Tl;dr: Adventurers from Port Mirandia brave the darkness of the storm south of it to see how it goes. They came back the next day looking worse for the wear but we’re sure nothing bad will happen to the citizens of Port Mirandia.
Future Adventure Notes:
•The darkness is crippling to anyone who can not see through magical darkness.
•Darkness halves magical healing, but non-magical healing seems fully powered.
•An army of constructs amidst other things at the westmost fortification.
•Breaking the crystal skull of the old king, likely in the castle dungeon, might stop the darkness.
Session Title: Candles, Doors, and Death
Session DM: Geokhan
Session Date: 11 Jul 2021 @ 23:00 UTC
•”Scout” Bardy (Bard 10/Cleric 1) with Sisyphus the Pegasus
•”Leader” Chemist (Wizard 15/Rogue 1)
•”Trailblazer” Joule (Barbarian 12/FIghter 3)
•Nahil (Warlock 2/Sorcerer 8)
•Oogway (Monk 12)
Trying to collect my thoughts of my recent adventure
The gloomy storm south of Port Mirandia continued. Governor Chemist gathered together the few adventurers he can find who might be strong enough to explore the area. Before we set out we received a report from the guards who had been inside of the magical darkness. Any light not created using the power of a sixth level spell or higher have their light distance halved. During the day, it is dimly light by the sun, it’s red corona barely visible. Within the darkness are whispers that can drive people insane.
The guard captain continued to tell us that the effects of this darkness are stronger further in and stronger even during night time. We were cautioned about sleeping within. He believed that hags or worse are further in. He mentioned that the ground becomes sharp and hard to travel upon and that anyone flying too high would be disoriented by the clouds. He tells us that healing magic is halved within this area. (If only there were more capable people than this old bard around) He described the various forces arrayed as armoured humanoids to the west, vampires in the center and shadow elves in the forest to the east.
The only note of hope is that in the forest to the east, a black obelisk has risen that seems to be containing the darkness for now. (Chemist explained to me that the black obelisks are how the Council that maintains the island does so.) We decided to bring the folding boat along in case we should want to travel along the river. We set forth along the road and Joule’s magic allowed us to reach the darkness rather quickly.
Arrayed near the edge of the darkness was a guard camp. We spoke with them briefly before Oogway noticed a shadow moving around and he chased it down. This shadow turned out to be an owl that surprisingly spoke excellent common, and named itself Hoosan. Hoosan was formerly a human and a mage for the old kingdom. He does not recall how he lost his human form or when. He is aware that much time has passed but for him it was a blink of an eye. He is cursed to stay in the darkness of the storm but can not move closer to the castle.
He told us a tale about how one day a mercenary came to the king. This mercenary brought totems of powerful magic that intrigued the king but seemed evil to Hoosan. (My old memory, I am already unclear if what happens next was instant or gradual) The mercenary’s name was Darkjaw. When the king accepted Darkjaw as his advisor, and the power the he brought, he was beset by a powerful curse that turned the king crystalline. Hoosan believes this curse to be the source of the darkness that surrounds the castle now.
Hoosan thinks that the way to break the curse is to smash the old kings crystal skull and he asked us to do so, as he can not approach the castle due to his curse. The skull was likely to have been moved to the dungeons deep in the castle. Hoosan warned us of ten towers with automated archers around the keep wall, that will attack anything unfriendly they see. Further warning of the wall around the keep will reveal invisible creatures by causing them to emit an aura of light. He said there was a collapsed side entrance through the wall and that the towers can be turned off by the flip of a switch in each tower.
Lastly he mentioned that the castle keep has a ward to prevent teleportation, to prevent assassination attempts. In response to a question about what are the whispers that people hear, he said it was the voices of the undead, and the spirits and parts of the Shadowfell bleeding through. We thanked him for his information and then decided that we would approach the castle by walking along the riverbank.
As we walked along the riverbank we could detect the shadows of large creatures moving under the water. Joule’s magic to enhance travel was no longer working and our progress was slowed even further by the terrain being harder to walk along. (I say we but I was rather comfortable on my Sisyphus) We saw a small group of skeletons see us, being to move towards us and then back away. (I do not know if they were smarter than the average skeleton, or controlled)
We continue following the riverbank and then see some large creatures with spines. As they see us, they slowly start to vibrate their spines that became an eerie droning sound as they walked away from us. This noise seemed to agitate nearby plants to release spores that poisoned a few of us, (not a terrible poison, its effect wore away within an hour.) Not long after that Nahil (for once using his eldritch sight for the benefit of others) tells everyone to get down. He can see a massive creature walking through some farm houses and seems to be grazing on souls.(Ordinarily I would question him, but being in that place, I believed him)
We paused there waiting for the massive creature to wander away (thank Oghma away!) from us, then continued when we felt safe. Next Nahil paused our group again, saying he could see some sort of antlered creature that seemed to be sherpherding souls. (again without question I believe him. This darkness is so unnatural that Nahil is acting normal, I wonder if perhaps he has been sane this whole time and been putting on an act.)
We follow the riverbank a bit further than move inland to some of the area described to be fortified, and having armoured humanoids. It is not long before we are discovered and attacked by what seemed to be constructs. The battle was extremely chaotic, but before a minute was up it was clear we could not handle the shear amount of enemy forces coming at us. In addition to the constructs there were enemy spellcasters, some sort of storm elemental, some tentacled aberrations, an unnatural froglike warlock and possibly a hag. (I could barely see my own pegasus during this fight, I only knew about the other creatures from the telepathic bond our group shared) The froglike warlock seemed to be the ones giving commands.
It took nearly everything we had just to escape with our lives. (Nahil’s beloved snake staff Nahini did perish) We felt fortunate simply not dying to the forces that came at us. We looked for a farmhouse big enough that Chemist could make a tiny hut for us to sleep in, but when he tried to so, instead of a tiny hut forming, a portal to the Shadowfell opened. The magic was beyond his control and that point and we quickly left that house and returned to the riverbank.
We rest briefly before getting out the folding boat, hoping that with luck and the river current we could get out of the darkness before evening is fully upon us. As we rowed and let the current move us, we managed to detect some large shapes under that water and shift our course to avoid disturbing them. We saw a ghostly wagon being driven by ghostly humanoids, but no horses to pull it. We saw faces in the water, as if numerous dead bodies, but there was nothing there.
We are close to needing to push ourselves when we come back out of the darkness near the guard camp. We fold the boat and then go report our day to the guards, who watch over us as we sleep. The next day Chemist teleported us back to Port Mirandia, (and then I spent a few days getting a bit more drunk than usual.)