Twisty Misty Passages
At the end of the previous session of Strange Aeons, we rested and had bad dreams. Many Pathfinder adventures consist of 30 minutes of exploration followed by a day of rest to recover spells and other resources, and this one is no exception. During the past week I’ve also spent some time going over Costian’s abilities. A spiritualist is an odd class, with abilities split between phantom and character, and how they’re described in the rules isn’t always clear. Especially when there’s an Archetype involved as well, which changes or replaces existing rules. So I made a handy cheat sheet and printed it out, to try and help me remember all the bonuses and abilities that I have.
1st Gozren, Fireday
Upon waking from our somewhat disturbed sleep, Erasmus tried to remove the curse which had caused him to be infected with fungal growths. It took three attempts, but he finally succeeded.
After breakfast, we head back down into the lower levels of the library, finding ourselves at the gate to the third level. I’m not sure who it was that decided on such a weird way of getting between library floors – normally a simple set of stairs works for most places.
Opening up the angel gate, the stairs unfolded down and Ray headed down by himself. We discussed whether this was a good idea – if anything went wrong then he’d be by himself, but he wanted to go alone, so alone he went.
Shortly afterwards he came back up and asked us to join him. At the base of the stairs was a library as before, but the corridors between the shelves were shrouded with a fog so thick it wasn’t possible to see much further than an outstretched staff. The entire floor had been warded with a Guards and Wards abjuration, which not only made it difficult to see, but also twisted the mind and confused directions. We would have to stick together as one group.
Ray gave a sudden yell and leapt back towards the other end of the group, shouting that something was attacking. So Catiana stepped forward to fill the front line. The husk of a dead guard was there, as was a towering oozing tentacular thing that had come from out of him. It reached over and grabbed Erasmus whilst Catiana tried to pull it off.
Whilst it flailed at Erasmus, I managed to place some healing on him to keep him alive, at least for long enough that Gregor was able to get in close enough to both see the creature through the fog and to put some arrows into it, and Catiana rips it apart.
With it killed, and Erasmus back on his feet, there was another yell from the other direction – Ray had wandered off and found another one, bringing it back to the party for us to deal with.
Ia! Ia! Ia!
There was something out there in the mist, but it was difficult to know where exactly. I try to sense for undead, and detect something to the east, so we headed in that direction. We kept ourselves together, and followed the wall, making our way carefully along the shelves and hoping we were going the way we expected. From out of the mist there came a moaning and wailing, and with Catiana leading the way she came face to face with one of the librarians.
He was sobbing to himself, and bemoaning his own murder and betrayal. He was a man, he was something else. Eyes can deceive, but his true nature seemed flexible, and also not entirely grounded in the physical plane.
Catiana became incorporeal and asked it what it was, but it responded with a sudden psychic assault. So she punched it, as it’s form decided on a whirling mass of tortured souls screaming for release.
Betrayer! Killer! Murderer! I will have my revenge!
It drifted across all of us, but Catiana rips it apart before it can try sucking the life force from us all.
Further on we came to a junction, where there was a door. It was locked, so Catiana stuck her head through to see a room full of books, cases, shelves and cabinets. It looked safe, and there was no mist in there, but then the pages in the books started to turn, so she quickly pulled her head back.
Then a large oozing thing lurches out of the mist, grasping at me. I try to run back, but we are stuck at a junction of narrow passages and can’t see anything. Catiana phase lurches through the door into the book room, and Gregor steps up to shoot it, but fails to take it down. Catiana makes her way through the room to get around to the other side of it down the corridor, but the books in the room by now have come alive, bombarding her with psychic knowledge, trying to overwhelm her. She survives, popping out of the wall behind the creature and trying to flank it from behind.
Gregor is now in hand to hand with it, and is doing badly, so tries to flee back – Erasmus summons a spirit to stand in the thing’s path to block it in, and giving us time to heal and recover. The Sheena distracting it, Gregor shooting it and my sister pummelling it from behind, it eventually goes down.
Past the creature is another room clear of mist, full of sagging shelves and piles of books. There is also a dead corpse in here. We manage to identify it as belonging to Elder Lythiin, who we had been told was down here and was the only one who knew the correct symbols to the key that needs unlocking. So we spend some time trying to summon his spirit to find out what he knows. From what he says, the symbols seem to be things in opposition – dead and alive, creation and destruction. There are also another two levels of the library beneath us.
Working our way around the rest of the library, we come across another angel gate leading down, but it seems to be warped and twisted which doesn’t bode well. Around it are four locked doors, so we try each in turn.
Ray is able to unlock the doors, and there are mostly books in the first two rooms, but the third is filled with glittering lights which seems to be coming from golden, crystalline dust that swirls around without apparent wind, twisting into symbols and equations and then unforming. Behind them all is a beautiful mechanic centaur, with clockwork wings and arms which end in barbed chains. Okay, maybe that last bit isn’t quite so beautiful.
I recognise it as Aeon, probably an Inevitable – a creature from one of the outer planes of Law and Order. Specifically, it’s probably a Zelekhut, built to seek out those who have evaded justice. Fortunately for us it seemed willing to talk, so I quickly try to explain that we are seeking a criminal known as Count Lowles, who is seeking to cause chaos. It remains willing to talk to us.
He has been summoned here to protect the books of this room, and is not permitted to leave, but believes that the world is on a knife edge, teetering, about to be swallowed by chaos. He seems to take a dislike to Lowles, but is unable to out aside its duty and help us.
From behind the last door come the sounds of clanking. Ray opens it, and within we can see one of the angel statues which we need to operate to open the gate down. But there are also a number of mechanical, clockwork constructs which seem to be charged with magic – clockwork magi. I wonder whether they just want to talk as well?