Four characters: Talias, Scrath (half elf cavalier), Kanna (“human” hunter/bard), and “The Emerald Ghost” (halfling rogue).
Dwarf cleric in Hammerfast wants adventurers to recover lore and artifacts from the minotaur ruins under Gardemore Abbey. We sign on and he gives us an ivory playing card with the sign of the Star. The card is reminiscent of a card from the infamous Deck of Many Things, but according to our arcane students, it doesn’t radiate enough magic for it to be the real thing. We travel to Winterhaven, the jumping off point for Gardemore; en route, we are ambushed by orcs (including one with +2 whiteflame scale armor) and defeat them. +316xp +72gp
The Winterhaven mayor, Lord Padraig, hires us to scout Gardemore, which he believes to be the lair of orcs who have been raiding caravans. We have no objection to getting paid twice for the same job, and agree. We travel 1.5 days to the ruins of the abbey.
The road approaches Gardemore from the southeast, and the first obvious spot to investigate is the watchtower at the south end of the curtain wall around the abbey grounds. We investigate the tower door and find there’s some sort of illusion on it; when we poke it with a sword, it bleeds blobs of acid which attack us. The Emerald Ghost has the idea of brandishing the Star card and the door hastily deforms to an opening, as if it didn’t want the card to touch it. Inside the portal is a chamber with a living floor leading to a mouth, and what appear to be five weary adventurers, and another door. Talias wants to explore inside the tower; Kanna wants to rescue the other party; the Ghost and Scrath have serious misgivings but agree to go along with the other two. Kanna unexpectedly turns into a fox and leaps onto the Ghost’s shoulder for a ride; the halfling takes this with unshakeable sang froid. With the Star card tucked into the Ghost’s hatband, they enter the tower.
The portal won’t open behind them. The leader of the other party asks for help, as two of her party won’t agree to go through the door ahead. The Ghost boldly strides through, with Kanna on his shoulder and Talias and Scrath right behind. To no one’s surprise, this door is also one-way, and the other party does not follow. The new room is like the bottom of a well, with walls of twisted reality extruding eyes and blobs that float upward. Kanna discovers that it’s possible to ride a blob up to the top of the well. At the top, we find outselves standing in a vast starfield; Talias guesses teh right direction to go, and we find another door, just as the stars become Deck cards, the cards become doors, and the doors open to reveal tentacled horrors reaching out to grasp us. We slip through the next portal just in time. +437xp
We find ourselves in a round room with three points of wild magic, four aberrant warriors, and some sort of beholder. The wild magic points each control a 15ft square surrounding them; each one can (apparently randomly) become a gaping maw, or raise up to a 20ft platform, or immobilize those around it, or move, or grow tentacles and attack…..When last seen, two of the Aberrant Warriors are dead; the Beholder is marked by Talias with an additional -2 hit debuff from Kanna; Kanna is in negative HP; Talias is bloodied; Scrath is petrified and blinded; and the Emerald Ghost is lightly wounded, prone, and dazed.