In Search of Sanity
Session 1 (2017-05-01)
I woke in a cell after a nightmare of being stuck in a mist filled corridor, killed by some thing wrapped in tattered cloth. I could not remember who I was or why I was here. I definitely didn’t recognise the people that were with me in the cell.
There was screaming from outside, where a woman was torturing a man chained to a table. There was shouting, and then the sound of fighting, as a memory of my sister came to my mind, and that memory took form as her spirit manifested outside the cell.
By the time she has formed, the fighting was over and the woman had been killed, though one of the other inmates tried to attack my sister. As we tried to figure out where we were, we began to remember our names, but not where we were or why we were here. I was Costian, and my spirit sister was Catiana.
With us were Erasmus, Gregor, Sheena (the young woman who attacked Catiana) and Ray. The man on the table was Campre Linwigh, and says that we are in Briarstone Asylum in the town of Thrushmore. The woman was a shapechanger, a doppleganger, who had taken the form of Doctor Ilesi Scaen. A number of dopplegangers had taken over the asylum, but he didn’t know where they had come from, or indeed where we had come from.
We searched the area and managed to find the clothes and some of the gear we presumably had when we turned up here, as well as plenty of dead bodies. Making our way upstairs, we encountered a group of asylum guards who had barricaded themselves within a shrine of Pharasma, and were highly suspicious of us since we could be dopplegangers.
We eventually found and killed some dopplegangers, proving to the guards that we were on their side. They allowed us to take refuge in the shrine, which was being protected by the priestess Winter Klaczka, who herself had recently arrived here to find out what was going on.
Session 2 (2017-05-08)
We are taken in by Winter Klaczka, a priestess of Pharasma. Winter herself is part of the cathedral at Caliphas, and only recently sent here to investigate what has happened. Eliege Losadro was apparently the head of Briarstone Asylum, and we should try to find her office, though nobody has seen her since the revolt that led to the problems here.
Apparently there was a revolt started by one of the patients, Ulver Zandalus, and his 'apostles'. Ulver has been here for twenty years, and apparently was being worshipped by several of the patients. The revolt followed a night where everyone had bad dreams, and also the arrival of the 'Royal Accusers' who turned up to speak to Losadro.
Ray breaks into the patient records, and finds no sign of any mention of us.
Winter is unable to spare time to help us, since her priority is the injured in the chapel. However, she might be able to help more if we could find a way to switch the water on.
She can’t spare time to help us, since she has to look after the injured here. She could do with us switching the water on. This is something we eventually succeed at doing, though we encountered another doppleganger who seemed to have taken on the form of Dr Oathsday, and had been torturing some of the inmates. One of these seemed to be suffering from ghoul sickness, and had strange yellow symbols on him which none of us recognised. Sheena proved unreliable again during the fight, and shouted out when we were trying to keep quiet.
Session 3 (2017-05-15)
We found out more about what Winter Klaczka was doing here. She had come to Thrushmoor with the Royal Accuser Omari, in order to investigate Count Hastardon (who owns the island the asylum is on) who is believed to have been diverting tax money to himself. There were also rumours about him using thugs to murder those opposed to him.
Omari had been talking to the Sleepless Agency, a group of investigators run by Cesadia Wrentz in Thrushmoor. Winter had come to the asylum because the Count was thought to have been up to something here, but the riots broke out shortly after she turned up, making further investigation impossible.
In other news, the survivors are almost out of food, and the only way out is blocked by a strange eye that had grown out of the door the survivors came through to reach here. According to Ray, it's an Argus Eye that allows outer planar entities to spy on us. Showing it a mirror and allowing it to see itself caused it to die.
Beyond the door was a large reception area which opened onto the outside. It was raining heavily, and also windy and misty outside. Coupled with the sight of some large creature moving around outside we stayed indoors. Beyond the reception was the administration block within which was a library.
The library was inhabited by ratlings, who tried to kill us but we slew them or drove them off. Apparently they came up from below after the ceiling fell in. They mentioned something big and flappy outside in the trees. Beyond the library was another aggressive ratling, a sorcerer this time, and he teleported away before we could kill or capture him.
Session 4 (2017-05-22)
There have been interesting developments, which provide even more evidence that something really strange has been going on. Moving north beyond the library we found the body of Doctor Arosh Chawaar, as well as some
Eventually we came across the room of Eleige Losadro, the asylum's administrator. She was in there, sat in the middle of the room in a pool of her own blood. A fountain of wispy yellow mist spewing out of her mouth. Gregor thought there was an outer planer portal inside her from where the mist was issuing.
I cast Message on her, and she seemed to suddenly take notice of us. There is a brief fight, in which her mostly empty corpse is slain.
Looking around her room, there are a number of paintings with the name of Ulver Zandalus on them. They are of endless empty cities with yellowish brick walls, similar to the passage we dreamt ourselves in before we awoke here. She also had a collection of occult books, and an Osirion-style pyramid with an eye in it.
Session 5 (2017-05-29)
We encountered a room full of paper wrapped parcels which was defended by cultists wearing rune covered rags. It seemed to consist mostly of clothing, so probably the belongings of patients staying here. There were also 13 china dolls (of girls in patterned dresses) which had been arranged to stand around a paper with a sketch of a landscape. In the middle of the sketch was a standing stone.
Further on we found the records room, which was full of filing cabinets sorted by patient name, though everyone starting with 'R' was missing. Finding records for ourselves, we discovered that we were committed here by Count Hastardon Lowls earlier this month.
There was a locked room which contained more interesting records, and within that a secret room which seemed to consist only of records of Ulver Zandalos. Having a quick skim through things it seems he was committed here in 4685, just over 30 years ago, transferred from Pharasma Lamentations in Rosenport. We also picked up a short sword in a crimson scabbard, with a pommel in the shape of a cardinal. It was named 'Red Destiny' and showed up as being enchanted.
Any further exploration was blocked by a door which seemed to be seeping blood. Catiana went through the walls next to the door, and discovered a corridor filled with blood, so we tried to find another way around.
Exploring a garden open to the sky, we were attacked by a Nightgaunt, which tried to grab several of us and fly off with us. Fortunately we managed to bring it down before it could. In a toolshed there was a collapsed staircase that went a long way down, which we decided against exploring.
Going back a different route, via the entrance hall, there was a room with a haunted bird cage which was capable of picking us up and throwing us against the ceiling. Catiana dealt with that.
Further north again, we come across the other side of the blood filled passage. The blood seemed to be coming out of an old woman who was sitting in front of a window next to some empty medications. Trying to get anywhere near the trail of blood caused it to whip up and attack us. After some thought we found some more medications for the woman and the flow of blood was stopped, though not before it had swallowed Ray (he managed to escape).
Beyond that was a room filled with darkness, and a child's voice inside kept asking for someone's shadow lantern. Fortunately we remembered the name as being one of the children being looked after by Winter, and returning to him we wound that he did indeed have a shadow lantern, which we were able to borrow. That seemed to put whatever haunting was present there to rest.
Session 6 (2017/06/05)
We spent some time going through books from the library and Losandro's diary, trying to get an idea of what has been going on here. Myself, I took a look at the sword in a red scabbard, and got an image of a well dressed woman, and a feeling of order and trust. Then there was an impression of being pushed down to choke and die in swampy mud near to an old stone building.
Afterwards we explored the north end of the Asylum, and found where most of the inmates were holing up. There was a make shift camp that seemed to be full of cultists and strung up dead bodies. One of them came over to us, indicating that we should follow him and play along as cultists. He introduced himself as Wren Elbourne, a doctor who was looking after these people before getting caught up in whatever was going on. Ulver is apparently responsible for everything that is going on, having convinced everyone that he is a prophet who will lead everyone to the land of dreams. There is also a woman named Aggie, who is a dangerous psychopath who was responsible for the dead bodies in the camp.
According to the Doctor, Ulver claims to have made his dreams real, and has locked himself away in a maze of fog somewhere upstairs. He calls his acolytes the oneirogens. One of them is in a tower on the northwest of the island, and we decided that there would be a good place to start to try and make sense of this insanity.
Session 7 (2017/06/12)
Beyond the cultist camp were the kitchens and gardens, the latter of which were apparently filled with undead. The chefs assumed that we were just another bunch of cultists, so gave us free access to the area. Apparently they are also very short of food, having subsisted over the last supplies of potatoes left in the asylum.
Beyond the safety of the kitchens we encountered some strange creature that looked very much like a silvery lizard. When it attacked us, I suddenly came over nauseous as Catiana seemed to take control of my link to her, growing greatly in size and strength. After I recovered, the lizard was dead.
We did make our way around to the other side of the garden, keeping to the ruined rooms and passages, but nevertheless ran into some ghouls that broke through a wall to get to us. Fortunately we managed to fight them off. Seeking recovery, we headed back to the chapel and the library, and read some of the books there trying to make sense of this place.
Session 8 (2017/06/19)
Last night we were woken in the night by invisible humanoid creatures we later determined to be soul slivers. They seemed to be trying to kill Winter and steal the statue of Desna. My sister took control of her manifestation again, and together with the rest of the group managed to slay the creatures.
In the morning Sheena mentioned that she had been awakened by a voice in her head, though nobody else had heard it. The creatures were female and both had mirrored skin, with flesh underneath. We never determined where they came from.
We spent the rest of the day exploring the north western part of the asylum. There were more ghouls, and also a ghast, and eventually discovered one of the oneirogens in the tower which was spewing fog. We slew it, and the fog seemed to weaken a bit. Outside of the tower we could see a number of large cancerous oozes which were trying to climb the walls to get to us. We drove them off and decided to head back so as not to attract more.
Finally we cleared the garden of the ghouls that dwelt there, and saw a unicorn.
Session 9 (2017/06/26)
The unicorn we found today was not friendly, and seemed to be contributing to the yellow fog - or at least, it cleared a bit after we killed it. For the night we headed back to the library to rest and read up.
Unfortunately Sheena 'discovered' some waxwork statues which we hadn't noticed before, and fiddling with them caused them to come alive and attack. They were being controlled by the ratling sorcerer we had met earlier, and this time we managed to find and slay him.
The following day we decide that we had to deal with Ulverzandalus and his final henchmen, so go up to the first floor where he and his acolytes live. We encounter the murderess Aggra, and after a tough fight manage to slay her. Looking over her possessions, we find a Harrow Deck, which I take a look at, getting a feel for it's history.
It was not a good experience. I have vague memories of a cold, arid place where many realities came together. There were three people there - veiled and robed humanoids which felt totally inhuman. One of them pulls down their veil, to reveal horns and clawed fingers with a mouthful of tentacles. If it wasn't for the others pulling me out of the dream it had spun, I probably would have been lost to the Denizens of Leng.
Session 10 (2017/07/03)
Beyond Aggra's quarters the floor was covered with rubble from the floor above and the rooms filled with the thick yellow fog. There were more oneirogens here, four of them, and we managed to slay them, though trying to see anything through the fog was difficult.
It was then that we finally came across Ulverzandalus, who seemed capable of causing great pain just by looking at us. After we defeated him, his wounds began to spew forth fog, and his body began to dissolve. Expecting some terrible void to open or something, all of us expect for Sheena fled back to the previous room. Sheena yelled out that it was changing into something, and ran back to us.
It was then that we saw what it had become - the Tattered Man from our nightmare which we awoke from when we discovered ourselves in this place. Eventually it was defeated, and it's body dissolved into mist. Almost immediately the fog cleared from the island, and in the distance we could see the shore, and the jetty where a small rowing boat was moored.
Returning to the ground floor the cultists seemed to be pleased to see us, possibly freed from whatever mind control the Tattered Man/Ulverzandalus had over them.
Winter wanted to go back to the mainland, so Sheena and myself accompany her leaving the others to finish tidying up in the asylum.