Episode 129 - Ceremorphosis
Previously, Diath had found a treasure chest that he can't figure out how to open. The group went to the beach, where Evelyn spent all her time taking care of everyone else. When they got home, they received an invitation to an auction - Lady Rosznar is going to auction off the stone of golorr. Paultin opened another package. In it was a rug of smothering, which attacked him. The group came downstairs and saw Paultin wrapped in the rug.
Carpet of Murder
The players roll initiative. Diath summons Moonsplinter, his magic dagger. He cuts open the rug a bit, but he wounds Paultin in the process. Paultin is having trouble breathing. Strix casts word of recall and is able to pull Paultin out. The rug wraps itself around Diath. Evelyn pulls it off of him. Paultin casts suggestion on it, hoping he can make the rug an ally. It rears up like a cobra, entranced. Then it attacks him. Paultin casts cutting words on it, but Nate rolls a one. The rug engulfs Paultin again. Strix turns it into a baby chick, impaled on a knife. It lets out a death chirp.
It reverts to rug form. It tears free from the dagger and it runs out through the door, fleeing into the night. Jared names it Trundleflops.
The group looks at the box. This package was meant for someone named "Audra Knell."
With the issue somewhat resolved, Diath goes up to his room and messes with the treasure chest. He unattaches the hinges and is able to remove the lid. The interior is dry as the chest is airtight. The chest is filled to the brim with sawdust. Packed in the sawdust is something made of varnished clay, ornately decorated. It is large, shaped like an urn or jug. There's a cork in it. A geometric design is painted on it. He spots more items inside as well.
The next thing he digs up is a whistle made of silver, shaped like a wolf. The third item is a thin book full of nursery rhymes. The fourth item is a spyglass. The fifth is a wooden eyeball. The sixth is a wooden pipe with a skull-shaped design. At the very bottom is a hangman's noose.
Searching For Audra Knell
Evelyn wants to go find Audra Knell. Paultin doesn't want to go, but reluctantly agrees to but insists on wearing his bathrobe. He makes himself a White Barovian. His slippers are fuzzy, like bunny slippers, but they have Mr. Shambleface on them. Diath speed-walks down the stairs. Strix comes down holding her robe and her staff of power. She wants to give them away.
The heroes head into the streets of Trollskull Alley. It is about 6 PM. There aren't a lot of people out and about. The group realizes that they have no idea who Audra Knell is or where she lives. The group wonders if she was a previous renter. The group wanders from street to street. They grab a coffee at a corner bistro. They end up on Swords Street, where Blackstaff Tower is located. Strix knocks on the door and calls out to her "friend", Vajra. The door knocker, shaped like a raven, animates. It tells Strix that she is away on business. Strix doesn't believe it.
The raven knows who Audra Knell is. She's a wizard with an interest in dimensional magic. She hasn't been seen in some time. She hasn't been seen since last winter. The group wonders if she lives in another dimension. Strix wonders if she is a member of the Order of Mages and Protectors. All wizards in the city must register and join this guild.
The group goes to a watchpost. Diath shows them his badge. Diath talks to Alice, the guard who helped Diath solve a murder a short while back. Alice explains that Audra Knell is a little crazy. She tried to join the Arcane Brotherhood, but she was turned down. She got wrapped up in some strange, local magic. She was censured by the other wizards, and hasn't been seen much since.
The group watches Paultin and Alice interact and they sense a palpable tension. Strix becomes loud and upset. Paultin asks Strix why she wants to get rid of the staff and the robes. She says it is scary. He convinces her to keep them. She decides to study the items and learn more. Strix attunes to the staff. It takes 5 minutes.She attunes to it and learns that is has incredible powers and can cast many different spells.
She tries to attune to the robe of the archmagi. She learns that it is evil and she can't use it. It looks cool, so she lets Paultin wear it.
On the way home, Evelyn quietly tells Diath that she is happy that he's trying to move on from Strix with Alice. Diath is confused and denies. He explains that he knows Strix, and how she thinks and feels. "She's not like us." Evelyn says her heart works the same way. Diath says she might experience love in different ways. He respects her and he doesn't need her, to care for her. Evelyn says to make sure that, if this all ended tomorrow, he doesn't have any regrets. Strix is behind them chewing on the staff.
Return to the Waffle House
They get back to the Waffle House. It's dark. Alarmed, they peer into the windows. There's nobody in the kids' room. In the alley behind the their home, Paultin spots 3 creatures with glowing eyes stepping out of the shadows. They are tall and have glistening skin. Their glowing white eyes stare through him. He must make an INT saving throw. Nate rolls a 17. He fends off the psychic attack. He makes a second save. He takes 22 points of damage and he is stunned.
The rest of the group has no idea where Paultin is. Evelyn looks around in her room. A black resin has drooled down the walls from the ceiling and rendered the room dark and glisten-y. Evelyn uses her divine sense and detects the presence of evil. It's coming from Warrington Munt's room.
Paultin is out in the alley, stunned. Looming over him are 3 mind flayers, humanoids with octopoidal heads and tentacles coming out of their face. One wraps its tentacles around his head. He snaps out of the stunning effect. Paultin screams. The rest of the group hears it.
Strix is upstairs. She hears something shuffling around. Invisible, Strix uses her staff to cast passwall. She makes a hole in the ceiling. It falls through the hole and is wearing the torn remains of Warrington's uniform. Its head is that of a mindflayer. Strix remembers that Warrington was fighting mind flayers in wildspace. He blew up their ship and fell into the ocean. Strix does not know if anything happened to him on the ship before it blew up.
Evelyn, outside, comes upon the 3 mindflayers gathered around Paultin. She slices into one with the Heart of Spinelli. Paultin casts thunderwave, knocking the monsters back. One is dead, two are still alive. The living ones grab their dead companion and levitate up into the air. They are attempting to escape. They end up 120 feet up, hard to see in the night sky. Paultin yells "They got away" and heads into the house.
Diath attacks the mind flayer/Warrington and does over 40 points of damage. Diath receives a telepathic message: "Ding Dong." It tries to wrap its tentacles around his head., but he is able to fight it off with Evelyn's help. Evelyn slices into him twice, doing over 40 points total. Strix casts a lightning bolt from her staff, doing 48 points of lightning damage. It blasts this hulking creature in the chest. It's body quakes, electrified. It drops to its knees and falls on his face, dead in front of the heroes.
The group gathers around his body. They realize that a tadpole had been implanted into Warrington's head. He underwent ceremorphosis, and slowly transformed into a mind flayer. This transformation is irrevocable. Strix explains that he can't be brought back. He's gone.
The group wonders if tadpoles were implanted in the heads of the children.
End of Session.