The party spends time and effort both in the Fishery and on their fishing camp. It seemed their adventuring days were over...
Until, one night twelve weeks later, Wrin came to them with a worried tale about another group of adventurers that had mysteriously disappeared before fully handling an ever *greater* threat to the Starstone Isles!
Wrin has few details about just what is going on, but knows that you need to get aboard the boat and disembark in Willowside. For, while prophecy is no longer reliable, she thinks that if you do that you'll latch on to a thread of fate. It was intended to lead one adventuring group there, but, perhaps, you can replace that group. An ancient spirit from the north told her this, and she believes it to be true.
And, indeed, one night the various dreams of the group are interrupted when they suddenly find themselves on a beautiful tropical beach. Inland is what appears to be the ruins of a great arena and farther off a massive temple. Near the arena a big circus tent is being set up.
A young woman in a most peculiar red uniform walks up to you and presents herself as The Ringmaster.
She says that she is the leader of the circus/adventuring group that had been working to save the Starstone Isles from the Exctinction Curse when they got an offer they just couldn't resist...
At this point she interjects, "Oh, I forgot to say, I'm sending this dream, but, I can't hear anything you say. So, to preemptively answer a few questions you might have..."
* She relates their adventures, see below. (TL/DR: Xulgath are stealing back the Aeon orbs that keep Starstone Isle livable, four have been saved, one remains for you to save. You get innate powers to help you.)
* They had their fortunes cast before leaving, and were assured by the ancient crone that cast their fortune that they need not worry, she'd get Calinthia and her friends to take on the mission. For some reason they are no longer entirely clear on, this convinced them that it was ok to go, though the crone did instruct them that if they won, they get all the glory, but must take something called 'The Mill of Louhi' as their reward and hand it to her. It all made sense at the time. Somehow.
* Yes, clowns sometimes do cry.
After that, she tells them to watch closely as five different towers rise from the beach, and they are quickly brought to the top of each of the towers. At each tower one member of the circus instructs them on how to focus on the tower to get access to it's resonance. At the end of this the entire party has access to those resonances (see below for details, ask me to give the resonances to your characters.)
Finally she tells them that the letter of introduction from Opper Vandy is held by one of the sailors, a former circus artist she once worked with. She sent him the letter just before the Circus of Wayward Wonders headed for the Ruby Fist Tournament, after annotating it with a lot of praise about a fairly vaguely described group of adventurers that were to continue the quest.
Oh, and, break a leg!!
With that she bows, fades out, and you awake in your bunks on the ship.
The Ringmaster's story, The Extinction Curse, a summary of what has gone before:
Book 1 The Show Must Go On
CHAPTER 1 SYNOPSIS
The Circus of Wayward Wonders, the traveling circus that the heroes have joined, is hosting its opening night in the small town of Abberton on the eastern edge of the Isle of Erran. Just before the show begins, the ringmaster is found dead from poison. At the beginning of the adventure, the heroes face two challenges: putting on a spectacular show and finding the killer.
CHAPTER 2 SYNOPSIS
In this chapter, the heroes investigate several disappearances and unusual events around the town of Abberton. In between their investigations of an orchard where dangerous beasts lurk, a mill whose owners have been kidnapped, a dangerous roadside tavern, a defiled church, and an isolated barn, the heroes encounter a group sent by a rival circus called the Celestial Menagerie bent on doing them harm. Although many of the troubles the heroes uncover in this chapter are the legacy of the murderous halfling priest Nemmia, others point to sinister goings-on at the Hermitage of Blessed Lightning outside of town.
CHAPTER 3 SYNOPSIS
The Hermitage of Blessed Lightning was until recently a sacred community dedicated to Gozreh, the neutral deity of nature, wind, and waves. But now it has fallen to evil. The hermits have embraced the corruption offered by the succubus Balenni and now consort with demons to gain their power. The hermits hope to use their new powers to drive away the stain of civilization from the land; in time, they are bound to become as murderous as the halfling Nemmia. The heroes can quash this heresy by defeating the corrupted hermits and their demonic allies. In the process, they can rescue Mayor Jae Abber and the hermitage’s benevolent leader, Harlock Hamdeel, from the hermits’ clutches.
CHAPTER 4 SYNOPSIS
In the adventure’s final chapter, the heroes investigate the Erran Tower and discover that it is filled with xulgaths, the xulgaths’ dinosaur allies, and other monsters. In addition, the succubus Balenni retreated here after corrupting the hermitage and inflicting the murderous Nemmia on the town of Abberton. The heroes can avenge the townspeople and the hermits by vanquishing the succubus, or learn more about her schemes by talking with her. At the top of the tower, the xulgath priest Cavnakash is attempting to destroy the aeon orb; he won’t stop until the heroes defeat him. Many of the encounters in the Erran Tower are complex, involving multiple foes and roaming dangers. This serves to keep the heroes on their toes throughout the finale of the adventure.
RESONANT REFLECTION Aeon orbs aren’t sentient, but they nevertheless bequeath a reflection of their powerful energies to certain creatures in their presence. This energy is called a resonant reflection. Cavnakash and the xulgaths, so keen on destroying the orb, could not receive this resonant reflection. The heroes, on the other hand, receive the aeon orb’s resonant reflection once they defeat Cavnakash, as doing so demonstrates their dedication to preserving the aeon orb. The statistics for the resonant reflection granted by the Erran Tower’s aeon orb, called the reflection of life, are presented below. Resonant reflections are magic items that do not have any physical substance, are automatically invested, and don’t count toward a character’s limit of 10 invested items. Resonant reflections aren’t visible, even though their effects can be—although a hero with one is aware of its presence. The heroes will have the opportunity to gain additional resonant reflections in the course of the Extinction Curse Adventure Path; there is no limit to the number of resonant reflections a hero can gain. A hero who later joins the campaign can receive the reflection of life by returning to the Erran Tower’s summit and standing in the presence of the aeon orb; the new hero’s connection to the heroes who received the initial resonant reflections allows it to be shared.
REFLECTION OF LIFE RESONANT REFLECTION 5 HEALING MAGICAL You regain double the normal number of Hit Points when resting (meaning you regain double your Constitution modifier multiplied by your level). The healing you gain from long-term rest is similarly doubled. In addition, you can focus this healing energy to accelerate your body’s natural healing processes even further. Activate [two-actions] envision; Frequency once per day; Effect You gain fast healing 3 for 1 minute. This amount of fast healing increases by 1 for every 2 levels you have beyond 5th level.
Access to: Juggler Archetype
Access to: Staff Acrobat Archetype
Book 2 Legacy of the Lost GOD
CHAPTER 1 SYNOPSIS
The heroes’ circus, the Circus of Wayward Wonders, arrives in the city of Escadar to put on its first significant shows and start building a name for itself. Some of the circus members are nervous, as Escadar is also the home of the Celestial Menagerie, a rival circus led by a cruel catfolk ringmaster. The heroes must secure permission from Chief Constable Andera Paldreen to perform and then clear their granted site of its dangers. Agents of the Celestial Menagerie threaten to sabotage the opening performance of the Circus of Wayward Wonders, and the heroes must discover and stop these attempts so their opening night can succeed.
CHAPTER 2 SYNOPSIS
In this chapter, the heroes make their first investigations of Moonstone Hall, a buried temple to the dead god Aroden. They must learn where the guarded entrance to Moonstone Hall lies and secure official sanction to enter. In the temple’s upper level, the heroes discover demons, xulgaths, and stranger creatures. They also find the temple’s public moonstone pool, which they can cleanse and, using a moonstone diadem, experience a vision of the past. "Faint reflections appear within the waters of the pool. Robed humans kneel in a sun‑drenched atrium beneath stained‑glass murals proclaiming the glorious deeds of their god. Dark blotches form around the images, spreading like ink spilled upon a clean page. As the darkness spreads, the scene changes. A tall, fierce xulgath with two tentacles waving from his back stands before an audience of his kind in the temple’s atrium. He bellows, “I speak with the voice of Zevgavizeb, and I do his will. Will you join me in this sacred quest for vengeance?” A familiar xulgath with a hefty maul holds his weapon aloft in salute and agreement. A hulking, muscular xulgath at the front of the crowd nods her head, her mouth twisted into a snarl. A female xulgath with stonelike skin steps forward, raising a hand to indicate the group crowded around her. “We are with you, Sarvel Ever‑Hunger,” she growls. “Why not take the orbs?” A timid voice interrupts. A collective silence falls over the assembled xulgaths, and all eyes turn to the creature that spoke. His eyes dart around the room and he bows deeply to Sarvel before continuing. “Zevgavizeb commands fury and violence, but life could be better for us here below. Why do we not steal the orbs back, and remake our home of Vask?” “Our holy vault is lost to us now,” Sarvel proclaims. “Most of our people are like you, Vesshak, unimaginative and fallen from the grace of our forebears. You would rebuild a great civilization with your stone tools, fight House Shraen with your brittle spears?” Sarvel laughs and shakes his head. “No, Vesshak. Our destiny is tied to destruction, not creation. We must repay the sun‑drinkers for their ancient crime. When the orbs are sundered and the isles made barren, Zevgavizeb will show us the way.” Murmurs of assent drift through the mass of xulgaths as the scene fades, replaced by clear water rippling over a bed of pearlescent stone."
CHAPTER 3 SYNOPSIS
The heroes complete their exploration of Moonstone Hall in this chapter, discovering more xulgath occupiers and more clues as to Mistress Dusklight’s crimes. While in the temple, the heroes meet the ghost of a priest of Aroden named Ulthadar. This cranky ghost soon realizes the heroes are his best bet to eject the trespassing xulgaths and shares his knowledge with them. Most importantly, the heroes begin to learn Sarvel Ever-Hunger’s plans and develop their primary goals in the Extinction Curse Adventure Path.
"From The Deeds of Aroden The Last Azlanti saw how the vile dwellers of the Lands Below squandered the orbs’ life-giving power. He wept for the six beacons of creation forced to illuminate twisted monoliths and bloodstained altars. He descended into the bowels of the world to pluck the radiant orbs from their cradles in that fell land. One he left, in his infinite mercy, to sustain the vault, which was called Vask. The other five he named aeon orbs and carried them up to light his new land, still mere rocks drawn from the raging sea. Five towers he built: the Marsh Tower to tame the mire, the Forest Tower to sustain the great woods, the Liferoot Stone to guard the Sulwen Hills, and the Wellspring Tower to shine across the lush plains. The fifth he placed upon Erran to illuminate the isle of his chosen. He smiled upon the blazing aeon orbs from his throne in the high mountains. As his beacons shone across the land, Aroden poured his essence into them. The light of his five orbs woke the islands, coaxing the fields and forests into abundant growth, and for so long as he reigns, his aeon orbs shall shine in bounty, Aroden’s eternal promise of life to humanity."
Ulthadar lets out a mournful wail and sobs, “Aroden is gone! The aeon orbs fail! Who can save us?” He then gazes at heroes, who acquired the reflection of life at the end of “The Show Must Go On.” He moans, “You! You possess his touch, his reflection, but how can this be? You must gain a reflection from each of his five aeon orbs. As Aroden poured his essence into them, so must you gain the reflections of these essences. Then you can reignite their power from his high throne in the Kortos Mountains.” Ulthadar doesn’t know where this high throne is, only that it is referred to in some texts as the Verdant Beacon.
Letter found on a Xulgath Demon-Caller: "Mighty Shrashek— I humbly regret that I have not yet unraveled the secrets of the moonstone pools within the temple. I agree that the knowledge they contain could elevate you among your peers, and I’m working diligently with the diadem you provided. The occult phrases below should help draw the pools’ power, if pronounced with sufficient care. If they do not function, I will need more time to explore the site and examine other relics (the diadem your rival Uzensshel destroyed with her tampering is no use, and there seems to be no way to wrest the diadem the peevish ghost wears from his head). I will, of course, bring you more victims. Your god demands sacrifice. Let their flesh empower your rituals. Sincerely, Dusklight"
Visions from the Moonstone Pools: "Ripples appear on the pool’s placid surface, then a vision swims clearly into view. The god Aroden stands atop a lofty peak. Across the islands below him, five towers crowned with five gleaming orbs rise into the dawn sky. Aroden’s hands have touched each aeon orb, and the reflection from each orb sparkles upon him. He lifts a longsword and gemstone cut into a five‑pointed star and begins to chant in a powerful, ancient language. His words evoke images of green growth, clear flowing waters, and radiant sunlight. As he completes his ritual, the aeon orbs flare and brilliant lines of golden light link each tower, crossing the miles between the structures and flowing toward the mountain where Aroden stands. The sun rises and sinks overhead, first slowly, then repeating the pattern at dizzying speeds. The land flourishes, and humans walk its surface. Above them, the five orbs orbit their towers like jewels in glistening crowns. Suddenly, the throne atop the peak is empty: mighty Aroden has died. The orbs lose their links to one another and begin to fade. Desolation creeps across the land as the bounty provided by the aeon orbs fades. Then, faintly, a new figure arises, the figure’s indistinct features overlaid with five separate, gleaming reflections. This new figure reaches out, light emerging from outstretched fingers to bolster the failing orbs." Realizations on seeing the vision above: "realizes that the reflections carried by the final figure match the resonant reflection are all similar to those the heroes gained at the end of “The Show Must Go On.” One of the five is, in fact, that same reflection, and the indistinct figure is one of the heroes destined to restore the aeon orbs. Obtaining reflections from five aeon orbs will empower the heroes to restore the orbs’ life‑giving magic."
CHAPTER 4 SYNOPSIS
In the adventure’s final chapter, the heroes confront Mistress Dusklight in her Celestial Menagerie and gain some long-overdue justice against the evil ringmaster. Mistress Dusklight’s loyal circus members attempt to confuse and delay the heroes so the ringmaster can finish them off in her inner sanctum.
Access to: Animal Trainer Archetype
Book 3: Life’s Long Shadows
CHAPTER 1 SYNOPSIS
This first chapter serves as a framework for “Life’s Long Shadows.” The heroes meet the wellmeaning mortician Opper Vandy, Master of the Kerrick Grange, who offers to make arrangements for their circus. Vandy has troubles of his own, however, in the form of a mysterious “haunting” inflicted by a scheming night hag.
CHAPTER 2 SYNOPSIS
The chapter details the heroes’ explorations of the town of Matten Cleave and the Wellspring Tower nearby. This tower is the source of a mysterious blight afflicting the area, and the spring at the base of the Wellspring Tower has totally dried up. While in this area, the heroes also explore a dilapidated farm belonging to a deceased farmer named Currew, who knew about the secret shame afflicting Opper Vandy in Kerrick.
CHAPTER 3 SYNOPSIS
This chapter details the heroes’ explorations of the Liferoot Stone, the southernmost of the aeon towers. The nearby town of Castinlee is hungry for entertainment, and the heroes might encounter a strange gravedigger in the cemetery known as the Hollows. The xulgath presence at the Liferoot Stone is light, but several old golems from the tower’s long-dead inhabitants still roam the area, and Thessekka has harnessed the golems to her own ends. The greatest impediment to reaching the aeon orb above the Liferoot Stone is its height; the upper half of the tower collapsed long ago, but the aeon orb still swings on its original course, more than a hundred feet above the highest surviving point of the tower.
REFLECTION OF WATER RESONANT REFLECTION 10 MAGICAL TRANSMUTATION WATER Your body is infused with the essence of water and becomes adapted to its presence. You gain a swim speed of 10 feet and can breathe underwater. In addition, you can also focus this affinity to gain an additional effect. Activate [two-actions] envision; Frequency once per day; Effect You cast control water as a 5th-level innate divine spell. The area of water you control increases by 10 feet in length and width for every 2 levels you have beyond 10th level
CHAPTER 4 SYNOPSIS
When the heroes arrive in Turpin Rowe, the annual Stump Festival is in full swing, providing competition for their circus. The locals worry about the absence of workers from a nearby distillery, and their anxieties are well founded—the distillery workers are under attack by xulgath forces. The heroes can save the distillery and learn the best route to the Old Forest Tower. The xulgaths in the Swardlands are most entrenched at the Old Forest Tower, and the tower is filled with alchemical mutants Thessekka has created.
REFLECTION OF LIGHT RESONANT REFLECTION 10 LIGHT MAGICAL TRANSMUTATION Your eyes are imbued with an inner light that is not visible externally but that provides you with darkvision and the ability to distinguish color in darkness. You can also focus this inner light to manifest as a brilliant beam of energy from your eyes. Activate [two-actions] envision; Frequency once per day; Effect You cast searing light as an innate divine spell, heightened to a spell level equal to half your level rounded up.
The heroes should be ready to move on to the final aeon tower near Willowside, north of the Swardlands. The grateful Opper Vandy does everything in his power to assist them. Willowside’s mayor is Estessa Vandy, his aunt, and he sends a glowing letter of introduction. He relates rumors of strange attacks on the Verdant Passage, the road to Willowside, and purchases ship passage for the heroes and their circus so that they can reach Willowside safely and bring their wondrous show to its rustic citizens… plus, he’s worried about his aunt with all the foul rumors afoot.