The group met and made an undesirable deal with a spectral lich entity, presumably referred to as Vecna, with the promise to return back to the Material Plane. For the ritual, Vecna suggested using Aydan’s Animus Gem to be one of the catalysts for the spell but need a heartstone to give it enough eldritch power to fulfill the requirements. The lich instructed the group to journey to the Marshes of the Forgotten, there they would find a coven of hags called the Sorority of Crows who possess a heartstone. The lich gifted some of the group with powerful magical items, only for them to realize that it came with a hefty price in the form of a powerful geas placed the wearers. With a heavy heart, the party journey through the blasted and lifeless wastelands of the Shadowfell towards the marsh, hoping to not only break free from the lich’s curse but also find a way home.
Part 1/Team BAJA Episode Guide
The group spent several days traversing through the lifeless landscape of the Shadowfell before overlooking from a cragtop, the fabled Marshes of the Forgotten. A fog infested bog that spanned across an endless horizon, if the gloom from this realm could’ve been any more prevalent, Jimmy Moon would’ve been in brighter spirits.
Quest the Blue was a monk of the Sun Soul tradition, using the illuminative powers of his order, he flew above the group while they traversed through the marsh. With keen eyes, the tiefling spotted an odd landmass nearly at the center of the marshlands. Quest relayed the information to his comrades, noting the eerie atmosphere of the marsh itself. Swarms of crows began to stalk around the party, making Jimmy Moon and Aydan unhinged. Unfortunately none of the group had any dealings or experience with hags before and dreaded the prospect of interacting with these potentially foul beings.
Jimmy Moon suspected that the crows of the marsh were magically linked with the Sorority of Crows and beseeched that they be granted an audience with them. Kelmaris struck one of the crows with his arcane magic, which prompted the swarm of crows to assault the group. The group was overwhelmed by the crows but narrowly escaped with only a moderate amount of injuries.
The group journeyed deeper into the marsh and decided to take a good rest for the ‘night’. Aydan spotted something shining out of the bog water on her watch, she picked up a fragmented gemstone. The moment she held it, the Animus Gem and gem fragment resonated and a female dwarf clad in chain mail bursted outward from the fragment. Aydan and the dwarf were visibly confused and disoriented. The dwarf introduced herself to the bewildered tiefling as Gilda of Clan Torrum, or Gilda Torrum. The dwarf had a large warhammer at her side, along with an odd holy symbol etched on her shield. The gem fragment glowed and hovered over to the dwarf before a golden chain wrapped through it and around the dwarf’s neck.
Aydan brought Gilda over to the group and introduced them to the mysterious dwarf. Gilda recounts a desert wasteland and something terrible coming from over the horizon before finding herself in this gloomy world. They inform them that the group was looking for a coven of hags to acquire an item that might help them find a way back to the material plane. At this point, Gilda noticed that Kelmaris, Proax, and Quest were spectral beings, the trio tell the dwarf of their stories and bargain made with the lich. Gilda informs the party that she was on no urgent quest and would not mind aiding the group in their plight. Her skills of restoring the dead to the living seemed a reasonable method but found that her divine powers were blocked for some unknown reason.
The group were unsure if it was the realm itself or perhaps some curse or hex placed by the lich being. Deciding to press onward, the group continued further into the bog until they reached the end of the path. A large lake rested in the middle of the bog with a tall island in its center, there was a wooden bridge that extended from the edge of the lake to the landmass. The party cautiously crossed the bridge, the fog grew thicker as they approached the island, at the end they found a dilapidated mansion. It was lit inside but its presence and location felt ominous and foreboding. The roof shingles looked old and there were patches of missing tiles, the wooden frame creaked and seemed warped as they approached.
Kelmaris felt that there was nothing else they could do but explore, especially if the group wanted to find the Sorority of Crows and be set free from their bargain with the lich spirit. The group reluctantly advanced and entered into the mansion, once inside the door closed behind them. Everyone tried to break down the door, but found they had entered into an alternate dimensional space. With no other options, the group decided to explore the mansion, splitting up either into pairs or individuals. Each door they opened revealed another room with odd happenings or the occasional odd trinket. The rooms expanded and twisted and turn, at one point Jimmy realized that the rooms were not proportional to the outer dimensions of the mansion they saw on the outside, which left the druid disheartened and worried.
As time progressed, the group delved deeper and deeper into the house, finding traps and terrors unveiled before them. Jimmy Moon eventually found an odd puzzle box within the library. Once he solved the puzzle, spirits were unleashed from it, the house shook as if something stirred within. Some of the group realized that the house was starting to collapse and shrink, the few spirits informed the party that they needed to collect all of them in order to solve the entire puzzle box to escape from the house. The group tried their best to find the vessels and containers that harbored spirits, the house nearly collapsed upon them but they escaped at the last moment as the foyer collapsed upon itself. Kelmaris held the puzzle box as they escaped, it disappeared from his hands once it was all over. The house was gone and only the fog remained. Dark shapes approached the party from the fog, cackling and sneering at each other as they approached. Three towering feminine creatures with curly hair, purple skin, and loose leathers; their features were almost elven in appearance but their eyes were dark like pockets of darkness. They found the Sorority of Crows finally, the eminent danger and fear grappled upon the group as they had to decided with how to deal with these creatures of the darkness.
Author’s Note: This game was during International Tabletop Day, where I integrated Betrayal at House on the Hill with D&D for a unique D&D experience. Check out the details here.
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