As you know, it started with a simple dungeon run - get in, get out, grab the treasure. But the dungeon in question in this case - an abandoned Dragon's Lair - was home to another mystery, a magical item trapped in crystal.
Our team, without the knowledge to break open the crystal, set up a meeting at a tavern with a powerful wizard named Torvalt the Timid. Unfortunately Torvalt sent his apprentice, Suth, in his stead, and when kobalds attacked the tavern and set it ablaze, Suth panicked and opened a portal back to back to Torvalt’s camp. Our team all managed to escape through the portal, but Suth, who was attacked by an unexpected additional monster, couldn't quite make it through and was beheaded by the closing portal.
When our team presented the severed head and arms of poor Suth to Torvalt there was no time to mourn. Torvalt informed our team of a critical investigation that he and his secret order of wizards, known as the Natural Order, were undertaking in the forest. Our adventurers agreed to help Torvalt and bravely set off to explore what was described as “a structure that didn't belong.” What they found was a fallen tower, one of the mystical lodestars of old, broken, and toppled.
Fighting many monsters, and adopting a baby Phoenix along the way, our heroes made it through the length of the tower to find a woman webbed and suspended high in the air by spiders. In freeing her she had but one urgent message, leading them over to a broken glass dome at the top of the tower, he extended one trembling finger and said hey, you must get up there, and then they saw it; a glittering tower resting atop the clouds. An active Lodestar.
Part 1: Finding the way is a Nightmare?
The party hurry back to Torvalt's camp. There, Uggo sets Diptha the Sky Child, and Steward of The Fallen Lodestar, down. As her arm touches the ground she begins to weep; Torvalt immediately attends to her as other party members offer help. James questions Diptha about how she came to be where they found her, and she recounts in greater detail a battle of sorts which resulted in the tower falling from the sky, after which she was captured by giant spiders.
Torvalt has divined that the item held in crystal previously given to him by the party is in fact The Secret Keeper's Amulet. He subsequently instructs them in its use and demonstrates it's power by asking the Gods to decide whether to resurrect Suth or not. As the party are deciding how to react to a recently resurrected being, the Amulet flashes and a spectral voice sounds, saying "Leave him to rest!".
Completing any gaps in the party's knowledge of Lodestars, Torvalt explains their purpose in greater detail and mentions that clues to the whereabouts of the ancient Wardens of old, who seem to have been disappearing, may be 'in the sky'. They then decide amongst themselves how best to get up to the active Lodestar previously pointed to by Diptha - Uggo suggests the use of a cannon after Torvalt mentions an explosion that can be amplified by his Potion of Haste. Overhearing that conversation, Diptha chimes in with the suggestion of investigating a herd of wild Pegasi nearby as a way to the clouds, there are now two options; as though a decision has been made from 'elsewhere', the raspy voice from the Amulet speaking the word "Pegasus!" - The Gods of the Amulet have spoken once more.
Uggo apologizes to James for his previously brusque behavior. Fahima is inspired and remembers all she knows about Pegasi; she subsequently asks Diptha about the care of phoenixes and is told that she is special although this makes her feel a little uncomfortable. Lily and Uggo emotionally cement a familial friendship as Uggo adds words to his Orctionary; James examines the evil looking book previously found in his pack.
Out of the game, Jeff reveals Force of Good and Force of Evil cards to the party for the first time and explains their impact on the game.
After a restful night's sleep, the party awake with slightly heavy hearts given the momentous task that precedes them. Following Torvalt's vague directions and with a certain amount of searching through the forest, the team come across the clearing with six horse like creatures. Siv investigates further and sees five of the creatures are white with wings tucked in, folded along their sides, while one is jet black with a fiery mane and is wreathed in smoke. The Pegasi are grazing and enjoying the space, there is also a nondescript divot/ pit to one side. Siv reports his findings to the party and Fahima recognises that the black creature as a Nightmare Pegacorn (aka. Nightmare).
The party decide upon how to handle the encounter with the important things being - keeping the Pegasi on their side while also freeing them from the powers of the Nightmare. The party decide upon and luring the fiend with an illusory animal and snaring it in one of Fahima's conjurations. Things basically go as planned with Siv attempting to feed the Pegasi and James using Awakened Mind to reassure them, although Fahima inexplicably stubs her toe. A baby Pegasus illusion is conjured by Lily, while above them one of the Pegasi is hovering with eyes on the party. This causes the Nightmare to react with an ear-piercing screech which Uggo takes as the signal to rush into the pit. This only increasing the creature's wrath and seems to fluster the other creatures.
Lily lights up the area and then darts out the way. Seeing the plan is not panning out as he had expected, Siv fails to mount the nearest Pegasus. Uggo leaps out of the pit and charges at the Nightmare, but it stamps on both him and Siv. James reassures the Pegasi once more, Lily attempts to charm the Nightmare (because we're fun!) and Siv successfully causes definite damage before out of the way, easily avoiding the invisible snare that remains untripped. The Nightmare vanishes.
The commotion disturbs two of the Pegasi who fly away, Fahima makes contact, Lily comes to Siv's aid who then talks to a Pegasus and attempts to explain their request. Uggo resolutely rubs magic dirt on himself and prepares for action.
The air shimmers and the Nightmare returns, barely missing being trapped by the activated snare. Uggo and his Ancestral Guardians immediately attack it, James gets in a shock attack, and Lily distracts the Nightmare with a song while Siv resolves to strike the creature followed by Uggo. Lily resolutely continues singing and the Nightmare only just avoids her only for James to blast its mind, pulverising the creature.
Part ll: To the Lodestar
Following the fight, Uggo makes an effort to judge how recently the pit was used and James quiets the gathered Pegasi, when out of the underbrush comes a small, sniffing, pinkish creature which Fahima recognises it as a Pigasus. After mentioning Diptha and their honest intentions to get to the active Lodestar for help, the three remaining Pegasi decide to help the heroes, mainly due to a terribly persuasive James. Siv deftly mounts a Pegasus, Lily gets atop the Pigasus, the voice of the Amulet can be heard 'It's name is Hamlet.' Uggo's mount land by his side and he manages to climb upon it. The party ascends into the sky carried by the winged creatures. The Fallen Lodestar, forest and Torvalt's camp pale in the distance as the clouds surround them, suddenly a black shape flies quickly across their path and Siv urges on his mount, 'Twilight', to fly faster and Uggo warns 'Skythighs' about impending danger from the dark, flying which knocks Siv from his mount. Fahima persuades her and James' mount, 'Pidgeon', to fly directly downwards in order to get to a free-falling Siv who is rescued by James. Fahima implores Twilight to come down and pick up Siv. This initially works until Siv fails miserably to hold on to a reign made of rope created by James with Digit's help, the rope then unties. On an absolutely determined Hamlet, Lily manages to grab hold of the loose rope, she moves up towards Siv and ties both him and Twilight together, deftly finishing off with a barrel roll on Hamlet.
The active Lodestar is then revealed to the party as they crest the clouds; it glistens and shines as they had never imagined, especially in comparison with the previous one they encountered. The Pegasi, unsettled by the dark flying creature, set the party down on a metal platform and immediately leave. The only entrance to the tower they see before them is a massive metal door, the party sit the shocked Siv down and he admits feeling guilty for some of his past behaviour and presents Uggo Suth's cloak, Uggo loves cloaks! As the team discuss the situation, a pedestal rises through an opening in the platform and upon it is found a strange box with for finger sized holes. James communicates with Torvalt using the earring to assuage Siv's guilt which had lead him to believe he had been cursed by the mage. A small opening appears in the metal door and an announcement system instructs the party to place their fingers 'into the lock' to 'open the door' in a comic voice. James is the only one to abstain, and both Fahima and Uggo are injured by the strange device; the giant metal door then suddenly unlocks and swings inward. Upon encountering a long hallway filled with all sorts of things, mechanical blue prints on tables, dead creatures, stamped notes seeming to detail experimentation, the party immediately notice an intermittent flash of blue light, accompanied by loud clanging sounds, which illuminates the entire hallway. Siv stealthily makes it to the end of the long room and to the door at the end, he notices obvious changes that have been made to the entrance before him and an unlocked door. The crashing sound accompanied by flashing continues as Siv starts to open the door allowing Meep to investigate the interior a little. James cautions everyone and after Uggo's request for guidance from the God's of the Amulet, a voice advises 'Rest...Rest...' the party then attempts to take things easy which is facilitated by Lily's next song of rest:
They enter the Lodestar, a giant single room with walkways on different floors connected by a massive spiral staircase against the walls. In the centre of the 'room' is the unmistakable presence of a Warden, it is shackled and restrained to the various levels of the tower. Giant shocks of electrical energy pulse from within the Warden's body and seem to be absorbed by ready made additions to the towers inside structure. Mechanical objects and various movements can be seen illuminated by the electrical flashes.
I hope you tune in for the next one!
Songs that appeared in the episode:
"Lily's Fallen Companions song" timestamp (3:28:12)
This is a song of our fallen companions,
The men and the women we've lost along the way.
Though none have been women, I’m sure that will happen,
Here is a song to remember their name
First there was Phil, who began the adventure,
Before he was skewered in the face in a cave
Then poisonous rats all tried to bite us,
unfortunately for them I know none of their names.
We went to the inn where Rhal was the barkeep, Dufo sold perfume and Suth hurried in.
All were attacked by some blood thirsty Kobolds, I’m sure they had names, but I didn’t get them
Dufo and Suth, they died in a portal
Both cut in half on our way to meet Torvalt
Blink Dogs and lizards and spiders oh my!
Guess they all died but none looked in my eyes!
But this is a new addition right now
Nightmare Pegacorn did and then he said goodbye
These are the names of our fallen companions,
Their bodies are gone but their memory remains."