Island in the Mist

Drag Me to Hell (2012 remake)

Previously on Islands in the Mist: the Riders were forced to decide between going to see the Elf King and saving Sage Marin and the Stranger.

When the Riders return from the Cassian Labyrinth Prison, they discover that many Riders are no longer present in the city. Indeed, rumors swirl that Blacksnarl Orc Dude, Lucien Oldmoor, Maurissa (the woman who was trying to kill Valandil), Erik Valtjof, and basically everyone we hate went off to see the Elf King. Sage Marin made it a priority to discover what happened to them, but then rumors surfaced that they had returned.

Tarare was met by Nemo the Beggar who passed on the message (after much lamenting about itchy palms) that the ones who left had returned. They wanted to see all the Riders and Sage Marin at Minoc Heart Intelligence. Upon hearing this, Sage Marin advised against walking into an obvious trap. He then gave a history lesson the origin of the dragon gods, of which Sherylin was one. Evidently, the departed usurpers had visited the dragon goddess of nature in Thaylithien. While the dragon gods were born to Bahamut, who is good, Sage Marin believes they were reared by Tiamat, who is evil and once tried to burn the world. As such, they can be trusted, and they cannot, he was a little confusing on this point, seeming to bounce around a little in specifics. Suffice it to say, the Riders need be cautious, for the dragon gods are more likely to act for their own best interests, rather than the best interests of the Mortal Realm.

The Riders decide to confront Blacksnarl on his own. They learn he is addressing his troops in the morning and they plan to listen in on the briefing and talk to him after. He seems congenial enough, and so they go back to Sage Marin’s with the intention of going to MHI.

While Valandil is out buying better armor, he is confronted by one of the usurpers, Maurissa. She explains that she took out a contract against him with the Brotherhood of Ravens, but that the contract was not yet active. However, some recruits learned of the contract, and in an attempt to curry favor with the Brotherhood they acted prematurely. Turns out, she is an Aecheron sent to prevent a prophecy pertaining to his particular brand of shapeshifting elf in the world. The prophecy foretells that one such will bring out about the extinction of the Aecheron race. Also, it turns out Aecherons are celestial beings who protect the Mists.

Lucien Oldmoor visits Tarare at Sage Marin’s house and insists he talk to him outside. Tarare warily consents and gets threatened oh-so-lovingly yet again by the Cassian pomp. It turns out Aurelie wants to name their child Tarare and Lucien says Aurelie gave him one story for why and it had better match or he was going to go full trailer park domestic violence up in this bitch. Tarare first pokes at the ridiculous ass and then confirms their great-great grandfather was named Tarare. Lucien threatens again, which Tarare does not deign to respond to, and Lucien departs.

Meanwhile, Esh investigates a small mouse demon creature that turns out to be Goku the Nezoumi trying to make contact with him. Goku tells Esh of all the plans that the usurpers have made, how they met Sherylin in Thaylithien, how they are all now servants of a dragon goddess, and how Sherylin has said that if Sage Marin and his Riders remain in control of Simon’s Rest, it will spell the destruction of Simon’s Rest and even the world itself. The usurpers are conspiring to send the Riders off to Hell.

At MHI, the Riders and Sage Marin encounter Erik Valtjof, who is holding a baleful black sword and shield. Tarare ascertains the magic in his armaments could be dragon-god in origin. Eric explains that the Mists are Sherylin’s dream. She slept to hide from the Aechmus brothers, but they have discovered a way to discover her. Now she needs to awaken to fight them. She has seen that as long as Sage Marin and the Riders are in control of Simon’s Rest, the pocket will be destroyed. Valtjof also reveals that Sherylin ordered the death of the Riders, but they are choosing to disobey and instead banish them to the Underworld to face the growing demon menace. In this way, the Riders will still be able to help Simon’s Rest, without the ability to return to it via the portals. To ensure the latter, Maurissa casts a spell on each of them that prevents the portals from opening back to Simon’s Rest. Also, the magic she used creates a certain instability when using the portals so it’s not guaranteed they will all end up at the same place in the future.

Outgunned and with little choice, the Riders begin entering the portal. Pausing at the entrance, Tarare lashes out at Lucien Oldmoor with a prismatic ray, turning the Cassian to stone. He then ducks into the portal, leaving Valandil to face a stunned crowd of Sherylin followers. Valtjof won’t brook another betrayal and pushes him through.

Satisfied the portals aren’t the only way to return to Simon’s Rest, the Riders begin their descent into Hell.

Prison Break

Noriam, having the constitution normally reserved for the only male heir of a proud king at the end of a dynasty, fell ill for some reason. Some rumors in Simon’s Rest suggested too many tranny hookers, but these were unconfirmed. At the end of his delirium, Noriam was visited by Sage Marin. The vision seemed real and he was able to convince the Riders that it was authentic. Sage Marin insisted they come for him in the Cassian Labyrinth Prison within three days time.

A short while later, the Riders were visited by an envoy of the Elf King, who also insisted the Riders make their way to the elf city to see him for something very urgent. Torn between saving Sage Marin and the Stranger, and going to visit the Elf King on what may be a fool’s errand, they decided Sage Marin was worth it.

Tarare fretted very much about entering the Cassian Labyrinth Prison due to the fact that that the entire plane is in a null magic zone. Worse, there are pockets of dead magic zones that would be irrevocably devastating for him to enter. As a precaution, he fashioned detectors on the ends of poles that would signal the presence of a dead magic zone.

Upon entering the Cassian Labyrinth Prison, they quickly were able to find a large tree with a hollow root system where Sage Marin and the Stranger were able to contact Noriam. However, there was evidence of a struggle and it was clear Sage Marin and the Stranger were kidnapped and dragged off.

The CLP has a few interesting features, including a sea of acid. Good times. One crazy old fuck at the entrance to a cavernous temple rigged the whole place with acid bottles he harvested from the sea. After a brief battle and a Mexican Stand-off, Valandil finally pulled a honey badger and got some people drenched in acid, resulting in the death of the crazy man. Tarare looted him for a pair of odd goggles (the Mortuus Magicae Oculos), which he later discovered enabled the detection of dead and null magic zones. The temple led down into a cavern with many more pitfalls. In two cages atop pillars and separated by a large gulf, were Sage Marin and the Stranger.

Much to the dismay of the Riders, they were at odds, each cajoling and pleading for their own life while suing for the death of the other. The Riders attempted to save them both, even though it was a King Solomon’s dilemma, and it ended about as you’d expect. Valandil knocked the Stranger’s cage off the pillar. Unbeknownst to him, the bars of the cage are deadly and the Stranger is almost certainly dead. Thanks to some heroic lock-picking from Noriam, they were able to free Sage Marin.

A vast and ancient dragon enters around this time and the Riders make a mad dash to regroup. Just as shit is about to get real and peeps start dying, Tarare uses a recall scroll and they return to Simon’s Rest.

World. Saved. Again.

Sneak Attack on Simon's Rest

With the bulk of Simon’s Rest’s military forces out in the countryside dealing with pressing threats (the necromancer, chief amongst them), Simon’s Rest’s defenses are woefully weakened. Rumors of riots, sightings of shadowy assassins and word of a small army marching on the city put General Oldmoore into a frenzy, leading him to suggest the imposition of martial law. Ezra, who has had command of the city bestowed on him by default, is near the breaking point.

After interfacing with Minoc Heart Intelligence, Valindil is set upon by a member of the Brotherhood of Ravens. He is struck by a dagger with a fearsome poison, and while he resisted its effects at first, later succumbed to them. The assassin escaped Valindil’s wroth, which was revealed to be by design, when a woman of much beauty informed him that she does not yet wish him dead. It also turns out Valindil is an elf in the world.

Tarare, on his way back from MHI is greeted by a rattish little beast: the Nezumi, Goku. Goku informs him his master Nogiyana is still alive. Nogiyana was the maoren who slew Slen, and was presumed dead when the jail the Riders assaulted collapsed. According to Goku, Nogiyana managed to survive. After Tarare chases off the nezumi, Nogiyana revealed himself, much the worse for wear. He reveals his intentions of seizing control of Simon’s Rest, but first, Tarare must be dealt with. Unfortunately for Nogiyana, Tarare has learned a few new tricks. With one spell, he incapacitates him. Tarare believes him dead, but his inspection is rushed by the outbreak of a riot.

Tarare deals with the riot while Valandil struggles with his poisoning. By creating a multitude of ghost sounds in the crowd, he manages to get people worried about their homes, sending many of them away. Some looters remain, so Tarare enlarges himself and projects his voice, playing on the crowd’s selfishness. They disperse and he and Valandil make their way to the House of the Sapphire and Rose, where MHI is housed. From the stout brick walls, they snipe an army of about 150 soldiers, filling the street with bodies.

Tarare stands atop the mountain of corpses and roars like a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Into the Shadow

In the absence of Sage Marin and the Stranger, the many movers and shakers of Simon’s Rest begin vying for power. Dalton tells the Riders of shadow planes, which are planar pockets consisting of – you guessed it – shadow. The creatures there are whisper thin, but their blades are fearsome for the living. Within a particular shadow plane, Verin Aechmus has imprisoned many of the stolen men of Simon’s Rest, as well as some men from Furio’s home pocket.

The Riders journey to the Shadow Plane using the portal and work to free the prisoners before the plane collapses in on them. They encounter an avatar of Verin Aechmus there who steals Furio’s soul in their attempt to free their prisoners. Despite Noriam’s best efforts, Furio could not be saved. While many of the prisoners were saved, the loss of Furio was a savage blow to the Riders.


  • XXP and AP already awarded for dungeon portion
  • 200 XXP for anyone who participated in the campaign portion
  • 1 AP for anyone who participated in the campaign portion
  • Starting Session 22, I promise to stop sucking at DM bookkeeping
Banishing the Dark Lord

An avatar of Verin Aechmus has made his way to Simon’s Rest and is binding the souls of townsfolk. Even the stalwart Noriam falls under his sway. The Stranger is able to free Noriam’s mind, and together with Sage Marin develop a plan to lure the avatar back into his portal and send him to the Labyrinthine Prison which lies deep beneath the city of Cassia.

In the fight, Valandil has his soul stolen by the avatar. Turning on Sage Marin and the Stranger, the fight begins to look bleak. Tarare manages to turn them invisible before they are slain and they are able to force the avatar into the portal. Unfortunately, they too vanish through its fiery gate. Once the avatar is banished, the souls of the taken are returned, but Simon’s Rest is left without its leadership.


  • XXP and AP already awarded for dungeon portion
  • 200 XXP for anyone who participated in the campaign portion
  • 1 AP for anyone who participated in the campaign portion
  • Starting Session 22, I promise to stop sucking at DM bookkeeping
The Stranger
In which the brave riders encounter a powerful stranger in the Underworld

After coming to in body-reconstructing, magical baths, Furio, Valandil, Esh, Noriam and Tarare find themselves indebted to a powerful entity known as The Stranger. He has nursed them back to health after having discovered their battered bodies beneath a pile of rubble six months previous.

During their recovery, the Riders become acquainted with The Stranger. An (apparently) benevolent super wizard who is thousands of years old, he makes it his business to aid the many races found in The Underworld: a vast, interconnected labyrinth of caves beneath The Mists. He is a member of an race of ancient beings known as the Aecherons.

Tattooed upon his forearm amidst indecipherable runes is the phrase, “”/campaign/island-in-the-mist/wikis/Griswold/new" class=“create-wiki-page-link”>Griswold has your child." The Stranger claims that he has knowledge of an unknowable secret, and that to attain this knowledge, he had to surrender a great deal of his own knowledge: memories of his family members, his own name, and likely a slew of other personal facts. Through judicious use of powerful magics and the tattoos, The Stranger has come to know that he has a child, and that at some point, that child was being held captive by a wizard known as Griswold.

He explains that because his secret is unknowable without great sacrifice, that the Riders could not know it even if he told them explicitly. He demonstrates by explaining the secret to them, and although it is startling, the Riders quickly forget the details. Indeed, it is impossible for them to remember the secret at all.

The Stranger is very inquisitive about the surface and the happenings within The Pocket at Simon’s Rest. Although he demands nothing and gives The Riders the choice of which information they choose to share with him, his questions quickly become specific enough to seem dangerous. In particular, he wishes to know of Minoc Heart Intelligence. Amongst their effects, The Stranger has discovered the remnants of Rustless 42’s brain. He explains that it likely came from a “gemstone superintelligence,” and that these intelligences are actually “city seeds” from beyond The Mists.

The adventurers, a naturally suspicious lot, are at first reluctant to discuss Minoc, but after communing with Minoc and then initiating several sendings with Sage Marin, they decide to bring the Stranger to Simon’s Rest.

A long, grueling journey ensues, in which they encounter many dangers the Underworld has to offer. Near the end of their journey, The Stranger is called off to aid a pack of werewolves. The Riders make their way on their own to a small hamlet where Men of the Deep protect the portal to the surface. Despite being informed repeatedly that the Underworld is not Hell, The Riders encounter a demon who has taken control of the Portal that leads to Simon’s Rest. The adventurers soundly defeat the demon and his minions, bringing his evil life to an end with a well-aimed arrow down the gullet.

Large silver-lined pools of acid surrounding the demon turn out to be trapped Men of the Deep. The mayor of the “village,” though suspicious of the Riders, is thankful for having been rescued and helps them get back to the surface on the condition that they do their best to keep demons off of the surface.

Upon returning to Simon’s Rest, the heroes are welcomed with triumphant fanfare. Countless changes have come to the city: Led by Blacksnarl, the majority of Piraxis’ horde now protects the city. A necromancer has begun raising his own army throughout the pocket. Sage Marin speaks of new Riders. To Tarare’s dismay, his cousin Aurelie has wed the Lucien Oldmoore.

When the Stranger finally makes his way back to Simon’s Rest, he introduces himself to Sage Marin. Sage Marin clarifies: he is an Aecheron, raised by an evil wizard named Griswold. He is The Stranger’s long lost son.

Moments later, Erik Valtjof arrives with Lucien Oldmoore. They are both now members of Marin’s Riders.

The Big One

The riders efforts to track down Piraxis culminate in a tenuous meeting with Erik Valtjoff. Furio rides out to meet Erik and they parlay shortly. Erik reveals the terms of his slavery to Piraxis and tells the Riders how to reach Piraxis.

The riders travel through the canyon and are able to climb to the appropriate entrance. The riders come upon a weepy Lucien Oldmoore. Lucien tells the group that Lawrence is being held against his will. Algarith leads Lucien back to safety and holds position to receive other fleeing prisoners.

The riders encounter a sleeping Piraxis and dispatch .. an illusion? The real Piraxis drops bombs, eats women, and catches an ass whooping. Norriam uses some fancy rope tricks and puts the Deathshead flask in the beast’s maw. Rustless42 becomes inert after taking considerable damage. Furio too falls after a toe-to-toe thrashing from the dragon. Esh and Tarare fire the heavy artillery that eventually brings Piraxis crashing to the earth only to spill open with doezens of candy treats…. I mean magic items.

Under Seige

The brigands come in force and lay siege to Simon’s Rest. After what felt like days, thousands of ground troops, orcs, calvary, archers, trolls, knights, and heroes battled on the outskirts of Simon’s Rest.

Marin’s Riders and the army of Simon’s Rest were ultimately able to fend off the vanguard of brigand troops. While victorious, the battle was a sobering presentation of the considerable force at Piraxis’s disposal.

The riders are left little choice but to engage Piraxis directly. The dragon has backed an ornery badger into a corner and is about to get his face ripped off.

The Flaming Heart of Minoc
In which a giant pillar of magma heralds the coming of Minoc Heart Intelligence to Simon's Rest.

Due to the continued threat of terraquines, Minoc Heart Intelligence wanted to relocate to Simon’s Rest. The only problem is that to come to the surface, MHI would have to ride a pillar of magma that will spew deadly flame all over Simon’s Rest. Sage Marin’s riders agree and negotiate terms that will get the Mechanicals to help rebuild whatever damage. The riders rush to the surface as earthquakes collapse tunnels. Valandil took a detour searching for animal companions and barely made it. Once to the surface, the riders began to escort MHI to Simon’s Rest but were waylaid by a convoy of bandits including several horsemen, some trolls, a Cassian knight, and Erik Valthjof. They narrowly defeated the bandits, but Erik fled with his tail tucked between his legs. The riders then proceeded to escort MHI to Simon’s Rest.

They call it the Hive Jive

In an impressive barrage of fire and arrows our heroes were able to take down a giant deer to feed Simon’s Rest.

Sage Marin’s riders descend on the Elemental Plane of Earth to engage the Hive Mother of the Terraquines in a final climactic battle. Missles of magic and arrows do most of the work killing a dozen Terraquines. Norriam manages to rope some of the floating pieces of Minoc Heart Intelligence while the others dispatch the Hive Mother.

Scientists believe this to have been the best-run D&D session in the history of tabletop roleplaying.


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