Back to Crag and various routine debriefings etc. New members of WHG introduced.
New mission briefing. Strong wraith glow on map but not near any portal. Looks like at least a day travel but hard to tell as scale not exact at edges of map.
Portal through to ruin in middle of nowhere, abandoned for centuries, any sign of path in entirely wrong direction.
Wilderness treck through woods, crags, rivers etc for a day. Have to camp overnight half way. At 11 pm the player on watch sees a small glow on horizon in direction of travel, just as about to maybe do something about it, sky lights up as massive explosion of light fills the sky from glow point. Moments later, watchman knocked off feet and others sent sprawling out of bed as wave of force hits like a brick wall. Strangely no physical damage noticed but campfire is noticed to flare up and, the most perceptive players swear they saw lightning crackle through for a second.
Next day as travel elemental phenomena seen around. Random fires. Lightning crackles through trees. patches of ice. Gets worse as various elemental phenomena bombard the party. From flocks of flaming birds, to rivers of chaotic ice spires to the very ground rising up into an earthen maze.
Toward afternoon, can see tower on horizon over trees after a while. Pick up very rural road through woods, signs of carts but not many and not often. Leads to small village at base of hill, tower towers over. From break in trees to village can now see top of tower seems to have been blown open as if explosion. Passed not a soul on the road and eerily quiet.
Searching village find signs of something very strange happening to inhabitants. In first buildings – Scorch marks on floor/furniture mainly beds. Burned people shaped holes in bed sheets. Once move further in and see side street, statue of man holding lantern on stick.
Second building, no sign of inhabitants, all nails in walls, cutlery on table melted and running down walls. Third defrosting shards of shattered frozen people scattered around. One room filled with water soaks boots as open door and drains away. Sets of clothes lying entirely unscathed in people type formations in bed and draped over table/chair.
As party approach tower can see rubble strewn around. Bricks, roof slates, lumps of mortar etc. Figures can be seen at tower’s base. Fight with Grigori and Nikolia, two vampires who seem to have been expecting the party though not quite so soon as this.
“[Spit] He said we had two days at least until they would turn up Brother Nikolai. We’ve barely started the clear up. Too busy having our fun.”
“No matter Brother, there are but a handful of them and they shan’t get any further, the tower will hold its secrets for our employers and we will have more entertainment in the meantime.”
Inside tower, fragments of a dark tongue slate type object found. Not put together very well the message can only be translated as:
‘Word ….. Crag …. WHG.
…. planar … communication …. messenger …. will be ….
….. preparations …. abandoned …… ritual …… immediately ….. sacrifice ….. needs be.’
Fight with ghouls in basement. Fight with elemental zombies on upper floor. Find diary of housekeeper.
’Diary of Mungo Bedpan, faithful servant of his Mightiness the Great Wizard Thraxar
Head of small team of servant staff for a reclusive wizard. Mainly keeping the place well stocked and ticking over while his master makes many journeys to unknown destinations for his ‘research’. Seems to never know when he will return and sometimes he comes back pretty worse for wear. Various guest, usually hired to accompany him on his journeys.
Starts getting more interesting toward later entries.
A few weeks ago the master returns from one his journeys clutching an artefact of some kind. Only got brief glimpses but described as orb shaped, but made from geometric flat panels, it glowed with inner light that was always shifting, and would wildly fluctuate in temperature requiring need for it to be handled very carefully. Seems to have abandoned his hat which he was usually never seen parted from in favour of some kind of ‘ensorcelled glowing hood’. Mungo thought it looked quite impressive.
Never the most sociable, the Master withdrew even deeper into his study, rarely calling for even food or water, Mungo became quite concerned for his well being. Flashes of energy would light up the village below from his workshop windows at night.
Visitors start arriving without warning, dark cloaked figures who arrive without warning and never stay long, though the master always seems to expect them and ushers them into his chambers.
Last entry details the arrival of two different visitors, clearly Grigori and Nikolai from the description. Mungo did not take to them at all but was ordered to tend to their needs as they would be ‘making themselves comfortable for a while’. Signs off with mention of the new guests asking very uncomfortable questions about the village below the tower, or rather its villagers. Age, number, compliance, defences…’
The party conclude Thraxar has been possessed by a hood wraith.
Carrying on up the tower the party pass various research rooms, arcane devices recently converted to more necromantic arts. Come to a door which they realise is strongly magically trapped from the other side. Take this as the sign to call it a night and bunk down in the servants quarters. Horrible howls and growls outside in the dark during the night.
Opening door next day, find portal room. Golden pyramids in the centre of the room serve as an arcane focus and everything goes crazy when they are disturbed. Portals start spewing out various elemental energies and a giant demonic arm. The party must wrestle tiny imp-like constructs to recover the pyramids and calm everything down.
Moving on, to the ‘roof’ where the top of the tower has been blown out. Large plinth at centre of ritual circles seems to be centre of devastation. Couple of stone statues come to life and are quickly thrown off the tower by the party’s magic. Find head of Mungo kept alive in a tank of necrotic goo. Before expiring he tells how Thraxar had seemed in a panicked rush and ordered him to help in a ritual which culminated in the orb on the plinth exploding and Mungo being decapitated by flying debris, but his head landing in the tank. Tells how last night while the party slept, Wraiths on dark steeds came down from the sky and collected all the shards of the exploded orb and remains of Thraxar.
The tower starts collapsing and mad dash to outside with walls coming down around them. Escape straight into angry bears who have been elementaly transformed into rocky/earthen creatures.
Searching the tower rubble find three out of four golden pyramids and the plinth that sat at the centre of the ritual. Has cracked open to reveal dozens of stones, each carved with a name. Many of them recognisable as WHG members, including a few members of the current party.
After touring the local area and finding it to be an otherwise dull farming region, the party return to Crag. As part of their debreifing they get the full translation of the slate message:
‘Word from our worm in Crag is a WHG is headed your way. The planar interference forces mundane means of communication so you will not have long once this messenger arrives before they will be on you. Any additional preparations must be abandoned and the ritual must be completed immediately, to the sacrifice of the source if needs be.’