Shadows of Acheron

17 - Plane and Simple
  • The group came upon a dryad in the Garden. It turned out to be Dreod, a guardian of the cemetery. She joined the group and vowed to bring Nature’s justice to whoever is responsible.
  • Moving on, the group came to a strange building which was “dislodged” from the Feywild plane by the powerful forces in play here. When they stepped in, they found themselves “somewhere else”, somewhere filled with feelings of devastating emotional loss.
  • As they studied faceless statues in the area, they suddenly realized they were not alone! Grey, faceless angels attacked them, and a dangerous battle broke out.
  • The group discovered the statues’ magical properties – they can be used to teleport from one statue to the next. Our heroes managed to use them to their advantage, and won the battle through a strategic retreat and regrouping.
  • Upon exiting the building, they found themselves in the Feywild once more. Tired and injured, they decided to rest for the night.
  • The next day, they made their way to another of the buildings in the Garden. This one contained a lot of tapestries depicting various scenes of nature and its power.
  • They found a room with a torch and several numbers carved into the walls. It turned out to be a magical lock, and was connected to the sundial device they saw in a building across the river. Splitting up, they were able to coordinate and match the times displayed in the two rooms. Upon doing this, a secret door opened up to a path leading into the main part of the building.
16 - Bug Fixing
  • The group had a brutal showdown with the Eladrin bug lady. Swarms of scarabs and other insects filled the room, stinging everyone and making lots of noise. In the end they were victorious.
  • While catching their breath, the group noticed a strange sundial in the corner of the room. A flaming brazier hung from a chain on the ceiling, and magic animated it to circle around the sundial, casting the shadows to a particular hour. The brazier circled the sundial every 24 minutes, making each “hour” last for 1 minute.
  • Going into the next room, they found a pool of water overflowing into the rest of the room. The trickles of water formed a runic pattern on the floor, oddly enough.
  • Diego looked into the pool and noticed that it contained a key. He reached in to grab it, but was surprised the the water distorted the key’s image, making it incredibly hard to grab. Furthermore, the water in the pool animated into a water serpent and attacked him, but missed.
  • Darius shot a quick fire spell at the serpent, causing it to dissipate into water again.
  • Izzegio made a grab for the key and was indeed able to get it. The water once again animated and attacked him, this time succeeding. Izzegio vanished into thin air, taking the key with him. With the key out of the room, the magic enchanting the pool dissipated.
  • Meanwhile, Izzy found himself teleported outside into the raging river, which was about to end in a 60-foot waterfall! Thinking quickly, he put the key in his pack and grabbed a special arrow. A rope was attached to the arrow, so he fired it at a tree trunk on the bank, and was able to use it as a grappling hook to escape his watery fate.
  • Izzy reunited with the rest of the gang, and they decided to cross the bridge to the main area of the Garden, where the buildings were freshly built and particularly wicked-looking.
15 - That Time a Tent Tried to Strangle Tamar
  • After a peaceful night’s rest outside the Garden of Graves, the group awoke to find various plant life of the Feywild taking notice of them, curiously “watching” them as they gathered their equipment to head back into the Garden.
  • As they passed through the rubble remains of the guardian statues they destroyed the night before, Darius noticed one stone in particular which still contained some residual magic energy. He identified it as a Foe Stone, a magic stone which allows him to discern the nature and weaknesses of enemies.
  • Moving forward, the party enters the Garden once more, making their way through the wooded lower level and coming to an opening. This opening contained a camp site which was used by mourners in days past, as well as a shrine of some fey origins.
  • As they investigated the area, they were surprised to find that the shrine had also been tampered with. It had been fitted with an iron eye on top, which activated and attempted to put them all to sleep with magical energy. At the same time, various tools, campfire logs, and even the tents themselves in the camp site animated and started to attack them!
  • One of the tents wrapped itself around Tamar‘s head in an attempt to strangle him. Darius and Faren fell under the iron eye’s power, collapsing on the ground in a deep sleep.
  • After some tactics and exploits, the gang successfully destroyed all opposition and moved forward along the wooded lower level.
  • They came to a waterfall coming down from the upper plateau, forming a river along the lower level. Here they saw a building overhead, suspended on large stone pillars to reach the height of the plateau above. A spiral staircase led from the lower level up into the building, so they followed it up.
  • This building contained a table with a miniature model of the Garden of Graves. It showed a vast upper plateau level filled with above-ground cairns for burial amongst a lush garden. This room was obviously used for burial planning and as an entrance for visitors and mourners, allowing them to look at the map before entering the Garden itself.
  • As they looked around, they saw two exits to the building, one to the West and one to the North. Both led to wooden rope bridges which connected to the upper plateau. To the North, there was another building which was indicated on the map they saw as a ceremonial building of some sort.
  • To the West, the bridge connected to the main part of the Garden. However, to their surprise, it was not simply a peaceful Garden with above-ground cairns as the map showed! Instead, it appeared as though the graves had been destroyed, and the stone that formed them was used to build a large series of wicked-looking buildings. Someone has clearly desecrated this holy place, filling it with constructions for some unspeakable purpose.
  • They decided to travel North into the preexisting building. There, they discovered the whole floor, ceiling, and walls were covered in strange runes. The walls had been extended in strange patterns, and whimpering could be heard from deeper inside the room.
  • As they entered, they discovered an Eladrin woman chained to the wall calling for help. As they approached, she pleaded with them to help her escape. However, as they approached, they discovered that she was… not quite right.
  • Her skin began to crawl, and it split in one place. A beetle scurried out from underneath. As they watched in horror, several more bugs began to crawl out from unseen places. Soon enough, the entire room was filled with horrible amounts of insects, and they began to descend upon the group!
14 - Guys Gone Feywild
  • After stepping out of the portal to the Feywild, the group hears the sounds of the Plant Drake off in the distance, and suddenly hears it bellow and then go silent. They headed in this direction and found it dead in the forest.
  • As they were investigating the area, they spotted an Eladrin hunter riding on an elk. He was soon joined by several more Eladrin hunters, and the party started a conversation with them. They thanked them for slaying the plant drake, and offered the information that they were here on a mission, hunting corruption such as this in order to stop it.
  • The hunters informed the party that their assistance would not be required, and Feywild matters will be handled by Feywild citizens. They warned that the area was dangerous, and the group should turn around and leave through the portal they came through. The party declined, and the Eladrin hunting party left, warning them not to cause any problems while they were in the Feywild.
  • Overhearing this, a small fox began drawing near to the party, and sat on a rock to watch them. The creature turned out to be a Fox Spirit named Seven. She dislikes strong authority figures like the Eladrin, and so she decided to help the group out.
  • Seven knew that the occurrences of the corruption of creatures had been happening with increasing frequency lately, and it was only happening in this area. She said there is a large landmark in the center of this area of effect, the sacred Garden of Graves – a holy burial site for revered Fey creatures.
  • To investigate, the party summoned spectral horses and followed Seven’s direction to find the Garden of Graves. It was nestled among the mountains, with the only entrance being a cave which tunneled through the side of one mountain. There were large tablets engraved into the mountain on either side of the entrance, filled with poetry honoring the dead buried inside. However, it appeared that recently some powerful force had split the tablets down the center.
  • At the end of the tunnel, the group came to a dead end with three statues of Eladrin warriors. Seven informed them that this was a security measure, but it could be bypassed with the correct pass phrase. She spoke the phrase, but to her surprise the statues refused entrance to the Garden. In fact, the statues animated and attacked the party! Clearly someone had re-purposed the magics which animate the statues, causing them to attack anyone attempting to enter the Garden.
  • After a tough battle, the group decided to rest for the night, since it was late after the day’s travels.
  • The next morning, they went through the Garden’s entrance, coming to a huge valley nestled in the mountains. The majority of the valley is taken up by a plateau which looms ahead. Plant life is abundant on this level, and a path winds through it. They hear the sounds of running water in the distance.
  • It would be a pleasant and serene place… however, as they looked up into the sky overhead, they noticed the presence of faint swirls of magical energy. It appeared that energy was circling above the site in an ominous way. Clearly something is wrong, and clearly someone wanted to keep them out of this once-holy place.
13 - Owlbear Right Back
  • As The Wyvern soars majestically through the skies, the party is with Captain Albion in the War Room plotting their course. The table is equipped with a map enchantment, and displays vague directions to occurrences of the mysterious shadowy energy believed to be somehow related to the Nightmare.
  • As they discussed where to go, they heard strange noises outside. Suddenly, a huge Owlbear landed on the front of the ship, causing it to tilt a bit in that direction. An elf was riding the owlbear. On closer inspection, the party realizes the creatures’ eyes are not normal, as they are completely shadow black with no pupils.
  • As the group rushed toward the front of the ship to attack, more creatures landed near the back. Large dragon-shaped creatures made entirely of plants and shadow started tearing into the crew members.
  • A huge battle ensued, and some of the crew members were killed (some by Darius under cloak of shadow, since he feels some of the crew members could be traitors and spies). In the end, two of the plant-dragons ran away, and began flying directly towards a patch of forest.
  • The party directed the airship downward, following the plant-dragons. They left Captain Albion and the remaining crew with The Wyvern, with Thor Wobblecog performing repairs on the ship.
  • On the ground, Darius followed the magic auras of the plant-dragons, and they were able to track the beasts to a large clearing in the thick forest.
  • The clearing was serene, with two tangles of trees growing towards each other, forming an archway. Faint mist surrounded the archway, and the view between the trees seemed… not quite right.
  • The party bravely stepped through the archway and discovered that indeed this was a portal to the legendary Feywild. In the distance, they hear the faint wailing of the plant-dragons. Has the Nightmare’s corruption even reached this pristine land?
12 - Once More Unto the Breach
  • Murza and Azerus called you to a meeting. Present at this meeting were Murza, Azerus, and Bane Brisbee (the CEO of the Synergistics corporation, and your new business partner).
  • They informed you that the public is still largely unaware of the looming threat that is out there, but they must send you out to deal with it. Since you are now famous in Arkadia as well as the Southern Kingdoms, this would arouse many questions. A cover story would be needed.
  • From the Public’s Perspective – You, the newly-appointed Grand Master Cartographers of the Argent League of Explorers, will be allowed to perform the tasks that made you famous in the first place. You will head out into the wild again with the full backing and support of not only the Southern Kingdoms, but Arkadia as well. You will search for new civilizations, map the world,
    and discover amazing things. (Boldy going where no man… well you get the idea). This new initiative was dubbed the Coalition Expedition Force.
  • In Reality – You will be searching for more clues as to the patterns of the Nightmare which is returning to the land. You will stop any corruption you find.
  • The Cool Part – As a coalition-sponsored expedition force, Murza has gifted you with an Airship, The Wyvern. Bane Brisbee has had his corporation Synergistics (and the new subsidiary Paradigm, in which you hold some ownership) equip The Wyvern with Arkadian-level magic items (internal ambient lighting, working bathrooms, kitchen, and… oh yeah… magical cannons). A crew was assembled which comprises of several capable people from both Arkadia and the Southern Kingdoms, a symbol of the unity between the two.

The Crew
1 – Captain Euro Albion – Human – A veterain airship captain, he was in the Arkadian Sky Guard.
2 – Pilot Laranh Grandfalcon – Elf – Expert pilot, she served with Euro in the Guard, and came at his recommendation.
3 – Engineer Thor Wobblecog – Gnome – A genius mechanic. He is more at home with machines than people. Odd guy.
4 – Mage Aera Sheol – Human – A master of the elements, she has the job of keeping the Air and Fire elemental
happy, so they will provide the energy necessary for running the ship.
5 – Chef Tsaz Madgut (aka “Cookie”) – Goblin – Always smoking a cigar, sporting a greasy apron, and keeping a sloppy
kitchen, he is your chef. And despite the mess, his cooking is actually quite delicious.
6 – Other Crew – Mixed Races – Various other crew, some dwarf, human, elf, etc… the muscle and deckhands.

The Layout
The ship has 3 levels:
LVL 1 – Top deck, has control wheel, crows nest above it, and an enclosed “War room” with a giant table. The table is equipped with a map enchantment for navigation (similar to the magical map you were given by Azerus). Adjacent to the war room are two Guest Bedrooms.
LVL 2 – Living Quarters, has a common room for meals and entertainment, crew bunk beds, and bigger bedrooms for the members of the party. Also has one GIANT bedroom reserved for the captain. Also, the middle of the ship houses the machinery and enclosures which house the Air Elemental and Fire Elemental, powering the ship.
LVL 3 – Steerage, has large cargo area, additional bedrooms for the party, additional crew bunk beds, and a pantry and library area. The Air / Fire elemental cages and machinery extend down into this floor as well. The cannon maintenance is done from this level as well.

  • With your new crew and ship, you set forth for your inaugural flight. With the giant portal between Arkadia and the Southern Kingdoms complete, you would have the honor of taking the first trip on it, a symbol of the unity between nations. You flew to Portland, and along the way succeeded in charming the crew. Things are going smoothly. After porting from Portland down to Woodfall, you see a familiar cast of characters there to greet you. After a long goodbye,
    you turn your ship northward, into the wild!
  • Darius, who has had Zyne speaking to him in his head the whole time, has become increasingly paranoid. Or was he always this paranoid? This thought makes Darius worry… surely someone is messing with him. He has a suspicion that all of these strangers on board leaves the party open for potential danger… surely someone on board is a traitor. Zyne whispers into his head… ‘Hahaha… clever, you are smart to distrust me. I am surely not so stupid as to only send YOU as a spy. Of course I have another spy on board that ship.’
11 - A Vahn Down by the River
  • With Murza’s favor gained, Azerus tells the party there is one last thing they must do before they leave. The Sword of Yusha must be powered up to its former glory in order to battle the evil that is coming. The only way to do that is to get a drop of blood from each of the sword’s original creators – Vahn, Zyne, and Mahou.
  • Since Mahou has been dead for over 3000 years and Zyne will never cooperate with the party, Azerus says the best bet for the first power-up is Vahn, the God of Goodness and Healing. Azerus sets up a meeting and lets the group head of towards the church.
  • The group heads to the church of Vahn, a Greek-style columned building. Mobs of hungry, poor, and sick people surround it, waiting to see Vahn for his help. The party makes its way to the main chamber to see Vahn himself.
  • Vahn asks Tamar if he is truly willing to shoulder the burden associated with wielding the Sword of Yusha. Tamar says yes.
  • Vahn shows the group a vision of the past, and the events of Yusha’s heroism during the battle with the Nightmare were revealed to them. Yusha heroically sacrificed himself to kill the Nightmare. He told his lieutenant to stab him with the Sword while he was being possessed.
  • After the vision, the party still wanted to bear the burden of the sword, so Vahn gifted them with a drop of his blood. Then, he gifted all party members with a measure of strength. New paths of power were opened for the heroes (as they leveled up and gained their “paragon paths”).
  • After the meeting with Vahn, Azerus met with the group, gifting them with improved magic weapons and armor.
10 - You Gotta Know When to Hold Em...
  • Azerus met up with the group at a pub and explained that he could not get directly involved in the courtroom or he would tip his hand and draw attention to himself and the party. The public does not yet know about the looming darkness that threatens the world, and he intends to keep it that way for now to avoid mass panic.
  • As an apology, Azerus put the party up in a 4 star hotel and outfit them with nice clothing from Arkadia.
  • Azerus informed the party that if they were to succeed in their upcoming plans, they would need a lot of luck on their side. To secure that luck, they need to gain the favor of Murza, the God of Luck. To that end, Azerus fronted the funds for the party and enrolled them in Murza’s celebrity poker tournament, which takes place in his airship casino named “Fate’s Fortune”.
  • You had 3 goals in going to the big “Fate’s Fortune 30th Annual Celebrity Poker Tournament – Sponsored by Life Water” (Life Water is a brand of healing potions):
    1) Win the tournament for your charity cause! Darius, Izzy, and Warren were playing for the victims of your dramatic fiery entrance to Arkadia. A majestic statue would be put on the beach (a statue of Darius in white clothing giving a kitten to a small child). Tamar, Diego, and Faren were playing for the Southern Kingdoms Fund. This is for the establishment of trade routes and for the betterment of the Southern Kingdoms as a whole (exporting Arkadian tech and culture to improve the Southern Kingdoms).
    2) Improve your reputation. Wipe away the bad press brought on by the huge airship crash and the ensuing criminal trial.
    3) Gain the attention and respect of Murza, the god of luck. You need a lot of luck going forward in your quest to save the world.
  • The tourney was such that you could play awhile, and then get up and walk around and talk at your leisure. At the end of the night, they would recall all players and force the end of the games. Farren and Diego, the main players, set about playing Poker like men possessed. The others split their time between playing and “schmoozing”.
  • SCHMOOZING – Everyone did a fine job of making new friends, spreading information about the history, culture, challenges, and economic potential of the Southern Kingdoms. Seeing as a lot of influential people were at the tourney, this will go a long way toward improving your reputation.
    Some of the NPC’s you made the acquaintance of:
    1) Cynthia Greenwall – A blond actress in her 30’s with a southern belle accent. She was playing for the charity M.E.O.W (Mending Egos Of Wildlife – a charity concerned with helping forest creatures with low self esteem.)
    2) Bane Brisbee – Mid-40’s CEO of the mega corporation Synergistics, a technology and magic research and development company. They design much of the magic items and tech that are prevalent in Arkadian society. He was playing for an organization that provides financial aid and training for poor children with magical potential. Of course, these children must sign an agreement to work for Synergistics for a few years afterwards.
    3) Rajah – Young hot pop star who dresses in a very eccentric way. She was dressed as a swan. Izzy, of course, hit on her extensively despite her bodyguards’ protests. She was playing for preservation of historic musical artifacts and recordings.
  • THE HEIST – During the party, Izzy noticed a party-goer entering the restricted area. He decided to investigate and discovered a full-fledged Ocean’s Eleven situation developing. Thieves were using magic items and ninja skills to break into the casino vault. He was
    able to avoid detection, and fired some flaming arrows into the vault room and set off the alarms before running back into the main party room. Crisis averted, and the casino guard would take care of the rest.
  • THE GAMES – Employing a variety of tactics, 4 of the party actually had great success in the games. Tamar used his gravitas and intuition to read his opponents, gain their trust, and then crush them. Diego baited his opponents into making small bets, then raised the stakes quickly to bully them out of their money. Farren waited his opponents out, not taking risks. His was an Endurance game. Darius made wild bets all night, but they paid off due to the outside aid of Warren, who gathered intel from the crowd and fed it to Darius.
  • At the end of the night, Farren’s slow rolling won the day. He won the tournament for the Southern Kingdoms Fund. Murza took a picture with him for the newspapers, handing him a giant check while Farren smiled awkwardly, for smiling is not something he is used to.
  • MURZA – In the end, Murza was very impressed with the group. He saw you working the crowd, winning the games, and even personally thanked Izzy for stopping the robbery. YOU WILL NEVER LIVE THIS DOWN, as Izzy now feels that he is Murza’s BFF.
9 - Objection!!!
  • The party was on trial for a litany of charges, the most minor of which was theft of a certain magical sword. You were being defended by Balthazar, a demon lawyer of questionable morals, but unquestionable results.
  • The charges state that the party accosted the man Lucius when he was out in the wilderness. They nearly killed him and then took him as a prisoner. Lucius learned that they were plotting a massive terrorist attack on Arkadia itself! They forced him to reveal the runic coordinates of the teleportation circle in Portland.
  • Guard testimony from the Portland teleportation circle confirms that Lucius was their prisoner at this time, but the party let Lucius go at the guard’s direction.
  • The charges continue that the party then retaliated for letting Lucius go by slaughtering a random clergyman of Zyne in Portland as a message, and delivered the dead body to the doorstep of the church. The group then headed off to steal an airship and fly it over to Arkadia to carry out their plot.
  • The charges continue that the church of Zyne decided the only heroic thing to do was to stop this awful attack from occurring. They got in an airship of their own and gave chase and attacked their ship, trying to thwart the evil plot.
  • The party combats these charges, stating that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. The attacks are simply hearsay, one testimony is not valid over another without witnesses. The misunderstandings escalated to the point where they had to defend themselves on the airship. Lastly, they weren’t stealing, they were simply trying to return some goods to the rightful owners.
  • Balthazar was able to negotiate the charges, and the church of Zyne predictably dropped every single charge except for one… the theft charge which would give them the Sword. Balthazar gave in on this charge, and was able to talk the church into dropping the charge if the items were returned. The church agreed… but they didn’t know Balthazar had secretly replaced the real sword with a fake one.
  • One final charge remained… Grand Theft Airship. Darius claimed that he was the rightful owner of the ship. However, previous testimony from the party stated that they were all passengers on the transport ship. The charge remained, and the judge pronounced Darius GUILTY!!!
  • Just when Darius thought he would be thrown in jail for a very long time, Zyne himself appeared. ‘Well played, little mortals. I especially like the part where you switched the sword for a fake. I see you have some potential for trickery.’
  • Zyne offered Darius a deal… Zyne wanted full access to Darius’s mind, two way communication with Zyne at all times. Darius would become Zyne’s eyes and ears, and would report back to him about the location and status of the sword. In return, Zyne could make this pesky jail time go away.
  • Darius agreed. Zyne disappeared in shadows, and the courtroom returned to a time just before the pronouncement of Darius’s verdict… NOT GUILTY!!!
  • All charges dropped, the party was released from the courtroom. They received a note telling them to meet up with Azerus in a pub nearby.
8 - Lawyers... am I right?
  • You were all brought in for questioning to the Arkadian police, sent to separate holding cells, and of course had to hand over all of your possessions.
  • One by one they asked for your side of the story, and each character explained things from their point of view. Darius of course kept up his charade, posing as the airship’s rightful owner, Captain Charlatan.
  • After some time, you were brought together again, and told to sit tight. After a long waiting period, the door BURST open, and fire and shadow came into the room. A door-darkening frame appeared and moved in. To your horror, a mighty Balor (incredibly powerful demon) appeared before you, and unfurled its giant leather wings! You were all horrified and confused!
  • As your fear settled and your head cleared, you realized the demon was wearing a full business suit, and sat down and started taking papers out of his briefcase. ‘I am called Balthazar, and I am your lawyer… but my close friends call me Ballsy.’ Izzegio chimed in with, ‘Oh well good thing you’re here Ballsy…’ He was interrupted with, ‘Woah woah… my CLOSE friends call me Ballsy.’
  • As you negotiated with Balthazar, he said, ‘Now… I am a city servant, so my services are free for the ’basic’ defense package… but if you want to pay for it, I can upgrade you to my ‘GOLD’ package.’ Darius, err… Captain Charlatan… immediately responded with, ‘I can offer my airship as payment for whatever defense you can give us.’ And so, Balthazar drafted up a contract for you guys to sign. ‘Standard procedure… standard stuff.’
  • You all took turns carefully looking over the document… after all, he’s a DEMON. Darius saw through the document with his Arcana skills, and noticed a few “extra” legal clauses in the document, hidden from view. Things like, failure to pay back the debt on an exponential curve of interest accrual would result in payment in the form of body parts, being forced to go on quests, and of course paying him your mortal soul… standard stuff. Darius, without telling anyone about this, negotiated Balthazar down to the “SILVER” package, which had similar clauses, but they were less severe… and you all signed the contract with drops of blood… have fun later when I decide to make him collect his dues…
  • So the rest of the time was spent planning your defense. Ultimately the church of Zyne is claiming that you are outsiders and terrorists, and they heroically tried to stop you from carrying out your deeds. You are being charged with a litany of charges, including Murder, Arson, Reckless Endangerment, Negligent Homicide, Terrorism, Kidnapping, Vandalism, Disturbing the Peace, etc… along with one very minor charge… THEFT. They claim you stole several “items of religious importance” from their church, including a Holy Symbol, gold, personal affects of a clergy member, and of course a ceremonial magical sword.
  • That’s right… the church of Zyne is planning on using the legal system to LEGALLY steal the sword away from you in court.

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