Strange Aeons

Thrushmoor - Part 2 (unfinished)
The Plot Thickens

To continue their investigations, the party went back to Dena at the Silver Wagon to advise her they had dealt with Elgrior. She thanked you and said she would lift the ban if you decided to stay there again. Rather than do that, the party left and were met by Winter who asked them to come with her to the Sleepless Agency to meet with their leader Cesadia. continued their investigations with Connor heading off to study the Star Stelae, Chesna went to go hunt down one of these murals that are popping up, and Krakrox went off to the local taproom.

Chesna found one of said murals on the side of a house on the west end of town. She determined that it had been placed there by magic, though she was not sure of the precise nature of said magic. She tried to ask the inhabitants of the house about it who seemed afraid of her and when she mentioned the mural, those within seemed convinced they'd been marked by the Briarstone Witch and immediately started running around to pack up. 

Meanwhile, Krakrox joined a dice game that was happening

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In Search of Sanity Part 10 / Thrushmoor - Part 1

The party then continued down the hall to find Zandalus sitting on a pallet with yellow swirls all over his skin. The room he sat in was plastered from floor to ceiling in drawings of forlorn, surreal landscapes. Later inspection revealed that many of the drawings depicted the same city and same monoliths. All of the party had a spark of memory looking at these though they didn't know why. Something about it seemed familiar. 

Zandalus seemed to be being used like a puppet by some other force as words came from his open mouth without him talking and he moved with stunted, jerky movements. The voice claimed that the party should already be dead, and Zandalus proceeded to attack. After slaying Zandalus, yellow mist poured out from his body and eventually coalesced into the physical manifestation of the Tatterman and another battle began. The party narrowly managed to defeat this nightmare and the yellow mists began to recede more fully.

Back down in the cultist's camp, most seemed to forget about the Apostles in Orpiment when they saw the mists recede and the blue sky again. They threw down their weapons and yellow robes and ran for the exit. The party met up with the survivors from the chapel again and Winter thanked them profusely for ending their confinement. With that done, Captain York began ferrying everyone to the mainland, to Thrushmoor specifically.

Once in town, Winter noticed that Krakrox looked sickly. In order to help cure him of the diseases he had contracted, she recommended they go to New Chapel. Upon arriving there, they found that there was a crowd forming around the small house behind the chapel. The crowd was angry and shouting at a man named Lelwyn. They were accusing him of vandalism. They said he was the one who had been painting the eerie murals on the outside walls of various buildings at night. They seemed scared and desperate but not violent. Eventually the party managed to disperse the crowd by promising to find out where the murals are coming from. Lelwyn invited you inside for some tea to thank you. It turned out he was an elven painter who was hired to come to the newly constructed Pharasmin chapel to paint the frescoes there. Lelwyn mentioned that the priestess in charge of the chapel disappeared several days ago. He is now the only one here and has been acting as caretaker while he finishes his work on the paintings. While speaking with him, Chesna noticed an unfinished triptych depicting four figures standing amid an alien cityscape shrouded in yellow mists. The figures' faces were unfinished, but they bore an uncanny resemblance to the PC's. When asked about it Lelwyn looked back and forth between the party and the painting before seemingly realizing something. He seemed surprised and revealed that he had been dreaming about these same four figures for the last several days. The dreams always had them in this alien, yellow tinged city. The only other thing he could remember was this feeling that somehow Thrushmoor's fate would be decided by them. He offered the party a small sum of gold to sit for him so that he could finish the painting and get your features right. 

The next day, the party got Krakrox a potion to remove his disease and spent a little time trading at the apothecary, the blacksmith and eventually at High Mart – the merchant's district in the richer part of town. During this time Krakrox attempted to secure lodgings at the only Inn in town, The Silver Wagon, however when he walked in the proprietor seemed to recognize him and very sternly reminded him that he'd been banned from this establishment. She mentioned that he and his friends (apparently Connor and Chesna) had been banned for an outstanding tab, and for some altercation that took place which had resulted in some broken furniture. Krakrox attempted to smooth things over and she did eventually agree to unban them if they paid the outstanding tab and got rid of the local doomsayer who was scaring away her business. 

When they found the doomsayer, a man named Elgrior, they found him shouting to all the marketplace about how the disappearances were due to the return of the Briarstone Witch and that this was the start of a second vanishing. Questioning him didn't get many clear answers about the disappearances he spoke of, though others around town had confirmed that this part of his ravings was not inaccurate. People have been disappearing, the Count is missing, and the mercenaries at Fort Halicourse have all seemingly deserted. 

The party did eventually convince Elgrior to stop his doomsaying.

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In Search of Sanity - Part 9

The party made their way to the room at the base of the northwest tower where they found a number of ghouls sniffing about looking for something. They charged in and dispatched the ghouls. After this they managed to eventually climb up the broken staircase to the top of the tower where they found a large room overlooking the asylum grounds, with shattered windows letting the yellow fog roll through. At the center of it all, wandering slowly about with a vacant gaze was a man who looked like he once might have been a patient here. He wore the yellow stained robes of the Apostles in Orpiment, but as he slowly trudged around the room, his mouth hung open in a silent scream and sickly yellow fog billowed forth from his mouth. They deduced it to be one of the oneirogens that Wren had spoken of and in short time managed to cut it down. 

Upon doing so, you found that the mist began to retreat from the immediate area and became thinner outside the window. It turned out that Wren's hypothesis about the oneirogens being a key to the mist was likely correct. Thus, the adventurers made their way back to the cultists' camp and spoke with Wren, informing him of what happened. They then trekked back to the chapel to rest while Chesna took the time to continue researching in the Library (see The Briarstone Witch .

After they were fully rested, they went back to the cultists' camp and ventured up into halls that Zandalus was supposed to be hiding out in. As they got to the second floor they found a room with three Apostles playing cards and an old lady sleeping in the corner. A fight ensued wherein the old lady, who you deemed to be serial killer The Bag Lady, nearly beat Krakrox to death.  The party managed to dispatch them all however and then continued on to a large crumbling hall supported by pillars where one wall was completely gone and yellow mist rolled out from the room. On the south wall were a collage of charcoal drawings on the backs of pages of a book. The drawings seemed to have some kind of supernatural effect to them which nearly hypnotized Chesna. Also in the room were 3 more oneirogens which the party again dispatched. 

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In Search of Sanity Part 8

Continuing their investigations of the North eastern hallways, the party were attacked by ghouls who pushed a wall over onto them. They managed to fight the ghouls off. They found another room with several ghouls all clustered around a cage with a weird creature inside of it as well as an apparent survivor strung up to a bed propped against the wall. They managed to kill the ghouls. The thing in the cage escaped and joined the fight. It was identified as an Esipil, a sort of snake/dog aberration not native to this plane. They also freed the survivor who they brought back to the chapel. 

Continuing on, they came to what once was the showers, but now is a gruesome throne for a one-armed ghast. They dispatched these ghouls as well. And that's where we left off. 

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In Search of Sanity Part 7

Continuing their explorations of the western wing. The party ventured into a large sitting room where the found the source of the river of blood they had encountered previously. A woman, apparently dead, with a massive hold blown out of her chest as though it had exploded, sat in a wheel chair with blood endlessly pooling away from her into a river down the hallway. After a few unsuccessful attempts to bypass the river, eventually Krakrox just smashed the old lady into oblivion and the river stopped. Continuing onward, the party found a room of unnatural darkness with something inside that kept screeching out to turn a lantern back on. Chesna deduced that it was the spirit of Debis, Brenton's brother who had been lost in the uprising.  Krakrox ran back to the chapel and convinced Brenton to give him the shadow lantern in return for the  toy knights he had found in their room. The shadow lantern did pierce the darkness of the room where Chesna beheld the tortured undead remains of Debis, who upon touching the lantern cried out in relief and disappeared. 

Further explorations yielded some healing materials and some more cultists that the party struck down. During one fight, Krakrox ran off in a rage through a door to find a massive auditorium/cafeteria style room that appeared to have been turned into a sor of makeshift tribal camp for the cultists. Several cultists came to intercept him, but a man professing to be Doctor Wren Elbourne stepped forth and told everyone that Krakrox and his friends had come to gaze upon the wonder of the orpiment. The Doctor quietly whispered for the party to follow him and they did where he explained that he was a relatively new Doctor at Briarstone and told the party all he knew of the cult: that Zandalus used to be just a quiet artist before this happened but has now convinced everyone he's some sort of prophet that will lead them to the land of dreams, that Zandalus hides out in the remains of the halls upstairs, that some have bought into this creed but most are just scared patients who didn't know what to do, that the crucified people with the bagged heads were victims of Aggra "Bag Lady" Loomis, and that Zandalus' most devoted acolytes he calls oneirogens. Most stay locked upstairs but at least one watches over the northwestern tower. Doctor Elbourne asked you to go and wring what info you could from that one to figure out how to get rid of this awful mist. He offered some healing supplies and indicated he would help how he could, but he is not a fighter. 

From there the party made their way through the kitchen back into the eastern halls where they fought some extraplanar creature that Chesna identified as a Voonith. 

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In Search of Sanity - Part 6

Having concluded that the only way to get to the other wing of the Asylum was to take the garden path out from the sitting room, the party made went back to the temple to rest before venturing forth. That day they also spent some time researching in the Briarstone library and found out some additional info about Briarstone Isle. That night Chesna was awoken by one of the surviving children named Brenton who was having a bout of night terrors. The child was clinging to a Shadow Lantern in his sleep, like it was a teddy bear. Chesna spoke to one of the nurses who was tending him and mentioned that Brenton's brother was also a patient here who got separated in the patient uprising.

The next morning the party made their way outside where they encountered a swarm of baseball sized bugs that looked like a cross between worms and beetles. After dispatching the swarm they started to hear thunder that sounded vaguely like manic laughter. They then made their way into the side entrance of the asylum and found themselves at what appeared to be a receptionist area or maybe a nurse's station. The party was then attacked by large sentient pustules of blood that exploded in bloody filth when attacked. 

Once those were dealt with, they continued on into what turned out to be patient rooms. of the 4 rooms they explored one was collapsed, one held 3 dead figures (2 with yellow robes) where the old man appeared to have bludgeoned the others to death with a sturdy leather boot. The 3rd room held a bed covered in human-shaped carnage where the window had been broken open and yellow mist was spilling into the room. The 4th room was marked in chalk on the walls as "Brenton and Debis's Room", and the only thing of interest found in this room was a pair of carved wooden knights.

Continuing on into the northern halls, the party encountered a collapsed wall and continued past it. Shortly after that as they were inspecting another door, they heard rumbling of rocks and a ghoul appearing to have crawled from the rubble attacked them. 

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In Search of Sanity - Part 5
Answers Lead to More Questions

The party continued their exploration of the offices north of the Asylum's library and found one office with two dead doctors. Each of which appeared to be killed by blows to the back of the skull, and closer examination revealed the appearance of claw marks as though something dug into their skulls. From one of the bodies you took a wand of Bless with a note tied to it indicating that the asylum is a place of science and the doctor should keep his faith at home.

Next door to that office the party followed the hall and found a collapsed section of wall and a door that opened into a conference room. Inside the conference room, two small creatures appearing to be small humans, dripping with formaldehyde, appearing to have been preserved bodies somehow reanimated. Chesna identified them as a type of undead. The party managed to dispatch them without much difficulty. In the closet of that room you found a number of large jars containing brains and spinal cords floating in preserving fluid as well as a "nest" of doctor's coats piled together, along with a dead doctor.

From there the party continued on back to the hall with the remaining offices and in one ruined office they were attacked by a pair of dire rats with a ratling in the back, standing on book shelves firing off spells at them. After a frustrating battle, the party managed to kill the dire rats and nearly killed the ratling before he surrendered. He introduced himself as Ratch, who offered information in return for his life. The party all agreed and he told them all he knew of the  Tatterman. After which he scurried off into the fissure in the floor of that room.

When they went on their way back to the chapel to rest and heal, they spied a man in dirty yellow robes leaving the library. The party gave chase and Krakrox sped ahead, managing to almost catch up. He caught a quick glimpse of this man, appearing to be human, wearing yellow stained sheets like robes who met Krakrox's gaze across the entry hall and put him into a magical sleep. While the party tried to awake Krakrox, the man disappeared out into the mists. Krakrox meanwhile dreamt of the same alien landscape the party had experienced initially. This time the giant creature was more visible and as he reached out to touch Krakrox, he awoke. Chesna was able to identify from his description that the creature matched descriptions of the Tatterman. 

After this the party moved on to the next office which turned out to be a ruined lounge area. The ceiling here had partially collapsed, mostly burying someone in the rubble. They decided not to investigate the body or search this room any further and continued on. 

In the next office the party found a doctor's office filled with a large quantity of grotesque anatomical sketches depicting traumas and deformities of the head and brain. You found a slime trail here which you concluded must be where the things in the conference room came from. Within the office Connor found notes belonging to a Doctor Arosh Chawaar, who was pursuing new treatments for hydrocephalus. The notes also had marginalia from the Doctor's sister Doctor Anya Chawaar of Katheer. The notes include letter back and forth between the two. After perusing these notes, Connor determined that they would likely be of great value to other doctors as it seems like Doctor Chawaar was on to something. Connor gathered up all the notes. 

Then finally at the end of the hall, the party found a door with a placard bearing the name "Doctor Eliege Losandro". Once inside though, they found that the administrator likely would not be of any help as she was kneeling in a pool of her own blood, surrounded by rainbow colored mist that was belching out of her mouth from her upturned face. Her eyes glowing and body unmoving. Chesna identified this as an oneirogen, concluding that the administrator was essentially brain dead and had become a catatonic portal to another plane. The party tried to avoid her while investigating the room as much as possible. After searching through the desks in the room, they discovered a number of charcoal drawings depicting alien cityscapes, eerily similar to the ones seen in their dreams. The drawings were framed and each one had a date in the corner along with the name Ulver Zandalus. Chesna was unable to get into the locked desk drawer, so Krakrox waded through the mist to grab the keys off of the Doctor. He managed to grab the keys, but he fell asleep just as he tried to leave the pool of mist, twice.

In his first dream he was lost in a thick bank of yellow fog as an older man with a white ponytail ran around frantically screaming that you're all lost and will never escape. The man rushed up to Krakrox, shaking him and shouted "What have I done?" over and over as he ran off into the mist, at which point the same creature as before stepped out of the mists, laughed at Krakrox and continued following the older man.  In his second dream he was wandering through a now very familiar cityscape when a wall collapsed near him and a Keleshite woman in veils and bangles and all manner of gaudy jewelry, hands over a crystal ball, spoke to Krakrox and said "Briarstone's mistress draws closer". at which point he woke up. 

With the keys in hand Chesna opened the desk drawer where she found a number of alchemical supplies and talismans, as well as the  Administrator's Journal. Believing that they were the "amnesiacs" mentioned in the journal, the party had found their first clue to who they were and how they ended up here. Chesna and Connor explored the Administrator's private library and found a number of rare medical texts, but nothing else significant to their investigations.

The party then tried to exit via the other door in the office, but found that the hallway beyond was filled floor to ceiling with blood which poured violently out of the now open doorway and threw Krakrox back against the wall. After the deluge subsided, however, the hallway remained filled with blood. It appeared as though there was some invisible wall at the threshold of the door and blood was flowing from the opposite end of the hall to crash into the wall at your end of the hallway. 

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In Search of Sanity - Part 4
Once more into the abyss

Having checked all the adjoining rooms from the entry hall, the party attempted to open the front door to see what it was like outside and if escape might be possible through the mists. Upon opening the door, they noticed that the yellow mist seemed to envelop the entire asylum and they could not see clearly more than 15-20 feet out. Furthermore, ominous shapes loomed in the mist, shadows of impossible things that seemed to shift right before you could grasp it's shape. Before the party could investigate that any further, a giant mass of tumorous flesh shambled it's way out of the mist towards the door. The party acted quickly and slammed the door shut to avoid dealing with whatever that was. 

The party attempted to venture out through the courtyard path at the center of the asylum, only to have Krakrox  be attacked by this winged, faceless demon creature. Chesna managed to down it with a knockout bolt from her hand crossbow, whereupon it was identified as a nightgaunt, and Connor attempted to dissect it only to find that it disintegrated into ash.  They followed along the courtyard path to a garden shed where they found stairs leading down into nothingness. The stairs just ended, the walls kept going and then opened up into a massive abyss. You threw a light down and saw that it fell for at least 200 feet. Not having any reason or means to venture down, the party left this as a big question mark and headed back. 

Having thus decided that the front door was not the easy exit they'd have liked it to be, and hoping to find out more about their forgotten past and identities, they decided further exploration of the asylum was in order. That night as they rested in the chapel, they spoke with Winter who was disappointed to hear that the front door was not the escape she'd hoped it was.  She suggested you seek out the asylum administrator, Elige Losandro, whose office is at the heart of the asylum. Winter suggested that Losandro might know more about who you all are and what's caused all this. Winter also urged that if you find any other survivors to lead them back to the chapel. 

With that done, the party ventured north into a massive library. There they were attacked by 3 rat-like humanoid creatures that chittered angrily at the party and threw books at them. Chesna identified them as ratlings, one of which surrendered when the others were killed. She called herself Genny Two-Tails and mentioned that the earthquakes had destroyed their lairs and they'd fled up here into Briarstone. She mentioned that they were now cut off from their brethren. She then fled and the party took a day to do some research in the library about Briarstone Asylum and island. 

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In Search of Sanity Part 3
Negotiating With Winter

After dragging the unconscious bodies of your friends back to the guards, they helped you get them healed and conscious again and with the bodies of the doppelgangers provided, they ultimately decided to let you past and speak with their leader, Winter Klaczka , a priestess of Pharasma who has taken charge as the leader of this band of survivors. She offered you her aid and what answers she could in return for your assistance in helping out the other Briarstone Survivors in the chapel. You agreed and took to helping with the chores of preparing food, chopping firewood, healing a lad’s broken leg, and helping a nurse get one of the patients to take his medicine.

Winter then sat down with you and advised you of what she knew of the situation. She told you she was a priestess of Pharasma sent to Thrushmoor to investigate why Count Lowls had abandoned his duties, by a Royal Accuser named Omari. Her companions continued on to Thrushmoor while she came to Briarstone, having heard that Lowls had frequent business here. She didn’t know who you were or why you were here. She also informed you that the current state of the asylum was due in part to a revolt, a patient uprising, led by a patient named Ulver Zandalus. She didn’t know much about Ulver other than that he was apparently a quiet patient who suffered from night terrors. He was a poet and an artist whose work was disturbing, but who always seemed peaceful. She doesn’t know why there are doppelgangers and ghouls in the asylum, but apparently the night before the uprising,
many of the patients and staff had nightmares about exactly the same kind of things that are wandering the halls now. She knows that the yellow mist seems to surround the entire asylum and has been blocking their escape. She then pleaded with you to help them find a way to escape. She assured you that the Royal Accusers would reward you well if you helped them get out. She advised you then that beyond the thing growing on the eastern door should be the main entryway to the asylum. She hopes that you can find a way out there.
You then investigated the strange fungal eye growing on the door toward the entry hall. It seemed altogether unnatural, and when Connor tried to scrape off some of the fungus, it lashed out at him and cried out “What have I become?” Eventually you decided to show it a mirror to show it what it was and the thing dissipated.
Beyond the door you came upon the large entry hall. You investigated one room that appeared to have been barricaded from the inside. Within that room you found a number of patients and orderlies dead with bags over their heads and cinched around their necks.
One of you recalled that this was the M.O. of an infamous local serial killer some 30 years ago called “The Bag Lady”, who you surmised might be one of the patients of this asylum.

You also investigated a finely appointed sitting room in which two men lay dead, one on the floor, and one impaled upon the antlers of a deer head mounted on the wall. Both of the bodies wore the yellow stained robes of the cultists you had encountered before. During your investigation, though, a bird cage filled with taxidermy stuffed birds started emitting an ear piercing alarm and Krakrox was lifted up into the air and dropped. You eventually destroyed the cage and the birds inside and the alarm stopped. That done you headed back to the main entryway to re-evaluate your options

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In Search of Sanity - Part 2
Dealing With Doppelgangers

Accepting that it would be best to take the guard captain's deal, you all made your way north through the west wing of Briarstone, seeking the doppelgangers Captain York spoke of. Taking the methodical approach, you went door by door. Through the first door you found the boiler room which seemed inactive and the boilers not running. Under the boiler you saw glowing eyes staring back at you and a pair of dire rats leaped out and attacked you followed by the thing with the glowing eyes which was an odd amalgamation of a monkey and a rat with a face full of small tentacles. You managed to kill them all. Connor took some time to dissect the odd creature and study it. You also found an ongoing light spell under the boiler, which Connor concluded had been cast by the strange rat/monkey thing. 

Once Connor was finished with his studies, you ventured further down the hallway and through the next door you found storage rooms which appeared to have been pretty well looted. You took the time to inspect the area and determined that at the very least it didn't seem like this was an abandoned asylum. It had seen somewhat recent use. And in the northern storage room you found that part of the ceiling and wall had collapsed into rubble and a couple giant centipedes had been hiding out in the rocks. Rather than fight them, you fled the room and barred the door. 

Continuing on up the hallway you then came to a large open area that appeared to have once been a nurse's station or something similar, the ceiling collapse here was more complete, and entirely blocked off the way north. Amid the rubble you found an old woman who claimed to have broken her leg during the collapse and requested your help. You all were very skeptical of her claims and eventually deduced that she was in fact a doppelganger. After slaying her you continued on into the rubble where you found a half-buried corpse whose hands and head seemed to still be moving independent of each other. Leaving that alone, you went through the last open door you could find and found three individuals shackled to pipes along the wall. One of them was already dead and was being gnawed upon by the second which Josiah identified as a ghoul. The third was cowering against the far wall away from the ghoul. 

From the ghoul you managed to determine that he used to be a patient. He doesn't know why or how he became a ghoul and didn't seem too concerned about it. The third man was dressed in an odd makeshift robe that seemed to be made from sheets dyed a dirty yellow. You deduced that he was likely one of the patients as well as he didn't seem capable of saying more than a few different phrases. You killed the ghoul and continued on into the laundry room where you found a couple large tables separated by a sheet hung up across the room. One was piled with bodies. Upon investigation you were attacked by a crazed old woman who you very quickly put down, but who did not seem to be a doppelganger. Another middle aged woman claiming to be a Doctor you found on the other side of the sheets. She said she was attacked by the shapeshifters and brought here and asked for your help. You brought her back to the guards, but when she introduced herself, the guards looked confused. Eventually after one went to speak to their "leader" and returned he said that the Doctor she claimed to be had been found dead yesterday. The "doctor" fled down the hallway and a chase ensued. After a hard fight where half the party nearly died, you eventually cut down the doppelganger and dragged your unconscious friends back to the guards.

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