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ZEITGEIST Tizbiz Zeitgeist Campaign


Old friends

As we knew that Leone took a public carriage to Enzyo Mons, we first ask the people operating the station about a person matching Leone's description. They confirm that a man like that took a carriage to Enzyo and that he booked a trip to Nalaam afterwards. We're a bit surprised by that information as taking the train to Nalaam via Sid Minos would be the fastest and most comfortable way to Nalaam (been there, done that), so maybe this is just another red herring, but we'd go after it anyway.

But first things first. So we rent a carriage up the volcano ourselves and arrive at the flank of Enzyo months short but uneventful trip later. We take the steep trail up the mountain, ignoring all the small chapels along the way until we reach the famed cathedral of Triegenes at the top of the mountain, right next to the crater.

We take a closer look at the cathedral and Carlyle remembers the Crisillyiri custom to throw either offerings or demonic artifacts into the lava. Therefore, we guess that it would be likely that Leone used this opportunity to get rid of Grappa-golem's head as he might just have feared that the mind of Grappa mind could have still been inside it.

We try to use magic to find more about Leone's further progression from here, but the Ob's divination blockade seems to be too strong for even the cleverest of our spells. We search the surrounding area thoroughly for further clues and find an unused ticket to Nalaam, which seems to confirm our suspicion.

Being stuck in a dead-end, we leave Enzyo Mons with one carriage ticket and return to Alais Primos. Unsure about what to do next, we muse whether asking the drivers of this station about Leone might be a good idea, but as they work in shifts, this might actually take days. And time is running short.

As we're confronted with the fact that we might just need to stay a couple of days in the capital, Auryn suggests that Carlyle might very well use some of the spare time to maybe visit his old deva comrades. It must have been years if not decades since he last heard of them, she says. Carlyle is very much taken by surprise, then seems suddenly insecure for a moment.

“Maybe next time when we don't have work to do. This isn't the right time for a chat with old... friends”

Auryn nods and adds that she understands. Also, there will most likely be a “next time”, so no need to rush.

(This was one of my hints for Tiz to maybe use the people in Carlyle's backstory who turned deva, just like him. Right now, the use of NPC stemmed almost solely from Auryn's background and it would really be a waste to not use them instead of another random NPC should we ever return to Crisillyir. But yeah, that's a rather long story there...)

Auryn then suddenly has a flash of insight as she realizes that Leone had to stay somewhere for the night, so maybe we'll find more clues in his pension. And maybe Grappa took this as an opportunity to leave some breadcrumbs for us to find. So we ask the kobolds for the address, head to said pension and ask politely whether we may search Leone Quintal's room as he forgot something important to him when he left.

At first, the room seems innocuous, but a closer look at a stylized painting of the Avery Coast Railway, we find a small message written in Grappa's handwriting that says “heavenly holidays in Sid Minos”.

“Oh Grappa, you stupid yet clever man” Auryn mumbles and then points to said passage.

“So maybe he truly took the train and fake-faked his passage to Nalaam. Let's see where his trip took him from there” Carlyle adds, takes his hat and leaves the room.

Now that we know that Sid Minos is our next destination, Carlyle casts a teleport spell to bring the two of us to a hidden place near the train enclave. Suspecting that Leone might have taken the train, we ask a receptionist at the train enclave for a gentleman fitting Leone's stature. And fortunately, the man can tell us that said man left the enclave in the company of a small group of people (whose description we also ask for) not too long ago and that some of them were bragging about finally being able to bet money in Nalaam's famous casinos.

So we take another teleport to Nalaam and ask the very same nice porter we encountered back during our “honeymoon trip” about Leone and his gang. The porter recognizes us from last time and, after a short and friendly chat, reveals that this rag-tag group were bound to visit an etablissement with holes. Fortunately, we know exactly what he's talking about, so we both have a quick laugh and nod knowingly before giving the man a good tip for his excellent service. Still we take the opportunity to take a closer look at Leone's room and find yet another sign of Grappa, this time in the form of a golem maker rune on the location of Trekholm on a fresco of the Avery Coast Railway.

On our way out of the hotel, we coincidentally cross paths with Lord Kulp. We realize that Kulp might be able to hand us more information, so we approach him. Auryn, unsure whether he'd directly draw the connection to her Amiranya persona, pretends to be a big fan of the arena games and asks him for a private visit to the grand arena. Kulp seems pleasantly surprised and offers her a tour this evening.

We then travel to the “Holes” and guess that Leone, being a Crisillyiri, might have used the brothel as a distraction from his visit of the local Familia. Therefore, we pay the new Capo de Cina a courtesy visit and congratulate him on his position. The man seems pleasantly surprised and invites us to a small chat and a glass of wine. We spend some time to talk about Pietro and his love and marriage to Venezia and the Capo de Cina is glad to hear that his cousin has found true happiness in Flint.

We bring up the issue of Leone, and hint that we're pursuing him for crimes in Flint. Suddenly, the man turns a bit more reserved and wars us to not underestimate Leone or the Quintal family. He tells us that Leone did indeed visit him and that he handed him a sealed envelope containing most likely a good amount of money. So he guesses that Leone must have some really powerful friends in Crisillyir which would make him a truly dangerous man. Oh, and he was accompanied by a bony looking man who might have been a fey pepper addict, but he wasn't too sure about that.

We thank him for the valuable information and promise to stay safe as we've seen what Leone is capable of first hand. Then we say goodbye and promise to send Pietro his regards.

Then we return to the center of the city and Auryn parts ways with Carlyle to attend to her appointment with Kulp. She expects a rather standard tour and plans to reveal her true intentions later, but is then pretty surprised to be lead down an empty hallway by two well-armed guards. She ends up in a small, private room where Lord Kulp already awaits her with a charming smile and drinks.

Kulp welcomes her warmly, offers her a drink and then asks her for her true intentions. Auryn first thanks him for his help while they were dealing with Elanor and then talks a bit about her search for Leone, a dangerous conspirator who had imprisoned one of her relatives. Kulp, who already knows that Auryn is a Vekeshi, asks for her affiliation and she truthfully states that she's in league with the loge of Flint.

“Ah, Flint, the territory of the Old Stag. He's got quite the loyal flock and his roots of influence go deep. Unfortunately, I am the only one of our kind in Nalaam, so my eyes cannot be everywhere. Unfortunately, this Steel Shaper has eluded my sight so far, but I will inform you as soon as I get information on him.”, Kulp says with a seemingly sad undertone, and Auryn replies that being on the lookout will be enough for her, so no worries.

“I'm sorry that I could not help you as much as I wish. Still, it has been a pleasant evening and I'm glad that I had the opportunity to see you once again, Miss Amiranya.”

“Auryn. That much I owe you.”, Auryn adds with a genuine smile and prepares to leave.

Then, Kulp's eyes widen a bit. “You are the one they sing songs about in Elfaivar? The one who dared to battle against Kalenian Vardanis, the Mad king? Is it really true what they whisper about the matriarchs and the winds of change?”

Auryn nods calmly and confirms everything he said: “It is true. And if we wish to have a chance for a peaceful future in Elfaivar, then we'll have to dethrone this Madness eventually.”

Impressed by her statement, Kulp weaves a quick spell across his face to reveal his true self as a Magelord of Nalaam and explains that he's the real deal, not just one of the puppet Lords the others put on display. He then takes a bow and promises to fight by Auryn's side with everything he has to offer should the time for war arise.

“It would be an honor to have you by my side, Lord Kulp”

Auryn then bids herself goodbye and returns to Carlyle with a smile on her face.

(I really wasn't expecting this reaction of Kulp, so this was a grand surprise for both me and Auryn. Which transformed the usual gathering of information into such a beautiful scence. Really glad that Tiz remembered their connection and that he made Kulp so invested in the Elfaivaran affairs.)

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(Oh and yep, we somehow managed to avoid the ambush set by Krampus the Satyr by leaving too soon and using anti-divination measures. Also, while we are no Austrians, we still see what you did there ;) )

A caged Lion

Trekholm is next on our list, so we travel there directly and ask for Leone at the train station. To our surprise, we learn that the man used his money to buy two old wagons of the Avery Coast Railyway (didn't know they were selling these to private buyers). When we ask what he'd do with two wagons and no locomotive, the railway personnel explains that it isn't too unusual for rich people to buy private carriages which they can then attach to regular trains for a fee. We're quite astonished by this system and now at least know that finding Leone won't be too easy as he could be at any place with a connecting railway. So we thank the personnel for their help and take a moment to discuss our further proceedings.

First, we're facing the problem that Leone is protected by the Obscurati's divination shield, which makes gathering information directly impossible. But we do know that he got people accompanying him and also got a damn good description on how they'd look like. So we decide to give it a try and scry for one of the guys. Fortunately, the first try is a hit as we spot one of the others right next to him in what appears to be a dwarvish looking inn.

Auryn uses the full duration of the spell to memorize a good landing spot and then shares these memories with Carlyle via modify memory. Then, we decide to go all out by turning invisible and daring to teleport to exactly the same spot she communicated.

(And Carlyle's teleport luck didn't fail us this time either)

Fortunately, Carlyle manages to arrive at exactly the spot he had planned to. So we stay still in one corner of the pub and simply watch the events unfold under the veil of invisibility. After a while, we get the impression that these two guys seem to await some kind of attack as they're looking nervously at the entrance and got their weapons ready. So before we'd have to re-cast the invisibility, we both go to our respective bathrooms, don a disguise and emerge under the guise of being mere travelers.

We order drinks and continue to keep an eye on the two buddies while also keeping our ears open for information. This way, we learn that we apparently arrived in Mirsk and that these two guys appear to be sellswords. They don't seem to be running back to Leone, so we rent a room in the inn and continue to watch the mercenaries.

After a couple of days, we finally see them move out towards the Mirsk train station. So we follow then invisibly, see them enter a train and follow them further inside. There, we first take some time to get more familiar with our surroundings and it appears as if someone made sure that this wagon is entirely clad in metal.

(how convenient for our Metalbender...

For those who'd ask themselves how Carlyle and Auryn would be able to coordinate each other when they cannot see the other one: At first, they'd use a see invisibility spell. Then they'd actually train working under these conditions, using whispers or small signs. Plus, Carlyle has such a damn good perception that he'd be able to see Auryn move even when she is invisible. Carlyle learned even more convenient tricks later, but that would have to wait until “the chimney”)

We continue to sneak through the wagon and then hear someone playing the piano. Someone who's asking for a glass of wine not much later and who definitely speaks in Leone's voice. So it seems as if we finally found the man. Auryn whispers that using their weapons would be futile against Leone and that they'd also be in a deadly trap if they tried to fight Leone in a room that's basically one big weapon for a Steel Shaper. So if they'd try to ambush him they'd have to hit him hard at once.

Carlyle shakes his head and replies that while this could work, it'd also be risky.

“I have another plan, but it would leave you vulnerable. Leone is so much less threatening when he cannot use his powers.”, he whispers quietly.

“You can block them?” Auryn replies silently.

“With an antimagic field, I can block all magic. Yours, mine and Leone's. It'd be centered on me. So do you trust me with this one?”

“Of course.”

So Carlyle proceeds to cast the spell and we enter the room where Leone is still sitting at the piano, drinking wine. We leave him the opportunity to surrender, but he goes from cultivated gentleman to violent brute in a split second, promising that this would be the last time we'd try to thwart his plans. He then points his hand at the metal-clad piano, only to be utterly shocked when nothing happens.

“Trying to use the piano as a projectile?! This is outrageous! You savage!” Auryn exclaims before jumping right at Leone.

“She's right. For a man of such supposedly high taste, you got no manners at all.” Carlyle adds as he joins the fight.

During the rather short encounter with Leone, he makes sure to stay as close to the Steel Shaper as possible. His goonies, bodyguards and mages, arrive not much later but don't pose much of a threat as well.

(Using an antimagic field was a brilliant move from Carlyle. Usually, we find it really hard to make a good use of that spell as the one who casts it would usually also rely on magic, but this time it made perfectly sense)

After we knocked out everyone who tried to attack us, we place them in the Absurdist's Web, return to the RHC and leave the mercenaries to rot in their respective cells for a while.

(well... interrogating them is what rookies are for. They won't have much info, but they are good for practice)

Meanwhile, we bring Leone to a specially prepared antimagic cell with ironwood bars. Being sure that Leone won't be able to shift out of this prison like Sijhen, Auryn casts a curative spell on Leone and waits for him to awake.

Needless to say that Leone is very much not amused to find himself a prisoner in our cells. Even behind bars, he's still boasting that he'll break out soon and come to kill us. We reply that he already tried to do that a couple of times and failed, so no there's no use for empty threats. We also gently remind him that he picked a fight with the wrong people.

This enrages choleric Leone Quintal for a moment, so he turns to Carlyle with a furious gaze and calls him a traitor who betrayed his own grand nation of Crisillyir. But Carlyle just shrugs in response.

“If only I'd care for what they think after I've left Crisillyir 500 years ago. Risur is my home now, that much you should know. Also, aren't you the one who betrayed his nation by conspiring with the Obs? Weren't you going to destroy the foundation of the Clergy anyway?”

Leone regains his posture a bit too soon to fall into this verbal trap of Carlyle and grins at him with bared teeth. We silently agree to let him talk a bit about himself (he seems to enjoy that) and learn that Leone hasn't changed one bit. He seems still convinced that he only does what he deems to be right for this world and that the Obs will change circumstances for everyone for the better. He also brags that his grand composition will erect a monument for eternity and that the grand plan will make him and his deeds immortal.

Again, Carlyle can only shrug at such a fixation on immortality. He explains that he had given Leone a chance of immortality back when he released his soul from the Witchoil, but he had refused his offer. Back then, he had thought that Leone had still some sense of honor left in him and that they had found a bit of common ground.

Leone returns that no one will ever be able to understand him or the Obscurati besides Kasvarina and Nicodemus, which is why the organization has to work from the shadows. We argue that apparently no one ever tried to contact King Aodhan and explain the Obs' ideas, so even if they had genuinely good intentions how could we know? We, again, remind him that Aodhan is a wise and unconventional monarch who agreed to listen to even unorthodox ideas.

But Leone doesn't want to hear anything about it. Instead, he continues trying to rub salt into our wounds as he states that at least he managed to erase that pest Alexander Grappa once and for all. The very same person who had done such horrible things as erasing dear Kasvarina's memories.

Finally, Auryn rolls her eyes at one too many mentions of Kasvarina, so she turns to Leone and looks him straight in the eyes.

“And you think that we're happy about Kasvarina's state of mind? In case you didn't notice, I, the woman you tried to kill multiple times, am her direct and last descendant. Her family. I care for her. Do you truly believe Kasvarina would have welcomed you with open arms had you succeeded? You know nothing about Elfaivar and the meaning of family, Cirsillyiri.”

(For a man as resourceful as Leone, failing to realize their connection felt really strange, that's for sure. I guess Tiz chose that lapse to let Leone go all out against Auryn without having to have any second thought)

For a quick moment, Leone gazes at Auryn as if he's finally drawing the connection between the two Eladrin women. Then he shakes his head and bites his lip.

“This changes nothing. You are still my enemy. And Kasvarina doesn't need someone as weak and indecisive as you.”

Auryn sighs in return, sensing that Leone has crossed the fanatic's threshold one too many times.

“Listen, I know that she means much to you. I truly believe that she'll regain her memories and her family will help her during this time of troubles. She will see that she is not alone.”

“And you are a fool to believe that Kasvarina will change her ways, her very nature. I still see her whenever I close my eyes, that magnificent woman. The strongest I've ever seen. No way she'd leave the path she has set to walk centuries ago. I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be able to see her again in her full glory.”

“Then we won't come to an agreement here. I believe in change and second chances. Mr. Carlyle offered you one out of respect and because of his beliefs that every spirit deserves freedom. Testamenta Suchdol offered you another one out of love and affection. You rejected both of them. You could have lead your second life in peace with your lover. But instead you simply returned to your place as an Obscurati henchman. I pity you, Leone Quintal.”

Auryn finishes her last sentence with a certain sense of melancholy and true pity in her otherwise clear voice. She had felt deep respect for Gabriel when he set his worst enemy free and was at peace with his decision even if she would have let Leone's soul rot in the Witchoil. She knew how much he had risked by reaching out to so many souls. And here they spoke to one of them and were met with such ingratitude that it hurt.

She continues to talk about Elfaivar and its people, who also tried to use their second chance to forge a new future. She weaves all of that into a vision where the nations of the south unite in a strive for freedom, peace and independence, thus creating a current strong enough to even drag Danor and Crisillyir with them. But this doesn't seem to overlap with Leone's vision of a “better future”, even if he doesn't wish to talk about it.

All in all, we realize that Leone and we are quite polar opposites as we continue to talk with Leone: While we are quite scrupulous, Leone has no qualms using Testamenta for his own gains, going so far as marrying her to secure her and her family's support, sees Borne (whom we regard as innocuous child in a colossus' body) as powerful tool for the Ob and believes in Nicodemus whom he calls omnipotent, whereas we'd prefer a “lent” power like that of the risuri monarchs.

As we are no monsters, we let Leone have a cup of wine and a bit of cheese (no bromaggio for him though, this one we'll keep for later) and continue our talk until he gets tired and falls asleep. As we expected, his body starts moving again shortly after and “Leone” greets us with a friendly, dizzy smile.

But this time, it is Grappa who's talking to us. The old man appears to be surprised to be back in the RHC so soon, but he's glad to see our faces once again. Grappa explains that he needed some time to adapt to his new existence at the edge of Leone's consciousness and says that he's quite sure that Leone didn't notice his presence until now.

We confirm his theory as Leone just bragged about having gotten rid of Grappa, so it seems as if his espionage skills have increased by a good amount. Grappa agrees and then tells us that he managed to take selected peeks into Leone's mind and found out that this guy is actually planning a grand Obscurati meeting at a secluded place. He quickly adds that the Obs being the Obs, they will make sure that this meeting will happen under extreme security conditions. Which is why sneaking into said meeting would be next to impossible under normal circumstances.

Still, he managed to find a way of getting us into this convention. If we're willing to utilize really ancient help that is. When we ask Grappa what kind of “ancient help” he'd have in mind, Grappa states that he just learned about an imprisoned, thousand years old Lich who's currently somewhere laying in the ice of Knütpara. A Lich who's known for his prowess in soul magic.

At first, we're very much shocked that a sweet, nice man like Grappa would even suggest a help like that, but we ask him to explain further. The Mind Maker goes on to explain that the Lich had been around during the peak of the demonocracy where he was highly regarded for his ability to transfer the souls of demons into mortals and vice versa. Then, Triegenes leveled the city to the ground by summoning a meteor from the sky and sealing off the ancient power with a divine seal.

(anyone else getting massive Sephiroth/Jenova vibes from this tale? Northern Ice? Summoned Meteor? Ancient civilization? All check. Well, I didn't really believe that Triegenes would turn out to be the big bad of this story, but that part set off so many alarm bells.)

Grappa then says that he already made contact with the Lich via sending and said Lich agreed to teach us his infamous ritual if we set him free in return. As our jaws drop at this mere suggestion, Grappa adds that while we'd have to release the Lich from his prison, we wouldn't necessarily have to not attack him on the spot. Which seems like a plausible, yet very much deceitful suggestion.

Normally I'd be a bit sad about missing out on a grand setpiece battle with hurled trains, but I like your team's ingenuity and spycraft.

Also, your GM has given Leone more screen time and personality, which I appreciate. I slightly regret not finding more ways to let the PCs have actual conversations with the villains, but that's hard with a secret organization.

Andrew Moreton

Interesting investigation, I was too soft on my players apparently as their investigation was much less complciated. although the Steelshaper gave them a viscous fight. They vary rarely use Anti-magic as they themselves use so much magic and a sad encounter with a dragon in a previous campaign has made them allergic to the spell.
Leone was not one of the easiest villains to talk to. Some of the other villains do manage to communicate a personality very well. Lya stands out as someone my group think may be the one leader of the On they can talk sense with


Yeah, we really tried to embrace the themes that make Zeitgeist unique as an AP: That being spies/agents and not "adventurers" and the idea of philosophical/ideological conflict. Which, of course, involves exchanging ideas.

So as characters, we usually tried to remove as much risk from the equation as possible. Sorry Leone ;)

We're also suckers for interesting, recurring villains. And Tiz knows that we're quick to ask someone for their motivation to see whether we could possibly win this person over to our side. See Ottavia. For Leone, he convincingly played him as a man who told himself one too many times that he's going to be on the right side of history. He's a Crisillyiri fed up with the system of oppression and sees himself as a noble man who's striving to be the right hand of a woman he adores. Which of course includes doing her dirty work. He conspires because he wants change and glory but isn't open-minded enough to compromise on how to achieve it. He tries to appear gallant when he's acting like an unscrupulous brute. Thus, he is utterly blind to his own flaws. one thing he has in common with Nicodemus, even if the latter is far more refined.

Regarding Testamenta, Tiz introduced her as a woman who craves the love of her childhood sweetheart to justify reviving him after we killed him in adventure 5. Having Carlyle pull out his soul of the Witchoil because of his beliefs (and because he wanted to talk to Leone one last time) was just a lucky coincidence.

Oh and for Nic, there will be one scene in adventure 7 that I'd define as maybe the defining moment for all characters involved, even though there will be backs and forths afterwards. For a more thorough analysis of his character, Carlyle and Auryn dissected some of his personality aspects in front of Kasvarina while climbing the Tower of God Kefka Triegenes.

And oh poor Lya. We actually talked about her fate OOC as Tiz said that she was highly intelligent and we had made some really good points in the adventures up to this point that would make her reconsider the Obs' actions. But he said that he opted against having her switch sides as he didn't want to A) use a previously unknown NPC as Lya's substitute and B) deal with the fact that the Obs would very much send every assassin out there to kill her as he mused that they would succeed before Lya had the chance to seek refuge in Risur.
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Andrew Moreton

My group has also largely taken onboard the role of being officers of the law. Manuel still prefers to arrest and take alive enemies , even when his more pragmatic colleagues feel that the matter has gone beyond the police roll and the opponents are not reasonable people.

I felt that prior to the events in Ber Lya's idealism was focused on the Ob and she truly believed that they had the best strategy to make a better world and if only the pc's had understood they would have defected to the Ob but she was forbidden from revealing the secrets that would persuade them. She was wrong of course and as events unfolded it is possible that the pc's could have convinced her to defect , unfortunatly though the events in Ber left her bound too tightly to Nicodemus so it is not possible for to defect , even if the pc's convince her of their righteousness the best she could manage is a brief rebelllion against the Ob before being brought to heel


Session 41 - At the icy end of the world

As Grappa slowly uses his grip on Leone and slips back to sleep, we retreat to our office and discuss the information we just got from the Mind Maker. First, we talk more about the divine seal and how we could possibly break something that had been forged by a man who would later become a god. We play a bit with magical theory and the magnitude of force that might be necessary for such a feat, then suddenly both look at each other with a wide grin as we remember that we just gave what's basically a huge magical cannon to Harkover Lee.

So we immediately cast a sending spell to the Principal Minister and ask to maybe lend the Eye of Yeref for a little while. Unfortunately, Lee replies that the eye seems too unstable to handle for a non-dragon and that even he has his troubles with the old Tyrant's legacy. He sounds a bit bitter as he basically just had to confess that Gradiax' mastery of the Eye is way beyond him. We still thank him for this information and agree to analyze the Eye once we'll have more time to spare.

(Carlyle also suggested that we'd keep in mind that we could theoretically resurrect Yeref with the Eye should we ever stumble across resurrection magic of Testamenta's caliber. Which would usually be a really bad idea but could work as a last resort plan against the Obs.

...and I guess “resurrecting Yeref” is on the same level of havoc as “waking up the Tarrasque”. Also, did you get that name from Zeref of Fairy Tail? Or is that just another coincidence?)

Next, we head to both the Archives and Pardwright Library to gather more information about Knütpara. We don't find much though and only learn that this might be a place in the Shawl mountains that had once been inhabited by a clan of giants who were disciples of the Demonocracy. But this info is based on little more than fairy tales and legends.

As we don't wish to rush into the unknown, we return to Leone/Grappa and try to get the Mind Maker to wake up once again as we need more first-hand information. Fortunately, Grappa returns to his senses and we ask him to contact the nameless Lich once again. After all, this all is part of a deal with the Lich, which means that the guy has some serious reason to get us to him in once piece.

Grappa is a bit surprised, but agrees for another mental exchange now that he knows he's safe in the RHC. So we let him cautiously out of the antimagic cell and let him perform his sendings. The Lich seems a bit amused that we'd use him as a navigation device, but Grappa manages to get some useful information from his contact: The Lich is located inside a cave in a glacial rift. He also mentions three towers which should be easy to spot: The Dragon Tower, the Outlook and the Elm Tower. Regarding the divine seal, he'd say that this should be some kind of nullification barrier.

We thank Grappa for his effort and bring him back to the antimagic cell. As we still got no clear image about the nature of the seal, we decide to take a closer look ourselves. But before we do that, we perform yet another round of information gathering on the Lich himself. By using really obscure sources, we find out that this guy was a frost giant himself who was no real member of the demonocracy (read: demon) but rather a profiteer who traded with magical service and information. He must have been quite rich and was addressed like a lord, but had tried to keep a low profile. This way, we deduce that this Lich just might have been some form of collateral damage when Triegenes summoned his meteor against Knütpara.

(we were pretty concerned that the Lich might have been the primary target and didn't want to risk setting an ancient demon lich lord free. After our encounter with Ashima-Shimtu we were really careful around anything remotely demonic)

As soon as we're sure that we won't just release an ancient evil feared by a god into the world, we agree to continue with Grappa's plan. So we teleport to Mirsk, the city closest to the Shawl mountains and continue our journey northwards from there. But before we head just out into the unknown, we visit the outskirts of Mirsk and ask the trappers and hunters from this area for directions. They direct us to small camps of their communities and explain that these folk occasionally trade goods with the frost giants to the north. So we follow their advice and buy some stuff the giants and the inhabitants of the encampments might be interested in (veggies, fruit, meat and grain). Oh and we also buy some cute woolly rhinos to ride and transport our wares.

It takes a while to travel through the cold lands of northern Drakr, but fortunately Margit is able to keep us warm with her weather and endurance spells. After a day, we reach one of the encampments and use our trading ambitions as an excuse for exchange. So while we offer the locals some of our wares and trade them for warm furs, we also ask them about legends of Knütpara as we are interested in meeting and trading with the giants. The hunters don't know much about giants, but lead us to their ancient fortune-teller who might know more about the dark legends of old.

Luckily, the old woman turns out to be both helpful and well-read and is able to provide us with some good hints on how to reach Knütpara safely. Still she warns us that the giants of Knütpara might be hostile to foreigners, unlike their simply wary kin who wander the northern wastes. She also mentions other “small strangers” who traveled into the same general direction a couple of weeks ago.

We guess that these guys might just be part of the Obscurati expedition Grappa mentioned and agree to be extra cautious as we don't know whether they and the giants would be allies or not. We also discuss the nature of Nicodemus and guess that he might have some kind of connection to the nameless Lich. After all, the soul transfer magic seems very similar to the possession ability of Nicodemus, at least on paper. Which could mean that Nicodemus might just be the soul of a powerful demon who is playing the very long game. A thought that makes us shiver despite Margit's spells.

So we follow the fortune-teller's instructions for two long days while relying on Margit's ever growing connection with nature to keep us safe from environmental hazards like sudden blizzards. Then, we finally find hints of habitation as we spot a giant patrol who are accompanied by what appear to be undead polar bears. We manage to avoid these guys, keep a low profile and follow their trail back to an icy gorge with three towers.

To avoid being seen, we turn invisible and proceed cautiously through the air. When we get closer to the rift's entrance, we spot some suspicious spears and find that they are emitting a magical aura. We examine them at a distance and discern that these must be alarm spears. Agreeing that these giants do have some well-developed security grid, we dispel those spears that are in our way and move deeper into the gorge.

This part of the rift is all tinted in a strange blue glow, which makes the area feel strangely peaceful and serene. A further examination reveals that there are several Wayfarer's Lanterns mounted to the walls of the rift which are emitting said light which also bears a planar signature. We're quite disturbed at the sight of so many lanterns, and even more so at the thought of the Obs' mastery of planar effects.

“Didn't think they'd have such a fast progress after we stole Luc's prototype” Auryn whispers while she's trying to examine the planar signature with the help of Gale's spell.

“Seems like someone has been busy making new ones. So much for our hope that Luc would slow down their progress.” Carlyle growls quietly.

As soon as we get that this blue light is quite harmless and simply connected to a pacifying effect, we open one of them and collect a sample of its blue fuel for later examination. Then, we sneak to the first junction in our path and hear voices of giants who appear to be singing songs. We sneak up to them and find a small group of giants sitting around a campfire in a giant cave. After watching them for a while, we do not find anything of value or interest with them, so we agree to leave them be. Oh and we spot that they got giant lice... which we avoid as well.

We move deeper into the gorge and find another junction. This time, we find a small cave with lots of clay jugs. Inside, we find lots of shards that appear to be harvested from meteors. Which seems only logical as soon as we spot a sign that reads “meteor deposit”. We guess that this might just be one of the Obscurati's main deposits for their original source of planar infused oil, so we decide to not let them continue using it.

After a short discussion, Carlyle gathers as much as his spell can carry and then teleports the jugs to his basement. He returns a minute later and repeats the process until all the jugs are safely stored in his home.

(With all that is stored, happened and will happen in his home, I'd really call that place your usual superhero hideout.)

After Carlyle is back for good, we move up the ramp to a level of higher elevation and find a giant open bathroom next to an iglu. Disgusted by the sight of giant excrement, we retreat from that place and move on to the three towers.

In the first of them, we find an inscription that reads “party” in abyssal and guess that this might have been a place where demons drunk their funky stuff or so. We also find some “loot” on the ground floor and guess that these items could have been placed there by the foreigners (read : the Obs). Besides a really old bottle of wine (guess who's interested in this find!), several coins, a golden candlestick and a ruby-clad mahagony board, we spot one newish looking rifle with an inscription. Taking a closer look, we see that this actually belongs to none else but Kvarty Gorbatiy!

We take the rifle to examine it a bit more and find that this is “Reason”, the diplomatic rifle and have a good laugh at the fitting name. But in the very same moment we're also worried that our dearest sniper might have gotten into big trouble again.

(Speaking of Reason... this is one hell of an item and we were quite sad to not being able to keep it. Because it would have been a perfect fit for our more diplomatic approach and this was a unique item, so no real chance of reproducing the effect. And no, stealing from Kvarty wasn't an option.)

So we keep an eye open for the dwarf all while being anxious that he might have found his “icy end” right here. On our way, we come across a giant patrol which Carlyle stabs out of reflex. We do our best to seat the poor dead guy in a corner where he's placed as if he's fallen asleep.

We continue and finally reach a room that looks very much like an Ob laboratory. The two researchers, Gangenwieck and Thornsenkertz look as surprised as we are at our sight and they immediately plead for their lives as the giants took them prisoner. Unfortunately, they don't know jack about what's actually going on in Knütpara and can only tell us that they were supposed to sample, extract and make experiments with meteor shards.

We tell them that we're not exactly on their team, but promise to rescue them from the evil giants. If they agree to tell us everything they know. So they tell us about the other Ob agent, a mage named Baldur who's been hired as a security. Regarding the Lich, they have never seen him, but Baldur warned them to never go closer to the icy wall this vile creature is trapped in.

Being content with their answers, Carlyle apologizes for his next move and then knocks them both out with the pummel of his kukris before placing both of them in the Absurdist's web.

(told you this thing was really heavensent. Rarely ever seen an item that universally useful. Also, are Gangenwieck and his friend a reference to Rosenkrantz and Güldenstern of Hamlet? You do know that they translate to “rosary” and “golden star”, right? :D)

Armed with this information, we go on a search for said Baldur and find him in the next tower. This blonde mage is accompanied by a faithful magic hound, but is nonetheless easily overpowered once we get into close range of him. We knock him out and briefly place him in the Web (to get rid of the hound) only to release him in a safe place, tie him up and interrogate him.

Being disconnected with the Ob for so long, Baldur appears to be quite talkative and willing to bargain for his life. He can tell us that there are prison cells down below where they keep 30 prisoners from Trekholm who were basically used as guinea pigs for their Lantern research project to examine the effects of different planar oils. Besides that, they were also quite useful for harvesting more meteorites.

“I see. And I don't really get what would separate the oh so 'honorable' Obscurati from the slavery of the demonocracy right now.” Auryn states, full of disgust on what she just heard.

Baldur replies that he's sorry, but we get that he's only paying lip service instead of feeling remorse. We also guess that there might be a connection to Zoltan, the dwarf who's been involved in the Drakran prisons and lighthouses and who met with Luc Jierre.

The mage also tells us about the true “boss” of Knütpara, a giant called the Khangitche who's usually hanging out in the lookout tower.

(This one we got initially wrong and thought he was a Khan whose name is Gitche)

Regarding Kvarty, Baldur tells us that yes, they found a dwarf of that name sneaking around the caverns. Who got caught and imprisoned, while his rifle was thrown into the “loot” chamber. This much info feels just enough for the moment, so we KO Baldur and place him in the web again. We then search his room more thoroughly and find egg shells of dragon eggs, dragon teeth and several books that refer to methods of raising dragons. So we really hope that we'll find no undead ice dragons with said Khangitche.


...they are not yet dead though ;)

Even if it would be a funny side-story to have a "Rosencrantz and Güldenstern are dead" like parody of Zeitgeist told from the perspective of all the minor NPC. Also, this series needs its own Cabbage Guy.

No spoilers, but I'm on the third season of Mr Robot, and there was a scene where law enforcement had a bulletin board with all the people involved in a cybercrime, and they'd totally missed the real deal of who was in charge and what was going on.


Session 42 - through fire and ice

We move to the ground level of the Dragon tower and find several giant runes carved into the ice. We examine them closely and understand that they were used for ancient meditation practices, but little more. Glad that we haven't accidentally stumbled into an ancient ritual site, we move on to the last tower.

On the ground level, we come across some dwarf skeletons who seemed to have found a refuge here. From their looks, we guess that these guys might have been slaves who managed to escape and hid inside the tower. Still they weren't able to escape this hell-hole of a city and died in their hideout. We spot a sleeping female giant on the upper level and agree to leave her be.

As we're pretty sure to have searched all of the towers by now with no Khangitche in sight, we decide to look for him in the places we've not been in yet: The Lich's icy prison and the place where they keep all the other prisoners.

So we move deeper into the gorge past the three towers and reach an icy lake with a connecting waterfall. We approach carefully and find another set of runes that's supposed to suppress frost-resistance magic. Which means that diving through the lake is very much off-limits.

(Not that we were in the mood to take an icy bath anyway)

We cautiously move around the lake and climb the slippery giant stairway behind the icy waters. Finally we spot caves with bars that serve as holding cells for the prisoners. All of them are illuminated in the same strange, blue, calming light from several Wayfarer's Lanterns. We silently take out the giant guard that watches the prison area and drag her into the Absurdist's Web.

Then we search for our missing Kvarty Gorbatiy and find him in one of the icy prison cells. The dwarf sniper is quite surprised to see us in this place at the icy end of the world, but he's also happy to see our friendly, familiar faces. We free him with a fire spell, melting his prison bars with the fire of Srasama. He's also very happy to see that we found his trusted rifle and even happier when we give it back to him.

Fondling the weapon with an earnest smile on his face, Kvarty tells us that he had been treasure hunting down these rifts only to be overwhelmed by the giants and locked up here. He had been working on an escape plan ever since, but those damn blue lights did make his head quite muddy. We explain that these Lanterns are being manufactured by the Obs, which only intensifies Kvarty's negative stance towards the conspirators.

We ask him a bit about Reason and Kvarty explains that this beauty was a custom-made bone rifle that has served him for a long time. He promises to tell us more about the process behind its creation as soon as we're all out of here. In reverse, we tell him about our mission to find the “undead mage” sealed away in ice. Kvarty doesn't know too much about this one, but he heard the “human mage” and the “giant chief” talk about better not getting too close to that frozen creep.

Margit and us discuss on how to proceed from now on. We agree that freeing the prisoners and getting them to safety will have priority, even if they are not part of our mission. Lich won't run away, we say, and have Kvarty's laughs on our side. Regarding the giants, Auryn insists that massacring an entire clan of giants wouldn't feel right at all, especially if they would most likely be simple mercenaries hired by the Obs.

“Think about it this way”, she says “at worst, this might be the giant's original home. The people of the camp near Mirsk told us that the giants are nomadic people, so maybe they returned to their home and made a deal with the Obs. They are savage, yes, but does that justify that us foreigners come to annihilate them? Simply because they're in the way?”

“You do know that they are complicit in the Obscurati's meddling here? Which includes experimenting on those poor prisoners.” Carlyle adds.

Auryn agrees that these giants are most likely not good people, but so were the industrialists in Flint and we surely didn't kill them either. To avoid bloodshed, she suggests that we might challenge the Khangitche to a duel and make him and his tribe let us do whatever we wish to. After all, the giants have no reason to keep the prisoners (they were brought here by the Obs), so a simple demonstration of strength might be enough to make them respect us.

Carlyle agrees that this is a valid plan, but the Khangitche might just ignore all sense of honor and order his people to attack us with full force. Because what would we know about the frost giants' culture anyway? He also agrees that if those giants are mercenaries, then they won't be overly loyal to the Obs. So maybe they might be easily bribed into making way. We also discuss using a disguise to poise as Obs reinforcements who are being sent to replace the two researchers, but see that we don't know enough about the Obs' plans to make this work seamlessly.

Then we got a flash of insight as we remember that we got one Obscurati henchman in our web that might just provide us with enough info to make either plan work. So we retreat to Kvarty's cell and carefully pull Baldur out of the Absurdist's web. We gag him first and explain our situation to the mage. Under the premise that we'll treat him fairly, he agrees to tell us more about the giants and the Khangitche Odul Chuvan.

Confronted with our plan for a challenge, Baldur agrees that this might work and he'd also agree to approach the Khangitche with our challenge, if we promise to defend him should things go south. We are positively surprised that our very first plan might just work, but Carlyle is not so easily convinced as he fears that the Obs' security wizard isn't simply trying to make us run into a deadly trap. Especially if he is both a coward and playing the pivotal role in said challenge.

So Auryn and Carlyle go a bit back and forth about whether or not to follow through with their plan until Auryn lowers her head and sighs uneasily.

“Then I'll make him do my bidding. As you already guessed, my powers are strong enough to force my will upon others.”

As Carlyle doesn't object, she then turns to Baldur and asks him for his consent in her domination while Auryn promises to release him once the Khangitche issue is settled.

(mind control is generally still a deep red flag for her. But Auryn agreed that making sure that Baldur wouldn't double-cross them and endanger everyone in the process would have priority. Especially if brutal combat would be the alternative)

So Auryn puppeteers Baldur towards the main hall of this icy caverns where the Khangitche and his people usually hang out. We follow him to the leader of the giant tribe who's accompanied by four guards and a death bear. Baldur properly introduces us as challengers who'd claim dominion over these frosty halls, so we'd challenge him to a duel. The Khangitche isn't really amused about our demand that he and his clan shall leave this part of Knütpara should we win, so he throws a bone and then points at one of his guard to smash our challenger to pulp.

To Carlyle's shock, Auryn takes a step forward and draws her rapier to meet the foaming giant in melee. She throws a powerfull fireball at her opponent, then takes a side-step to dodge the gients' initial attack. Two strikes later, the giant warrior lies flat on the ground.

“You should have chosen to fight me yourself. This one was an easy target. I'm not even sweating.” Auryn says calmly, locking eyes with the Khangitche.

A few moments and a couple of stares later, Khangitche Odul Chuvan seems to understand that we're actually both quite serious with our demand and generous enough to not simply slaughter him and his guards.

(Totally nailed that intimidation. Not taking a single hit from that giant surely did help as well. Also, after that episode Tiz was quite sure about what to do with a certain Hook)

We suggest that the giant clan might just move deeper into the depths of Knütpara as we're only interested in the upper caverns, including the prisoners. The Khangitche tries to keep his face by saying that the lower city will hold even more treasure than the towers, so we're basically fools for letting him venture deeper, but we just shrug it off. After all, treasure is not what we came for.

As soon as we're sure that the whole giant clan is on their way towards lower Knütpara, we free the prisoners and organize their return to their original homes – most of them stem from the area around Trekholm – via teleport. Kvarty accompanies the other dwarves and humans and thanks us for rescuing him and his kin. We also take our time to collect all the Wayfarer's Lanterns and their fuel so the Ob won't be able to salvage their items should they ever decide to return.

Then we turn to the wall where the Lich is sealed in ice. We see one giant undead who's apparently frozen in place and who doesn't seem to be able to communicate with us. But as soon as we place our hand on the ice (after we protected ourselves with various protection spells of course), the Lich's eyes start to glow and we hear his deep voice in our heads. We introduce ourselves and basically agree on the deal Grappa made with him: that we'll release him in exchange for his soul switching ritual.

In return, we hear an unsettling laughter that just sound as if the Lich's plans finally come to fruition. But before we can release him, he says, we have to undo the divine seal of Triegenes. When we ask him how we could possibly do that, the Lich suggests that we'd find a sympatheticum of Triegenes, something that's still imbued with the man-god's presence.

“As for where you'd find such a trinket? Why don't you ask the lady of the forked tongue? She knows everything. At least that's what she claims.”

Then the Lich laughs again as he realizes that the prison of Ashima-Shimtu is possibly one of the last places we'd ever wish to return to.


Dark Omens

So it seems as if it is time to pay the Crypta one more visit. We remember that our last visit required the weight of both Ottavia and her summoned celestial, so taking Margit and none else with us wouldn't be sufficient. And as Flying Spark is leaning towards the featherweight class as well, we agree that we'd better ask for someone else's help. Someone who's really heavy and tall. So it might be the right time to ask out Andrei von Recklinghausen again.

We take Margit and return to Flint via teleport and then pay Auryn's old home a visit. But when we ask Isobel about Andrei's whereabouts, the young Eladrin seems both worried and scared as she hasn't seen him for a while. She explains that while it is not too uncommon for Andrei to work overtime and sometimes even for a couple of days without coming back home, he never outright disappeared without any notice.

We comfort Isobel and say that this might just be a case of miscommunication which we may easily solve by sending Andrei a sending spell to check up on him. But to our surprise, we don't get an answer on our friendly greeting. Carlyle reassures Isobel that Andrei might simply be sleeping or blocked off by something, so he uses a short ritual to discern our friends' location. But once he has finished his ritual, Carlyle strokes his beard in confusion as he cannot locate Andrei at all.

Needless to say that this worries Isobel even more and the thought of not knowing where her love might be brings tears to her eyes. Auryn wraps her arms around her young friend and tries to comfort her by guessing that Andrei might have just been involved in a secret project. After all, he made quite the impression in Ber and we'd mentioned him positively in our report.

We still head to the next police office to report Andrei von Recklinghausen as missing. And while Carlyle does his best to reassure Auryn that Andrei will most likely have caught the attention of Risuri officials who might use him as a highly proficient worker, Auryn replies that she really has a bad feeling about that as Andrei values Isobel and being close to her more that he'd value any prospect of payment.

(Oh how right she was... Andrei missing without a trace was the perfect foreshadowing for what would happen at the ObsCon)

Still we don't have time to conduce a proper search for Andrei right now, as the Obscurati gathering will happen very soon and we still haven't made too much progress regarding the nameless Lich. We empty our Absurdist's web at the RHC and release Baldur, as well as the two researchers to the care of our fellow agents. Regarding Baldur, we hand them a report on his cooperativeness and release him from the domination spell.

So we travel to Odiem without Andrei and take Margit with us instead. When we enter the Crypta, we find out that this place has changed quite drastically. As soon as the main gate closes behind us, we are in a large hall with seven small alcoves containing seven chalices which represent the deadly sins. We discuss how this change might have occurred and assume that this, being a structure meant to contain the most powerful and wicked of corrupted souls and even demons, could just be another level of security. After all, the version we visited last time had some dimensional tricks as well.

So we guess that we have to play by the Clergy's logic once again and examine the hall more closely. We find more alcoves and several magical items secured by force fields: a golden chain, a sword, a demonic judicial codex and an ivory helmet. As we didn't come for the shinies and these are obviously no elfaivaran artifacts, we let the items be and proceed with our investigation. We find a beautiful mosaic of the Crisillyiri crest and symbols of the Clergy on a ledge, and also spot a suspicious, strange globe of darkness at the ceiling in the back of the room.

Auryn decides that this crypt has had enough darkness already and summons the holy light of Srasama to banish the globe. Only to be shocked to see what had been hidden behind these dark veils: An angel, tormented beyond recognition, hanging from chains and screaming in anguish. After the initial scream, she starts muttering mostly incomprehensible words, but we get that she's trying to warn us to not believe a word from Ashima-Shimtu's mouth and should rather listen to the voices inside our hearts.

Carlyle tries to relieve the angel of her pain by casting a levitation spell and asks her for her name. After a while, she seems to understand that question and we get that she's called Linia. Carlyle remembers that name vaguely as he once read about an angel by this name who helped Triegenes found the Clergy and combat the demonocracy. She also advocated the priests to follow a path of humility and forsaking splendor, but disappeared some time after Triegenes' death.

As we don't know whether Linia is being kept her due to her being corrupted, Carlyle calls for the memory of the chains that bind her. First, he watches a scene where Testamenta enters the room, looks at Linia and then casts the darkness at her and the chains as if she's trying to hide the angel. Then he sees Miller and Kasvarina as they unsuccessfully try to break Linia's chains with all their powers. The next scene very much breaks his heart as he witnesses the torture of Linia at the hands of the Clergy Hierarch who had the Crypta built and then sees how she was chained up and hung on the ceiling. The last and oldest vision shows him how the chains were forged and ritually empowered to become the powerful artifacts we see now.

(Yeah, Testamenta is just that kind of ruthless b****)

He tells Auryn and Margit everything he saw in his visions and they are as disturbed by his tales as he is. Even more so as he adds that Linia's disappearance might have been the justification for the first great war against the Elfaivaran empire.

“After hearing all that, I don't know if the Clergy has any redeeming qualities left. So much for defeating the demonocracy... only to replace its reign of terror with something similarly wicked.” Auryn comments with utter disgust and Carlyle doesn't see any reason to object.

Despite the fact that we just saw Kasvarina and Miller (both whom we know to be really powerful people) try to break the chains with no success we still try again and again with everything we have: from trying to cure Linia with a heal spell to breaking the chains with magic to using antimagic and brute force. Meanwhile, Linia begs us to end her torment and kill her already.

After what feels like endless tries, Carlyle takes a deep breath and says “Maybe this is our only option if we want to show her mercy. To end her tormented existence. Even if I know that you won't like it.”

Auryn shakes her head in return. “No, I understand and I agree. Even if every fiber of me wishes there was another way.”

So Carlyle focuses on the divine spark of Srasama inside him and begs her to channel her essence through him and take everything she needs to end Linia's suffering. And, like a divine miracle, the mother seems to answer his call. Energies swell up inside Carlyle, enveloping him in divine fire. This creates a resonance in Auryn, thus evoking the maiden aspect, allowing her to channel her own power through him. The conjunction of both maiden and mother create a powerful flow of divine energy through Carlyle, a flow that manifests in one ray of holy fire that utterly consumes Linia and leaves no trace of her existence.

Carlyle falls onto his knees, ready to collapse every second. But instead he hears a familiar whisper in his mind: “Thank you for letting me free her”

Auryn helps him back on his feet, but this act of mercy cost him quite a lot.

“I'm sorry, I won't be of much help for a while. I gave her all I had. But I couldn't just let Linia... hang there. To be honest, I've never seen such a horrifying act in my entire life.”

Auryn then wraps her arm around Carlyle's shoulder and states that this was the right thing to do and that she's thankful that Srasama lent both of them her power. Still she disagrees with that Carlyle being of no help idea as he's so much more than his magic or his connection to her goddess.

(So as you can see, Tiz found an excuse to bring us to the adventure 4 version of the Crypta Heraeticorum ;)

Ah yes, Linia... the final straw we needed to see the Clergy for the despicable machinery controlled by power-hungry hierarchs that it is. Auryn and Carlyle both knew too well that they saw every “other” people not like them as potential demons, but taking one of their own heroes, the companion of Triegenes himself and torture her over centuries until there was nothing left of her is on a wholly different level. Blaming her disappearance on the Eladrin to start a war was only the icing on the cake.

Which.. also led at least Auryn to the belief that maybe the whole “summoning of Srasama” had merely been a trick of the Clergy to eradicate their hated neighbors once and for all.

All in all, we agreed that this Clergy wasn't really different from the demonocracy Triegenes had given his life to abolish. Which might also mean that the Hierarchs and high-ranking Clergy turning into Tieflings could very well be the death curse of their goddess.

Also, wasn't it quite ironic that those Crisillyiri who seemed to know honor and morale were also considered criminals?

Regarding Linia specifically, we did everything we could to try and save her. Auryn especially wanted her to survive at any cost as she'd be a potential powerful witness for the Clergy's atrocities past and present. Still showing Linia mercy had been more important than any long-term political strategy. And they were both thankful that Srasama listened to their pleas.

Oh, and there are the parallels between Miller/Kas and Carlyle/Auryn again. Even if their individual roles and traits are somewhat mixed up, but this will become way clearer after the ObsCon. Right now, it is pretty straightforward with Carlyle → Miller due to his Crisillyiri background and his connection to spirits and Auryn → Kasvarina with everything regarding Elfaivar, the Vekeshi/revenge theme and the loss of a family member as motivator. But I think you can guess who's going to end up with a certain artifact)

Andrew Moreton

The corruption of the upper ranks of the clergy does seem to be a theme, from pretty much after Triegenes death until the present Even Nicodemus can't manage to be wrong about everything and his dislike of the clergy seems to be one of the few times he is right,
There are two clergy members my pc's got on with at all and they killed one of them The deaf oracle from the train is a genuine good person who happens to serve the Ob and the Clergy, and Vitus Sigismund they respected for being honest, incorruptible and opposed to the Ob, if only his zealousness had not cracked into fanatical insanity.
Poor Linia mercifully put to death by Carlyle, and the Reaper in my campaign she does not often seem to get rescued.


From our point of view, Nic is right about many issues regarding Lanjyr, it is his methods that are often wrong or simply ruthless and his decisions seem unwise or too impulsive at some points. really looking forward to that one scene in adventure 7 when this finally starts to surface :)

Regarding Linia, Tiz made it really clear that there was nothing we could have done to rescue Linia. Maybe a miracle could have helped, but that was simply beyond our power. And from a GM's point of view, I can understand that as she could have been a political game changer in our campaign...

Remember that angel that made you go to war? Yep, your own hierarch imprisoned her because she wouldn't let him walk his path of corruption and greed. And she's more than willing to tell you all about what happened back then. I can easily see a Martin Luther effect should Linia spill the beans on Crisillyir.

Andrew Moreton

Rescuing Linia for my group was not something they could do when they first got here and they left her planning to rescue her in the future, then when they came back they were 19th level and could provide a Miracle if needed , but they could sidetracked by rescuing Ashima-Shimtu and let Hexeropheol the Reaper deal with her.
Then regretted it during the God Trials when she would have been a great witness for theur case.

Nicodemus does have sound principles , just the longer he has been dead the more he strays from them and the more he starts using the Ends to Justify the Means

I've been working on the Crisillyir section of the new setting book, which takes place twenty years after the adventure path, and it's been fund to ponder the fallout of the God Trials and the general lack of a hierarchy to keep the old corruption in place. In many ways this just means new corruption, but it also gives chances for people who were devout and believed the dogma to actually rise to positions where they can try to live up to it, without entrenched politics limiting them.

Then, of course, there are the fascists who are coming to power because the God Trials let out demons and such, and many people just want stability and security.

I've tried to minimize the importance of adventure path NPCs who might have fought PCs. Sure, probably only 5 GMs will run all of The Gears of Revolution and then decide to run another campaign in the setting, but I may as well reduce the ways they have to rework things.

So Ottavia does get a small mention as being the liaison between the heavenly hosts that have taken up the Isle of Odiem as their bastion. The angels can't get back to the rest of the multiverse, so they commit themselves to hunting and imprisoning all the various fiends that escaped during and after the God Trials. Ottavia's job is to meet people who want help from the angels and, most of the time, tell them sorry, the angels don't take sides in mortal affairs.


The Architect

We let everything we just witnessed sink in for a while before we continue to examine the Crypta and its content. We start with the five objects on display. The first one is a mere collection of judicial text and doesn't seem to harbor any more secrets. Still we believe that understanding the logic and system of the demonocracy might come in handy someday, so we take it with us for later study. The ivory helmet works as translating device for the demonic language, another object that could be of use should it not be cursed. The golden chain is nonmagical, but it nonetheless reminds us of the depictions of the golden legion we saw on the Ziggurat of Apet.

We really don't understand why these items would be considered dangerous enough to be kept in the Crypta, but joke that maybe the Crisillyiri deemed the minds of their own to be so fragile that they'd be corrupted by merely looking at relics of old.

(That belongs in a MUSEUM! We sincerely regretted not bringing the Dr. Meredith/Flying Spark team with us)

What is cursed though is the sword of remorse, which would impale a random person as soon as its wielder would put it away. We handle it very carefully after it tried to stab Carlyle, but keep it nonetheless as it might come in handy should we ever wish to cause a commotion among our enemies or so.

The last object is the one that truly draws our attention as it turns out to be the first spellbook of Giovanni the painter. It appears to be of the more illustrative kind and, on a closer look, reveals a pocket dimension inside. As soon as we open the book, a cat jumps right out of it and introduces himself as Augunn, familiar of Giovanni.

All three of us look at each other in confusion and Carlyle whispers that this Giovanni had been a notorious legend even before his childhood, but he disappeared someday never to be seen again. So that guy would have been long dead as he was most likely a regular human. Still, should Augunn truly be his familiar, then this would mean that he'd be still alive.

So we turn to Augunn and introduce ourselves as visitors who don't know about Giovanni's whereabouts either. The cat appears to be both cocky and courteous, so we treat him like the intelligent little kitten that he is. Augunn welcomes our company with a nice purr, but he also warns us that he knows how to handle his claws and that the last visitor who mishandled him had to pay for his transgressions. Then he paws in the general direction of the dead body we found in front of the spellboook's pedestal. We agree that he may accompany us as we'd be interested to learn more about Giovanni's true fate as well.

Before we leave the room, Auryn takes a last look at the other wall, depicting the seven virtues of the Clergy.

“How strange...” she says “... I can see no fault in these virtues, still I've yet to see a Clergyman who'd embody them.”

Or a Clergywoman who isn't also a member of the Obscurati”, Carlyle adds with a short laugh.

We then place all of the exhibits in the Web and continue to the next room. Auryn is the first one to cross the portal and disappears all of a sudden as soon as she sets foot into the other room. Within a second, she finds herself chained with holy golden chains to a pyre of books that's set aflame the moment she appears. After a sudden shriek of surprise, she remembers the story of Miller's death and sees a forced atonement written on the ceiling above her.

“You crazy fanatics, I will not yield to your corrupted vision of righteousness. And neither am I William Miller. I will not fuel your flames!”

Meanwhile, Carlyle and Margit hurry after her and realize that all of their gold items have been turned to lead. Fearing that Auryn may just suffer a tragic fate if they don't intervene, they rush forward and exchange a few words with their comrade. This way they get that Auryn's chains may very well be ineffective as they cannot possibly be made from real gold.

“Use the dreampath! There is no gold in this room!” Carlyle shouts before literally stumbling into a group of pyromaniac dretches. He leaves the demons behind though as making sure that his comrade is saved from the Clergy's cruel trials is the more pressing issue. As soon as they arrive at the pyre, they find Auryn next to the pyre, strained with soot, while she's trying to put out the flames. Margit helps her with her water conjuring and the fires die in no time.

As soon as the dust has settled and the three are reunited, we hear a feminine demonic laughter from afar, followed by a familiar voice: “So, you've come to bring back the light to poor, poor Ashima-Shimtu? Still you stole her pretty doorbell, pah. Let's see if you can undo what the nastywoman Testamenta has done to me. I've heard that you are no friends of hers”

“Quit playing games, demon. We didn't come for you, and we also didn't 'steal' Linia. We gave her the mercy she asked for”

“Uh, I see”, she cackles, “you've finally found the pride of your people and put away that unfitting fear of your inevitable doom, my dear descendant of Kasvarina. Interesting.”

Then Ashima-Shimtu goes quiet again. Auryn then tries to leave the thoughts of doom behind and tells her comrades how she ended up chained to a stake like Miller. She curses the Clergy again and then tries to find any salvageable texts, but finds none that are still intact enough. We continue searching the room and stumble across the Dretches again who are busy munching books or what's left of them.

As soon as they see that we're still around, they charge at us. Carlyle shreds the first one of them and the fleshy mass turns to black smoke as if some sort of demonic soul left its body. It tries to enter Carlyle's lungs, but he rejects it. Margit then immediately seals off any further attempt to possess us with a magic circle. We understand that slaying the fiends will cause more trouble than it's worth, so we knock the others out, tie them up and let them be.

We then search the room more thoroughly and see another pedestal marked with the inscription “scroll of the gods” and find that it had once been warded off with a powerful spell. Which means that someone powerful must have broken the seal.

“Guess we know now where Testamenta got her artifact of resurrection from”, Carlyle says and the other two agree to this deduction.

We venture deeper into the Crypta and are attacked by invisible rust monsters all of a sudden. They manage to hit Auryn who feels as if the blood in her veins is starting to corrode which is really not a pleasant sensation. As soon as she realizes that these critters must be invisible, Margit purges their invisibility and we end them quickly. We find two golden eggs with them and decide to keep them for further research or use. Also, there is one cursed staff of negation which will slowly end its wielder if he doesn't break it in time and we guess that the resulting backlash would easily cause the biggest explosion of magic since the Malice. Of course, we stow it away as well.

(Right now I think that we got so many relics and items that could be potentially used for mayhem that we could easily start a war somewhere... We didn't use too many of these in the campaign, but oooh the potential. Yep, we're basically horders. But you were the one who gave us the Absurdist's web...)

We then enter a tunnel which appears to be one giant loop of infinity as we see one headless statue and a corresponding head that keeps rolling through the loop-shaped corridor. We stop the head and try to re-attatch it, but the lever next to the statue fails to respond. So we go looking for another path and curse Testamenta for her destructive nature.

We soon find a room filled with more cursed souls where we find a dead body wearing a cursed cyclops helmet. Now this one we don't really wish to use and proceed deeper into the room where we find one man who's whimpering in anguish as he appears to be perpetually trapped in a pyre. We approach him cautiously and try to explain him that we're not here for more punishment but that we'd wish to help him get free instead.

At first he's skeptical, but when we assure him that we are neither Clergy nor friends of them, he confesses that he's Enis Adolini, the very man who built this Crypta. We briefly ask him why the Clergy would imprison a fellow faithful man like him who did them a grand favor, but find the obvious answer the moment we utter the question: The Clergy wanted to hide their secrets. Even if that meant to imprison and torture yet another innocent man for eternity.

We ask him about what happened here so we may have a bigger chance of actually freeing him from his torment and he explains that he's been bound here for over 800 years now. We ask him about other visitors and Signore Adolini tells us that there were two others, just like us, who tried to free him: Kasvarina and a young cleric named Miller. Miller, he says, was one generous and benevolent man who was both kind and clever when it came to his situation. Kasvarina on the other hand was more resourceful and impatient at first, but she also did her best to free him, and it was him who insisted to be left in peace.

Regarding Linia, he doesn't know much about the angel, but he guesses that she'd become a nuisance for the Hierarchs. He also shares a secret spell with us: “No lime tangere fraetis saepiam fide nobilis”, and explains that we should use that to call out to the skeletons of the holy brothers so they'd know that we're on their side.

We then go back to the story of Miller and Kas and ask Enis Adolini why he would send his best hope for freedom away. To which the man replies that he really doesn't wish to unleash “the monster” onto the world again.

“Which monster? We can see none.”, we reply.

This is when Adolini's face twists and something else starts to speak with his voice. Bit by bit, his face transforms into the hideous figure of an ice devil and it appears as if this devil is imprisoned inside Adolini's body.

“Yesss, free us. We deserve freedom. We will make the Clergy pay for what they've done. Isn't that what we all want?” the devil says with an all too pleasant, velvety voice.

We agree very much surprised by this turn of events and agree that the Clergy has done some horrible deeds worthy of punishment, but letting a devil roam free in our lands is the last thing we'd want. Else we'd already freed Ashima-Shimtu as well. The devil replies that he doesn't intend to stay in this cursed and boring realm either as he longs to reunite with his kin in hell. We insist that should we ever consider freeing him, he'd have to leave Adolini's body and make sure that the man remains unharmed in the process. A suggestion that the devil accepts and he also suggests using the rod of negation to cancel the pyre.

We laugh quickly at this suggestion as we'd rather not die a slow and painful death, but we'd surely find another way. Then Carlyle takes Auryn aside as he's having second thoughts and isn't really comfortable with letting a devil roam free just to save one man.

“Listen, I know that this man suffers. But he knows as well as we do that keeping this creature contained is worth it. Even if it was forced upon him. There is a reason why he sent Miller and Kasvarina away. The demonocracy is the worst reign of tyranny that could ever happen to Lanjyr and I don't want it by any chance repeated.”

To which Auryn shakes her head calmly.

“I think that this innocent man has suffered enough. You Crisillyiri surely have a habit for self-sacrifice, I know. But I disagree about the demonocracy. From my point of view, the Clergy after the death of Triegenes is the worst that happened to these lands. And it is still around. Let Adolini have his peace. And maybe he and his knowledge can help us shed light onto the atrocities of this regime. We can handle one devil, don't you think?”

The two of them argue back and forth for quite a while and the Gelugon seems highly amused at the argument. After a while, Auryn and Carlyle agree to free both devil and man if the Gelugon promises to leave Adolini's body for good and swears that he'll never harm either Risur of Elfaivar. To this the devil would gladly agree, but as soon as we're ready to examine the pyre, Carlyle intervenes.

“Stop. Just a second. I think I found a loophole. What if he tries to free Ashima-Shimtu. She isn't bound to our contract.”

“You cannot simply add more layers of ifs and whens to our agreement, human. Maybe I do like this body after all...”

So the argument starts anew. This time, it appears as if Carlyle is really terrified of the thought of one free Ashima-Shimtu in the world while Auryn is far more fearful of the Clergy and what they could do if left unchecked. Carlyle argues that if one would have all the knowledge, ambition and power of prophecy that Ashima-Shimtu has, then this could upset the entire world. Auryn finally agrees that the demoness is one big, dangerous wild card and so we settle on a compromise: The devil will not try release Ashima-Shimtu for 100 years and we will seek for a means for him to return to hell. After all, this could be Ashima-Shimtu's ultimate goal as well.

(And yep, this argument took a really long time.)


The blade of the maiden

We walk down yet another strange corridor and reach an entrance to a room guarded by two soldiers clad in leaden sashes and jewelry. The two call themselves members of the leaden legion and we quickly put one and one together and conclude that these guys must have something to do with the golden legion - that name is just too obvious. We guess that they, too, must have had their golden items turned to lead and ask them to talk to their leader to find out more about this group.

The two agree as we're just looking like promising recruits and so they introduce us to a bearded devil called Belcamp. We're surprised to find yet another devil in here, but decide to gather all the information we can get on these new rooms. Belcamp appears to be quite the cocky and self-confident one and he mentions that he is in an open feud with Giovanni and his allies which is why he could need helping hands dealing with this pest. So if we wish to join the Legion, we better gather information about Giovanni so Belcamp may take the painter's territory for himself.

We're not really keen on joining the devil, but play along to gain his trust for now. Especially as we suddenly hear screams of a high and strong pitch. We ask Belcamp what's going on and where these screams might come from and the devil simply refers to an ally of Giovanni that's currently his “guest”.

Being both intrigued and alarmed, we fake that we might lend him our help in interrogating said guest as we know quite a bit about this subject. Belcamp is a bit surprised that mortals like us might be interested in interrogation, but he agrees that we might see the prisoner if we prove that we're more than just words. So we show him the rust monster antennae as proof of our prowess. The devil is quite impressed as these monsters were harassing his troops before, so he allows us to enter his “prison”.

Said place is nothing more than a separate area in the large hall of the Crypta. Inside, we see a couple of dretches who are trying to torture a lillend. Then, we suddenly hear ancient Eladrin songs and spot one giant sword mounted to a wall. Both Carlyle and Auryn exchange surprised gazes and they both instinctively realize that this must be one of the six blades of Srasama.

To assess both lillend and sword further, we dismiss the dretches and claim that this work should better be done by professionals, so off with you. As soon as the little buggers are out of hearing range, we turn to the lillend and quietly explain that we're not here to torment her, but to help her get free. She appears to be relieved even if the dretches wouldn't be able to cause much pain and she faked the screams anyway. She introduces herself as Somnia, a friend of Giovanni.

Somnia explains that she got a bit too curious while wandering around these halls, and she was caught by the Legion when she wasn't as cautious as she should have been. We promise that we'll get her free, but this would need some more play-along on her side. Our plan, we explain to her, would be to fake torturing her even more until she finally agrees to lead us to Giovanni's sanctum. We'd promise Belcamp to massacre Giovanni and his minions, but would instead lead her “home”.

Somnia is grateful for our help and agrees to scream as best as she can. After making quite the impression on Belcamp this way, we tell the devil that we broke Somnia to the point that she'd lead us to Giovanni's hideout and introduce us as her friends, which will obviously lower their guard. But, we add, we're also interested in a trade: One hellish relic for a religious eladrin sword. The devil shrugs as no one can handle the oversized sword anyway, so he could care less for one fewer wall decoration. So we exchange the Blade for the ruby-clad tablet of Knütpara we found along the way.

We then let the sword's song guide us back until we're both directly in front of it. Then, Carlyle feels strangely drawn towards the blade and he reaches for it with his hands. The very same moment his fingers touch the weapon, the blade shrinks, then liquefies and merges with his two kukris. Carlyle is very much surprised by this, but feels strangely renewed as the maiden aspect of Srasama calls to him for the first time.

He takes a moment to get in touch with this younger voice, then turns to Auryn as if trying to apologize.

“I hope you're fine with this. Me accepting one of your people's most holy relics.”

Auryn shakes her head in return, carrying a disarming smile on her lips.

“No need for explanations. She wants to be whole and it is her blade. Why would I ever envy my goddess?”

Carlyle seems satisfied with that answer, so he accepts this new gift without further questions. We then leave the interrogation room with Somnia and plan to enter Giovanni's territory. Before we leave this place, we ask the leaden legionnaires whether they are affiliated with the demoness known as Ashima-Shimtu. To which the men reply that they do respect her on paper, but never dared to enter her domain.

Session 43 - Pictures of you

We let Somnia guide us through the corridors of the Crypta to the rooms where Giovanni and his people reside. On the way there, she tells us that we should put away our weapons as they may turn against us. So we put them into our interdimensional bags, which seems to impress the lillend.

Somnia leads us past a three-dimensional carpet with one deep shaft and we're quite astonished by this kind of craftsmanship. Carlyle even calls this one “really deep art”, a pun which gains him a heartfelt laugh from Somnia, Auryn and Margit.

We then come to a room with one big set of armor on display. Somnia explains that this one is called the Hilde Guard and that she's guarding her room with great ferocity. She then points to several other wicked looking weapons who'd join Hilde should anyone dare to try invade the realms of Giovanni. She then utters a passphrase and we hear a deep, feminine voice welcome the lost lillend back. Only to ask about her companions the next second.

“These three are friends, Hilde. They freed me from imprisonment in Belcamp's lair. Let them pass, please.” Somnia says, almost singing to Hilde. This seems to calm the armor and we may enter the realm of Giovanni freely.

(Sweet naming choice. For a fan of FF9, Hilde brings up all kinds of weirs associations, as Hilda Garde is the name of three airships, named after Queen Hildagarde/Lady Hilda who transformed her husband into several creatures because he had an affair. There is also the famous Hildegard of Bingen, but she was an abbess, not a warrior. And yeah, the name basically means “war” and “protection”, so... more than fitting for a magical suit of armor)

As soon as we open the door to Giovanni's place, we find ourselves in the middle of a giant party and are quite surprised that some people are actually able to celebrate in such a dark and desperate place. When the first guests notice Somnia, they flock to the lillend and welcome her back, embracing her and singing songs of joy. We dive deeper into the crowd while Somnia introduces us as her saviors and friends who managed to trick wicked Belcamp. This draws everyone's attention to us and suddenly we're bombarded with questions and invitations to what appears top be more private parties inside enchanted paintings.

We politely decline the private invitations, but answer all other questions with honesty. As soon as we get the chance, we then ask about the mysterious painter, Giovanni, as we got someone with us who misses him dearly: Augunn, his cat familiar. The party-cipants tell us that Giovanni never leaves his painting, but if we're looking for him then we'll find him near the pious mount that he calls the “altar of love”. As soon as someone mentions said altar, another reveler suggests that we might just take our turn on said altar as Giovanni wishes to constantly watch at least two people having sex with one another.

Needless to say that Carlyle is both baffled and distraught by the mere thought. And now that he's heard about the altar, he finally gets where these strange, muffled moans must be coming from...

We agree that we should probably speak to Giovanni as soon as possible, but find that the revelers still seem to enjoy our company. So Auryn volunteers to give a spontaneous dance performance to draw the attention upon her while Carlyle uses his special skill of “party maneuvering” to get to the pious mount.

He ignores the two naked bodies next to him as good as possible and finds Giovanni, one titan of an old man, inside a gigantic painting.

(As disgusted as Carlyle might be by this public sex show, he's kind of used to such sights as he has served many different Vantrys Lords and Ladies over the centuries. Some of which had fetishes of all kind and who needed someone to discreetly clean up any messes. So he's also mastered the art of biting his tongue and moving on professionally.)

“Move away, boy. You're blocking my view.”, the painter grumbles, before taking a closer look at Carlyle and, on a second thought, finds him just as attractive as the usual display of carnal activities.

Carlyle greets the painter and immediately mentions that he's quite astonished to find that Giovanni, this legend, is still alive today. He then tells Giovanni about Somnia and our task and asks the painter why he'd never left this cursed place along with his guests as there are places of much greater beauty. Giovanni gets upset by this question and it appears that the man is somehow trapped inside his own painting. And not watching other people party hard and making love is the only joy that's left for him. But that's not too bad, he explains, as being inside the painting gives him god-like powers in his own little domain.

“Yet you'll never truly feel another person's touch again if you just stay in there. All you can do is watch and imagine.”

“I can do so much more than that! They didn't get me and you won't either!” Giovanni shouts all of a sudden and in a short fit of rage, he hurls a lightning bolt in front of Carlyle's foot. Which doesn't really impress Carlyle too much.

“I see, I hit a nerve there. Now tell me, Giovanni, if you had the choice: won't you rather taste the sweet melons of Alais Primos with your own tongue? Smell the locks of the person you loved the other night after waking up in the morning? Feel the soft skin of the lady you're dancing with on your own? The world has become so different and exciting over the centuries and I bet you wish to experience it.”

“Don't you tease me!” Giovanni replies, but he lowers his head as if to say that, yes, he would love to be outside as long as it is safe for him.

A few moments later, Auryn finally manages to make her way through the crowd and reunites with Carlyle and Margit.

“Sorry that it took me so long. But they wouldn't let me leave unless I promised everyone of them a 'romantic adventure' and now I got this... love-card I guess? But I made sure that you're the first one on my list, so no worries”, Auryn chuckles while pointing to the long list of names written on a sheet of paper.

Carlyle and Margit quickly tell her about Giovanni, and Auryn tells the painter that he's just one of many innocents who were falsely imprisoned here by the Clergy. She then retrieves Giovanni's spellbook from her bag, opens it and releases Augunn who is really glad to see his master once again. So Auryn promises to reunite spellbook, familiar and painter once we find a way to break the seal on Giovanni's painting and Giovanni becomes even more enthralled with the idea of venturing to the outside world once again. He allows us to examine his painting to maybe find out what the clergy had done to seal him away and find that these are merely permanent wards that could be dispelled with standard magic.

So we remove the seal and hand Giovanni his spellbook the moment he sets his foot outside after so many centuries. His mortal body is that of a human man, not a towering giant, but he seems to have remained a lot of his vigor. Then we discuss the matter of Belcamp since we promised the devil that we'd bring him Giovanni's head. We suggest that Giovanni might just paint a version of his head so we may fool Belcamp, but guess that this would make the devil try invade this vault.

So we go for a different route: As we learned how to escape the Crypta from Enis Adolini, we'd offer Giovanni and his party people to bring them outside to the island of Odiem. This way, Belcamp could technically “invade” the artist's wing (even if he'd have to be able to get past Hilde first) while Giovanni and company would be free. Giovanni is impressed by our logic and agrees, as long as his friends are in for the plan.

We also chat a bit about previous visitors and learn that both Kasvarina and Miller had been here before, but they had ignored him and his paintings. Regarding the “red haired beauty” Testamenta, he wasn't able to convince her to stay with him either, but he sensed that she must have brought something with her that changed the Crypta's magic. Something which upset “the serpent at the end of the path”

So we head back to Belcamp and his leaden legion as the ritual to get Giovanni and company out involves visiting six pious mounts, including the one in the legion's room. We tell Belcamp that we didn't want to kill the famous painter, but we'd compromise on letting the legion invade the room after the party people left the place. Which would result in a win-win situation for all involved parties. Unfortunately, Belcamp insists to have Giovanni's head and the moment we tell him that he'd have to fight us to get close to the painter, the devil attacks us and orders his men to aid him.

This doesn't end too well for Belcamp as we fell him in a few quick blows before we turn to his companions. Preparing for an attempt of intimidation, we try to warn the legionnaires, only to see them age rapidly and turn to ash in mere seconds as the centuries of suspended life catch up with them. Belcamp dissolves as well and all that's left of the devil is his glaive. We agree that we should add this one to Hilde's collection as a parting gift. The enchanted armor seems to accept the glaive with great pleasure before we move on to whatever lies behind the vaults of the legion.

(Giovanni and his party people surely came unexpected for our second visit of the Crypta. We found the scenery to be both grotesque and hilarious at the same time. Still none of us thought that just because he did paint some blasphemous or risky artworks in the past, he should be imprisoned for all eternity. Funny how this motif returned in adventure 12...)

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