I've recently finished playing Jaws of the Lion with a trio of friends and now we've started the original Gloomhaven.
I am using this page as a way for us to all have a centralized journal of our adventures.
Everyone needs to eat.
Whatever our reasons for coming to Gloomhaven, out here on the edge of the world, that simple fact never changes. A mercenary can’t fight on an empty stomach.
So when Jekserah, a Valrath woman wearing a red cloak and enough gold jewelry to keep us fed for a decade, approached us in the Sleeping Lion and offered to pay us ten gold coins to track down a thief and retrieve some stolen goods...well, it seemed like as good an excuse as any to sober up and start paying off our tab.
“This thief has taken some important documents,” said the red-skinned merchant, her tail whipping about in agitation. “I don’t care what you do to him. Just bring back what is mine.”
Based on Jekserah’s description, it was easy enough to knock around a few alley thugs and we quickly got the location of the thieves’ hideout.
Our target was the Black Barrow. Sounded like a lovely place.
We are walking home at night when we hear some suspicious sounds coming from a nearby garden. We move to investigate, and a shadowy figure bolts in the opposite direction carrying an armful of vegetables.
A. We give chase. Thieves must be brought to justice.
The figure, overburdened with vegetables, is no match for our speed. We quickly run him down and deliver him to the city guard. Thankfully very little of the produce was damaged in the pursuit, and we were are able to return it to the owner of the garden.
We depart from Gloomhaven and head towards the Black Barrow (1).
While on the road, we see a lone wagon off to the side of the road up ahead. We approach cautiously.
As we draw near, a jovial man with a wide hat waves at us. "Ho there! I don't suppose you have any expertise in fixing a broken axle? The road wasn't even that bumpy, and then BAM!" The man claps his hands together.
"Just splits in half. I need to have all these goods up north in two days, and I am just at a loss about how to get myself out of this pickle."
B. We tie up the man and take all of the goods that he is so concerned about.
We smile widely and approach the man. He doesn't even put up a fight. The first thing you do is gag him, because he is a talker. We select the lightest of the valuables to take with us and leave the man tied up on the side of the road. You could say his day just went from bad to worse, but that's not our problem.
The hill is easy enough to find - a short journey past the New Market Gate and we see it jutting out on the edge of the Corpsewood, looking like a rat under a rug. Moving closer we see the mound is formed from a black earth. Its small, overgrown entrance presents a worn set of stone stairs leading down into the darkness.
As we descend, we gratefully notice light emanating from below. Unfortunately, the light is accompanied by the unmistakable stench of death. We contemplate what kind of thieves would make their camp in such a horrid place as we reach the bottom of the steps. Here we find our answer - a rough group of cut-throats who don't seem to have taken very kindly to our sudden appearance. One in the back matches the description of our quarry.
"Take care of these unfortunates," he says, backing out of the room. We can vaguely make out his silhouette as he retreats down a hallway and through a door to his left.
"Well, it's not every day we get people stupid enough to hand-deliver their valuables to us," grins one of the larger bandits, unsheathing a rusty blade. "We'll be killing you now."
Joke's on them. If we had any valuables, we probably wouldn't be down here in the first place.
After slaying a dozen bandits in the entry chamber and adjoining hallway we move down the hallway to the next door.
Kicking through the door, we find ourselves face-to-face with the reason these bandits chose this particular hole to nest in: animate bones - unholy abominations of necromantic power.
Nothing more to do but lay them to rest along with the remainder of this troublesome rabble.
We finished the battle by slaying four living bones and four more bandits.
With the last bandit dead, we take a moment to catch our breath and steel ourself against the visions of living remains ripping at our flesh. Our target is not among the dead, and we shudder to think what horrors still await us in the catacombs below. (2)
During the battle, XXXX discovered a chest (7) which held documents that referred to a strange well in the plains northwest of Gloomhaven. NEW LOCATION: Well of the Unfortunate (69).
After finishing the upper levels of the Black Barrow (1) we continued deeper into the catacombs, through linking passages, to the Barrow Lair.
The stench of death and rotting flesh gets thicker as we kick past the corpses of our foes and head deeper into the underground burial site. Guided by the muffled sounds of conversation, we find our way through the maze of crypts and burst into a small room full of hard-faced bandits, all with bows at the ready.
They're clearly guarding something. We must be in the right place.
After slaying four bandits in the entry chamber we continued.
We open the door to a large crypt littered with coffins. At the back stands our quarry. He fits the description, but there is something previously unnoticed in his eyes - a dark otherworldly force.
"Who are you to think you can interrupt the work of the Gloom?" A dark energy engulfs his hands as he speaks. "I will show you what you are dealing with!"
The battle with the bandit leader was difficult as he moved blindingly fast and kept opening doors in the crypt to reveal rooms full of living corpses. We finally beat him and his army of undead.
Sifting through the carnage left by the battle, we find a cache at the back of the room containing the scrolls we were hired to collect. We can't help but rifle through them a bit, but find that the writing upon them is in some unknown archaic language. One thing that does jump out at us, however, is a map of the northern countryside. A bend in the Still River is clearly marked as a point of interest. Contemplating whether we want to find out more about this so-called "Gloom," we decide that the spot could be a point of interest for us as well. (4)
But that can be forgotten for the moment. We pack the papers and ehad back to Gloomhaven to collect our reward.
Meeting Jekserah once again at the Sleeping Lion, we hand over the papers and are paid the agreed-upon amount.
"You know," she whispers to us softly under the bustle of the tavern. "If you're interested, I may have another job for you. A tribe of Inox in the Dagger Forest has ransacked a couple of my caravans headed to the Capital."
"I told the militia, but they do nothing," she spits. "I can point you in the direction of their encampment. If you can make an example of them, I will pay you even more."
She places a crude map of the forest on the table and stands up, her jewelry clinking with the movement. "Come find me when it is done." (3)
During the battle, XXXX discovered a chest (67) which held 10 gold.
Returning to Gloomhaven with our latest haul of treasure, we approach the market in search of a good trade. Unfortunately, there are only a few visible stands around that are not yet packing up for the day.
A robed Savvas catches our eye. It has a few strange artifacts on display, but we approach with no great expectation, hoping our goods will fetch a decent price.
The Savvas silently nods as you approach. It picks through your haul and lifts up a single item, holding out a small bag for you in exchange.
Pouring out the bag's contents, a single rectangular black and white coin lands in our palm.
B. We decide to accept the stange coin and research it for hidden value.
We calmly assess that the coin may possess much more value than it appears to have. We head to the University and spend hours looking through old records to no avail. We end the day in a tavern, easing the frustration with a drink and loud laments about the coin.
"Those markings are very interesting." We look up to see an Aesther standing over us. "They describe a special meeting place. I can show you where."
We depart from Gloomhaven and head towards the Well of the Unfortunate (69).
While on the road, we see a lone man walking toward us on the road. As we meet on the path, he turns to us and begins to speak.
"Oi there. I wouldn't suppose you lot might spare me some coin?" he asks. "A lotta coin, actually."
We look at him quizzically as he continues. "You see, I lead a lotta thieves and bandits in this aea and we gotta make sure all the mouths are fed."
At this, a large number of bandits come out of hiding around us, emerging from the bushes.
"So about that coin," the man says with a smile. "Five gold per head oughta do it."
B. We decide to resist the robbery. Violently.
Unfazed by the ambush, we draw our weapons and attack the bandits in the bushes. The leader tries to withdraw, but we cut him down as well. There are a lot bandits, but they don't put up too much of a fight. They seem weak and malnourished. We guess the leader wasn't kidding about needing to buy food.
We have found some writings which document the existence of an old well in the plains northwest of Gloomhaven. According to a legend, if we drop something of value into the well, it will grant any wish. Intrigued, we go in search of it. A short distance from the well's supposed location, we run across a finely dressed middle-aged man crouched down and weeping into his hands.
"There is no hope left. My daughter is dying, and no medic can help her, no matter what money I throw at them. I went searching for anything that could possibly save her, and my last hope was to throw this doll of hers down the well and wish for a miracle."
The man sobs violently, then continues. "But the whole shrine is overrun by Vermlings. There's no way to get to the well. She's doomed!" we sigh and grab the doll. For a price, we'll get the doll to the well.
We fought Vermlings, Forest Imps, Living Spirts, and Stone Golems on our way to the well.
We cast the doll into the well and return to the man, who thanks us with coin. A few days later, we hear that the daughter succumbed to her disease and we are glad we didn't throw anything of value dow the well ourselves. Some legends can't be trusted.
As the daylight fades, we find ourselves wandering through a half-crowded market street, browsing wares.
"Hey! Over here!" You turn in the direction of the voice to see a filthy Vermling gesturing from a dark alley. "Yeah, you grim looking chaps. I have something you might be interested in."
The Vermling holds out a piece of metal covered in sludge. "Found this in the sewer. Writing on it I don't understand, but I know it's valuable. you can have it for ten gold!"
A. Pay for the think. You never know.
We hand over the gold and take hold of the metal. We wipe off the grime and slop to discover a foreign contraption made of large gears and many moving parts. If we can figure out what it is, this device might actually be of some worth.
We depart from Gloomhaven and head towards the Crypt of the Damned (4).
We are far off the main road when we see a small band of Inox approaching from the west. We try to divert our path to go around them, but they are moving directly into our path.
In a few minutes' time, they overtake us.
"You've wandered into our territory, travelers," the biggest one says. "We don't much like visitors."
We stare at her blankly.
"Such acts can be forgiven, but it will cost you."
A. We Try to reason with the Inox.
The Inox don't seem to be budging on this payment issue, so we are forced to pass along a handful of coins. The big one smiles and lets us continue on our way.
The bandit commander's proclamations of a "Gloom" do not sit well in our stomach as we search the bend in the Still River - something here holds an interest for these maniacs.
We are somewhat surprised to find the ruins of an ancient crypt half-covered in moss and ivy. The history of this place is old and dark. With no other information to go on, we head down into the depths. Whatever these supposed bandits re up to, we're determined to find out, even after we stumble across a large group of them and more animated dead at the bottom of the stairs.
"You've made a mistake coming here," one of the bandits hisses. We initially disagreed, but it turns out the bandit was correct as we were beaten back and forced to retreat.
During the battle Tuuruk(?) discovered a chest (38) which held blueprints for a new item. GAIN: "Ring of Skulls" design (Adds item 123 to the market).
During the battle XXXX(?) discovered a trapped chest (46) and suffered poison and damage.
A curious invitation is slipped under our door in the early morning. It is for a wedding ceremony between the children of two wealthy Gloomhaven merchants. Our exploits seem to have placed us in their good graces, and so they would like us to join them on this special occasion, provided we don't show up in blood-soaked armor.
And for the love of the Great Oak, bring a gift.
A. Attend the wedding with an expensive gift.
We head to the New Market and find a magnificent vase to bring as a gift (PAY 20 COLLECTIVE GOLD), but we can't seem to catch the father of the bride's eye to present it at the right time.
We depart from Gloomhaven and once again head towards the Crypt of the Damned (4).
Walking a path between a small grove and a steep cliff, we suddenly find ourselves facing a massive group of felled trees blocking the road.
The placement of the trees seems odd, and we have a wary, suspicious feeling about the whole situation.
A. Clear the trees from the road. It is the best way through and will help other travelers.
The trees are too massive and dense to remove through conventional means, but with the elemental power of Suzume our orchid spell-weaver, they are destroyed and swept aside in no time.
The second time we faced the bandits and cultists, the battle went in our favor.
After defeating two rooms full of elemental demons, we paused briefly to rest and assess our sitution.
It is clear that we have disrupted some sort of ritual here. These elemental demons belong on an entirely different plane of existence, but the cultists have somehow managed to pull them through to this one.
On the altar in the back room, there is a wealth of scribblings on these rituals. Not all the writing is intelligible, but we get the sense that this crypt is a place of power once used by an ancient civilization. The ancients tapped the power of the elements to enhance their own lives, and while their exact fate is beyond our knowledge, it clearly didn't end well.
Among the scripts we also find notes on a couple of other places of power in the area. One appears to see heavy use with the cult and the other is marked as being overrun by vicious undead. It looks as though we have opportunities to either disrupt more of their work (5) or get in their good graces by helping to clear out a threat (6).
On a trip to the Coin District, we catch site of an old, wiry Valrath carrying a large, intricate vase out his front door.
As we get closer, the Valrath begins to struggle with the vase, sweat pouring from his brow. Under the strain, the Valrath loses his balance, and the fragile vase topples downward as he yells a string of curses.
A. Attempt to catch the vase.
Tuuruk, our Savvas Cragheart, races forward and wraps his arms around the vase. He manages to keep a grip on it, preventing tragedy. The Valrath is relieved and offers to pay us for our troubles if we carry it the rest of the way.
We depart from Gloomhaven and head towards the Decaying Crypt (6).
We see fresh wagon tracks in the dirt as we walk along the road. We continue forward and begin to pick out a number of distinct tracks. They must be a large caravan.
Sure enough, as we crest a hill, we see a group of four wagons headed down the road in the same direction as us. We count perhaps three or four guards among them.
A. Approach the caravan and offer to travel with them until our paths diverge.
The merchants in the caravan seem grateful, though the guards eye us skeptically. After traveling for half a day without event, we head off down a side road and wave good-bye. The merchants express their appreciation with a bit of coin.
What is life without a little bit of intrigue? The cultists have clearly marked this crypt as a spot of trouble for them. Perhaps clearing the place out will put us in their good graces. Or maybe we're just hoping to find a big stash of treasure, untouched by looter's hands.
Once we arrive, the smell makes us regret our decision more than anything else. It's not the fact that we've had it about up to here with exploring old decrepti ruins. It's not the undead horrors shambling and moaning in the shadows. It's the smell of death and soullessness and rotting flesh.
We fought our way through a horde of undead until finally the tomb was silent.
After the terrible shrieks and moans of the undead, the sound of someone clapping is at once foreign and alarming. Turning around, we see a hooded figure standing at the edge of our torchlight. We raise our weapons, but the grin on his silhouetted face isn't menacing in a way that calls for arms. It is menacing in a way we've never experienced before.
"Well done, sirs," the figure lilts. "My, my, but you do have a way about you, don't you? And you've certainly gotten our attention now, removing this troublesome crypt of its rogue undead element. We very much prefer our undead to be the controllable variety, now don't we?"
There is a long pause as the figure stares at us, still grinning.
"Well, perhaps you'd be so kind as to do us another favor? After which we'll be mostly settled on the whole issue of you murdering some of my brethren." He stops grinning.
"There's a necromancer in Gloomhaven. Been giving us a spot of trouble, sending mercenaries out to do her dirty work against us. Maybe you've met her."
"Kill Jekserah. Bring her head to our headquarters, and we'll see about letting you live." (8)
During the battle Tuuruk(?) discovered a chest (50) which held a new item. GAIN: "Second Skin" (item 101).
We hear screams from the south as we approach the docks and see a group of women running toward us in a panic.
"An invasion!" They yell as they race by us, nearly knocking us over.
We hurry to the docks and find a crowd of workers on edge, armed with makeshift weapons and circling one particular pier.
Standing at the far end of the wooden planks is a group of Lurkers - terrifying crab-like monsters as big as an Inox and equally ferocious. Except these Lurkers don't appear to be hostile. They are simply standing on the dock, clacking their claws in a strange rhythm.
B. Approach the Lurkers cautiously and attempt to communicate with them.
The crowd parts as we move toward the deock with both confidence and care. The Lurkers notice our approach and continue to clack in our direction. We call out to them and ask why they are here, but all we get in response is a change in the tempo of their clacking. When we express confusion, they clack again in frustration and scuttle back into the ocean. The crowd is very impresssed that we managed to ward off the creatures without using force.
We depart from Gloomhaven and head towards the Ruinous Crypt (5).
Stumbling through the woods, we are alarmed to hear the sudden sounds of a large animal rummaging through the underbrush. We crouch down, gauging the grunts and growls.
Through the trees, we see a large bear approaching our location. It has not noticed us yet, but it will soon.
A. Take the opportunity to run from the bear before it gets any closer.
We bolt from hiding as fast as we can. Luckily the bear was still a ways off, and it gets bored with the chase before it can catch us. Still, we keep running and running until we can't catch our breath.
Our mission is clear. These elemental cultists are distorting the fabric of the world and must be stopped. With that goal in mind, we follow the writings from the Crypt of the Damned (4) to an ancient crypt we believe to be the cult's base of operations. Steeling ourselves for combat, we batter through the rotted door and charge into the hall of the crypt.
The sight before us is both wondrous and horrifying. A group of cultists is performing ritual incantations in front of a black, gaping hole in reality. They turn toward us and snarl, unsheathing their sacrificial daggers. Behind them an inky darkness spills forth from the hole and coalesces into nightmarish forms full of teeth and claws. We know we must send these terrors of the elemental plane back into the void, but we are paralyzed with fear (we started the scenario with the DISARM condition).
We fought a mixture of cultists, undead, and elemental demons across three rooms.
With the cultists and their minions dead, it seems the dark rift is now dormant. It is no less disconcerting, however. We toss a rock at it, and the rock disappears into nothingness. We must admit that we wonder whether we could enter the rift ourselves and whether we could survive the trip to wherever that rock ended up. (10)
Alternately, finding some way to close the rift is probably the more prudent decision. There is an Aesther enchanter in Gloomhaven who may know more about this inter-planar stuff. She's been know to ask for impossible favors before she helps anyone, though. (14 --> 19)
During the battle XXXX(?) discovered a chest (4) which held 15 gold. GAIN: 15 gold.
During the battle XXXX(?) discovered a chest (28) which held 15 gold. GAIN: 15 gold.
After clearing out the Ruinous Crypt (5), we leap through the revealed portal...
Our vision shifts and blurs around us. Nightmarish wailing pierces our ears. We feel our extremities stretching out, as if the universe is trying to tear us apart.
And then it stops. We open our eyes to see our feet are on solid ground, but around us whirls strange elemental energies - fire mixing with ice in torrential power. We catch our breath and glance back, relieved to see a void of darkness similar to the one that brought us to this place.
The relief is short-lived, however, as a booming voice fills the crackling air. "Who are you to slay my servants and invade my realm? This affront will not go unpunished!"
Before us the energies in the air begin to form vague demonic shapes. To go deeper into this unearthly place, we must fight our way through.
We fought a variety of elemental demons across three rooms.
As the final demon in sight screams and dissipates into the wind, we fall to our knees, thankful that the assault has stopped.
"Very interesting." The voice appears deep inside our heads, clawing at our brains with its words. "You interlopers are unexpectedly powerful. I could certainly use your expertise to find something in your own plane."
The red rock below us rumbles and cracks, and a fiery fissure opens at our feet. "I open my realm to you. Come, let me speak to you face-to-face."
Having already made one leap of faith this day, we decide there's no harm in making another. The heat grows more intense as we descend, and scalding air billows up from below, slowing our fall. We land quite safely in what appears to be an underground temple. Before us stands a monstrous creature, horned and terrifying, holding a trident and standing on four hooved legs.
The voice still resonates from inside our head. "Brave and foolish. You should serve me well. There is an artifact of great power located in a forgotten temple along the SErpent's Kiss River. You can retrieve it for me, (22) or you can die here and now." (21)
During the battle we discovered a chest (11) which held some blueprints. ADD TO STORE: Wand of Storms (Item 84).
We decided to attack the prime demon; we could always go after the powerful relic later after we kill him and loot his palace...
Before we can even reach for our weapons, the demon senses our intent.
"Fools!" His voice tears at our skulls and we reel in pain. "You dare go against me in my own seat of power? You have made a gave mistake this day!"
In a burst of flame, his massive form vanishes into the darkness. "To me, my servants! Grind these mortals into the stone. Decorate my palace with their entrails!"
We were unprepared for the challenge and were badly beaten; we barely managed to excape the Infernal Throne and return to Gloomhaven.
During the battle, before being forced to retreat, Tuuruk found a chest (15). GAIN: Pendant of Dark Pacts (Item 45).
We decide to head to the Brown Door for the evening to enjoy a Quatryl concert.
Corruption and crime run rampant in the bar, but the music is unmatched in all of Gloomhaven.
We are enjoying ourselves immensely when we catch a glimpse of a man in a dark, tattered robe near the back of the room. He appears to be handing vials full of red liquid to a second man.
A. Further investigate the exchange between the men.
We subtly move in the direction of the men, monitoring their actions with our peripheral vision. We recognize the dark robes from the run-ins we have had with cultists in the area, and as we get closer, we become convinced that the vials being traded contain blood. We grab the men and cause a huge amount of commotion as we fight to drag them outside and foil their dealings. We are able to hand them off to the proper authorities, but it may be a while before we are allowed back in the Brown Door. The concert was ruined.
We depart from Gloomhaven and once again head towards the Infernal Throne (21).
We are feeling a tad hungry as we walk down the road. We are considering stopping for a meal when we come across a thicket of bushes covered in red berries.
The berries look delicious but we hesitate. They could be poisonous.
Tuuruk --> A. Eat the berries.
Everyone Else --> B. Pass by the berries and eat our normal rations.
Tuuruk shrugged and grabbed a handful of berries to stuff in his mouth. He told us that they were incredibly sweet and just the right amount of tart. He felt good about his decision, until he started vomiting.
The rest of us were glad we didn't eat the berries.
We returned to the Infernal Throne, determined to have our vengeance... and his loot.
We quickly triumphed over the initial wave of demons and entered the final chamber...
We lift back the veil of darkness to reveal the main room of the palace. In the center, we see the huge demon laughing. "You should have fled my realm while you had the chance, worms. In this place, you cannot possibly harm me." He places a giant, clawed hand upon an altar of black glass in front of him. A swirling rift of chromatic energy emerges and pulses, bathing the demon in an aura of protection.
The aura around the demon may have made him invulnerable, but the alter was not. After a heated battle, we destroyed the altar.
With one final blow, the rift grows chaotic, spinning wildly and shooting tendrils of energy out at odd angles. A sharp whine emerges from it that increases in intensity until the sound echoes throughout the palace. In a brilliant flash of light, the void collapses in on itself and then explodes outward, sending a shock wave that destroyes all demons in its path.
As the wave hits the Prime Demon, his aura dissipates and a scream pierces our minds. His legs buckle underneath him and he collapses on the floor, crashing into countless shards of stone.
As this happens, the screaming stops and the palace grows oddly quiet. With the threat destroyed, the only sensible thing left to do is loot the place and make our way back to our own plane.
On a trip to the New Market, we see a curious sea chart prominently displayed in a Valrath merchant's stall.
"Ah, I see this interests you!" he says while holding it up, taking great care not to damage it. "I've been told this map will lead you to a location of untold riches! Wondrous beyond anything you have seen before!"
The Valrath gestures grandly with his free hand and his smile grows wide. "How can you say no to this? Just make me an offer."
A. The map does look valuable. We decide to bargain for it.
PAY 20 COLLECTIVE GOLD After some amount of haggling back and forth, we settle on a price and pay for the map. We recognize some of the landmarks and should be able to find this place of "untold treasure" by hiring a ship.
We chartered a small ship and sailed out from Gloomhaven to find the treasure...
We clutched the faded map to our chest as if it were a blanket protecting us from the strong northern winds. We'd been sailing our small rented ship along the coast for what felt like ages, looking for this forgotten shipwreck. We thought, "Maybe if we hold the closer, that will make its charts and figures more accurate and decipherable."
With little hope remaining, we finally caught a glimpse of a forboding island on the horizon. As it got closer, we saw the definite outline of a battered ship pinioned against the island's shoals, half sunk and barely held together.
We sailed around to the far side of the island, where a remote and inviting beach allowed for safer anchoring. The thought of what treasure awaited us onboard the ship now warmed us against the wind, but our thoughts also turned toward what dangers might be guarding it. As our dinghy made its way to the shore, we saw a school of Lurkers rise up from the surf to greet us. Who knows how long they'd been following our ship from the depths, waiting for the opportune time to strike?
After fighting our way past the Lurkers on the beach, a pair of unruly Frost Demons, and several Living Spirits inside the ship itself, we managed to find our treasure.
The spirits seemed calm and the Lurkers had retreated. We had looted what we could from the ship and were eager to sail back to Gloomhaven to get our feet onto warm, dry land.
We took one last look at the strange island and its impaled ship, then did exactly that.
During the battle Catherine found a chest (54). GAIN: Doomed Compass (Item 124).
While enjoying our customary post-adventure drink at the Sleeping Lion, we noticed something weird going on with the lamps in the bar.
Our first thought was that it is our imagination, but after staring at the lamps intently, we saw they were flickering in and out. Tech lamps, as opposed to normal gas-burning ones, have been known to be a bit unreliable.
As if on cue, the lamps suddenly went out completely, leaving the room pitch black.
B. Take the opportunity to steal some valuables form drunk patrons in the dark.
The darkness gave the less scrupulous among us a good chance to perform their craft. Within a matter of minutes, our coin purses were much heavier.
We depart from Gloomhaven and once again head towards the Temple of the Elements (22).
Not far outside of Gloomhaven, we looked up to see a large bird flying overhead. Something was odd though, it's movements were jerky, and there was smoke billowing out of it. Then we saw it plunge into a sudden nose-dive and crash to the ground off in the east.
We rushed to the scene and found a limping, soot-covered Quatryl kicking a giant winged contraption made of leather and metal.
"Curse this wretched thing!" He yelled in frustration. "I thought I'd worked it out and then I suddenly lost pressure in the piston chamber."
He looked over at us. "You there! Wonderful timing. Help me get this thing back into the air. There is no time to waste."
B. Demand an explanation before we help in any way.
We forced the Quatryl to slow down and talk to us, but his eyes kept darting around in a panic. "Don't you understand? The world needs my technology now! I must perfect it! It will revolutionalize everything!"
We agreed that the power of flight is great, but we convinced the Quatryl that the world can wait a day for him to get some rest and organize his thoughts. We helped him transport the broken machine back to town, then returned to the road.
Our road had led us to the Temple of the Elements in search of an ancient artifact. It apparently held great power, but anything more than that was very foggy at that point. We entered the decaying stone structure to see for ourselves what all the fuss was about.
As we stepped inside, our eye caught signs of recent visitors - a broken twig, footprints in the dust. We approached the main chamber and readied our weapons as a group of hooded figured emerged from the shadows.
The hooded figures spoke, "You're too late, fools. We control this temple now, and all its power serves us."
After fighting our way past the hooded figures...
Moving on from the entrance chamber, we found a large central room with many exits. In the center stood another group of cultists, preparing incantations around a reddish clay vessel, roughly the size of a skull.
"The artifact is ours, and it has made our minions more powerful than ever. You cannot hope to stop what is coming. Even if you strike us down, the Gloom will bring forth your end." The cultists raised their hands and a barrier surrounded the artifact.
The side doors led to rooms full of demons and altars; we managed to kill the cultists and smashed the altars...
With the altars smashed, the demons vanished and the protective barrier around the artifact finally dissipated. We approached the center of the temple and reached out for the vessel but stopped short. We felt a powerful darkness emanating from the thing, and behind that, a deep sadness.
This artifact had been corrupted, and it seemed to almost be cognizant of that fact. All of these feelings flashed in our minds as a warning. It could be used for great evil, but would we fight for that evil (35) or against it (36) ?
After some effort, we used a thick cloth to get the vessel into our bag. Perhaps it would be best to bring it to an enchanter rather than mess with it ourselves.
"I've been told you are the group to talk to if you want to get something done around here."
We looked up from our table at the Sleeping Lion to see a rustic man in leather armor standing in front of us.
This tavern may as well be our office, due to the number of people through the doors looking for our help. We nodded at the man, and he made his request.
"My brother went out hunting in the Corpsewood two days ago and hasn't returned since. I fear the worst. If you are traveling in that direction, I hope you wouldn't mind keeping an eye out for him."
B. Agree to help the man in his search.
The man thanked us profusely and gave a detailed description of his brother. "If you find him, no matter the condition, please let me know right away."
"Heading out a little late, aren't you?" The guard at the wall looked at us passively. We grunted in response and headed through the opened gate.
"Nobody's gonna go looking for your corpse if you don't return!" the guard shouted back.
We ended up embarking out on the road much later than we had hoped - events in town saw to that - but as dusk settled on the horizon we felt confident that we were up to any threats we might face.
And then the howling of wolves - viscious foul beasts - and judging from their sounds, they seemed to be getting closer.
B. Let the wolves come.
Confident that the wolves posed no significant threat, we stood our ground and prepared for battle. The pack came - ragged and hungry, slowly emerging from the dark - and surrounded our party.
There were more of them than we expected, but not enough to take us down. We suffered a bite or two, but were able to fight them off.
An enchanter has been called for, so an enchanter must be found.
We followed reports of an Aesther in the Boiler District, and found ourselves standing before an abandoned and decrepit tavern: the Crooked Bone. Opening the door, the inside looked exactly as the outside advertised: spiderwebs, splintered stools, and dusty, broken glass.
Stepping past the threshold, a translucent female suddenly appeared before us. "Why have you come to this place, mercenaries? Your presence is unwanted, and you are disrupting my research."
We quickly explained why we had come and the woman's frown deepened.
"Oh, look at the Aesther woman. She can fulfill all our wishes. All she has to do is wave her hands and our wildest dreams will come true." She sighed in frustration and actually did wave her hands. "Leave me in peace."
We didn't move. She stared at us.
"Well, instead of disrupting, then maybe you could help. Scratch my back, maybe I'll scratch yours. That's how these things work, right?" The woman turned and walked towards a destroyed set of stairs, but after a few steps, she faded away entirely.
"I need an orb from the Frozen Hollow in the Copperneck Mountains." The woman's voice came from directly in front of us, as if she hadn't moved at all. "Bring it back to me and I may help you."
A map dropped at our feet. "My name is Hail by the way. Do not come back without the orb."
The map was easy to follow. Deep in the Copperneck Mountains, obscured by snow drifts, we found teh opening to a dark, narrow cave. The wolf tracks around the entrance were troubling, but, with a firm resolve, we entered.
After fighting our way past wolves, living spirits, and even ice demons...
With the last of our adversaries dead, we approached the back of the chamber, where a small blue sphere floated above the floor. We slowly reached out our hands and found the orb cold to touch. With a firm grip on it, the temperature was almost unbearable, but we quickly stached it in a pack and made our way back to the Crooked Bone.
We entered teh abandoned tavern and called out to Hail. With no response, we wandered around, observing the chaotic mess around us. We wondered how she gets any work done in this environment. As we approached the counter, Hail appeared before us, holding the org.
"Very interesting." She didn't seem to notice us at all. "A rift in our plane, somehow contained within a spherical barrier. Good thing you didn't break this on your way back. You easily could have been sucked into a realm of pure frost and been frozen solid before you had time to breathe. Or something worse could have happened."
"It's just so confounding. Who would have the power to do this?" Hail took a step to the left and disappeared again.
We waited for what felt like hours, refusing to sit on the few stools that hadn't yet fallen apart. We called out occasionally, but received no response.
"Oh, you're still here." We turned around to see Hail in the middle of the room. "Good, I'd like to experiment on you if it's all right." She reached out to us and we stumbled backward, falling over a table that splintered into hundreds of pieces.
"Oh, don't be a baby about it. I'm pretty sure it will end well."
Hail explained that she wants to try to bring forth raw power from another plane and contain it in a small orb that could give enhanced powers to anyone possessing it. The containment process, however, requires a lot of gold metal.
"Now that you have helped me in my endeavors, I suppose I should return the favor," Hail sighed. "So what was it exactly that you wanted?"
"Please, something of interest, sirs." The words came through in chitters and hisses. We turned our heads toward an alley in the Ward of Scales to see a Harrower dressed in crude robes and a mask. It held out a piece of parchment.
"Something for sirs. Very powerful. Just five gold."
We could see the parchment had the designs for something on it, but still - we recognize this Harrower. It is known for trading in disreputable goods. We don't know where that parchment came from, and if anyone saw us dealing with this creature... well, they might get the wrong idea.
A. Make a deal with the Harrower.
Intrigued by the parchment, we quickly made a decision to buy it off the Harrower. The exchange was fast, and then we moved on our way, hoping no one saw us.
Hail rubs her hands in excitement.
"On this day, I can tell you that, for the first time, I do not regret not turning you inside-out when we met," she says matter-of-factly. "The Vessel of the Elements! And you say it was under my nose the whole time? Amazing how some things get forgotten so easily."
She reaches out to touch it, but quickly recoils her hand. "Oh, so this is why you brought it to me? And here I thought it was a token of friendship." She frowns.
"That," she says, pointing at the artifact, "is a clear case of bad gifting. You're going to have to clean this thing out before I can accept it."
"The artifact has been attuned to the Plane of Night, capable only of corrupting and destroying everything it comes in contact with. You could wreak a lot of havoc with this, but with such strong attunement, there's no way to control its power. You'll need to break the connection to balance it out."
We stared at Hail blankly. "Oh, what, do I have to do everything?" she asks incredulously. "Okay, look, I'm not going to go in there and fix it, but I suppose I can transport your essences through to the other side so that you can sever the shadow link yourselves."
Hail begins to move her hands fluidly back and forth. Occasionally a hand disappears down to her wrist, only to re-emerge, clutching colorful magics, which she begins to scatter over us.
"So it's all very simple. Soon you will find yourselves in the Plane of Night. Just look around for a giant black pillar extending infinitely into the sky, then destroy it. Once you do that, I'll bring you back here."
Before we even had time to object, our vision went dark. At first we felt as though we were falling, but then realized we were standing on solid ground. Our vision adjusted, and we began to see features in our surroundings. We were in a cave, covered in a slick, black slime. And there were demons - so many demons.
Just as we were beginning to think that Hail sent us to the wrong place, we gratefully saw the outline of a tower in the distance. The thing was massive, with twisting ropes of darkness weaving in and out of one another, reaching up through an opening in the cavern ceiling above us.
We pushed forward, to the tower of darkness; within were demons and deep terrors. We attacked the fiends, and attempted to bring down the tower of black tendrils.
With one last swing, the tower of black rope was finally severed. The strands writhed and whipped around, quickly ascending out of the cave, as if falling away up into the sky. The ground shuddered. Cracks formed beneath our feet, and there was a loud grating noise as the whole chamber shifted and began to crash downward.
As true panic set in, we were whisked back into the Crooked Bone with Hail standing in front of us.
Hail spoke saying, "Oh my, that connection receded much more quickly than I had anticipated. You're quite lucky I was able to pull you out of there before the whole place collapsed in on itself."
She continued, "The attunement has certainly been severed, though. The artifact is perfectly balanced." Hail picked up the vessel with her hands and studied it closely. "A true marvel."
After a moment, Hail said, "All fun aside, though, if you're looking for the entity who could have attuned it in such a way, I may have something for you there." She set down the vessel and pulled a map out of the air, then lay it down on a rickety table. "After the connection to the Plane of Night was severed, I briefly felt a tug on the artifact from three different locations. It was being used as a power source, but with the source depleted, the tugging stopped almost immediately."
She went on, saying, "I was still able to pinpoint the locations. Here, out in the Misty Sea, deep under the surface. (37) Another one in the dark parts of the Dagger Forest. (38) And finally one high atop the peaks of the Coppernecks." (39)
Hail straightened up and reached for the artifact. "I'll keep this safe here." she said.
We looked at her disapprovingingly. "Okay, fine," she said. "You can hold on to it. Probably safer with you anyway. Just promise you'll let me take a closer look at it some time."
We currently have 9 options available to us.
Scenario 13 - We can go to the Temple of the Seer to ask the wise men there to make us more powerful or more wealthy.
Scenario 19 - We can ask Hail to help us close the rift to the Plane of Elemental Power that is still open in the Ruinous Crypt.
Scenario 23 - We put an end to the poison problem, but there's still a question of to where the cracks in the wall of the abandoned sewers led.
Scenario 34 - We can attack the dragon at it's lair instead of meekly returning it's glands.
Scenario 28 - We can investigate the vague warning that Jekserah uttered in her final words to us.
Scenario 37 - We can explore the waters east of Gloomhaven to find one of the three possible sources of power that were influencing the artifact.
Scenario 38 - We can explore the Dagger Forest to find one of the three possible sources of power that were influencing the artifact.
Scenario 39 - We can explore the Copperneck mountains to find one of the three possible sources of power that were influencing the artifact.
Scenario 72 - We can do a favor for Dominic in the Gloomhaven Hall of Records; in return he will share more information with us.