Graveyard World

Espis Chapter 20: The Crystal Spire

After a cold night sheltered in the snow, the party makes their way towards the Crystal Spire, all the while followed from above by an unknown druid and stalked at a distance by an invisible demon. Progress is slow – the party is not used to arctic conditions and loses time getting turned around. After another night in the snow, the group finds their way to the entry of the Spire, guarded by the bored fox demon Yrkhetep, who, due to a lack of visitors, has turned the entrance to the Spire into a tropical sculpture garden, dedicated to his foxy visage.

Presenting the demon with the three seals of Highhaven, the party is allowed into the main scrying room of the complex. After examining the machinery and praying on it’s use, Dakarai, Varyk and Kharl are able to piece together how to open the portal to Ascension, where they enter into Lillen’s domain, causing the fractal palace to immediately become unstable.

Fleeing into the fractal palace, the party finds themselves in a recursive, endless library, filled with more of Lillen’s notes. By piecing these notes together with those Varyk had already collected, they are able to fully decode her notes, revealing a piece of her history that allows them further into the maze. Each layer of the maze seems to be a thousand fractal pathways, linked with Lillen or one of her companions, with the true entrance hidden among hundreds of near copies.

Through, the home of Urzoth, aunt of Urllex, followed by the temple of Rhobsarendor for Kharl’s grandfather, and the Gnarl for the druid Kaz, the party sees glimpses of the parties history, a group pulled together by natural forces in opposition to a dark force growing in the Deep.

While exploring, the party begins to become aware that they are not alone – thousands of fragments of Naivara can be seen trying endless doors around them, the wizard resorting to brute force to beat the party to their prize.

The party then finds themselves deep within Kyuss’ lair, and discover the treasure that the old party sought – seven vials, almost entirely lacking in ornament, each filled with a different liquid. The shade of Gundren asks Lillen why there are seven vials, as they were only sent to retrieve six. Lillen replies to leave the seventh, not even to look at it. The party takes six, leaving the last, pure black, alone in it’s recess.

The last vision the party is left with is with Tock, the partys rogue, going his own way, the adventure finished, one of the vials in a circlet around his neck. The vial seems to have given Tock the ability to misty step at will. Lillen cautions him to take his curse seriously, as it will overcome him if he isn’t careful, but Tock remains jovial. The party is able to deduce that from their last encounter with the Drow, where the could now misty step, that Tock has been killed, and his power somehow absorbed by his attackers.

With the last layer of the maze completed, the party finds themselves in a final, pyramidal structure, at the center of which is their prize – an empty vial, floating in space, surrounded by a floating orb of sand…

View
Espis Chapter 19: Solitude

The party gathers their things and makes their way out of the university proper into Highhaven itself, with the goal of finding Jasper Goodbarrel who would help them on their way to the Crystal Spire.

While the party stopped for a well-earned drink at the local dive the Wizard Have Tavern (loosely translated from the abysal “Wizards have nothing to fear from this, an ordinary tavern”). There they met Debope the Wheel’d, a magicless Beholder who tended bar using his eyestalks.

While the party relaxed, Kharl made his way to the local Church of Tymora party, making their way out of the city after their failed quest to retrieve Bojangles spellbook at the university, and convinced them to stay and protect the citizens in the inevitable battle for Highhaven.

Getting directions to Jasper’s establishment, the Woof & Whistle Inn, the party meets the halfling and are kitted out with a guide and supplies to make a journey out onto the ice. Kharl gets the sense that he is being watched, but can’t quite follow who or why.

Leaving the city by sleds led by fey Borzois, the party slowly gets the sense that their guide is not telling them the full truth when he recommends they stop early and shelter, rather than make their way straight to the spire. Sure enough, he betrays them, dismissing the summoned sled dogs and making a break for it in the snow, though he is swiftly recaptured by Varyk and Dakarai. Shortly after, the party is attacked by a group of mercenaries led by two Drow, exhibiting the same characteristics as the doppelganger of the Black Spider.

In the melee, a fireball is thrown at the sleds and supplies, incinerating them. While a few of the group go down, the tide is turned as the mercenaries begin to scatter, attacked by an unknown adversary in the snow that none of the party can see.

Towards the end of the fight, the last Drow demonstrates a new ability when she misty steps from the ground directly into Urllex’s grasp, and tells her that “they found her friend” and that they have taken her power for themselves, before being skewered by a javelin thrown by Varyk.

With the melee over, the party stops to nurse their wounds, sheltering in a portable hole pulled from Dakarai’s Cloak of Many Things, in the middle of nowhere, as night approaches…

View
Espis Chapter 18: Tensions, Confrontations, Rebellion

The party visits Gamble Silverthread in his office in order to retrieve his promised House of Stars Seal for delivering him Bojangles spellbook. He thanks the party and offers them a reward of a potion, a scroll, and a vape rig. While he is briefly distracted by a spell going off outside his window, Lorna pinches a letter that caught her eye – an invitation from the Independent Artificers Guild to the Wizard of Wines Winery in the Portal City of Castien, a month from now. As they are leaving Silverthreads office, one of his demons identifies Varyk as a man that Kyuss has been searching for.

In the first year dorms, tempers are high, and the students are starting to congregate along class lines. Chaddeus is attacked and beaten for not being a citizen of the Inner Ring. Tensions come to a head in that evenings vaping showdown, soundly won through the team effort of Dakarai and Lorna, when the Outer Ring students are ambushed by a force led by Professor Pilwiken, much to the horror of his son, Wrenn. Kharl and Urllexin break through the magical trap and confront Pilwiken, who retreats when Kharl forces him to cough up sand by weaponising his knowledge of the House of Cloaks.

The party leads the first years out of the trap through a secret entrance discovered by Varyk, and regroup in the sewers. Sickened by his fathers behavour, Wrenn gives the party the third and final seal they need. Kharl teaches the students to repeat the mantra about the fourth house without them trying to understand it, allowing them to weaponise it further to incapacitate those that would harm them. Pog leads the students to take first year dorm, driving out the Inner Ring students.

The attack on the first years leads to the expelling of a large amount of sand, with accretes into the form of Lillen Shadowcloak, hunting Naivara, who has reappeared, attracted by the fighting. As Lillen goes to strike, Varyk summons a magic circle around Lillen, trapping her sand form within, using up the last of his amulets protection magic in the process.

Trapped within the circle, Lillen reveals a portion of her plan to break a set of seals located deep within her fortress, when Kharl unwittingly reveals to her a clue (a clue tied to Urllex’s past). Lillen asks the party what they know of Deep Sashelas, and is intrigued when the party seems confused by this.Finally, Lillen reveals herself to be none other than a fragment of Naivara Belanor, much to the distress and confusion of the Naivara outside of the circle.

The evil Naivara dissapates, while the good Naivara asks the party to hurry to the Crystal Spire and find the essence of Sand within before she does. She tells the party to leave Highhaven and find Jasper Goodbarrel, who would lead them to where they need to go.

The party, realising that they need to confront Leto in order to leave via the main gate, asks Pog to gather Ravencrow and Kirk. Khark calls Leto out, and after a few minutes of frantic shouting, Leto emerges, shrouded in magical energy. Kirk and Ravencrow appear, flanked by a suprising asset – the thirty three mages that gave Kirk her nickname, freed and ready to take part in open rebellion.

Outnumbered, and knowing that any conflict would lead to the Inner Ring cleansing the entire school anyway, Leto chooses to help the rebellion and begins making for the Lodestone to head off the inevitable Inner Ring reinforcements.

View
Espis Chapter 17: The Meat Centrifuge of Kathud-Ra

After a brief rest, the party identifies that the room they are in contains a magical ward designed to repel abhorrent creatures. Urllex surmises that this is similar to the work of Dumica Kirk. Moving deeper into the cave, the party finally discovers the source of the homunculus plague – an imprisoned chunk of Doug, taken from the fleshwaste. The seal surrounding the creature had been pierced by the inquisitive student, and his body used as a way to begin Doug’s escape.

The party goes about the process of cutting away at the web of flesh extending out from the weasley husk, as the very walls of the cave start coming detaching and attacking the party. After a few well timed blasts of thunder by Urllex, Kharl runs forward and severs the connection between Doug and the boys husk, destroying the remaining monstrosities and resealing the prison.

While Doug continuously whispers to be freed, the party retreats beyond his sphere of influence with the boys husk in tow. Professor Ravencrow emerges from the cave entrance, overjoyed that she was 100% not responsible for any of this and that there wasn’t any need for an investigation. She also identifies the prison as Professor Kirks handiwork, and is bewildered by this turn of events.

Kirk appears, and reveals that she was keeping the creature a secret as part of a birthday surprise, a newly reassembled Meat Centrifuge of Kathud-Ra. Professor Ravencrow is overjoyed, and leaps into Kirks arms, thanking the party for repairing her broken marriage. Kirk responds with “we were fine.”

Taking the party in to the centrifuge, they find that although it is in need of repair, the mincer attached to it is working fine. They mince the weasley boys corpse, freeing his soul, which Crows traps in a jar. She then injects the newly freed soul into one of the remaining homunculi, as this would be cheaper than a proper resurrection, but after a moment of sentience and clarity the homunculus immediately throws itself straight back into the mincer. Crows agrees to pay for a proper resurrection, and hands over the seal of the House of Coins.

Setting serious, Kirk thanks Kharl for bringing her to her senses. Tells Crows that something bad is going on, has been going on for a while, and they might need to “accelerate their plan,” as Half-hand is turning against the faculty, but that there is still time to turn him to their cause, as he wears a slave mark, the same as them.

Impatient to keep adventuring, Kharl leaves, getting hopelessly lost in the sewers.

Kirk instructs the rest of the party to carry on with their plan and gather the remaining seals required to access the crystal spire. Ravencrow snaps her fingers, transmuting everyone else’s robes into prefect robes, giving them free reign of school.

The party returns to the dorms, collapsing in bed without telling anyone in the gathered throng of first years where the were. Kharl stumbles back after an epiphany in the sewers that he can’t rely on his god to always protect him, and that he needs to learn to be a martial fighter.

View
Espis Chapter 16: The Weasley Child

The party wakes to find the university on lockdown, and rumors that Halfhand is turning over the school hunting for a group that attacked him in the night.

Kharl gives himself up, intending to confront Halfhand, but is intercepted and the party is taken before Professor Kirk. She instructs the party to keep a low profile. Kharl confronts her about the hidden School of Cloaks, leading to Kirk vomiting sand and forcibly expelling Kharl from the room.

The party skirts across the banned central courtyard to the main university building, intending to hand over Bojangles spellbook to Gamble Silverthread. They get sidetracked when they find him with Professor Ravencrow in the basement, dealing with an overflowing mess of weasley looking children.

Denying all knowledge of why this would be happening, Ravencrow sends the party into the sewers once again, to finally discover the source of the creatures. In the sewers, the party follows a trail of homonculi to the source, a burst pipe leading into an ancient part of the school.

Fighting their way through a sea of mutant schoolboys, the party makes their way into the mutants sanctum.

View
Espis Chapter 15: Portal Shenanigans

Having all successfully made it into the hidden library, the party begins to explore the first chambers, finding finding tomes in various languages. Amongst the pages, Varyk finds a bunch of loose pages of a journal written in some kind of cypher, in an increasingly distressed hand.
Experimenting with a lever in the room, they discover that what appeared to be doors are actually portals to different spaces.

Kharl goes into a portal, emerging into a tower far above an ashen landscape. There he finds an ancient pedestal, with a gem atop it. He discovers that manipulating this gem causes changes within the library. Using this pedestal, he opens two further portals to a beautiful clearing and a tiered amphitheatre in the Valley of Tombs.

In that room, Urllex examines a series of mirrors, that seem to reflect images of death or looming danger. While this is happening, Lorna spies something through another portal – her bow, held by a mephit. She leaps through, and is cut off from the rest of the group when the mephit succeeds in knocking a chunk of stone off the pedestal. Urllex panics, as this reminds her of the time she lost her friend Jimmy in another wizards tower. They set off to search for Lorna, further into the dungeon.

The party makes their way through the portals, activating pedestals to open and close portals as they go, eventually finding the way to Bojangles spellbook, and an interaction with Lillen Shadowcloak, who goads them through a mirror until Kharl shatters it, revealling a torrent of sand behind.

Determining that there is a single room they haven’t been able to access, Kharl leads the party back through the library, activating and deactivating portals until finally, they activate a route through to a final room, which has a inactive pedestal similar to the one Lorna ran through. After some trial and error, Varyk learns from Bojangles tome that the portal can be accessed by placing an object from the place you wish to access into the pedestal. They pour sand onto the pedestal, and are immediately faced with a new sight – a sand blasted desert ruin, covered in items stolen from the party and from other students, swarming with demonic mephits.

Running to a cornered Lorna’s aid, the party gathers thier gear and fights back against the creatures. Victorious, they stop to take stock of the environment – a desert outcrop in ascension, watched over with an endless, fractal fortress – Lillen’s lair. Reactivating the portal to lead back to the University dormatory, the party stumbled back to bed.

View
Espis Chapter 14: The Three Seals

Visiting Bloodcrow Ravencrow, Kharl and Lorna learn that the student she refers to as ‘the weasley looking boy’ was entrusted with a powerful resurrection amulet on the account of his family being rich and students dying all the time. Apparently the amulet has backfired somehow, and humunculus copies of the boy have been appearing in the sewers ever since. Ravencrow attempts to wipe the parties memories, but is unable to as a powerful spell has already been cast on them. Deciding instead to work with the group, Ravencrow promises the use of the House of Coins Seal as payment for quietly dealing with ‘the weasley problem.’ Leaving the office, Kharl is accosted by Wimple Womble (no relation), who tells him to stay away from the sewer and not to nark to the faculty about what is happening down there.

While this is happening, Varyk, Dakarai and Urllex go to confront Leto Halfhand about his strange behaviour – blanking Varyk completely and ignoring the party in general – in the past week. Upon being cornered, Leto is unable to deal with the existence of the party, vomiting sand uncontroliably and crying out for them to leave. The group engages Halfhand in combat, but before any damage can be done, a swarm of mephits cohalese out of the sand and decend on the party. They wake up, remembering very little, except for Urllex, who vividly remembers the event and re-explains it to the group, hypothesising that something is being done to them that is affecting their memories.

Putting this aside for the meantime, the party splits up, with Urllex going to class to attempt to get some answers out of the divination teacher, while the rest of the party goes into the sewer to look for the weasley boy. Finding their way deep into the sewers, the party stumbles upon Wimple Wombles humunculus fighting arena, where he has been secretly forcing the weasley boys to fight at night. Taking his prize weasley, the party uses him to find thier way down to the source, a vast copper boiler that seems to be producing the homunculi at a steady rate. Blocking the boiler exhaust, the party returns to the surface to wait for the weasleys to start emerging elsewhere.

Urllex stops in her search for a teacher when she notices tracks in the snow – sandy tracks. Chasing down her prey, she discovers the creature she has been hunting is an elven woman who recognises Urllex and calls her by name before passing out. Taking her back to the dorm, the party exchanges stories and waits for her to regain consciousness.

The elf reveals herself to be Naivara Belanor, member of the House of Cloaks, a house that originally ran the school but has been secreted away by Lillen Shadowcloak’s powerful magic. The party remembers now – a few weeks ago, they made an attempt on Lillen’s fortress, but they were ambushed by mephits and overwhelmed. Thus began their brainwashed careers as first year wizards in training.

Naivara raises another option – accessing Lillen’s realm using the the Crystal Spire, which is currently locked and can only be accessed by receiving three seals, one from each House.

With a new sense of purpose, the party approaches Gamble Silverthread of the House of Lights, who hints that there is a demon haunting the library at present who may or may not be there as an imposition to a group of inquistitors from the church of Tymora, who have heard that the library contains the spellbook of Bojangles. He mentions that retrieving the book, which has caused so many issues, would indeed be worthy of a seal.

Leaving Silverthreads office, the party bangs again runs into local bully Wimple Womble (no relation). Wimple is furious that the party has disrupted their underground humunculus fighting ring, and demands that Lorna face him in a final vape-off to decide who rules the school.

Leaving this for now, the party sneaks into the forbidden part of the library – a nightmare maze without logic or gravity – and leaps through traps while avoiding the fists of a large, angry demon. Locating the place where the heard, weeks ago, Bojangles spellbook was stored, the party activates a secret door, revealing a hidden, mazelike dungeon beyond…

View
Espis Chapter 13: I Love Wizard School

The party wakes up, excited for their first day at wizard school. Only a few of them have memories indicating that anything might be amiss. Walking to orientation, the party is introduced to a number of fellow magic students, including their roommate Pog Oomtrowel, resident jock Chaddeus Gimlen, and the dragonborn noble Greethen Firahel.

Over the course of the first week, the party begins to realise that something is very wrong – they are obviously ill equiped to be attending wizard school, and thinking certain thoughts leads to the coughing up of gritty sand – the same sand that Urllexin has been tracking around the school, unable to locate the source. Skipping class to investigate the school, Dakarai stumbles upon a note that seems to have fallen out of his own robes;

“Wait until dark. Meet S.R. Wear the clothes he gives you. Meet under Glain at midnight. We prepare and make for L.”

After the first week of school, the party has barely learned any spells, and their inconsistent behaviour is starting to worry Pog, who doesn’t want to be lumped in with ‘the bad kids.’ On the first day of rest since school started, the group attends an underground vape party in the sewers below the first year dormitories, where Kharl engineers events so that Pog is able to prove himself as a party animal and cement himself within the student culture.

Deciding to see if the sewers connect to the library through the sewers for some midnight studying, Kharl and Dakarai leave the party and set out on their own. In a long stretch of sewer tunnel, they run into a strange sight – a young student wandering by himself. The boy looks up and mutters a single word: “scabbers!”

After this strange event, the pair reach the library and are promptly caught and kicked out by the librarian, Silent Randy – potentially the mysterious “S.R” mentioned in the note Dakarai found.

The week continues on as normal, with Dakarai missing the most classes, much to the irritation of his bunkmate Pog. Skipping class once again, Dakarai confronts Silent Randy with the note later that week, and Randy reveals a set of visitors robes that had been in his office – the robes that the party were wearing when the first arrived at the school. Independently, Urllexin leaves the dorms at nights, and identifies the ‘Glain’ from the note – an ancient carving of one of Highhavens founders. Unfortunately, she walks directly into the statue of Magicami, and is forced to run back to bed without investigating further.

After one particular class with the necromancer Bloodcrow Ravencrow, the teacher casually asks the students that any information relating to the wherabouts of a ‘weasley looking boy’ wandering in the sewers should be reported directly to her, in her office…

View
Espis Chapter 12: To Solitude

In the weeks after Gundren’s death, the party drifts apart. Varyk, after being briefly detained, flees to the woods, and attempts to learn more about his possession and the amulet that seems to be holding it at bay. Lorna resumes a life of living off the land, dwelling on the outskirts of Phandalin.

Urllex returns with Hudson to New Haven, working with the Crossroad Knights and shipping confiscated White Iron weapons back home to the Beast Coast.

Kharl, after a brief period of soul searching, spends time with Aust and Aelar, learning the ways of the ‘civilised’ religions. During this time, he gains favour with the church of Tymora.

The party is reunited when word spreads that the mysterious monk Dakarai, who has been comatose since the seige of the spellforge, has awoken. Dakarai, after a game of 7-sphere chaosphere chess with Eilyac, the current avatar of Death, has indeed awoken a changed man, and has taken to drinking heavily in The Sleeping Giant.

Reunited again, the party travels to Arborox to deal with some unfinished business – the young green dragon that has made the town as its nest. The party develops a plan to stab the dragon with an improvised iron stake, and then defeat the creature by heating the metal magically. Sneaking up to the tower, Dakarai accidently wakes the beast prematurely, and has to make a quick escape on his broomstick. The dragon goes to give chase, but is distracted by Kharl, taunting the creature from the middle of the road.

The dragon dives for Kharl, and the party uses the opportunity to pile on – the dragons hide is pierced and damage is piled on, while illusions of party members emerging out of the woods confuse it. Very quickly the creature is overpowered and killed.

Returning to Phandalin, the party hears news that Hudson is looking to escort Iarno Alberk back to Highhaven University where he is to be tried as a deserter. Seeing this as an opportunity to visit the school and fulfil Gundren’s request to seek out the headmaster, the party sets out for the Portal City of New Haven, and after a leisurely few days shopping and drinking, takes the wizard into their custody.

After escorting Iarno through the Lodestone portal into Solitude, the party makes for the university gates. The party is detained by Leto Halfhand, the elven spellsword in charge of defence and security. The party is escorted into the university (their weapons and magical items confiscated), and given visitors robes. Heading up the main path into the campus, Kharl walks straight into an invisible statue of the Wizard Magicami, left there in a last act of defiance before he escaped into Ascension.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.