We left our adventurers at Tavvy’s Bar and Inn. After a brief late night meeting, they decided to leave things till morning.
The next day they get to work. The group has discovered that most of them have a strange scar on one of their palms. A couple members are sporting a similar mark on other parts of their bodies – Captain Edge has it on his neck where Shiana kissed him, and Akteia’s got a large mark covering her back. Earlier, the young pale necromancer girl they met in the Temple of Dialdra hugged her for no apparent reason. So the group assumes the Old Man and his friends had something to do with the marks.
Onward to the nearest Temple of Ioun! Apparently, Ioun is a god of knowledge, and Bartleby hopes they’ll be able to identify the mark. The city is large, and the group finds what they’re looking for easily. Inside, the temple houses possibly the largest library the characters have ever seen. After hours of perusing the countless books, they finally find a clue. A portion of the mark resembles a family crest of sorts, belonging to the Mayne family. The Mayne’s have been residents of Stoneguard since the city was founded hundreds of years ago. And amongst the records, the group finds a member of the family named Shiana Mayne who lived in the city over 200 years ago.
And so the tale of Shiana Mayne was revealed. A commoner in the shopping district, a daughter of hatmaker, Shiana was a young woman finishing her training as a paladin of Bahamut. A local gang had for a long time terrorized and exploited her community, and Shiana was destined to put a stop to it. She rallied her neighbors and fought back. In the ensuing battle, in a moment of desperation, Shiana channeled divine power into her body, becoming a vengeful being of fire and light. She single-handledly vanquished the second-in-command, a monstrous Dragonborn known for being a ruthless and unstoppable warrior-for-hire. The gang leader fled the city and was never heard from again. Shiana relinquished her newfound powers and returned to her normal form, but from that moment onward, she would be remembered as Shiana, The Radient Blaze.
The group seeks more information, and rushes over to the temple of Bahamut, who must have more to the story. Indeed they do. The heroes learn that Shiana stayed and fought the good fight in the city for a couple years before inexplicably leaving to the west, not saying where she was going. Along with this, the scholar of Bahamut tells them of the last know descendant of the Mayne family, who passed away a few decades ago, and where to find his last known address, for any information on where Shiana might have gone to.
This leads them to the last home of a tiefling man named Maldos Mayne. The Mayne’s must have aquired great wealth through the years in the wake of Shiana’s fame, because Mayne Manor was one of the largest estates within the city walls. A mansion two stories tall with an attic and basement. But it appears to be abandoned and boarded up. The group asks the neighbors about the house. One old lady remembers Maldos and how he was found dead in the bathtub, probably just from old age. She then, almost as an afterthought, mentions the two families who took up residence in the house later. The first stayed for two days before packing up and moving out. The second family never left the house alive. It’s assumed the father killed his wife and two daughters before killing himself.
After finishing her story, the halfling Mel appears with news that the cellar door is “unlocked.” So the group says goodbye to the old lady and enters the abandoned manor through the cellar.
Not much is in the basement aside from piles of really old stuff, including some creepy children’s toys. Namely some damaged ceramic dolls which disturb some of the party members. But that doesn’t stop old Bartleby from grabbing up one of the dolls and stashing it away for god knows what purpose. Also are the remnants of the wine collection. The elf Lucan proceeds to open up a 50 year old merlot and begins chugging it like water. He grabs the other 4 bottles.
The halfing is digilant in looking for structural abnormalities, and spots some water damage in the ceiling on the south end of the basement. After a few minutes of silent searching in the basement, they end up empty-handed and decide to go upstairs. Out of the basement they emerge into the kitchen. Nothing but very old and decayed food packaging and rusty pots and pans. Light seeps through the boarded up windows to illuminate the interior of the house just enough to not bump into eachother. So far no clues about what happened in the house, much less anything about Shiana. Through the kitchen and into a large dining room, dusty ornate plates line the table. Why has no one looted this house?
Again, just a boring room. Left into the main foyer, at the end of the dining room into a downstairs bathroom. Kade strides into the bathroom and find a tub filled with slimy green putrid water. She stirs her spear through the sludge but doesn’t feel anything unusual.
Akteia ventures off on her own into the foyer. Two grand staircases circle around the center of the foyer upstairs to a balcony. In the middle stands a bust pedestal. She examines it and can make out an inscription claiming it as Maldos Mayne. The bust is of an old tiefling man, with sharp features and grand long horns. He must have lived to a ripe old age.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time and the game ended for the night.
====== DM’s Notes ======
I regret that – again – most of this session was completely improvised. I have a basic outline covering the next few sessions, but don’t have many details or specific encounters ready for them. Life gets in the way as usual, but I definitely can’t keep making it up as I go along. Not only is it incredibly difficult, but it makes for dissappointingly predictable gameplay and uninteresting story. And with what I have in mind for the next session, I
have to plan ahead.