The Tower of Madness

Falaren's Nightmare

After the death of Talion and Rex, Falaren looked about the clearing. Littering the ground around her were the corpses of the Thicket’s spiders. Clay had sheathed his sword and Silhuin looked racked with guilt, blaming himself for striking the killing blow against the gargantuan spider which then fell and crushed the druid and fighter. Nonetheless, the group knew that they still needed to push towards Iesel’den and defeat the avatar of the Thicket so that its evil may be banished from the material plane. And so, the group walked forward into the passage that the spiders guarded.

As they walked down the increasingly narrowing path, Falaren’s ears perked as she heard an all too familiar sigh rattle through the branches of the Thicket. Having felt the presence of the demon Torpor, Falaren felt for her bow, but knew such a weapon would be worthless in such short quarters, and so contented herself with keeping a careful watch for the demon as the Thicket seemed to grow ever denser around the remaining members of the party. The trees began to grow so close to one another that it was impossible to see between them and the sun was blocked out almost completely. Realizing the Thicket’s plan but a moment too late, Falaren became separated from the monk and paladin and so was unable to call out a warning to her party.

The trees closed in on the ranger, and eventually began to wrap around her, losing their material substance and becoming shadows. As the shadows wrapped around her legs and torso, Falaren knew that struggling would be futile and let them engulf her. She was calm as the shadows wrapped around her, she was stoic as they reached towards her face, she was completely serene as the shadows transformed into leaves, and she remained composed as she fell from the branches of a tree.

The ranger landed with a thud, but was uninjured by the fall. As she stood and dusted herself off, Falaren took in her surroundings, and quickly realized she was no longer in the Thicket of Iesel’den, but the forest of her homeland. It was just as she remembered, down to every rock, tree, and the sounds of a trickling creek in the distance. However, the large turquoise bird sitting on the branches of a nearby tree was new.

Falaren immediately recognized the bird as the quarry of her god, which she had been commanded to kill to preserve the balance of nature. The ranger quickly drew her bow and fired an arrow at the affront to her god but missed. Realizing she meant it harm, the bird quickly flew from the branch deeper into the forest and Falaren gave chase, and though she fired several volleys at the bird, each arrow fell just short of her prey or barely missed the bird.

The bird flew over the nearby creek and the elf easily leaped over the small stream of water chasing the bird. Curiously, the bird seemed to wait for her to get within firing range but would then quickly take off again, forcing the ranger into a seemingly endless chase. Indeed, the chase would have been endless had Falaren not lost her footing while trying to cross a river by running across a log perched above the waters.

As the elf fell into the waves she kicked and tried to straighten herself in the waves but was quickly swept under. Though she tried to reach the surface, the water quickly began to enter her mouth and began to drown the ranger. Falaren became cold, the world became dark, as she thrashed one last time against the water, and everything seemed to fade away.

She turned once last time beneath the waves and felt… leaves underneath her. Falaren quickly sat upright and found herself seated on the forest floor with the azure bird circling overhead. Realizing that something was wrong, the ranger crossed her legs and tried to enter a trance, but was disturbed as the bird jumped from its perch and landed not even a yard in front of her.

Falaren opened her eyes and saw the bird cock its head looking at her. The ranger stood and felt her bow. The bird opened its wings and ruffled its feathers. As the bird took to the skies and began to fly westward, the ranger began to walk eastward. Falaren walked for some time and began to notice that the further she distanced herself from the bird, the less the forest resembled the forest of her home. After five minutes, she could no longer hear the sounds of insects or the wind or the creeks. After 10 minutes, the sun was no longer a burning orb in the sky, but began to resemble a spotlight above a stage and the trees resembled cardboard cut-outs propped up to create the illusion of life to an audience.

Eventually, even the undergrowth began to fade away as Falaren entered an area that looked like an empty stage. She heard the sigh of Torpor and, from nothingness, the demon appeared before her. The ranger did not reach for her weapons, but ceased walking as the shade stared at her.

“Little elf, dear child, why do you turn your back on the hunt? “ The demon spoke in his voice that was somewhere between a whisper and a sigh.

The elf crossed her arms and told the demon that there would be no point to this hunt, as it would not end and was not real. As she said this to Torpor, the bird descended from high above and landed on his shoulder.

“Tell me ranger, what do you know of this bird? Why do you hunt it?”

The elf responded, “I know only that it must die to preserve the balance of nature.”

“And that is it, child? What if this bird is a creature of Good and its death heralds misery and death? Do the people of this world not deserve the happiness and peace of an imbalance in the favor of good?”

“No,” retorted the elf defiantly, “any imbalance is bad, be it for Good or Evil, balance must be maintained”.

“Oh? And what of the plains of Iesel’dor? Before my arrival, the plains were peaceful and serene. You know that I am a force of Evil, do I not deserve the opportunity to introduce balance to these planes?”

“No,” repeated the elf, “for as far as I can tell, the planes were fine before the Thicket and you appeared, and your presence would do far more than tip the scales to a balanced position”.

Torpor sighed and looked about the illusionary forest he had created. “Why do you fight against this place ranger? I have given you what every hunter desires most, a great, wild, endless, hunt against worthy prey. I gave you the opportunity to never have to deal with fools again, to never grow tired, to never die, to hunt forever. Is this not enough?”

“No,” said Falaren as she crossed her arms, “you have given me nothing, for none of this is real”

Torpor’s shoulders sagged as he, the bird, and the forest began to fade away.

“You could have been happy, you could have had what you always wanted, you could have been free”

As Torpor evaporated, Falaren felt a pressure on her cheek. This pressure began to increase as she realized that someone was slapping her. The next moment, the ranger looked into the eyes of a young man dressed in the armor of a paladin of Rao. The elf sat up and saw that Clay was already on his feet and seemed relieved that she had awoken. She turned her head and saw that Silhuin was still unconscious and he was wincing in pain as Ezrah knelled over him, trying to use his clerical abilities to wake the monk…

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Clay's Nightmare

After the death of Talion and Rex, Clay looked about the clearing. Littering the ground around him were the corpses of the Thicket’s spiders. Falaren put her bow across her back and Silhuin looked racked with guilt, blaming himself for striking the killing blow against the gargantuan spider which then fell and crushed the druid and fighter. Nonetheless, the group knew that they still needed to push towards Iesel’den and defeat the avatar of the Thicket so that its evil may be banished from the material plane. And so, the group walked forward into the passage that the spiders guarded.

As they walked down the increasingly narrowing path, the hairs on the back of Clay’s neck stood up as he heard an all too familiar sigh rattle through the branches of the Thicket. Having felt the presence of the demon Torpor, Clay began to reach for his sword and shield as the Thicket seemed to grow ever more dense around the remaining members of the party. The trees began to grow so close to one another that it was impossible to see between them and the sun was blocked out almost completely. Realizing the Thicket’s plan but a moment too late, Clay became separated from the elves and was unable to call for help.

The trees closed in on the paladin, and eventually began to wrap around him, losing their material substance and becoming shadows. As the shadows wrapped around his legs and torso, the paladin struggled and swung his sword…

The sword arced across the shadows and struck a suit of armor, landing a beautiful killing blow against the foe. Clay instinctively felt another attack directed him and raised his shield to block the blow. He stood in a wide and open field, a perfect battle ground, with the sun hanging high in the sky and not a cloud was to be seen. Clay parried another attack from the second armored opponent and quickly struck it down as well. Looking at his two fallen opponents, the paladin noticed that his enemies were completely armored and masked, showing no flesh.

Before being able to investigate the fallen, Clay noticed that five more opponents approached him; dressed just as the other two, they approached with weapons drawn. Clay quickly began to back up and try to assume a defensible position but found that the field seemed to have no end, and noticed that yet more armored foes appeared to encircle him. With nowhere left to turn, the paladin readied his weapon.

One by one, the foes broke free from the circle to attack Clay, and one by one, the paladin struck them down. As he fought the seemingly endless horde of armored foes, he noticed that for each one that fell, two more appeared in the distance to take its place. Clay also noticed that clouds began to appear on the horizon and quickly grew, as he fought, to dim the sun’s light.

In desperation, Clay shouted out for guidance from his god, and, in return, his necklace began to grow warm. After striking down yet another suit of armor, the paladin found a moment to look at his necklace and saw the word “Compassion” written on its back. Believing he knew the will of his god, Clay pleaded with his foes that he did not wish to fight them.

Unhearing and equally unfeeling, an armored foe stepped forward and struck out at the paladin. Clay blocked the blow and again attempted to parlay with the enemy. As the foe readied another strike, Clay dropped his shield and sword and stated again that he did not wish to fight.

The enemy struck Clay in the shoulder and seething pain went through the young man’s body, but he stood there, unwilling to fight. The armored figure swung for Clay’s knees and the young man did nothing to protect himself from the attack. As he collapsed to his hands and knees, the clouds began to dissipate and the sun shone a bit brighter.

Clay looked up and told the opponent to do what he must, and, in response, the figure rose a sword high to decapitate the paladin. The sun shone bright, and Clay closed his eyes as the sword swung down.

He felt the cold steel enter his neck, through his eyelids he saw a brilliant light, A moment later he felt nothing, he felt endless oblivion. In the next moment, he felt a hand on his cheek gently slapping him. Clay’s eyes fluttered open and, as they adjusted to the new light, he saw a young man dressed in silver armor with a large heart of Rao on his chest.

The paladin of Rao looked at Clay and told him that it is good that he had awoken, but whatever had knocked him out had also knocked out his friends. Clay looked around and saw Ezrah crouching over Silhuin who, though unconscious, seemed to be struggling against something and a few tears trickled down his cheek, Falaren, unsurprisingly, looked stoic even while unconscious.

Clay could only wonder what nightmares his friends were enduring and waited to see if they too could regain consciousness…

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The Tower Appears
I am Talus

Hey guys, go head and maybe write a comment below this chronicling what you did last session!

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More Than Meets The Eye

Today’s Adventure Log is dedicated to Falaren who has earned the epithet “The Plot Plow”

Level Up!

Today’s session began with the aftermath of the flight from Iesel’den. Silhuin had miraculously risen from the grave, Falaren had (nearly) run out of breath (LIFE), and Talion un-planted himself from the ground after brief experience with flight. Talion was skeptical of Silhuin and poked him several times to ensure that the monk was, indeed, corporal. His curiosity satisfied, Talion turned to the rest of the party and they began to bicker about the merits of teamwork and communication, and eventually decided to set up camp after Clay determined the ground had been consecrated by Pelor and the party would be safe for the night.

As they slept, each member of the party experienced a dream.

Silhuin dreamed of his past and his induction to Roaism, he knew so much hung in the balance after experiencing a close call with death.

Rex too dreamed of his past and his childhood, but he also dreamed of greatness, glory, and adulation.

Talion heard laughter, though from whom was a mystery.

Falaren experienced something she never thought possible; while dreaming, she felt the sensation of having a single fuck to give, and the mere notion sent her reeling.

Clay dreamed that he encountered an old man he knew to be his god. Pelor told his paladin that he was proud of him for bringing light to the darkness. But he cautioned Clay to not let the desire to smite evil get in the way of what was truly important: Compassion. He told his paladin that there are many ways to bring light to darkness, it may be delivered externally at the end of a sword, but it may also be delivered internally by awakening the light in the creature.

With those words, Pelor dissipated, and the party felt stronger. In their four hours of wakefulness before the rest of the party, Falaren did her usual thing while Silhuin began a careful study of the ground and his feet, still shaken from the events of last night.

Esmeralda

As the rest of the party awoke, they traveled along the road to Freyden when Silhuin revealed that he had made a deal with Torpor the previous day and is now obligated to destroy the tower and its residents. Talion admonished the monk but agreed that the mage must perished.

Eventually the group spied a figure just off the road ahead. In a rare moment, Rex proposed some form of tactics in approaching the figure and Talion noticed the figure was child-sized and became hopeful that it was a gnomish woman. As the party got closer, they saw that the figure seemed to be playing with something, but could not tell what it was as the figure had its back to the party; they did notice, however, that it seemed to be playing with something that glowed blue, violet, and teal.

The party began to argue on how to best approach the figure, expecting a trap, when they were noticed. The figure turned around to reveal that she was a girl who looked to be about 11 years old and, with her hands behind her back, she looked at the party. Talion tried to rush the girl to ask her questions, but was struck dumb when the girl instantly recognized him as a druid. Clay fared much better with her and both he and Talion eventually convinced the girl to introduce herself as Esmerelda, though they never found out what the source of the glowing was.

It became clear to the party that young girl was a resident of Freyden and that the city was on high alert. The girl explained that Keeper Zatheria gathered the adults the previous night and declared for the gates to be closed; as such, the girl was visibly worried that the keeper would be angry with her for leaving without permission.

Gnarly Ground

The party eventually approach a small creek with four stepping stones across its shallow waters with only a three foot gap in between each of them. Talion and Faralen both remembered old wives’ tales of a thing called gnarly ground, a place where there is “too much geography” which occurs only when there is too much magic in an area or a sufficiently powerful magic user summons it. Faralen then noticed, and pointed out to the party, that a cloud passing the sun cast a shadow on the ground, but the shadow became distorted once it passed over the ground near the river.

After conducting a few tests with fire seeds, Talion and Rex bull rushed past the party and crossed the river with no difficulty, and sat up stream of the stones, discussing music. Talion even crafted Rex a flute, which Rex was terrible at playing. When Esmeralda stepped onto the first stone, she appeared like any child would when playing on stepping stones, she had her arms out to her sides and seemed to be playing a balancing game.

When Clay, Falaren, and Silhuin stepped onto the shore, they noticed the land seemed to change beneath their feet. The creek seemed deeper, the stones larger, and the distance between them farther. The three joined Esmeralda on the first stone when Clay startled her by implying she needed protection. As the girl became frightened, the creek turned into a river and the stones rose from the ground becoming larger still. The wind began to pick up and the distance between each set of stones increased again.

Silhuin scooped up the girl in his arm to ensure that she could make it to the next stone, but the unannounced action caused the girl to panic and the land became more treacherous. Falaren determined the proper course of action was to get across that river as quickly as possible and made it across safely. Silhuin eventually managed to earned the girl’s trust and calmed her down, turning the gnarly ground back into a creek.

Having made it across the creek, Esmeralda thanked the party and ran off towards the city and entered having given the guards a message saying the party was to be trusted.

The Drunken Bowman

Before entering Freyden, the party saw that Lord Gravis’ coach was parked outside a Drunken Bowman. Needing to speak with the employer, Talion insisted on entering while Falaren insisted on a time limit on their interaction.

When they entered, for the first time ever, the bowman was full of patrons with Gravis and the barkeep from Merrihollow sitting at the far table. Also for the first time, Gravis seemed unhappy. When the party approached him, Gravis ignored Talion and looked intently at both Rex and Silhuin. He seemed to take notice of something in both of his employees and muttered that he just didn’t care. He lectured them on the importance of upholding bargains, citing a rather unpleasant tax collector near Northwald as a primary example. Gravis then explained that the town of Merrihollow no longer exists and the account is recorded in The Fall of Merrihollow.

Before leaving, Talion passed a design plan to his employer and asked for it to be built and Gravis gave Silhuin a letter from Father Ezrah.

Freyden

The party then left the inn, as did Gravis who left in his coach. Falaren and Silhuin gained entry to the city with the rest of the party trailing not far behind. Upon entering, the party noticed all that can be found on Freyden.

The sight which struck the part the most was the Great Oak in the center of the town, around which an open market had gathered. The Oak was impressive to say the least and his jest to burn it earned Rex death threats from the party’s elves and druid. Around the base of the tree a large number of animals had gathered and were lying about peacefully, and Talion quickly determined from the dress of the citizens ,and the lack of nails in construction of the buildings, that the animals were probably druids in wild form. This suspicion was confirmed when Rex attempted to pet a bear which shift to a confused human. The man at first seemed to take offense to Rex’s action, then laughed upon realizing something about the fighter and went back to bear form.

Falaren gathered from a local that the Keeper could probably be found near the market, the school house, or in her tower. The schoolhouse provided no answers, and the market ended up being a happy place for the party as Rex acquired a banjo, upon which the shopkeeper commented that she usually only sells those to the citizens of Southwald. Talion, for reasons unknown, acquired a heavy crossbow and Falaren set her sights on something, but chose not to purchase it at that time.

The party then approach the tower and found that it seemed to have been grown from the earth rather than being constructed. Talion recognized some of the runes on the door and could make out the inscription “This tower belongs to the Keeper of Freyden, What we have, we keep”. Falaren attempted knocking on the tower’s door, but that yielded no response from the tower. Talion and Rex considered breaking into the tower while the Keeper was away, but decided against it upon the insistence of the rest of the party.

Keeper Zatheria

Upon passing the Great Oak for a third time, the party realized a large white husky had been watching them and seemed entertained. Talion assumed the form of a corgi and approach the dog and greeted it as the Keeper. Laughing, the Keeper assumed her true form. Standing tall, the wood elf wore blue and green robes with wooden armor along her arms and midsection. On her back she carried two weapons, the first was a long spear with two points, one end was crafted from yew, the other from ash. The second was a large staff
crafted from silver, the head of which looked like two snakes wrapping around one another with a large translucent teal stone resting between their jaws.

Rex immediately demanded the Keeper’s aid and told her that she must aid the party. Offended, the keeper drew out her staff and Talion recognized the runes along its shaft to read “The Lightning Caller” and quickly told Rex to maintain civility with the Keeper. Eventually, the Rex mentioned the tower and events at Iesel’den when the Keeper demanded to know why the party was in her town. Silhuin produced the letter from Father Ezrah and after inspecting it, Zatheria muttered “Ezrah” and seemed to reminisce and granted the party an audience in her tower.

Zatheria led the way to her tower and, upon arriving, dispelled a large number of lightning runes inscribed along the door and windows of the tower. The party’s talk with Zatheria revealed the following:

  • Zatheria and Ezrah took the bodies down from the trees 20 years ago and gave them proper burial in what is now the field of ash
  • Zatheria knew of the mage, but did not know him personally
  • The Keeper is concerned only with her town’s safety and seems to not care about the safety of the other towns
  • Zatheria demanded the death of the mage, believing that his death would end the threat to her town and the growth of the Thicket
  • Zatheria has been trying to determine the location of the missing tower, but has had difficulty in finding it has random strips of ash will be found in the Thicket but only sporadically.
  • Zatheria was unfazed by Esmeralda’s appearance outside the town, and winked at Talion when attempted to shake her with the implication she could not protect the child.
  • The Keeper gave the party permission to stay in the town.

The Tower of Madness (TITLE DROP!!!)

During their talk, Rex jumped out of the Keeper’s tower and, upon realizing he was attempting to spy on a meeting he had been invited too, the Keeper became annoyed and shot Rex’s bat out of the sky with sparks from her hand. Rex became incredibly offended despite Talion’s insistence that the bat would be back as he allegedly knows of a mage with a meteor swarm scroll who would vouch for that fact.

Defiantly Rex… attempted to urinate on the Great Oak in retaliation, but the smell of ozone in the air deterred him from doing so. Having accomplished all that they would that day, the party retired to various locations for the night (Talion also discovered when he channeled a spell through the oak that it seemed ridiculously supercharged).

The party did not gain much sleep as, around midnight, an alarm when through the town and they saw guards run to the Keeper’s tower to rouse their leader to come to the wall. Far in the distance, along the horizon of Thicket and just about the tree line, the top of an enormously tall tower could be seen moving through the Thicket. From its windows near the top came great streams of fire, and steam poured from it’s chimneys.

All stood in silence as they glimpsed for the first time, the tower of Iesel’den.

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Enter the Thicket
The Ruins of Iesel'den

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Iesel’den is revealed

The shade parted the trees for our adventurers, revealing what used the be the roads of Iesel’den. The party moved deeper into the thicket, dark trees around them, their only light coming from the patches of sunlight that managed to penetrate the thick branches of the thicket. It didn’t take long for the ways of thicket to wind their way into our adventures heads.

As they approached the cross roads, members of the party were overcome with a flashes of memories, though these memories were not their own, showing a large pasture, with healthy animals grazing over the land, and then it returned to the overgrown thicket. The party moved onward heading for town, some receiving flashes of the past, and others strong memories of home…

Then with a whisper of the mind, the party met a denizen of the thicket. It whispered questions, it whispered of deals and promises, it whispered of darkness and light, and it whispered of freedom. As they exchanged their hushed dialogs with the denizen, the party found something that they had been searching for…

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The Field of Ash

The thicket stopped at the edge of the ashen field, and at the center, there stood round stone foundations of what was tower. It seemed that not all of the party wanted to approach the tower but, after some coaxing ,the whole party went to examine the field and ruins. The party found that the tower had a inner circle of stone, and an outer circle that seemed to mark a possible expansion of the tower. Tallion also found that there were tread tracks moving away from the tower, though to where they led past the field had been swept away by the winds of twenty years. As they examined the remains of the tower, the whispers found their way back into their heads. The party discovered two more journal entries from the enigmatic V, and a hidden basement.

The Hidden Basement

Rex jumped into the basement first, and immediately saw the flash of a mage’s lab, he saw the arcane and herbs of healing, but he did not see evil. Then Clay jumped down after the fighter and Talion lit the basement with the embers from his fire seeds. There they found a copper ring in the floor, a beautiful painting, and another journal entry. And after they spent forever in there they left the basement to discover more birds circling above and the thicket becoming more active and then they had to run!

The Chase

So many birds, so many wolves, and those green eyes!" The elves took off and ran like the wind, and so did druid. The mighty paladin wished to do battle with evil, and strangely enough Rex was willing to hold them off while his party escaped. The party stretched further apart as the elves ran and the druid, the fighter, and the holy warrior attempted to fight. And then the birds attached, they were everywhere biting and pecking, breaking down our hero with shear numbers. Then Silhuin went down, and he didn’t get up….had the worst happened. And as he lay there, the birds were attacked by a flying hammer tossed gnome who completely missed them, but the birds were none the less shocked. And as they began to attach again, a heart shaped cloud slid in front of the moon. It’s shadow first fell on the birds, weakening their blows. Then the shadow fell on the monk, and he rose up from the ground and left the battle field, and then finally our party was safe.
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Day 2: A Tale of Three Cities
Part One: Wheatkeep

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The Letter and The Book

The remainder of the party’s day in Wheatkeep was spent looking for information about the fallen town of Iesel’den, the subject matter of a book given to them by the archivist of Wheatkeep. Upon learning the taboo nature of the incident from an elder bar patron in the Drunken Bowman, the party hatched a plan to see if it was merely a social taboo or if something more nefarious was at play, before they left though, Talion was given a letter by the barman with a stylized “G” on the front, a letter Talion read and immediately tucked into his sack to be burned later. Rex and Clay went to the town square as shops were closing for the evening while Talion watched on in corgi form, Silhuin in the shadows of a grain silo, and Falaren from the concealment of the trees in nearby park.

The Commander

The younger members of the community seemed confused by Clay and Rex’s conversation, but the older members became visibly uncomfortable at the talk of the destroyed town of Iesel’den. A lieutenant and private from the town watch ran into Clay and Rex while a patrol and asked them to stop making a scene in the town square, as they were creating a disturbance of the peace. Talion, meanwhile, had been listening in on various conversations but gained nothing of importance until he noticed a nearby guardsmen, in dented armor and smoking a cigar, seemingly entertained at the lieutenant’s efforts to disperse the pair in the town square.

The man, eventually, interjected himself to the conversation and introduced himself as Vimes, the Commander of the Watch. Vimes addressed both Rex and Clay, then asked Talion and Silhuin to step forward, having seen through both attempts at concealment, yet Falaren remained unnoticed. With most of the party gathered before him, Vimes asked them to cease their activities and return to their lodgings in the Drunken Bowman and to have a safe journey when they left in the morning. Upon the approach of yet another patrol of guardsmen, and a small division sent by the watch house, the party decided to return to their lodgings.

At the Drunken Bowman, the party ate and individually planned out their respective evenings. Silhuin and Clay elected to stay in the Bowman and retire to their rooms, Falaren decided to remain outside and collect her thoughts on a bench on the exterior of the inn, while Talion and Rex decided to go on an adventure.

After the sun had set and the street lights lit, Talion snuck out from the Drunken Bowman with Rex close behind with the intents to investigate town hall before their meeting with the mayor the next morning. As a diversion, Talion used his druidcraft to snuff out the streetlights in the town square so he and Rex could sneak around the periphery of the town. Unfortunately, said diversion gained the attention of a figure in the top window of the Watch House, and Talion noticed the figure recede from the window.

When Rex and Talion arrived at the Watch House, the guards on duty had gone to the square to ensure that there wasn’t a disturbance. Realizing that the guards would return once the lights were relit, the pair checked around the back for another entrance and found one in the form of a large mahogany door which was locked. Rex tried, in vain, to kick in the door twice before Talion noticed through the nearby window, a figure with a cigar checking the porch of the Town Hall and, having heard Rex’s attempt to kick in the door, began walking to Talion and Rex’s location. Talion immediately jumped into the nearby bushes and Rex decided to give the door one last kick before running to safety himself.

The Jail

Unfortunately, Rex’s final kick also failed and caused him to slip and fall as he ran around the corner of the Town Hall, landing at the feet of Commander Vimes. Although Rex landed beautifully, and managed to deliver a suave one-liner, the Commander responded by planting a sword in front of Rex’s face, demanding to know what he was up to. As Rex attempted to explain to the Commander that he was merely testing the security of the town, the Commander noticed several footprints on the door. Vimes then made Rex a job offering of testing more of the town’s security, specifically that of the cells in the Watch House. Despite the Commander not placing handcuffs on Rex, Rex insisted on walking ahead of Vimes with his hands behind his back. Many of the guards watched Rex be led to the Watch House, as did the barman of the Drunken Bowman, and only Falaren would have seen his frown as he went back inside the inn and headed to the backroom.

Talion shadowed Rex and Vimes to the Watch House and attempted to communicate with his incarcerated friend through the bars on the window of Rex’s cell. Before any meaningful correspondence could occur, Vimes appeared to talk to Rex and attempt to figure out what the adventurers were up to while Talion hid from the Commander’s view. Rex acted as though he was intoxicated and eventually collapsed and vomited; the Commander, clearly having had enough for the evening chalked the midnight escapade up to “drunkenness” and left Rex to sleep it off.

Talion, having seen the Commander enter the room and his friend vomit and collapse soon after, concluded that Vimes had beaten Rex and fled to the Drunken Bowman to inform the party. On his way in to the inn, Talion ignored Falaren (still just hanging out) and bee-lined for Clay’s room. Bursting through the door, Talion disturbed Clay’s prayers and caught a glimpse of his pajamas of Palor. Silhuin heard the commotion in the next room and appeared soon after in the door way listening in on Talion’s frantic recollection of what had occurred. Both the monk and the paladin listened to Talion’s story but had reservations about Vimes’ abuse of his prisoner and took note of Talion’s increasingly erratic behavior.

The Employer

Talion decided to leave the city of Wheatkeep at this point and fled through the main gate towards Merrihollow. As he passed through the gate, the druid encountered a familiar carriage with the same stylized G on the side that his letter had. Inferring (correctly) that the carriage belonged to Gravis, Talion immediately leapt into the carriage. As he went through the door and landed on a seat across from his patron, Talion missed a small ‘click’ as a secret compartment somewhere in the carriage closed due to his frantic disposition. The druid immediately demanded to know what his patron was doing so close to Wheatkeep and Gravis explained that he received a message that his employees were in a dispute with Watch and had just received another that Rex had been arrested by Vimes and had come to investigate. Talion was suspicious of this claim, but Gravis calmly explained that his messengers are very prompt as he pays them to be.

Gravis then directed the carriage to drive into Wheatkeep. Talion attempted to leap out of the carriage but Gravis moved surprisingly fast to catch the door and slam it before the druid could do so. Upon doing so, Gravis explained that he can’t have his employees leaping out of moving carriages and potentially harming themselves. Upon returning to the city, Gravis deposited Talion at the Drunken Bowman and continued to the Watch House. Talion retreated to his room and cast entangling roots on his doorway to keep out anyone else for the rest of the night.

Gravis then continued to the Watch House and spoke with Commander Vimes about his employee. After being informed of the crimes Rex had committed (Public Intoxication, Disturbance of the Peace, [Attempted] Breaking and Entering, [Attempted] Assault on a Door {Brackets indicate Vimes’ account}), Gravis bailed out his employee while reminding the former actor of the tab he has earned thus far with little to show for it. The pair returned to the inn and Gravis told Rex that there would be a meeting in the morning everyone was expected to show up for. Gravis sat at a table and went over the books delivered to him by a terrified/awestruck barkeep while his employees slept.

In the morning, the team gathered for their meeting with Gravis. The only events of note are Silhuin’s gathering that the Brother Ezrah from the Destruction of Iesel’den is now Father Ezrah and in charge of the town of Aelhollow and Falaren’s requisition of a quiver of arrows to be left for her at every Drunken Bowman. Rex and Talion quickly realized that if they stayed and talked with Gravis for too long, they would miss their scheduled meeting, moved up a week by means of some forgery by Silhuin, with the mayor and so they left with the party not far behind.

The Incident
The Following Comes from a Report from the Mayor of Wheatkeep’s Secretary

Commander, it was the strangest thing… the kicking… the screaming… the crying… but I get ahead of myself. It was early in the morning, about Nine a.m., when the adventurers came into the main office. Following the standard procedure, I asked if they had a receipt for their meeting with the mayor and they produced it so I let them in. I had summoned the mayor but the little one… the halfling? gnome? kinder?… just barged through the office and ran into the door as his lordship tried to answer my summons.

His lordship has a considerable mass, of course, and so the little one bounced off the door but he wouldn’t stop! He and the others backed the mayor into the office and I heard a great deal of screaming and what sounded like objects being thrown off his desk. Following standard procedure, I calmly arose and asked if his lordship needed assistance, he asked me to summon your fine men Commander. Upon doing so, I stepped out of the Town Hall and sat by the fountain for the remainder of the commotion

The Following Comes from a Report from the Mayor of Wheatkeep

It was awful and simply ghastly Commander! I had just sat down to a second plate of breakfast, it was, of course, only the morning and a man can not be expected to do any amount of work on an empty stomach after all. Then I heard the secretary summon me and the rest is a blur! There was screaming and my globe was thrown, thankfully the one armed elven gentlemen rescued it, and the little ruffian even kicked my breakfast to the floor Commander!

I didn’t even know what the little madman was screaming about, something or another about that terrible incident that your father and the other town leaders dealt with about twenty years ago. Apparently they got a book from the archivist, good man, great civil servant, a bit… odd…. though, but that’s book people for you. Oh, even recalling this all is extremely upsetting and I fear I need to lie down.

The Following Comes from a Report from Sgt. Colons

We had responded to the secretaries summons sir and when we entered we heard a scream of “Fuck this door!” and the door to the mayor’s office was kicked off its hinges with extreme prejudice. By the time we got to the doorway… archway… whatever…. the mayor was a sobbing wreck and the gnome was on the desk kicking things over and a plate of eggs was all over the floor. The captain gave an order to cease and desist while I sent a messenger to get you sir.

We were detaining them pretty well sir, but then the gnome tried to leave. That kind of defeats the purpose of the detainment, so the Captain told him to stay where he was. Upon realizing that he couldn’t simply leave the office after assaulting the mayor, the gnome…. well… sat down and cried sir…

This is even stranger that cow incident eh sir?

The Following was Posted in the Break Room of the Watch House of Wheatkeep

Notice to all guards:
The adventures who assaulted the mayor this previous week are no longer welcome in the city of Wheatkeep. If they are seen approaching, the gates are to be blocked to their entry and they are to be asked to travel else where. Should they refuse, please fetch me but do not let them into the city proper. Should they sneak into the city and be seen, fetch myself and reinforcements, they are to be arrested if practical, but lethal force is authorized.

The crimes they committed in one day include:
One Account of Breaking and Entering
One Account of Attempted Breaking and Entering
Destruction of Property
Falsely Representing a Charitable Organization
Forgery of Public Documents
Public Drunkenness
Assault
False Imprisonment

-Commander Vimes

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Day 1: A Tale Begins
A Man, A Mission, A Forest

Today begun the Tower of Madness.

Our story began with five strangers, each with a sordid past receiving from a mysterious man named Gravis. Gravis greeted each of the party members as they arrived and offered them all one more adventure. Although he was light on the details, the man did tell the party he was after an object known as the Glass of Nataero. The Glass, Gravis said, enabled its possessor to find any object he or she so desired. Gravis’ eerily professional, mostly civil, and somewhat off demeanor slipped when an orc interrupted the meeting but he quickly regained composure and returned to business with the party.

The meeting concluded with Gravis offering the party a total of 750 gold each for their work. The Gnome Talion leapt at the opportunity to make such a sum, as did Rex who dreamed of never having to live in poverty again. Falaren accepted for reasons unknown as did Clay. Silhuin accepted the task but turned down the monetary reward. Such an action gained Gravis’ attention, on one hand the denial of a monetary reward is noble, but on the other, it is naive and rather stupid in Gravis’ eyes.

The party then traveled to the plains of Iesel’dor, to the small town of Merrihollow. While there, the party discovered advanced technology such as walls and, eventually, learned how to knock on them. The party found the local Drunken Bowman and learned that Gravis had instructed all of his employees to aid the party in any way, within reason of course. The party learned the following while in the town:
1) Hovels do not have doors but property lines are still generally respected.
2) Some of the citizens of Merrihollow have come down with an illness that created and exasperated fatigue and exhaustion.
3) There is strange vegetation infesting the plains of Iesel’dor.

The last discovery was made when the party visited the Johnson farmstead and found Johnson’s wife exhausted and Johnson exasperated at the befoulment of his crops. Clay, Falaren, Silhuin decided to immediately investigate the nearby forest while Talion and Rex went back to the Drunken Bowman to procure a potent alcohol to preform experiments on the little growth found on Johnson’s farm.

While they were procuring the alcohol, Clay, Falaren, and Silhuin ventured into the woods at sunset. The group encountered a singular wolf sitting in the middle of a clearing. Palor, god of the sun and light, communed his disgust of the place to his paladin and the wolf stood as its pack had ambushed the group. The alpha wolf watched as his pack was slowly killed off by the group and trotted off into the overgrowth as the last of his followers died, feeling a pang of guilt as the wolf Moon-Moon fell.

Combat quickly ended and the group set to tending their wounds. Before Rex and Talion rejoined them, Clay and Faralen both remarked how their strikes against the wolves did not sound right and Clay noticed that there were splinters in his armor, both of which led to the group’s conclusion that the wolves were not what they seemed and may be wood-based creatures. Talion denied such a thing was possible when he and Rex eventually arrived, but Clay and co. were insistent on the point, though only Silhuin noticed that the bodies had disappeared into the ground during the post-combat discussion.

As the group argued over the point, the Alpha wolf had returned to the clearing and had brought back nearly three times as many of his pack members. Clay, Faralen, and Silhuin all decided to flee from the CLEARLY UNWINNABLE COMBAT SITUATION but Rex and Talion bravely/foolishly (the line between the two is so very thin) stood their ground. They had planned to create a ring of fire and… sources are less than clear what step 2 of this plan was. A rumbling in the ground heralded of a large spiked tendril beginning to cut off their escaped route. Sources are, again, less than clear about what transpired in the forest but Rex and Talion did make it out alive.

After staying the night at the Drunken Bowman, the party decided to head to a location with perhaps a bit more information on the history of Iesel’dor after the realization that there were only six towns on the map that Gravis had given them despite his, and others, mention of the seven towns of the plains. They eventually decided on Wheatkeep and took the coach Gravis rented on their behalf to the town. While leaving, the party noticed that the black forest nearest to Merrihollow had grown significantly since the previous night, and although Clay had some objections to leaving the small town, the party pressed on.

Upon their arrival at Wheatkeep, the party parked their coach outside its Drunken Bowman and the barkeep let them as soon as he recognized them from Gravis’ description. Silhuin had ventured off to the temple of a local god named Rao while the rest of the party tried to gain an audience with the mayor. Rex and Talion failed in their attempts to bluff the noticeably well armed guards but Clay had managed to set up a meeting with the mayor in one week’s time. Falaren, meanwhile, had discovered the existence of a local archivist.

The party quickly found the archivist and began to question him on the history of the plains and on blights. The archivist could provide no assistance in regards to the blight request but was able to locate a book titled “The Destruction of Iesel’en”…

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Welcome Adventurers!
The Creation Prompt

So, we may not be playing as soon as we get back, but I do like to give you guys a prompt with enough time for you guys to think about it. My prompts give you a sort of background to go off of, and a few details that I would like for you to include, so without further ado…

You used to be a small time adventurer (treasure hunter, soldier across the world, mercenary, etc.) but once you arrived at water deep, you found the call of questing go silent, and you decided to settle down and get a job in the city.

For a background I would like you to have:
1)What you used to do.
2) What you do now.
3) Something that you have in your life NOW that you hold most important.
With these three thing in mind, your race and your class, you can invent an awesome character. Also, once you have done this, I would like you to send it to me so that I can customize the game to you guys!
Our first session will be character creation (that is sharing char ideas and rolling stats). I look forward to it! It is gonna be lots of fun!

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