We begin on our way to the capitol. The bladelings of the watch will continue to investigate after we have informed them of what was going on, and having witnessed firsthand the odd occurrences. They were previously unaware of bladelings committing violence. The group re-evaluates the situation and decides to instead head for the university to try to find some answers. We do know that although we don’t believe it has a connection at this time, we realize the lack of plants is due to a fear of the outlying jungle (and therefore plantlife of any kind).
As we arrive at the university we recall that there is a particular way in which we have to enter to speak to someone. We approach a certain building, wait in the foyer where someone may choose to come talk to us, but no one comes out. We are able to continue in the building but what we find is clearly a magical maze where we are being evaluated. It is made of what appears and feels like regular stone walls, there is a low ceiling and we do not detect any traps along the way. Tess puts some chalk markings on the wall to try to assess where we have and have not been yet. We come to a room with slimy walls that we are able to distinguish as a spell cast as a sort of “window” for the mages to view what is happening in the maze from a distance. As we approach a large room, 3 bars move and block the doorway behind us. 3 strange distorted halflings attack us. Their hands are morphed together to form claws, 2 of them have cudgels and the other is a controller/caster. They have small sharpened teeth, and their heads are swollen and veiny in appearance. We dispatch of them and take the opportunity to rest up in this room.
After a little reflection we conclude those monsters shouldn’t have been a part of this magic maze, the mages would’ve kicked them out. We continue on and after teleporting back and forth in the maze a bit we find a room of books. Tess finds a text about an acient city below the base of a volcano, many centuries ago. The city was alive with commerce and learning and existed in the middle of the wilderness, until a nightmare came and the city destroyed itself until nothing was left. Scholars believe the city was moved by a god to another plane of existence. The nightmares are what started it all. There are some relics from around 6000 years ago, before this happened.
(OK another disclaimer – I failed to clarify in my notes which of these details were from the book about the ancient city or about Selva currently, so I’m going to verify tomorrow and edit as necessary :) )
The wall of the city is a striking feature, a wall higher than those used to stop armies from invading…what is it for? What is it trying to keep out (or in)? The wall is 3,000 years old and used to be inhabited by primitive cannibal halflings. (There is no volcano in or near Selva) There are sinkhole valleys – they are hard to get into and most commonly seen in rainforests or areas with high concentrations of limestone.
We also find a book about pyschic attacks and nightmares. They can be attacks within/by your own psyche. There are mental “fire escape” drills mentioned?? There are only a few ways this kind of attack can take place…either A) Person vs Person or B) mass hysteria by way of altering reality. This can take place when the psyche is moved / brain goes to another plane of existence (separate from body??). There are some protections and blessings to defend against psychic damage.
There are an infinite number of plans in existence. There are even mini-planes where gods create planes in their own image as a source of power. We know that these nightmares/psyche altering events happened a month ago and people disappeared. What happens with repeat exposure? Are the people who have disappeared just on another plane?
Back to the story, we check the university bunkers but find no one there, although the rooms look searched through already. We also check out the research facility which looks like (as expected) there were explosions taking place there; sigil marks left behind. The damage, while not unusual for this type of building, does not look recent. How long have they been gone?
We head back toward the capital!!
Total Exp: 400