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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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 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 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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