my so-called ‘claim to fame’, where I thwarted a dwarven cult hoping to resurrect a dragon? Yes, well, I didn’t approach the cult alone. Fate was fortunate to me, and me alone that day. Good constables, good people, John, fell that day. In fact, my partner of ten years was slain by this rifle. Worst, when he succumbed to the necromantic rituals of the cult, I had the unenviable position of sending his twisted soul to the Bleak Gate.” His gaze falls to the floor for a moment, before looking up at John. “I had one fear that day. You may think it fear worry for my life. No, I feared for the lives of those I swore to protect.

There may come a day where you are holding this rifle, and your trigger finger will falter. You may look around and find your allies have long left you and all odds are stacked against you. Remember, you may be the last bastion of hope before the doom of Risur. You’re a good man, John. I know you’ll in that dark time, you will do what needs to be done and keep the light of hope alive.”

Once the scene returned to the lighthouse, John immediately fired his rifle. The combat ended without friendly casualties, with Grappa telekinetically helping allies holding metal close distances. Snakes were summoned. Ob were punched. Lisandra used her healing energy to damage the council member. And Angharad cleaned up the litter by shoving knocked-out guards into the web. The party looted the storage for a few casks of lantern oil, some amulets to transition back to the Waking, and Vitus' possessions.

When the party reached the top floor of the lighthouse, Lissandra and John began discerning its function via spirit communion and engineering knowledge, respectively. Angharad shared with Vitus the Ob's ultimate goal, of which the Godhand did not agree with. The lighthouse was activated, with destination: The Waking. As the party solemnly sat waiting for five minutes to pass, Grappa tried apologising for bringing them all here, claiming he got caught up in the excitement and neglected the risks. He blames himself for Ella's death. Angharad, currently under the calm emotions spell, cautions Grappa to never bring this up again if he values his new body.

After four minutes, John spied an approaching force: three guards and a construct. Then, an altercation. One guard killed the other before taking his own life. The other guard's chest exploded with bugs. The construct failed, as a frenzied Alloquicious emerged from its insides (the party previous helped him escape the Collosus faction massacre).

Meanwhile, a fog began encompassing the lighthouse room. Emerging from blue wisps was the ghost council and their leader. As initiative was rolled, Reed Macbannin floated through the floor, standing between the party and the council. Smiling, he spoke to Vecimi: “I stand with my king and his agents, despite their horrible welcome to me earlier today. You may have shackled my soul but you won’t shackle my country.”

Vecimi simply responded that after all of the talks today, he'd prefer if the party and Reed died without speaking.

Some brief bickering between Reed and the party about their altercation earlier that day lead to an understanding. Reed sliced open his palm, bleeding a deep blue ectoplasm that helped the party defend against the council's wretched energy drain. Poisonous gas was summoned.


Then, lightning was thrown by Vecimi. As it arced around the room, this turned out to be a tactical error. Lightning struck the control panel, dials began spinning wildly, and oil from other planes began mixing with the oil from The Waking to make strange effects. I rolled randomly each turn to see what Ob concoction affected combat for the round. Twice, I rolled "Menagerie", which staggered all undead in the area.

Macbann pulled out a ghostly pocket watch: “Colleagues, would you look at the time? We’re a little late for church.” The sound of distant church bells began to inexplicably toll as the Ghost Council turned corporeal: the mass of writhing ghosts turning into a mass of stitched together bodies. This provided an opportunity for the party to attack with their unenchanted weapons (they were worried the Ob would recognise their powerful signature weapons). When the council fell, Vecimi tried disintegrating Grappa by failed. Then, in a final act of self-sacrifice, Reed stabbed his own heart with a ghostly dagger and pointed to the ghoust council leader. The lighthouse's lanterns and windows shattered. As Reed and Vecimi departed for Nem, the old mayor asked the party to keep the Nettles safe, whereas the council leader simply stared with hate-filled eyes.

With the lighthouse lantern shattered, the party had worried their escape plan had failed. But as they looked around, it was clear their transition to The Waking was completed.


Session 82 - Some Downtime
Recap courtesy of Lisandra's player

Last episode of Zeitgeist began with a flashback. A wild, verdant forest beneath a fey-green sky, the backdrop to an interrupted game of chess from a pair of disgruntled cockatoos lamenting the ruckus of the surrounding events. A human boy trampled his way across the forest floor, a much younger Angharad, pursued by a clutch of viscous tooth faeries. In his desperation, the boy caught the edge of a rise, tumbling down the fall below into the midst of the Wild Hunt. Another interruption, this time causing the Huntsman’s son to lose his First Prey. In recompense, little Angharad was bound by vine to become bait for the next hunt.

As we transitioned back to the Waking, so did Team BAD, having recently evacuated the Bleak Gate with the help of Vitus, looking for a way to put this island behind them as soon as possible. Lisandra only had a Sending to the Roscommon to suggest as the group began to make their way down the dilapidated stairs of the Lighthouse to the shore below. The Druid had other plans, striking up a conversation with a local raven to get a quicker lay of the land, searching for a tree large enough to get them back to Flint in a hurry.

As the group followed their black-feathered guide, Vitus and Lisandra spoke in hushed tones of what had and would transpire. Putting two-and-two together in the wake of their escape, Vitus had guessed he was in the presence of the infamous Team BAD. He asked what the team would do, after going home and informing its leaders. Would they inform their people as well?

John tried to stay out of it, brushing the question off, but with a bit of encouragement from Lisandra decided that he believed being open would cause undue panic. The oracle didn’t necessarily disagree, but admitted Flint was in a delicate state, socially and politically, and conceded they’d likely debate the subject later–once returned to civilization.

The Godhand was curious about the future of the people the agents inhabited and Lisandra informed that they’d be held for interrogation, at least, and that her vessel at the very least, assuring that at least the vessel she held had a number of gruesome crimes under his belt, before turning the questioning back on Vitus and his future plans.

He informed her that he would return to Crisillyir and report his findings to the Clergy, and Family– for they were one and the same. He departed from the Obscurati wharf with a warning; there were good people in the Clergy, and they would always be welcomed, but to enter Crysillyir with care.

The Team followed suit as John opened the trunk of a nearby trees, and created a passageway back to Flint.

They arrived on the shore of their home, wracked with extreme nausea and dizziness as Grappa threw up into the sand. Not the usual accompaniment to John’s teleportation. After checking the engineer was alright (and apparently was more-than-so, after his first probably first exhilarating experience of teleportation), they were all eager to head back to HQ and check in with Delft.

A slightly more confusing affair, as their real bodies were still over in Drakr. Mirsk, to be exact. After greeting a befuddled, yet exceptionally polite, Maxwell. Lisandra informed him that Dame Lisandra, Sir John and Sir Angharad would like to speak with the Chief Inspector and calmly took a seat as the boys stared down the nervous guards while they waited.

Delft, while unimpressed with the ‘ambush’, but easy enough to assure of identities and ushered the team into his office to speak. A veteran, the man could easily tell by the grief-ridden exhaustion and the unusually deadpan calm on the Cipith’s face that Ella’s absence wasn’t because the gnome was busy elsewhere.

Lisandra explained. A mission success, technically, but Pemberton had gotten a Duplicant on the inside that blew their cover and naughty word hit the fan. Ella teleported off to a locked room to reduce casualties, and it had… well, been far less of a success. She confirmed that Ella’s body was still in Mirsk, but that she wouldn’t be returning to it. The Oracle’s professional veneer faltered and she held back tears in silence.

Delft congratulated them on making it back and extended his condolences, especially to Angharad who was experiencing his first personal loss on the job, and suggested that perhaps John, who had weathered the loss before, may be able to guide the team on how to process such matters.

Morbid silence filled the office before Delft broke it once more, to lament the loss and open up to the team over a glass of scotch about his experience with grief and moving forward. Angharad mumbled another incantation to calm his emotions and silence fell over the room once more.

When glasses were emptied, the team offered a more technical debrief of the mission and at its conclusion, were asked if they required time off before resuming duties. Though Angharad, quite honestly, admitted to intending a bender, John and Lisandra were both eager to keep busy.
A timeline was set. That night they would return to their bodies, be escorted back to Flint by Lauryn Cineburg and have a few days to attend to their affairs before the funeral. Delft informed the other constables and took care of Ella’s body, while Lisandra escorted Skeet into Grappa’s care, John sought to break the news to Millie and Angharad dragged Rhys and Pazamu out for a bender that wound the three of them in lock up the next morning.

Grappa will begin working to give Ella's sentient clockwork leg (Skeet) a whole body. The construct will likely make an appearance in the Battle for Flint in Book 13.

Delft paid a personal visit to Ella’s family to inform them of her death and return her body. Ella’s family sent messages to Team BAD: telling them they needed time to process and they wouldn’t see Team BAD until the funeral, but… thanking them for the roles they’d played in Ella’s life. The members of Team BAD were clearly dear to Ella and so they’d become dear to her family too. Tinker’s workshop stopped for the first time in months. Word of Ella’s death got out and the city of Flint was solemn during the days leading up to her funeral.

Angharad spent most of his time in the Cloudwood, getting high with fey - although he managed to find very few actual fey. He ended up spending most of his time with fellow Mystics, including the Old Stag. Angharad turned up at the RHC at some point - obviously high on fey pepper - to let the prisoners out of the web and dump the single shadowlisk corpse that he’d been shoved in there for the Battalion, then he disappeared again. At one point Kenna Vigilante managed to rope him into a publicity stunt for the Risuri-Beran joint martial school they’d been advocating for building in Flint. The school focuses on combining magical and martial techniques. Who knows if he was conscious enough to remember it, but the papers sure do.

With construction of the Dawn Nettle Children’s Home complete, and now under the care of Otis, Lisandra spent time checking in with her family. In the days to follow, she spent time with Avvakir, already late in breaking the news of Ella’s death but content to share and drink or two. She decided to return Oscan into the care of the Family, a gesture of friendship to Morgan as she caught up with the crime lord for coffee to keep a finger on the Family pulse. She also headed out to the Bosum Strand, to a place on the northern shore where she and Connor used to watch the sun set and count their earnings. She called out to the spirits of place, seeking answers to questions that gnawed at her. Though they weren’t certain of the state of Nicodemus, she did learn that the Ob is responsible for the local conspiracies causing divide in Flint between the Dockers and authorities. Someone still working for them, that Team BAD were yet to cross paths with. She learned her father was not yet suspicious of her deceptions, and that Ella’s spirit was at rest.

Ella’s state funeral was a massive turnout. The procession passed RHC HQ, where most of the RHC staff joined - leaving behind just a skeleton crew to man the headquarters. Conrad Keppler and Nathan Jierre attended, with Nathan being allowed a rare exception to his house arrest. His cousin Luc, and the oracle Ottavia were also allowed out of their house arrest for the funeral.

The most surprising guest made a late entrance as the eulogies were concluding, as King Aodhan and Harkover Lee appeared with an unexpected announcement; he commended Ella’s service and her strength of character, before drawing his sword above her still body… and awarding her with the station of nobility– a rare honor in Flint, as new nobility requires the current nobility to unanimously agree. The crowd cheered as the King stepped down, and the last speaker took the stage; Pete, who ended the event with a grand retelling of Ella’s adventures.

The King offered his personal condolences when the service ended, and reminded the team to speak with Delft if they required time off–his eyes landing heavily on the very-obviously-high Anghard. He apologized that he would not be able to attend the family’s private event to lay Ella at her final resting place, and urged the Team to do so in his wake. With a small note of reservation, Lisandra assured him they would, and Minster Lee silently cast a spell on Angharad, amplifying his high, before following the King with a subtle wink.

Ella’s body was laid to rest in a grave at her family home, in a grave marked by a wooden glider she had made with her Father many years ago. WIth the body returned to the earth, John infused the wooden toy with druidic magic, reforming the wood into a tree– and like mother, like daughter, a grand willow marked the final resting place of Lady Eleanora Cassia Arista Demetriou, Royal Constable, Knight and humble protector of Flint.

Ella's nobility will come back to haunt Aodhan, in many senses of the word. In Adventure Nine, Ella will use her nobility to challenge King Aodhan for his crown.

With their affairs in order, stipends spent and Angharad returned to a state of relatively functional intoxication, Team BAD prepared for a briefing on their next mission. Delft has arranged for Lauryn Cineburg to transport them to the Roscommon, still docked in Vendricce, to brief the team away from ‘prying eyes and ears’, though Lisandra got the sense he was more concerned with seeing the team off personally, before sending them out on another dangerous job.

Teleportation again was sickening, with Lisandra overcome by nausea and Delft emptying breakfast pasties over the port bough. The constables retired to their rooms to unload their gear, but the Cipith found something unexpected waiting in his. He opened the glyph-stained door to find a woman sitting on the end of his bed, twirling a peacock feather in her fingers that marked her a servant of the Unseen Court. She looked up and smiled, “Angharad Cipith, the Summer’s Subducted.. Yer a bloody hard man te find!”

GM Notes: The Flint Times, courtesy of the Google Drive template by @Meigeall. Unfortunately, I botched season of Frank Perlo's wedding, it should be Winter (due to occur when the Ob ambush King Aodhan in Adventure Nine).

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Session 83
GM Recap

Some notes before I begin. I ran Adventure Eight with a focus on grief and transformation. To this end, we began this session with another flashback for the players.

We see a terrified Angharad, bundled in vines, bouncing on the side of a sturdy horse. Reaching down to him is the hand of a young fey, Riffian, offering cured jerky. The Cipith quickly snatches it, to which the huntmaster commands “Do not feed him son, he must be desperate for our hunt”. Then, the blare of a horn, and we zoom out, first to see the huntmaster and his son Riffian riding the same horse, and then to see the scope of the hunt, a pack of horse-riding fey roar with warcries and drums. The environment of the scene flickers, but the hunt remains the same, with fields of storms, hail, blaring sun, and autumn leaves, the season’s cycle for three years before the screen fades. Superimposed on this, we hear the screams of a young Angharad, the roars of impossible beasts, and the sounds of arrows darting through the air. Then darkness.

A night like no other, pitch black. A blast of gunfire briefly illuminates a terrified, panting Angharad trying desperately to untangle himself from the vines. He has aged a couple of years older than we last saw him. Darkness again. The panicked neigh of horses, bullets tearing through blood. Swords clang. A sniper’s shot. Then a thud. The darkness is lifted again briefly to reveal Angharad, who is now trying to escape the corpse of a fey who has landed atop him. The lifeless body, face down in the dirt, has spoiled his once-majestic, silvered antlered helm with blood streaming from his heart. Angharad manages to slither out, gets to his feet, and halts immediately. Time slows as we see the centre of the Cipith’s attention, a man dressed in full black except for a silver bookpin brooch raises a weapon the child has never seen—a shotgun. He fires, but a force throws Angharad out of the way. Riffian, the huntmaster’s son, tackles Angharad to the ground. Riffian forces a mushroom into Angharad’s mouth: “Chew Cipith. Ya never deserved this fate” The Cipith chews desperately, as a kaleidoscope of colours swirl around him, transforming his surroundings to a once-familiar forest, lit by a pale green sky

It's been a year since that night, and Riffian has visited every noon since. Today, he brings an antlered beast. He wears a silvered helm of antlers of his father, it sits awkwardly on his young head. “Ya recognise this one, Cipith? This was meant to be my first kill. But us meeting, it was destiny, you know? I’m glad this boy got to fatten up. He’ll make a good lunch.” Riffian draws his knife, and begins to gut the strange deer. “I’m glad we met, Angharad, you make a good huntmaster. Pa wasted your talents hurling ya as bait. But then, maybe that’s why ya so good at anticipating the cowardice of animals, eh?” Angharad frowns a little, to which the now blood-covered Riffian laughs “Don’t take it personally Cipith” he removes two livers, “We all have our…” Riffian’s smile fades, as he reaches into the deer and yanks out a large, peacock feather “…our weaknesses.” Angharad begins to panic, his hunting friend and protector from the feywilds has been summoned by the Court. Riffian takes off his helm, holds it in two hands, and turns it to its front. “Sorry pa. I know ya wanted to be up there with them Unseen Lords, but I’m not too interested in all of that. They always be poking their fingers where they don’t belong.” “Well, naughty word this.” Riffian tucks the peacock feather behind his ear. “Those unseen bastards can wait, we’re having lunch.
Roughly twenty years ago, Riffian's father, leader of the Great Hunt, discovered the ultimate beast: an Ob construct. The Hunt tracked constructs down, with Riffian's father on the cusp of discovering the Ob's affairs at Cauldron Hill. Riffian's father hoped this would be the kill that earned him a seat at the Unseen Court. Unfortunately, Kasvarina used the Flint mystics and Ob gunslingers to ambush the Hunt and slaughtered their leader. The Lost Arc of Rieda will reveal this perspective of the shootout later in the adventure.

After the flashback, we returned to Angharad's chambers aboard the Roscommon. The woman introduced herself as Naomi Osborne, sent by the Unseen Court to guard the kineticist. See below for Naomi's full, and more complex, backstory.

Naomi is actually a widow kitsune named Kin Miura, who was previously married to a human RHC constable named Naomi Osborne.

The Miura's have a long history of service to the Unseen Court. A family of kitsune blessed (or some say cursed) with black fur and a reputation as creatures of ill omen: a clan of slinking, shapeshifting spies and assassins. The shadows of the Unseen. The fangs in the dark… Or so the rumours go. In reality, the services the Miura's perform are much more varied, although their abilities do lend themselves to covert work.

Rin never had much interest in that side of things though, despite a rare knack for taking on others' appearances. She was content doing bodyguard work for minor fey dignitaries visiting the Waking, and occasionally more mundane individuals when the Court didn’t require her services. Something about the simplicity of the mortal world appealed to her: a place where a shapeshifter in human form could go unremarked. No sideways looks of mistrust - or at least no more than the average stranger - and no obligations other than her current job.

Until a ruby-eyed human started sniffing around Rin's latest protectee like a hound on the hunt: Naomi Osborne, an undercover constable from Bole's RHC and the daughter of a wealthy family of Drakran mages and Risuri industrialists. Naomi charmed her way into the company of Rin’s charge for an evening at the theatre and everything went smoothly until Naomi couldn’t hold back her disgust at the terrible acting any more. (It offended her professional pride as an undercover agent.) Her target became rather miffed and replied that if she wasn’t enjoying the entertainment, then perhaps she should leave so everyone else could? Rin escorted Naomi out before the fey could take more serious offence.

The RHC agent immediately turned her charms on the bodyguard, seeking an alternate source of information, and Rin returned the attention: determined to learn the reason behind Naomi’s interest. Their mutual prying brought them closer than either intended, and when Rin's charge returned to the Dreaming and Naomi's investigation led elsewhere, neither of them was left empty handed: as the engagement rings eighteen months later proved.

Another seven months and they were wed - a low-key affair - and happy together, despite their demanding (and occasionally conflicting) careers. Or as happy as a fox in human form and a rogue who liked to pull people’s tails could be… And then almost a year later, "Till death do us part" became more than words.

…Although an actual parting might have been kinder.

Rin returned home one night to find her wife dead with a witchoil-coated blade in her chest. Shocked and horrified, she reached out a trembling hand to touch the hilt, and as soon as she did she could feel her wife's terror. Hear it. Almost sense her own life force pouring out of her as Naomi's had: pouring into the blade, trapped forever in unforgiving steel. In her mind Rin experienced Naomi's last moments: saw her injured attacker stumble out of the room and flee.

Reeling back from the connection, Rin spotted the blood trail and feral anger took hold. Tracking the murderer was easy - he hadn't made it far - but his last words made it clear that he was only a pawn: a piece in someone else's game. Vengeance unsatisfied, Rin found herself with two dead bodies and a ghost-infused blade. Eventually she brought herself to touch it again and in her presence Naomi's frantic soul calmed. Between them they devised a desperate plan: as a minor agent of the Unseen Court, Rin's reach in the Waking was limited, but as Naomi her resources would be greater. And as Naomi, there was a chance that whoever orchestrated the attack might try again - having seemingly failed the first time - and this time they could both be ready.

A favour from the fey altered Naomi's corpse to look like Rin's (probably something akin to this spell) and Rin's shapeshifting took care of the rest. Disguise in place, she reported herself dead. The initial uproar and investigation led nowhere useful: the killer was dead and no concrete evidence was found to support Naomi's insistence that someone else had been involved, despite the presence of witchoil. Eventually the case was closed - ruled as a personal grudge or break-in gone wrong - and it was tactfully suggested that Naomi might benefit from focusing on something else; with especially concerned glances directed at the murderer’s weapon she'd appropriated from evidence and taken to wearing.

With their RHC leads dead and the expected attack not forthcoming, "Naomi" requested a transfer: to a position as liaison between the Unseen Court and RHC. From the RHC's perspective, her former wife's ties to the Court made Naomi an ideal candidate for the position - with the additional hope that it might give her space to work through her loss. And from Rin's perspective, it gave her the perfect excuse to continue associating with her fey patrons while maintaining the guise of being Naomi.

Rin's fey contacts proved unable or unwilling to offer meaningful insight though, and her new position's distance from regular RHC affairs stymied further investigation on that front. All Rin and Naomi knew was that the murderer had had access to witchoil and that divinations seemed useless in identifying the true culprit/s. Facts that have them contemplating the newly infamous Obscurati with increasing suspicion…

And now, three seasons after Naomi’s death, the Court needs someone to keep an eye on one of their most volatile assets: the fire kineticist Sir Angharad Cipith. An individual that the Seen of the Unseen, Asrabey Varal, also has an interest in, and whom Rin has had an encounter with previously… For when Angharad escaped from the Dreaming, it was Rin - acting on the orders of Thisraldion - who helped him. To Rin's knowledge, the fey have no particular plan for Angharad… but what mortal mind can truly comprehend the Court's intentions?

As the conversation wrapped up and Naomi went to leave the cabin, a bell sounded from above deck: signalling an alert. Wisps of smoke began drifting under the cabin doors. Naomi cracked open the door to find the smoke thicker in the corridor: grey, ashy smoke. John and Lisandra exited their cabins and magically identified the smoke as a large Obscuring Mist. Naomi gave a brief, blase introduction and strode off into the smoke, subtly casting spells on herself as she went. The constables soon followed.

Atop the deck, the Roscommon's gnome crew shouted from the shadows:
“Lookout Lingenhall, can you spot anything from the crow’s nest? It’s all smoke down here!”
“Four ships! 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. The smoke bellows from a source about 2 o’ clock, quarter of a mile out, it’s moving close.”
Delft: “Why aren’t we moving? Tell me why we aren’t moving!”
Glittergem: “Lay day, Inspector. The anchor is still being pulled.”
Cynerburg: “Not hazardous, just obscures vision, Inspector. Strange, also traces of the Bleak Gate…”
Delft: “We’re moving now. Move this ship, Captain Maekkelferce! We’re sitting ducks.”
“Aye Inspector” a thud shakes the ship “I can’t move her, something is tugging starboard, someone check. Miss Roscommon, would you mind teleporting?”

The teleportation fails, for the thud was caused by Lya's Lament, a golden-horned submarine latching itself onto the vessel. Another vessel rams the opposite side of the ship as attackers board. A man swiftly scales the Roscommon from the submarine with a long, scorpion whip. It's an Ob ambush.

Delft quickly checks whatever surroundings he can through the smoke. Naomi introduces herself as a constable from Bole.
Delft scolded Naomi for worrying the Bole Chief Inspector: “Bloody hell, you should have notified them if you were going on leave!”
Naomi: “Look if they can’t find out where I went themselves… not the best constables.”

In combat, Delft drew his sword cane: “I’ll skinny dip with She Who Writhes before I let another one of you die!” He barked orders at the constables, acting as inspire courage (Delft is a rogue/examplar brawler). Lauryn threw a delayed fireball at the onboarding enemies before teleporting to the vessel of the large ship that rammed them. She returns moments later, after sabotaging their boiler. During this time, the large ship point-blank fires their cannons into the Roscommon, tripping up friend and foe aboard with the shuddering impact. Using a planar lantern, the two other ships at a distance attempt to burn the Roscommon and its crew with spotlights.


Lissandra threw some spells, Naomi and Angharad closed the distance, whereas John provided covering fire. Eventually, Team BAD killed enough of the Ob that the captain of the large vessel, a haughty naughty word-talking dwarven captain named Fulstov boarded with his cannon- and anchor-wielding ice giant. An ice giant that was promptly shrunk by John's mad shootist shrink ray. The captain returned fire by shooting a grappling hook from his steam-powered gauntlet, grappling Naomi and drawing him in for the kill. Angharad used an ability granted by the Ash Wolf to transfer 'conditions' from allies to himself, so he supernaturally remove the spike from Naomi’s flesh and implant it in his own. Naomi swore: “Bloody hell… I think ye’ve got the wrong idea about our relationship!” In ‘retaliation’, she cast Displacement on Angharad. Fulstov's ship began to retreat once its boiler exploded, and once his ice giant perished, he attempt to escape by swimming. He could was no match for the fire-jetting kineticist. When Angharad returned to the Roscommon with Fulstov, he had been fatally wounded by a fire blade delivered underwater. Lya's Lament retreated, leaving Team BAD with a few arrested Ob. The ships began to fade out of The Waking, presumably returning to the Bleak Gate.


A smol giant

Delft ordered the Roscommon crew to secure the prisoners, as he had a briefing to deliver to Team BAD. In lieu of a meeting room, the Inspector ordered everyone to a bedchamber.

Naomi: “Invited to yer bedchambers on the first meetin’, sir? Gosh. They do things differently in Flint, I see.”
Delft: “Yes, like doing our jobs.”

Naomi headed belowdecks while the others followed more slowly.

Lisandra to Angharad: “Not a friend of yours, I take it?”
Angharad: “One thinks, more of a handler from the Court.”
Lisandra: “Earned yourself a legit babysitter, I see. Impressive.”
“Only if she can keep up. If she interferes with one’s plans later on… people burn.”
“And what plans are those?”
(Angharad gave a decidedly not-nice smile) “Well there’s a spot open on the Court.”

Once everyone was snugly packed together in a bedchamber, Delft gave the party their next mission: find Kasvarina Varal and extract intelligence. Naomi has been in touch with Asrabey, who has requested she find Angharad and convince him to come meet Kasvarina, so she informs everyone of Kasvarina's location. Lauryn gave an overview of Elfaivar. John asked Cyneburg what was happening with teleportating, and she responded that she genuinely doesn't know. But she's sure it's something Team BAD could fix.

After spitting on the ship for good luck, Delft teleports out, worried that this might be the last time he sees his constables. The party make landfall and teleport via trees to a location close to Rumah Terakir. The Roscommon sails to Sawyer for repairs.

Angharad kept one of the +1 human-bane rapiers from the attack and after Delft was gone handed it to Naomi and told her to stab herself. The Cipith was suspicious of her red eyes indicating something inhuman and Naomi informed him he was right - partly. Half of her family is from Drakr and have demonic influences, although they are still human. The explanation proved sufficient to avoid a stabbing.

After the teleportation, Naomi felt nauseous and leaned on a tree. Angharad wood shaped the tree to entangle her in its branches in a kind of hug. She was unimpressed. He eventually instructed the tree to let her go after openly laughing at her struggles.

Angharad to Lisandra, as Naomi stalked off: “This One was never that bad, right?”
Lisandra: “Darling, you still are. It just grew on us over time.”

Looking around, Angharad and John spotted a massive footprint - tens of feet across - impressed into the ground.

John saw a druidic sign, containing directions to some kind of celebration nearby. Perhaps a wedding? Naomi was quiet at this. John suggested we go pay our respects and Lisandra agreed that making friends couldn’t go astray.

The party met a mad druid who was marrying a woman made of mud. Angharad officiated the wedding in the name of the Ash Wolf. Why did I as a GM do this? It was to give a bit of flavour to the maddening, Dreaming distortions around Sentosa.

After leaving the wedding, Angharad remarked that we needed to meet better druids. Pazamu and John were okay but the underwater druid off the coast of Ber and this one…
Angharad: “One was just being nice by saying you’re interesting, John. You’re actually kind of boring sometimes.”
John quipped back and grinned, unoffended.

En ruite for the ruins, the constables came upon a Dreaming-manifested cottage with the door ajar. Examining the individual parts from afar with a critical eye, Naomi detected no traps or signs of magic. It was only after getting close enough for Detect magic and seeing the entirety of the place past the jungle vegetation that she realised there was something terribly wrong about it…

It looked exactly like Naomi and Rin’s home in Bole.

Same flower filled garden surrounding it - completely out of place in the jungles of Elfaivair. Same architecture and paint job. Same dark splashes of witchoil and blood as that horrible night…

Upon realising that, Naomi froze. She scarcely noticed the questions of her fellow constables… Barely responded to their attempts to snap her out of it. She almost stayed still long enough for Lisandra to give into the temptation to cast Detect Thoughts to figure out what was happening. Then Naomi started toward the cottage. Lisandra and Angharad followed while John hung back.

As Naomi swung the door fully open, she was met with a horribly familiar scene: blood, witchoil, and a long-dead woman tied to a chair in the middle of the room—Naomi.

Unique loot

From Fulstov, the party got some neat technological loot:




Session 84 & 85
GM Recap, courtesy of Rin's player's exceptional notes

Seeing two Naomis, Angharad immediately moved forward and manifested a flame blade.

As she stared at Naomi’s body and the sword in it, Rin realised that she could no longer sense Naomi’s presence in her mind. She darted forward, reaching for the sword embedded in Naomi’s corpse. Angharad tensed, but Lisandra held up a hand to stop him as the living Naomi’s entire posture relaxed as soon as she touched the weapon, obvious relief on her face as she felt her wife’s consciousness again.

Lisandra demanded answers about “what the bloody hell” was going on and Rin let her disguise fall away, revealing her true kitsune form. Angharad barely refrained from stabbing her.

Amongst much confusion, the fox woman revealed that she was Rin Miura, Naomi’s wife, and that Naomi was dead - if not exactly gone. Rin demonstrated how the blade in her hand transitioned between steel and witchoil before vanishing into her mind. Witchoil with a single white mote of light within it: Naomi’s soul.

Lisandra questioned Rin/Naomi’s loyalty: was she there for a personal vendetta, or was she telling the truth when she said she’d been sent to guard Angharad? The kitsune replied both: one purpose didn’t override the other. The oracle then asked whether she could be trusted to keep her cool around the Ob, and Rin replied that she had some self-control but Naomi…? Questionable.

Once the questions had died down, Rin had some of her own: namely about the Ob and their use of witchoil and undead. Lisandra admitted that while there are souls who serve the Ob, the souls trapped in witchoil by the Ob typically only have one purpose: being burned. Rin’s fur bristled.

John was called into the cottage and introduced. His initial reflex of shooting the humanoid fox standing beside a dead Naomi was quelled by Lisandra, and a tentative truce was reached. John mentioned that he’d spotted signs of Rumah Terakir nearby: namely the rather large arm of an ancient statue washed up on a nearby riverbank. The party eventually decided to investigate that and continue the mission rather than standing around staring at each other. The cottage faded from reality, having been only a psychic manifestation brought forth by the Dreaming.

Rin shapeshifted back into Naomi’s form (her most commonly used form - even in the Dreaming it’s what she uses; the fey know that Rin and Naomi are one and the same now).

The party advanced on the ancient ruins of the Eladrin city. Asrabey and Kasvarina are in an eladrin enclave: a demiplane of sorts located somewhere in the ruins, but the party were unsure where. Lisandra suggested scouting. Naomi volunteered but Angharad immediately vetoed the idea. John went instead, turning into a small native bird. No immediate signs of danger, but very large footprints all over the place and small signs of smoke came from the brush in the north. Strangely, nature seemed to respect the boundaries of old, refusing to venture into the ruins (unlike the picture below which I used to set the scene).


Once John had reported back, Naomi enquired how Team BAD usually went about things - she was used to solo missions, not teamwork. Lisandra replied that they generally tried the stealthy approach first and then burned everything to the ground when naughty word hit the fan. Naomi commented: “Not so different from solo missions then.”

The party opted for a stealthy approach:
  • John as a nondescript bird
  • Angharad invisible thanks to Naomi’s spell
  • Lisandra relying on her Stealthiness and an illusionary clothing change to blend in with the surroundings more
  • Naomi in fox form
Angharad was very unimpressed by Naomi’s further evidence of shapeshifting. Angharad interested in seeking out the demiplane detected planar energy: faint, untraceable scent of the Dreaming in the area; very strong Dreaming scent on Naomi.

Despite their GM narrating terribly exciting ruins and temples, the party had no interest in taking a leisurely holiday—they were here for business. Instead, Team BAD approached the northern source of smoke peacefully. As they neared, they spied a flicker of fire through the trees. Drifting sound of voices. The scent of the Dreaming getting slightly stronger as they approached. Angharad stepped on some twigs to signal their presence. A Danoran voice immediately snaps to attention: “What was that? I thought your patrol came back empty?”

A man with a rifle in his hands appeared before Team BAD. Angharad yelled things at him in Elven. The man, ignoring the Cipith, bellowed out: “Four! There’s four here!” As the armed man questioned the constables, Angharad spoke the same questions back, mimicking him. The man turns back to the forrest, yelling: “Professor Ormand! I think this man is mad!” The so-called professor approached, well-dressed with vials adorning his belt. Angharad smelt the scent of the Dreaming coming from the vials.

Lisandra smoothed things over. She explained they were exploring the ruins. Lisandra went to shake the professor’s hand but caught the glimmer of a spell and jerked back. Muted booms from the left and right that John recognised as the sounds of experimental mortars firing at the Risuri. The sound of mortars was enough for John to pull out his gun and blast the professor to bits. The gunmen panicked, one tripping through a ruined arch and triggering the eladrin lion to enter The Waking. Team BAD had no problem taking down the lion, with Angharad tanking many heads.

In the arch, the party spied the silhouettes of two arguing figures, shadowed by a small army.


A Flashback: Rin and Naomi's Honeymoon

Some context

Rin's player and I had some spare time on night and I ran an impromptu one-shot. I used it as an opportunity to flesh out Rin and Naomi and their relationship. And, as a GM bonus, it allowed me to flesh out Drakr (I love Zeitgeist dwarves). I ran the freely-available adventure, No God But Dissolution, from the pen of Edward Lockhart and Michael Prescott. I themed the adventure to concern the hideout of a dead Dwarven cult. Here is an introduction, adapted from the original material:

Long before the fall of Srasama, was the death of She-of-Dissolution. Her followers, however, endured.

For thousands of years, The Noble Order of Non-Extance fulfilled their terrible duties, and interred each god that died, beginning with their own. This complex is but one of many interment sites throughout the wicked world. Of course, no one knows any of this. The Noble Order kept no records and followed its god into nothingness.

All would have been happily disremembered if some wretch hadn’t stumbled upon the door, deep within a lifeless Drakran wasteland. Surprisingly, she was smart enough to sell its location to an eccentric Risuri quatermaster, who handed it over to a Royal Homeland Constable as a wedding gift.

And so began Rin and Naomi's honeymoon.

This is one of the few adventures where Naomi is alive. In the current events of the campaign, Rin carries and wields her spirit.

Some content

One of Rin and Naomi’s more intriguing wedding gifts was given by Uncle Ivan: a map to what he informed them would be their "honeymoon destination". A place in Drakr.

Intrigued, Rin and Naomi decided to follow it. They got to Drakr via some RHC teleportation and followed the map to find an ancient iron door wedged into a mountainside. Written on the door in Dwarven: “Tomb to She-of-Dissolution”. And below that: “The Noble Order of Non-Extance”. Symbol below the words depicting brain matter and intestines entwined.

The door was clearly old but untrapped and unlocked. Rather difficult to open but Rin managed to get it open after a few minutes. Found a chamber containing a bridge across a supernaturally dark chasm leading to a corridor opposite.


The light of Naomi’s badge and Rin’s Light spell couldn’t penetrate the darkness of the pit, from which whispers emanated. Naomi stepped up to the edge and listened to the whispers, trying to discern some meaning. Rin tried to pull her back when she’d been standing there too long but the rogue shushed her. In Naomi’s ears the whispers gradually blended into a song of entropy and destruction. After a few minutes Naomi realised that these were the last whispers and memories of She-of-Dissolution, and as they finally faded they imparted esoteric knowledge to her. Namely how to cast Disintegrate once per day, with the caveat that Naomi must cast it before the end of the day and must use it in the most destructive way possible.

Naomi, delighted with her first taste of true magic after a lifetime of coming in second to her Drakran mage relatives, refrained from telling Rin what had happened.

They crossed the bridge without incident and ventured down the tunnel to find several dead ends littered with bones - mostly dwarven, some human. Eventually found a door leading to a large, circular chamber. Stairs leading down to a porcelain mask on the wall that constantly wept liquid. Large canopic jar in the centre, sealed with gold. Faded silk curtains off to the side, hiding two chairs and a table set with eating implements and a teapot.


Naomi skipped down the stairs and tasted the tears from the mask. They weren’t salty - didn’t taste like anything at all, in fact. But as soon as she tasted them she began to feel incredibly lethargic and melancholic.

Rin facepalmed and told Naomi to stay while she checked the rest of the room. Potent Abjuration aura on the canopic jar: Rin sensed that the magic was designed to keep something suppressed and decided to leave it the hell alone. Meanwhile Naomi sat on the floor and silently pondered whether to disintegrate the jar (she did not).

Locked wooden doors at the top of stairs to the northwest. Picture of a cast shadow above the doors.

Balcony to the southwest overlooking a gladiatorial arena, with stairs leading down under the balcony through an arch marked with a fist. Rin decided not to go down there.

Teapot on the table behind the silk chairs contained remnants of ancient tea. Did not drink it.

Rin managed to convince Naomi to unlock the locked doors. Led to an oddly shaped room with a polished sphere of mirrored silver in the centre. The sphere reflected paintings of trees on the walls but also seemed to draw viewers in so that they felt they were standing in a soothing forest. The odd effect removed Naomi’s lethargy curse from drinking the tears.

Spotted a floating humanoid silhouette in the reflection and spun around to see a shadowed figure: a dwarven ghost who stopped nearby. Rin put herself between Naomi and the ghost. The dwarf’s ghostly face was etched with what seemed like centuries of tears, eroding his long-lost skin. He looked at Naomi and Rin solemnly for a long while before eventually speaking: “Hello.”
Naomi asked his name. It took him a while to answer: “Ruldoph Yakimov, part of the Noble Order of Non-Extance.”

He explained that for thousands of years the order had tended to this tomb of their dead god, She-Of-Dissolution. Each chamber reflects the part of her body that they buried there. The noble order fulfilled their duty and built the tomb to be forgotten, keeping no records of the place or their duty there. All with a single goal: to follow their god into nothingness. This ghost still wanders the world, so clearly his goal was unsuccessful. He wishes peace and release to Nem to meet judgement and a final oblivion.

Rudolph persists in death because of a terrible crime he committed in life, one that he must repent for; the worst thing anyone of his order could do: he fell in love.

His lover’s name he dared not remember, but he said that there’s one aspect of her that persists: a pendant, made from two pieces, both keys. Hers is in the tomb of She-of-Green-Entropy. His is in his bedchambers to the west. Find them and connect them, then destroy the combined pendant to erase the last mark of his love and allow his soul to find oblivion. Rin queried whether forsaking his love was what he really wanted, but Rudolph was adamant.

Upon questioning, Rudolph revealed that the most dastardly foes exist in the tomb of She-of-Dying-Strength: the gladiatorial arena looking place.

Found the bedchambers and a storage room. Chest in the storage room contained 38 silver coins and a key pendant. Naomi attempted to sneakily hide the coins on her person and then showed the pendant to Rin.

Examined the desk in the bedroom, with a diary sitting on top of it. Naomi read the diary. Dated 253 A.O.V. It documented Rudolph’s journey through the order. He heard mention of a god who killed herself and ventured here to discover more, joining the order. He began to develop feelings for someone else in the order and an incredibly secretive love slowly blossomed between them. His lover, torn between her love for him and her desire to serve the order, eventually took her own life in the tomb of She-of-Green-Entropy.

Rudolph, too terrified to even attend to his lover’s body and one of the last remaining people within the cult, succumbed to despair himself and decided to brew a tea made of the tears of melancholy and kill himself.

Proceeded to the tomb of She-of-Green-Entropy. Heart entwined with plantlife etched over the double doors. Within, a small tree flourished in a dank, suffocating hall. A mound of rubble and wet earth glowed faintly green. Part of a skeleton embedded in the outer bark of the tree - from the skeleton’s neck hangs a key partly consumed by bark.

As soon as Rin and Naomi stepped inside, magic sparked and swirled over the interior and the room began to fade and succumb to oblivion. Rin was at a loss as to what to do, but Naomi came up with the wild hunch that in order to combat the malfunctioning magical wards of an order so opposed to mortal attachments, she and Rin ought to display some attachments of their own. Naturally that meant planting a kiss on her wife’s lips and reminding her of their wedding day. The room briefly flickered into stability as she did so.

Rin, catching on, spoke about how she almost bit Naomi’s nose off when she first realised Naomi was a constable snooping around her protectee and not just some nosy reporter or wannabe lover. Naomi replied that Rin couldn’t hurt her if she tried - Naomi trained at the famous Battalion military academy in Flint, and wins all their sparring matches besides. Rin rebutted that she only let Naomi win because she’d never hear the end of it otherwise. It turned to talk of family - Naomi’s eccentric relatives and Rin’s scary grandmother - and possible alternative honeymoon/holiday destinations, and by the time they’d finished bickering the room had mostly stabilised.

The two dashed over to the tree and pried the key pendant free before the room could try to dissolve again.

Returned the two pendants to Rudolph. He joined the keys together into a single pendant. Naomi volunteered to destroy it with her disintegrate ability but Rudolph desperately snatched it out of the way at the last moment. “I heard your stories. Maybe after three centuries of waiting, I’ve acted too hastily. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me that I loved her.”

The dwarf’s ghost faded as he embraced his love rather than rejecting it for the order’s goal of dissolution, and vanished into the afterlife, finally free.

The chamber (the tomb of She-of-Calm-Knowledge) shook as the patch of floor Naomi had hit with disintegrate instead of the pendant began to disintegrate further, and Rin and Naomi fled out of the room and the temple-tomb entirely. Back in the snows outside, they discussed where else to go for their honeymoon as they headed back towards civilisation.

As a memento of their honeymoon, Rin carries Rudolph's Diary and the Keys to Rudolph’s Heart

A journal dating from 253 A.O.V., written in Dwarven and detailing the involvement of one Ruldoph Yakimov in the Noble Order of Non-Extance: a group in Drakr dedicated to the dwarven goddess, She-of-Dissolution, who succeeded at the impossible by killing herself. The members of the order built a tomb for their goddess in an inhospitable Drakran mountainside and enshrined each part of her body within a different chamber. They then devoted themselves to tending the shrine until they could forsake their own mortal attachments and follow her into oblivion.

The diary describes Rudolph's discovery of the order, initiation into their ranks, and subsequent secret love affair with one of the female members. Eventually, torn between their love and her devotion to the order's ideals, Rudolph's lover killed herself. Terrified of what he'd caused and the implications for his own faith, Rudolph couldn't even bring himself to deal with her remains. Instead he brewed a tea made from the goddess' cursed melancholic tears and followed his lover into the afterlife.

Or so the plans written in his last diary entry predicted...

A few fresher pieces of paper - written in a different hand - are slipped into the back of the diary. They recount Rin and Naomi's meeting with Rudolph's ghost in 500 A.O.V.

Having followed a map given to them by one of their wedding guests, Rin and Naomi found the tomb on the second day of their honeymoon. They met Rudolph's ghost in one of the chambers and agreed to find the matched pendants owned by him and his lover. The dead dwarf believed that destroying the pendants would allow him to properly embrace his faith and finally forsake the mortal attachments that had kept him tied there for so long. While watching Rin and Naomi overcome the trials of the tomb together though, Rudolph decided to embrace his love rather than rejecting it. This decision brought him peace and allowed him to pass on.

A note at the end reads: "Bunch of batshit crazy cultist buggers... but it sure makes for a hell of a tragic love story. Maybe I can get it published one day? Not that you'd catch me angsting around dead after some lost lover in a dusty old tomb. What a waste of eternity."

A simple pendant made from a pair of keys: one retrieved from Rudolph Yakimov’s belongings and the other from his dead lover. Where Rudolph’s ghost initially desired these keys destroyed, his eventual acceptance of his forbidden love saved them from disintegration.

Naomi keeps them alongside Rudolph’s journal as a memento of her honeymoon.


Thanks! We're still playing regularly. Currently, the players are tracking down some salamanders on behalf of the Ash Wolf.

Session 86
Courtesy of Rin's player

Having successfully navigated a tussle with a ten-headed lion, the remnants of Team BAD (plus bodyguard) watched as Asrabey and a group of eladrin appeared. The eladrin warriors chased down the remaining Danoran explorers while Lisandra retrieved an Obscurati ring from their leader's corpse.

Asrabey scolded Naomi for being late, the eladrin gate guardian scolded Asrabey for letting us in, and we meekly followed as she opened the way to the demiplane of Sentosa. Asrabey led us to Kasvarina, explaining that Borne had left the previous morning and hadn’t been sighted since. Despite the colossus no longer being present, the Seen of the Unseen still had a use for us: namely speaking with his wife, who’d become rather insistent on leaving.

Kasvarina was studying with a half-elf when we entered, but soon ordered everyone else out of the room. As we questioned her, she related her patchy memories. Of life before the wars. Of training with spell and sword. Of fighting for her people, losing her two daughters, becoming an eladrin matriarch, authorising assassinations, and marrying various men for political reasons.

Of the Obscurati though she remembered little. She had no knowledge of the Miller’s Pyre movement she’d founded, or of Cula Ravjahani who’d spoken on its behalf. Upon being pressed though, she did experience a flashback: seeing a nearly completed metal titan and then a glimpse of Srasama’s death. The memory sent Kasvarina to the floor, half fainting even as a cruel smile curved her lips. Then she shuddered and came back to herself, looking around in confusion before apologising. Apparently these flashbacks are fairly common - although Lisandra's description of her vicious expression was new to her.

The news that her flashes of memory might also briefly reinstate her past personality disturbed Kasvarina, and reaffirmed something she’d already decided: to seek an ancient artefact called the Arc of Rieda- and to recruit our aid in doing so. This item is said to allow its wearer to relive past memories, provided they’re in the location the memory took place. Given our orders to find out what Kasvarina knows about the Obscurati, we agreed. Naomi raised the question of whether Kasvarina was worried about changing back into her previous self after receiving the memories, and the eladrin replied that despite her disgust toward her past actions, she couldn't guarantee she'd be able to hold onto her current personality.

Nonetheless, we agreed, and after gaining some information about the Arc’s likely location - apparently a temple full of dead-god-worshipping weretigers who can convert people with their bite - we relayed our plans to Asrabey and spoke with Kasvarina’s half-elf assistant. The half-elf claimed to be knowledgeable about teleportation, but actually just wanted to beg us for his freedom - since he’d apparently been abducted by Asrabey. We left him with scant reassurance and no real promises.

Lodgings had been arranged for us, as well as a local guide, and we decided to rest. The guide came in the form of an excitable eladrin called Desok who was ecstatic to meet us and fanboyed about our accomplishments all the way to the inn. The appearance of Copperhat the Headless in the barroom interrupted Desok's description of Naomi’s martial thesis. Copperhat informed us that he’d gotten lost on the way to the Court and dropped Rock Rackus… somewhere. A sad circumstance for Rin’s boss, who’d apparently been the one to send for him, and for Rin too, who apparently enjoyed his music.

After an evening's chatter and rest, we explored Sentosa. Lisandra acquired some eladrin jewellery, Naomi swapped trashy romance novels with Desok, and John got to shoot Naomi a hell of a lot while teaching her martial techniques.

Then it was time to meet a matriarch…

Our initial attempts to convince Matriarch Athrylla to let us and Kasvarina leave the city met with resistance, and it was only after making her realise that Kasvarina was no longer the murderous, power-hungry matriarch she’d previously been, that Athrylla agreed. The matriarch specified, however, that Kasvarina would only be allowed to leave with us after we’d acquired the Arc of Rieda.

Thus, with permission to leave acquired and a means to re-enter assured, we set out. John found a tree to teleport us and stepped through to find himself face-to-face with an angry weretiger… Because life’s just like that.

Will our druid be able to calm this cantankerous cat? Is turning into a spiritually corrupt weretiger really a bad thing? And will Rock Rackus ever show up again with his ridiculously flashy gun? Find out next session, on Zeitgeist!

GM Notes

Forgive me for randomly throwing a weretiger at my players, I wanted to end the session on a cliffhanger.


Session 87

The surprised weretiger immediately bolted, only to be caught by John's lion animal companion. The party questioned her, tied her up, and took her to the Bramblehome. Upon bringing the foreigners to her kin, she transformed, breaking the rope binding her. Weretigers appeared from various huts built into the brambles and a male weretiger flanked by two white tigers stepped forward. “Stop! Hold your weapons. These are not Clergy.”

The leader told us the Lost Arc resided in the temple but that we may not enter. John asked what the entry fee was. The answer was Clergy heads. Lisandra asked whether simply convincing the Clergy to leave would suffice and the leader answered yes. Naomi asked how many Clergy there were (60-70) and suggested the weretigers should take all of their forces if an attack were orchestrated, to make sure they wipe out the colonists utterly and make anyone else think twice about settling in the area. The weretigers failed to realise that she was simply angling for them to remove all their forces from the temple so we could raid it, and agreed.

We volunteered to scout the Clergy outpost before starting any sort of conflict. 3 miles to the outpost. Over an hour by foot. As we traveled, we discussed potential plans in Primordial:
  1. Encourage a weretiger attack on the Clergy settlement and use the opportunity to raid the temple
  2. Help the weretigers kill the Clergy to be granted access to the temple
  3. Help the Clergy kill the weretigers
  4. Leave things be and attempt to sneak into the temple unnoticed

We noticed a weretiger following us - the same one we'd captured - and called out to her mockingly. She didn't reply and stopped following us about two miles from Bramblehome.

A group of people approached and called out inquisitively. Group of 3 battle-worn soldiers led by a blonde woman with matted hair. Many fresh cuts and old scars among them. Not overtly hostile.

The woman, who introduced herself as Lina, asked who we are and what we were doing in such a perilous place, and Lisandra replied that we were looking for a friend who'd gone missing. She responded that anyone in this part of the jungle likely wouldn't last long, given the weretigers.

We asked about the weretigers and were told that years ago the Clergy sent this group to establish an outpost and combat those who spread sin throughout the eladrin populace. They've skirmished with the weretigers ever since and recently had a major battle with them that whittled down the numbers on both sides. The weretiger leader was felled but the weretigers are quick to reorganise and already have a new leader. With the death of the previous leader though, the magical protections around Bramblehome fell and the Clergy have finally divined its location.

Lina seemed keen to leave this godsforsaken jungle but her leader is not. The leader of the Clergy outpost is a godhand, who cares deeply for his people and takes care to boost their morale in this trying situation.

Lina took us to Vigil Longus, the colonist outpost.
We were led to the chapel where a towering, muscular human man in robes with a halo was praying. As he finished, he rose to greet us. “Outsiders. It is rare to see such friendly faces in these parts.”

We introduced ourselves as: May Weatherspoon (Naomi), Lyra Hanley (Lisandra), Michael Dorma (John). Angharad wasn't present for this session.

Allus led us around and asked why we’re so far from Risur. Lisandra replied that we’re looking for someone: a friend of ours, Cassandra.

As they spoke, Naomi scrutinised the outpost's defenses. The barracks could easily house 150 people but now has half as many: there are around 60-70 people in this outpost, all trained warriors. Sheer numbers mean that even we would likely be unable to take this outpost on our own.

We asked Allus about the apparent lack of manpower. Over the course of half a decade, their numbers here have dwindled. Clergy orders dictate that reinforcements come every three years, but a military disruption in Crisillyir means they haven’t had any reinforcements at all since they arrived five years ago.
  • Team BAD disrupted Crisillyir in the past few years.
  • Each country is also ratcheting up military matters thanks to increasing tensions between Risur and Danor and the threat of war.

The godhands are quite a selective bunch, but, tending to be paladin-monks, they live for quite a long time - often centuries.

Both sides have injuries. The weretigers took a big blow to their structure with the loss of their previous leader. The Crisillyiri are clearly drained and wounded. Neither has a clear advantage, but Allus seemed entirely unwilling to abandon his holy duty and leave. The current leader of the weretigers is pure evil: intent on spreading his curse to as many as possible.

We retired to the chapel for privacy. Lisandra communed with a local spirit to ask some questions:
  1. Is the Lost Arc of Reida inside the temple at Bramblehome?
    • Yes
  2. Does the current leader of the Children of Hewinharimau intent on spreading their curse to others?
    • Yes
  3. Is their curse able to be completely dissolved?
    • Temporarily; all the current bearers could be cleansed, but if someone new were to worship Hewinharimau then the curse would arise anew
  4. Are the odds of this conflict in the Clergy’s favour?
    • No

We eventually conjured a plan:
Incite the weretigers to attack the Clergy outpost ASAP. Sneak away during the fighting, using John’s tree teleport to get back to Bramblehome quickly, giving us at least an hour to search the temple before the weretigers return.

We bid the Clergy farewell and set out 'in search of our missing friend', returning to Bramblehome. Betronga, the weretiger rajah, met us, wielding a cool-ass bow made of hair and bone.

Batronga was pleased with our news of the outpost's weakness and decided to attack tonight, when the sun sets. He asked us to open the gate and let the weretigers in to grant them an overwhelming victory and reduce his people's casualties. We noted that opening the gate of an armed encampment on high alert would be difficult but Batronga replied that an entire weretiger army marching toward the outpost should provide sufficient distraction. We agreed, with no intention of following through on it, and headed back to Vigil Longis to ask if we could stay the night.

John was unhappy with the duplicitous nature of our plan - essentially betraying both sides - but agreed to go through with it for the sake of our duty. Lisandra volunteered her leg for wild shaped John to scratch to make it look as if we’d been attacked by weretigers, to provide validity to our request for shelter.

We were welcomed back to Vigil Longis without suspicion and allowed to stay the evening. Allus even promised the aid of their healers for Lisandra, once they regained their spells in the morning. We waited until sounds of alarm in the outpost and a cry of "They're here!" indicated the weretigers had arrived and then Dimension Doored away into the jungle, leaving the two sides to their slaughter.

We tree-stepped back to Bramblehome to find it inhabited only by civilians: children, mother's, the elderly and infirm. They watched us fearfully but didn't interfere as we entered the temple.

We explored the seemingly-abandoned temple, finding an abandoned kitchen and a purification chamber. Cool fog floated in the doorways of the remaining rooms; couldn’t dispel it. Got the odd sense that the rooms were ephemeral and unable to be seen because they somehow didn’t exist yet. Naomi stepped through the doorway of one and vanished into the fog. Lisandra called out after her: “Are you dead?” but there was no response, and after a moment the oracle stepped into the fog after Naomi.

John hesitated before following and decided to think things through. He went into the “purifying” chamber and knelt on the prayer mat. Thought about his friends and their safety and got the sense that somehow the purifying power of flame would see them through this. In his mind's eye the druid saw 3 yellow flames.

Meanwhile, Naomi and Lisandra found themselves atop a thousand foot tall tower, near coloured portals which abruptly darkened and spewed forth shadowy creatures. One of them swooped at Lisandra, stealing some of her life force. Combat persisted whilst John continually meditated in the purification chamber for clues. Kindly, John's GM gave the druid visions of his friend's peril, and John dashed to their rescue ;) Meanwhile, the tragedies attempted to scramble the minds of Rin and Lisandra, to no avail.

Eventually we defeated the three Tragedies and combined the flames from each into a single large flame, with which to illuminate the shadowy corpse at the center of the tower---the corpse of Mister Mapple.

We quickly deduced we needed to clear up the other three smoky rooms, so we dashed into another. It was monochrome. Upon the deck of a seafaring vessel, converted into the site of a grand party: the deck of the Coaltongue. Stover Delft present; he instructed Lisandra to go “Check on the Duchess”. The back of the ship erupted in monochrome flames which coalesced into two giant forms that began attacking those on the ship - including us.


GM Notes

Rin is making this party ruthlessly efficient. The party deliberately optimised the carnage between weretigers and Clergy. Needless to say, Lisandra's fish-hook amulet was not pleased. I think mechanically it should have abandoned it there and then, but the fish-hook, never too quick to judge, was willing to give the oracle another chance.

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