The Forgotten Ones Campaign

The Mask is Removed!
Who is the Speaker in Dreams?

Upon the death of Daros Hellseeker, the pillar of fire rising from the central chamber of the Temple of Apollo subsides, closing the portal between New Abydos and the Hells. The fiends in the nearby area are sucked into the Void. Devils still hold sway in other areas of the city, however. We loot the bodies of the fallen diabolists in the temple. After a short meeting with Zeno, we decide to set out for Regents Keep, despite it being heavily guarded.

Zeno tells us that one of the Cyrenean battleships is missing from the blockade. He goes back to the refugee camp in case of an attack. Before leaving, he gives Deimos a message stone.

We find that many devils have retreated to the Keep after the liberation of the Temple of Apollo. We climb the rough wall and get down the other side on the top of some buildings. A large patrol is making its way down the street below, moving towards us (10 veteran guards, 2 diabolists, and a bone devil). Using pyrotechnics, Io causes the torches of the patrol to explode into showers of blinding light. Most of the guards are blinded and fall to the ground, the others run in fear. The diabolists are taken off guard, and hurriedly set up defensive positions. The bone devil cackles with glee while locked in combat with Oeolyca. Oeolyca looks near death, but with the aid of Alexos‘s healing, we defeat the bone devil and his minions. The blinded guards are released and run away. With the bone devil’s dying breath, he speaks to following words: “Fiends unlike me guard the courtyard; the Speaker in Dreams holds the Regent in thrall…”

We reach the enormous double doors leading into Epimedes II‘s manor. Strangely, it is not guarded (?). However, the doors are locked, barred, and trapped, and we only have a limited amount of time before the dead patrol is noticed and we are discovered. Deimos manages to quickly break the lock and disable the trap, and Oeolyca and Ferguson manage to break the bar through their sheer strength. We’re in!

We arrive in the courtyard. Two paths lead away from where we are. Each are guarded by fiendish statues. Suddenly the statues move and attack! They are fiendish gargoyles, distantly related to devils (“Fiends unlike me guard the courtyard”). After a near defeat, we manage to destroy the monstrosities.

We pass through the manor quickly. The servants and housekeepers of the manor are in a panic. Something is going on! We reach the tall tower of the manor and find a large chamber at the top. Epimedes sits on a throne, stiff and seemingly lifeless. Adjacent to him, the robed figure. The cyclops-mage that attacked us in the alley sits in the middle of the room. The robed figure reveals itself to be a mind-flayer, Ghaerleth Axom, the Speaker in Dreams!!

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Axom and Company
Of Boss Battles and Skirmishes

We find ourselves in battle with the Speaker in Dreams, Ghaerleth Axom. His crony, the half-fiend cyclops mage-ess, is also there. She has command of Regent Epimedes II, and commands him to attack us! After a pitched battle, in which Oeolyca almost has her brains removed by Axom, Axom and his minions have been defeated, and the Regent has been saved. We search the bodies and find many nice items.

But we don’t have time to celebrate. We recieve a message via the message stone given to us by Zeno. The Cyreneans are attacking! The flagship of the Southern Corsairs, The Abbadon, has crept into one of the natural bays of the island and has sent a large force to assault the southern walls of Abydos. They are headed to the refugee camp!

We meet up with the leaders of the guard: Zeno, Lieutenant Polydoros, and Helene, the Regent of Dallos. We are assigned to hold a central hill; a likely spot for Feraxis to attack with his elite troops.

We set up positions on the hill, and see a small excursionary force approaching. We engage in battle!

TO BE CONTINUED!

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Axom and Company (con't)
Hold this Ground!

We return to the battle against a Cyrenean war priest and his battalion. The war priest raises the dead into skeletons—we are hemmed in! We beat back the undead and barbarians, and manage to take out the evil priest.

We return to the commanders. The western flank, led by Lieutenant Polydoros, has suffered many casualties. The eastern flank, led by Helene, has held up, but not by much. The first wave of barbarians has been routed!

We return to the hill. We learn that Feraxis himself is approaching our position with his terrible steed, Blasphemy, as well as his personal guard. We set up positions, crouching behind boulders for concealment. Deimos drinks an invisibility potion, and scouts ahead. Finding the battalion, he uses the hat of disguise to alter his appearance to look like a Cyrenean warrior. Slipping into the ranks, he tricks one of the barbarians into thinking a certain flask will grant prowess to the user; all he need do is to throw it on the ground in front of him. Of course the flask Deimos gives him is not that, but an explosive flask. Deimos returns to the group stealthily, and we wait.

Lord Commander Feraxis soon comes into view. The barbarians begin to run towards the hill. One of them throws the flask onto the ground, and the barbarians are thrown every-which-way!

TO BE CONTINUED!

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The Battle of Refugee Hill
The Second Wave Strikes!

The explosive flask ignites and causes much confusion in the ranks of Feraxis’ battalion. Blasphemy conjures a fiend from the plane of Abbadon—a Ceustodaemon! The battle rages on. Ferguson is defeated and returns to his plane. Calixte and Oeolyca sustain horrible injuries. Feraxis’ archers are pummeling us, until Helene crosses into our fight from the east on her dire boar steed, Aeo, and draws their fire. After more vicious fighting, we have routed the barbarians from the hillside, killed Lord Commander Feraxis and Blasphemy, and banished the Ceustodaemon. We are victorious!

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The Tales of Sicyon
What in Erebus is going on here?

We finally have a little RNR in Abydos! The city is being repaired and restored after the invasion, blockade, and infernal occupation. We help where we can, and manage to unload our metaphoric donkey caravan of treasures. With more drachmas than our wildest dreams, we set about arming ourselves for the dangers that await. Nearing sunset, we are approached by Polydoros, who has some troubling news. We follow him to Epimedes’ manor. As night falls, we learn that Epimedes nephew Alastor, the secret heir to the throne of Abydos, is possessed by a shadow demon. With insufficient means of exercising the child and destroying the demon utterly, we attempt to banish the demon from the child. We are successful, and we manage to defeat the demon, Rabunoz the Possessor, and his animated household objects. As he falls, however, the area around him warps and shimmers: tell-tale signs of a extra-dimensional portal. An enormous hand, darker than the night sky, snatches the helpless Rabunoz. He lets out a shriek, the portal closes, and there is silence. However, the demon leaves something behind. A slip of papyrus-parchment, with a message written in wax: “The Answers lie in Sicyon”.

After the frightening confrontation, we try to learn about this mysterious “Sicyon”. We learn that it was once a city on the very island that we stand on-the sister city of Abydos. However, before we can research further, we hear that a farmer, Nicolae, is looking for adventurers to investigate the disappearance of two of his sons.

We visit the farmer and hear his account of what happened. Underneath his house, we find a strange symbol drawn in the floor, and evidence of a recently excavated and collapsed tunnel. While searching for the strange symbol in Abydos’ archive building, the Tower of Knowledge, we find an ancient map within a file marked “Sicyon”. The pieces of the puzzle seem to be coming together, but are we any closer to finding out what that puzzle is?

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Trek Through the Myndus Woods
Fiends, plants, and mummies, oh my!

We begin our expedition to the lost city of Sicyon. Our first objective is to find clues as to the fate of Aaron and Doros, the two sons of Nicolae the farmer who disappeared two days ago. We follow the Myndus Road, a road that was once well-frequented—in the days when trade between Abydos and Sicyon was common. Calixte and Oeolyca, born in the wild woodlands of Cyrene, soon manage to discover tracks. The tracks have created large furrows in the ground, and rotting, strangely colored vegetation seems to follow the tracks. We deduce that we are looking for an animate plant creature, a shambling mound or tendriculos.

Soon, however, we become aware that the plant creatures may not be the larger problem. As we continue along the road, we notice that the forest has overgrown wildly into the path; a forest that was once relatively tame has regressed to a more primal, primeval state. The leaves have begun to take on a strange color. Deimos finds that the leaf-veins are blood red, and the green on the trees, uncommon for late fall, is unnaturally fluorescent. The forest has become tainted by some unknown power.

After several hours, we reach a clearing in the forest. The clearing seems to have been, in the past, a campsite for travelers on the road. We soon find that it is an ambush site. The keen eyes in the group, Deimos and Calixte, spot a large shambling mound lying in wait just outside the clearing. Some of our stealthier party members sneak around, while those left enter the clearing. The mound attacks, and the hidden party members ambush the ambusher!

After a nasty battle, in which our spellcasters are attacked by assassin vines, we manage to heal and search. We find the body of Aaron in a leafy canopy above the clearing. It seems he was killed by the assassin vines while trying to track the mound as we had done. We find many valuables in the canopy, and several bodies. We find no sign of the younger brother, Doros.

We continue on through the woods. After another couple of hours, we find a fork in the road. The tracks of the shambling mound are no more, and we don’t know which way to turn. We take the left-hand path. We find that it leads to a dead end, marked by an enormous hoary tree. We search, and find the entrance to an ancient underground tomb.

The tomb belongs to the founder of Sicyon, an aasimar by the name of Jaret. Jaret was the third son of the legendary demigod Abydosius, son of Zeus and founder of Abydos. We find a piece of parchment in his sarcophagus. Among other things, it speaks of a romantic connection between Jaret and the queen of the Churning Legion, a kingdom of nereids. Jaret ran away from his commitment to her, and he feared that she would curse Sicyon in punishment.

Before we leave, we are attacked by three mummies. Things look bleak: Ferguson is dismissed, and the party struggles to beat back the mummies’ advance. Io concocts a plan. The party retreats out of the tomb. Io flies to the ceiling, and the mummies attempt to climb the walls to reach her. She casts a number of fire spells. The fire destroys the mummies and the tomb, and Io escapes just before the tomb collapses.

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The Ghoul Town of Sicyon
The expedition begins!

We rest and recuperate after the battle with the mummies in Jaret’s tomb. Upon awakening, we backtrack to the split in the trail and take to the right-hand path. After a few hours of travel, we reach the outskirts of the city of Sicyon. Before we can look at the city itself, we are beset by an unseen force; a menace of some kind broods here, barring entrance. We manage to overcome it, but just barely, as Alexos almost is driven insane. In that moment, he feels a small amount of the soul-crushing horror that clings to this place. It seems that most of the populace starved to death and were unable to leave the city: the menace that barred passage also prevented escape to those without a strong will. Many resorted to cannibalism, and became ghouls, bolstered by the negative energy spreading from the center of the city. There is another evil about, but we don’t know yet what.

The city itself has become a necropolis; ghouls and zombies skulk the streets and ruined buildings by day. We notice that time moves quickly here, and that plant-life seems to grow abnormally quickly, but always diseased and glowing with sickly hues. We dare not observe longer—we don’t want to know what Sicyon looks like after dark.

As the day passes swiftly by, we search for the Chrysostom Manor. We caught a glimpse of it from the cliff that overlooked the city, but through the ruined buildings and crumbling boulevards, it’s impossible to see very far. We soon are aware that we are being stalked by hungry pale eyes. After a few minutes of caution, we are attacked by seven red-skinned ghouls. We determine that they are fiendish, just as the shambling mound was. Luckily, they prove no match for us.

As the sun begins its descent, we enter the center of town. A fountain lies in the center of a decaying forum of marble and stone. Standing over the fountain is a hideous beast—man-high and with a humanoid body, but with the head, wings, and talons of a vulture. The demon known as a vrock screeches at us, and we are ambushed by several more fiendish ghouls. We are hard pressed, and we soon realize that this demon may be too powerful for us to defeat.

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Secrets of the Chrysostom Manor
And behind the blasted door number 1...

We return to the battle with the vrock, already in progress. Its minions are easy enough to defeat, but the vrock itself seems to be gaining power from the forum fountain which, on closer inspection, is filled with human viscera. We decide that this is a fight we can’t win, and attempt to run towards the manor. Luckily, the vrock also appears to be magically bound to the fountain, and we get away safely. We move closer to the manor.

The mansion is crumbling—the foundation itself seems crumbling. The grand double-doors that lead in have been forced outward, and lie fragmented on the front steps. Io feels a strong magical aura emanating from the empty doorway. Deimos enters in, and immediately vanishes. He finds himself in a dimly lit room filled with half-starved prisoners bound and gagged surrounding a large symbol on the floor. Soon, as we go through the entryway after Deimos, we end up separated, teleported through powerful magicks to different rooms in the manor. Alexos and Renoma are confronted by an attic whisperer and a extra-planar hound in the Chrysostom Nursery. Io and Oeolyca try to escape the clutches of two ghasts in the cellar as corpses animate beneath their feet. Calixte joins Deimos in the sacrificial room, and they attempt to rescue the prisoners. They find one young man that has been recently bled. It’s Doros, the young son of the farmer Nicolae. He’s alive—but barely. We are separated and set upon, and it seems that the main necromantic force of the manor has not even arrived. Can we reunite the party, rescue the hostages, and beat back the forces of Kastor Chrysostom?

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