Gritty Realism

Session 43 - Session 48

The party fought the demons in Toulouse proper as they invaded the capitol.

Nathan’s party fought a Balor in the palace courtyard, whilst the party searched for the The Rose Queen and the Princess. Finding and engaging Kraziel.

Vivianna was killed in the battle.

The party then set out to chase down a lead to stopping the demon incursions.

When the party found the keep they sought it was heavily warded. As Garridan Crowley attempted to disarm the wards Dain Dankil instead decided to set off the wards, activating two statues which he then attacked. Garridan dragged Dain off the bridge to safety and the statues returned to their homes. The party was then able to deactivate the statues and sneak past, however as they entered the warded area they realised it was an antimagic zone.

The doors locked behind them and arrows began to rain down on them. None of them were able to make it to the keep before succumbing to arrows or falling from the narrow winding corridor to their certain deaths.

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Session 42
We've decided not to endorse your park.

The party managed to overcome the mad Professor Iven riz Hammend, revealing him to be a servant of Ozymandias. Though it was unclear whether his madness was caused by Ozymandias or merely worsened by him.

The party invited the gnomish folk to travel with them, and Garridan offered them work, food and shelter in their keep, growing his reagents and the keep’s crops.

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Session 41
Clever girl...

The party journey from the small jetty to the Old Laboratory. Wading through the shoulder high grass was easier for some than it was for Dain. The party were able to make their way to the Laboratory thanks to Ivellious and Pete’s keen sense of direction.

The party decided to climb in through the facility’s high windows which were roughly ten feet from the ground, and checked the main door for traps. Finding none the armoured members of the party entered and the party set about investigating. Inside the building seemed to have been abandoned and over time damaged by the wildlife.

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Corran could sense magic below them, and Dain found some healing potions in a cupboard. The party discovered a grand library where the books had either been stolen or destroyed however in the room there was a hidden trap door which Ivellious’ elven eyes detected. The party descended into the basement level and found two rooms.

The first seemed to be an office of sorts, containing some paperwork and the journal of Professor Iven riz Hammend which Garridan took a quick look through were he was able to work out that Hammend’s experiements were failing and he had succumbed to the temptation of power, taking one of Ozymandias’ orbs and his experiments started to finally succeed but he spiralled Into madness soon after. This facility was abandoned due to his paranoia and it seems his research assistants were fired or possibly just left behind.

The second room was behind sturdier doors, huge metal containment doors. Dain wasted no time in bashing the doors down, causing huge amounts of noise in the process. Once inside it was clear this room was the source of the magical energy Corran detected, a ritual circle in the centre covered in Iron roots, and the back of the room was covered in rare and expensive magical components including some Mandrake root which Garridan wanted.

Garridan was able to discern the nature of the circle, and that the metal roots probably harnessed the Volcanic energy and brought it into the ritual circle, allowing Hammend to transmute whatever he wanted. The group left the circle well alone, gathered some of the jarred ingredients despite Ivellious protesting everything here was unnatural.

As they left the basement level and made for the exit, the magical ward on the door was triggered and party were ambushed with Garridan warning the party as the windows around them began to shatter as raptors dived into the room, surrounding the party.

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The party battled hard against the agile and intelligent beasts, barely overcoming them, with Theodore using his illusory mirror images to avoid otherwise lethal bites and claws, and Pete being severely wounded as a Raptor bit into his torso and punctured a lung. After the battle Ivellious climbed up to the roof, and Pete fashioned a Raptor-talon grappling hook and followed him. Dain also climbed up onto the roof after Pete. They surveyed the surroundings and Ivellious noticed a small village on the island in the centre of the Loch. They also looked to the purple at the edge of the map, concerned with Ozymandias’ connection to the colour and the purple light that seemed to be connected to the Forest of Chaos. The party decided against heading there as the Forest of Chaos was enough to send them mad already. Ivellious was worried the island may be a village of prisoners so the party headed back to the jetty where they had spent the night before.

The party’s journey over the water was uneventful and they arrived just before nightfall. As they approached the village they realised it was smaller than they thought at first, it was only a handful of huts but the huts were very small. The party heard a ringing bell, shouts in a squeaky language and small figures scurrying. Corran lifted his hammer to empower his voice and told the village that they came in peace. Garridan suggested he tried in Gnomish as he had recognised the language, he attempted to teach Corran the phrase but it didn’t quite come across right, resulting in a small arrow landing nearby.

Garridan attempted to step forward, using Mans as an eye in the sky to locate the gnomes, and tried to calm their nerves. In response a second arrow missed him by a wide margin, although he heard a gnome boasting about how he thought he’d got one. Garridan then told the gnomes to surrender their arms or he would rain down fire upon them, and exploded some minute meteors a safe distance above them. They threw down their weapons and scattered. Garridan reminded the party he wasn’t exactly a diplomat. Using Mans he tracked down the oldest gnome and once Mans started talking in Garridan’s voice the old gnome collapsed in fear. Garridan then introduced himself and eventually the gnome realised that the “giant invaders” weren’t (at least initially) hostile. Once they traded promises of not eating eachother then the Gnomes agreed to return to the village.

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The gnomes explained they were trapped on the island due a great sea beast eating their kinsmen who attempted to cross, also the mainland was dangerous and the giant grass forests were impossible to navigate. The gnomes sustained themselves by farming and fishing.

Dain offered them alcohol and T-rex meat.
Pete entertained them with interpretative dance stories relating to his many trophies.
Garridan, Theodore, Ivellious and Corran discussed offering the Gnomes safe passage to somewhere that wasn’t a tiny island near a volcano in a dinosaur infested park. Garridan translated and told the gnomes they could stay, or they could come with the party under their protection. The gnomes said they would sleep on it and discuss it amongst themselves, obviously worried about the great sea beast that the party hadn’t seen on their way to the village. The party made camp next to the gnomes’ village and readied themselves for escaping the park tomorrow.

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Session 40
Life, uh... finds a way.

The party made it to the base of the Volcano, Mount Goldenbloom, whilst carefully scanning the sky for the The Destroyer of Worlds. However the base of the Volcano’s north side was a giant pool of lava, meaning they would not be able to scale or cross here which left them with two options; Webber’s Tunnel or Serpent’s Crossing. Garridan suggested the tunnel, as crossing over lava was never a good idea and the old abandoned laboratory was in that direction also which he wanted to visit. The party made their way west to the tunnel.

As the party neared the tunnel Pete saw it, the Roc, the destroyer and the harbinger of the end times so he broke into a sprint. The rest of the party picked up the pace but only Pete sprinted for the half hour it took to reach the tunnel. The party were able to reach the tunnel before the end of the day, finding a tired Pete examining the tunnel entrance.

As night was falling Pete advised we should make camp inside the cave so we weren’t killed by the Destroyer of Worlds. Dain wasn’t so sure due to the suspicious giant spider tracks that led in and out of the cave, however the group made camp inside the cave entrance.

During the night Mans was surprised by an arrow, and died immediately. Garridan woke the party who met the ambush head on. The party had been assaulted by a pair of Drider archers and their giant spider beast.

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The battle was intense, and Corran was struck down by an arrow to the head, which splintered on impact with such ferocity that it fractured his skull. The Drider’s poisoned arrows also left Theodore with an infected wound and scars, whilst Garridan had to remove a stubborn arrowhead that was sure to leave a scar from himself, and a severely deep arrow from Theodore that threatened severe injury.

The party overcame the Driders and their Huge Monstrosity eventually and made their way through the tunnel, passing by the altar to Lolth and emerging in the south side of the park.

The party made it’s way round to the southern base of Mount Goldenbloom. Making note of giant dinosaur tracks they had found earlier, but Van Pelt did not believe there was anything that size in the park. As they reached the base of the Volcano they discovered a massive cave entrance which they approached with caution. Upon inspection the cave seemed to be home to a giant T-Rex which Van Pelt explained was the Queen, something he thought not possible. The Queen was sleeping.

Garridan sent Mans into the cave (having resummoned him from his death in the Webber’s tunnels), Mans was able to sneak into the ash pile, but his entrance blew up a cloud of ash, waking the Queen. The party ran, seeking a trench to hide in. The Queen raised a mighty foot to crush the tiny raven and missed barely, the Raven escaping through a gap in it’s toes. Garridan then dismissed his familiar and recalled it back to him, shaking the ash loose from Mans’ feathers and into a small bag.

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The party waited patiently for the Queen to leave the area, and then escaped to the South. Reaching the dock, it was just a small pier and rowboat. The party decided to make camp in the tiny rowboat, rather than sail at night, or journey to the laboratory at night. The night passed without incident although the conditions were very cramped in the rocking and swaying boat.

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Session 39
Hold onto your butts.

The party, having defeated Van Pelt negotiate a deal with him for guidance. Corran summons a horse which carries Van Pelt whilst Ivellious tends to his quite grievous wounds.

The party skirted south around the Repugnant Redwood, making camp when they lost the light. The party moved north to Bumble’s Break avoiding another herd of mammoths as they did. The party spotted a Chimera flying above the Forest of Chaos, so they moved carefully to avoid it’s notice as they had faced such a creature before. Garridan made the mistake of peering into the forest, and felt the mental toll it took on him.

Eventually the party moved north and they ventured up the snowy incline to Bumble’s Break Van Pelt lapsed into unconsciousness due to the cold but the party pressed on. Upon arriving at the apex they found the cave and were ambushed by the practically invisible Abominable Yeti.

Garridan believed the Yeti to be a distant cousin of the Troll so opened up with some explosive potions, which seemed to frighten and startle the beast. Theodore noted the effectiveness and joined in with the fiery barrage. The Yeti began to escape however Corran speared the beast to a wall with a javelin as it fled. The party then made camp in the cave which appeared to be the Yeti’s lair.

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Pete spent all night spinning the Yeti for it’s hefty fur, and Garridan collected a sample of blubber. Van Pelt awoke in the morning and was shocked the party had slain the eponymous Bumble. Pete covered Van Pelt in Bumble’s pelt to keep him warm. Dain discovered a small cave which he crawled through and discovered a source of clay. Garridan went through second and used light on Mans in order to see. Once through Garridan waded through the ice cold river that flowed through the cave and climbed to the top of the slippery boulder and began to scrape clay. Dain wanted to help so he tried to leap atop the small slippery boulder, managing to reach the top he stumbled into Garridan and sent them both tumbling to the icy cold river and rocks below. After some chastisement Garridan climbed back up to continue to scrape clay. Dain believed it’d be helpful to attempt to attack the clay from the gorund with his hooked chain. He swung heavily, narrowly missing Garridan and smashing heavily into the clay, also striking Mans who was nearby holding a light for Garridan. Mans was killed by the wayward chain and Garridan firmly requested that Dain leave the cave, suggesting his skull fracture was impeding his judgement… and threatening to kill him.

Garridan finished collecting the clay, informed the party of his need to resummon his familiar and then the party made it’s say to the frozen lake to the south. A chest lay in the middle of the ice cold lake with frozen islands. Dain noticed a purple light in the sky shooting south across the sky from the Forest of Chaos, Dain began to tell the party he’d seen a legendary bird.

Dain and Garridan had to then work together as the rest of the party looked on without helping. Dain hopped, fell and swam to the centre, taking considerable cold damage. Dain discovered the chest was marked “Rest in Peace” and skeletal remains were inside wearing a robe, some gems and a tome. Dain shook the remains out of the robe, brushing the dusty skeleton into the lake. Garridan then levitated the chest and Dain piloted it back.

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The Party then travelled towards Mount Goldenbloom. Once they had reached the ashen wastes surrounding the Volcano they saw what appeared to be a Giant Roc, with a 100 metre wingspan. Pete, uncharacteristically overcome with fear, proclaimed the bird to be The Destroyer of Worlds and ran for cover stating it was the end times. The party sought cover, Garridan and Corran seeking shelter in a ribcage of a long-dead T-Rex and covering themselves in ash, laying low. Others finding a trench or hiding behind raised ground.

In the ashen wastes the party encountered a red-skinned T-Rex, which Dain was understandably petrified of, and made every attempt to avoid being crushed by it as the party fought against it. It appeared more feral than Betsy.

Once the way was clear of the Roc and T-Rex the party pitched tent and covered it in ash, hoping to camouflage it and set watches.

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Session 38
Spared no expense.

Whilst recovering from aiding the tribes and Vonda Starag defeating the corruption of one of the forests and the Demon being summoned into the material realm the party is approached by Martin Cleves and told that Professor Iven riz Hammend would like to meet them and show them his work. Garridan having heard of the renowned scientist convinced the party this was a rare opportunity. Martin reveals he is Hammend’s personal steward.

The party were lead through the woods to Hammend’s extremely remote research centre on the edge of the Kingdom. Along the way they met with Hammend’s personal ranger, Van Pelt, a well spoken half-orc with a huge crossbow. Van Pelt has been way finding for Martin the whole way here and back. He has also caught a deer for their supper.

The party arrive at Hammend’s park and enter onto a rail-car that Garridan is able to sort of understand as it’s a blend of mechanical workings and magic. They arrive at the peak and there are a few buildings including Hammend’s research centre. Hammend greets them and requests that they tour the park first, and he’ll show them the research centre and answer any questions once they return.

The party climb into another rail-car slightly different to the first and begin their journey into the park, as they descend into the valley they take note of some features. The park is inside a ring of mountains, and in the centre there is a volcano. As they near the base of the descent they see some giant doors, with the name above them. Torcian Park.

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The rail-car stops after the gates and they exit, finding supplies, a map and a note.

Dear Adventurers,
Welcome to the ultimate survival test. Your goal is to reach the southern point and exit.
The park contains mystery, adventure and reward!
If a Homunculus is what you seek, you will need:
Clay from the depths of Bumbles Break.
Ash from the cave at the base of Mount GoldenBloom.
and Mandrake Root from the old Laboratory.
Van Pelt will begin his hunt shortly, I advise you do your best to try to and avoid him.
Good luck!
Izen Riz Hammond

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The party, now realising they’ve entered a deadly hunt consider their options. They must venture south through many obstacles and dangers, and evade the deadly Van Pelt. They move toward the east, as Garridan advises it’d be too obvious to go directly south, we would be safer zig-zagging through the park for survival purposes. Also he tells them he needs to go to the western-most point to visit Bumbles Break.

The party agree to leave the dense woodland quickly and travel into the open plains. Encountering beasts that they’ve never seen before. Avoiding a small herd of rhinoceroses but angering a group of Triceratops by entering their territory. The group overcame the dinosaurs however it was not easy and many sustained injuries.

However, due to the group’s decision to not waste time covering their tracks and just deciding to move quickly because Van Pelt could probably track them even without tracks, Van Pelt was easily able to find and ambush them. Van Pelt riding his T-Rex companion Betsy attacked the party. They fought hard however the party brought Betsy down, unfortunately she landed on Dain and fractured his skull. Corran was able to keep Van Pelt from running away; The half-orc appeared dead but was hanging on due to his Half-Orc constitution.

Van Pelt surrendered having being defeated honourably agreed to lend the party his knowledge of the area, however he was only the game-master of the northern locations.

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Session 36 - Session 37

The party assisted Vonda Starag and the tribes of which Pete Farrier hails from against an invasion of demons in the wilds.

Pete’s son, Nathan Farrier, Happy, Jerrick the Pauper and Vivianna were in attendance also.

The party fought hard, Vonda battled a Balor as a T-Rex. The demon incursion of the wilds was stopped.

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Session 35
"A windowless soul."

The party were resting for a few days since their trip through time. During their downtime a few rumours and titbits of information came to light.

Dain discovered that Toulouse had recently introduced a “Dwarf Tax” meaning that he and his Dwarven kin were paying larger percentages of tax on business earnings.
Theodore overheard a rumour regarding a childhood story he was told as a boy. The Cursed Island of Relthallowax has been spotted north of Southport.
Felix‘s friendly pixie Spyte had overheard rumours about missing caravans and traders along the north-west road.
Pete had heard from the orphans that about a dozen families had sought shelter in the city, fleeing from their homes in Felsted due to sightings of the undead. However none had seen the undead, merely grey shapes in the woods. Felsted however had once been home to a powerful Lich hundreds of years ago, but he has not been seen nor heard of in the last 500 years but this explained the families’ fears.

The party headed around town to make some enquiries and noted that there was a Gypsy Market in town. These were not the same as Madame Fate‘s family but instead the Randelfeld Traders, led by Osark Randelfeld who were a mostly honest bunch consisting of Grocers, Smiths, Entertainers, Traders and various other merchant or crafts folk. Unbeknownst to them at the time the party met with Osark himself, as he traded in magical items, he could not afford to buy and sell, but he could trade like-for-like for a small fee. A few hundred gold was handed over and he took the party’s magical (+1) crossbow and replaced it with a Broom of Flying which Felix claimed.

The party met with Maximilian Saer as one of the cities wealthier merchants he was effected by the current situation on the north-west road and had assumed that his goods were merely being stolen by untrustworthy caravans. He offered gold and assistance renovating the Party’s Keep if the bandits were brought back alive for trial, or dead.

The party gathered horses and a wagon of horse feed and ventured north. after four days of travel they encountered some scared horses. Theodore rode forward to meet them and attempt to stop them, however two ran around him, spooking his horse, throwing him to the ground and one ran off the road into the plains. Pete was able to dismount and stare the horses down, who came trotting to a stop to meet his gaze. Pete’s experience with the beasts showing clearly. Felix relied on some Fey secrets in order to grant himself the ability to communicate with the beasts, who were able to communicate to him that they were fleeing from a Fire Giant who destroyed their caravan.

The party headed north to the part of the road that intertwined with the mountain. A deep rocky valley, with steep inclines and loose rocks on either side. Even with Felix high in the sky above them they were surprised when a Fire Giant rolled boulder away from the entrance of a cave, stepping out into the road to meet them.

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The giant demanded a toll of 100 silver per party member in common. Pete who speaks Giant, threw some insults back. Felix attempted to remedy the situation and talk his way out of it. The Giant threw a boulder at the wagon, damaging it and spilling horse feed everywhere. Corran’s squire who was in the wagon was quite hurt, whilst Dain who was also in the wagon avoided injury.

The party battled with the Fire Giant and Felix noticed that the valley was trapped with Warding Glyphs set up in such a way to cause a landslide on either side of the valley. He warned the party and scared off the horses to get them outside of the trapped area. The party managed to defeat the Fire Giant and in doing so, it was revealed he was infact an Ogre Mage. Due to their encounters with Oni Felix knew that an Ogre Mage was a half-breed Ogre and Oni, shorter than an Ogre but still larger than a man but with innate magical talents and skilled enough to learn more.

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The Ogre Magi attempted to flee with Gaseous form but the party kept up a magical ranged assault. Once high enough the Ogre Magi was able to Dimension Door back to it’s lair, however Felix was flying and able to see the Magi duck into the tunnel.

Felix led the party to the tunnel entrance, carrying Theodore up the rocky incline. The party had to carefully climb with the aid of a rope Felix secured, and noticed that the Ogre had laid traps along the rocks such as loose stones and false footholds which caused Corran to slip and fall, sending small stones hurtling down the slope.

Once atop the slop the party noted that one boulder was actually a trap door disguised to blend in, but had been left slightly open either in haste or as a trap. Dain decided he would be first down the ladder, stepped onto and broke one of the ladder rungs and fell 30ft to the floor. The rest of the party followed him carefully, making it safely down the ladder, with a light spell illuminating a rock so they could see.

At the bottom of the cave the floor was pitch black even in the light. Felix could see through the magical darkness and informed the party that a 60ft deep pit with stone spikes at the bottom was concealed in the magical darkness, Azrael summoned some daylight and dispelled the darkness and Felix ferried them over the pit one by one.

As they crept down the hallway, the Ogre having drunk some health potions was prepared. Once the daylight that Azrael had enchanted himself with was almost around the corner, the party was blasted by a cone of cold, which managed to severely frost-burn the Felix, despite his status as the Winter Knight, and froze Corran solid in a thin layer of ice rendering him unconscious (0hp).

Ivellious healed Corran, the radiant warmth thawing him, and the party engaged the Ogre Magi in a swift and deadly combat. The Magi’s Eldritch fists landed some blows, however Theodore’s fire magic blinded the Ogre and Pete grappled him, digging in his spiked armour. Corran knocked it to the floor and finished him with a mighty smite. In it’s dying breath he rasped out “My Soul for the Soul Eater”. On his chest was a symbol in scars, and when Felix cast detect magic, he saw the same symbol on the wall in the cavern.

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In the cavern were the Ogre’s possessions, twelve unconscious bodies, and remnants of broken wagons, art and supplies used as firewood. The party attempted to aid the bodies, finding them in perfect health, but with a very slow heart rate, as if they were in a coma. They also discovered a secret panel near the Ogre’s belongings which opened up to reveal an object wrapped in a black cloth with silver trim.

They moved the bodies from the wall, and Corran attacked the symbol only Felix could see via detect magic with radiant flame. Nothing appeared to happen, however Dain began to see the Soul Eater and attacked it as it approached him. The party saw nothing, but when the Soul Eater was struck by Dain’s magical hammer nothing happened. Instead it reached out and the party watched as Dain fell into the same coma as the victims.

Azrael created a magic circle against fiends and the party hid inside. When they struck the symbol only one of them could see the fiend at a time but it was kept at bay by the circle. Felix attempted to banish it but failed, Corran then hexed it and Ivellious was able to banish the creature permanently from the mortal realm.

In the Soul Eater’s realm, a private demi-plane identical to the cavern he was in before, Dain had found himself amongst some depressed looking merchants and found Ragnar who didn’t seem altogether there and attacked Dain with a rock, surprised to find that Dain was real he finally recognised him and started to tell Dain about the soul eater. Telling him how he was trapped in here with the five dozen or so victims. Dain could only see the 12 that matched up with the unconscious bodies outside so he was a little confused, however when looking around realised that two or three more had shown up. Approaching one who was in the foetal position he then realised the victim had no eyes, sunken to the point of disappearance.

Dain approached the wall with the symbol, plainly visible in this realm when the Soul Eater “popped” into existence from the banishment spell. The Soul Eater was much weaker than it would have been due to the banishment spell forcing it back here and not managing to trap an entire party of adventurers in it’s realm to empower it with their hardy souls.

Dain wasted no time in attacking the creature, this time finding his blows landing but the creature lashed out with psychic damage on the already wounded Dain. Dain struck it, turning it to vapour, which coalesced around one of the merchants, and began to drain him, turning his eyes into sunken pits. In the mortal realm his body shrivelled and died. As the Soul Eater approached Dain again, Dain charged the symbol and lashed out with his mighty hammer, shattering one of the lines. Ragnar ran for the symbol too, bringing rock against rock in an attempt to help. The soul eater wailed and Dain woke up in the mortal realm, as did the 11 victims who were not drained.

The party helped the merchants back to town, and offered Ragnar assistance in rebuilding his caravan. On the way back to town Felix opened the cloth around the item from the Ogre’s hidden vault and identified the Darkle Fas which he began reading. Maximilian was disappointed he didn’t get to hang anyone but took the Ogre’s head as proof and paid up the party’s reward.

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Session 33 - Session 34

Magnus began walking to the Fort’s courtyard where he opened a secret door and led the party to the basement they were unaware they had. In the basement was a Sphere of Annihilation which transported the party back in time.

The party found themselves embodied in the previous owners of the keep in the midst of a crisis and were forced to defend themselves and the city from demons. Azrael was still himself, revealing he had been alive in both this time as well as ours.

in the midst of the battle Belial became mad and tried to tempt Azrael to denounce good and follow the fallen, when he declined the party witnessed Belial banish Azrael to the future, and the angel’s motives became clear, he was a fallen angel.

The party were shortly after shunted back through time to present day.

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Session 32
"When your past comes back to kill you"

The party were lured into a mansion by Ozymandias that became a death trap. The party were attacked by the revenants of Yun’Dai and Esméralda.

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