Leaves of Sapphire

House of Fear and Regret

An Ancient Nemesis

For fifteen generations, a line of noble humans had held their heads high over half a millennium, and the name Damien Gildenloewe had become synonymous with prestige and ambition. With the collaboration of eight other prominent figures, he orchestrated the creation of Wyrdstadt. Rising from the ruins of an ancient Ilufae temple, this township was designed to secure their dominance over the trade in the coveted Blue Resin within the Servasberg region. Their strategy was cunning: by establishing their presence near the primary source of this prized resource, Nebelwald, they aimed to take control of the market.

Unbeknownst to these pioneers, the Ilufae temple they repurposed was built on the foundations of an ancient Ilufae installation from Safyr's golden age. Two decades ago, Gilderoy Gildenloewe, in the twilight of his life, completed the meticulous excavation of the underground layers of the ancestral Gildenloewe manor. His life had been a continuous quest, spanning three generations—himself, his son, and his grandson Ervig Gildenloewe—to decipher the purpose of this enigmatic structure and unlock its mysteries.

Six months prior, a pivotal event occurred. Ervig stumbled upon the truth hidden beneath the massive metallic annular structure at the heart of the facility. It was an accidental turning of the rings by his servant Rydell that set off a revelation. Drawing upon his knowledge of the arcane Ilufae language and his mastery of mathematical constructs from his time at the prestigious Grand College of Servasberg, Ervig uncovered the equations necessary to configure the coordinates and awaken the dormant gate.

However, the outcome was far from his hope of revealing an untouched realm of wonder. The portal tore the fabric of reality, unleashing an eldritch entity known as the Greater Us from a realm beyond imagination. This abomination, inscrutable and cosmic, extended its tendrils into Ervig, merging him into a grotesque fusion of mind and matter. The Gildenloewe manor transformed into a crucible of horror as the Greater Us grew and began to covertly consume everything beneath the mansion's foundations.

Theodoric Maclaidir, the loyal steward of the Gildenloewe family for generations, began to notice the transformation manifesting within Ervig and several colleagues. A former Fire Lions mercenary of Giantkin lineage, reached out to an erudite confidante within the academic circles of Servasberg for help and understanding.

Lady Elisaweta, Ervig's wife, discovered a horrifying scene a week prior as she stumbled upon her husband during the assimilation of a servant girl. Fueled by maternal instinct, Elisaweta tried to save her children, Gregory and Martha, but Rydell, under the control of the Greater Us, intervened. Martha's anguished cry was silenced by a merciless blow, only to be resurrected later under the influence of Ervig's memory.

Amidst the chaos, a Safyrian servant boy named Wendell emerged as a harbinger of salvation. With bravery born of innocence, he thwarted Rydell's attempt of the childrens' lives and managed to rescue the traumatized Gregory from the malevolent entity's clutches.

The tale of tragedy continued to unfold. Theodoric, the last bastion of unassimilated resistance, navigated treacherous halls in a bid to escape. A desperate battle for survival began, but the odds seemed insurmountable. One by one, the uncorrupted fell, either succumbing to assimilation or meeting gruesome ends.

Five days ago, an anomaly shattered the status quo. Talhoffer, a notorious serial killer, engineered a daring escape from Servasberger justice, which led him to the Gildenloewe manor. What he found inside was far beyond his expectations. Instead of potential hostages with which to negotiate freedom, he encountered a nightmarish tableau of horror, a pandemonium that required every ounce of his cunning to escape the clutches of eldritch terrors. Only a slim thread of luck allowed Theodoric, once a stalwart guardian and now a specter of resilience, to rescue a maddened Talhoffer and bring him to safety within the library's hallowed confines.

Three days ago, a group of brave adventurers arrived at the manor's doorstep, drawn by whispers of justice and their pursuit of Talhoffer. However, the peril they faced far surpassed their initial mission. Within the mansion's ancient halls, the Greater Us ensnared their minds in a maze of hallucinations and terror. Illusions danced like specters as the adventurers battled imagined horrors, succumbing to their own fear. In their desperate struggle against the boundaries of sanity, their hearts faltered, giving in to the overwhelming grip of paralyzing terror.

Regretting the Job

On the 10th of Tayonos, in the year 10125 GA, a resolute group of daring bounty hunters made their way to the mansion of Gildenloewe. Their journey had been motivated by a series of clues pointing to the possible whereabouts of the elusive figure known as Talhoffer.

Upon their arrival, a firm knock on the mansion's grand door heralded their presence. The door swung open to reveal Rydell, the mansion's servant, who, after considerable persuasion, reluctantly granted them entry. The looming specter of Talhoffer's potential danger seemed to be the decisive factor in Rydell's reluctance. Guiding them through the opulent interior, Rydell led the hunters to the mansion's elegant dining hall, where they were seated and attended to by the servant girls Leah and Feah. This interlude allowed the hunters to await an audience with Lord Ervig, who held the keys to their quest.

Amidst the lavish surroundings, Taela, Varjo, and Tron engaged in a conversation with Lord Ervig. However, an insidious gas, unnoticed at first, began to take its toll. The hunters found themselves poisoned by its weakening influence. Through their exchange, they learned of Ervig's preoccupation with delving into the mysteries of ancient ruins—a pursuit that had been passed down through generations of his family. As the gas's effects became increasingly evident, Ervig's demeanor shifted, and a battle erupted, unveiling the horrifying truth that both Rydell and Ervig bore the mark of eldritch abominations, capable of assimilating flesh. An arduous struggle ensued, culminating in the separation of Rydell's twisted form from its grotesque appendage and Ervig's attempt at escape, resulting in the detachment of his arm.

With the conflict quelled, a chilling realization descended upon Svetle as he gazed out of the dining hall's windows—an unsettling revelation that the mansion was enveloped within a fleshy cocoon, ensnared in an otherworldly grasp.

Descending deeper into the mansion's depths, the hunters encountered a formidable door, its ornate steel surface reinforced with rudamite. A lion emblem, embossed in gold, adorned the door, inscribed with a stern warning in Vanello, emphasizing the exclusive authority of the manor's stewards to grant access. Adjacent to the door were three palm-sized indentations, taking the forms of a circle, triangle, and square.

Venturing forth, they confronted another door, revealing the harrowing sight of Lady Elisaweta's lifeless form, suspended from the gallows—an apparent victim of suicide. Only her signet ring and a locket, containing portraits of her children, provided any trace of her identity amidst the decay.

Their exploration led them to an art room where an enchanted canvas presented them with a cryptic directive: "Use your head, to paint me red." Quick thinking allowed them to decipher the riddle, as they utilized blood to reveal a faint scarab sketch. Averting further bloodshed, they uncovered a jar of fresh blood concealed in a macabre wardrobe, which, when employed, granted them a scarab-shaped key from the fiery depths of the canvas.

Further revelations awaited them in a chamber harboring a statue of Damien Gildenloewe, the family's progenitor, clutching a stone tome inscribed with the ancestral maxim "With Gold, Comes Strength," rendered in Ilufae script.

Navigating past a treacherous ambush sprung by fleshly aberrations mimicking statues, the hunters gained access to the door sealed by the scarab key. Emerging from this passage, they found themselves in the mansion's garden, where fleshy tendrils extended upwards, encasing the structure in a surreal cocoon, while permitting glimpses of the distant sky.

As they sought communication with potential allies, a shadowy figure fleetingly materialized, retreating upon Taela's arcane assault. But tragedy struck as Taela was abruptly seized by a lurking tentacle, vanishing into the mansion's abyss.

In their relentless pursuit, the hunters encountered both wonders and horrors. They encountered an undead Martha Gildenloewe, ensnared within her own bedroom. Her unnatural survival, bound by a mystical red handkerchief, bore testament to the eerie forces at play. She recounted her terrifying ordeal at the hands of Rydell, recounting her brother Gregory's possibly similar fate.

Guided by arcane clues, they navigated the mansion's labyrinthine depths, encountering enchanted objects, cryptic symbols, and enigmatic figures. In the heart of the mansion's darkness, they confronted Carla, a being both trapped and transformed, whose actions and thoughts cycled endlessly due to the trauma of her condition.

In the cavernous kitchens, a sulfurous miasma enveloped the air, a harbinger of the treachery that awaited. Encountering the servant Leah within a fleshy wall and her twin sister Feah, the hunters' intentions clashed violently with their devotion to Lord Ervig's cause. Confrontations escalated, resulting in a tragic climax as Leah attempted a desperate act of self-destruction as her sister fell to Guy's onslaught.

Guy, at the end of the fight picked up a cylinder Leah had been hooked up to prior to the fight, filled with red ooze that the party reckoned would turn one into monstrosities like the ones the servants and Ervig had become.

Their journey through the mansion's sinister depths had only just begun, and the mysteries that shrouded the Gildenloewe estate seemed boundless, leading the intrepid bounty hunters deeper into the heart of darkness.

Rising Fear

Ascending to the manor's second level, the party moved with stealth and caution, their exploration taking them through the dimly lit corridors. In this eerie setting, a startling encounter awaited them. Taela, her form coated in an unsettling clear substance, burst onto the second-floor walkway above the dining hall, frantic cries escaping her lips. She relayed her harrowing experience of being pursued by grotesque monstrosities, swollen and bloated with tentacled arms. Reacting swiftly, the party closed the doors behind them as they retreated. Tron, thinking on his feet, cast an Entangle spell to impede the relentless creatures' progress. They then attempted to pick the lock of Lady Elisaweta's room, seeking refuge within, but inadvertently triggered an alarm concealed within. Svetle came to the rescue, casting Silence to stifle the alarm's insistent blaring after Thunder's attempts to forcefully breach it failed. The party managed to maintain their hushed composure, and the pursuing monstrosities diverted their course. Inside the room, they uncovered a key in the shape of a butterfly.

Initial suspicions arose regarding Taela's true identity. Covered in the clear goo, she recounted her escape from a fleshy pod, but her ordeal seemed too surreal to be believed. Nevertheless, she managed to persuade Guy that she was indeed herself, dispelling doubts for the moment.

Their journey led them to the library, where they encountered Theodoric. Thunder's initial approach was to forcibly hack through the tough doors, only to find an obstructive barricade of furniture on the other side. A warning was issued in the form of a molotov cocktail, urging them to stay away. After persistent efforts, Thunder and Guy succeeded in convincing Theodoric of their genuine intentions, and he allowed them entry. Within, they also found Talhoffer, his mind fractured by the unspeakable horrors of the mansion. The party had initially contemplated claiming the bounty on Talhoffer's head, but Theodoric insisted that he face justice in a proper court. Theodoric also revealed another glass stone—a Square with a Triangle etched onto it—along with a mysterious explanation regarding their purpose. He explained that Ervig divided the three stones among himself, his children, and Theodoric for added security, although he remained ignorant of their collective function. Theodoric shared the layout of the entire manor with Guy, outlining his futile attempts to locate a viable escape route, blocked by former associates turned adversaries.

Progressing to the east wing, Theodoric and a bound Talhoffer in tow, they confronted a barricaded door. Together, they forced their way through it, sending the furniture tumbling and creating a cacophonous disturbance that reverberated throughout the mansion. Further exploration revealed an armory, where they also encountered Wendell, a Safyrian servant boy in his teens. With Theodoric's assistance and persuasive reassurances regarding Martha's absence, they convinced Wendell to unbar the massive doors, allowing them entry. Inside, they also discovered Gregory's presence. Wendell recounted his daring rescue of Gregory from Rydell a week prior, confirming Martha's tragic fate. With newfound allies in Wendell and Gregory, they seized the opportunity to acquire explosives and smoke from the armory before instructing the two to remain fortified within while they continued their exploration.

As they emerged from the armory and Wendell secured the doors behind them, the clamor generated during their entrance drew the attention of the creatures that had been pursuing Taela earlier. A fierce confrontation erupted, with Theodoric proving his mettle by engaging one of the monstrosities head-on. The remaining party members swiftly dispatched the other two assailants in the corridor.

Within Ervig's private quarters, Taela embarked on a solo investigation of his study, while the others explored the immediate surroundings. Ervig's diary unveiled the gruesome details of his experiments beneath the manor, focusing on a mysterious ring-like structure. It also hinted that Ervig was not under constant domination by the assimilation process. Amidst these revelations, the party unearthed the final glass stone, bearing the shape of a Circle with a Square etched onto it.

Taela, on her solitary quest, discovered a room bereft of furniture but harboring the remains of five adventurers. Svetle conducted an examination, concluding that they had perished from inhaling hallucinogenic poison, succumbing to fatal heart attacks. Their search yielded valuable potions, but Wendell had evidently already looted the bodies before their arrival.

The butterfly-shaped key that had piqued their curiosity, and which they had inquired about with Theodoric, led them to Ervig's private collection. Above the keyhole, they spotted the symbol of a butterfly. Using it, they gained effortless access to a room adorned with three golden statues wielding magical treasures. These statues, however, came to life in the darkness as Varjo attempted to steal a fine leather cloak of one. Svetle and Tron, who had remained outside, witnessed the door slam shut.

The battle inside the room unfolded in total darkness, with Varjo and Guy attempting to disable the statues using the necessary glass stones for the basement door. They succeeded in deactivating the statues by inserting the glass orbs into pedestals at the back of the room, ending the hostility.

Investigating further, they discovered miniature resin engines within the chests of the statues, which they extracted, enabling them to retrieve the glass stones while keeping the statues inert.

The battle had taken a toll on the party, prompting them to barricade themselves within Ervig's private collection to rest for the night. Most of the party members slumbered peacefully, but for Tron, who remained vigilant and heard sporadic groans from stone and woodwork echoing throughout the house during the night. Upon waking the next day, they realized that the powered light fixtures, which had illuminated their path, had all extinguished, and the fleshy mass enveloping the mansion now blocked out all natural light.

Descending to the first floor to acquire supplies from Carla's bar, they noticed a disconcerting change beneath their feet. The texture of the floor had altered as they trod through the darkness. Wood had given way to squelching flesh as the entire first floor had succumbed to a grotesque transformation, with tendrils bursting through cracked floorboards, walls, and stonework, engulfing every piece of furniture and every inch of the mansion's contents. Even Carla, her lower half submerged in the fleshy morass, appeared as little more than a vacant husk.

No Witnesses

With all the pieces finally assembled to unlock the sealed rudamite door hidden in the mansion's dimly-lit basement, the party braced themselves for the task at hand. Tron and Guy headed to Carla' bar, discharging radiant energy, and shattering the fleshy tendrils that held cache hostage, allowing the rest of the group to acquire the necessary tools.

Their mission complete, they ascended to the armory, where Wendell and Gregory had stayed behind to rest during the night. As they slept, an ominous roar in the distance echoed, gradually intensifying until it culminated in a deafening earth-shaking boom and a shockwave that jolted everyone from their slumber.

Morning arrived, and the party continued their journey, making their way to Martha's location. She clung to the bars of her iron cage, her makeshift hammock swaying above the encroaching fleshy growth. Tron, Varjo, and Guy banded together to eradicate the relentless growths and free Martha from her cage, reuniting her with Theodoric, who breathed a sigh of relief as he held the little girl for the first time.

Theodoric remained unconvinced by the party's explanation that Martha was now undead, and he yearned to reunite her with her brother, Gregory, and Wendell. But to shield the two from the grim truth about Martha's condition, Svetle chose to stay with the girl in the library while the rest of the group descended deeper into the heart of the mansion to confront the source of its terrifying mysteries.

Once again, they faced the sealed door in the basement, but now it was engulfed in fleshy growths oozing out from the gaps around the frame. Taela attempted a psychic connection with the entity behind the growths, but her effort spiraled into chaos as a torrent of foreign thoughts inundated her mind, accompanied by excruciating pain.

As they puzzled over the door's mysterious panel, Guy finally deciphered the key to unlocking it. Placing the glass stones in their corresponding indentations, based on the engraved symbols, and filling the remaining spaces with mud caused the glass stones to glow red, creating a circuit board of red lights that traced from the panel to the door, ultimately opening it.

Descending into an interminably long tunnel, shrouded in fleshy tendrils, Theodoric led the way, the air growing stagnant as they pressed on for nearly an hour. Eventually, they arrived in a cavern dominated by a meticulously carved stone wall with a man-made doorway below.

Continuing onward, they found themselves on a balcony overlooking a vast, cavernous expanse that mirrored Taela's previous vision. Amidst a frenzied brawl in the cavern's center, they spotted five figures battling eldritch abominations, their fallen comrades strewn around them. While the figures appeared to be regular beings—a mix of Dwarves, a Human, and a Fey—each wielded muskets that discharged beams of light. The last figure, a female wearing a glass-domed helmet and skintight clothing, hinted at being an Avatar, as the tales had foretold.

Taela attempted to psychically contact the first figure she locked eyes with, a male Fey, offering their assistance. The Fey turned to the Avatar, who promptly tossed a satchel over the horde of monstrous attackers. The Fey then instructed the party to take the rod from the satchel and insert it into a console on a hanging walkway across the cavern.

With eldritch abominations now noticing their presence and approaching, Varjo, using her incredible speed, leaped off the balcony, snatched the satchel, and crossed the chasm to reach the walkway with the console. As she inserted the rod, the light emanating from the console and the ring structure fell silent. The abominations went berserk, attacking both allies and foes alike.

During the skirmish, Guy released a bound Talhoffer before the creatures, leading to the serial killer's demise as his head was torn off by one of the monsters. As the frenzied creatures began falling in droves, only one massive creature remained, and it turned its undivided attention to the party. Guy administered a serum he had found earlier after the confrontation against Leah and Feah, causing Talhoffer's body to transform into a colossal, headless humanoid.

Talhoffer, in his berserk state, charged the remaining eldritch creature, nearly trampling Guy until Theodoric intervened. Almost pushing the eldritch creature into the abyss, the monster dug its heels in at the last moment, throwing Talhoffer into the chasm. The party regrouped, attempting to finish what Talhoffer had started, ultimately succeeding in toppling the monstrous adversary into the same abyss.

With the eldritch horror vanquished, the party's attention turned to the strangers at the cavern's center. Through their knowledge of the Ashurean language, Guy, Varjo, and Taela managed to decipher that the strangers were debating whether to silence the party, who had witnessed them and everything about the truth of the eldritch horrors and the place they were in. Taela and Thunder successfully convinced the Avatar's entourage to spare them, with Wicks and the Human from the Avatar's group echoing the sentiment. The Avatar, a stern presence, offered the party a choice: to meet their end immediately or to serve her entourage and leave their past lives behind. Resignedly, they all agreed, including Theodoric.

Given a week to settle their affairs, they returned to claim Talhoffer's reward. Svetle, absent during the confrontation with the Avatars, had his own decisions to make. In time, they would return to Wyrdstadt to embark on their first mission with Wicks and the Avatars.

The Heroes

Varjo Kov : A Human Shadow Monk and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.

Guy Normal : A Coretex Stars Druid and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.

Tron : A Coretex Moon Druid and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.

Taela : A Fey Great Old One Warlock and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.

Svetle : A Dwarven Grave Cleric and gravedigger at a Leylaxian temple in Servasberg seeking revenge on Talhoffer for his adopted mother's murder.

Thunder Frostborne : A Farangian Wild Magic Barbarian and bounty hunter on the trail of Talhoffer.

Gildenloewe Family

Ervig Gildenloewe : The current patriarch of House Gildenloewe,

Elisaweta Gildenloewe : Wife of Ervig, she tried to flee with her children Gregory and Martha, only to lose them in the process. She hung herself in despair when she was unable to find a way out.

Martha Gildenloewe : Ervig and Elisaweta’s daughter. She was killed by Rydell, but the assimilated Ervig’s memories compelled him to raise her as an undead being.

Gregory Gildenloewe : Ervig and Elisaweta’s son.

Gilderoy Gildenloewe : Ervig’s grandfather, who spearheaded the excavation of the Ilufae ruins below the family manor.

Damien Gildenloewe : The primogenitor of the Gildenloewe house, who built the town of Wyrdstadt alongside the founders of 7 other nobles houses.

Gildenloewe Servants

Theodoric Maclaidir : A 97 year old Giantkin retired veteran of the Fire Lions mercenary company. He served the Gildenloewe house faithfully from the time of Gilderoy as their majordomo.

Rydell : Ervig’s favourite servant. He was among the few that were assimilated early by Ervig.

Wendell Zimmermann : A 15 year old Safyrian servant boy. He rescued Gregory from Rydell before the child could be assimilated.

Carla : One of the last few to be assimilated in a hurry. She retained her autonomy, but can only remember and repeat the last hour of her life.

Leah : One of the last few assimilated by Ervig. Her assimilated self detonates in anger when the heroes kill her host’s assimilated sister, Feah.

Feah : One of the few assimilated early by Ervig. Her assimilated form was destroyed by Guy in the kitchens.

Talhoffer : A serial killer escaping justice. He snuck into the Gildenloewe manor hoping to take hostages, only to be stuck in its nightmare.

The 8 noble houses that founded Wyrdstadt are:

    • Gildenloewe represented by a Lion
    • Blutger (Tiger)
    • Giftschlangen (Snake)
    • Sclauerten (Rat)
    • Hochler (Eagle)
    • Tapfgren (Griffon)
    • Starks (Elephant)
    • Wieselch (Elk)
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