(originally posted here:

Summer 23, 945th Year of the Kings
I have done it! I have finally translated the works of the famous mage Fyce Oe’too! At last, the spells and writings that he left in that forgotten tower are mine. This is what I’ve worked years and years for. Master Kelix, afraid of my power that I had come into, tried to scare me with childhood nightmare stories. He was once my teacher, but I have long surpassed him and this was just a vain attempt by him to keep me away from real power and spells of ultimate value!

Oddly, Fyce must have gone mad at the end of his days, for his writings became more erratic, disjointed. It even looks like he tried to destroy some of his works, judging by the scarring on the pages, but he ensorcelled them well and they resisted. I will take precautions.

One of the spells I intend on casting is “The Familiar of the Eye.” The spell hints at a creature of some power, much more advanced that the simple familiars that we all know of. Such a familiar would serve me well as I work to learn and understand the rest of Fyce’s spell. It does require many eyes of various creatures and the blood of humans, elves and littlelings, so I will be busy for awhile.

Winter 19, 947th Year of the Kings
My disappointment is difficult to maintain! After countless ten-days of travel, much gold spent on mercenaries and adventurers, a season of preparation and all I have is a limp, lifeless eye sitting on a gold plate! It is useless! It barely responds to my commands, it has no abilities that I can discern and not to mention all of the eyes I provided were all absorbed into one huge eye. The spell notes allude that one must wait several ten-days for maturation, but unless this thing changes in ways I can’t imagine, I don’t see how this will be useful!

Winter 36, 947th Year of the Kings
The eye has indeed changed! A chitinous shell has formed around the eye, with a large mouth forming at the bottom and the actual eye somewhat shrinking into the body. Several smaller, flexible stalks seem to be growing out of the thing.

More importantly, this thing is starting to show intelligence and arcane abilities! While it still cannot do much, I am sensing that it understands me. I’ve also seen it looking at my spell books! It clearly is attracted to items with magical properties. If nothing else, I have something that can find items of interest for me.

Winter 59, 947th Year of the Kings
It has a name! I was astonished this morning when I commanded it to fetch me some items using it’s newly discovered power of telekinesis. “My name is Q’lyth!” it said – and it’s voice actually projected a hint of petulance! While this creature shows promise, I do hope it doesn’t develop will and intent outside of service to its Master! I would hate to have to punish it or destroy it.

Sadly, I am afraid I may have to lower my hopes for one of my best pupils, Toby. He had shown such promise up till now. He had even expressed an interest in helping to train the creature… Q’lyth, I guess I use its name. In the past ten-day, though, Toby has shown severe regression in his studies and abilities. It happens sometimes – one will reach a crucial point in their training and then they cannot progress. Still, his absent-mindedness is worrying and I am troubled to find that he might have been stealing from my components!

Spring 2, 947th Year of the Kings
Q’lyth has eliminated several assassins with a power that I had not known it possessed! These assassins had come in the guise of merchants with items that I had been seeking for some time. Q’lyth, who has become my most invaluable servant and student, warned me that they were not who they seemed to be. It seemed to expect me to also have this knowledge of our guests, although I did hide my surprise from it. Once the assassins made their move, one of Q’lyth’s eyes projected a power that caused the assassins to die a horrible death, screaming as their insides melted. Once again, I hid my surprise.

After Q’lyth went to his classes to train the apprentices, I researched what power it had used. Death magic is not for the lower class mages and this ray ability is something that I must understand. It occurs to me that Fyce’s writings had hinted at such things but not spelled them out. I’m curious why he was not as thorough of documenting the eye familiar as he was with his other spells.

Spring 39, 947th Year of the Kings
Q’lyth has charmed my students! I happened to cast a dispel enchantment in the area that Toby was standing and much to my surprise, he came out of the spell! Apparently, Q’lyth has had him under its power since mid-Winter. What I had thought was a limit to my student’s power was actually a sign that he’d be bespelled! Toby told me that Q’lyth has also systematically charmed my other students. It has been studying my most powerful books while I am away or asleep, having easily broken through my various enchantments and charms I had placed on them to keep apprentices out.

He does not know what Q’lyth’s plans are, but apparently this creature has reached a point where it feels that it does not owe me any allegiance. No wonder it has been willing to train the students – it’s creating its own school from within mine!

Spring 43, 947th Year of the Kings
Q’lyth has found out that I know of it’s charming ability. It’s response? “You cannot stop me, Askari. I know of your powers. You now know of mine. Together, we can do great and terrible things, not as Master and slave, but as equals.”

It then attempted to charm me! I was able to easily resist, but the sheer arrogance and malice of this monster within my own school is astonishing!

I am unsure of what to make of its offer. On one hand, Q’lyth shows amazing abilities and understanding of arcane matters. On the other hand, how can I trust it? I feel trapped within my own tower!

Summer 8, 947th Year of Kings
I am writing this last entry and then hiding this journal. Master Kelix and his thrice-damned riddles! If only he’d been clear in his warnings to me of these creatures. Q’lyth has become a tyrant! I see now it  never considered me an equal, only a means for it to reach power. Since late spring, it has tried almost daily to overcome my defenses and dominate me. It has openly usurped my position as Master to my students. One poor student resisted and its eye stalks cast a spell, turning the poor girl into a statue!

I fear that I have unleashed a monster onto the lands that I cannot control and may not be able to remove.  I no longer have my wands or staff, Q’lyth has remove their power from a force projected from it’s main eye. It has taken many of my spell books and has had the students rewrite them, destroying the originals! I am studying the few books I have managed to keep hidden in hopes of finding spells to kill it.

I hear many footsteps on the stairs of the tower. I fear that this might be the final confrontation; it has brought my students to betray me.

If you find this, do not cast the “The Familiar of the Eye” spell! For it will only bring forth not a servant, but an Eye Tyrant!

The Journal of Brother Calandro – Entry 1

1st Entry – I will attempt here to record details of my travels, in the hopes that will be of some use to whoever may find this. If recent events are any indication, the party that I’ve aligned myself with will continue to uncover evidence of supernatural evil and Chaos, and if I and the others should meet an untimely end the knowledge may be valuable to anyone after that may also be trying to rid the world of these evils and make it a better place. My only request is that the finder of this eventually return it to the monastery of my Order, the Brotherhood of the Night.

Morning came with a bit of surprise today for Obroam and me, the sight of the rest of our travelling companions shuffling over to greet us, obviously hungover, bruised and battered, and naked as the day they were born.

After taking a moment to recover from this vision (we may never truly recover), we sprung into action, first securing whatever clothes we could get our hands on (Obroam and I chipped in some gold to help but mostly what we found was ill-fitting). Mort offered to go on au naturel, insisting that his own fur was enough of a covering, but I think it’s for the best that he wound up back in actual clothing.

It turns out our companions had left the inn the night before looking for more advanced revelry after our recent victories (I was celebrating in the manner of my Order, with a good bottle of wine). They had wound up at a rough local establishment which we returned to and learned some disturbing news from a poor fellow with very few teeth left in his head… that they had been attacked and robbed from a group that had splintered off from the Woodstalkers but had also kept that name. And through more digging we learned that they may have gone to make base in some very old, dangerous ruins in the area. If only that were the only disturbing news that we were to discover this day!

While checking in at the church on the poor prisoner we had freed from imprisonment & torture, Hazam (whom we also learned was a friend of the local loremaster, Blind Pete), Mila confided in us that she’d seen the head priest Adran acting suspiciously. Inspecting his room, we discovered a box under his bed that was emanating intense warning feelings towards Obroam’s senses as a paladin. I determined that it was trapped with a poison needle, so we wound up taking Mort’s suggestion of opening it with blunt objects rather than toying with the lock.

Inside was an unholy symbol that could only be used in the worship of an evil deity of Chaos.

And so, we now have a new priority: we must hunt down Adran and confront him over this. We were able to convince the local authorities of the need, and the plan is for Obroam and I to go and visit Blind Pete to learn what more we can of this object, while the others complete a mission of their own, and then we give chase to what appears to be a priest that has fallen to the sway of evil. May the Night look kindly upon us!

Obroam’s Journal – 1st Day of Winter, 59AD Cont’d – Page 3

With the enemy on the back heel, we pushed on, attempting to smash through the door. Not an easy endeavor as it was quite study and things were being piled against it.. Before we could breach the door however, the two leaders appeared upon the balcony, wearing plate and bearing unnatural weapons. The robed figured used a smoking implement to summon the thing we feared most in this campaign, the wraith. Saying a prayer to Tangadorin, I left the door to my fellows and went to interpose myself between the unholy abomination and my friends.

As the party worked the door, and unwholesome aura and wailing grew closer until i saw it. Like a thing dredged up from nightmares, part skeletal and part unnatural blackish green energy, a ghostly vestige of a damned soul.  Margo and I readied flasks of holy water and tossed them upon the creature as it approached. This did little to detour it as it reached out with is hand in an attempt to violate me with its touch. But Tangadorin Protects!!! His holy all seeing light shined before me and staved off the creatures boney claws.  Quickly following this Egill was able to turn the undead monstrosity, sending it back to the building it oozed from. 

Turning my attention back to the main building, a skirmish was taking place at the entrance between the last defenders of the dark ones and my team mates. Short work was made of these two and the final push was upon us as the leaders of this group of villains came down the stairs. Unbeknownst to me, Pickles had detained them up stairs for several minutes by jamming a door, buying us the time we needed to turn the dead and defeat the defenders.

With nothing left but them, we advanced to finish this terrible mess. Blows were traded back and forth, their plate armor making it quite difficult to land a decisive blow and even allowing their head priest to push past us and out the door. The necromancer used his magics to puppeteer our priest Egill, having him move in the way of our attacks and defend him, but it was for not as my blade stuck as true as Tangadorins light pierces all darkness, laying him low.

Now we give chase to the last member of this dark coven, he shall not escape justice!

Norry’s Journal – Winter 59AD

I have been wandering these passageways for hours.  There was no way I could even climb back up that wet muddy slide that lead me down here.  The hole in the earth I chose to explore decided to swallow me up. I had no idea it would be slick with mud.  

I have been keeping to the shadows and trying to stay out of site of the strange creatures that prowl these caverns.  I saw several and it is just now occurring me to start keeping track. The next one I see I will make better notes. In the meantime I need to find a way out as its almost dinner time.

What luck! There is a city down here!  Where there is a city there is most likely a pub. The city is strange with buildings with impossible doors and windows.  I will scribble a sketch before I move on. Although, I don’t smell any cookfires I was able to hear some conversations in a language I recognize.  I have spotted a group I hope they are friendly.  

I have a new friend!  He is called an Illum and looks like a walking mushroom!  The people I met are friendly but they already put me to work in inviting more interesting creatures to dinner.  I hope they have enough for all of us. A couple quick sketches and I am off!

The people who live in the city have no eyes!  Well they do but they are healed over. They like to sing in the deep low humm.  They don’t say much else. Illium said they are all form the creator. They didn’t want to come to dinner but they are going to help us in our travels.  They gathered together to sing to a rock and it somehow activated a teleporter.  

WOW!  Our friends transported us to another location in the caves.  The ilium are fighting with some other creatures that are not letting them grow.  It sounds like one of those silly border dispute the tallfolk are always on about.   It makes me sad that its even like that this far underground.  

We fought some of these multi legged creatures and drove them off. We have some great warriors that took care of the situation.  They would bite and grab trying to call us away one by one. Horrible things! Our Cleric was able to talk to one of the beasts. We were very close to the matriarch of the whole…..nest? Who knows what to call these things?

After some more talk the group wants to go back and gather the Illium to back and fight the queen.  I think this is a good idea. Unfortunately, the way back is blocked from a cave in. We doubled back and when we did we spotted an old hidden door!  There could be such interesting things behind it. I want to jump in there and get it open. There are some more experienced in the party that are giving it a go.  WAIT! They are waving me over! I hope they let me try to get it open! Good think I brought my lucky crowbar! More later……

Obroam’s Journal – 1st Day of Winter, 59AD Cont’d

After regrouping, our company advanced upon the den of the Dark Ones with caution. Not knowing if they had more ambushers lying in wait. The abomination that was once Houden shambled to meet us, speaking in a hollow and unwholesome voice, asking us to join them and that we would only perish if we fought. I had his men give it a volley in response. The undead retreated into the building from our fire. With no other deterrent, we set up for the conflict.

We had the charmed orc commander open the doors, and then the fight was on. We gave the forces inside a volley before their clerics told them to advance, what followed was a bloody affair.  A hoard of goblins and a pair of orcs along with Houden, all undead, fell upon us. Blade cut, spears stabbed, blood and ichor ran freely, and people died. Though they knew the risks and their desire to to right by their friend, Houden’s men fell on by one. First Mitch, then Duncan, Larry, and Stew. Each brought down by the foul creatures and their relentless onslaught. Mal, though wounded is still alive and I will do my best to keep him that way, it will already be a sorrowful task to dig five graves tonight. Two of the Dark Ones were also slain in this melee, one being distracted by our Illusionist’s spell, rendering him ineffective for the fight. The Last of their ilk retreated inside and judging from the sounds has mustered a last stand of sorts.

Today shall be the last of this effort. Now is time for the final push, May Tangadorin’s all Seeing Light illuminate our path to victory. 

Obroam’s Journal – Winter 1, 59AD

1st day of Winter, 59AD

Now is the time. We make for what I hope is our final push into Girffin’s Keep. After recovering from our wounds, the party has hardened their will and we are determined. I spoke with Houden’s men and the ones who helped before have agreed to help us deal with these dark ones and reclaim Houden’s body. We have planned to take out the orc bowmen atop the moathouse first. The Men at Arms will provide distractions from range with their slings, while a small team scales the walls to take the fight to them on the roof. Should all go as planned that will leave a small number of Clerics, a Necromancer, and their undead to deal with.

But….we learned they have one true horror for use to contend with, a Wraith. My will is Strong and my Faith in Tangadorin true, may his light that Shines through my blade be enough to vanquish the dread specter should it appear. I fear not for my own life, as it is Tangadorin’s should it be cut short. But Houden’s death still weighs heavily upon my mind. I fear his body has already been turned into a vile undead form. I cannot stomach the thought of more of my companions meeting similar fates. By his all seeing lighted eyes, may Tangadorin protect us.

Wikton’s Thoughts – Under Tuluk – Winter 59AD

Forward, must keep going… forward…

Wikton’s thoughts drove him on in the dim light, his labored, almost gasping breath ringing in his ears in the otherwise deafening silence. His body cried out for rest, he and the rest of his party had trudged through another 12 hours of walking today, and he knew there were many more days like this to come until they could escape this hellhole, but they dare not stop; their food and water supplies were already dwindling. The Goddess could, miraculously, provide them some degree of sustenance each day even here, but it was not enough. The air was so thick, and he had become so used to it after so long, that he thought he would feel like he had been reborn if he ever were able to breathe freely again.

The landscape was unchanging, although no less strange than when he’d first seen it – rows of structures made of perfectly worked smooth stone on his right, and the rock wall on his left stretching up well past where their light sources could reach, leaving only blackness beyond. He knew what would come next: structures in a random pattern built of piles of rocks, and even more days of endlessly marching past them. Every now and then, he thought he spied what could be one of those rock creatures they’d seen earlier, but they mostly left the party alone, and so his thoughts drifted back to the image that was still blazened on his mind…

An Elemental. Such a strange creature, and yet obviously intelligent… and powerful. Not someone you want to cross, and we almost did by bringing the Illum there, and because he’d changed so much by being around us when we had to use violence… “Killum”, I call him now… not sure the Goddess approved either, but as I told them, we’d meant no harm…

The Goddess.  At the thought he remembered how she had shockingly appeared as well… After having gone through a space of blinding light to find the Elemental, the strange spherical mix of vegetable and mineral, and then seeing the  artifact they were seeking revealed after so long, only to then be confronted with the goddess Artura appearing right before him was… overwhelming.

Well, *I* saw the Goddess, Grel saw Tangadorin. And the artifact weapon looked different to each of us too. Where Grel so a sword, I saw a hammer forged from the finest damn masterwork smithing ever… and Beth saw a dagger…

Wikton glanced ahead at the woman ahead nimbly stepping over a rock, a black dagger at her belt. He didn’t know what strange twist of fate had led the professional thief to reach out and grab it, a weapon forged of elemental power…

I wonder if she realizes the cost? She follows no deity that I know of. Would she have heard the same warning that Artura gave to me? In addition to drawing the enemy’s attention, these weapons can only truly be used against the Dark Ones if the wielders are willing to go on a journey to become deities themselves, and Goddess only knows what that means for us. Other than our deaths, of course, that much seems certain.

Wikton strained to take a deep breath and firm his resolve. He glanced down at his upturned hand, the scar shaped as a perfect circle seared into the palm. 

Yes, the pact was made, and it will be fulfilled. We will save the Illum from those creatures per our bargain with the Elemental, then we’ll free the prisoners, restore Artura’s temple, find those other weapons and do whatever it takes to use them against the Dark Ones. Anything can be accomplished if one has the will to keep swinging the hammer.


Letters from Grell – Under Tuluk – Winter, 59AD

Jorann my friend, I do not know if this letter will reach you, but we have found the weapon! We now must try to return to Enonia. I can only hope that you have the second weapon…

Let me tell you what happened.

We had encountered a new race called the Illum. They are a fungus based race who are all connected. The Illum are One. A hive mind they work harmoniously to grow.

We explained to them that we had seen a grouping of the Illum apart from the group. They could not understand how they could be separated, so they agreed to have one of them accompany us to see how this could be.

As we journeyed on to find the Sword, we reached a place called the Center. The Illum could sense his creator and was reluctant to join us, however, he did follow. We met the Creator. It was an Avatar of a powerful god! He was very upset that we had brought the Illum to him, and further upset that we had exposed the Illum to ideas that should not have been introduced to him. 

He told us that the Sword was near, but there was no way we could get to it. When I asked if there was any way we could convince him to help us get the Sword, He agreed to help if we would accept a Gais to help the Illum. We all agreed, and the Creator brought the sword to us!

As I reached out to grasp it, Tangadorin appeared and explained that the sword was an Elemental creation, and could banish beings to their proper plane, but could only be wielded by a God. He had once been human and had had to become a God to wield it in the past, and the same was true of Artura and many others. 

While I have no wish to become a God, I was resolute as this is the only way to defeat the Dark Ones. But as I closed my fist upon the hilt, the chaotic thief Beth had heard as well that this could make him a God, and predictably decided that he had to have the Weapon.

He also grasped the Weapon. I would have taken it knowing that the thief would never fight a Dark One, nor if he was even willing would he be likely to be able to hit it.

However, Tangadorin told me that I must not fight for it. So, I did the only thing I could, I released it. 

At first I thought our last hope was gone, however, the Weapon is a living thing, and can’t be owned. Tangadorin explained that the weapon will choose who and how it is used. Further he explained that we will all be needed in order to fight the Dark Ones. 

So, hope is not yet lost. We have the weapon. It will choose who and how it is used.

I have no doubt that the weapon will be used by all of us at one point or another. 

We must now complete the Gais of the Illum’s creator so that we can make our way back to Enonia.

Do yur best to retrieve the broken sword. It will be needed!

Farewell well my friend, I hope to see you soon.

Obroam’s Journal – 37th Day of Autumn 59 AD

*Tears can be seen to stain the pages of the journal slightly*

It is with a heavy heart that i find myself writing in this journal again. Much had happened to distract me from my entries. And now i must record our groups successes and failures. 

We had traveled to Tanneth and spoken with the Warden, Houden’s father, about the state of affairs at Griffin Keep. The presence of beastials, Ogres, and Dark clerics. After gaining his support his court wizard used magical means via a teleportation nexus to transport us back to the hidden chamber in the basement of the keep. Once we had gained the surface and the yard, after dealing with several orc zombies, we decided to breach the temple like structure with its large glass window. This proved to both advantageous in our efforts to cleanse the place, but also ruinous for our party as well.

Inside we came face to face with the dark worshipers for the first time. Their alter of Chaos was so foulsome that it almost took the breath from me, but by Tangadorin’s light I did not falter. Battle was engaged, my illuminated blade seeking to cut out all their darkness and our party took to slaying them and their undead. However, though we dealt with the first group quite well, even capturing one of the dark ones, reinforcements were soon at hand. A wave of goblin zombies came through a door, though they didn’t last long as Egill dispatched them with his faith in Tyr. But that was not all, three more dark ones and a wave of orc zombies followed. Though we fought well, the situation was rapidly growing out of hand and retreat was deemed necessary. We fought our way back out of the temple, with the jeers of those dark ones chasing us as their zombies relentlessly pursued. 

We made it to the yard, where Mort was able to use his magic and ensnare the hoard of undead with a fast tangle of vines and roots. Things seemed as though we would all get away, sadly this is not so. As we made our escape toward the walls, bowmen orcs rained bolts down on us from the moat house. It was one of these bolts that took Houden, my friend and companion’s life. As he fell he told me to tell his father he died in battle. With my shield arm broken from the earlier conflicts, I stowed my blade in my belt and hoisted my friends body from the dirt so as not to leave it for the foul machinations of these villains. Egill came back to assist me with the task, but that to proved folly. As we tried to make the walls, more bolts rained down upon us. Even as I write this the wounds of those bolts have only just been sealed in my back and side. But it was Egill that took a near deadly strike. The burden of two bodies was to much for me to ferry away in my condition. And faced with either bringing back Houden’s body for proper rights, or attempting to save Egill’s life, for at the moment he still drew labored breath, I made the only choice available to me. May Tangadorin forgive me, I left Houden’s body there so that I could save Egill. 

Once clear of the walls and safely in the tree line, I gave Egill a potion that thankfully saved his life. Not much was said on our way back to town, though our prisoner did rouse once before a swift elbow put him back in his place. He is currently in the custody of the constable. Now i lay here, in the Temple of the Light, receiving Treatment for my wounds. Though only those of the body, for the wounds of my pride and soul are mine and Tangadorin’s to see to. The death of my friend weighs upon my, more so leaving him to the hands of those vile dark ones whom i have no doubt will render him into one of their undead monstrosities. Should I encounter my friend in such a state, I will destroy what he has become as my god and faith demands. I think to myself, what more could I have done? Could I have been faster? Struck truer? I shall pray on this. And when time allows, I must answer to Houden’s father for the death of his son. May Tangadorin give me strength. 

Eadwig’s Journal – Horrors of Tuluk

30th day of Autumn

What was once a black and white conflict is now introducing shades of gray. It is difficult to determine what is good. There are Dark Ones and Demons at war with each other, deities of the Old World combating a Reign of Light, and the realms of mortals caught in the middle of it all.

We remain underneath Tuluk, searching for a magical sword. Our provisions continue to dwindle. A winged fiend bade us destroy a gem, but the gem revealed itself to be sentient and wanting us to aid it. Like unreliable mercenaries we changed allegiance and decided to not shatter the gem. Now we flee the wrath of the winged fiend through endless tunnels in this forsaken underworld.

Indescribable horrors assail us. Creatures casting spells that put us to sleep, winged and scaled creatures marching as soldiers with spear and shield. Steel fails us and only blessings and spells keep the enemy at bay. During a melee I was laid low and awoke later from divine provision.

The path behind us has caved-in. The gem still guides us further and deeper into the underworld, and we obey.

(Editors Note: This was such an evocative bit of writing that I turned it into a spoken word piece on my “Dungeon Master’s Handbook” podcast. You can hear the episode here:—Horrors-Under-Tuluk—A-Players-Journal-eak8ko