Storms over Seawatch

A Gruesome Discovery in the Cellar
The adventure begins, with a menial errand gone wrong

Several of the itinerant adventurers who find sporadic work at the Seawatch keep were sent down into the keep’s supply cellar on a simple errand— check on the quartermaster and the squires who had gone down earlier in the day, and make sure the quartermaster hasn’t taken the opportunity to take a little off the top in the wine cellar.

The adventurers found that, yes, some alcohol had been pilfered— but not by the hapless quartermaster, who never made it that far. In one of the adjoining storage rooms, the quartermaster and the squires lay slain, the victims of vicious and abnormally sized rats.

The party interrupted them as they were chewing on eyeballs and viscera.

A fight ensued, during which the party demonstrated the old maxim of “Never let a bull loose in a china shop, or anywhere else” and in which a number of crossbow bolts were sent into innocent bags of grain, jars of olive oil, and bundles of sailcloth.

After a fierce battle, the party succeeded in smashing, rending, and vivisecting all of the rats in the room save one, who had fled through a hole in the wall to an adjoining room.

Inspecting the mangled corpses of the rats, the adventurers found something both curious and ominous: a runic N branded into the bellies of each of the slaughtered rats.

Chasing down the rat that had escaped into the other room, the adventurers busted down the door and quickly found themselves in the wine cellar, which had not been opened in the last forty days of mourning for the recently departed Lord Amran.

Four more rats were lurking here, having despoiled quite a bit of the keep’s fine liquor reserves.

After another short but brutal fight in which eldritch powers transmuted wine to vinegar, the rats were all either slain or fled. Investigating, the adventurers discovered that the rats seemed to have entered by a hole in the wine cellar’s wall— and this hole shows chisel marks and signs of being recently made.

Thomas and Drave stayed behind to watch the hole while the rest of the party quickly went to warn the captain of the guard. Thomas’s keen eyes spotted an approaching light down the tunnel, and shortly thereafter a bedraggled elf stumbled into view.

The elf, who gave his name as Vash, related a horrific story of capture by orcs several days to the east. He had escaped their clutches and fled deeper into their caves and tunnels, wandering lost for several days. Just when he had given up all hope, he had heard the sounds of battle, and stumbled towards the noises… only to emerge in the cellar.

He brings word that the orcs are gathering, drilling, and preparing for war.

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Construction

This area under construction.

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Never Steal Office Supplies from Wizards
Further exploration of the Academy results in another fight with the spectral guardsmen.

[Game Date: 11/12/11]

Characters present: Milia, Shiris, Blake, Mul, and Arrlin.

With the shopkeeper mimic Koss sated (for now) and a warrior named Mul agreeing to join their quest and lend some needed steel, the group of heroes considered their next course of action. Blake attempted to sense Relanna’s location via the power of the potion he had consumed, but the ambient magical energy in the building has started to interfere with the potion’s effectiveness.

In lieu of a clear magical guide, the group decided to explore some of the adjacent rooms to the shop, discovering two small offices. The first contained a desk which fell apart into rotting wood when Mul eagerly opened it, giving him nothing but a chance at a respiratory infection and a brass drawer-pull for his troubles. There was also a tall cabinet, but when Blake approached it, the clay homunculi guarding it sprang into life and shrieked an alarm.

Milia attempted to quiet the small construct, but not before it called six ghostly guards to punish a theft in progress!

The heroes had a tough battle on their hands— after all, it’s difficult to maneuver against foes whose blades can pass right through your armor, and who can disappear and reappear at will, even passing through solid walls. Shiris called upon Kord’s power to turn the ghosts, but they proved to be resilient specters. Arrlin and Milia caught the worst of it, having a hard time earning themselves the breathing space to call upon their sorceries.

In the end, it was quick and clever thinking that saved the party’s collective bacon— Blake had collected a number of fingerbones from the guardhouse room, and in a desperate gesture threw them onto the floor. Several of the ghosts were distracted by this, and Mul followed suit by hurling the drawer-knob.

This bought the party some breathing room— a precious few seconds in which Mul and Blake managed to get inside the cabinet and find a black clerk’s robe. The bard donned it— and surprisingly, the ghosts seemed to accept him as a clerk of the Academy! After some grumbling, they deferred to his request not to attack the rest of the heroes, and returned to their posts.

With the clay homunculi destroyed, the cabinet was safe to search— amid a number of magically preserved business accounts was a chest of ancient copper coins, two healing potions, and a golden scroll case.

Fairly injured by the conflict with the guards, the party retreated to some small ‘guest bedrooms’ and posted a watch, sleeping uneventfully through the night.

Treasure & Items Gained

- A steel lockbox, with approximately 480 copper coins contained within (500 – 20 given to Koss the mimic)
- A black clerk’s robe
- A scroll case made of gold, etched with powerful runes of abjuration— the spells invoked seem to be enchantments of non-detection and locking
- Two healing potions

Interesting Information Learned

- Several of the ghostly guards who appear here are the same guards that the party had previously ‘dispatched’— apparently, destroying them is not permanent.
- Interestingly, however, the ghosts seem to have no memory of the adventurers, despite having already fought them before.

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Sent to the Headmaster
For destruction of Academy property, the heroes are sent to see the headmaster.... and have an enlightening discussion.

[Game date: 11/11/11]

Characters present: Vash, Gul, Marduk, Kiendra, and Altair.

After noisily smashing apart the iron defender hound that was lurking in the rotted furniture of the Academy’s administrative office, the heroes realized they had attracted the attention of the school’s spectral guards. Appearing in the doorway, the ghostly captain ordered the party to surrender and be taken to the headmaster to make recompense for their destruction of the guard dog.

While communication was awkward, Altair managed to understand the captain and make himself understood as well. The party agreed to be taken to the headmaster… who turned out to be none other than the same ghost who had chucked a boot at you from his second story window.

There are two other ghosts who seem to occupy the courtyard; they promptly began to heckle the Headmaster as he spoke with the guard captain, prompting the Headmaster to display his power by briefly magicking away Gul’s mouth (to Gul’s great distress). Headmaster Pendergast allowed the party to enter his home and, after some flattery, was persuaded to offer some assistance.

He gave Vash the recipe for a location potion called the Eyes of Ramoran, which guides those who drink it to the subject designated at potion’s creation. (Vash was overcome with fanboyism.)

The rivalry between Pendergast and his colleagues seems to be a fierce one, with accusations of stolen research and magical impotence being thrown around…

With the recipe in hand, the heroes took their leave, and set out towards the Academy’s herb gardens. The rich scents coming from the wild herb patches threw a temporary monkey wrench in their plans as it threw Altair, Gul, and Marduk for a memory-trip loop, but in short order the heroes were plunging into the thick greenery in search of the needed herbs.

But the garden turned out to be holding more than just dill and parsley— a vine horror struck as soon as the heroes entered, and the bones of others slain in the garden rose to join the fight.

Treasure & Items Gained

- Recipe for the Eyes of Ramoran

Interesting Information Learned

- Pendergast claims it is ’Tarmannan’s curse’ that has kept so many ghosts locked on the premises of the Academy.
- Altair notices it is not conventional necromancy animating the bones of the attacking skeleton, but rather a more general and less specific ‘magic’. (Hey, he’s a cleric, not a wizard.)

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A Visit to the Library
The party makes the acquaintance of the Librarian, and has conversations with ghosts.

[Game Date: 11/19/11]

Characters present: Milia, Orion Pax, ‘Huggy’, and Matharath.

After sleeping through most of the day, the heroes awake and contemplate their next steps. The potion that Blake had consumed is still active, but there is too much ambient magical energy for him to get a clear sense of Relanna’s presence. The group decides to resume exploration of the Academy… and hear a clanging presence coming closer.

This turns out to be none other than a warforged sentinel of the Academy, who in better days had been constructed to be one of the Academy’s guardians. The enchantment that bound him to service has slowly decayed, and the warforged has acquired a sense of self-awareness. With no masters to give him further orders, he has been patrolling the halls to clean them.

Once the party explains their mission, the warforged, Orion Pax by name, agrees to join their quest, and they set off…

Passing the Admissions office of the Academy, they see a canine construct ‘asleep’ beneath one of the desks. Matharath attempts to pet it with his staff. This goes about as well as you would expect, but Orion proves his usefulness by recalling a simple command in Sarakan, the magical language used in the Academy’s heyday. He orders the dog to leave off, and the group continues on their way.

Once more, the party encounters the three courtyard ghosts. Orion is able to identify them as a former Headmaster of the Academy, the Archmage Pendergast; and two of his contemporaries, an Eastern wizard named Bao Cheng and a scholar of runes named Cynthia. Once more, Pendergast fails to be able to magically affect the party (to his great irritation).

Finding a stairwell that leads up to the second story and the library, the heroes decide to investigate books! While many of the books the library once hosted have decayed to mere pulp and rot, some volumes have been magically preserved, and the adventurers quickly began to look through the stacks.

Books discovered:

  • An Alkemist’s Handbooke of Common Unguents, Potions, and Formulae, by Ludovic the Singed
  • The Windswept Heart, by Dyanne Lovely; appears to be a somewhat trashy romance novel with a hackneyed plot of an elven maiden and her human lover
  • An Abridged History of the Academy of Tarmannan (volumes I – III), by Thermoline Spall
  • The Nine Gates: being an account of the nine gates of the elements and their applications in planar travel, as observed by Caduceus Johnson, a citizen of Sigil
  • A slim leather volume, with no title or attributed author. The pages appear to be blank.

The last two of these volumes were found in the Special Collections room, which the heroes gained entrance to after a bit of clever subterfuge with the Librarian, and further subterfuge to keep her ‘assistant’ Varthak from realizing they were taking books from the Special Collections room.

The three ghosts encountered earlier all have suites that open directly into the Library. The heroes spoke with both Cynthia and Archmage Pendergast and many lolz were had by all.

Cynthia inspected the golden scroll case and said she believes it to be the work of Tarmannan himself, but that she does not how to open it.

When the heroes prepared to leave the library with their collection of books, they realized that there were a number of clay homunculi throughout the library observing them, and that the Librarian would likely disapprove. They attempted to convince first Cynthia and then Pendergast to give them their blessing to check out the books, but both refused. Pendergast, however, did suggest to Milia that she might consider becoming a student.

On this level, the party also found a room with a magical, topographical map of the region made of grains of shifting colored sand, as well as a different room containing a shrine to Ioun.

Treasure & Items Gained

- Nothing, despite the discoveries, as the party left the books upstairs for now

Interesting Information Learned

- The golden scroll case may have been created by Tarmannan
- Pendergast appears to be able to communicate telepathically, and overhear telepathic communication, under some circumstances
- Cynthia can sense Matharath’s ‘passenger’
- Angering Cynthia gets you a rune on your forehead that does…. something, which Pendergast thinks is hilarious, but won’t explain.

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Flower Power
Who knew gardening could be so dangerous?

[Game date: 11/18/11]

Characters present: Vash, Gul, Marduk, Kiendra, and Altair.

Following the events of Sent to the Headmaster, the heroes fought for their lives (and for herbs) against the menace in the garden! The herbs they needed each grew in a separate area of the garden, but the vine horror and the skeletons that kept reanimating made it a difficult thing indeed to get to them.

After a long and bloody battle, Altair sounded the retreat— two of the three herbs had been gathered, but the third would need to wait until they had licked their wounds and caught their breaths.

Clutching the herbs they had managed to gather, the heroes beat feet away from the milling skeletons. At least they slew the vine horror. Surely it won’t come back too, right?

…right?

Treasure & Items Gained

-A clump of wizard’s myrtle
-Several leaves of arbisca

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The Day the Music Died
The death of a party member puts the group at a crossroads.

[Game Date: 12/10/11]

Characters present: Milia, Matharath, Blake, others.

Following the Headmaster Pendergast‘s suggestion that Milia consider enrolling in the Academy if she wished to check out books, the heroes descended back to the Academy’s ground floor— only to remember that it was nearing evening, and the clerk of the Admissions office had already left for the day.

As they considered their next move, sounds of combat drew them out of the Academy and onto a grassy sward, where a group of adventurers were battling strange undead that appeared to be as much plant matter as they did skeletal. In the depths of a herb garden gone wild lurked the malevolent entity controlling these creatures: an inhuman vine horror.

The heroes charged to assist their fellow adventurers, but fate had a dark price in mind for this act of nobility.

As Blake the bard brandished the longsword of Dekkon, ready to charge forward and slice at the foul greenery, the enchantments of the sword and the enchantments of the Academy met in a way that neither of them happened to like…

A flash of light, a thunderclap, and sword and bard were fifty feet from each other, the blade quivering upright in the earth and the bard deep within the vine horror’s overgrown lair.

Despite liberal applications of fire…. very liberal applications of fire… the others could not reach their bard in time. Stunned by the blast, he was an easy meal for the creature, who devoured him and sent his remains out to fight them in turn.

After considerable carnage and the destruction by fire of half the garden, the vine horror was slain. But the party now stands deprived of the guide who had quaffed the potion to find Relanna….. and the night is coming on.

Treasure & Items Gained

- None. Dekkon’s longsword was safely retrieved

Interesting Information Learned

- There seem to be eddies of uncontrolled magical energy flickering around the Academy grounds
- A large house, probably Tarmannan’s, has been seen but not explored

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Alchemy for Beginners
Always check the drains.

[Game date: 12/09/11]

Characters present: Vash, Gul, Marduk, Kiendra, and Altair.

Following the events of Flower Power, the group planned a new strategy to get that elusive last herb and not be torn limb from limb by mindless skeletreethings. This time, teamwork and clever planning carried the day— Marduk crept into the garden quiet as a churchmouse, while his teammates provided distractions aplenty, from noise to lights to magic to keep the attention of the garden’s horrors.

With all three herbs achieved, the group set out to find a place to mix the potion. Altair exercised his way with people to get directions from a ghost, and the party set out through a thickening fog to one of the Academy’s out-buildings.

Passing a dormitarium and a classroom, they eventually came across Alchemist’s Alley. Altair continued to pull off some convincing bluffs to persuade the desk-ghost to let them use one of the work-rooms, and Vash was soon boiling and frying up a potion of location.

At least, until the kruthiks living in the room’s drains decided to attack.

The party had a brutal fight on their hands, drained as they were from a day filled with so much exploration and combat already. In the end they managed to keep a lid on things (literally), and the potion was finally finished.

Now, the party seeks some much-needed rest before trying to ingest the Eyes of Ramoran…

Treasure & Items Gained

-A completed vial of the Eyes of Ramoran

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Honey, I'm Home

[Game Date: 12/27/11]

Characters present: Milia, Matharath, Thud, M.

Night was falling after the fight with the vine horror in the herb garden. The heroes decided to hole up in one of the guest bedrooms rather than try and blunder about in the darkness of a haunted academy.

Strange dreams permeated the sleep of the adventurers, but morning dawned chill and crisp, with nothing having assaulted the party in the night. Matharath once more dreamt of Soren, the cleric of Seawatch, who told him that Kestrel has holed up in her room and is refusing to come out.

The party pondered their options with Blake lost to them and Relanna’s whereabouts still unknown. They returned to the Library and looked through the book of alchemical recipes, finding one for a potion known as the Eyes of Ramoran, which was either identical to the one Blake had consumed or close enough as to make no difference. The party decided to try and duplicate the potion, but how to gather the herbs needed?

They made the acquaintance of the third ghost of the professorial trio, Bao Cheng, and bribed him with the trashy romance novel to sketch out the herbs needed, which he did. Thud also found a botanical field guide, which may prove useful, although like all the other books the heroes have found in the Library, nobody has yet figured out how to remove them without incurring the wrath of the Librarian.

After comparing Bao Cheng’s drawing of the plants with the depiction in the botany book, the group went out to the herb garden, which had been badly destroyed in the firefight the day before. There was a strong scent of baked bread and cinnamon lingering in the garden, which turned out to have a soporific effect when inhaled. Close inspection revealed it was coming from a tall stalky plant with odd blisters upon its stem.

The party found two of the three herbs required for the potion. As they searched for the third, Matharath attempted to skin off one of the blisters from the plant with his knife…. and the plant, of course, attacked.

Fortunately for the heroes, it seemed rooted in place and they were able to escape without significant injuries, although Matharath began to feel very sick indeed as the spores of the basidirond began to take root in his lungs…

The cure suggested in the botanist’s guide was ‘bed rest and strong liquor’, a cure Matharath seems enthusiastic over.

But bed lay many hours ahead. The heroes instead chose to explore the two-story home just north of the herb garden. The building seems to radiate immense magical energy, and is weirdly pristine despite being as old as the rest of the Academy.

The door was not locked. The heroes found themselves in a comfortable sitting room, with a sleeping cat lying upon a cushion. The adjacent room seems to be a personal library, with a writing desk upon which lies a letter, in a shaky hand, abandoned mid-writing.

My dear friend Sandoval,
I trust that you are well. I myself am tired, very tired. I feel the end of the journey is near, but there remains so much yet to

Treasure & Items Gained

- A clump of wizard’s myrtle
- The berries from a kingsblood plant
- A Student’s Handbooke of Herbs and Flora (not with the party, but with the other books at the library)

Interesting Information Learned

- Bao Cheng’s specialty was elemental magic, but he has many hobbies, and horrible taste in literature
- Tarmannan’s house seems to have some sort of ward upon the door, as characters seemed to briefly slow down when they stepped inside it, and Matharath’s quori encountered resistance

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Good Thieves Come in Small Packages
Of orcs and attics

[Game Date: 12/31/11]

Characters present: Milia, Zeg, Thud, Matharath.

The party continued hunting through the library but found nothing of immediate interest, and commenced to explore the rest of the house. The ground floor contained a kitchen and dining room, as well as a trapdoor leading down to a presumed basement area. Declining to explore down there for now, the heroes went upstairs, discovering the master bedroom, a guest bedroom, a sitting room, and a room with a very locked door.

Some experimental poking turned out to be shocking— literally— as Thud encountered both a magically warded door and a magically warded chest. The heroes put their heads together and came up with an ingenious grounding solution for the electric jolts released by the traps. MacGyvering, go!

Teamwork and lockpicking got the nightstand open. Within lay a journal and a small glass vial, the latter as yet unidentified.

The group decided to use the same grounding method against the electrically-trapped door. Believing the trap disarmed, Thud touched the door…. and promptly turned into a three-inch-tall jade figurine of himself. Oops.

Thud was picked up and deposited safely (??) in Milia’s bosom. He was still alive, as was confirmed by Matharath’s telepathic contact with his tiny personage, but unable to move or act. The group decided to explore a little bit more before seeking an immediate remedy to Thud’s condition, and headed for the rooftop and the attic.

The attic turned out to be full of dusty bric-a-brac, most of it under canvas. Matharath tripped in the attic and knocked over a jar… which turned out to contain a quasit. The little demon, freed after untold time in the jar, attacked the heroes, but Zeg swiftly slew him with a vicious slash of her mighty axe.

Perhaps prudently, the heroes decided to delay further exploration of the attic in favor of returning to their original mission, which was to find Relanna, and also to find a cure for Thud’s condition.

The latter turned out to be easier than expected— as the group exited Tarmannan’s home, Thud returned to full size. Milia and Milia’s blouse were the worse for this.

After some undignified shenanigans, the party continued on their way to explore the dormitory. Within the common room, they found signs that someone— make that someones— else had recently passed this way, and demolished a few skeletons. They headed upstairs, into the “ladies’ dormitory”, only to have Matharath trip against a wall and clang like a bell.

The orcs at the top of the stairs were not amused.

A fierce fight ensued, made far more difficult for the heroes since the orcs had the advantage of terrain, numbers, and reach weaponry. Eventually, they fought their way up the stairwell and past the long spears of the orcs, slaying the shaman who was the leader of the brutes.

One orc, seeing the tide of battle turn against them, turned to flee down a corridor; one of his own colleagues shot him in the back. The remaining orcs threw themselves into battle with the fanaticism of true zealots.

The orcs were wearing the telltale red ‘N’ that the heroes have learned to associate with Neregh.

Treasure & Items Gained

- A journal presumably belonging to Tarmannan
- An unidentified potion from Tarmannan’s nightstand
- A masterwork morningstar
- 2 potions of cure light wounds

Interesting Information Learned

- The orcs seemed to be at the Academy on a deliberate mission
- Re-entering the house turns Thud back into a jade statuette
- Thud briefly received a vision, while jade-d, of an underground room with four elements represented within it

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