Last time on the Adventures of Team BAJA! The party find themselves in the town of Rivergreen, their investigation of missing children led them to the Durmista woods. The party befriends an Elf named Thia who offers her aid in their quest. A lowly street magician is suspect when he flees from the scene. A mysterious, face-stitched man called the Dollmaker faces the party with an entourage of zombified children. The Dollmaker and the halfling Rainer have a history together, the party is about to face danger! What happens next? Let’s find out! 

 The Dollmaker commanded the zomibified children to attack the party, their putrid claws lashed at the team which they retaliated in kind. Sword and spell were swung, Brightiron slew one of the zombies and a vile green miasma engulfed Thia and Rainer. The children were full of foul poisons and gases. Arcaelus levitated himself to the roof of a building and followed with a fireball down surrounding zombies. They were instantly slain but their burnt bits still produced the foul miasma. The Dollmaker quickly turned the tables on the party with an powerful enchantment placed on the goliath barbarian, to which he compelled him to assault his allies. In the confusion, the Dollmaker made his escape, but not before a crossbow bolt found its way into his shoulder.

The party finally managed to subdue their frantic fellow barbarian, but not before taking some grievous wounds themselves. Thia, Jimmy, and Brightiron were still marked by the foul curse placed upon them, the Dollmaker was the likely culprit, who had just escaped from their clutches. After some healing, the party assessed the situation together and figured there had to be some significance to the abandoned church at the edge of the town. From the townsfolk, it had once been a church founded by a cleric but they condemned him to foul magic and blamed him largely for the missing children decades ago. The condemned cleric cursed the townspeople and for nearly twenty years, children from both the town of Rivergreen and the Durmista woods sporadically disappeared to be never heard from again.

Abandoned Church

The curse mark began to tighten its grip, which gave the party little time to rest properly as they made their way to the abandoned church. The church showed its decades of neglect and abandonment, stained glass sections along the large panels were missing, dirt and weed in the main assembly, the wooden benches mostly were rotted away or broken. There were no lit candles or torches, it smelled of mildew and fungi inside. The once shining alter had become moldy and seemed to have crumbled from its greater visage in the years past. Aydan retrieved her magic lantern, its light shined through the dark crevices of the church, in the hopes of any hidden secrets.

The light revealed a passage underneath a loose stone tile, the passageway was cramped and wet. The occasional rat scurried past, the barbarian tried to commune with the rats and found that there was an area ahead that most living things avoided. The party found a large sealed stony partition, the lantern’s light revealed a room behind it, but magic runes were etched along the stone wall. Arcaelus used his arcane spells to safely diffuse the magical seals, to which the halfling rogue ventured into the large room. There were tomes and parchment all scattered along the room with a large worn rug in the center. Aydan and Arcaelus find a journal, its contents revealed a plot to frame the old cleric from the church and use the ploy to gather children from some nameless master. The contents suggested that the culprit had spent years on trips between Rivergreen and various other settlements to collect children to use as payment, with their corpses as bonuses for the culprit. The group surmised that the journal’s contents referred to the Dollmaker and some nameless master he was allied with.

The barbarian shoves whatever tomes and magical concoctions they found in the room, Jimmy notices a magic circle just underneath the rug. Aydan and Arcaelus investigate the matter further and deduce that the magic circle was a makeshift teleportation circle to a designated location, to where they could not determine. The elf Thia suggested using the portal as it may take them closer to the Dollmaker. After some preparations, Aydan and Arcaelus jointly channeled their arcane energies into the magic circle and the party was whisked away. A violent exit through a fallen tree trunk, the team found themselves in a large clearing most likely in the Durmisa woods. Not far, the party spotted the Dollmaker in front of some trees that were curved and bent into the shape of an archway. A seven-foot tall entity in black laced garb with a flower that concealed its face grinned at the party and made its way through the archway. Like ripples in water, the entity disappeared; Thia spoke of the fabled Wild Gates, portals the Feywild as the region was notoriously thin between the planar veils.

Wild Gate, Image: CassiopeiaArt
Wild Gate, Image: CassiopeiaArt

The Dollmaker had grown tired of the team’s nuisance and a large eight-foot tall blob-like monstrosity emerged from the archway. A had the scene of the Dollmaker’s miasma, but it was clawed and had sharp rows of teeth. Some more zombified children emerged from the ground below. The party went into full charge against the creatures, hoping to pass through them and reach the Dollmaker. The foul Nest of Shadows member used eldritch might to provide support to his creations, but once the larger beast fell, it was time for the mass murderer to take his leave. With a large arcane jolt, he destabilized the portal which sent a violent backlash outward before he disappeared through the portal as well. Arcaelus realized that the energy would be enough to wipe out a portion of the Durmista woods, not only just his comrades as well, he advise they gain distance between themselves and the archway. Aydan had other ideas and began to pour her will into the Animus gem, it took all of her reserved might to animate the surrounding trees to crowd over the archway as a buffer to the blast. A violent energy wave unleashed through the portal, the animated trees became splinter and the shockwave knocked many surrounding trees down, the party narrowly made it to the edge of the blast in time though falling into unconsciousness consequently.

The party awoke to find themselves inside a dug-out portion of a large tree in warm beds and soft sheets, they are greeted by the elf captain again who thanked the party for their valiant efforts to drive an evil force out of the woods. The party spoke with the two elven elders of the Durmista tribe who thanked the party again and bequeathed them with gifts from the elves. Brightiron’s luscious display of physique swooned even the elders, whom bequeathed the barbarian the gift of elven beauty for one evening. After the party regained their stamina to leave, they returned to the town of Rivergreen with news that they would be no longer troubled with missing children and the elves in Durmista were willing to live in peace with the town once again.

But a mysterious shadow leered not far from the hills that overlooked Rivergreen, hidden in a dark gray cloak with a mystical bow in tow, the figure marches onward to the unsuspecting town.

Alright, that’s Episode 8! We start Episode 9 next week, it’s going to be a dozy one, you won’t want to miss it! Thank you again for all of your support and subscribership, please recommend us to your friends and share the adventures with them. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates and chats with me. We will be transitioning to something hopefully amazing soon and it’ll be announced on the Blog and social media. Please like and comment down below for questions or comments, there is also a donation button to help us out or if you want to tip us. Thanks again for reading along and see you for Episode 9!