The Peregrinus Epic Adventure

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Peregrinus Session 1
Dugnai II

We wake up in the ship in the jungle on a strange planet. Largram, Athelstan, Inara, and Samsara decide to adventure out into this world while the others remain on the ship and inspect it more closely. The jungle is dense trees and vines, so Inara climbs up to the top to look around and try to get our bearings. There are mountains off in the distance, but jungle as far as she can see with no sign of civilization.

She climbs down, and then out from the underbrush pop three bionic compys! They are the sizes of large chickens, and they have strangely shaped metal armor around their heads, necks, and chests. Their front arms are short, and they walk on two muscular legs. Their muzzles are elongated, with rows of sharp teeth. We have never seen anything like these creatures before. Inara charged, tripped, and fell face down in the dirt, which sent the compys squawking and then they attacked.

Largram wounds one as Athelstan kills the first one by practically slicing its head off. Samsara stays back as much as possible, calling upon the god of war to aid his teammates in this fight against these hairless, featherless chickens.

Inara gets up and kills the second compy while Athelstan grapples the third compy and traps it. As it struggles, its foot gets caught in its bionic armor and it entangles itself. They have the bionic armor with a sphere on the front, which is an eye that is looking around, focusing and refocusing, until Inara stabs it (the eye) and the compy dies. She got an electrical jolt (like lightning!) but she went ahead and destroyed the other two eyes from the other two compys.

We head in the direction the compys came from, with Athelstan in the lead, Inara behind him, Samsara behind her, and Largram protecting us from the rear.

In front of us out of the jungle appears a much larger, more dangerous lizard with wicked horns along its nose and up its forehead. Its jaws are twice as big as Inara, with teeth as long as our hands. We have never seen such a terrifying beast, and then we notice there is a rider.

Samsara uses Comprehend Languages to learn that his name is Edin, he is a trader, and he is riding a thornmule. He tells us about the trouble in Dalruan, the town he just left, and that one of the packs are messing with nature, altering the ‘chickens’ and the ‘wingless dragons’ (aka dinosaurs!)

We continue heading to Dalruan. The sun rises and sets at random, so no two days or nights are ever the same length. (The first day was about 5 hours long, then the night was 15 hours, then the next day was 5 hours, the next night 2.5, then day 7.5…) As we come to the edge of town, we run into the town guards riding bionic velociraptors who escort us into town. Samsara casts Comprehend Languages again and then performs an interpretive oratory to try to answer the guard’s questions about who we are and what our business is. His name was Lull, and he was very helpful in pointing us towards a tavern.

As we walk through Dalruan, we see dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes, and colors being ridden by bionic and metal clad riders. There are also dinosaurs being used as pack animals, with their owners walking alongside through the market streets. Inara orders a drink, downs it, and then downs Athelstan’s as well. Largram tries his, and Samsara takes a couple of sips and feels poisoned.

Samsara casts Purify on our mugs to better enjoy it and pulls out his inkpen and parchment to begin drawing a crude map of where we are, where we landed, and what we’ve learned so far. A male half elf at another table motions for us to join us. His name is Finway, and Samsara attempts more half-hatched hieroglyphic sign language. We find out that “shabba” means dinosaur—we think—and he is from the Sha-Linn pack. Largram takes the lead in talking to him (after he casts a communication spell) and we confirm what we previously learned about Juster Larker, the leader of the Ewick pack who is messing with nature and using black magic. There are 5 packs of Dalruan, and each pack has its own language, so information brokers are a commodity here.

They used to have dragons on this planet, until the world was ravaged, the dragons were taken, and the lizard kings (dinosaurs) remained with the population. Juster Larker is trying to bring back the old ways by using metal to create the armor on the dinosaurs. When we tell him we came here on a ship, he freaks out and tries to run away.

We follow him, and Athelstan pins him to the wall in the alley while we keep questioning him. Finway thinks we are the “Purifiers” in a prophecy that would return (aka what happened when the world was ravaged the first time.) He tells us how to find Larker, and we let him go, even though both Largram and Inara wanted to stab him at one time or another.

As we travel out of town to go find Larker, we see strange men in dark hoods in a clearing who wave at us, riding red wingless dragons. We camp in the second clearing, Athelstan, Largram, and Inara go compy-hunting and bring one back for Samsara to Purify, and then we eat and rest.

We continue on the road to the Temple of Goldenway, which appears from the outside to be a magnificent, abandoned structure. The outside looks to be made of gold columns surrounded by the skeleton of a very large, menacing dinosaur. As we approach, we see a tiefling cavalier riding a bipedal, horned dinosaur with wicked teeth. Her helmet reflects her mount’s horns, and she carries a bionic trident. Inara on her wolf charges the tiefling cavalier. It attacks back and does some heavy damage to Inara.

Samsara casts Bless from a safe distance back, and Largram and Athelsan attack as well, forcing the tiefling to retreat. Samsara heals Inara, and then we venture inside. There is a large cavern, which we expected, with a great opening in the middle, which we did not. We stick to the edges, seeing catwalk pathways that lead to columns in the middle of the cavern which hold glass tubes. Inside the glass tubes are dead dragons.

Inara and Athelstan are in the lead. Samsara walks cautiously and Largram realizes someone is following us. We turn collectively and gasp in horror. It’s Juster Larker, the “Scholar of the Old Ways”. He tells us he was born human and turned into this. He is a humanoid triceratops dinosaur. His scaly blue skin is rough and mostly covered in armor. Though he has the typical dinosaur snout and razor sharp teeth, he is able to communicate clearly with us. He tells us about the experiments and the dragon tubes used to enhance the Gatherers for the harvest. He takes us down the catwalks to a chamber with Power tubes that distribute energy back to the Collectors.

He tells us he has a special Gathering of Dalruan just for us, the “Purifiers” (he, too, believes our coming was foretold by the prophecy) and he pulls up screens of the town and the surrounding jungle to show us. We see the most fearsome sight yet: the king of the thunder lizards, a Tyrannosaurus Rex, wearing a weaponized bionic helmet with cylinders that spit fire (machine guns) strapped to its shoulders and either side of its jaws.
We ask, then command, him to prove to us the creature is under his command by shutting it down and calling it back, and he pauses the dinosaur’s attack, suspicious of us. The machine gives him a riddle to commence shut down:

Bury deep, pile on stones
My mind will always dig up the bones.

Samsara responds in kind, attempting to reverse the machine’s orders:

Stop the harvest, this is not the Gather.
Ponder through, we would rather.

Larker begins to question whether we really are the Purifiers or not. Largram uses his falchion and Athelstan uses his longsword to convince him otherwise, and he goes down, bleeding. Menawhile, Inara tries to abort the dinosaur, and the machine asks us for the password.

We try and fail several times, and the Gatling-gun T-Rex is JUST about to lay waste to Dalruan when Athelstan solves the riddle! “THOUGHTS” is the correct password, and the creature stops just short of the town.

Then we hear Star-Blind‘s voice communicating with us through the crystals we took from the ship. He has figured out they are communication devices as well as power sources for the ship. Largram figures out where to put the crystals in Larker’s control panel to charge them, so we take his crystals as well as our own.

The T-Rex is still lost in the jungle, so Samsara attempts to command the machine to bring it back:

Return to us, monster large.
We are now the ones in charge.

It roars and we see on the screen that it comes charging full speed for the temple, leaving streaks of fire trails behind it…

…and because it is running straight for our location, we run a safe distance away and watch as the T-Rex crashes into the temple. One of the Gatling guns slices the tiefling cavalier in half, and as we double-time it back to the ship, we hear and feel explosions in the temple behind us.

We can see a smoke plume above the tree line as we get back to the ship, shove the crystals into their power sockets, and tell Star-Blind to beam us out of here. There is a volcano-type explosion from the temple, and the earth cracks as Star-Blind shakily lifts the ship off, veering in different directions, while Inara and Samsara freak out a little bit at what’s happening out the window.

Star-Blind: Oops.
Inara: Get us UP!
Samsara: Yes, yes, without the oops…

He safely pulls us up and away from Dugnai II just as the ground opens up beneath us, billowing steam and lava, and says, “Where to?”

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Peregrinus Session 2
Absalon Station

We are streaking through the galaxy, space, and time with our fearless Star-Blind at the helm…until the ship shakes and streaks and it becomes apparent we need repairs. We enter into the restricted space of Absalon Station and request a two day layover for repairs under the Kuru Empire treaty. They grant our request, we dock, and armed guards arrive to escort Largram, Athelstan, Inara, and Samsara to the station administrator, Ambrus Valsin.

The rest of the group remains aboard the ship.

Valsin wants us to perform four “favors” for him in exchange for the repairs to our ship. He warns us not to embarrass him, since we are from the Kuru Empire and apparently, not highly regarded around here. He also tells us not to kill any innocent people, so we all agree to make sure we have good reason to stab someone.

Our first assignment is to go to a macabre curio shoppe on the docks called The Pickled Imp and meet with the owner, Guaril Karela. He wants us to retrieve a parcel that has been seized out of a nearby warehouse. He tells us his parcel is inside a crate with three crows in a triangle and that we can help ourselves to whatever else is in that crate as payment.

Inara is the first to enter the warehouse. Samsara, Largram, and Athelstan all follow. There is a freight-type ship in the loading/unloading dock, but no one is presently around. Inara finds the crate with the three crows on it.

Suddenly space rats scurry out from under it and attack! Largram charges them, then Athelstan kills one while Inara’s wolf kills another. Samsara took a swing at the rats with his quarterstaff, missed, and shooed them in the others’ direction, where they were easily dispatched.

We looted the crate, took the parcel back to the Pickled Imp, and then headed over to the Temple of the Shining Star to meet with Alista Zadrain. For our second assignment, she bids us to deliver a package of medicine to an orphanage called Auntie Baltwin’s Home for Recovery and speak with the headmistress Gilga Baltwin to ascertain whether we think everything is okay at the orphanage or not. She would rather hear our perceptions, unfettered by the rumors she has heard.

We head over to the orphanage, where there are children playing outside the building quietly. Athelstan talks to Miltus, one of the children who is missing an eye, about life in the orphanage and what it’s like. Miltus tells him Auntie Baltwin gets mad sometimes. Inara tries to talk to a younger child building a dirt castle without much success.

When we go into the headmistress’s office, Athelstan smells liquor and suspects she is drunk. Suspicious, Athelstan and Inara go look around some more while Largram and Samsara converse with the headmistress, trying to question her innocuously without alarming her.

Athelstan finds a warehouse of unused, expired medical supplies that were clearly not being used for the children. He returns to the office and gets Largram, pulling him aside. Samsara barely bats an eyelash that they are whispering in the corner, continuing to engage Auntie Baltwin in conversation, sympathetic to her plight of looking after hundreds of children. Athelstan, Largram, and Inara agree to confront Baltwin. While Athelstan found the medical supplies, Inara found additional children to question, who all reported that “all is good”, but Athelstan is still the most suspicious.

The paladin confronts her, and at first, she tries to resist. She is little match for Athelstan, though, and breaks down and confesses to us that the orphanage has a deal with the black market to buy the supplies (that are supposed to go to the children) in order for the orphanage to have income. Having heard more than enough, Inara knocks Baltwin out with the handle of her axe.

We leave the other administrators in charge of the kids, along with the newest package of medical supplies, and we take the unconscious Baltwin back to Zadrain in the temple. She drifted in and out of consciousness, courtesy of Inara’s axe. Zadrain seemed surprised that we brought the headmistress with us, but nodded knowingly after Athelstan and Largram explained what was happening. She bid us thanks, reassuring us that she would handle Auntie Baltwin personally.

Next we went to the estate of Dramdirt Salhar, one of the more influential families of this area, where we met with the trusted advisor, Amenopheus for our third assignment. He wants us to retrieve the key to the Salhar ancestral vaults, which is in an antechamber.

We follow Amenopheus to the antechamber, and then Inara charges ahead, followed by Samsara, Athelstan, and Largram. Once we get into the room, we see a chest of smooth dark wood with copper banding, a red lacquered chest with ruins in the middle, and a cube of steel. There is also a table with a jar on it and a wicker basket.

The door shuts behind us, and we see a note that says, “Within these chests lies your quest…and your way out.”

Inara and Athelstan start with the red lacquered chest. It’s locked. Athelstan then checks out the wicker basket. He found a blue stone key and a GROWLING three-eyed viper that almost bit him but he slammed the lid JUST in time! Largram looks at the steel case while Inara takes the blue stone key from Athelstan and opens the red lacquered chest.

It’s a series of pulleys and ropes, and a golden key drops about 6 inches out of the (15-foot) ceiling. With minimal discussion and without hesitation, Largram picks up Inara and tosses her toward the key. She grabs it, and he catches her.

Samsara inspects the dark wood/copper chest and figures out it’s an illusion.

Athelstan sees a copper key in the jar on the table. He breaks the jar, yelping angrily as he gets burned by acid. The key dissolves right in front of his eyes. Then Inara opens the steel case with the gold key, narrowly avoiding a trap! We find a wand and a map of the ancestral vaults. Samsara notices there are runes on the wand, but he has become fatigued from being up for a pretty long time and can hardly think straight.

Inara tries the blue stone key and the gold key in the door, but the exit door will not open. Samsara inspects the note on the door while Largram searches every inch of the room for another clue.

We decide that now is as good of a time as any to go ahead and rest, so we sleep in shifts right there in the room. Athelstan prays to Iomedae for guidance while Samsara meditates on the teachings of Gorum. Inara cleaved the viper in the basket, then fed it to her wolf, who was hungry. (Then we all went to sleep.)

Once we are all refreshed and awake, Samsara reads the runes on the wand. It says “Knock.” He knocks on the wand to no avail, and then Athelstan takes the wand from him and uses it to knock on the exit door…which opens!

A servant is waiting on us with a tray of wine, bread, and cheese. Samsara casts Purify on it, just to be sure. We go back to the study to meet Amenopheus and give him the key. He then informs us of our fourth assignment, which is to retrieve an item that was borrowed from the ancestral vaults of Salhar.

This takes us to a townhouse in the Ivy District where we meet Paracountess Dralneen, who takes a shine to Athelstan, even though he Detects Evil from her. She tells us that she is misunderstood as a ‘devil worshipper’. She knows we are there to retrieve the item she borrowed from the ancestral vaults of Salhar, but it is in the other room. She hands Athelstan a silver letter opener and bids us good luck.

We enter into the other room, only to see a devil imp disappear. Largram got it to show itself, and then Inara with her battleaxe and Athelstan (with his enormous shield in one hand and the letter opener in the other) smote the devil imp and we returned the borrowed item, a 7-lock box, to Amenopheus, to back into the Salhar vaults.

Meanwhile Largram and Inara stuff the devil imp’s body in a bag, and we take it back to Karela at the Pickled Imp and sell it to him. As we are heading back to the station administrator’s office to inform him of our success in performing his favors, we are blocked by a large street performance. While we are discussing our options, standing on the sidewalk on the corner of the street, four of the entertainers break out and come taunt us as “Kuru imperial scum.”

The group is a female cleric, a female caster, a rogue with a rapier, and a halfling savage. They challenged us, then attacked! The caster fired Magic Missile at Athelstan while the rapier rogue and the halfling both went after Inara. Largram charged the caster, but she attacked him with Color Spray, knocking him prone.

Athelstan shot his bow at the caster and killed her. Then Inara killed the rogue, until their cleric healed BOTH of them and they were back in the fight! Largram got up and cleaved the caster AND the cleric! Athelstan drew his sword and went after the rogue. His rapier was no match for Iomedae’s warrior, who struck him down where he stood! Inara was taking a lot of damage from all sides, so Samsara healed her with a Cure Light Wounds spell and then moved into position to Channel Energy. The halfling was the only enemy still living, and we had him surrounded. Samsara stepped back far enough so that the burst would reach Athelstan, Largram, and Inara but not the halfling, and he Channeled Energy, giving Inara enough strength to take the savage down! Then we looted the bodies and got escorted back to Valsin’s office, where he deigned to tell us that he wouldn’t ‘condemn’ us for defending ourselves.

Inara was angry and trembling at the implication, causing Athelstan and Samsara to have to hold her back from hacking him with her axe. Meanwhile, Star-Blind was overseeing the repairs on the ship and logging more simulator time to get better at piloting the Peregrinus, and as soon as the repairs were finished, we lifted off.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get very far before the engines shut down and the ship began to drift. Then suddenly we heard the ship, our ship, the Peregrinus, which was a Kuru Imperial Harvester in a fleet of 2,345, make us a proposition…

The ship itself was commanded by the empire to strike us down and harvest our souls for good, but it didn’t. It basically had to fake its own death, so now we are all a bunch of lost rebels and warriors floating around in space.

It told us that it needs our lives, but there is another way to power the ship (besides draining us of life again). It wanted an accord before it would tell us what that ‘other way’ was.

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Peregrinus Session 3
Octantis I

We discuss the ship’s offer some more and agree. It tells us of a planet that was harvested by the Kuru Empire 200 years ago called Octantis, and the ship wants to take us back to the day the Kuru attacked so that we can prevent it.

The days on Octantis are 103 hours long, and the nights are 8 hours long. As Star-Blind lands us in the forest, we get hit by a lightning storm. Inara, Ragini, Mardigan, Largram, Athelstan, and Samsara decide to head toward a town about two miles away. As we make our way carefully through the forest, we can feel eyes tracking our movements. Benaethor is a human ranger—a native of this planet—and he is out hunting food for his town. He tells us that crops don’t grow, magic doesn’t work, and everything is in disrepair and crumbling. The town, Kendai, used to be 5,000 strong until an evil warlord stole the Jade Katana. There are now 300 people left in Kendai. He takes us to Kendai, where we meet Amara Li, the priestess of the temple. She tells us the jade sword is being kept in some ruins about 15 hours away and that Benaethor can guide us to it if we promise to retrieve it and bring it back.

An elderly man (to whom Amara Li bows) tasks Athelstan with bringing the sword back, asking for his sword in good faith. Athelstan kneels and gives the older man his sword, vowing to return with the jade katana to save their people.

We journey to the ruins, and at the base of a gully, looking up, we see a cliff face with a steep slope path up to an iron door. Athelstan and Inara are the first up the slope and begin to inspect the door with Benaethor and Ragini not far behind. Largram and Samsara climb the slope next, and just before Mardigan follows, he sees a human woman buried in the rubble who asks us for help. Taking pity on her, he begins to bandage her wounds when, from the top of the slope, Athelstan Detects Evil coming from her and yells down to Mardigan. He attacks!

Samsara sees this happen, hears Athelstan mention evil, so he turns back and pulls his holy symbol. In the name of Gorum, he Channels Energy to harm undead. Ragini turns back down the slope to smash the undead woman with her hammer, killing her as maggots fall out of her brain.

Largram continued up the slope when Samsara turned back, while Athelstan, Inara, and Benaethor remain at the top of the slope, perusing the way into the cliff. Inara and Athelstan attempt to open the door unsuccessfully, and a gust of wind blows us back one at a time and sends us tumbling back down the slope, one by one.

Even the members of the party at the bottom of the slope get blown back each time Athelstan, Inara, and Ragini tried. They tried attacking the door, which didn’t work, and Ragini intimidated the door very well, but it still wouldn’t open. First Largram then Samsara got blown off their feet and slid down the slope. Next was Benaethor then Mardigan who tumbled gracefully without getting hurt, and then finally Ragini ended up in the valley at the bottom of the slope as well.

And then Athelstan tried the wand AND IT OPENED!!! Samsara healed everyone at the bottom of the slope with a quick burst of Channel Energy from sliding down the slope. Athelstan leads the way with a sunrod and his spare sword. Behind him walks Inara, Benaethor, and Ragini. Largram keeps watch on the corner while we venture into the first room. Samsara stays in the doorway and Mardigan keeps a rear guard watch on the slope.
In the first room we find damaged scrolls and tubes. Athelstan looks at some of the molding trade agreements and shows them to Benaethor. One of them is a contract between the Kendai Royalty, the Li family, and a cult for the warlord to have the lands!

Part of the wall is crushed away, and as we enter into the adjacent room, there is a frog person with a tongue in the corner! Athelstan tries to talk to it. Inara runs up and hits it with her axe, and then it bites Athelstan just before Benaethor sinks an arrow into it and kills it.

The next door (into the hallway) shoots Athelstan with hard jets of water until he knocks on the door with the wand. We see a hallway to the right and a room to the left. Inara runs into the room, and there are skeletons littering the floor as the walls radiate with evil.
Nine skeletons raise up and attack us with rusted longswords, and the fight is on! Our brave fighters are right where they want to be, in the midst of smashing skeletons while Samsara moves around to buff Largram and Benaethor. We slowly work our way through the room, smashing and bashing and Channeling Energy until every last one of those skeletons goes down!

Just as Mardigan kept a watch on the slope before, Inara decides to go back to the entrance and do the same. Athelstan went back to the doorway in the hall, tapped it with the wand, and found a room with black mold and a swarm of giant beetles with sparking fuses! Ragini and Benaethor trailed him and joined the fight.

Unbeknownst to them, Samsara stepped to the corner of the hallway, and three earth elementals made of mud rose up. They advanced quickly, growling and very menacing. Samsara called to the others, “Little help over here!” just as the earth elementals attacked, and Samsara went down hard, bleeding. Largram and Mardigan rush to help, but Samsara is already down.

However, Athelstan and Ragini continued picking off beetles one by one in the side room while Benaethor shoots into the room around them from the hallway. He attempts to shoot another beetle, misses, and falls prone. Then Ragini got a little excited with her hammer and accidentally smashed Athelstan instead of a beetle.

Samsara continues to bleed as Largram and Mardigan fight the earth elementals. They got a lucky hit on Largram and he, too, goes down, bleeding, while Samsara loses consciousness and Mardigan continues to bravely fight them off!

With all of the beetles smashed and the room painted with beetle juice, the rest of the party rushes to our aid and attempts to stabilize Samsara and Largram. Then the earth creatures finally wear down Mardigan and he goes down! With half the party bleeding out onto the dungeon floor and two earth creatures still attacking, Ragini smashes one so hard, it dies from embarrassment!

Then our native guide, Benaethor—who was reluctant to accompany us into the ruins but more reluctant to remain outside alone, who didn’t know how we could use magic in his magic less world, who had to absorb a LOT of new information about his planet, us as aliens, and what we were there to accomplish (saving Octantis from destruction)—Benaethor drew his bow and decisively disentegrated the final earth creature, SAVING US ALL!!!!!!!!!!!

Then it became a race against the clock to stabilize and heal Samsara, Largram, and Mardigan…

Athelstan and Benaethor drag everyone into the beetle room while Ragini finds the healer’s kit in Samsara’s backpack. They are able to stabilize everyone enough to keep us alive, but we are still unconscious. As Samsara slowly wakes up, he reaches for his holy symbol, and in between coughing up blood and a wheezing rattle through his broken nose, Channels Energy twice, enough to heal the others back to consciousness.

We decide it would probably be a good time to rest, so we sleep it off for 8 hours (in the black mold room…covered in beetle juice…) Once everyone is safely back from death’s door, we continue on with our exploration! We find the way out (the front door) And then we head back to the hallway by the entrance with the slope (the back door, where Inara was still waiting) and into a dead end hallway covered in webbing with dead frog people trapped in the webbing. Athelstan takes some oil from Ragini and pours it on the webbing. Just before he can light it, though, a giant spider with horns comes weaving through the webbing straight at us!

Athelstan lights the webbing while Samsara casts Channel Energy, just in case the spider is undead. The spider burns to death in the webbing. We continue back through the dungeon and find another way out (the tunnel) and then we go into a closet-type room with robes, accoutrements, and elements of a cult.

There is another door. Samsara Blesses the party, and then Athelstan knocks on the door with the wand.

It opens.

We see a stone table in the middle of the room with a slain child’s body on it. There are four Kobold acolytes and a priest in robes. The priest begins to laugh and commands the kobolds, “Kill them all”. Then he takes down his hood…

IT IS BUTTONS!!!!!!!!!

Albeit, a younger dark haired Buttons (since we are 200 years in the past) but IT’S BUTTONS!!!!!!!!!!

Without warning, he melts through the floor, but his clothes remain. On the stone table with the child’s body, we see the Jade Katana being used in the ritual, surrounded by ruins. We move in and attack! Athelstan kills the first Kobold; Benaethor and Mardigan do some damage with their longbows.

The walls begin to rumble and shake (not quite pulsing, but close enough that we recognize what is happening).

Largram brings the second Kobold down, Athelstan slices the third, and the fourth gives up, begging for its life in Kobold (that none of us can understand, but we assume that’s what’s happening). Benaethor is having none of it and kills the fourth one as Athelstan picks up the Jade Katana.

Inara comes looking for us as the entire cliff face began to shake and rumble, dislodging pebbles and rocks. We grab her and run out the front door just as the mountain grows spider legs and takes off, disappearing into orbit! The “mountain” was the Kuru ship called the Umbra that was about to harvest the planet Octantis, and as we head back to Kendai, we explain to Benaethor why we really came.

As we come into town, everyone comes running out to greet us and thank us! Benaethor can’t believe his eyes! Crops are growing, people are using magic again, the priests are healing the injured and the sick! We go back to the temple, and Athelstan presents the Li family with the Jade Katana in exchange for his sword back. We then invite Benaethor to come and see the Peregrinus.

When we get back to the ship, Star-Blind, with whom the Peregrinus has been communicating, tells us that we were successful! Then the ship informs us that by altering this moment in history, not only did the Kuru Empire NOT harvest this planet, but we stopped Buttons AND the Cult of the Dragon!!! The takeover and fall of Baldur’s Gate, Faerûn, other worlds, and other home planets never happens!!!

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Peregrinus Forward
(Between Session 3 and Beta Test)

Once upon a time in a galaxy far far away about 200 years in the future…

We were normal people, living normal (enough) lives as mercenaries for the Baldur’s Gate law enforcement group, the Flaming Fist. Then we heard the words that would change our lives forever: " Cult of the Dragon ". It was an evil group who were intent on raising undead dragons to rule the world and worship. It wasn’t enough just to resurrect dracoliches, though. They wanted everything and everyone to be undead. Not just in our world. In your world. In ALL the worlds. They almost succeeded too. We were investigating them, but it was too late. We were on the run when they destroyed almost everything we ever knew. There was one fateful fight in a cemetery, and a noble sacrifice that began us on our journey within the Peregrinus.

Then we learned that the Cult of the Dragon was part of a bigger, more sinister plot. It was so much more than a cult. It was an empire. And it was going to consume EVERY world, every galaxy, everything…unless we put a stop to it. So our ship brought us back in time, here, to this planet, 200 years in the past, to where it all began.

The Jade Katana.

You’ve heard of the Jade Katana, and you know we recovered it from the evil warlord, bringing an end to the famine and plague your planet had been experiencing. What you don’t know is that this was the birthplace of pure evil. His name is Buttons. Don’t be fooled by his innocent, butler appearance. He is evil and undead and evil a couple more times. What you don’t know is that the future as we knew it, no longer exists. Sure, there might still be Cult of the Dragon practitioners out there. We can almost guarantee that there are still bad people doing bad things on all planets, in all worlds.

But we stopped the destruction of the universe as we know it…this time. Buttons did not consume your planet, and then he (and his empire) did not go on to take over the world where our other selves are from. As far as we know, Faerûn exists like our other selves remember it. Baldur’s Gate stands; Waterdeep is intact; and the Flaming Fist goes on. The other planets, the other worlds, were not devoured, harvested, or drained…this time. We wish we could say we have stopped him for good, but we know better now. We have ‘killed’ him before, and we will have to ‘kill’ him again. He is still out there, as is his empire. And they are still seeking to destroy everything.

We have been called to a higher purpose. We are the ones who stand watch. We are the ones called to fight. We are the protectors. We stand between them…and you.

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Peregrinus Beta Test
(Between Forward and Prologue to 4)

12 hours earlier…

The crops are growing steadily, and the village has begun to send out hunting parties again. Benaethor divides his time between his family, hunting, and spending time with us. The villagers have all but lost their shyness around Athelstan, who cannot resist a plea for help, no matter how small. He spends most of his time in the village, while the rest of us remain with the ship in shifts. Star-Blind continues to learn more about the Peregrinus, but we try to encourage him to get out and visit with the inhabitants of this planet also.

Mardigan, Ragini, and Samsara are on shift, spending some downtime outside the ship, when a woman from one of the village’s hunting party stumbles upon us, crying.

“They took my sister!” She wails, explaining to us how they had gotten separated from the hunting party, and then the Scalies came out of nowhere and snatched her. They have demanded to speak with representatives from the village, so she has come to us for help because we are the heroes. Star-Blind is secure in his operations with the ship and agrees to contact some of the others in town while we go to help Marguerite (the woman).

We follow her through the jungle until we come upon a Scaly, a lizard-person who could almost be likened to a more muscular kobold…who happens to be six and a half feet tall. The one we see is leaning against a tree, casually toss a dagger, almost as if he is waiting for us.

Mardigan steps forward, holding his hands up peacefully. “We are here to negotiate the release of the hostage.” He says. The Scaly perks up with interest and demands food from the village’s harvest for the next three years in exchange for the hostage’s life. We cannot promise such a demand, so we counteroffer with letting them live in exchange for the woman.

That’s when we see the second Scaly with a rope tied around his waist that goes up and over the lowest tree branch (about 20 feet up), and from which hangs an unconscious, scantily clad girl. She is headfirst, pointed down, directly over a snarling, menacing wolf.

They demand the village’s food, assuring us they will only take the ‘excess’ and will leave the village with enough to feed themselves, but we know that putting the villagers at a disadvantage with the other species on their planet just as they are beginning to reestablish themselves would be a disservice.

Samsara whispers a blessing in the name of Gorum, and Mardigan lets fly an arrow directly into the shoulder of the negotiator, pinning him to the tree. As he goes to pull the arrow out, the Scaly with the rope throws his spear at the ranger. Too late, Mardigan moves, and the spear lodges itself deep into the bone marrow of his thigh. The girl drops about 4 feet, swaying dangerously from the rope.

Snarling and smelling blood, the wolf charges, but Mardigan successfully dodges. Ragini, with one valiant swing of her sword, separates the wolf’s head from his shoulders. Bypassing both of them, Samsara knows they have to get to the girl before she falls much farther. He runs up to the Scaly who just unpinned himself from the tree and swings the end of his quarterstaff, but the large lizard is faster than he anticipated. Hands shaking, Mardigan dislodges the spear from his leg and retrieves bindings from his pack.

The Scaly removes Mardigan’s arrow from his shoulder and plunges it into Samsara’s, forcing him to stagger back a couple of steps. The other Scaly moves back, still holding the rope, and fumbles in his pack for a small cylindrical object. Ragini picks up the head of the wolf and runs threateningly towards the Scalies. “This is you!” She screams, throwing the severed head at them, and places herself directly beneath the unconscious hostage.

Mardigan quickly bandages his leg, pulling it tightly to stop the bleeding. Samsara looks down at the arrow sticking out of his shoulder, feeling feverish and queasy as he watches the Scaly’s blue blood mix with his own. Lightheaded, he stumbles out of range and pulls the arrow out, but before he can cast or close the wound, a stray arrow from Mardigan embeds itself through his shoulder in the other direction, knocking him prone and unconscious.

Mardigan curses heartily but sees that his line of sight is clear and takes another shot at the Scaly. The Scaly hisses as it is penetrated with an arrow and goes down, and then the second Scaly releases his hold on the rope. Ragini braces herself, controlling the unconscious girl’s plummet to the ground, turning just in the nick of time to avoid a blow from the Scaly. She comes back up swinging and takes down the second one.

Ragini makes sure the girl is still breathing before she runs to Samsara. There is already a sizeable pool of blood leaking out from underneath the half Orc’s body, and she rifles frantically through his pack to find his healer’s kit. As Mardigan tries to make sense of it, she makes a beeline for the second Scaly, snatching up a vial of green liquid that he had previously dropped.

Watching the feverish beads of sweat collect on Samsara’s forhead, Ragini knows there isn’t much time before he will bleed out or die from infection. Mardigan tosses the remnants of the healer’s kit aside and helps prop the unconscious cleric up as Ragini pours the contents down Samsara’s throat in a desperate bid.

Long moments tick by, and then Mardigan notices the bleeding is slowing, and Ragini cheers as Samsara’s eyelids flutter. He regains consciousness, touching a hand to his shoulder, wincing as it comes away sticky, still covered in blue blood.

“Channel…Energy…burst…” he mumbles, and Mardigan leans closer to hear him. “Drag…me…away from them…heal you…me…her…not them…” Ragini goes to get the girl, who barely weighs anything, while Mardigan, injured leg and all, gathers up the edges of Samsara’s cloak and helps half-drag him as he crawls away from the wounded Scalies.

He flops down onto his back, wheezing, and with a trembling hand, holds up his holy symbol, invoking the healing name of Gorum, which knits their wounds back together, staunches the blood flow, and kills any infections. Marguerite’s sister wakes up, and Marguerite runs to her, helping Ragini untie her, and they embrace tearfully, thanking us profusely.

We escort them back to the village, where one of the merchants motions for us to wait. The merchant comes back and reverently hands Mardigan a large, cloth-wrapped package. When he opens it, he finds the first magical item crafted in 500 years. The villagers have given him 10 sleep arrows, and he humbly nods, choked with gratitude.

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Prologue to Session 4
(Between Beta Test and Session 4)

It has been a full Faerûn week since you brought the Jade Katana back to the people of Kendai, and you have enjoyed the peaceful moment of needed relaxation. The food of the planet is has a natural sweetness to it, and you find the people are a trusting society. Benaethor’s family has enjoyed a reputation as “lucky”. Their businesses now thrive.

Athelstan has been approached by the town leaders on several occasions to join their township. An offer shared by it citizens. Shop makers have adorned Athelstan with a fine set of native clothing that fills an average sized chest.

The crew of the Peregrinus have won, the plans of the Kuru Empire have been defeated not only on this planet of Octantis, but on their home world of Faerûn. The evil Buttons has been defeated, and exiled from the Empire. He now travels the cosmos in his massive ship the Umbra.

All is well.

Just before a sleep cycle, the people of Kendai have came back from their first successful hunt in years. Each carries a downed wart hog. You question eating a pig with scales, and a mandible on its face. After some goading by the citizens, you delight in the sweet flavor of the meat, which is cooked in honey with what looks like almonds. The ceremony begins to shift into high gear when for the first time in years the entire town begins to dance to the beat of the hunters drums.

Through the crowd, you see your friend Star-Blind. He is moving as fast as he can, apologizing as he bumps into excited dancers. His face is covered in perspiration, and you summarize he must have run the entire way from the ship where he has been spending his nights learning its functions. After some time, you see him clear enough that the look on his face brings you to your feet.

Breaking free of the crowd, he slows as he approaches the long dining table. He pushes some roasted pheasant aside, and lays down his personal communication crystal on the hard oaken table. In the heart of the crystal springs forth a see through illusion representation of the stars the size of a shield just overhead. The familiar voice of the Peregrinus comes from each of your personal communication crystals directly into your head.

It says, "A distress call has came to my attention from Administrator Eusseph Ramas of The Agon Minestry Complex on the fourth planet of the neighboring Balha system. This planet [Balha IV] is a terraformed haven for only one religious colony, and my records show it has less than 700 citizens at present. The signal is limited, stating they are under attack. Their shielding has been breached, and the electromagnetic storms have begun destroying their shelters. Their signal isn’t strong enough to make the more civilized outlining systems. We are the only one hearing their plea."

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Peregrinus Session 4
Balha IV

During the transmission, a dwarven monk is sitting at a nearby table, just down from a newlywed halfling couple. The unfamiliar voice catches all of their ears. They turn and see a projection of space, a black backdrop dotted with twinkling lights and swirling cloud-like formations. As we listen, growing more concerned about the distress call, the male halfling climbs onto the table, batting at the projection itself. His hand passes through empty air, and as soon as it finishes, we pick up our crystal communicators.

Samsara puts a cloth into Star-Blind’s hands for him to wipe the perspiration from his face while shooting looks at the others not to alarm the crowd if we can help it. He, however, puts down the remainder of his wart hog leg and subtly begins to adjust his gear, ready to try to head back to the ship as soon as possible without causing the townspeople to panic or question us.

The leader of Kendai approaches us, looking calmer than what we expected, and bids us farewell, since we are gathering our belongings and preparing to step away from the table. He thanks us for saving their planet and restoring the magic, and in return, he offers several able-bodied individuals from the town to accompany us.

We accept, and along with Benaethor, we meet Java and Kiri Goodbarrel, the newlywed halfling couple, and Bu’Kin Hammerfist, the dwarven monk. We head hastily for the ship, trying to explain to the newcomers what to expect, but there are some things that defied even our explanation.

Star-Blind takes the command chair while Mardigan sits in the gunner’s chair, wryly displacing Java, who is wide-eyed and fascinated with all of the buttons, levers, and blinking lights. He rushes from console to console, followed by his wife Kiri who taps his hand or nudges his shoulder before he can touch anything that may be dangerous. Everyone else takes the sensor chairs, and the Peregrinus prepares for takeoff.

Our stomachs begin to churn as we look at the main view screen as Octantis quickly moves away from us. Java is plastered to the window while Kiri hangs onto the arms of her seat for dear life. Bu’Kin sways with the ship, trying to appear unaffected. As Star-Blind prepares the coordinates for a Jump Drive to the Balha system, the panels on the screens around our seats light up, giving us interface with the sensors.

In front of the ship, a white portal of swirling light opens up, and Star-Blind takes us into it. The jump itself is jarring, and we feel stretched thin, bunched tight, pulled apart, and pushed back together all at once, until we suddenly arrive on the outer edge of the planet Balha IV. Kiri and Java are wide-eyed with wonderment. Bu’Kin shows no emotion, though he has never seen anything quite like it either.

The disembodied voice of the Peregrinus give us a sensor update.

“Conditions of the planet will make landing problematic. The electromagnetic storms on the planet never stop. The planet has a thick fog base, which produces an electromagnetic charge that constantly shoots bolts of lightening up to the atmosphere, acting as a natural artillery battery. The colony below has radiation and magnetic shielding. If that shielding isn’t operational, making it back out of the atmosphere will present a danger that could destroy the ship. The Complex is armed with 3 Laser cannons, range unknown.”

We look at each other in alarm, and then we hear a communication attempt from below.

“This is, (static and cutting out) operations manager of the Agon Minestry Complex! We are under attack! (static and cutting out) people dead, we have dozens injured! Please help us!”

Largram pushes the transmission button on his communication sensor panel, but the connection is distorted.

“I can barely make out your transmission. I’m locking onto your ships with our (static and cutting out), and we will (static and cutting out) the (static and cutting out) if you descend.” (static and transmission lost)

We are concerned and cautious, but we make the decision to land. Some grab for the seat belts right away and click them into place. The ship’s thrusters kick into action, and it begins to descend into the atmosphere. The stillness of space is broken as suddenly the ship makes contact with the atmosphere. We can feel the turbulence of the alien atmosphere testing not only the stabilizers of the Peregrinus, but our ability to keep from throwing up.

The main display shows the deadly atmospheric light display, and the ship is dancing between the glimpses of this planet’s rage. The Peregrinus pitches forward and darts towards the blip on the sensors that represents the Agon Minestry Complex.

We are all frozen in terror as the air turns electric. Our skin crawls, and the hairs on the backs of our necks prickle as the ship is hit by lightning, causing everything to shudder and rumble and creak as if it is coming apart. Star-Blind learns the pattern of the electrical attacks, deftly beginning to dodge. He yells at us to ‘fasten our seatbelts’ and everyone who wasn’t previously wearing one, even Java, clicks theirs into place just as Star-Blind barrel-rolls the ship to evade a particularly deadly lightning strike. The ship is hit three times, and then we are near enough to the surface that the malevolence calms, and we land.

Star-Blind navigates to the landing platform at the bottom of a mountain. The lightening stops flashing; there are no more strikes near us. The complex seems to have a shielding that shelters the Peregrinus from lightning strikes.

We hear the ship give us the planetary analysis:

“Sensor analysis complete. Atomospheric conditions are conducive to normal breathing; no suits will be needed while under this protective dome. Outside atomosphere is 59.75% sulfur dioxide, 22.2% argon, 18.1% oxygen, and with a remainder of unidentified trace elements. Exposure to the outside atmosphere will result in death after one Stellar Day.

Effects of atmosphere will be respiratory issues in the first two hours, and an eventual closure of airways after 24 hours. Gravity is .78 of normal. Planetary rotation is 12.14 hours, with daylight lasting 4 hours. Temperature is currently negative 15 degrees Fahrenheit; at night it will drop to negative 74.”

We are less than thrilled. While we discuss the implications of this new information, Largram, Corliss, Bu’Kin, and Samsara go to search for winter snow suits for the group. Java sees someone walking up to the ship and informs Star-Blind, who uses the ship’s intercom to make contact. He holds his hand up in greeting. As Star-Blind goes to open the hatch, Ragani hides near the door, just in case he is hostile.

The man walks up the ramp and introduces himself as Stinez. He was the first hunter on the monastery complex, and he is here to escort us to the administrator, who sent out the distress call we are answering. We layer on winter clothing and follow him out into the strange new atmosphere.

He points out the Agon Ministry Complex; the monastery is built into the cliff face. There is thick, dense fog above and below, and we quickly realize the trepidation of wandering off the path: the edges of the cliff are unforgiving to missteps. He also warns us that it is easy to become disoriented by the fog for those who are not used to it.

Ragani and Bu’Kin flank Stinez in the lead up the mountain, discussing the monastery. Star-Blind (our blind oracle) is tied to Largram as a precaution with Corliss on the other side; Samsara and Mardigan followed them carefully as Java and Kiri keep close for protection.

After a good couple of hours of hiking, suddenly an evil alien turkey (or four) appears, hovering on the sides of the path over empty space. Mardigan asks Stinez, and he calls them ‘flying devils’, better known on this planet as lightning devil birds. Mardigan and Corliss both shoot their bows, but we are not used to their maneuvering, and both arrows go awry. Ragani taunts the turkeys while Samsara calls upon the powers of Gorum to Bless the group in the face of these devil fowl.

Mardigan and Kiri hear a screech from the lightning birds and are shaken to their core, feeling a sense of impending doom. Though her hands are trembling, Kiri manages to pluck her lyre and inspire courage into the group. Largram shoots the fourth turkey, and it falls into the ravine next to the path, dead. Java and Ragani pick up rocks to throw at the hovering birds while Star-Blind commands one of the devil birds to “fall”. As it lands, the other two still living fly away as Largram attacks the downed bird with his falchion. Bu’Kin strips the body, but the meat smells like death.

Seeing no other threats, we continue on to arrive at the doors of the monastery, large and imposing but open. As we walk through the heavy wooden double doors, we immediately notice the smell of old books. They are musty with a hint of age. There are rows and rows of books, so many we can’t even see them all from the main aisle. The ceiling is intricate, and the carpet is worn from many feet walking these halls of knowledge. There is a podium with a book open, and Ragani pauses to examine it, appreciating the artwork and calligraphy.

Stinez takes off his coat, and throws it over the bust that stands in the hallway. He says, “Alright, follow me and we can get this all sorted out.” He begins to walk down the hallway. Awestruck, Ragani, Java, and Kiri stay behind to marvel at the books in the monastery library and find several encyclopedias of different planets. After remaining behind for several moments, they scramble to catch up to the rest of the group.

Everyone else follows Stinez immediately from the hallway, climbing the stairs and passing many doors until finally he comes to one with a silver plaque that reads, “Enter with an open mind”.

We enter a large barren room. Two small writing tables sit in the corner. Through the windows we can see to the outside, and nighttime has fallen. In opposition to the magnificence of the hallway library, this room has no decorations. In the corner with his back to the door is a human looking man dressed in robes. Stinez clears his throat and says, “Here they are.” He walks to a wall and begins to lean, looking to the ground.

The robed man turns, and we try not to recoil viscerally at his misshapen face and abnormally large features. He says, “Greetings! I’m Administrator Eusseph Ramas. I’m assuming you came in answer to our distress call?”

We respond in the affirmative.

“We have had… an unfortunate event. One of the visitors to our peaceful monastery had a mental break of some seriousness. He killed three of our brotherhood and one visitor. Of course we are unprepared for this level of violence. Weapons are discouraged. We have nothing of value. The closest thing to security we have is Stinez, who holds the position as first hunter and guide. Our monks and visitors have hidden themselves in their rooms, locked the doors, and barricaded themselves in. I cannot say I blame them.”

We inquire as to who he is and who he killed.

Administrator Ramas tells us, “The brother in charge of welcoming guests was killed in his first assault. Between Stinez and I, we have been able to figure out who he is: ex military, well armed, and we have found out his name, Aryne Homes.”

He goes on to explain the deceased. “We lost three good monks. Ruce Perray was in the brother in charge of welcoming guests. Andold Cleray was the groundskeeper, and Kenne Manes was an elven monk and one of our oldest residents. We also lost a visitor named Hardy Powils, who had just arrived on the last shuttle. We know very little about him. It seems Homes smuggled in a laser pistol and waited until everyone was enjoying lunch to begin his bloody rampage. He came in the monastery dining area and opened fire. Poor Hardy Powils nearly disarmed him but took a knife to the chest for his trouble. By the time the monks gathered themselves, he fled to the roof. He killed Perray and the patriarch Manes. A few hours later he killed Cleray, who was accompanying Stinez in a search. ”

We inquire as to where the madman is, at present. Ramas says, “We do not know where he is. He could be outside, inside, all we know is he is dangerous.” We ask how long this has been going on, and he tells us, “This started hours before we sent out the distress call.”

We ask the administrator what, specifically, he wants us to do about this situation.

He says, “Stinez has been camping out near the landing pad in hopes that a ship would hear our plea. We have a lightening shelter at the base of the mountain. We want you to escort our remaining monks, along with Stinez and myself, down the mountain. Once we are secure, we ask that you come back to the monastery and capture this unfortunate if possible. In two weeks we can hand him over to the next shuttle. It would be a crime against science and knowledge to simply leave this library for him to possible destroy valuable works. We can pay you handsomely for this courtesy. Our donations have given us a sizable trust. We can offer 10,000 credits apiece, and a bonus of another 20,000 if you can bring Homes in alive.”

After more dialogue and discussion, the Administrator explains a shuttle arrives every two weeks, bringing scholars who come to Balha IV to learn more about the universe. Some arrive, some leave, and some stay, requesting and receiving information from the vast library maintained and supported by the monastery. The next shuttle is due in one week and five days.

The shuttle from two days ago brought two visitors: Hardy Powils and Aryne Homes. He describes to us again the horrific events of the murders and tells us the bodies have been taken to the dining area for the time being.

We agree.

Hoisting his belongings up on his back, Ramas says, “Thank you! Please escort Stinez and me to the monastery main entrance. If some of you will go back in with Stinez, you can escort the monks to the entrance. They are in three separate rooms with a total head count of 45. I will stay at the entrance with some of your people. The monks will feel safer if they see me there.”

Star-Blind, Ragani, and Mardigan wait at the entrance with the Administrator while Largram, Java, Kiri, Bu’Kin, Corliss, and Samsara go with Stinez room by room to evacuate the monks and provide them safe passage to the entrance.

After hours of travel down the mountain path with constant lightning strikes around us, we arrive with the monks at the mouth of the lightening shelter just as the night fades and it begins to get brighter around us. It appears to resemble the mouth of a cave.

Ramas says, “Our order used this cave when we first crash landed on this planet 512 years ago. We transferred our cargo here, and it was two years before we were rescued. We made a connection with the land, and eventually we afforded a magnetic shield, and built the monastery dedicated to contemplation, open to all religions, to gain an understanding of other worlds. It is ironic that what we now must shield ourselves from is the storm of a broken humanity. We suspect he is damaged from whatever military war he was involved in. Do you think there is any chance you can take him…”

Suddenly we hear a “ROOOOOAAARRR!!” and the rest of Ramas’ sentence is lost as a large, furry alien-looking bear creature lumbers out of the cave. There is a tattoo of concentric circles on its muscular shoulder; it has wicked claws and teeth. Ragani hits it with her warhammer while Bu’Kin uses Flurry of Blows to weaken it.

Corliss, in her haste, shoots at the creature with her composite longbow but misaims and sticks Ragani instead. Samsara calls down a Blessing upon our allies just as the lightning bear swipes at Bu’Kin with its claws, and he goes down hard, bleeding. Next it turns to Ragani, swiping her as well, just as Mardigan shoots a solid hit.

Java climbs up the side of the mountain next to our path to wait for the opportune moment as Star-Blind Stuns the bear. Kiri inspires courage with her song, safely back out of the way, and Largram swings at the lightning bear also.

Ragani, with no attention to her bleeding claw marks, swings her warhammer and bravely smashes the lightning bear again as Corliss steps over Bu’Kin’s prone form to take a better aim and fire at the creature again. Bu’Kin has a brush with death, and for a moment, he stops breathing. Samsara raises his holy symbol and Channels Energy to blast healing to our group while Mardigan shoots at the lightning bear, missing both the creature and Ragani by inches.

Java takes advantage of the lightning bear’s stunned nature to jump down from the cliff, grab Bu’Kin’s prone form, and drag him back, away from it. Star-Blind holds his hands over the dwarven monk, casting Cure Light Wounds as Largram misses his second slice with the falchion. In the face of blood and terror, Kiri maintains her composure and continues her courageous and inspirational song.

Panting and sweating, Ragani smashes the lightning bear one last time with her warhammer as Corliss takes it down for good with an arrow. Samsara and Star-Blind set about healing everyone who needs it, especially Bu’Kin, while Corliss and Largram go to scout the cave. They find a Masterwork greataxe, Masterwork scale mail armor, agate, hematite, quartz, onyx, rhodonite, and a shell. They also find five credit pens, though we do not have the means to identify how many credits they hold.

Both Stinez and the Administrator thank us as the monks shuffle into the cave and head down to the lightning shelter. We have a quick discussion about whether we should go back to the monastery right away to look for Homes or if we should rest and recharge.

We end up deciding to head back to the ship, since we are already down the mountain and night is falling again (as the daylight here is considerably shorter than we are used to). We are able to rest deeply as well as leave the items on the ship.

As the sun rises, we wake feeling refreshed and determined. We head back up the path to the monastery. As we approach the monastery, we can see the immense double doors are now closed, whereas we had left them open during the evacuation. Star-Blind attempts to open them, and we discover they have been locked from the inside.

Java slips to the front of the group and sets to work picking the lock. He peeks inside and sees the library as before. However, there are a multitude of monks crouched behind the different pews and shelves, including one who matches the physical description of Homes.

He yells, “Take another step and we will fry you!” Java can see the laser pistol he is brandishing. Homes accuses us of the massacres yesterday, and we deny, explaining our movements from the time we landed at the base of the mountain up to now.

Mardigan, Corliss, Star-Blind, and Bu’Kin can hear a murmuring of voices inside, and footsteps come towards us as we stand outside the door, confused. A bald monk with a beard opens the door and introduces himself as Boris.

As we enter cautiously, we see approximately 20 more monks rise from their hiding places. They regard us with the same level of wariness, only these people look like they’ve been through hell. We explain ourselves to Boris and Homes, and they exchange grim looks. Something feels very, very wrong.

Boris slides a bookshelf away from the wall, revealing a concealed door, and we follow him through a passage into the dining area. He shows us the bodies of the monks, as described to us by the Administrator, between 30 and 40 in all. Upon inspection of the bodies, we see signs of prolonged torture, and the story told to us by Stinez and the Administrator is not supported by the evidence in front of our eyes.

Homes and Boris point out to us the bodies of Stinez and the real Administrator Eusseph Ramas, who look nothing like the individuals we met previously. They tell us about how a monk named Binson was the one who attacked the monastery, including torturing the eldest elven monk, Kenne Manes. Upon description, Homes and Boris gravely inform us it sounds as though Binson posed as Administrator Ramas.

When we tell him of the evacuation and the defeat of the bear creature outside the cave, Homes and Boris are deeply disturbed. The creature was Kani the Lightning Bear, they explain, and there is an artifact of great power hidden deep inside the cave. She was the protector of the artifact, keeping it from falling into the wrong hands (like Binson).

And we have just slayed her and ensured safe passage for the bad guys. What have we done?!

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Peregrinus Session 5
Balha IV/Elemental Plane of Air

As we stand in the dining area of the monastery, having just learned from Homes and Boris that Binson impersonated the deceased Administrator with his henchman, faux Stinez, and that we had just given them safe passage to the lightning cave, we are stunned into silence at this revelation. A break in the conversation happens suddenly as each of our personal crystals come alive, work their way out of our control, and levitates in front of our faces. They tell us the Peregrinus has been compromised and boarded by intruders.

Intruder AlertIntruder AlertThe Peregrinus has been boarded. Crew is unconscious. Harvester engine activated. My defensive systems are offline, engines offline, warningsystem are being hackedSecurity override in progress

Without a second thought, Ragani takes off towards the ship. Java and Kiri assist in guiding Star-Blind, and we make our way back down the mountain as quickly as possible. Upon reaching the Peregrinus, she sees the ship’s ramp is lowered, open and unguarded. Athelstan lies on the deck, unconscious and beaten. Bu’Kin and Mardigan check around the outside of the ship while Ragani heads straight inside, followed by Largram. The rest of the group follows, moving slowly in horror and shock, and we find Benaethor crumpled in a corner along with Inara slumped over the pilot’s seat console. Both have been stunned with lightning.

Star-Blind casts Stabilize on Athelstan, and Samsara Channels Energy to heal them. Though conscious, Athelstan’s jaw has been broken. Haltingly, Benaethor tells us that someone who appeared to be Largram came up to the ship, and Athelstan was deceived into opening the ramp.

He says, “Athelstan was fooled by a man dressed like Largram who approached the ship. Ever vigilant, Athelstan saw him coming and opened the hatch, not knowing there were enemies abound.” He relates that he was stunned with a gun that flashed energy at him. He vaguely remembers them talking about Activating the Harvestor. Inara tried to communicate before they stunned her, and that is as much as Benaethor can recall before they hit him too.

Bu’Kin returns from scouting around the ship and reports no one around except for us. The usual lights of the Peregrinus stand dim, flashing, or silent. Flashing on the main viewer is, “Security Lockdown.” He and Star-Blind both take turns at the computer while Ragani investigates the rest of the ship, checking to make sure no one has stowed away on board. The computer is in a state of reboot and will not be able to communicate with us for several more hours. All systems are locked out.

Java slips back down the ramp and finds spiky bootprints of the intruders, leading off into the distance. He gets Samsara’s attention, who has been tending to Benaethor then Inara and finally Athelstan on the ramp, and shows him the prints. They have a quiet conversation about what to do next; Samsara tells Java he is not a fighter and that he should show the prints to Largram and Ragani, as they will know what to do.

We get Athelstan back inside the ship and reconvene for a brief discussion, whereupon it was decided that we must hunt down the intruders and not only find out how they were able to impersonate Largram but also make them pay for tricking us…twice.

We create safe words to use as passwords for each other, and Kiri takes coins from her pouch, brought with her from Octantis. This is foreign money to the people of Balha IV, so she gives us each a coin as a means of identification so that there will not be another imposter.

Benathor and Inara assure us they can look after Athelstan, but Mardigan decides to remain behind to get everything situated. He is a skilled tracker who moves faster alone, so we have faith he will catch up to us.

Largram, Corliss, Bu’Kin, Ragani, Java, Kiri, Star-Blind, and Samsara then follow the spiky tracks, which lead us back to the cave. We inspect the mouth of the opening, which appears to be the same as it was the last time we were here, and then Bu’Kin finds a stone door along the side wall.

It opens into a secret cavern, and as we enter the cave of the Lightning Bear, we see that what the faux Administrator Ramas said about it being a 50ft shallow cave was another lie. The cavern stretches out for over a mile back into the mountain. Light from crystals gives its walls a purple glow, and there is a small lake’s worth of water between landings or stalagmites. Off in the distance we see a small opening of light, and it seems to shimmer with an unearthly aura. There is a light at the back of the cavern, It draws us towards it, and we move forward, walking in about two inches of water.

Moving through the cave we suddenly hear footsteps echoing off the walls that seem to be sloshing through the water. Then we hear three sharp whistles, and three men suddenly appear in front of us, holding strange wands with rods. There are glowing lights emanating from their weapons, and though we don’t know what they are, we don’t think this is good. Ragani rushes the nearest man and throws her dagger squarely at him. As Kiri begins to play her lyre to inspire confidence and Star-Blind begins concentrating on a spell, Largram charges after Ragani, passes her, and decapitates the first guy with his falchion.

Corliss, standing still in the middle of the group, suddenly feels the glow from the weapons rush through her. Her eyes begin to glow like theirs, and then the lights on the weapons dim. They are suddenly distracted by the loss of their weapons and begin to shake them, pulling out a wand and tapping then hitting the weapons they hold. It does no good.

Bu’Kin runs towards the third man standing across the cavern as Samsara casts Bless on the party and Java stays around the outskirts, heading for the decapitated body. Then Ragani charges the third man, yelling to Star-Blind to follow her, and he does. As soon as the enemy is within range, he casts Color Spray, stunning and blinding him and knocking him unconscious.

Kiri darts behind Samsara for cover and continues playing as Largram charges the second guy, folding his head back. Corliss lopes toward the third guy as Java makes it to the first man’s body and loots it, taking the hand wand, a strap wand, two neck daggers, and finds Ragani’s dagger which severed the man’s hand. After examining it momentarily, Java takes the severed hand too.

Standing next to the stunned, blinded, unconscious man, Bu’Kin prepares for a coup de grace as Ragani swings her hammer and bashes his skull. Star-Blind moves to the middle of the cavern while Kiri continues playing her lyre, covered by Samsara. Largram loots the second man’s body, taking his hand and strap wands as well. Largram also takes the belt holsters for the small hand wand.

Corliss continues forward towards the glowing stalagmite as Java crosses the cavern just as Bu’Kin deals the finishing blow to the third man and he mercifully dies. He then also takes the weapons as Java hands Ragani back her dagger. As Kiri lets her song fade and we are taking stock of ourselves, making sure no one is injured, we hear more sloshing behind us. We turn, to find that Mardigan has caught up to us.

We press onward. At the back of the cave, we see a stargate on the cave floor with runes above the arch. On the far cave wall, we see an opening leading out. The air around the arch and the cave wall shimmers. As we move closer to it, the wind begins to whip up and gets degrees colder. Star-Blind takes a step towards the arch, attempting to examine the runes, and Samsara grasps the back of his belt firmly to ensure he doesn’t accidentally lose his balance or fall through this portal to another plane.

After a bit of discussion, Ragani bravely steps through, and we watch as she shoots through the arch up and into the portal and disappears from view. One by one, we follow.

As we step out from the light into the new plane, we feel the temperature raise to brisk but not freezing. The wind whips around us in bursts. Our eyes hurt as we squint to adjust to the pure brightness. We are standing on a platform made of rock that looks like a destroyed ruin.

Huge mountains and sections of land hover in space in front of you. Lakes and streams defy gravity in pools that are feed from these floating masses. These masses move, and after watching them for a few minutes, we can detect different rates of motion. The Balha IV star systems sun still shines overhead. On the floating mass in front of us is the Agon Monastery that we came from. The design is slightly different, and its location is different than we remembered. However it IS the Agon Monastery. It is evident we have traveled to an alternate dimension that represents our own but different.

As we being to explore the outcropping on which we stand, with the portal at our backs and temple ruins all around us, we see 40 plus footprints lead from the portal to the edge of the ruined platform. It seems as if they simply stepped off into thin air towards the direction of this dimension’s Agon Monastery.

From the ruined temple, a strong wind begins to swirl. A dust devil begins to form, and from it, a 10 foot tall, beautiful woman appears. In her eyes is blazing hatred. She says, “Greetings, my name is Sa’ha bint Zuha al-Zi. I am bent to serve your master. I was not expecting you. Our master has two wishes remaining. I was ordered to fulfill any wish ordered by his followers. Do you desire anything?”

We take several moments to debate what to wish for, and Samsara thwarts a couple of attempts by Java to sneak up to the djinn and whisper in her ear. She refuses to answer additional questions for us, and Largram warns us of the hidden dangers of wishes. After hearing everyone, Samsara wishes for us to be able to fly here in this elemental plane of air.

A swirl of clouds begins to form the impossible. We see a flying carpet appear and hover in front of us. Sa’ha says, “This will serve you as per your wish.” As it hovers just at the edge of the platform, Samsara gives Largram one hand and Mardigan the other, carefully feeling with his foot out onto the carpet, testing the resistance. It feels solid, and he gingerly steps onto it, moves to the far edge, and sits cross-legged. One by one, everyone joins him, and he commands the carpet to take us towards this plane’s Agon Monastery.

As we approach the temple, we see the ruins are in just as much disrepair as the platform we just came from. Lush vegetation and pools of clear water stand around us. A stairway is still present that leads to the Monastery entrance, just the same as in our world.

A reflection shines on the temple wall. We call the carpet to a halt and move to the edge of the stairs to find the source. The belt buckle from one of three human males, dressed in the same studded leather as the men we killed in the cave, lies off the side of the stairs away from view. Samsara commands the carpet to hover as Bu’Kin fires his glowing rifle at one of the bodies. It burns but lies motionless. Everyone else watches in awe at the lightning that flew from the ‘large wand’ in Bu’Kin’s hands.

Though the architecture is slightly different than we are used to, the carpet deposits us at the monastery doors, which appear to slide upwards. Samsara commands the carpet to roll up and adjusts it on his back with his bedroll.

We step into the first room, which has a circle on the floor. There is a figure hovering above it, and it flies through the far wall upon our entrance. There are four more bodies of Binson’s monks, wearing the same leather studded armor, that appear to have been crushed from the inside. Upon further examination of the circle, we determine it is a holding circle that has been broken.

Bu’Kin loots the bodies, and Samsara unrolls the carpet again, commanding it to fly behind us and carry the weight of the armor and anything else we find. The next hallway has another sliding door, which Java checks for traps, and then as it slides downward, a small mechanical device in the corner begins to blink. We see a large mechanical gun lying on the ground, its barrel pointed towards us. Java, upon opening the door, ducks behind and trades places with Largram just as the laser shoots, hitting his armor and sizzling. Kiri ducks behind the wall as Star-Blind notices an electronic eye up in the corner of the hallway and Creates Water just above it.

The gun turret goes wild! It shoots up the walls, spinning and flailing every which way until Largram, following Bu’Kin’s previous technique shoots the eye with the laser wand he has, and it short-circuits and dies. The gun stops flailing, and we see two doors, one to the left and one ahead.

We start with the door on the left, where we find another body and another door to the interior room with three more bodies and a chest, which we recognize from seeing the monks carry it down the mountain during the evacuation. Bu’Kin loots all of the bodies we find as Java checks the door ahead of us for traps.

The door to this room slides open freely. Inside we see bodies lying on the floor, all dressed in the same armor we have encountered from Binson’s men. Lying on the ground is a massive dragon skeleton, fresh blood on its face and claws. It is motionless.

A whistle makes us look sharply to our left. We see a slightly familiar man standing behind an ancient older man. The two are guarded by three of Binson’s men.

The familiar man says, “I see we have some guests. I’m glad you came; I’m at a loss. I’m Binson, you are?”

Java tumbles into the room, diving across the doorway next to the skeleton, and before we can answer Binson, the lights in the room flicker and the great dragon comes to life.

It’s voice is firm and wise. “Those that seek the Holicost, must answer the following question or face oblivion.

“I am a child and a simpleton at once.
All are born with me,
But rarely am I possessed at death.

“What am I?”

We are stunned into silence, and Binson says, “It gave my men five minutes before it attacked. If you try to leave the room, its minions will push you back in, and it will forget about giving you time, and just kill you.”

Java, the brave little halfling rogue standing right in front of the skeleton dragon’s maw, looks up at it and says in a clear, confident voice, “Innocence!”

The dragon swirls into an orb of air and flies to the other side of the room, where it disintegrates Binson’s three guards. He reaches around the old man, and they disappear. Then the air orb itself settles, and the room is silent once again. We spread out to search the room, Bu’Kin concentrating on the seven additional bodies we found, while Largram, Corliss, and Kiri investigate the wooden barrels and caskets. Largram finds a hatch in the floor, which opens into this air.

Ragani bashes one of the stone sarcophagi with her hammer, and we find monk bodies almost mummified. However, in and around where the skeleton dragon’s body lay, we found treasure, including coin pieces, potions, and magic items.

We take everything, piling it all onto the magic carpet, and then we go out the hatch back to the portal entrance. As we pass the temple ruins again, we see the old man who was with Binson face to face with the dust devil who gave us the carpet. We pause, watching them embrace, and then they turn towards us. All of the hatred and anger has gone out of her eyes, and they both thank us profusely.

He was the druid who turned into Kani the Lightning Claw, protecting the portal entrance on his side of the world, sacrificing his love and ever seeing her again so that she could protect the Holicost on this side of the portal, forever apart. When we killed Kani, we freed the druid. Binson threatened the djinn, and she then thought we were working for him, which is why she was angry towards us at first.

She reminds us that we still have one final wish, and Kiri uses it to set her free so that they may be together forever. As a token of appreciation, they tell us that Binson has taken the Holicost back to Balha, but unbeknownst to him, it is making that world—and any other world he tries to take it to—unstable and causing it to collapse.

We take the magic items from the carpet, leaving it with them, and go back through the portal to Balha to, once again, find and stop Binson.

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