AAR: [5H] Beyond the First Gate (2020-06-11 23:30 GMT)

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Re: LFG: [5H] Beyond the First Gate (2020-06-11 23:30 GMT)

Post by etherial » Wed Jun 10, 2020 5:44 pm

Name: Daldorer
Last Game Played:2020-06-10
Circle: 5
Discipline: Nethermancer
Quote/Unique: Daddy can make you feel better
Notable Abilities: Physician, Death's Head, Last Chance
Downtime: Alchemy Step 7. Recipes: Booster Potion and Small Light Quartz

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AAR: [5H] Beyond the First Gate (2020-06-11 23:30 GMT)

Post by bronzemountain » Fri Jun 12, 2020 4:21 am

Beyond the First Gate 2020-06-12 @2330 GMT
GM: Dvarim
Circle: 5
Difficulty: Hard

Player Rewards:
Zivilyn: 5 TIPs, 6,000 LP, 713 SP
Sandrin: 5 TIPs, 6,000 LP, 713 SP
Rose: 5 TIPs, 6,000 LP, 713 SP
Reyis: 5 TIPs, 6,000 LP, 713 SP
Daldorer: 5 TIPs, 6,000 LP, 713 SP

Journal Rewards:
300 Legend, 178.3 Silver

GM Reward:
Dvarim: 3 TIPs, 13,000 LP, 775 SP

Downtime Actions Available:
Daldorer: Alchemy 7 (Booster Potion, Small Light Quartz)
Zivilyn: Animal Training 15 (5 commands), Research 20 (+3step/20sp), Item History 14
Reyis: Animal Training 10
Sandrin: Craft Weapon 7 (damage 2, 1 day/size)

Further Information:
After furious battle with horrific creatures with all sorts of sound abilities, the Adepts were able to keep Inspree Fablebind safe (battered, but not broken), and have opened the Cloister of Silence (which is now available as an origin location for new PCs).

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Re: AAR: [5H] Beyond the First Gate (2020-06-11 23:30 GMT)

Post by Sharkforce » Fri Jun 12, 2020 8:54 am

(the entry for this journal starts partway down the page, and includes a brief excerpt of Zivilyn's journal not related to adventuring)

... and the adventuring company was so pleased with all of the work I've done in identifying all of the loot they brought back with them from their expedition, that instead of paying me in silver, I got this amazing hat! It should improve my abilities to bond with my animal companions significantly. I guess they didn't have a Beastmaster or anything like that, but really, it's almost as valuable for its historical significance, and as a fashionable accessory! Violet practically turned green(er) with envy when she saw me wearing it.

From the Journal of Zivilyn, Windling Magician: Beyond the First Gate

Sandrin, a trusted friend of mine and an Air Sailor, recently contacted me with a request for some help in a difficult task he had in mind. It seems he wanted to impress a Windling Troubadour named Inspree (I can't blame him, I hope I left a good impression myself; she's a lovely lady, and man has she ever got some pipes!). She had recently agreed to help one Semyon in exploring the mysteries of the Cloister of Silence, up just past Grakor in the mountains north and a little east of Throal. The Cloister, as I would hope most people know, is a kaer established by pre-scourge followers of Rashomon.

Naturally, what with Rashomon going mad and becoming Raggok, this was an inescapable temptation for a number of Scholars to potentially meet some people from before the scourge; you see, the gate was guarded by a group of monks that were in a sort of trance state, as previous journal entries by other Adepts have mentioned. Some sort of horror-twisted creatures that look like twisted Shrieker Bats, and by twisted creatures that seem an awful lot like harpies. I'm not sure why anyone would bother twisting harpies; they're already filthy, despiccable, vile creatures. Who can comprehend the horrors, though? Anyways, they've also been under siege by forces from Grakor, as well; it seems the modern Raggok cultists wanted to defile the monastery as well.

But of course, this is all just repeating old journal entries, and not even my own, so it's not exactly my story; I just wanted to get it settled in my head, to make sure I've got the backstory here.

Anyways, Inspree and Semyon had an idea on how to get through the gate, and since Sandrin was so eagre to help, I could hardly say no, especially with a chance to meet a celebrity like Inspree! I hope some day I'll be able to hear a song of hers about me. Joining as well were Daldorer and Rose, a pair of Nethermancers who I believe I have travelled with a time or two before (although Rose is also a Questor of Floraanuus now, it seems, which is not at all what I would have expected from a Nethermancer), and Reyis (another Windling Shaman; I've heard of a few others around Throal, but never had the chance to meet one before!). We had no trouble along the way; I suppose if I were a bandit I might look at an obvious group of adventurers complete with a pair of horse-sized wolves and think better of my profession too. Then again, if I were a bandit, I suppose I'd also be an idiot, so you never know.

We got to the Cloister, and I got a chance to spend some time examining the wards, which I have never seen nor heard of the like before (I suppose the uniqueness may have helped them withstand the scourge). And I definitely was not so starstruck that I could barely even mumble around Inspree. I was just letting my fabulous hat do all the talking! I can certainly see how others could have confused what I was doing, of course, so I just wanted to set the record straight on that.

We enjoyed a pleasant dinner, shared stories, and discussed the plan for the morrow. Inspree, being as smart as a whip, had deduced that the crystals held in the hands of the meditating monks were not just any glass orbs, but would resonate when the proper song (or something matching it, more or less) was sung. She would sing, and we would kick the butts of whatever warped creatures showed up, as they apparently do every time someone starts testing the kaer wards.

We got into positions, Daldorer drew a few Life Circles of One to protect Inspree, Rose made a Bone Circle off to the side, and Inspree started singing with as much power as any Troll could have mustered. And it was working, the monks were starting to awaken... and also, I swear it was like creatures just crawled out of nowhere onto the cliff walls nearby and started jumping down on us. Fans like that, Inspree could do without! Also, a bunch of Gnashers seemed to just eat their way through the ground to our side. Fortunately, it was as if Daldorer and Rose were oracles. Most of the gnashers got caught up in the Bone Circle, dealing with the spirit in there (which was nice, saves me the trouble of dispelling it to keep people from accidentally stepping into it and getting bitten or something), while the rest ran into the Life Circles and died as they went.

That fight wasn't so bad, in the end. I got a bit scuffed up, and Inspree got knocked down by being screamed at, and a few of the others took some minor injuries, but overall nothing too bad. Sandrin helped her sing when she got the wind knocked out of her and when she was busy trying to sing two parts at once (as the monks woke up, they were supposed to start singing, but some were missing), so we prevailed, the gates opened, and those poor twisted creatures were put out of their misery (The bats, that is. The harpies I can only presume become harpy spirits or something like that when they die, so they're probably still miserable insufferable slimey foul things). All told, I think there were about six of them.

Aaaaand, of course nothing is ever that easy. Turns out this was the *first* gate, and we had to go open a second one immediately. Oh goody. You know, I definitely woke up this morning thinking "hey, Zivilyn, you should go get screamed at by warped bats that send you staggering around like an idiot in front of a beautiful woman" anyways, right? Well, apparently having started the ritual of opening, we invited disaster if we didn't get to the next gate quickly and start opening it. Thankfully, the monks knew the way (although one of them made the mistake of calling on Rashomon for strength before he could be caught up on certain key events that had happened while he was dreaming for 400 years, which I would totally have warned them about first thing except I was busy making sure Inspree was fine!), and knew how to do it, so that didn't mean we needed to defend the gate for another several months while Inspree and Semyon studied the problem. On the downside, the group that probably crawled out of the astral just as we got up there was way worse than the first wave had been, and we didn't have any spare time to enjoy a Hero's Feast, which would of course have gotten us all back on our feet. I swear, every adventure I've gone on lately has been like that.

There were four of them that attacked. Fighting them is definitely rating among the worst experiences of my life to date. One of them sort of sang us to sleep, then latched on to Sandrin and started chewing on his face in what I can only assume was a spectacularly unpleasant time for him. Another one had a bulging throat like a frog and croaked so hard that it would knock you flying. A third was huge and hit like I imagine a charging Dyre would have felt like if I'd had the misfortune of being hit by one, whispering all the time like some sort of creepy animated tree. And the last one would scream in your face and scare you almost senseless, and I'd like to update that after being hit by it when it charged I feel like that dyre might not be so bad in comparison. If ever you feel like you're having too good of a day, I can recommend opening a kaer with this style of ward. I promise, that'll fix your day up *real* good.

So anyways, Sandrin ran up first, to protect the monks, he being the closest thing to a warrior we had. As mentioned, the creepy singing thing glomped onto him the second it smelled blood and proceeded to introduce him to its fangs. I am so glad that wasn't me. Howler bravely joined him at the front, and promptly took a savage hit from the weird whispering thing. The froggy one croaked at us and knocked us around (which would have probably been more inconvenient if that stupid singing one hadn't been manipulating us into lying down already), and the shouty one went after Daldorer, who really should get some armour. That sort of thing went on for a bit, before I managed to weave some assistance to Sandrin helping him to Wriggle free, while Howler immediately sensed an opportunity and just bit that creepy thing right on the hand, giving Sandrin a chance to escape and stop being a chew toy (Sandrin, if you're reading this, you owe Howler a nice juicy steak for keeping you from being one yourself).

And about this point, I gained a great deal of appreciation for why it is much better to have Nethermancers on your side than against you, as Daldorer and Rose immediately proceeded to redefine the monstrosities' existence as living pain and putting Astral Spears into them. Reyis made it pretty much rain cats on the whispering one. And this is when I found out that I do not like getting charged by a pigheaded weird shouty thing. Also, the froggy one came my way as well. For a moment there, things were looking very bad for me. I think I got a bit lucky here, and was in the end able to stagger away and commence with providing spells to improve the combat effectiveness of Howler, Sandrin, and Reyis' dire wolf (whose name escapes me at the moment, I shall have to ask Reyis about that later. Well, I'm sure he'll submit his own journal, you can find his brave friend's name there as well). It all got a little blurry for me, as I was barely conscious and was busy trying to focus on my spells, but I think the creepy singing one eventually got stabbed and bitten to death, then the whispery one smacked Daldorer but was shortly afterward finished off by Reyis who had been struggling to get to his feet while Invoking Leopard Spirit after Leopard Spirit all the time, then the frog-throat thing went down to the jaws of Howler, and we managed to finish off the weird boar-thing all working together.

Inspree was, thankfully, still alive, and the monks were able to finish opening the second gate (which had some neat devices that you could whisper into and be heard at great distances if you were at the other device, each of which were shaped like big dishes with the side where the food goes facing each other. It was really fascinating!). With the gate opened, the people inside were hastily informed that they should not call upon Rashomon because he had gone mad in the intervening centuries while they had been in some sort of stasis (apologies, I would've studied it more closely, but I'm pretty sure opening myself to the astral to get a look would have literally knocked me unconscious. Frankly I was already kinda planning a hero's feast to get us all back on our feet). Thankfully, with the monks who we had cautioned earlier regarding the dangers of calling upon Rashomon, the people within were warned in time to not call upon him themselves, because that could have gone disastrously if they had. I mean, I'm pretty sure I'm faster than them, and thanks to my Wizard spells so were all my friends, but I really did not want to save a kaer from invading icky stuff just to see it instantly corrupted and be chased off by a murderous horde of mad cultists who would probably join the town of Grakor in causing all manner of problems.

Which reminds me. You all should probably prepare for an incoming stampede of Scholars, each desperate to be the first to submit their research on the Monastery before their fellows. Do me a favour and tell them I got here first, and let me know what their faces look like when you do, will you? I mean, if you can, even get an Illusionist to preserve it in detail (yes, I know, this is scarcely the thoroughly-researched and detailed information they'll be bringing in. But they won't know that at first... apparently someone spread rumours about my celebrity status as a scholar a while back, and what's the point in being quasi-famous if you're not even going to enjoy it?)

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Re: AAR: [5H] Beyond the First Gate (2020-06-11 23:30 GMT)

Post by Dougansf » Fri Jun 12, 2020 5:06 pm

Inspree Fablebind sent word from the Cloister of Silence. She claims to have figured out how to open the first gate. The other Troubadours in Throal are willing to entertain the idea of inviting me into their ranks if I prove myself by assisting her. As what was beyond the Gate was unknown, and the unique kaer may have other strange defenses, I selected Zivilyn, Daoloder, Reyis, Rose to join me. Reyis was particularly interested in meeting the monks within.

We arrive at the Cloister of Silence without issue. There is some trade going in and out of Sosanopa, still not quite a full village. Some off-road permanent campsites, small vendors. We avoid the path as warned of on the map from Semyon (no dancing with ghost children).

As we make our way up the mountains, there is the start of a road, including wooden frames. Occasionally we see children out of the corner of our eyes dancing, but they disappear.

There are several people here, mostly monks here meditating. All types of races. Each of them have their hands laced in front of them with an orb of glass or crystal. One of the young dwarves looks over at us. His hands move a lot as if guiding his words. Semyon introduces himself, his husband is feeling better after his skull had been caved in. Still has some numbness in his left arm, but his casting is unaffected.

We’re introduced to another dwarf, shaved head, black clothing, Nethermancer. A windling lady flies up as well. These monks have been here in stasis since before the Scourge. They are linked to the kaer, it’s protection and well being.

Inspree takes over the discussion. The crystals are linked to the kaer binding. Some were killed by entities that wanted to break the crystals. The crystals aren’t containers but resonators. She realized that the answer is song. She’s extrapolated some of the missing tones. Previous investigations have drawn dangerous attention. The song cannot be interrupted once begun. Astral space is on the border between Safe and Open. There are strong threads binding the monks and the orbs and each other. There’s a Nethermancer circle drawn a few months ago. The last things to attack are corrupted creatures that are hatred of the Cloister, “Cacklers and Shriekers” they scream, shout, or use cacophony to break the silence and weaken the kaer.

Rose and Daoloder set up circles for spells around the ritual site. We work some wax into our ears to help protect ourselves.

The next morning, we finalize preparations, and Inspree takes her place at the ritual circle. She begins to sing, clearly into the area, not muted by the muted effect around the area. The glass balls start to resonate like singing bowls. Sandrin hears distant a cacophonous howl, a disordered jangling sound. Inspree almost loses the song, but one of the Monks start to sing as well, supporting her song. There’s also the sound of grinding stone next to the entrance. We get a round to prepare ourselves. The Nethermancers casts Deaths Head on themselves, Zivilyn prepares Mage Armor for us.

Twisted bat things arrive over the mountainsides, from behind there’s a grinding noise and a swarm of small Gnashers emerges from the stone. The Gnashers encounter the Bone Circle and many are confused by the Bone Spirit within. The other half charge towards Inspree, encountering the Life Circle of One where many of them are slain by the outer circle, some make it inside to die to the inner circle.

No sooner than we've killed a few of them, when two more Shriekers appear over the mountains. Inspree continues to sing, she reaches a gap in the order of the Monks, Inspree tries to fill the gap, and it feels like she needs help. While the others fight, I begin singing some air shanties to fill the gap left by the missing monk to bolster Inspree's efforts.

The creatures begin to work their way around to Inspree and surround her. I bring my voice up over their chaotic noise, and distract all of them to think that I am the focus of the ritual, not Inspree. This works long enough for us to kill the creatures, and finish the song. The monks start to awaken.

They are concerned that the song was used instead of the magic falling to the proper level. They lead us to the Second Gate about an hours walk away.

Enroute, one of the monks activates Wood Skin, which corrupts and then drives him into a frenzy attacking us. We subdue him. We learn he was channeling the power of Roshamon, and we tell them about the Mad Questors. They dedicate themselves to continuing to endure, in hope that he may be redeemed.

At the second gate, the monks split up to both sides and use some echo bowls to open the gate.

A crooning hum of a soothing sound comes towards us. Four strange creatures approach along the pathway. The leader has a hypnotic song that entrances many of us to lie down. A huge hog Squeals terror into our hearts, and charges at those farther away. A thin creature Whispers at us as it brings large clubs down upon us. Lastly, a frog-like creature bleches out explosions at range, tossing people around.

In the end, Inspree had to put herself into harms way to help us and save the monks. Daloder and myself are unconscious from wounds and strain. Zivilyn was dangerously close to falling as well when he put a dagger into the last creature to finish the fight. Rose and Howler stood by me on the front line until the Crooner was slain. Reyis never regained his feet, but his spells brought enemies down with him.

The monks finish the ritual shortly afterward. The Second Gate opens to the inner cloister. It’s sheltered by the mountains, open to the air. After we enter, the wind starts to follow us through the wards. The pews are filled with people in stasis who begin moving stiffly. There are other people than the monks who took shelter here. Some of them introduce themselves:
Ivika Dolren, Female Dwarf, Abbess
Si’hora Ga’jah V’strimon Female T’skrang, Chief Scribe
Pitr Venn Male Human, Keeper of Secrets
Gravhn Blacktusk Male Troll, Cantor
Niqua Vahn, Female Ork, Keeper of Ways, Questor of Roshamon/Raggok

Niqua is very angry at our lies about Raggok and storms off.

We do the Rites of Introduction. The Astral is Safe. one building is an archive library.

Semyon and his people are thrilled at the discovery.

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Re: AAR: [5H] Beyond the First Gate (2020-06-11 23:30 GMT)

Post by etherial » Sun Jun 14, 2020 3:26 am

In my ongoing quest to understand all the Passions, I have joined an expedition to open a Sanctuary dedicated to Rashamon, the pre-Scourge identity of the Passion now known as Raggok. I remember hearing stories of Rashamon and seeing offerings at his shrines at the Liferock and beyond. This Sanctuary is called the Cloister of Silence, and numerous attempts to open it have resulted in havoc. The villains of Grakor have long sought entry to the Cloister of Silence and access to the secrets within.

A team of monks lay in meditation in alcoves along the gate to the Sanctuary/Kaer, their mental energies focused on protecting the slumbering Namegivers within. Several empty alcoves indicated the cost of this ritual. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by the excitable Windling from before, who explained that he had analyzed the writings across the mantle of the entryway and deciphered the music required to wake the monks.

All attempts at opening the gates, however, had attracted unwanted attention, which is where we came in. The unwanted attention came largely in the form of misshapen and monstrous creatures, so I built concentric Life CIrcles to defend the Windling singer who would be performing the Song of Opening. As the Windling began, the ground began to tremble. Over the rocks and hills, an ululation of gibbering Gnashers, a murmuration of fluttering Shriekers, and a cacophany of flapping Cacklers descended upon us.

The Life Circles made short work of the Gnashers, but the Shriekers and Cacklers, though warped and monstrous, were not the work of Horrors and were immune to their effects. We cut them down as quick as we could, but they got through to the singer and injured her. One of our number picked her up and joined her in singing, engaging in a curious polyphonous performance, bringing forth multiple melodies and rhythms from their mouths. Some particularly zealous creatures, a Mad Cackler and a Disruptive Shrieker, caused serious harm, but they too were thwarted.

We woke the Monks and explained the situation to them. Their magics were designed to fail when the mana level had retreated enough, but since the mana level has remained stable, we needed them to open the remaining gate themselves. When they tried to reach the abilities Rashamon had given them, their bodies were wracked with pain and terror by Raggok's influence. With sorrow, we explained what had transpired in the world since they began to slumber. They were shaken by the world's events, but their admiration for Rashamon's ideals remained, and they agreed to help us open the remaining gate. Time passed, allowing me to assist my comrades, even their injured Direwolf Companions.

As the Monks began the next ritual, four Harbingers of Raggok appeared. A Crooner, a Squealer, a Thunderer, and a Whisperer. I lost consciousness during the fight, so my memories are scattered, but I know we prevailed. Their voices have been canceled and now the world is a safer place. The monks used the harmonic shaping of the echo chambers in which they stood to open the inner gate and wake the many Namegivers within. I do not know what the future holds for these devotees of a lost Passion. It should be interesting to watch.

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Re: AAR: [5H] Beyond the First Gate (2020-06-11 23:30 GMT)

Post by Brian L » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:09 pm

Notes on the Cloister of Silence from Reyis Poriv.

Sandrin, an Air Sailor with whom I have worked in the past was looking for assistance. He is acquainted with a Troubadour named Inspree Fablebind. She believed that she knew how to open the Cloister of Silence. This has been tried in the past, but all previous attempts have drawn the attention of tainted beings and failed. She is doing this to assist Seymon, who is known to some of us, and there is some concern for his husband who was gravely injured in a previous attempt at opening the Cloister.

The Cloister is interesting in that unlike Thoral where our ancestors lived their lives through the Scourge. They chose to freeze themselves/halt time/step out of the universe or something. So scholars believe that there will be an abundance of pre-Scourge knowledge to come out of this Kaer. There was also some excitement as this Kaer would have first hand knowledge of Roshoman before his change to Raggok. Many of the Cloister’s residents were followers of Roshoman.

The journey to the Cloister was pretty simple. We followed the path towards Sosanopa and turned east at the proper time. It seems that if you take the wrong turn, there is a place where other adepts were assaulted by monsters (a problem for another time, we are here for the Cloister). When we arrived at the entrance we were met by Inspree and Seymon. The entrance itself was imposing and it was attended by motionless monks holding glass orbs. In the astral, you can see the connections between the monks, their orbs, and the gate. The passage to time, and the scourge can be seen in the empty places where monks once sat guarding the gate.

Inspree’s plan was simple enough. She believed that she had the song that would awaken the monks and open the gate. She believed that she knew enough and was talented enough to cover for the missing monks in the empty spaces. All we were to do was to keep the tainted creatures that would be attracted by her song away from her long enough for her to finish.

Daldorer and Rose prepared a few circles prior to the starting of the song. Inspree started her song protected by these circles. As soon as the song started we could feel something change. And almost immediately as if waiting the tainted were upon us trying to stop the song. They tried to overrun us and many were stopped by the circles, others tried to add discord to the song with their own screams.
Inspree was doing well, but the creatures were still advancing despite our efforts. Then Inspree faltered and Sandrin left combat to attempt shoring up her song with an Air Sailor shanty. Sandrin’s aid was what she needed to tip the scales in our favor. The monks in stasis started awakening and joining in the song. The fight was done, the song was over, the monks were awake, and the gate was open. Victory was ours. Nope, wait, hold up, all that happened but it seems that there is a second gate farther on down the way. We had awakened the monks who were now to open the next gate, and this was a time sensitive matter. Inspree’s theories had proven correct, but there is more to do to awaken the Kaer. So, onward. Also at least one of the monks was a follower of Rashomon and when he called on that power it did not go well for him. We made sure that the others were well informed as to this bit of what was history for us.

We reached the next gate where the monks prepared to do their thing with some really cool distance talky things that you whisper into. Before they could even begin the enemy was at the gates. There were four of them, all twisted and wrong. One who seemed to be the antithesis of Inspree took after Sandrin quickly. There was a tall spindly whispery treeish thing that hit hard and went after Rose and Daldorer. There was also a toad that used a wind/sound wave at a distance, and a screaming pig. Sandrin was almost eliminated by the ‘Crooner’ but was freed by the efforts of Zivilyn and Howler. I was knocked to the ground almost immediately and spent the entire fray casting desperately from there. Both Zivilyn and Howler were hurt badly and things did not look good for our side. Then the Nethermancers stepped up. Actually they had been there the whole time, but it took some time for their spell casting to have an effect on our foes. Once they get going though Nethemancers can wear anything down. The fight ended with the screaming pig being the last to fall, and it had made it close enough to injure Inspree.

WIth the tainted gone, the monks were able to open the gate to the Cloister. Inside the astral was peaceful, and the monks went about awakening the rest of their people. We spent our time telling them not to call on Rashomon as he was no longer sane, and it seems that Raggok will answer those calls, and trying to keep the scholars at bay long enough for these people to realize that they were now famous historical figures.

Right now I am planning on spending some time in the quiet of the Cloister and learning.

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