Walking Through A Dream

Session 33

After finally finishing off the Brutes and Wings, and also getting a brief glimpse of a young shadow dragon, the group continues towards Vortamos’ house. Staying in the shadows, they head through back alleys and arrive at a clearing from which they get a clear view of the castle. It seems that the outward wall is untouched and there doesn’t seem to be any imps flying above the castle anymore. The front doors of the castle’s outer wall are smashed and wide open. The group decides to go through a secret entrance in the root cellar of a nearby house. Moving along the tunnel connected to the cellar, Vortamos pulls at a brick to reveal a passage into the conservatory of the castle. As the group enters the room, they can hear demonic voices behind the door at the other end of the room. Vortamos is able to peek into the large great room and sees dozens of demonic creatures attempting to break into a sealed off audience chamber. After a brief argument about battle strategy and an attempt to find any secret doors, Vortamos remembers an alternative route into the audience chamber. However, it is dangerous for much of the party as it travels along the roof and guards walkway. The group decides it is their best option and heads back out to the tunnel to a secret passage leading to the courtyard. Kaz nearly nearly falls to his death, but Kahn and Drage are able to pull him up. The group gets to the safety of a small tower, and descend down the spiral staircase to a walkway above the audience chamber. The entire room is bathed in a purple light and Vortamos instantly is hit with a sharp pain and headache, his sisters voice loud in his head “Help! You’re almost there!”. The group looks down into the audience chamber to see a woman kneeling on the ground covering her face with what looks to be a large claw. Nearby is an open book and the skeleton of Vortamos’ father, the King. Vortamos heads down the ladder and begins creeping closer to his sister, who remains motionless. As he gets closer to her, he shadow walks to the front of her and attempts to grab the book. She reaches out with her clawed hand, covering Vortamos’ hand and the book underneath. She looks up at Vortamos with eyes glowing a pink light, and suddenly everything around the group washes away. The group arrives, as if by teleportation, to an area of near darkness. The floor is a purple color and moves as if it is water. Vortamos’ sister appears out of the darkness, “You made it. You came back. I’m so glad”. The darkness then peels back behind her to reveal a large creature with 5 heads and the floor begins to glow.
AKA “In which the adventurers are killed by a 5 headed dragon. The End.”

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Session 32
Now that the party is inside the purple dome, they realize that they have entered the astral sea. There is a haze of smoke that lies both above and ahead, obscuring anything in the distance. Lining the cobblestone street, street lamps and stone buildings loom overhead. Drage is the first to walk towards the smoke, finding out that he can pass through without harm. The environment is calm, with no breeze, and it is light, as if there were a moon but there isn’t one. The buildings seem to be in good shape and Drage opens the door to a building close to the party. “I don’t think we are in Crestfall anymore”, Kaz quips. The party can see a massive castle in the distance, which has sustained heavy damage due to the large blackened chunk missing from the side. Small, winged creatures (about 6-8) are flying above the castle. Sensing danger, Vortamos ushers everyone inside the 2-story house that Drage had opened the door of. The party realizes that confronting Vortamos’ sister is the only way out, and that they must head towards Vortamos’ home, about a 3-1/2 hour walk from their current location. Drage and Vortamos search the house for any signs of people or supplies. While Vortamos is in an upstairs bedroom he uses his spyglass to get a closer look at the flying creatures and soon realizes that they are Assassin Imps, evil and cunning creatures. The party exits the house quietly and slips down to a side street (Cooper street). Traveling for about 45 minutes on the road, everything looks the same and it seems that no one is around or in any of the houses. As the party approaches a T intersection at the end of Cooper street, they see a large fire and hear awful sounds. They decide to head North toward the high road and use Anna’s camouflage spell to stay hidden in the shadows along the buildings. As the party heads down the high road, Vortamos and Kaz hear a strange alien sound just before a large creature grabs a zombie creature in its mouth, dropping the remains on the street in front of us. The party continues along the south edge of the high road, and attempt to cross quietly across to a side road to the south. Unfortunately, Drage trips just as two large monsters: Brutes and Wings step out from around a building onto the street. Vortamos and the party decide to attack. As Anna, Kaz, Kahn retreat in a back alley, cornered by Brutes and Wings, out of nowhere a blast of acid comes from the south taking out one of the Brutes, and one of the Wings is dragged off.
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Session 31

We land under darkness and secure the airship. As dawn breaks, we disembark and activate the active camouflage system. Khan and Drage try to use the magical platform, and fail, end up using the rope ladder. Auto gives Kaz a map marked with the location of the ship.

Kaz’s favorite color is blue.

On the journey, Vortamos is questioned about his history with Waterdeep and what happened to his family. And if he had any affiliation with dragons. He says the plan is for him to go check out the camp alone and if things go south he’s more likely to get away.

Vortamos decrees himself a king, jokingly, but Kaz takes it f’real and asks if he can be a knight. Thus is made, “Sir Kaz”

That night, during Alia’s watch, the alarm is not tripped but she sees a giant snakelike scaly creature surround the camp and she wakes the others. Vortamos tries to light a sunrod but a deep voice recoils and the light winks out. Drage talks with it in draconic, he names himself as Nerroth, and says her Queen wants all of them. The party mildly freaks out, and decides to move to a more hide-able location, thendecides to move in the night toward the dome.

We move through the night, and at dawn we reach the outskirts of an encampment. Vortamos goes in solo and tries to get information from an old woman refugee, no luck. He goes in toward the command tent and meets his cousin Arbor. Arbor tells them they’ve recently gathered up the remaining loyalist to the House of Callens and refugees from Waterdeep to attempt to break into the dome. He gets a splitting headache and a vision of Avriene enters his mind. Brother? Where are you brother? Help me! The group rests in Arbor’s tent for a few hours, and he gives Vortamos a necklace with the sigil of House Callens. They have Arbor delay his daily assault to approach and examine the dome.

As Vortamos touches the purple shield, it wobbles and the dome envelops the party and sweeps them in. From the inside, they see the flight of dragons swoop down to attack the refugee camp outside.

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Session 30

Heading to the southwest towards the world tree, the group begins to fall into a routine and comfortability with the flying machine as they begin their 10 day journey. Kaz manages to set a course and set the mysterious ‘autopilot’, which seems to steady the machine to a comfortable speed. The group discovers the inner workings of the ship including a dining hall with an automated food machine that creates anything you want, 6 rooms on the 2nd floor with the dining hall, and on the bottom floor, a large warehouse filled with various machines. The group finds that these are an auto-fabrication unit, which creates things just like a shop would. The group also unfortunately finds out that things cost money and Kahn is disappointed to discover a canon is much too expensive.
About a half day into the journey, the group sees a large purple magical dome in the distance to the south/southeast. Black clouds and lightning surround the purple dome, and inside it looks to be a city. The group finds out that it is the city of Waterdeep and Kaz redirects the flying machine towards the city for a closer look. Upon closer inspection, there seems to be camps set up outside of the dome and flying objects above the dome, but it impossible to see inside the dome. Vortamos reveals that the dome randomly appeared over the city 10 years ago. Kaz runs to the auto-fabrication unit and creates a spyglass in order to see the camps and flying objects better without getting any closer. Vortamos discovers that his family’s crest and flag are flying over the camps (Flag of Callen), and that flying above the dome are chromatic dragons (including red, black, and green).
After a heated discussion the group decides to avoid the dome and continue in the direction of the world tree. While the party is above deck, Drage drops below deck to his room, in which he contacts Bahamut. Kaz and Kahn can feel the intense magic taking place, but do not understand what it is. Khan consults Anna for a book from the library, and discovers that it may in fact be someone talking with a powerful being. Khan is suspicious of Drage, as he is the only party member not on deck.

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Session 29

Zanry offers a place for the group to sleep for the night. The floor opens up to reveal a staircase and an incredibly dusty bedroom. The group finds various places to sit and get comfortable as they await tea from Zanry. A conversation begins about how Vortamos and Aaliyah were saved as well as what people are willing to sacrifice. Aaliyah is more than willing to sacrifice and kill the cult of vecna (the people who took over her home). Kahn discusses how much he dislikes killing, but finally relents that if he were the last one alive he would kill Aetherion, but he will not slaughter an army to get to him.
Aetherion is a strong and cunning foe, who does not use force or illusion to overpower his enemies, but rather acts as a mirror, offering someone their heart’s desire. Once you have accepted that desire, you are under his control. A discussion is sparked between Aaliyah and Kaz about the world tree, which happens to be both of their homes. It was destroyed and taken over by the Cult of Vecna. Kaz remembers the day and survived by running away. His family was killed and he was captured, but they did not kill him and he escaped. Aaliyah was in the woods and doesn’t know what happened to her family. Vortamos reveals that Vivak, a member of the previous group who is now working for Aetherion, is currently at the world tree. The group decides that because Vivak is strong in magic, and thus most likely Aetherion’s strongest, if the group can break the control then they can begin to weaken Aetherion’s control.
After a long day, the group heads to sleep. Except Drage, who goes upstairs to speak with Zanry. Eventually everyone rests and wakes a few hours later. Zanry discusses their escape from town and how the group will get to the world tree. Although Zanry will not be coming with the group, he motions for the group to follow him up a spiral staircase towards their exit. It turns out that above the warehouse is a large flying machine, to which Aaliyah is extremely hesitant. No one in the group has every flown a machine such as this, but Kahn steps up to take the lead and takes the key from Zanry as everyone boards the ship. Guards are heard entering the warehouse and Zanry leaves without so much as directions or even basics on how to work the machine. Kahn and Vortamos desperately try to start the flying machine as guards are heard coming up the stairs. After managing to open the hatch that leads outside, Kahn powers up the machine and launches the machine high up in the air above the warehouse. Most of the party manages to hold on, except Kaz who is launched overboard. Luckily, his foot catches on the rope ladder as he flies over the side and hangs precariously above the warehouse. But before Drage can pull him up, Kahn (unknowing to the situation), sets the machine in forward motion at an alarming 60 miles an hour, all the while Kaz is hanging on for dear life. Drage finally manages to pull him up, and we head in the direction of the world tree.

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Session 28

While Vortamos is inside the city gates with Zanry, the party is settled beneath a grove of trees, waiting for his return. Zanry, an artificer, discusses a way to get all of the party back inside the gates without the guards knowing. Levitating a large wooden crate behind him, with Vortamos hidden inside, Zanry exits out the city gates towards the camp under the pretense that he is going out for supplies. Zanry and Vortamos arrive at camp, and after some persuasion and discussion of trust, the party climbs into the back of the cart. Zanry sets up an illusion to protect the party, but reminds us that it is not going to silence us, so we should be sure to be quiet and make no noise. When Zanry arrives at the gate, the guards question is outing as well as how quickly he was able to pick up supplies. The guards insist on checking the truck and the party is almost discovered, but makes it into the city without notice.

Once inside Zanry’s house, the party exits and Zanry shrinks the cart down to rubik’s cube size, which he places in his pocket. It is a large room with one whole wall dedicated to books, and a large robot is seen in the corner of the room, who Zanry explains is the soul of his brother Alphonse. Zanry explains that he was attacked by the dreaming dark while trying to keep Aaliya and Vortamos alive. Zanry and his brother suffered greatly and in order to save his brother, Zanry had to bond his brother’s soul to the suit of armor. Zanry himself has a metal faceplate and a mechanical arm. A heated discussion between Zanry, Aaliyah, and Kahn about ‘what is natural’ is quickly quieted with a quip from Anna that one person’s definition of natural may not, and does not have to, be shared by others.

The party begins to explain the current situation to Zanry. Intrigued, Zanry climbs a ladder along the wall of books to retrieve a small red book, which not only explains the dreamlords but also talks of a prophecy. This prophecy proclaims that Heroes who would defeat the Dream Lord Aetherion would separate the dream realm from the material plane forever. These heroes include the Protector, the Bringer of Light, the Bringer of Darkness, the Harmonizer, the Outlander, the Pathfinder, and the Purifier.

Many of the party members begin to realize that they themselves aren’t fully aware of the whole story, especially the stories of Aaliyah and Vortamos. Vortamos is cornered into telling his version of the story, which begins with him being trapped by Vors. The previous party saved him and they took revenge and saved Hyran. Aetherion was furious and began a feud with Vortamos, following him to Elmhurst. In Elmhurst, Vortamos discovered that Aetherion was the advisor to the King. Vortamos was intercepted by John Doe, who led him into the dream realm and ultimately betrayed Vortamos. He faced certain doom at the hands of Aetherion, to which his former companions fell prey to. Lured in by absolute promise, Vortamos’ companions were changed and recruited by Aetherion. Vortamos did lose something, his shadow, after John Doe brought him to the dream realm. In the Realm of Shadows, Vortamos defeated the Twilight Lord and his shadow chose to take over the role.

At this moment, while Vortamos is discussing the fates of his companions, Zanry pulls back a curtain along the wall revealing a corpse Zombie, “something like this?” he states. “No, they retained their selves, but lost their freewill”, explains Vortamos. Zanry becomes worried, repeating over and over, “Bad, bad, bad, he has grown in power”. Zanry reveals that this means that something has happened in the dream world, that Aetherion may have entered the material plane and shut the door behind him. The party begins to discuss the best way to fight Aetherion and ultimately decided fighting in our current reality is safer, there are too many unknowns in the dream realm.

But there are still many unanswered questions, questions that begin to test the trust amongst the party. Anna asks Vortamos and Aaliyah managed to survive when the rest of their companions perished. Vortamos simply states his own power of will and Aaliyah states that she is just stubborn. Not willing to take that as an answer, Anna and Kahn begin to question the two further, “Why couldn’t the others resist?”, “What did he offer you?”, “Did he figure you wrong when he offered an absolute promise?”, “Do you have a better offer?”. Kahn is especially suspicious of Aaliyah, who refuses to answer a question regarding what she actually wants. Meanwhile, Vortamos reveals that Aetherion offered Vortamos’ family, honor, and sister’s soul; but that was the past, she was possessed by a demon and killed his family, he did not want her soul. Aaliyah finally opens up, stating that she didn’t trust Aetherion because he was giving her something she had only ever dreamed, not something real or tangible, especially something the dreamlord has no dominion over. Kaz is quiet much of this time, focusing solely on Aaliyah (which only Aaliyah notices).

The group decides that there are too many secrets among the members, and if Aetherion wishes to grant an absolute promise, it could be dangerous for the mission. DM asks each member to come up with 5 questions to ask the group and/or individual party members.

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Session 27

Vlad was in the mountains west, Thoradin was in the dwarf mountains, Bavak was in the world tree husk with the Cult of Vecna, and Dothra was in Friehet far away. We decided to head towards Hyran to seek out Zanry, but it’s a long journey. One night we hide in the large woods south of Elmhurst, and the Dryads and protectors of the forest confront us and are angered with us. We escape, but with their scorn. Days later (weeks?) we find a signpost that points us toward Hyran, where we find a wanted poster with our likenesses posted at a 100,000gp reward. On the way down this road toward Hyran, we run into a group of armed men. We unsuccessfully tried to hide, but they just laughed at us, but not recognizing us, they moved on.

We sneak around to the side of the town nearest Zanry’s house and Vortamos scales the town walls into Hyran. He startles a townsman but passes it off as if he were a town drunk and sneaks away, then makescovert entry into Zanry’s house.

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Session 26

We distract the giant worm (Bolette?) through a series of complicated distractions and scare it off, and make a mad dash through the end of the maze, where we slide down yet another ramp and end up on a beach east of Elmhurst. We think about heading to the town of Falshire to hide out, but the group decides it better to lay low, away from civilization, and make our contact with the potentially sympathetic Dreamlords whom Carneira was organizing for us.

We cleanse some seawater for drinking and head inland to find a secretive, defensible position to campand prepare for our meeting. A short debate ensues between Khan and Alia, as the latter accuses Vortamos’ shadowdancing as being unnatural. Alia decides not to join in on the meeting with the Dreamlords, and the others go to sleep.

Drage has an encounter in his sleep with Bahamut. [[We find that Drage is son of Bahamut and Tiamat??]] He tells Drage he will undergo the Rite of Rebirth (!). He must prove himself by undermining an agent of Tiamat. Bahamut touches Drage, and all is consumed in holy fire. “It is an honor to burn, my Lord Bahamut.”

We end up in a dream realm, where we see John Doe, who appears to be mediating the meeting. The party is hostile toward him, but the meeting commences and hostilities are mainly put aside as the Dreamlords appear. The Dreamlords say that only mortals can do what needs to be done to oppose Simikiel. The Dreamlords share a picture of the world where Simikiel and his flunkies (Thoradin, Vlad,Bavak, etc.) are amassing armies in the different places of the world.

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Session 25

Vortamos opens a door into a room of undead-looking plantbird creatures, and shuts the door backing away. Alia opens the door and starts shooting. Khan meets another birdlike creature in a narrow hall and turns tail and runs.

Warthorned Battle-briars were defeated, Khan is chased through the halls by one but escapes and rejoins the party.

Backtracked past where Khan had solo’ed to before, smashed a statue of Asmodeus, Vortamos stole two ruby eyes from the rubble where Khan smashed it.

The next room north, Khan stumbled into a HUMONGOUS creature burrowing out of the ground. Drage: “Never run from a fight! EXCEPT THIS ONE!

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Session 24

The party slip n’ slides down the hole into the ancient ruins. They find a hallway lined with ancient corpses, nailed to the wall. Another room holds sarcophagi and a spike-lined pit with channels that once drained liquid into the pit. Drage charges through a door into the lair of a giant centipede.

Defeat of the centipede, Alia incapacitates it. Vortamos clandestinely steals a leg from it for treasure. The group splits to explore the ruins. And some ominous claws reach around the corner toward Khan, as Vortamos opens a door into a room full of glowing eyes.

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