AAR [4]: The Generalist Fraternity

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bronzemountain
Posts: 516
Joined: Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:02 pm

AAR [4]: The Generalist Fraternity

Post by bronzemountain » Mon Aug 31, 2020 2:54 pm

The Generalist Fraternity
Time: 2020-08-29@2300 GMT
GM: Dvarim
Circle: 4
Difficulty: Medium

Player Rewards:
Nib: 2,200 LP, 375 SP, 3 TIPs
Bloodbeat: 2,200 LP, 375 SP, 3 TIPs
Mal: 2,200 LP, 375 SP, 3 TIPs
Redsun: 2,200 LP, 375 SP, 3 TIPs
Jarock: 2,200 LP, 375 SP, 3 TIPs
LaShana: 2,200 LP, 375 SP, 3 TIPs

GM Reward:
Juniper: 1,400 LP, 275 SP, 3 TIPs

Downtime Actions Available:
Nib: Research 2/19 (+3 with library access / 20sp)
Jarock: Craft Anything 3/17, Forge Weapon 4/14

Further Information:
Adepts have discovered that Harmony is not, in fact, the utopia it advertises itself to be. The Invae have been spotted, and Barsaive is most certainly threatened by these alien spirits.

predajey
Posts: 221
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2020 9:27 am

Re: AAR [4]: The Generalist Fraternity

Post by predajey » Mon Aug 31, 2020 4:59 pm

The following is a recollection from Jarock Hammer-Shield, a secluded Ork Weaponsmith. The text remains unaltered to maintain its authenticity. It is written in Or'zet.

Request from daughter. Escort windling Shana. Windling's name is actually LaShana. Travel was safe. LaShana is very small, acts immature, and is possibly a child. Refuses to eat vegetables. Obsessed with putting braids where braids should not go. Ear hair is now adorned with beads. Went to a city called Harmony. Possibly cultist community? Saw Redsun, Mal, and Nib. Also saw the T'Skrang that was killed near Clear Creek? Same name, Bloodbeat. Is this the power of Nethermancers?

Community lived with ants. Very kind and welcoming. No obvious defenses. Giant anthill nearby. Ants protect the community. Several buildings off limits. LaShana and Nib snuck inside, found trap door, couldn't open it. Found tunnel system below. Killed several name giver like insects. Rescued Redsun's friend along with 8 others. They are mutating into insects. We had knowledge of legendary battles with name giver sized insects. Freed the victims and sought queen. No luck. Got a cart and took the victims to Throal. Hesitant, but residents were willing to help.

LaShana needs to learn to fight as a team. Wandered off into the open, then made friends with one of the insects? Possible romantic interest? Mal had an unlucky day, but few injuries. Moved intelligently. Bloodbeat highly effective in ripping own face off. Caused fear in the enemy. DO NOT OFFEND! Nib accurate and sufficient, little damage, many effects. Redsun caused lots of damage. Tribute to his race. No wounds, few injuries. Not a bad fight. Had to smash LaShana's... whatever it was to her.

Nib discovered the insects were Invae; spirits who entered our plane by latching onto a host and mutating them. Believes no queen exists yet. No follow up necessary. Still hate journals. Weaponsmith, not Scholar.
Last edited by predajey on Wed Sep 02, 2020 1:46 am, edited 2 times in total.

Serespar
Posts: 132
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:53 pm

Re: AAR [4]: The Generalist Fraternity

Post by Serespar » Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:01 pm

Date: <Throalic Calendar date for August 29, 2020>

Re: URGENT – Security Incident Report related to Invae Activity near Throal

To whom it may concern at the Great Library

Details below. In summary, an Invae colony has begun converting locals into hybrid ant spirits just south of Throal (see also referenced reports on the Fall of Landis from shortly before the Scourge). Action prior to the ants reaching critical mass and summoning their queen is strongly recommended.



I had heard that there were new magical protection spells in use in a newly settled, pleasant pastoral community south of Throal, a place Named Harmony (hex 43.14). I took a trip south to see what might be learned.

When I arrived in town I was struck by the openness and friendliness of the residents; there was no Ritual of Greeting, suspicion of strangers, or other hard earned hallmarks of survivors in Post Scourge Barsaive. In the short time I was there, a number of new settlers arrived and were welcomed. Word of the safety and gentleness of the place has spread and appears to be a powerful draw for many families. The community’s greeters, Kaltrina and Arvin, were charming toward all newcomers.

The community is organized around a central elder Named Jehona, and a community center and meditation garden in a cobblestone area. Communal barracks and family homes provide shelter, and members of the community come together to share vegetarian meals on long trestle tables for fellowship and nourishment. The preferred beverage is well water or one of a large variety of locally grown teas. Evenings are filled with story telling, including how Jehona and her sister Rekha wandered until they found the spot where nature and the spirits were in balance, and named the place Harmony. Around the community are well tended fields, with the able bodied of all ages working together to provide for their needs.

As I wandered around the town, I ran into several friends; Bloodbeat the t’skrang nethermancer, Jarrock the orc weaponsmith, and Mal and Redsun the archers (Mal an elf and Redsun a troll). They introduced me to a friend of theirs, a windling acquisition specialist Named LaShana. All were from Throal and were in town on various errands, tho Mal was concerned that Brek, an adept weaponsmith friend of his who he knew had settled in Harmony, could not be found.

The astral was relatively untainted as I wandered the town, but I was struck by a singular absence; no other adepts were present in a town of several hundred souls. Folks wore simple, natural linen clothing, and there seemed to be a hierarchy, with folks in bleached robes calling each other “Brother” and “Sister”. There were two buildings, larger houses, where “the Sequestered” lived, where those who had moved further along what sounded like a process similar to the Elven Paths perhaps? lived in solitude as the continued their spiritual development. We were asked not to disturb them. We learned that Rekha was a particularly advanced Sister and had been in Sequester for over a year.

We also encountered an ant around two and a half feet long working alongside farmers in the field, and the residents thought nothing of it. They told us they lived in Harmony with the ants, who had a mound/colony just north of town.

We attempted to investigate the home of the Sequestered but backed off when pushing harder might have led to an escalation of some sort. Instead, we waited til night had fallen, and given that ants are burrowing creatures and that the location of Harmony was selected for it’s source of pure water, LaShana and I flew down the well to see what we might find. At the bottom of the well, just above the water line, there was indeed tunnel access to the giant ant’s burrows. Our troll however, would not fit easily, so we decided to wait til morning and investigate the mound. We did however establish watches, and observed a pack of wolves approach vulnerable livestock on the edge of town, only to be repulsed by giant ants that burrowed up out of the ground and sent them packing. It seemed that the town was being protected by the ants for their own purposes.

The mound is around 500 yards north of the town, and bustles with activity as the giant ants go to and from on food gathering and other errands. No warrior ants or other types were noted, just their extreme size. Before entering the mound itself, we decided to give sneaking into the Houses of the Sequestered one more try. Bloodbeat distracted the cultists as LaShana and I snuck in.

We were disturbed by the pervasive astral taint; clouds of astral specks in the air within the home. We had seen several people enter, but no one was inside. We searched and found a trapdoor into the ground below and signaled the groundlings in the party to come inside and join us.

Below the trapdoor was another entrance to the ant tunnels, one large enough for Redsun to be able to join us. Cautiously we approached and began to explore.

What we found was horrific beyond words. Namegivers in cocoons, with astral insectile ovipositors embedded inside their bodies, slowly feeding on and converting the people into hybrid ant spirits. We attempted a number of things to try to rescue them but only succeeded in alerting the ant spirits to our presence.

The battle was challenging; the ant spirits in all their variety of hybrid forms had significant armor that was difficult to penetrate. We fought them off only to discover that the purpose of the battle was not to prevent us from rescuing the villagers in the cocoons. The warriors sacrificed themselves so that a more important target could escape, tentatively, the queen host being prepared in the body of Rekha.

It is my understanding from the chronicles of the fall of Landis, that the variety of invae that presents in physical form as ant spirits requires a critical mass of lower level ant spirits in the hive before the queen can manifest in the prepared host. The entire hive appears to be organized as a single entity focused on creating the conditions needed for the queen to manifest, and plays a long game to make those conditions a reality.

Examining the fallen ant spirits was also horrifying. They appeared to be adepts of different races who had been captured and transformed. I can’t help wondering how many missing adepts from Throal, assumed to have been killed by the hazards of the road, were actually taken to fuel the queen’s arrival.

We discovered a way to cut breathing holes first into the cocoons of those in process that was successful in removing them from the full cocoon more safely (see attached instructions and diagrams). The rescued all were in a coma like state at first, but the astral ovipositors faded once the cocoon was removed. All seven exhibited partial ant spirit transformation characteristics (see attached inventory), but remembered themselves and gradually seemed to return to more of their former personalities, including Mal’s friend Berk, the dwarf weaponsmith, who has the chitin armored arm.

We recalled legends of great healing being required to reverse the invae effects. I prepared a sample kit of cocoon bits, fluids, gels, chitin, air samples and so forth, and have included measurements and sketches of the defeated along with a description of the astral signatures encountered (see Appendix). Also included is the astral observation report in which Bloodbeat used Suppress Curse to temporarily suppress the insectile manifestations on those rescued; it seems the astral attunement of the flow of energy from the invae planes is similar enough to horror energy that nethermatic toolsets can be useful.

We snuck out of the tunnels at night, and LaShana acquired a wagon for us, which we used to bring the injured to a quarantine area in Bartertown (see Sealed medical and analysis records for the subjects in Area 7).

While we left the invae gambit represented by Harmony relatively undisturbed, the ant spirits’ collective experience with harvesting Namegivers appears well practiced and efficient. I can only surmise that they have considerable expertise in the long game and dealing with any setbacks as they work diligently to provide for their queen in astral space. Extreme caution is advised; if critical mass is achieved by the hive on the doorstep of Throal, we could be facing another Landis level event.

Yours in Service


Nib

Anoush
Posts: 112
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:53 pm

Re: AAR [4]: The Generalist Fraternity

Post by Anoush » Tue Sep 01, 2020 6:03 am

Generalist Fraternity
GM: Dvarim
Date: 2020/08/29

Bloodbeat's Journal:

A rumor was spreading around Throal about a fairly new settlement called Harmony (Hex 43.14). People said that Harmony was peaceful, idyllic, wonderful, a perfect place. They were supposedly free from attacks by Horrors and wild beasts, and needed no protections.

Well, I didn’t believe it. Much too good to be true. So, I decided to travel to Harmony and see for myself. The journey was uneventful.

I arrived at Harmony to be greeted by two Name-givers, both dressed in white tunics and pants. They were an elven male, Arvin, and a dwarves female, Katrina. They offered my clear, cool water to drink, and bade me welcome. I began asking questions about the community and walked through the gates. They answered my questions cordially. And to my surprise, did not stop me entering. There was no request for a demonstration of artistic ability, or anything else to prove that was not horror marked.

The town consisted of a central green, a cobblestone plaza with benches and cushions, a well, a variety of simple homes, an group of buildings dedicated to all manner of crafting, a large dining hall, a dormitory, a tea house, and a few buildings for the residents most in-tune with nature. There were no stores, no taverns. In fact, no alcohol of any kind. All the villagers were mundane; no adepts at all apart from a few visitors. The village was surrounded by various agricultural fields. Some chicken and goats were being tended in one area as well.

While wandering the town, I met up with several acquaintances from Throal, all bent on investigating Harmony for one reason or another. I met Redsun, the troll archer and Nib, the windling wizard there; all interested in finding out more about Harmony. One the group, Jarock, the ork weaponsmith, was very familiar, … as if I knew him in a previous lifetime. They introduced me to one of their companions, LaShana, a windling, um, acquisition specialist. I also met up with Mal, the elven archer, who had come to Harmony to see his friend Berk, a weaponsmith who’d relocated to Harmony a couple of months ago. We continued touring the village together, a buffer against the too-welcoming, over-friendly villagers.

We met with the elder Jehona, an elven woman, who explained more about the town to us. She said that the only magic of the village was that they were attuned to the earth. By attuning themselves, dangers naturally avoided the village, which maid it perfectly safe. Yeah, right.

During the communal, vegetarian dinner, Jehona told a story about how Harmony was founded. Jehona and her sister Rekha, a shaman, traveled Barsaive looking for a place to settle. Rekha communed with the spirits of the land, or the plants, of the animals. But no place was right until they came to the site where Harmony now sits. The two sisters established the village and then invited their friends and others to join them. Now, there are roughly 400 Name-givers living in Harmony.

When asked where Rekha was, we were told that she was sequestered, performing a type of silent meditation that would grow her inner balance and bring her even more in tune with nature. Rekta had been sequestered for about a year now. At ffrst, they fed her occasionally, but now the meditation alone sustains her. I reacted with surprise. So they explained that it took a great deal of spiritual strength to sequester, and that individuals were tested for sure endurance before being allow to sequester. Yeah, right.

Most of the villagers seemed to behave perfectly normally, apart from their placid friendliness. However, we saw a few villagers dressed white robes (not tunics and pants). These robed-ones were the only villagers to enter the buildings for the enlightened. And some, no matter how long we watched, never re-appeared.

Asking about the robed villagers, we were told that they were the most enlightened villagers here. They were more connected to the earth, with a greater level of spiritual focus. They wore robes as a sign of their status, and mostly performed spiritual duties, not menial labor. Huh?

Our group declined to sleep in the dormitory overnight. Instead we camped out on the village green. The villagers had no complaint about this either. After dark, when the village was asleep, the two windlings, Nib and LaShana, boosted by Shadow Meld, scouted out the well. Just above the water level, they found openings, about 4’ high, in the well shaft, leading into the earth. The openings were not natural, nor smooth, nor did they look like the work of Name-givers. Rather, the tunnels were most similar to those of animal burrows or tunnels. Given the troll’s weight, we decided to delay this exploration.

We set up watches. During the second watch, LaShana saw a dog, about the size of a beagle, crossing the road that led to the village, then was shocked as she got a better look and realized it was not a dog, but rather a giant ant! Later in the same watch, LaShana saw three wolves approaching the town, perhaps to make off with livestock. The wolves were intercepted by four giant ants. LaShana couldn’t tell if the ants and wolves actually fought, but there was certainly a good deal of growling and posturing, until eventually the wolves slunk away from the village. The ants then turned around and returned North. Later LaShana also saw one of the robed villagers leave the village, but they did not return before morning.

The rest of the night was peaceful. The village woke up early, pre-dawn, about 5 am, and began doing communal exercises on the village square.

During my morning tea with the spirits (karma ritual), I was joined by a number of visitors. They enjoyed meeting the spirits, even if they could neither see now hear them. For that brief period, I felt a home here, accepted by the people. Hmm, strange.

We asked Jehona about the giant ant. She readily acknowledged that there were giant ants in the area, with a large mound nearby. She told us that the ants were in harmony with the earth and like the village, they don’t act out of violence. Sometimes the ants help out in the fields. In any case, the village and ants were at peace with each other and the earth. Nib flew high above the village, and located the ant mound, roughly a half mile North of the village.

After searching the entire village (barring the few buildings restricted to the most enlightened), Mal had not yet found his friend, Berk. Asking around, no one had heard of Berk either. Yet, Mal had received a letter from Berk a few weeks past, writing about life in Harmony. Odd.

After breakfast, we watched the enlightened buildings — 1 main building with 2 adjacent ones — for a while and tried to find a way to sneak into one. But somehow, there were always villagers with an eye, or two, on the door.

We gave up that effort, and explored the village’s fields. They grew a wide variety of vegetables, legumes, and even some rice. We estimated that the village was producing enough to feed themselves well, but not enough for significant trade. North of the village, we spied the large ant mound. Ants were going in and out of the mound, sometimes carrying things. At any given time, we saw perhaps 20 to 30 ants, each the size of a beagle. So far as we could tell, with our limited knowledge of insects, giant or otherwise, the ants were busy doing “ant” work.

Nib started watching the mound astrally. One of the ants that came out had some sort of astral residue on him. Perhaps he’d rubbed up against something that as astrally active? None of the other ants had such a residue, but were all completely mundane.

Giving up on this pursuit, we returned to the village and made another concerted effort to get inside the enlightened ones’ buildings. I actively distracted the villagers who had eyes on the entrance, getting them to look a different way. Meanwhile, Nib quietly went in through the door. Soon, Nib reappeared at a window, gesturing for us to join him. The others went into the building, either through the window or door, and then I finally let the villager go about his busy. Even he was relieved when our protracted conversation was done. Then I slipped in through the door.

Inside, an astral survey of the room revealed an astral splatter of some sort, diffuse, yet spread out through much of the room. Nib had also found a trapdoor. We went down without delay and found organic, rough caverns. Using a light crystal to see, we notes a good number of ants walking here and there. They ignored us completely. The caverns were embedded with glowing crystals in a variety of colors. As we explored, Nib used firefly chalk to mark our path, high enough on the walls to be out of reach of the giant ants.

Turning a corner, we found 9 cocoons, from human too troll sized. Astrally, each was connected to an astral ovipositor, that served as a conduit to the bodies inside the cocoons, allowing the ants to lay eggs within. The people inside the cocoons were still alive, in fact, more alive than usual. They were a mix of gender and race, with one male dwarf among them. Probably Mal’s friend, Berk. Nib tried using Dispel Magic on the astral connection; it worked but the ovipositor was still present and active.

Then we heard scuttling in the tunnel. Around a corner appeared several white robed figures. When their hoods went down, faces that were half-ant and half-namegivers were revealed! Beneath the robes’ hems we saw an extra set of legs, ant-like legs. We attacked.

I put up Shield Mist on myself, then tore off my face, turning it into a Death’s Head, and Frightened the enemy along with shooting Spirit Darts at them. Nib flitted back and forth, buffing the party with Dodge Boost and shooting Mind Daggers. Redsun and Mal shot arrow after arrow after arrow at the ant-like creatures. LaShana zipped through the air and attacked the creatures from behind. Although at one point, she seemed to develop, um, romantic feelings towards one of them. That makes even my nethermantic soul cringe! Jarock bashed them repeatedly with his axe. The creatures hit hard, some burrowed through the earth, others scuttled along on the walls and ceiling. But eventually they all lay on the floor, dead or dying.

The creatures seemed to be Namegiver-ant hybrids. Nib named them Invae, insect spirits who take over a Namegiver’s body, eating their soul until nothing’s left, and then using the body as they please, possessing it completely. He reminded us of the events at Landis, before the Scourge, when hordes of Invae invaded the city, infected the people with insect spirits. Powerful magic was needed to correct that, but the situation was reversible. Weeks, at least, were needed before a Namegivers was unrecoverable. How could I have forgotten all this!

Leaving that for a while, mid-battle Nib had heard more scuttling further East in the tunnels. We investigated the area where he had heard the noises, but found nothing. The tracks indicating they were moving away from the battle.

We returned to examine the cocoons. We tried moving one, but the ovipositor followed along with the body and cocoon. Using Suppress Curse on Berk, I was able to temporarily stop the astral flow in and out of his body via the ovipositor. Then we removed one of the Namegivers, a troll, from his cocoon. Doing that disconnected the ovipositor. The troll had developed a large bug-eye instead of his normal eye. When the ovipositor was disconnected, the eye temporarily returned to normal, but unfortunately, quickly returned to its insect form.

We decided that we needed help to restore the Namegivers, so we resolved to get them back to Throal. Somehow.

We removed the remaining Namegivers from their cocoons. That night, LaShana borrowed a wagon and mule from the village, leaving some silver as payment. We loaded the infected Namegivers’ forms onto the wagon and set off back to Throal. After about one day of travel, the infected people began to wake, but they were confused and weak. Gradually, they became of aware of their surroundings and could begin to walk.

When we reached Throal, we remained outside the gates while we sent a messenger on to get help from the questers of Garlen. We turned the Namegivers over to their care and hoped for the best. We made it a point to tell as many troubadours as we could about Harmony, about what’s really going on there. Hopefully that will stop more people from settling there and encourage an expedition to take care of the ants once and for all.

Nib did further research at the Great Library and reported the results. We had assumed that an ant-queen was supplying the eggs that were put into the Name-givers. But Nib learned that that was false. It’s the reverse for Invae, so it’s unlikely there is — at present — an ant-queen at the Harmony mound. Someone — powerful enough — needs to intervene there before a queen is created. In addition, he learned that Invae can only enter our world by transforming a host into a suitable form. But Adepts — like Mal’s friend Berk — who are infected allow for greater spirits to come to this world and possess a body. And even more frightening, if there’s one Invae colony, there are no doubt others.

Rathan01
Posts: 93
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 6:50 pm

Re: AAR [4]: The Generalist Fraternity

Post by Rathan01 » Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:52 pm

*Written in precise and un-flourished penmanship --*

A week ago I received a letter from my friend Berk Broadlin, he is a weaponsmith and stated that he has moved to the new town of Harmony that has developed to the south of Throal. There weren’t any other jobs available that I felt I could handle so I decided to visit Berk and see his new shop.

The trip took about 5 largely uneventful days. When I arrived, I was met by a greeting party offering cool water. They were very welcoming but did not offer or demand a greeting ritual. I asked for directions to my friend’s weapon shop and was told there were no weapons in town as well as no shops but I was welcome to look around to find him. This worried me a bit since there is no way Berk is going to stay someplace where he couldn’t a good living. I wandered around quite a bit asking if anyone knew Berk and all I got was a lot of blank looks and apologies for not knowing who he was. During my wandering, I ran into several friends who also traveled to Harmony to check out the new town. Nib, Bloodbeat, Redsun, and Jarock were all here along with a Windling I have not previously met, LaShana.

We shared information and multiple things were not adding up. Supposedly, “living in harmony with the land” will somehow protect you from Horrors..? There are giant ants “working” with the citizens. There are levels of spiritual development with certain buildings “reserved” for the higher tiers. We figured that maybe there was something going on with the ants so Nib and LaShana made a plan to see if the well in the center of town might lead down to ant tunnels. Looks like it does but the tunnels are too small to fit everyone. We decide to check out some of the restricted buildings but are stealthy people weren’t so stealthy.

We head out to the north of town where Nib scouted an ant mound. After checking it out we decided that maybe would should not potentially anger many giant ants so we head back to try and sneak into one of the buildings again. We are much more successful this round with Nib and LaShana making it in while we caused a diversion. They find a trapdoor and wave the rest of us in. Down we go and we find, bug people..? They looked like a cross between the ants and the “enlightened” from town. We had a pretty good fight overall but my contributions were rather lackluster. After taking care of the bug people, we found Berk and several others. They are locked in cacoons and when checked astrally, they had some kind of spiritual bug ovipositors that were converting them to more bug people. We were able to free them from the cacoons and that freed them from the astral connection. We found that they were physically converting into a bug person.

The group determined that we would need the help of more powerful healing then we could produce so we acquired a horse and wagon to transport the “infected” back to Throal. When we arrived at Throal, we had a messenger go to the questors of Garlen to have then nurse the infected back to health.

So, it looks like the insect spirits are called Invae. Nib did his research thing and found that at this time we shouldn’t have to worry about a queen as she won’t come into the world until there is a well-established support network to protect her. I have to say, I think these Invae actually worry me a bit more than the Horrors. So far, in my experience, the horrors have all been physical beings that can be attacked and killed. The Invae see to be able to be anywhere and since they are in the astral plane, we cant directly affect them.

redwraith
Posts: 82
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2020 8:12 pm

Re: AAR [4]: The Generalist Fraternity

Post by redwraith » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:47 pm

It's been a little slow in Throal recently and I've been getting the urge to go explore the countryside again. Maybe find somewhere new to reside as I've had enough of living underground. While I was eating lunch in a local tavern I heard a bit of an argument between some travelers, they were discussing Harmony. At first I thought they were bards but no they were just some merchants talking about the town of Harmony not some music. The argument was about how this town just sprung up so quickly and had no protection from Horrors or other more mundane predators. I asked the travelers more about the town and they all had theories and rumors about the town, it's defenses and possible powerful magics.

Since I was feeling the need to get out of Throal anyways a nice short trip to Harmony to investigate these rumors seemed like a great idea. I wasn't expecting any trouble, so I made my leisurely way down to Harmony. Once there I expect I would find all of these stories to be false and a perfectly normal town. Once I had finished my investigation I could return to Throal and provide an in depth report on what was actually going on.

I made my way down to Harmony over the course of several days and arrived just before the evening meal. Hopefully the town had a tavern so I could grab a good meal. As I entered the larger than expected town I saw a most unusual sight, an ant the size of a dog. At first I thought it was a dog but then quickly dismissed that and realized that my uneventful trip was likely to be more interesting than I first thought.

I was greeted by the local...person...greeter...cultist?? With some fresh water and a warm smile. They were very welcoming and made no demands on my entering the town. Very unusual in these times, and there were no guards or weapons on hand anywhere. Everyone I came across was wearing a white tunic or robe and were very trusting and friendly. Nothing sets me on edge more than overly friendly people and pumpkin patches.

I entered the local eatery and discovered several others had come from Throal to experience Harmony in all of it's glory. Nib, Mal, Bloodbeat, Jarock my Orc friend with the mighty hammer and Lashana. I've heard of Lashana and I kept watch on my personal effects while she was around.

We shared tales of our journey and reasons for being in Harmony along with what we have all experienced since arriving. We all agreed that the town was a little odd and not just because they didn't eat meat. After I explained that I saw a giant ant and that the locals didn't seem to care that just confirmed our suspicions that Harmony was hiding something. Also Mal indicated that his friend Berk a dwarven weapon smith had traveled to Harmony but no one has seen him.

Lashana and Nib started to fly around town and try to see if anything looked suspect. They tried the town well as we have all had some of the well water to drink and wanted to make sure the water was clean. There were some ant tunnels but little else of interest at the well thankfully. Bloodbeat questioned some of the important town folk about what was going on here and discovered that there was a ritual were people would meditate for days before becoming enlightened. We couldn't get much more out of them than that. Nor could we get them to discuss how the town was protected other than them claiming living in Harmony with nature had provided protection.

None of us felt safe in town and we set up camp just outside of town. Lashana noticed a pack of wolves approaching the outskirts of town during the night. As they approached, a group of giant ants bubbled out of the ground to confront them and drove the wolves off. She didn't see any signs of a fight but the wolves left without causing any harm to the villagers.

In the morning we once again sent the two Windlings off to investigate the buildings that the locals didn't want us to visit. But they weren't able to sneak into the buildings. We then changed our focus and sought out the ant mound in the local fields. There we found the villagers working away beside the ant mound and the ants doing ant things. Both sides ignoring the other as they went about their daily activities. The ant mound was massive and I could easily walk about inside judging from the holes around the base of the mound.

We went back to town to once again try to find out more about what was happening here. Bloodbeat started to question one the of the villagers while Lashana and Neb made their way into one of the forbidden buildings. Neb quickly noticed that the astral space was corrupted and the entire place felt odd. Being able to see the astral and finding further insights to what is going on in the world seems very useful. I will investigate how I can learn how to gain this mystic sight. After they had finished investigating the building they signaled the rest of us to join them. They had discovered a trap door in the building. The trap door lead to a series of underground tunnels that the ants must of created.

Once again the astral was corrupted in the ant tunnels and we started to explore. The few ants we came across didn't seem to mind our presence which shows that the villagers must visit the mound frequently. During our search we found several humanoid cocoons. I fear we have found the missing villagers and likely Mal's friend. As we examined the cocoons, Nib examined them in the astral and found that something seemed to be connected to them and was feeding them. Nib tried to dispell the magic but there wasn't any visible effect. Well at least no visible effect on the cocoons.

The ant mound became very active as the ants all scurried away and some large forms hurried to our location. Six humanoid ant creatures approached us and they didn't seem too pleased with our interference. They charged us and battle was engaged. Lashana fly into the center of the room and started to fire here strange bow into the creatures and then one of them climbed the walls and the ceiling to attack her. Finding safety and cover in here would prove to be difficult if our foes can attack us from the ceiling. During the battle some of the creatures burrowed their way to us underground and attacked from beneath. After several minutes we were able to finish off our foes, though Lashana seemed a little upset about us killing one of the creatures. Hopefully she didn't know him/her.

Nib informs us that something ran away from the fighting but he didn't see who or what is was. We started to try to free the victims in the cocoons. We tried magic at first but the magic was coming from the astral and our efforts were unsuccessful. We eventually cut them free from the cocoons as we needed to take them to Throal. Once we had cut them free the astral connection was also severed, thankfully. Several of the victims showed mutations similar to the creatures we had fought. Hopefully the healers in Throal can help this poor people.

Lashana went to town to acquire a cart so we could transport the victims back to Throal. I was pleased to hear her say she left some silver for the owner of the cart. We loaded the victims up in the cover of night and made out way to Throal.

We discussed what was going on at the ant mound and we remembered the stories of Landis, where Invae spirits took possession of namegivers and turned them into those ant creatures we fought. We also believe that the hive is created first and slowly the hive is populated with possessed people and once the hive is of a certain size the Queen can make the transition from the astral to our world. It would seem like we discovered this hive and hopefully stopped it before a Queen could enter.

The authorities at Throal will be very interested in what we discovered and I would imagine a group will be sent to Harmony to investigate further. Hopefully the healers in Throal can also help the people we rescued from the spirits.

The journey back to Throal was uneventful other than the fact that one morning I couldn't find my hat anywhere. Well until Nib woke up and was "wearing" my hat. It was just a little large for him but he claims to have no idea why he had my hat. I guess he was cold?

Lashana
Posts: 147
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2020 9:40 pm
Location: Virginia Beach, VA USA

Re: AAR [4]: The Generalist Fraternity

Post by Lashana » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:33 pm

Well, I found myself alone and bored in Throal. No immediate work to be found so I kept my ear to the ground listening for some trouble to get into. I didn’t hear too much that would lure me into trouble. What I did find was an intriguing town called Harmony, which is supposedly VERY peaceful. I found myself curious about this town of peaceful people. Are they wealthy? Is that why they are so peaceful? How were they managing to stay free from outside attacks? What made them so special? I really wanted to find out, so I decided to go and scout it out and see what was going on in this idyllic little retreat.
While on my way out of Throal I managed to pick up a….bodyguard of sorts. Jarock, Vralino’s father, was sent along to “escort” me. He has VERY long hair, on his head, face and in his ears….and I braided ALL of it. And he let me...teehee! Travel there went smoothly, no problems encountered and when we arrived we were very warmly greeted. The people there are disturbingly nice, like drink the kool-aid nice. It was kind of creepy - they immediately offered us water, which I wanted to refuse but Jarock made me drink it. I didn’t die, so there’s that.
We did luckily run into some friends though so we weren’t alone in this freaky puritan town. They didn’t even have an inn or tavern they had just told us. Like seriously, what level of hell is this? But somehow Redsun, Mal and Nib were here and I met a new friend Bloodbeat.
Apparently they all sleep in barracks together and eat together and tell storys together. That’s alot of together time, kind of too much for me. Other than that there was only one other OBVIOUS weird thing about the town and that was these two houses kind of set apart from the rest of the town. We tried to get into them once but were turned away. So we realized we had to be alittle more sneaky about it.
There was a well with a tunnel shooting off of it but only two of could explore it and that seemed too risky. And we saw two wolves approach the town but they were chased off by these oversized ants. And the town seemed to get along with the ants. It was weird. So Bloodbeat distracted the cultists...errrr townfolk so we could get into the closed up house and check it out.
Once we were inside Nib spotted astral goo that was kind of dripping here and there and then we discovered a trap door that we assume went down but couldn’t confirm because we couldn’t open it. Once we were above to get the door open and descend there was this tunnel system with more of the astral goo.
We ran into some insect like things and they attacked us, like unprovoked. And we started to protect ourselves, and these insects were tough. While in the throws of the action we stumbled upon these cocoons of townsfolk that look to have been/being consumed/converted. I managed to get one of them to stand down from attacking, he even told me why they attacked. It’s their mating season and we interrupted . He was quite reasonable but alas he had to die. We were able to rescue 8 townsfolk including Redsun’s friend but could not catch the queen. We had knowledge of legendary battles with name giver sized insects. I purchased a cart and a mule (her name is Gypsy) and took the victims back to Throal. Hesitant, but residents were willing to help.

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