Shades of Fear

Brain Light 2: Elcatric Boogaloo

Lehane opens the bag to find that the Brain has fully awakened. Five tentacles and two eyes stocks have sprouted out, and he sees that the tendrils are all pressing against its container as if trying to get at the cured meat he has in his pack. Unlike before however, the Brain isn’t trying to invade his mind. It is instead reaching out and projecting feelings of hunger and need.
He has a tense discussion with Tay’a about her mistrust of the Brain, and then enters into a shared mind space with it to find out it’s motives.

He finds himself in a blank white space, the disembodied Brain floating in front of him. After sending out his own thoughts and gaining a sense of its almost subconscious thought processes, Lehane realizes that it is begging for food. It must have sustenance or it will die, not just revert back to its stony stasis. It offers its help to the party if they feed it. Lehane retreats back into the material plane and explains his “conversation” to his friends. While Lup is fairly indifferent, Tay’a insists on ending the Brain’s existance before it can possibly double cross them. Lehane insists on taking the gamble and gives it the cured meat. After it ingests the dried boar, they do feel it project a small piece of something into the back of their minds. They may now use two Sanity before having to roll for a chance of a malady.

They continue on to Valshar, and are met almost at the gate by one of Olog’s men. It seems that he has been kidnapped. He tells the party that he was last seen dealing with some ruffian kids who were sneaking into a Raven’s Talon Mercenary Company safe house. They go to investigate and find that the scuffle took place between Olog and a number of children. Lup finds the Symbol of the encroaching Druid hurriedly hidden out of sight, more than likely by Olog as a act of desperation to leave a clue as to what happened. Lehane finds a familiar dagger with the markings and leather wrappings to signify it belongs to one of the Druid’s children. Not wasting any time, the party makes their way to the alley where they had seen the Druid and children disappear.

The RTMC offers men for support, but the party declines a full unit, asking instead for just a bowman for support. They are used to working as a small unit, and do not want to be hindered by too many troops. They enter through the illusionary wall, and find themselves in a stony dungeon. They make their way through the formulaic dungeon of traps and monsters. Tay’a even relies on the boon granted by the Brain to empower a fire spell to finish off a group of trolls. Finally they reach a room filled with purpley roots and and vines. In the center sits a robed monk in front of a fountain flowing with purple water. A tattoo on his head batched the pendent of the Purple Tree that the children have had embedded in their flesh. He tells them the only way to pass through the next door is to take his “key”. The fight that ensues is tough, and they are caught by surprise when the monk seems to transmute himself into the fountain and then reform from a mass of the purple roots around them. They finally take him down and proceed to the final door…

Beggars, Bears, and Besties??

The party makes it back to the Rag City where Manny gives them a Ratskin Notebook. Inside is a note that they believe The Beggar will strike at The Meat Market, an upscale butchery in the Trade District. They decide to gather some information there before nightfall and find out that there is to be an auction that night for an extremely rare animal for butchering. The party talk to Arocot who procures the funds to get them into the event.

That night the party arrives and is ushered in with a group of wealthy and obnoxious socialites. Lehane makes conversations with one of the butchers and finds out that The Beggar was there that day and had cost them thousands of gold while posing as an employee. The party prepares themselves for what might happen, but none of them are prepared. The Butcher pulls back the curtain from the cage of the animal for auction, but instead reveals The Beggar! He immedietly slinks his way out of the cage, and with a clap, summons a hoard of Meaty Bears that pull and form themselves out of the hanging slabs of meat.

The fight is gruesome, resulting in the The Beggar seemingly frightening the Butcher to death, and the hoard of Meaty Bears eviscerating the terrified patrons. They manage to deliver the killing blow that breaks the magic trapping everyone inside and allows the bouncers to enter and help call the town guard and calm the survivors. As before, the party is escorted back to the Raven’s Talon Mercenary Company camp and are met this time by Arocot. It seems that because the city assumed they were working with the Company, that they were paid according to the contract. Each party member receives 100 gp for their efforts. Arocot then invites them to go with the 100 men going back to Valshar to meet back up with Ra’fel to continue the contract.

A few days into their journey, the party has a vision. When they wake from their dream of an approaching storm, and a water creature on a sea cliff face, they are surprised to find a man standing in their camp. Though they do not recognize him physically, Tay’a has an undeniable feeling that she know him somehow. She is sure of it as he chides them saying things like “Just like old times”. They attack and figure out that he is some sort of undead, able to heal his wounds. As they fight, the man seems to push himself to be able to take the three of them on by himself. However, his straining takes its toll, and he blacks out mid fight. They tie him up and investigate his person. Aside from traveling supplies and a couple of low level magic items, they find rope burns and ligature marks on his neck, that his disheveled appearance is due to the loose dirt he is covered in, and a tattoo in thieves cant identifying him as a member of the Great Crag Honorable Merchants Guild. He soon wakes and begins to needle them. He tries to force his will on them again, and the three of them feel him trying to get in their heads and stir at the memory “glob” Qhek put in them. He offers to “tell them everything, if they just let him in”. When they refuse he starts to struggle and escape his bonds, laughing meniacly, biting, and flailing at them wildly. They decide that they have had enough and both set him on fire and chop him into pieces. The body seems to slump and turn into an inactive corpse as the nearby mercenaries arrive at their camp site.

After the RTMC set a more secure perimeter the party member yet again make camp. As Lehane opens his pack to check on the jarred brain out of curiosity, a powerful blue beam of light shoots out of his pack into the night sky like a beacon.

“Well that’s not good…”

Struggles in Zarash

The party breakfasts with the officers of the Raven’s Talon Mercenary Company the morning after their ordeal at the Lofty Maiden. Arocot tells then that the Company has been hired by the City Watch to help look into and intervene in the monster attacks that have been plaguing the city. When Lehane tries to share with him the journal of the Honorable Merchants Guild member they found at the Lofty Maiden, he hurriedly declines. He tells them that the Company has a current contract with the Guild, and that this item and information he learns about and from it would have to be shared with the Guild were he to actually take possession of it. However, he is able to still take in the information they share about the Guild investigating the attacks as well, and promises to reach out to their contacts to see what they may have found. He tells them in the mean time about what they have learned.

It seems that The Beggar has been seen at or around the locations that have been attacked shortly before the occurrences. While his appearance isn’t always followed by an attack, it appears that the attacks almost always are proceeded by his proximity. They also learn that the creatures that have been attacking the city have been growing increasingly dangerous and vicious. While it started with rats and feral dogs, more wild and chaotic monsters have been appearing. The Company has also figured out that each attack happens the same way. The creatures appear in an established and known business or location. Inns that have been there for years, in the shops of locally cherished merchants, in the cellars of well loved taverns. The victims killed always include the actual residents or owners as well as most other patrons. There are always survivors, and they are always new in town. The monsters somehow appear inside the establishment, then whether they are killed or the survivors flee, the monsters or their corpses just evaporate when the task seems done. The party decides that The Beggar should be their first target, and tells them to search Rag city for any connections because neither they or the City Watch have been able to find him in the city proper.

In Rag City the party realizes that the poor and displaced who live here are taking notes and collecting information on the people that pass on the roads. Eventually they are approached and taken to Manny, the Warforged in charge of the The Eyes. He is willing to give them information on The Beggar if they retrieve the land deed to a contested property on the outskirts of town. The swindler has hidden the papers in an old oak tree on the property because he doesn’t trust its safety in town with The Eyes everywhere.

The party makes their way out to the Slum and find a large hill top with seemingly hundreds of scarecrows surrounding the huge oak tree. As they approach, they are assaulted by animated scarecrows and even the tree itself as they get closer. The battle is intense, and ends when they manage to cut the tree almost in half and the whole field of scarecrows and the oak catch fire. As they return to town they can’t help but be reminded of Canary’s Perch. They accomplished a goal…. but at what cost? The tree was angry, but even told Tay’a in druidic that it couldn’t stop itself. Their fight left the landscape itself chard and ruined. But at least they’re going to get the information they were promised, right?


Ra’fel agrees to work with the party to try to figure out what is happening and to move forward with the contract that he was originally going to sign with Qhek. He sends the party south to the seedy town of Valashar’ak to retrieve one of his Lieutenants, Olog. It seems that the mission will require more men and expertise than what Qhek had been originally implying.

The party meets Sal, the Raven’s Talon Mercenary Company logistics and funds officer on their way out of camp. He asks them to check in on their man in Canary’s Perch on their way south.

The party finds the town under siege by Shadows, and the survivors having locked themselves in the local temple to Moradin. They meet the RTMC soldier, and realize that he and the rest of the survivors are losing their sanity, eating each other for sustinance as to not risk leaving the temple, and praying to either Moradin or possibly Hestor. They make their way through the mines to discover the Foreman, Hestor, serving as a host to the creatures. After defeating the dwarf and investigating the mine, it becomes apparent that the shadows are some sort of product of the mining operation that aimed to produce and harvest Shadow Ore. After emerging from the mine and watching the only survivor throw himself down a mine shaft, they decide to “shut down” the mine. Their precautions and alchemical tinkering result in not just the mine collapsing, but the entire town turning into a rocky graveyard.

The party arrives at Valashar’ak and make their way to the Bossom’s Bottom, a place that Lehane knows to have the type of reputation that Olog likes to find entertainment. Lup dives into the fray of the in-progress bar fight to get to Olog while Lehane and Tay’a go to the bar. Lup eventually crashes and smashes her way to a fight with Olog that gains her a few of his teeth, and the party his cooperation. The pair at the bar catch a purse cutter who begs them to let him go so he can get back to “The Lady”. They turn him loose to attend to their own matters. After they bail several of Olog’s unit commanders out of the local jail, they encounter the gutter rat child again. They learn that he and a large number of children have come under “The Lady’s” care, and notice that they are all wearing strange pendants. Tay’a recognizes the symbol they were as belonging to a long disbanded taboo druid circle. They are further annoyed later when they spot the children and “The Lady” herself watching them. They chase them into a dead end alley and decide to leave the matter . Lehane however wants a little more information about their would be adversaries and visits a local contact from the Honorable Merchants Guild. He finds out that “The Lady” has become a nuisance large enough to warrant outside “help” from other chapters of the guild. It seems that they are loosing a lot of children to her, and they keep hearing stories of the paradise and care she is apparently providing them. Olog instructs the party to travel south to Zarash’ak to meet with more officers of the RTMC at their recruitment and training camp and to pass along the Company Orders.

They are welcomed at the camp and given a proper tour and essentially what amounts to a sales pitch. Lehane wagers a few gold on a “friendly” sparing match between the mercenaries, and ends up losing after watching his chain sword wielding competitor get crushed by his giant maul wielding opponent. They are told to make their way to the Lofty Maiden in the Trade district where the RTMC rents rooms for their guests. On their way through town they decide to stop at an Apothecary to obtain a better suited container for the petrified brain they took from Qhek’s tent. Over the last week, it has seemingly come to life. Growing tentacles and even an eye on a stalk. While trying to transfer the brain into it’s new “unbreakable” container, Lehane is psychically attacked by it. He suddenly recalls the hilarity, despair, and struggles he shared on a mission with Wren. After realizing the brain was effecting him, he forced it out of his head and back into its dormant petrified state in a Battle of Wills.

Their night at the in starts with a greeting by a strange man at the front desk of the Lofty Maiden. After The Beggar is kicked out and the party enjoys a fine meal and retires to their room. Their sleep is interrupted however by an attack on the inn by 3 monstrous creatures. After a grueling fight that saw Lehane almost bitten in half and Lup almost swallowed whole, the party investigates and finds that the rest of guests and even staff of the inn have all been murdered by the creatures. In one room they find the journal and belongings of an Honorable Merchants Guild member. They decipher in his coded journal that he is staying there under orders of the Guild to try to find the source of the growing number of monster attacks in the Trade district, as it is starting to effect some Guild business. The party finally calls the town guard and reports their findings (sans the Guild involvement) and evening’s events. They are told to not leave town for a few days. They make their way to the Raven’s Talon Mercenary Company camp and finally get a good night’s sleep…

Session 1- Freedom

Our adventure begins as the party accompanies their Mind Flayer Master, Qhek, through the Crawling swamp. Their destination is Slug Keep, where Qhek is planning to meet with the leader of the Raven’s Talon Mercenary Company. The party knows that he is planning on hiring the mercenary company to occupy the Gnoll tribes that reside in the hills and woods above the Underdark home of a rival Mind Flayer Cabal.

As the party makes camp on the edge of the swamp, they are attacked! The party hears Qhek scream into their minds to flee. As they look his tent, they several kobolds appear from thin air. As they engage the creatures, a strange Mind Flayer emerges from theMind_Flayer_Flayer.jpg tent. He is taller than most Illithids, and he has two extra tentacles hanging down almost to his knees. Most shockingly, he is carrying the severed head of Qhek! He give a silent command to the kobolds then disappears into thin air.

The party quickly dispatch the lizards and begin to investigate. Through all the commotion, Tay’a comes to realize that none of the other Thralls or monsters in the traveling entourage intervened in the fight. Her search through the nearby swamp reveals unsettling clues. The other Thralls have been “harvested” in an even more gruesome fashion than she has seen before. The beasts and Underdark creatures traveling with them have all either been decapitated or had their throats slit. Inside the tent Lehane and Lup find a bloody scene. The interior has been enchanted to mimic Qhek’slibrary, complete with the ornate throne-like chair he sits atop to ponder his thoughts. But now, what’s left of Qhek’s body has been practically vivisected by blows from powerful tentacles attacks. The contents of the room have been ransacked, and books, scrolls, and alchemical contraptions have been scattered about. Curiously, Qhek’s assassin left both his crystal orb, as well as the small memento he always keeps on the arm of his throne. About the size of a large fist, it looks to be a dried and preserved brain. They also find a secret compartment in the throne containing several diamonds and a map for an out of the way vein of silver. They take the tokens and begin to collect their thoughts.

As they try to decide their next course of action, they hear the familiar sounds of approaching orcs coming from the plains outside of the swamp. The party quickly decides that they are going to flee from the orcs, and continue their way to meet with the RTMC. As they journey, they begin to recall more of their own memories, and even thoughts planted by Qhek. The Mercenaries were to keep the Gnolls busy to starve the Illithids below of their source for brains. The Cabal was going to not only going to take their resources, but harvest the brains of the Illithids as raw material to help create an Elder Brain.

After several days journey they arrive at Slug Keep. Presenting themselves as Qhek’s representatives, they are led to meet Commander Ra’fell. He is displeased that Qhek is not there in person, as was agreed originally when corresponding about a possible contract. Tay’a tries to force a negotiation and even attempts turning into a tiger to intimidate Ra’fel. When this almost escalates to a serious conflict, Lehane steps in and reveals that Qhek is dead, and that they are trying to find out exactly what happened and why. Ra’fel is intrigued by the turn of events and surprised when they offer to possibly hire his company. He is further surprised when Tay’a makes the suggestion that his own men were intended to eventually be prey for hungry Illithids themselves.

It is the first time that they have been free to make their own decisions in years. How will they move forward? Who was the Mind Flayer that took Qhek’s head? Why has the small preserved brain begun to pulse with goo and grow tentacles in the jar they have trapped it in? What is that itch in the back of their minds? Like they can’t quite remember something… but it’s right there. Almost taunting them…

Oh good, you're awake......

The wilds of the Silver Plains are a harsh place. It would be best to get your bearings before setting out. Since Qhek is no longer your master, you need to make sure you have your story straight and your wits about you.

-How and when were you captured? How did the rest of your family/clan die or disappear?
-Did you gain your proficiencies before your Enthrallment, or during?
-How were you treated by Qhek? Were you a favored pet, a scrap picking dog, an errand boy?
-What is a secret you learned from Qhek and how did you learn it? Did he share it as part of a mission? Did you learn it accidentally while he was probing and drinking from your own mind?
-You carry a token from your past that you cannot remember the importance of. What is it?
-What is an irrational fear or obsession that you have developed during your enthrallment? Some sort of broken part of you that you have found can even hinder your daily life in the wrong circumstance.
-What was the first monster you ever defeated by yourself?
-What was something terrible you were forced to do while enthralled? OR, what was something you regret from before your Enthrallment that you did to “get by”?