Part 2: Through the Looking Glass

Previously (Pt. 1) Home Next (Pt. 3)

As our session continues…

Our adventuring party has just learned the horrible truth: they are restless spirits in the actual world, ghosts without bodies.  However, as each of them passes through the mirror into the Material Plane, they feel abilities awakening within them. For some, it is perhaps a memory of what they were before in life–honed fighters or adept spellcasters.  For others, entirely unique skills begin to take shape, patterned from the very essentia of their new-found bodies.

For all, however, one thing remains the same.  The mystery of their last days on earth must be solved.  Today is the first day of the rest of their afterlife.


Your First Class:

It’s time to trade in that one level of humanoid for some actual class!  Here’s what you need to do to be a level 1 character before our next session.

1. Choose an alignment.
We forewent this to allow everyone a chance to “feel” each other out.  Now that you understand the dynamics of the group better, you can choose that CN alignment with full understanding of what you’re getting into.

2. Choose your class.
Since you now know you’re ghosts, the classes you choose must be sufficiently ghostly. There are the five options available:

Ghostwalk Campaign (3.5)
a) Eidolon
b) Eidoloncer
Magic of Incarnum (3.5)
c) Incarnate
d) Soulborn
e) Totemist

If you’re unsure what each of these are, and are intimidated by browsing through completely new books, go here for a quick summary of each.

3. Rearrange your character stats, if desired.
This is your one-time free chance to do so.  (If you’ve decided to change from a simpler brawler to a prepared spellcaster, change that high score out from your Strength to your Intelligence.)

4. Re-choose your feats, if desired.
All feats from Incarnum and most feats from the Ghostwalk Campaign are now also permitted. Again, this page explains which are allowed in our campaign; get in touch with me if you have any questions!


Real Date: September 29, 2013

Game Date: 1st of November, a.r. 231 (continued)

Chapter 5: Trapped in a Girl’s Bedroom

Each of the party members followed Wayland through the dresser mirror into the girl’s bedroom, each becoming likewise a misty blue phantasm.  The girl whose bedroom this was still cowered in shock on the floor as each stepped through the portal.  However (and unfortunately for some), as soon as Patrick had made his own transition into the light, the girl gathered some sudden resolve within her.  She scrambled up off the floor, pushed aside past the furniture, and ran for the door.

As she jostled the dresser, the image of the shadowy realm beyond flickered and died.  Only the reflection of the present room remained.

Wayland, Rina, Patrick, and Slim Jim looked at each other in alarm.  Jerome and Cat had still been on the other side when the portal closed.  They were effectively cut off from each other.

The girl had wasted no time in making for the single door leading out of the attic bedroom and slamming it closed.  There was the sound of a key turning in a lock, footsteps heavily descending stairs, and a shouted “Grammy!  It’s back!”

The four adventurers soon turned to their surroundings.


Other than the locked door to the stairs down, there was a window at the opposite end, shuttered and barred against any drafts.  Upon closer inspection, it became apparent that not one but three women used the small space as a bedroom. Though they shared the dresser, there were three beds, and three different stacks of clothing and belongings.  One was obviously the young girl’s–slim waists to the dresses, bright colors, and a small assortment of jewelry.  Another stack appeared to be that of an older, working woman; uniforms in subdued colors were neatly stacked, and a small collection of books were kept nearby for resting hours at night. A third corner kept lacy but faded dresses–dresses that seemed quite a few years past their prime.  Still, they were kept in as neat a condition as the newest dresses of the young lady.

The spirits quickly learned that they could not move or influence the material objects around them in any way. If they tried to open a cabinet or shift the dresser back into place, their wispy forms merely glided across the surface, like fog across the water.  The same was true for the locked door and window.


Focusing his concentration, Patrick managed to solidify his visage into something more lifelike, but it didn’t help.  Had they been in flesh-and-blood bodies, exit would have been a simple matter. As they were, however, they were were trapped in a young lady’s bedroom.

A few of the spells that Slim Jim had once known were percolating slowly back into his brain.  One of these was Burning Hands.

“Hmm,” he thought to himself, “if I simply burn the entire house down around us, then we’ll be free to go!”  The fates of the living residents below seemed to bother him little.

However, as he began to make the proper hand motions and chants, nothing happened.  He realized with some dismay that without physical hands or an actual voice, he could not make the proper incantations needed to invoke the spell.  He was just as useless as the melee fighters in his group.

It wasn’t until after some consideration of the door lock that Rina had an idea.


Putting her hand to the empty keyhole, she gently pushed her misty finger into it. Much like the mirror, she felt her arm–and then her whole body–being slowly pulled through the keyhole, like smoke through a pipe.  A short but disorientating experience later, and Rina found herself standing on the opposite side of the bedroom door.  As far as she could tell, she was none the worse for wear for the journey.

The others still in the locked bedroom exchanged surprised looks, then turned to follow her through the opening.

Chapter 6: The Sitting Room

Outside, a familiar staircase led down from the bedroom door.  Instead of mirrors, family portraits and daguerreotypes  lined the walls.  Below, a locked and barred door apparently led outside the residence.  To the left, an archway opened into a sitting room, though Rina could see little from her vantage point.

Just at the corner of the sitting room, at the bottom of the stairs, a young lady and an elderly woman were exchanging quick words.



Young Lady: “Grammy! It’s back! It came out of my mirror this time!”

Elderly Woman: “Now calm down, dear, don’t panic.  Did you lock it in, upstairs?”

Young Lady: “Yes, that was the first thing I did, but Grammy, I think there was more than one of–“

Elderly Woman: “Did you remember to cover the keyhole?”

(At this point, the two turned to look back up the stairs, where the party’s five glowy forms waited.)

Elderly Woman (making some form of religious sign in the air): “Meus deus!”

The young lady spat a word much less refined, and the two turned to run.  Rina and Wayland quickly tried to calm the ladies before they fled, moving down the stairs and asserting they meant no harm.  However, the sight of two onrushing ghosts emitting hoarse wailing sounds was probably too much for their frail nerves.  The women disappeared into the next room.

The four chagrined spirits entered the sitting room just in time to see the ladies barricade themselves behind a simple sliding door, at the far end.  Peering through the opaque glass on the doors, Weyland could make out a dim glimmer of candles being lit, and their reflection in a mirror on the far side of the room.  Though there was no lock and no bar, the sliding doors were flush with their tracks and offered no space to pass through.

The party considered the irony that they could pass through locked barriers with ease, but that simple unlocked wooden doors were impregnable.  For now, the party was confined to the spaces they’d explored.

drawingroom 001

The sitting room was sparsely-decorated but trim and tidy.  Like the stairway to the bedroom upstairs, paintings and daguerreotypes of what seemed to be the family decorated the walls.  Some included men in military dress, though no male belongings had been seen yet.


The furniture was made from pine but polished to a loving shine.  At certain places, shadows of darker wood showed where items had once sat, though their places were now empty.

The door outside held no keyhole on the inside and was barred against entry.  Next to the entrance, the group found a peculiar certificate.


The party were unsure of what exactly it meant, but it seemed important enough.

Remembering their success with the mirror in the attic bedroom, Rina the dwarf starting putting her hand against various portraits.  If the group could not exit the residence through the doors, perhaps they could find a way back out into the ghost world.  She quickly found one particular daguerreotype almost faded to black.


As it turned out, the portrait wasn’t actually faded, and Rina was seeing a portal into the shadow realm.  Her vaporous form was pulled through to the other side, and one-by-one the others began to follow suit.

Before he too left, Slim Jim stood near the sliding doors to overhear the conversation in the nearby room.

Young Lady: “Grammy, they’re right on the other side of this door!  Now is not the time to start praying to your superstitions!”

Elderly Woman: “Watch your tone, young lady.  At least I remembered about covering open keyholes.  And that’s not something you’ll learn in your fancy schools.”

Young Lady:  “What would the neighbors think if they saw you right now? Praying?  We’d lose what respect we had left!”

Elderly Woman:  “At least I could find a decent suitor at your age!  None of those boys you keep bringing back from downtown!”

Ever his mischievous self, Slim Jim finally let out a quick “Boo!” before passing through the darkened portrait.  He was amused at the frantic hushings he heard from the other side.

Chapter 7:  Shadow Sitting Room, Shadow Shrine

The four travelers were relieved to find themselves back in their more physical forms, in the shadow realm.  A few facts quickly impressed themselves upon them.

First, the sitting room they’d entered was in much finer array than the spartan one they’d just left.  If the shadow realm was in fact a reflection of the physical world, then this room was a memory of better times.  The furniture was made from cherry, not pine.  The empty spaces along the tops now had various objects of value, including a shiny music box and a cylinder phonograph.  Where there used to be a short chair, an entire harpsichord now sat.  However, all colors were again in the muted whites and blacks they’d grown accustomed to on the Shadow Plane.


The portrait they’d used for their entrance turned out to be one of the men in military uniform.  Disturbingly, here all the images of the men showed soldiers fallen in combat.


Some seemed run through with spears or arrows, while at least one seemed to have been decapitated completely.  Answers would not be forthcoming in the ghost realm, but the travelers could only sadly muse what tragedies had befallen the family.

Second, the sitting room they were in was an exact mirror copy of the one they’d just entered from.  The doorway to the stairs was now in front of them, instead of behind them, and family photos were on the opposite side of the walls as they remembered.


In fact, everything about the shadow world was beginning to seem like its mirror copy–down to the very hands they held their swords in.  The adventurers had certainly not noticed this fact before, and it didn’t disturb them beyond being an interesting oddity…while they were here, holding their weapons in their left hands just seemed “natural.”  Whatever the case, it meant that the view seen through a mirror was an actual representation of what awaited them.

Third (and this was noticed first by Rina as she entered the room), a new character sat quietly in an armchair directly in front of them.


For Wert, the day so far had not been the most pleasant.  First, he had awoken alone, strapped into an electric chair, and without a shred of an idea of who he was. Then, once he had extricated himself, he had found himself in a labyrinth of beams, rafters, and girders.  After an hour or two of becoming hopelessly lost, he had made an unlucky misstep and had fallen into darkness.  There had been a glimpse of onrushing ground–and then he had found himself here, lying in a fancy sitting room. He had only spent a few moments in quiet reflection before people began invading his privacy, literally coming out of one of the nearby photos.

Somewhat awkwardly, Wert stepped out of his chair and crouched behind it.

“Um…hi,” said the nearest dwarf woman.

Wert remained silent.  While the woman was indeed looking directly at his chair, and while she had indeed spoken in his direction, it was entirely conceivable that she had not actually seen him yet.  He decided to wait it out and see what happened.

Meanwhile, the rest of Rina’s party had begun to look about the room.  Slim Jim, for one, was quite happy they had returned to the shadow realm.  His spells were gradually returning to memory, and he was eager to try his hand again. And speaking of hands, the cherry table next to him seemed in need of a good burning.

However, an unpleasant surprise waited for him as soon as he attempted to cast his first spell.


As Slim Jim called his fire into being, he felt a sudden tug at his essence. The spell he was casting was exacting an extra toll, one being pulled right from his soul [-1 hp].  At the same time, however, an extra burst of energy flared into his spell, and the fire erupting from his fingers set the thick cherry wood alight.  Though a small flame, it slowly spread along the edge of the heavy frame.

The three others of Slim Jim’s party only shook their heads a little at their impulsive friend.  However, Slim Jim was not quite finished.  Spending another portion of his essence [-1 hp], he altered his visage, instantly appearing to the others like Jerome the orc.  Or to some of them at any rate; and those that had succumbed to the weak glamour could form educated guesses.

This act actually did much to reassure Wert about the new adventurers.  There was at least one of the other party that shared his penchant for chaos.  Laughing out-loud, he finally emerged from his “hiding” place, swatted the tiny fire out on the display table, and introduced himself.  The five spirits spent the next few minutes sharing their experiences.

Once they had caught up, the group began to explore the room. Keeping with what they’d seen when first entering the building, the door to the hall of mirrors was completely walled off.  However, and luckily for them, in the shadow realm the sliding doors were ajar.  In the room beyond (where the old woman and young lady hid in the material realm), there seemed to be a collection of books, stacks of rugs, and boxes of belongings.  In one corner, just out of sight, a shrine awaited with burning candelabras.


The candles gave off an ominous, if monochromatic, light.  Intrigued, Slim Jim stepped into the room first.  He disappeared out of sight around the open door frame.

In the sitting room, the four others began searching their surroundings.  One never knew when one could find an item of value, or even a needed weapon for later.

(In the shrine room, there was a sudden scuffling.)

Wert approached a wax cylinder phonograph (sometimes called a “gramophone”) and switched it on.  Instead of the sound of music, the muffled sobbing of a young woman emanated from the speaker.  “Cheery,” he remarked glumly.


(There was an abrupt exclamation from Slim Jim, and quick, heavy footfalls.)

Rina took a closer look at the singed end table.  A quick glance turned up a shiny music box, perhaps made from gold.  However, instead of mechanical workings inside, all she found was a pile of small animal bones.


(There was the sound of at least one candelabra being slapped onto the floor.)

When Wayland, Rina, and Patrick finally decided to see what was up with Slim Jim and the candles, they found things were a bit more lively than they expected.  For one, Slim Jim and the normally-inanimate objects were busy kicking each other in the shins.

Animated_ObjectSmall Animated Object, Monster Manual

Slim Jim was not of the largest frame, and these candles were kicking especially hard.  Seeing that reinforcements had finally arrived, he decided to use a newly-learned skill to instantly jaunt thirty feet away.  Unfortunately, his  moment of concentration was just the time the candle needed to land a particularly-brutal strike.  Slim Jim reappeared across the room, on top of a short bookshelf, but unconscious and oozing mist from his forehead.

Wayland ran to Slim Jim’s side while Patrick and Rina each engaged a candlestick. While they did not hit very hard, their moving and bobbing lights disorientated the fighters in the dark room, making them difficult to hit.  Wayland was also having trouble attending to Slim Jim’s wounds.  His fingers were becoming slippery with the weird blue misty blood, and he could feel the elf’s thready pulse becoming weaker and weaker.

(In the other room, Wert decided to find something to arm himself with.  There was no reason to rush into battle unarmed, after all.  He found a light crossbow hanging on a display nearby.)

“I can’t tie this bandage properly!” Wayland called.  “My fingers keep slipping! Patrick!  You’ve got smaller fingers than I do; come over here and help me!”

“I’ll be right there!” Patrick called.  He stayed another moment, however, to swing a miss at the nearest candelabra.  Meanwhile, Slim Jim’s pulse grew weaker.

(Still in the other room, Wert took time to load his crossbow and look about the room again.  He found a rapier hanging across the room, and went to pick it up. Could never be too prepared, after all.)

By the time Wert had sufficiently armed himself and joined the fray, the battle was nearly over.  Weyland had whittled one of the candelabras down to its last flame, and Rina and Patrick were busy grappling the other to the ground.  They tied it to an unlit torch with strong knots, and the struggling object soon became an Ever-Loathing Torch.  [And at a Escape Artist DC of 19, it would take some time for the torch to work itself free.]

Wert put a crossbow bolt into the last standing candle to finish it, Patrick used his nimble fingers to tie appropriate knots in Slim Jim’s bandages, and the party took a well-deserved break.

The next eight hours, though uninterrupted, turned out to be very stressful.  Having access to no magical healing (other than their last misty blue vial that seemed to do nothing), the members were forced to give bedside care to Slim Jim. At times, Patrick’s medical assistance seemed to do more harm than good [natural 1], but Wert was able to correct his mistakes.  After a tense eight hours, Slim Jim’s pulse and breathing finally leveled out.


The next eight hours after that were spent simply recovering from the previous day (with shifts pulled to watch the mischievous candelabra.)  Their sleep was deep and dreamless, the sleep of the dead.

Game Date: 1st of November, a.r. 231 (Day 2)

Chapter 8: The Shrine and the Dining Room

The group took stock of their situation when they gathered again the next morning. Slim Jim was finally awake, though still feeling very weak; even as a ghost, it was difficult to heal without magic. The party found a chain shirt and a warhammer hiding in the shadowy belongings, which they divvied among them.

An entranceway led from the shrine and storage room to a dining room.  Like the sitting room, it was decorated with much finery.


However, the way to the shadowy dining room was blocked by a row of thin but secure metal rods, stretching from floor to ceiling.

Prison Bars

The rods were too sturdy to bend and set too close together to squeeze past. Slim Jim learned to his dismay that he could not simply Etherjaunt to the other side of them; his ability would let him sidestep doors and walls in the material realm, but the pathway still needed to be clear here, on the Shadow Plane.

Wert spent some time searching the dining room visually.  Though he could see no special lever or mechanism to move the rods, he did notice the silverware on the table glimmered with light.  A very suggestive golden light.

Taking another look around the shrine room, Weyland noticed something out of place.  In the real world, he knew he had seen a mirror on the far side of the room, directly across from the sliding doors.  He distinctly remembered seeing candle glow reflected in its surface.  In the ghost world, however, the mirror was directly next to the sliding doors.  Remembering how the bedroom mirror and the daguerreotype had behaved when they were in exactly the same place on both planes…

“Rina, can I borrow that small compact mirror you found?”


Weyland placed the compact mirror against the far wall, moving it back and forth where he guessed the wall mirror would be on the material plane.  He was rewarded by a flash of colored light, and a view into another realm.

In the other room, a grandmother knelt in supplication before a candled shrine while her granddaughter watched fearfully at the sliding doors.  They too were connected to a dining room (although at the other side on the material realm), though it was cordoned off–not by thin metal bars–but by a metallic bead curtain.


The five adventurers quickly conferred and put a plan into action.  Rina again held her small compact mirror against the wall, allowing Wert to step through into the real world.  Now in his ghostly form, Wert crept to the far side of the grandmother and granddaughter, opposite the dining room.  This turned out to be easier than he feared, as the two women were already preoccupied, and his ghostly form made absolutely no sound at all.

Once everyone was in position, Wert leaped out at the two women, doing his best to appear terrifying.  Although he had decided to be more frightening than Slim Jim and his “boo,” his actions turned out to be mostly a stream of loud expletives.


Wert also tried an open-palm slap across the young lady’s face, which was about as successful as one can expect for a ghost.  Fortunately, his efforts were not in vain. Although the grandmother simply gasped in terror and retreated further into her shivering prayers, the young lady screamed loudly and ran away from the ghost–into the dining room.  She swept aside the bead curtains on her way and made straight for the door to a kitchen.

On the shadow realm, the rest of the party waited tensely at the thin metal bars. Suddenly, the bars swung back and forth like pendulums, as if waved aside by a giant unseen hand.  The adventurers sprung into action, diving through the spaces as quickly as they could.

Most made it through without incident.  Patrick, however, poorly timed his dive and jumped just as the bars were swinging together again.  Two of the rods caught his leg at the shin and snapped it with their force; though a simple bead curtain on the material plane, these rods were much more substantial in this world.  Patrick fell to the floor, screaming and holding his limb.


Patrick’s ghostly wounds would heal much more quickly than if he had been in a physical body.  Still, the party still had no access to special healing, and they would need to be mindful of both Patrick and Slim Jim’s injuries.

In the physical realm, Wert waited until the bead curtain had stopped moving.  The young lady had disappeared behind a wooden door into the kitchen.  Since the kitchen door did not have a lock built into it, Wert could not pass through–again, an ironic state of affairs.  He instead looked to the silverware which, in stark contrast to the rest of the white china and tablecloth, were colored deep ebony.


As he suspected, each piece of silverware was a portal to an identical object on the shadow realm.  However, the silverware was not purely reflective (as the mirrors they had used thus far).  His first attempt to cross over felt like trying to push his fingers into a bucket of sand, and it took him two tries before he was successful.

Chapter 9: The Shadow Kitchen

The door to the shadow kitchen was ajar, but the group took the time to search the shadow dining room before moving in.  They were rewarded with a number of useful items from wall displays, including two better pieces of armor, a longsword, and a longbow.  The party took five minutes to trade among themselves, making sure each was best prepared for the road ahead.

When they entered the kitchen, they were greeted by an unwelcoming blast of frigid air.


The kitchen itself seemed well-stocked, in both food and cooking instruments. Across the tops of gas-powered stoves, a wide array of knives, graters, and blenders awaited.  However, as soon as the party set foot in the room, the utensils began quivering along the counter tops.  Arranging themselves into three separate mechanisms, they rose into the air on thin metal wings.

Clockwork Mender, Monster Manual IV

“Get out of my kitchen while I’m cooking!” the kitchen guardians trumpeted before flying in to attack.

In the lead, Rina the dwarf ducked as two of the buzzing monstrosities dive-bombed her.  She sidestepped away from the door to let her friends in, then swung at the third with her over-sized cleaver.  Surprisingly, its quick form was not quite quick enough, and Rina dashed it into pieces against the nearest wall.

The other party members were not quite as good with their aims.  “Dinner’s ready when it’s ready!” the contraptions shouted, moving in in quick circles.  Both Wert and Patrick flailed wildly at the buzzing forms, and Weyland felt an agonizing prick as one of the guardians stung him in the neck.  Luckily, it was only a glancing blow.

However Wert was struck more squarely, and the poison took immediate effect.  He felt a loud ringing in his head, and his reflexes slowly perceptibly.

Bringing up her giant rusty ax, Rina again disintegrated one of the contraptions with a single blow.


Wert reached out his hand, attempting to literally send his hatred into the body of his enemy, but his numbed fingertips flailed clumsily.  Luckily for him, Patrick and Weyland came from behind him, batting the last contraption object between them like a tennis ball.  It too joined its brothers in a heap on the floor.

The five took a moment to catch their breath and take a look at Wert’s neck wound. Wert had been fortunate that the poison had not done him any more damage than it had; but, without assistance, it would take a full night’s rest before his reflexes would return to normal.

As a result of this session, the following sourcebooks and info pages were unlocked:

The Shadow Plane

Ghosts in Iqador (edited version)


Previously (Pt. 1) Home Next (Pt. 3)

Comments are closed.