The Whispering Cairn

Adventure One

Act I: The Face in the Dark

Session One 04/28/09

EXP Awards Hasan Kesa Talent Theena
Session Total 2900 3250 3100 3025
Total 2900 3250 3100 3025

The cast of characters

Introduction of the main characters. Mention of Hasan's older sister Melinde and Kullen, the albino orc, to whom Talent owns money (his reason for gathering everyone to adventure).

May 30
The characters enter the Whipering Cairn. After fighting a small pack of wolves they find the strange and magical entrance to the actual tomb itself and begin exploring the underground complex. In the first series of chambers, the lair of the architect, they encounter a poison trap, brown mold, a hibernating earth elemental, and a disturbing eye strand.

Session Two 05/02/09

EXP Awards Hasan Kesa Talent Theena
Session Total 100 4217 4067 4067
Total 3000 7467 7167 7092

The cast of characters

The characters meet Mestal Fixx, Smensk's right-hand man, who offers them a ride into town as well as the possibility of earning a few coins helping him deliver goods to Dourstone's mine. In town they meet Tidwoad; his wife Mistress Thimble; the help Dimblox; Gil, the goblin stable-mucker from the Able Carter Coaching Inn; and Kullen's bully boys, sans one: Radagast, Todrik, and Merrovin. Later, at the Bronzewood lodge they meet the ancient Nogwier and his three hot priestesses.

May 30
The characters return to Diamond Lake to cash in some of their treasure. Theena is propositioned by Tidwoad, even though Kesa attempts to warn her of his intentions, but violently refuses his advances. Talent pays his debts but his new-found wealth attracts unwanted attention. Kesa breaks Talent's heart by refusing his advances. Hasan is no where to be found.

June 1
The characters, sans Hasan, return to the cairn to investigate the next set of chambers. This time there is a malfunction of the magical elevator, and Theena plunges 60ft and lands amidst a swarm of acid beetles. Kesa and Talent, at the top, have to deal with swarming beetles as well as a horrific creature, [[Mad Slasher|a mad slasher]], that looks like a gigantic eyeball with spider legs tipped with sword blades. They return to town without exploring any further this day and purchase some healing potions. They spend the night at the ruins of the mine office near the Whispering Cairn.

June 2
Feeling better prepared, the party descends into the chamber they started exploring yesterday, the lair of workers. Almost immediatly they are beset by giant beetles and more swarms of smaller beetles. Kesa saves the day, staying conscious through both assaults, but Theena is killed by the acidic secretions of the beetles. Recovering some treasure from the bodies of previous explorers, and hoping to travel to the Bronzewood lodge and return Theena from the dead, Kesa and Talent retreat without exploring the submerged section of this part of the cairn.

A three hour trip through the woods finds Kesa and Talent at the lodge where they explain their plight. In exchange for a powerful staff they had recovered from the cairn, Nogwier, the leader of the Bronzewood Lodge, agrees to attempt to return Theena from the Other Side. Kesa is invited to participate in the ritual, while Talent is led off.

June 3
The ritual spans dusk till dawn. but Theena awakens as if from a dreamless sleep.

Session Three 05/10/09

EXP Awards Hasan Kesa Talent Theena
Session Total 434 2659 2359 2484
Total 3434 10126 9526 9576

The cast of characters

The party heads back to town. Around noon they arrive at Diamond Lake. Talent heads to the house of the wizard Allustan, argueably Diamond Lake's smartest man, to see about transfering an enchantment from one weapon to another. Allustan is willing and expresses interest in the party's doings at the cairn, which he seems to know about and claims many others in town do as well. He relates a little history about the Wind Dukes and their graves that mark the Cairn Hills. He notes that it has been a generation since anyone has explored the Whispering Cairn, telling them about a wizard of the shady Seekers who led an expedition into the cairn some 50 or so years ago.

After Allustan's, Talent leaves to find the word on the street, worried that too many people know his business. The girls head out of town to await him, tired of the foul smells and aura of the town. While waiting along the edge of the woods, Kesa spies Smesnk's bully boys dropping a shipment of cadavers at the observatory. Talent learns that Tidwoad has been hired to keep an eye out for unusual finds from the local cairns by Smensk, especially with the new group of adventurers in Diamond Lake.

After meeting up, the trio heads back into the cairn to explore the last bit of the worker's level. In the water filled wash area they encounter a small water elemental, who almost drowns Kesa. While recovering from the fight a ghoul named Ulavant attacks them, the same name as the mage that led the Seeker expedition. It is a close thing, and Kesa and Talent are almost killed by the ravenous beast.

Undaunted the party heads up to the chamber of lanterns. After turning the pedestal a full rotation they discover no more underground chambers to explore. They do find a false elevator trap which they avoid as well as a hidden passage at the top of one of the lantern shafts. After a bit of adventure climbing to the top of the shaft they discover a long corridor blocked at the far end by a giant howling face carved into the stone.

Despite clues that perhaps something unpleasent is going to happen in this corridor they explore forward. The face animates and blows a gradually increasing wind down the corridor while the eyes glow with flashing colors, paralysing them in its gaze. Talent manages to disable the trap after Theena is almost blown over the edge. Kesa attempts to retreat down the chain, but slips and dies from the fall.

June 4
"I think she is coming around," says Nogwier as he leans over Kesa' reanimated form.

Act II: A Ghostly Errand

Session Four 05/16/09

EXP Awards Hasan Kesa Talent Theena
Session Total 100 3042 3242 3417
Total 3534 13,168 12,493 12,993

Cast of characters

GM Notes
Gratz on level 2 Kesa!

The party recuperates for a bit at the Bronzewood Lodge, then heads to town. Theena and Talent hire Allustan to transfer some enchantments while Kesa begins studying the language of the elements, Primordial. Allustan tells them about the history of the Cairn Hills and the Wind Dukes.

Afterward, around 2 in the afternoon, they return to the cairn, sure that they have figured out the face trap. Sadly, they forget to bring enough light sources with them, so Kesa has to run to town for candles. They pass through the face trap, again after some adventure climbing the chain, having forgotten to make a knotted climbing rope again.

On the other side is a strange tunnel with a 3ft wide, 50ft long, balance beam suspended above a pit, which runs from their side to a door on the far side. The pit is full of round objects that appear to be iron spheres. Kesa and Talent note the intricate geometric patterns on the walls hide holes about the right size to spit spheres the same size.

Never one for caution, Talent sprints out onto the beam. As he crosses the center a rain of iron spheres pummels him, knocking him from the beam, into the pit. Theena, thinking this great entertainment, follows suit, and is too, knocked in to the pit. A voice near Kesa comments that her friends better watch out as "they" dwell under the spheres and hate the living.

Skeletons burst forth and attack the trio, two climbing up to Kesa's perch. The battle is brief and violent, but the party gets the best of the undead. During the fight, the voice cheers them on, as well as mocks them playfully on occasion. Afterward, the malevolent looking shade of a young boy with a broken neck materializes next to Kesa, scaring her, then possessing her to speak, through her, to her friends in the pit.

Kesa manages to force the ghost out and he claims he wants to help the party not fight them. He offers to open the door at the far end of the room, beyond which he claims is a vast, airy, room if they will but return his bones, buried in the spheres, these thirty years, to his family farmstead and bury them with those of his family, who he abandoned all those years ago.

They agree, after some arguement, and taking the bones, leave for the farmstead. Arriving there, they find that the graves have been recently disturbed. It seems that a group of men unearthed the bodies and made off with them in a wheelburrow, but not before losing one of their number up at the house itself.

Deciding to investigate the house, the party is attacked by a badly wounded owlbear mother. It is a close thing, but the party is able to put the mother out of her misery with no casulaties to themselves. Finding an owlbear cub and the body of, what Talent thinks is, Skultch, one of Kullen's bullyboys, they retreat to the ruined mining office to regroup.

Kesa and Talent think that Fester Trollump, a personal friend of Kesa's, and who is not unknown to Talent, can probably offer them the best price on the cub. Kesa heads out to hunt some fresh meat for the baby, while Talent heads to find Trollump the trapper.

Talent actually runs into Fester on the way into town and convinces him to come to the abandoned mining office. Fester is impressed with the party, as owlbear's are viscious creatures that can tear through knights, let alone three scrawny kids. He agrees to take the cub to Ravensbluff for a 15% cut of the sale price, and figures he should return in around two weeks time.

June 5
The party heads to the cairn to speak to the ghostly boy, Alaster Land, but forget light sources. So they head back to town to get some. They end up spending a good part of the day relaxing, selling and buying, and studying. Borrowing some candles from Allustan, they go to talk to the ghost, who tells them that, no, his spirit has not been released and that recovering his family's bodies will be required for him to find his rest and hold up his part of things.

Back in town, Kesa mentions to Allustan that she saw Kullen and his men delivering corpses to the observatory. Allustan had heard the place was recently rented but not by whom. He offers to ask his brother, the mayor, about it. The party accepts his offer, but decide to scope it out themselves as well.

That evening, Kesa prowls around the outside of the observatory, but all the windows are shuttered and blacked out. She does hear what might be the sounds of a dinner party, but she is unsure. Talent heads to the Feral Dog, Diamond Lake's most violent drinking establishment, to confront Kullen and his men.

He manages to talk them into letting him bribe them to give him the information he seeks and also to get the revenge on Filge, the new tenant of the observatory, they desire, but cannot take themselves. Indeed, they tell him, this Filge had them dig up several gravesites for bones and corpses for his experiments, including those at the Land Farmstead, where they ran into the owlbear, which killed their friend Skultch.

Session Five 05/19/09

EXP Awards Hasan Kesa Talent Theena
Session Total 1850 7543 7143 7318
Total 5384 20,711 19,636 20,261

Cast of characters

June 6
The party gets together and makes plans to inflitrate the observatory over lunch at the Rusty Bucket. During the midafternnon they slip out of town, circle around, and stealth up on the observatory.

While searching in the tool shed under the stairs for a secret passage, they are attacked by an angry Tomb Mote. After breaking in, they recover three of the four skeletons they require almost immediatly. Said skeletons having been set to watch the door with crossbows from behind an impromtu barricade. Further in, they discover a taste of just how warped Filge, the necromancer, has become, when they stumble on a macabre dinner scene, the same one Kesa thinks she overheard the night before.

Stealthing up to the second floor master bedroom, Talent sets off a Magic Mouth when his impulsiveness and greed get the better of him. He manages to convince Filge he is alone, but proceeds to kill the wizard's familiar, infuriating him. The battle is on! Theena manages to situate herself perfectly and controls the undead from reaching the others, while Talent peppers Filge from afar as Kesa distracts him.

Bloodied but victorious, they loot the place and return to the Land Farmstead to bury the skeletons before calling it a night at the abandoned mining office. On the morrow they plan to bring Allustan some of the reagents they have found, as well as a strange, preserved, green worm thought to be from a dangerous undead called a Spawn of Kyuss.

Act III: Beyond the Door

Session Six 05/25/09

EXP Awards Kesa Talent Theena Tori
Session Total 3850 3675 3850 NPC
Total 24,561 23,311 24,111 22,595

Cast of characters

GM Notes
TPK! My first! Gratz on level 3 everybody!

June 7
The party relaxes and recovers from their recent adventures, with plans to enter the cairn asap, in case the maintenance magic resets the door they hope Alaster has opened. Talent and Kesa wheel and deal with Tidwoad and Allustan, while Theena spends most of the day out at the mine office ruins, waiting for the other two to come get her so they can go exploring. Allustan is greatly concerned with the strange green worm they found, and sees it as proof that the rumors of worm infested undead are true.

Kesa continues her studies at Allustan's until late in the day, while Talent delivers Filge's head to Kullen at The Feral Dog. Finally, they go get Theena who is hungry, so they head into town for dinner at The Rusty Bucket and some last minute supplies. It is after 10pm when they head to the cairn, the two fey undaunted by the dark. Talent, not used to the dark or the woods, lights a sunrod, spilling light for a 100' in every direction.

In the cairn they proceed to the door without incident, finding it ajar as Alaster promised. Inside is a vast cavernous room with murals depicting the story of the events leading up to the Battle of Pesh and the death of Zosiel, the Wind Duke whose tomb the Whispering Cairn is. As the party moves to ascend to the true tomb using the column of air in the center of the room, two Wind Warriors, foot soldiers of the Wind Dukes, step from the column of air, and attack!

Theena is immediatly blown over the edge of the pit and out of the combat, while Kesa's attempts to communicate with the warriors are hampered by her lack of vocabulary as well as Talent's continuous assaults on the elementals. In the end, after bringing one of the warriors down, the party is overcome by the almost continuous sonic blasts of the warriors, and the final warrior coup de graces them all.

June 15th
Allustan's efforts to rescue the party by bringing in the more experienced group from Ravensbluff have finally paid off as the party is raised at the Bronzewood Lodge. Tori, a local bard, and the recently returned Fester Trollump have carted their bodies to the Lodge from Allustan's house, where they have been the last few days, waiting for Allustan to gather the resources to get them raised. Fester's return from Ravensbluff with the party's profits from the sale of the owlbear chick supplied the needed money to purchase the residium needed from Tidwoad and other sources in Diamond Lake.

It is dusk when they return to the living and a certain shame and anger at failing are felt by them. The Midsummer's Eve festival is in full swing, but none of them joins the festivities, though Talent drinks himself into unconsciousness.

June 16
Tori offers to join them, being part of the Keepers of the Gate, an organization dedicated to the destruction of aberrants and the safety of the natural world from the Far Realm. They accept, though Kesa takes an immediate dislike to the spunky and cheerful girl. Theena learns to hate her later. They arrive in Diamond Lake around noon and head to Allustan's.

Allustan is glad to see them and fills them in on the eight days they lost. He tells them that after a day or two he checked the omens, and finding them bad, set up a meeting with the Ravensbluff adventurers to fill them in on what they might expect in the cairn and if they would rescue the party. They agreed and had little problem with the one remaining Wind Warrior. Sadly, they claimed all the remaining treasure, including a pair of demon or devil horns; a strange, sealed, silver box; and Zosiel's diadem. Talent is incensed at this and vows to steal back some of these items. The rest of the party and Allustan dissuade him.

Allustan was able to pump them for some information about the tomb since they needed a copy of one of his books to proceed and he relates it to the party. He mentions that his research suggests that an ancient temple of Vecna might be under the Dourstone Mine and that it might be a good idea if the party were to investigate it. He also mentions that a dwarf mason from a nearby ruined tower that is being rebuilt is at the garrison asking for help against a group of bandits that attacked the work party. Tori mentions that the Bronzewood Lodge needs a group to investigate recent reports of sudden flashes of winter and snow near Grottsgrotto. Talent hears that Osgood, the local smith, is seeking help recovering some items stolen from a caravan that was attacked between Diamond Lake and Ravensbluff, about three days travel west.

The party argues about its next course of action and finally decides to investigate Grottsgrotto. They plan to leave on the morrow via coach.

June 17
They board the coach, driven by a talkative pair of goblins, and the journey begins. The ride is smooth and the countryside pleasent. Tori sings and plays her lute to entertain them, but Theena starts to dislike her constant fiddling with her lute and posing. That night, they must camp along the road. The goblins prepare a camp, but have no success at finding food, so everyone has to dig into their trail rations.

Theena and Kesa insist on watches. Kesa wakes up during the night and thinks she hears Tori talking to someone. She wakes Talent up and confronts Tori, who claims that some foresters seeking poachers had scouted the camp. Tori feels that with them around the camp is safe from brigands and heads to sleep. Talent is left on watch, at Kesa's insistance. Hearing something, he ends up throwing his dagger into the bushes, almost killing one of the goblins who had slipped off to fulfill the call of nature. The other goblin, awakened from his slumber on the coach roof, ends up falling off and breaking his leg in the confusion.

June 18
Kesa rides with the driver, while the other goblin rides with the passengers. It is a short trip to Elmshire, a goblin settlement. The party spends the night in comfort and safety.

June 19
The injured goblin is left behind while the carriage continues on with Kesa helping, she having done a great job the day before. Early afternoon sees the coach arriving in Grottsgrotto. The party takes rooms at the inn and see the sights. Later, they are rounded up and brought into the central cavern to see the city council. Lady Moonfire and Curuvar the Brazen (and he really is), seem to hold most of the power on the council, with the craftsmen representative and the mad scientist either not having power or being far too distracted to participate, respectively.

They charge the party to fix the weather, which has begun to show signs of winter. As a starting point, they suggest the tower of Draigdurroch, which has been encased in a frozen block of ice these last thirty years. While the party is there, they ask them to bring one of the two of them Draigdurroch's ritual books and research notes. The tower is less than a day's travel from here and once was the home of a dwarven nethermancer of the same name. He ran afoul of the fey of the Dire Wood nearby and as a warning and punishment he vanished and his tower was encased in a solid block of ice.

They party sets out after allowing Curuvar to cast endure elements on them. As they travel, the sunny summer day grows overcast and it begins to snow! Soon a blizzard overtakes them, but they are able to easily navigate it. Approaching the tower they are attacked by goblins mutated into creatures of the cold by the fey energies behind the weather. Tori proves her worth and ability to be a pincushion in the fight.

Session Seven 05/31/09

EXP Awards Kesa Talent Theena Tori
Session Total 8756 8831 8631 NPC
Total 33,317 32,142 32,742 NPC

Cast of characters

The party pushes on and reaches the tower, which is obviously the source of strange weather. They chop through the ice covering the door, but as they attempt to gain entry, the tower's ancient enchanted guardians spring to life and attack. Everyone is slowed by the inclement weather and the fight is a rather stationary massed affair right at the tower's door, but the party prevails with no casualties. They discuss whether to enter the tower or rest outside, but the chilling wind and cold convince them to seek shelter in the tower.

Inside, Theena calls for a rest without exploring or leaving the foyer, so as not to activate anymore guardians. As they bed down, they hear movement on the floor above and strange creatures of ice assault them. It would seem that the ice warriors have invaded the tower through the frozen fireplaces scattered throughout it, and as the party fights, more continue to enter the fray from them. Barely managing to slay the more powerful ice warriors, almost at the cost of Thenna and Kesa's lives, they hold off the lesser minions long enough to destroy the fireplaces and deny anymore ice warriors access to this world.

Weakened, the party huddles together in a more defensible location to rest before exploring more of the tower.

June 20
The tower seems like it was abandoned suddenly. Frozen food and the signs of habitation are scaterred all around, as if the tower was caught unaware. Searching the upper floors they find the research papers and ritual book Lady Moonfire and Master Curuzan both wanted, as well as the owner's journal. In it, he mentions killing the messenger of the Dire Wood fey who had warned him from any further attempts to unearth or explore the ancient city of Karse, which, according to other books in the library, lies somewhere in the vicinity.

On the roof of the tower, the party finds the focus of the entombment spell, a fist-sized sapphire. It seems the ice warriors have modified it, causing the increase in unnatural weather. As they attempt to unlodge it, its guardian, a savage beast of winter, issues forth and assails them. Kesa and Talent are almost knocked off the roof, almost a replay of Thenna's recent demise in the Whispering Cairn, but they manage to hold on. The creature's flailing and inaccurate, but powerful, attacks prove no match for the party and it is defeated in short order. Sadly, the huge sapphire, the creature's heart, shatters when it dies. This also stops the unnatural weather, though it will take a few days for the snow to melt.

Searching the tower one last time they find little else. Talent vandalizes the tower, claiming it in his name, a nice clue for the fey of the Dire Wood as to who broke their spell. Afterwards, they return to Grottsgrotto. Lady Moonfire attempts to trick them into giving her the nethermancer's notes by withholding the promised reward for them fixing the weather, but Cururvan calls her on it. The party, over Talent's request for a bidding war, decides to give Curuvar the notes, ritual book, and journal.

A feast is held in their honor that night and much merrymaking is had.

June 21
The party relaxes and spends their time training, selling treasure, and aquiring magic items. They are told that the next coach is due on the morrow, for which the townsfolk will pay their passage back to Diamond Lake. Kesa invites Talent on a walk, the recent addition of Tori to the party seemingly sparking the realization of what Talent means to her.

June 22-24
The party boards the coach and returns to Diamond Lake. It is a quiet and uneventful journey. In Diamond Lake, Kesa heads to the Bronzewood Lodge to report their adventures as well as commission an implement. Theena takes her leave to return to her burrow a few hours from the Lodge. There she deposits a few of the items she has aquired on her journies of the last few weeks. She is distrustful of the foxes' promises to leave her nice fur cloak alone though.

Talent and Tori remain in Diamond Lake. Talent manages to talk Tori into a visit to the Feral Dog but she insists they leave soon after, when the dog fights start. She takes him to the Spinning Giant, a more sophisticated bar patronized by the local garrison and traveling entertainers. Talent dislikes it.

June 25
Kesa's Totem of the Autumn Harvest is ready. She returns to Diamond Lake to speak to Allustan and continue her studies. Talent buys the title for the land the old mining office the party has been using as a base is on. It is a proud moment for the young rogue, as he has never had a home, let alone one he owned. Theena arrives as well.

On to Adventure Two: The Black Cathedral

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