It’s been almost two years since we last played the Pathfinder adventure path Strange Aeons. We’d just got to the end of Chapter 3, Dreams of the Yellow King, and took a break to finish off Rise of the Runelords, then we did some Zweihänder which we expected to be a few months but turned into a year. So coming back to it after almost two years took most of the session for everyone to remember what we’d been doing and who are characters were.
Fortunately the GM had provided lots of handouts to help jog our memories, and being on Roll20 now meant a player who had moved away since we started (and missed chapter 3) was now able to rejoin us. We’d paused the campaign just before the very last part of chapter 3, which turned out to have been a good choice on the part of the GM since that meant all the information that comes at the end of that adventure we are getting now, rather than two years ago.
My character is Costian Raduva, a 16 year old Spiritualist who is being haunted by the spirit of his dead (and quite angry about it) sister, Catiana.
The Journal of Costian Raduva
We have managed to clean up the last of the terrors in the prison of the Moon Beasts, and rescued the Yellow King. He seems to be a fragment of the dreams of Count Haserton Lowls, who we blame for everything that has happened to us and possibly for a lot more than that as well. What the moon beasts had been doing to him here wasn’t something that he’d wanted to into detail on, but he was very grateful to being rescued.
He mentioned that Count Lowls had sought the Mad Poet, and that if we were to catch up with the real Lowls then we should do also. He would meet us at the Caravanserai where we had first encountered him, which would give us a chance to wake up from this dream.
25th Pharast, 4716, Fireday
We wake aboard the Sellen Starling to find that our shoes have been tied together in the night – apparently someone thought that this would be funny, and this someone turned out to be Sheena. We had last seen her at Thrushmoor when she had left to go and deliver word of what had happened at the asylum to Prince Aduard Ordranti of Ustalav. She was now back, having been teleported to us with some news.
There have been things going on in Ustalav which have been linked to the Count – plague, hooded riders and vanishing nobles. The Prince is keen that we find and kill Lowls, since that would be a lot less hassle than bringing him back alive.
After getting some breakfast, and explaining to Sheena about the dreamlands and how to get there, we went back to conduct the ritual and fall asleep again – turning up in the Caravanserai where the Yellow King was waiting for us.
He leads us out into the desert to an oasis where there is an unusual looking tree and a hut. The King does not wish to meet the Poest himself, so lets us go ahead by ourselves. The tree looks like there are ‘fruits’ hanging from the branches – though they look suspiciously like human heads and seem to drip with ooze.
Out of the hut comes a man who introduces himself as Abdul Alhazred – the Mad Poet. He seems pleased to have some visitors and greets us by name, and then is even more pleased when we hand him some gifts to exchange for information.
- Lowls seeks a city called Neruzavin, which he is looking for information on in the Book of Dead Names which is kept in the Mysterium – the university of the occult in the city of Katheer.
- Lowls is being aided by a scholar of the esoteric called Miacknian Mun.
- Lowls has been infected by the Great Old One Xhamen-Dor. He stole our souls in exchange for knowledge.
- Lowls seeks to use the Star Stelae in Thrushmoor and Neruzavin to mark Golarion so that it can be brought into Carcosa and awaken Xhamen-Dor.
- During the Age of Legend, the Alghollthus summoned down the poisonous remnant of an unborn planet to destroy all life on the surface of Golarion. The parasite Xhamen-Dor had hitched a ride on this planet, and was unwittingly brought to Golarion.
- It detached from the Star Stone before impact, and guided by the Star Stelae it plunged into the heart of Neruzavin, leaving a crater which formed a sterile lake.
- It is there that Xhamen-Dor has slumbered, gradually infecting the world. Lowls seeks to awaken it and become its champion.
Abdul Alhazred tells us that our souls are in the oasis, and that if we bathe there then we can restore our souls. However, we are not to touch the tree.
The world ended in fire, ice and poison rot,Abdul Alhazred’s last words to us
The world ended in hatred from the ancient foe
Her sacrifice and his magic unmade that fate
Now the Feaster from Afar becomes the Ruinous fate,
Unhappy the land that needs heroes,
For there is no other way but the perilous path to salvatgion
I quickly strip off and dive into the water before anyone else can see me. There is a strange deluge of memories that seem to well up from inside me, and I get the feeling that some part of me has fallen back into place and is starting to become right.
I remember Count Lowls drowning me in the Mad Poet’s oasis.
I see a city of ricky buildings that grins like a mouth of rotten teeth around a calm harbour crammed with vessels.
I remember being led through the receiving doors of Briarstone asylum in a catatonic state.
I see a city of glittering buildings, side by side with ancient creations that struggle to remain standing.
I remember being pursued through a shadowed city by a tattered figure.
I see a city clad in yellow like the joyous sun; ringing with laughter, whimpers and sobs.
I remember the images and sounds coalesce into a sudden “WAKE UP!”
I hear a voice “You are now free, but to remain so you must find me.”
I remember waking up in the asylum’s basement, and became aware that I was standing in the oasis surrounded by my companions who seemed to have undergone similar re-awakenings.
Sheena, apparently unbothered by her nudity, had climbed out of the water and was walking towards the strange tree. I was too distracted by watching her to realise what she was doing, and she started to reach out for one of the strange fruits. She then seemed to come to her senses and moved away from the tree.
We all dried off and got dressed, and of the Mad Poet there was no sign. We headed back out to find the Yellow King discussing what had happened to us. According to the King, we had been bought by Lowls for our bloodlines from the slave trader who had put us under a geas to serve him.
We woke from our dreams again. The Sellen Starling’s captain, Skywin Frelling, told us that we were due to dock at Cassomir sometime tomorrow. There we hope to find information about either Count Lowls or his scholar friend Miacknian Mun.