Ave Sestina

A Little Bit of the City Died Today
Two Regretable Deaths

The party pressed on through the basement of the Chateau de Bellois.

They entered a long room populated by a few imps, a spined devil, and a vizier devil. The room was full of traps – as soon as the party entered, one of the walls began to charge up with lightning. The wall of lightning advanced, pushing people forward as it shocked them. Several chests were scattered about the room, but the party only had the chance to open one chest before the wall advanced past them.

The devils and traps failed to halt the party’s advance. They tried to make camp, but heard mad shouting from the next room. Steeling themselves for a fight, they entered.

In the next room, they saw one of the city’s Primal Spirits gazing into a strangely shaped mirror. It was a four dimensional mirror, looking at it was disorienting, like looking at an MC Escher painting. It was reflecting light into the fourth dimension, drawing creatures to the area. The primal spirit, who looked like somebody at Carnivale, had been driven mad by his reflection in the Far Realms. Gehentir warned the party that he was lost – his mind had been shattered by his glimpse of the Truth.

The spirit, now a corrupt aberration called a Thought Scourge, laid into the party with psychic attacks. One of its psychic attacks involved a wave of despair, which could be mitigated by channeling the psychic damage into another party member. Mephistopheles, whose mind is protected by the creature called Gehentir, was able to absorb a lot of these attacks without it destroying his will to fight.

Thorc recognized the creature as a spirit of the Old Quarter. Its attacks involved channeling the negativity and hate which has been experienced in that part of the city. If an adventurer missed it with an attack, he suddenly became lost in a hallucination of being at Carnivale, in the midst of some violent episode. The adventurer would lash out against their attacker, which turned out to be a party member. In this way, the Thought Scourge was able to have the party fight each other. He also unleashed an attack which made them deal damage to each other if they stood too close.

Thorc ran towards the mirror and began to smash it. Every time it was struck, hordelings from the Far Realms descended into this dimension. The party became spread out, but managed to slay the Thought Scourge before it could heal itself in the mirror or feed on the fallen.

The party left the basement. Now – to escape the chateau. They created a distraction by spooking the horses in the stable, and then rode off on stolen steeds. The cut the horses loose a few miles outside of the city, and then returned to Ave Sestina.

The party stayed at The Oak, a large inn with a tree growing inside. They stayed in a lush room called the Purple Room, and checked out after an extended rest.

There was trouble at Councilman Kelson’s house. Alanna and Brendel were in some kind of shock. In the kitchen, Councilman Kelson’s headless body lay on the floor. The party’s patron had been assassinated.

This led to an in depth discussion about what to do next…

  • They want to rescue the Fae imprisoned by the crowns at Sovrano castle. This fae had been captured while spying on the devil called Chemellon,
  • Brendel and Alanna asked if they could work with the party. Not as adventurers, but as diplomats. The party agreed, and followed that they’d like to put the twins on the City Council. Brendel and Alanna to both run for city council, filling Kelson and Roland Clay’s spot.
  • In motivation, Brendel and Alanna are very different. Brendel believes that the party will be able to do the most good by acquiring as much power as possible. This may involve courting the favor of unfavorable people. Alanna believes that the party should focus on restoring the bridge pacts because that’s what’s best for the city – even if it makes some enemies.
  • In the meantime, they need a patron in order to claim city funds allocated for addressing the aberration problem. There were a few possible options discussed, all of them members of the Cloth faction. The party considered Drennemain, but thought that working for her might involve doing too much Lyceum work. Brendel and Alanna agreed to arrange an appointment with the high counselor of St. Beck’s district, Sammos Burien.
  • Griff wants to go meet with this mysterious guild contact at the Cloak & Swagger.
  • Kevian wants to track down and kill the Halfling named Felix. The party has been impersonating his party, and it’s probably best to tie up that loose end before he talks to the Crowns.
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The Chateau de INTRIGUE
Operation Info Dump

Company 19 left Ave Sestina and headed for the mountains, directed by the strange fourth-dimensional creature called Gehentir.

It took several days to reach the rift. One night, at their camp, the party gave asylum to a maddened adventurer, a Halfling named Felix, whose party had been slain by creatures they called Nashrou. He escaped with his life.

The Nashou would not let the party rest. The party was followed for hours and then SUPRISE! LIKE 20 GODDAMN NASHROU! But luckily the party killed all of them.

The party found the bodies of the adventurers, and recovered a few magical relics, including Boots of Spider Climbing (Level 5), and Gloves of Piercing (Level 3) and 560 gold. They also found a number of masks and robes, disguises apparently intended to wear to a meeting at a council safe house during the Aberration attacks.

The party approached a villa in the mountains. They disguised themselves and entered, speaking the correct password “Sovereign Says”. Within, they were mistaken for a party of mercenaries hired by some mysterious masked people.

Conversation already in progress:
The hosts were arguing about whether or not it was a good idea to work with the devils. The aberrations were not part of the plan! A man in a gold mask points out that they can capitalize on the chaos in the council house, use the confusion to their advantage.

The man in the gold mask mentioned that Councilman Kelson has been making trouble in the council house. He has Council Record LV and is seeking council funds to pay adventurers he’s hired.

The man in the silver mask says that Kelson won’t be a problem – but we should really neutralize the adventurers and get a hold of Council Record LV.

“I have heard a rumor that they are little more than mercenaries… maybe they can be bought.”

The party agreed to look into the issue. They were told to neutralize Kelson’s adventurers or see them hired.

“We caught a fae spy. He was following around Chemellon. Probably trying to figure out which crowns that bastard meets with. My men bound him in irons and locked him in the moat cell at Sovrano castle. We’re still deciding how do do away with him. We think the fae are being employed by the Cloth faction. Which would mean they’re being summoned by the Lyceum. Do you know anything about this? Or what fae are in the city?”

The adventurers feigned ignorance.

Then:

“Which one of you is in that guild?” Griff raised his hand. “We know your guild has been hurting for work since the shadow people came at last year’s Festival. We have a lead for you. We know that the shadows are employed as assassins by the Lemitri bank. They use the shadows to act against their enemies. For example they were the ones who kidnapped Councilman Roland Clay. People are just figuring out that he’s missing. The Halflings have probably buried him by now. Anyway, I have not heard much about the shadows. Tell me about them, or your run-ins with them.”

Griff spun an expert lie but for the life of me I don’t remember what it was.

“Oh,” added the man in the silver mask, “one of your guild contacts was here yesterday. She asked us to relay a message. She has more work for you – she said you can meet her under the rose at the Cloak and Swagger. Meet her en masque, and wear a rose too.”

Gold Mask:
“We have some work for you. You need to renew the pacts at Wailing bridge and Lindgate bridge. We think that this will remove the Fae and Shadows from the city, respectively. We expect you will be able to research what needs to be done and then do it. Return here when this is completed and you will be rewarded. Will you be capable of doing this?”

Raure assured their employers that she would be able to handle the pacts. They tossed her some ritual components to help.

Gehentir whispered to Meph that only one more person in the room had ritual components on his person. They’d only have to kill one person…

“Another task is to keep an eye on Wolfbridge and Bainsgate. If you see anybody snooping around there, investigate. Throw them off the trail or take them out. But be aware – we have other parties keeping an eye on those bridges too. Will you be capable of doing this?”

Meph assured them that they would be able to handle it. But if another party acted first, they’d have to defend themselves.

“Very good.. You’ve served us well. We will not forget this in the coming months as we put down our enemies. For now, you may want to stay out of the city. The devils in the basement have just made something terrible. They captured some city spirit and showed it its reflection in the far realms. It went mad – they have it in the basement right now, and hopefully they’re releasing it tonight. They call it a Thought Scourge.”

Company 19 left the drawing room and talked about what to do next. The next part of the plan was to break into the stables. Luckily, a low paid stable boy thought he was doing his job by letting the party into the basement.

They came down the stairs and got the crap kicked out of them by horrible undead.

The party pulled it out in the end and survived. But the Thought Scourge was nowhere in sight… There must be more to this cellar…

FIND OUT NEXT WEEK IN AVE SESTINA

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The Aberration Attack
Episode 3

  • The town was under attack by Aberrations!
  • The party went to the Crown district, where a ritual was taking place. They saw a group of outsiders and a masked man casting a ritual inside a circle of protection. The party defeated the aberrations the masked man ran off.
  • Griff and Norrin pursued the man to the council building. He slipped inside and evaded the party.
  • Meanwhile, Thorc, Raure, and Meph investigated the treasure chest that the masked man left behind. Inside there was a strange creature, a pyramid of flesh with an eye on each side. The creature spoke psychically and called itself Gehentir. It waxed on about how pathetic and ignorant the party was, insisting that they are “like motes of dust floating on the skin of a vast sea,” seemingly ignorant of the fact that he’s basically an helpless pile of flesh.
  • Gehentir said that he originated from the astral sea. Aberrant creatures consider Gehentir a sort of delicacy. If they detect him, they usually go out of their way to attack him.
  • Gehentir’s story is that he was kidnapped from the astral sea by Githyanki pirates. They brought him to Ave Sestina, where he was sold to a devil named Chemmelon. Chemmelon’s minions took him here where they cast a “dimensional ascent” ritual. This temporarily elevated Gehentir into the fourth dimension where the aberrations could see him. Then they swarmed onto that spot and attacked.
  • Gehentir knew that Chemmelon is currently in the mountains north of Ave Sestina, managing a gate through which the aberrations flow.
  • Raure was initiated into the Lyceum Ars. She can now buy spell components from them.
  • The party went into the marshes to investigate the body they saw being buried a few days earlier. Unfortunately, they found no clues. During her initiation, she saw a Satyr and a Nymph. Drennemain whispered that they were friends of the guild.
  • The party set off for the North to investigate what Gehentir seemed to think was a planar rift.

Current Quests

Here’s a list of the quests the party is currently on:

  • Investigate the Burial – on the way into the city, the party saw a man being buried by a bunch of halflings. What’s up with that?
  • End the Aberration attacks – The city of Ave Sestina has been plauged by Aberration attacks for a week. Adventuring parties are looking all over the place for a solution. But with Gehentir, the party has a unique lead on figuring out where they’re coming from… Next- to the mountains. Outcome: Prestige, rewards from the city treasury.
  • Do work for the city of Ave Sestina until the city allocates you a Hall.
  • Investigate the Bridges of Ave Sestina
  • Discover the relationship between Devils and the City Council
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To the Lower Stacks
event 2

The party headed over to the Old Quarter to inspect the Lyceum Ars tower.

  • On their way to the Lyceum, the party bumped into more victims of aberration attacks.
  • Lyceum – the party met Drennemain, an older Dragonborn who is a leader of the Arcane Guild. She was hesitant to give the party access to the library, despite Kelson’s writ. The Lower Stacks has a lot of information which needs to be protected, so they can’t let just anybody in.
  • Drennemain mentioned that the cult of Vecna wants the secrets kept in the lower stacks. To defend the lower stacks, the Lyceum has guarded them with wards and protections.
  • A group of adventurers went into the lower stacks about three months ago, and never returned.

Gain Entry to the Lower Stacks

  • Part of the group distracted Drennemain in the lower level of the tower.
  • The other part of the group scouted the area and tried to find a way to sneak into the tower.
  • Ultimately, the party entered illegally, sneaking into the tower through a second story window, and then sneaking past the guards into the lower stacks.

Guild Puzzle

Above the lower stacks, Company 19 entered a large room. There were five library shelves around the edges of the room, and a large archway. At the archway, they had to solve a riddle:

PUZZLE:
The Lyceum consists of several guilds. There are musicians, mages, artists, and the mascerati. What are the names of the four founders of the Lyceum and the order in which they joined?

A history or arcana check would let you draw a clue from one of the five shelves. Each shelf could only be drawn from once.

Clues:

  • Coravar joined first.
  • The Mascerati joined before the Arcane guild.
  • Alendro of the Artisans joined second.
  • Gerald joined before the musicians
  • Dalan was not in the Arcane guild.

Solution:

Coravar of the Mascerati, Alendro of the Artisans, Gerald of the Arcane Arts, Dalan of the Musicians.

In the Lower Stacks

The adventurers came down the stairs into the lower stacks, where the really juicy books are hidden. The lower stacks are dark and quiet. The party spotted two mages who were removing information or inserting false information into the Lower Stacks library. They eventually turned out to be the Cult of Vecna.

A fight broke out, and the players faced Lareth the Beautiful, her wizard sidekick Hareel, and three dragonborn phantoms of the tower, controlled through necromancy. Asses were beaten. Another member of the cult of vecna watched. His ass remained unbeat because of a magical ward. Raure noted that she could probably dispel it with a ritual, but she’d need to get the right scroll.

The party eventually figured out that under the ludicrous filing system of the lower stacks, “Council Record 55” was kept under shelf L, for LV (roman numeral 55).

The party returned to the city and told Kelson all about it. They delivered Council Record LV to him and were paid in gold.

He told them that the council record book was important because it contains a record of the Bridge Pacts. Each bridge in Ave Sestina is connected to a pact with a powerful being which took place long in the city’s past. The deals confer protection onto Ave Sestina, many of which may currently be missing. Each of the pacts have to be renewed every few centuries. Kelson will look into the pacts and research what may be going on.

In the meantime, Kelson asked that the adventurers keep their eyes open for clues about the aberrations and where they might be coming from.

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Ave Sestina!
Arrival at the City
  • The party spent a few days partying and celebrating their victory in Winterhaven. Raure created magic items for many members of the party.
  • The party embarked on their two week travel to Ave Sestina, City of Masks.
  • About a week and a half into the jouney, they met Brendel and Alanna, the nephew and niece of Councilman Kelson. The pair offered to pay for an escort to the city. They were thoroughly freaked out by an otherworldy floating eyeball that had appeared to follow them over the last three days.
  • At camp that night, the party was attacked by strange creatures – aberrations from the Far Planes, according to Kevian. A Dimensional Marauder attempted to drag Meph away into the woods, and the others were attacked by skin kites and very strange flesh creatures.
  • About 10 miles outside of Ave Sestina, the party happened across some shady characters in the woods. A group of Halflings and a Gnome was burying a naked man in the marsh. He appeared to have been dragged by a horse for some way. The party remained cautious and decided not to get involved with whatever was going on.
  • Upon Arrival in Ave Sestina, the party went to the Crown District to stay at an Inn called “Frills!”. Apparently Brendel and Alanna’s favorite tavern.
  • The next day, the party met Councilman Kelson. They party eventually impressed him, and he accepted their request for patronage. The party singed Kelson’s patronage agreement as “Company 19”. He agreed to speak for them in the Council in trade for their adventuring services. Kelson gave them their first task: to go retrieve an important book from the Lyceum Ars in the Old Quarter.
  • The Councilman mentioned that if the party does well in his service, he may consider funding a guild house for them.
  • Quotes of the Event: “So our motivation is (pointing) cash, cash, and cash… what about you?” -Kevian
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