Shattered Star #52: Twisted & Confused

At the end of last session, we left our heroes debating their next course of action. After much to and fro they decided to rest overnight in the ruined tower Sarif had scouted several hours ago.

The Shattered Star


Reaching the tower without incident, the party set about improving and clearing the ground floor of the ruined shell. Their efforts did not go unnoticed. Narfu—keeping watch—while his friends worked or rested saw a strange shadow flowing across the ground toward the ruin. He called a warning, and moments later the creature—quickly identified as a cloaker—reared up and attacked. However, although it had the element of surprise it was quickly despatched.

The balance of the party’s night was uninterrupted, although all the heroes—with the exception of Zainnis—succumbed fully to the strange magical affects cloaking the island.  Nevertheless, the next morning the party now more and more resembling the twisted, hideous villagers of Blackcove continued their investigations of the island.

This time, they couldn’t be distracted and made their way to the square central building they had planned to reach yesterday. Within, they discovered two bathing pools, one of which held a magical suit of banded armour crafted to make the wearer look like an armoured fish. Nearby, hidden in the rubble, they also found a cache of six potions of levitation. Deeper into the ruined building, they found a strange stepped hole—perhaps a well—dropping about 90 ft. down into the island’s bedrock. The steps were choked with rubble, slick with water and generally in very bad repair. However, not to be dissuaded they elected to investigate the hole and reached the bottom without incident. While searching the bottom, Narfu realised an illusion cloaked the floor. With his guidance soon the rest of the party could see through the illusion. The illusion of the stone floor concealed a four-part metal iris. Lengthy investigations into how to open the iris failed and eventually after spending several hours searching the entire building the party retreated to the outside.

With their exploration stymied, they decided instead to search another nearby building and discovered something wondrous. Within, dozens of glowing sphere and globes attached to an intricate clockwork machine whirled through the air. It was obvious this was an ancient observatory of incredible complexity. Karelia determined that to fully understand the device could take days and so the party decided to explore the square tower abutting the building.

Within, they discovered nothing but shattered walls, rubble and a spiral staircase leading up the outer wall. As they searched the area, a dark shadow passed overhead—a shadow created by the flying, ruined upper levels of the tower. The party waited and about ten minutes later the tower passed overhead again.

While some of the party—principally Narfu and Sarif—discussed trying to jump into the ruined tower (because they remembered the lecture they had heard yesterday mentioned spare lens kept in the tower) Karelia and the two paladins decided to return to the main observatory chamber to study the machine further.

As they did so, however, two massive spiders—quickly identified as phase spiders—appear in midair and bit Karelia! Badly injured she staggered back and called for assistance and the rest of the party came running. The spider phased in and out of reality first biting at the paladins and then one seemed to chase Karelia back to where she had retreated for healing. A timely sound burst by Grooble stunned the beast and it was quickly slain. The other, now badly wounded, was driven off. However, the party had not had the fight all their own way; several of them had been injured by strange affects conjured from the orbiting sphere and globes; clearly unless one was paying attention this observatory was a dangerous place and so the party retreated outside.

Baffled, by the things they were discovering, the heroes decided to return to the seven silver pools they had discovered yesterday and listen to the other two lectures; perhaps then they would learn more. However, when they attempted to activate the pools nothing happened. Thaladan pondered aloud whether the pools needed to be recharged in some way and after some careful thought Karelia confirmed they could indeed be recharged, but only by the immersion of a recently slain human of Flan descent…

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Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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