Strange Aeons

In Search of Sanity - Part 1
The Nightmare

As we begin, our four adventurers found themselves in a strange and alien looking city in a labyrinthine maze of crumbling, jagged, stone walls. The architecture defied all laws of physic and magic, and a rolling yellow fog was rushing towards them down the corridor. Within the fog they sensed a presence, and heard the steady pounding of enormous footsteps. 

Having no idea where they were, how they got there, what this thing was, or even who they were, they did the only logical thing and fled. Josiah was the slowest and as the group fled this fog, the yellow tendrils overtook Josiah, and shortly after he disappeared into the mist a wave of blood splattered out of the yellow mist and the blood splattered on the wall, spelling out the word "Help". Wren tried to use an illusion to block the thing's progress while Krakrox stood his ground, intending to try and scare the thing off. He roared into the mist only to be met with an unsettling chuckle. From the other side of the illusory wall, the 2 remaining adventurers, still fleeing saw another geyser of blood splatter over the illusory wall, again splashing on the side of the canyon and spelling out the word "Up". 

Connor dashed off trying to make an evasive maneuver, while Wren hid in an illusion. Ultimately the road that Connor dashed down he encountered the same swirling fog coming at him from that direction and the thing within the mist closed on him. Wren, from his hiding place saw another torrent of blood splatter from around the bend, splashing on the wall above him and spelling out the word "Me".  As Wren hid within the illusion he felt the thundering footsteps coming toward him, and he briefly saw the image of a humanoid figure, at least 12 feet tall with shriveled skin, tattered yellow rags hanging off him that were hard to discern whether they were cloth or tattered remnants of flayed skin, a maw of rows of teeth, and tattered cloth binding any other features on its face. He had just a minute to take this in as his head was parted from his body and in the second or consciousness as his head was parted from his body, he saw the splatter of blood on the wall spell out the word "Wake", completing the message "Wake Up Help Me". 

It was at this point the party all awoke from what they realized was a nightmare to the sound of someone screaming "Wake up! Help me!" Taking a moment to take in their surroundings, they found they were all in cells in some sort of basement or dungeon. Outside the cell a man was bound to a table and a woman with pale skin stretched tight over an angular skeleton walked around him, casually digging a scalpel into his thigh. 

As the party struggled to take in their surroundings, the bound man eventually managed to get a foot loose and kick the woman hard in the back causing her to fly up against the bars of Krakrox's cell who managed to grab ahold of her and wrestle the keys from her. From there he managed to get out of his cell and get the others out of theirs as well as the woman jabbed the scalpel into the man's abdomen and fled the room. 

From the bound man you discovered you were in an asylum called Briarstone. He wasn't sure, but he thought you were patients there. He mentioned something about the whole place going to hell before he passed out, and Josiah confirmed he was dead. The four of you then took stock of your surroundings, realized you barely remembered who you were or how you got here, but you all felt very familiar to each other, and some gut instinct within each of you said that you were important to each other, but none of you could remember why. 

Before you had much time to sort through these thoughts, the man who had been bound and you knew to be dead, started to stir, Josiah identified him as some form of undead who was shambling to life. You decided to flee the room and bar the door behind you. In the next room you found what appeared to be the bottom of a trash chute, but instead of trash, there was a heap of bodies beneath the chute all still rotting and relatively fresh. In this room you discovered your belongings, found that the stairs up and out of this place had caved in, but found that you were able to climb to the top of the pile of bodies and shimmy your way up the trash chute. 

Once there you found yourself exiting into a small room that opened out into a courtyard. Above you the sky looked that same sickly yellow of the nightmare you had awoken from. A single door led into the building. Once inside, you found yourselves in a long hallway. One end of it had been barricaded and several guards had crossbows trained on you and ordered you to stay away. You managed to reason with them enough to keep them from shooting you and from them you determined that they feared that you were shape changers, doppelgangers of a sort. Apparently there were a lot of them in the asylum. They seemed very scared and a bit paranoid to say the least. Eventually Captain York came to the barricade to speak to you, he also seemed skeptical. He was convinced you were probably dopplegangers as well, but he offered that if you came back with 3 doppleganger corpses, then he would believe you and let you into their sanctuary. 

You tried to reason with him some more, but he was very firm on this. It seemed he very much wanted to believe you, but he was not going to let himself do so without proof.  

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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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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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