Adventure #8: Knowing is Half the Battle
(or "Let's Do the Time Warp Again")

DM: Mike
Players: Missy, Robin, Shane, Todd, Lynn

Mogdar woke up alone and halfway across the world from the rest of the party. The Hand of Fate had not taken him to Al-Qadim, which was what was happening to the others when they had the dream about the beautiful woman. No, not that dream; the one where they woke up in the oasis with the green giants.

MalligantAnyway, Mogdar was wondering where everyone went when a man formed out of blue mist-smoke in front of him. The man identified himself as Malligant, and flashed Mogdar a symbol that he claimed was a badge of the Guardians. Who are the Guardians? They live on Temporal Prime and regulate time travel. What’s Temporal Prime? Think of it as the Demiplane of Time. For less information, ask Mogdar.

Malligant told Mogdar that the Guardians were very impressed with his work in eradicating an entire timeline (see Adventure #3) and that they needed his help again. It seemed that Shao Tsang, ever the source of Dangers To All Reality, had developed the power to travel in time psionically. Furthermore, Shao Tsang, ever since his "imbalance" had been "corrected" by the tradesmen (see Adventure #6), actually belonged to another timeline. This was causing turbulence on Temporal Prime and so needed to be corrected. Although Mogdar suggested more draconian methods for dealing with Shao Tsang, Malligant told him the recommendation of the Guardians: journey back in time 200 years and prevent the Master of Psychoportation at the monastery where Shao Tsang was trained from being assassinated. If this Master lived, the secret of psionic time travel could be passed down to Shao Tsang, he would properly belong in this timeline, and the turbulence would stop. Malligant also told Mogdar that the Guardians wanted him to watch over Shao Tsang and keep him from causing too much trouble with his time travel abilities.

Malligant and Mogdar journeyed through Temporal Prime to Al-Qadim, seeming to form out of blue mist-smoke to their comrades. Mogdar managed to convince his friends to go on this journey without telling them exactly what was going on. Malligant gave Mogdar a backpack and told him he could access Temporal Prime through a slipgate Malligant had to the west.

The party set out westward through the desert, and soon noticed a big greasy black column of smoke. This was the work of Seisha, a trader from Kozakura (Japan, sort of), whose caravan had been wiped out by disease. She was burning all of their stuff to kill the bug. She asked to journey with the party, since she was out of comrades.

Farther west, a strange humanoid creature flew by overhead. Investigating, the party found it was a halfling with strange fleshy membranes stretching between his ankles and toes. His base looked like a giant round seed pod, but scorched and shattered. The halfling spoke in an unfamiliar tongue and attacked. The party killed him and Seisha took some strange organic devices from him. The interior of the seed pod appeared to be like a dwelling or vessel, but was damaged beyond repair.

Big BugsThe party next encountered a fur trader, Lode Burwell, who was having trouble selling his wares in the desert. Lode was cautious, saying he had seen "bugs" in the area. The party didn’t want any furs, and moved on.

Big BugsThat night, the "bugs" could be heard scrabbling outside the camp. Six thri-kreen (mantis men) appeared and demanded the party’s surrender. They courageously refused, and in a desperate battle, managed to defeat the mantis warriors.

After resting some more, the party pressed on, encountering a solid rocky ridge where Malligant’s map had predicted a pass. Ezren did some aerial scouting and noticed two caves in the ridge. Doh!The party elected to cross it. As they did so, the caves flickered open – they were eyes! The entire "ridge" was a giant stony-skinned crocodile creature, a hundred feet long. The monster swallowed a magically-enlarged Tellar whole, but the party was able to defeat it and Tellar hacked his way out of its belly laden with treasure.

Finally, the party reached Malligant’s slipgate, which turned out to have a strange structure around it with some full-time servants and guardians. After some more obfuscation by Mogdar, the party passed through the gate into Temporal Prime.

Temporal Prime was a strange place, even to those who were familiar with other planes. Blue mist-smoke, flowing gently in one direction, was everywhere. Silvery cords, sometimes tangling, twisted through it. Gravity was subjective; "down" was wherever you wanted it. Thrown weapons and many kinds of magic didn’t work right. Mogdar warned everyone to stay close and tethered the party to some of the silver cords.

Mogdar had also warned the party that they would probably encounter something dangerous just on the other side of the gate, but his warning came to naught. Oaklore eagerly investigated a white bundle on the other side that appeared to be a folded cloak. The bundle immediately erupted with a score of tiny spiders, which hurled themselves at the party. The spiders were defeated with some difficulty, and some treasure taken from their web-bundle. Oaklore gave up any claim to the treasure, since he had released the spiders.

While setting up camp that night, Shao Tsang got caught in the middle of a group of floating white strands. As more stuck to him, he continued to accelerate back the way they had come. Then he suddenly disappeared in a puff of mist-smoke.

Scary Time Wraith ThingieThe next "day", the party reached a vortex on Malligant’s map that was to jump them back to the appropriate time period. As they approached, a figure with glowing eyes formed out of the mist-smoke and asked if they were on Guardian business. When the party replied that they were, the creature said, "All Guardians must die!" and attacked, along with its companion, which had formed behind the party. Their touch caused paradoxes, and they were immune to normal weapons, but were eventually defeated.

Finally, the group was approaching its destination. Before they could reach it, though, they came across a huge tangle of silver lines. Apparently a group of doglike creatures was using it for a nest. They were defending their nest from a horrible asymmetric dragon-like beast, which used its eight claws to grip the silver lines and slash at its foes. As the party approached, it unleashed some sort of breath weapon that aged one of the adult dogs to dust. The group decided to help the remaining dog defend its pups, and in an amazing display of hackprowess and recklessness, managed to defeat the beast. The dogs gave the party some treasure from their nest to thank them.

At last they were able to exit Temporal Prime. The group re-entered reality by virtue of a spell cast by Mogdar from a scroll given him by Malligant. They found themselves in a peasant’s hut in Kara-Tur, 200 years in the past (although they didn’t all know this). They were welcomed by Koshi, owner of the hut, who thought they were gods or spirits. He fed them and allowed them to rest in his hut. Ezren stayed behind. He fell ill as soon as he re-entered reality, due to his patron’s increased power in the past.

Silly PacifistsOn their way to the monastery, the group encountered two warriors fighting skeletons. The group pitched in and helped the warriors, who were using katanas and telekinetic powers to fight the skeletons. The older warrior identified himself as Van Wilkes. He and his apprentice, Daiten, were members of the Bushinkai, an order of psionic warriors. They were trying to convince the monastery to defend itself against waves of undead sent by an evil wizard, but the monks were pacifistic and insisted that the Tao would protect them.

The two Bushinkai journeyed with the party as they went on to the monastery. Once the party identified the Master they were supposed to protect (the Master of Void), they put him in Tellar’s warp marble and waited in the Master’s tower for the assassin. As they waited in the tower, a succession of runners came and told them that the other Masters (North, East, West, South) were under attack. The party, fearing a diversion, stayed put. Only Van Wilkes left; he had detected a Zherikai, an evil opposite of the Bushinkai, in one of the towers. He later called Daiten to him when he engaged the Zherikai, and the rest of the party soon followed.

They found Van Wilkes and Daiten engaged in combat with a black-robed figure in a featureless red facemask. This was Cain, Van Wilkes’ old Zherikai foe. Cain slew Van Wilkes and drained his psionic essence. When the entire party attacked him, Cain used the psionic energy to teleport away. The Master of Void told the party that he thought Cain had escaped into the timestream. Daiten resolved to follow him.

Into the middle of this emotional scene appeared Malligant. He laughed at the confused party and told Mogdar that, as far as he knew, the Guardians didn’t even exist. "But if they do," he said, "I’m sure they’ll be interested in you now, Mogdar." Malligant had manipulated the party into diverting all the monastery’s security to the Master of Void, allowing the other Masters to be assassinated, which served his ends in some manner which he did not explain. Malligant pulled out an iron sphere identical to Mogdar’s Iron Bands of Bilarro, said, "Don’t worry Mogdar, you’ll learn how to use yours someday," and hurled it at them. It expanded into a large blue sphere of energy which surrounded them and ripped through the timestream, depositing them outside the monastery in their own time. Ezren was there too, apparently having been separately banished by Malligant.

Outside the monastery, dutifully pruning the bushes, was Shao Tsang. He had managed to use his psionic powers to re-enter reality at the right time. He welcomed the angry and dispirited party in, and told them that the Master of Void (now the only Master at the Monastery, as all the others had been slain in the past) could probably send them home when they wanted.