Dragon Age: Whispers of the Past

Session Twenty-One
In which they go on a blood drive

As the party prepares to go off in search of the ancestral ruins, they are stopped by the arrival of the Grey Warden Kilina. Her offer to allow them to Join is expiring, and Lawren is forced to choose. He reaffirms his decision and receives his first instruction: attain a vial of Darkspawn blood. Not just any blood will do, however…the blood of a powerful being must be brought as well as that from a mere Genlock or Hurlock.

Conveniently enough, there is a hidden entrance into the Deep Roads within reasonable travelling range. Inconveniently, it lies in the exact opposite direction from the ruins where they had hoped to snatch the highly-coveted key.

The party swiftly marches off and finds the location from the map easily enough. A cavern leads them downward into the bared arms and teeth of a band of Hurlock with their blighted wolf companions. They were dispatched rather quickly and made their way deeper to encounter a much more interesting foe: An Ogre and it’s two Genlock companions.

These went down only slightly more painfully and, triumphant, the party returns and leave Lawren to the questionable attentions of the Warden.

His Joining consists of a cocktail of blood and lyrium, taken in secret away from his companions. He survives the ritual and, some hours later, returns to the rest, unchanged on the outside at least…

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Session Twenty-Two

In which David Bowie makes an appearance

Kilina doesn’t bother the party with more Grey Warden business so we grab our supplies and head off to the ruins. Ruins are all messed up, mostly open to the air and in obvious disrepair. Ancient bloodstains abound and there’s a skeletal hand sticking out of a wall. There’s a lever (of course), which gets pulled and the wall with the skeleton hand lifts up! 30 skeletons in a closed off room are revealed, a quick examination reveals the bodies are roughly 100 years old, and are wearing Orlesian and Tevinter garb. Arvaraad examines the Tevinter script and discovers this is a temple to the Dragon God of Chaos, Zazikel. There is also an alter with a button.

We manage to stop Lova from pressing the button long enough to put a big rock in the way to make certain that when we press the button the wall won’t close and lock us in. Press the button and the wall closes (called it!) but is caught by the rock. A path down opens in the floor as well and we take the stairs down. Stairs go down forever, leading to a huge cavern which is lit up by mechanical whatsits that went off when we pressed the button. We see a labyrinth that we are approaching. When we get to the bottom of the stairs there is an alter to the dragon god for people to pray at before entering the labyrinth. None of us do this because we don’t worship dragons like weird people, so we enter the labyrinth. Lova tries to climb over the walls, but faces resistance. Something is blocking her from climbing over. We decide to take the “always go right” combined with “marking our direction” approach. Our reward for this ingenious plan is an Arcane Horror to the face, which we murder.

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Session Twenty-Three
In which the chaos dragon maze lives up to it's namesake.

Delving deeper into the maze, the party soon realizes that the original plan of ‘always go right’ is not going to suffice; the maze, which is clearly mystical, shifts them without any regard for the laws of space and time. The Fade draws nearer, making the Qunari deeply uneasy (and the subsequent ‘discussion’ about spirits making the Avvar deeply offended).

A few turns of the maze later, the party encounters a woman being attacked by three creatures which appear to be made out of fire. The woman’s vague resemblance to Roselle draws Lawren into the fight, sending Mavi and Lova in after him. Cayda, meanwhile, recognizes the ‘woman’ as a desire demon and stays out of the fracas entirely, judging that magic in a demon-filled locale isn’t wise.

The three fire demons die easily, leaving the ‘woman’, Lawren at first approaches her as if she was who he thought her to be, but her inability to answer questions that Roselle should know proved that she wasn’t what she seemed. Her ruse blown, the desire demon attacks. She manages to turn Lawren against the party, leading him to slice Lova a bit before the rest of the group destroys the demon.

Several more turns along, the party comes to a large room, centered by a massive, Tevinter-rune carved tree. The Saarebas makes short work of the puzzle therein and the party passes through a newly-unlocked door to find a set of stairs that lead up to a small altar against a blank wall. On the altar are carved the words ‘the blood of the holy’. Mavi, with what can only be described as smugness, produces a vial of dragonling blood from her pouch and dribbles some on the orb. To her great disappointment, nothing happens. Lawren, however, has his own ideas and, as soon as the party acquiesces to his request to step back because what he is trying might be dangerous, sneakily drips some of his own blood onto the altar, which immediately opens the sphere. Within lies another key, which is swiftly used by Cayda to unlock the third lock.

The map, when examined, shows the next destination: the outskirts of Kirkwall.

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Session Twenty-Four
In which a quest boomerangs back to hit the party in the butt

On the road betwixt Kirkwall and Val Royeaux, not far from Cumberland, the party comes across a group of wagons that appear to be in some sort of distress. The persons belonging to the wagons are of Ravaini lineage, which enables Cayda to ease their distrust enough to learn what troubles them. Their mage, their Storyteller, was found dead and desicated, despite being a fairly young man. Worse, the dead man is wearing a very familiar ring; the missing Pentaghast ring .

After a bit of discussion, the Saarebas convinces the traders to surrender the ring so that they can travel on without it’s curse hanging over their heads. The party, after a bit of discussion, decide that the best thing to do is to take the ring on to Cumberland and give it over to the person who had wanted it in the first place.

Leaving the traders to perform their funeral rites, the party moves on as far as they can before dark falls. The first nights are fine but the when they are still two days out, the Shade attacks. The Arvaarad, on watch, is too slow to avoid the first attack but wakes the rest. The party dissipates the creature swiftly enough, though Lova is able to determine that that the force still remains in the ring and will doubtless return. The party gets what sleep they can and then prepares to resume their efforts to make the city once again…

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Session Twenty-Five
In which the party decides to embrace the sub-quest and it plays hard to get

The next few days pass in peace, much to the parties collective surprise. They arrive in Cumberland and, after reflecting a bit in their glories and fame, set about the business of returning the ring. The receiving dwarf is mightily confused but receives the ring with a promise to tell Gorrim it was delivered.

Within moments of leaving, the building the hapless dwarf in was soon immolated. Cayda evacuated the poor doomed fool while the rest of the party searched for the box the dwarf had put the ring in, only to find it empty and partially exploded from the outside. The dwarf, as he dies says “Damn Crows”.

Now aware of the identity of the killers, the group decides that it behooves them to return to Gorrim and tell him all about what had happened. Since the village of Markath is on the way, the party can easily* stop on the way.

Travel is swift, untroubled, and suspicious. Upon arrival, however, the party realizes that Gorrim has left eastward. Grumbling , the party arrives at Kirkwall. Shortly after entering the city, however, Steve disappears. Lova proceeds to panic and bribe urchins to bring her ‘white birds’, which goes exactly as well as one would expect; the Qunari’s comfort fails spectacularly. In recompense, Mavi spends some time asking about after leads trying to track down any hint of where the mighty Hold Ptarmigan has gone. Her efforts with the same children goes rather better and, after getting them to understand what a ptarmagin looks like and the party soon tramps off toward the second-nearest tavern.

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Session Twenty-Six
In which people are sought with limited success

The party spent some time tracking down Steve. He is eventually found with a coquettish lady bird (or at least presumed female, no one’s judging!). Lova is mixed in her reaction; Steve’s return is to be rejoiced about, but his new ‘friend’ despises her, leading to some awkwardness.

The group splits, sending off the Qunari to meet with their people, whom they have discovered are in residence in reasonable numbers. The humans, sent off to learn the whereabouts of their erstwhile Dwarven employer, fail miserably. Mavi sets off to make up for their failings and learns that their target is Carta. Though he can’t be found, merely the fact he is sought is sure to get him looking for the party in turn…

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Session Twenty-Seven
In which the party makes like Nazgul

After spending a day trying to find the ruins, since they haven’t found the dwarves, the party is soon found by them instead. The dwarf (and his heavily armed friends) offers a trade: the ring for information he has discovered about a freshly-arrived group of Tevinter who are searching for ruins.

The party sets out to look for any signs of the sort of disasters that the ring tends to bring and shortly finds one in the form of a house that has inexplicably collapsed on itself. After some work, they burst in and find a few dead persons and a stairwell down into the basement. A scream draws them down just in time to see a pair of undead killing a man. The Revenant and the Arcane Horror are cut down in short order. After a bit of poking around, the group finds a trapdoor which leads into the undercity.

A bloodtrail through the stone leads to a closed door, behind which is an elf, a Crow. He gives back the ring without an argument, stating he and his were hired under false pretenses and he has no further wish to associate with the thing.

The party is thus left with the ring and the choice…to turn over the ring to the Carta or to try and destroy the evil item.

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Session Twenty-Eight
In which the party learns Circles are gilded cages indeed
The group heads off to the Circle and inquires after someone to help disenchant the cursed ring without destroying it. Unfortunately, the Circle’s expert, someone named Firbolg, has gone missing. The Circle pairs them up with one of their Templars, Ben, and they begin to ask questions.

A search of the missing man’s quarters reveals a note about his research having gone badly and his need to flee before being made Tranquil. Questioning the mans lab-mate, Dax, results in very little to go on. The girls descend into Lowtown, trying to find the missing mage amongst the seedy. They fail, but they do succeed in finding a lot of useful new toys.

The boys, meanwhile, sit in Hightown and enjoy a beverage over a rather tense discussion as Lawren attempts to explain to Ben just how such a disparate group ended up together…and why he shouldn’t just turn them over to the Templar Police as heretics and apostates. Fortunately, Lawren distracts the man with talks of Tevinter and keeps the peace…for now.

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Session Twenty-Nine
In which the party tries to trick the Carta

Upon returning to the Inn, the ladies turn over their presents and then learn that Ben has actually known where the lost mage was the whole time and, having decided that the group is at least not actively going to murder the man, leads them to him. He recognizes the ring at once; the Blighted Ring of the Pendaghasts. Ben then directs Lawren to conscript Firbolg, his friend, to protect him from rebuttal for departure. Once this is arranged, Firbolg offers his advice: It is all but impossible to redeem the ring, but it is entirely possible to craft a fake and enchant it to seem like the true ring long enough to fool the Carta for at least a few days.

While the party waits for that to be accomplished, they hear of a force of Tevinter north of the city and decide to investigate more fully. They find the camp but no sign of the people, even scouts. Made suspicious by this fact, the party decides to investigate the area and find a place which had been blasted open. Once inside, they find their first bodies: two fallen scouts and an odd creature covered in slime and rags, wielding an ancient Tevinter dagger. Further in, they find all of the classic signs of a Dragon temple but one unlike those they had seen before: It had eight dragons. Moreover, instead of being entirely abandoned, the eighth dragon had been actively defaced. An altar in the main chamber bears the words in Ancient Tevinter, “Hail to Tobek, Dragon of the Deep.”

A lever opens a path to a room with a massive hole. Fifty feet below, the remnants of old boats float in a slow-moving stream. The boats, when Mavi goes down to investigate, are made of a strange material that is between wood and stone yet which is light enough to maneuver. After carefully tying off their climbing rope what is hopefully well out of reach of the mysterious creatures, the party loads into boats and sets off down the river…

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Session Thirty
In which the party fights Vints and talks to the Fishies

Going down the underground river, come to a small encampment with Tevinter soldiers there. Party picks a fight against some hardy Tevinter soldiers and kills them (tough fight). Exploring the camp we see more dead Tevinter and a lot of dead fishmen. One is still alive! Cayda tends to the fishman’s wounds to stabilize him. Try rudimentary conversation but it only speaks Ancient Tevinter. Manage to discover there are 20 more Vints down here. Nothing else of interest in the camp. We bring the fishman with us to the boats to bring him back to his people. Go back to the boats and continue down the river.

River winds downwards to a vast underwater lake where the fishman leaves us, Lawren spots the fishman’s trail and we attempt to follow that.

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