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Within the Wicked Wilds/Player Recaps: Difference between revisions

(Wicked Wilds Player Recap from June 19th Session.)
(Session XX to Session 83)
 
Line 1,187: Line 1,187:
Before the group could dispatch the enemies' leader, she used Dimension Door to teleport away, effectively ending the battle and allowing the group to return the rescued creatures to the santuary and to reset the protective moonstones with the ritual that Roxanne had provided to Twilsby. The conclave rewarded the party for their aid, and the four adventurers returned to the airship to make the trip back to Galik.
Before the group could dispatch the enemies' leader, she used Dimension Door to teleport away, effectively ending the battle and allowing the group to return the rescued creatures to the santuary and to reset the protective moonstones with the ritual that Roxanne had provided to Twilsby. The conclave rewarded the party for their aid, and the four adventurers returned to the airship to make the trip back to Galik.


== Session XX: Markster Farmstead Mystery ==
== Session 83: Markster Farmstead Mystery ==
'''DM: Dave Parm (alchemicalluck)'''
'''DM: Dave Parm (alchemicalluck)'''
'''PCs:'''
'''PCs:'''

Latest revision as of 11:32, 9 July 2024

An alternative in-character set of highly condensed recaps of the first several sessions are available from Sabbatical from her weekly reports at SWAAR.

And some further abbreviated, third-person summaries can be found at "Within the Wicked Wilds/Player Recaps/TLDR".

Session 1a: Thinwhistle[edit | edit source]

DM: Aaron

PCs:

  • Rina (Jen): wood elf druid
  • Lambda (Jon): warforged monk
  • Nassir (Sam): dragonborn barbarian
  • Stout, aka Neru (Rich): gnome paladin
  • 22 (Cat): autom druid
    ***Present in spirit was Finny (Anna): Aarakocra Bard, who remained at base camp due to a last-minute injury (and/or hangover, depending on who you ask)

NPCs:

  • Matilda and Bjorn, "guides" (i.e. chaperones) provided by TBEC
  • Hunk and Snatu, residents of Thinwhistle


Significant events:

After the entire expeditionary group had travelled inland from Galik by airship, the party walked half a day west where they encountered and befriended the people of Thinwhistle, a village of Kobolds of Unusual Size. The chief and head lore keeper of the village was Snatu (he/him), who explained that the kobolds of this part of Amusa were once a glorious race, more powerful than most of their contemporaries and living in their underground ancestral kingdom, but that they were driven out by a great calamity, the nature of which had long been lost to the the tribe's memory and records. All they had was a tattered mural showing the destruction of a city, with fires raging and corpses littering the scene. Snatu went on to say that the people of Thinwhistle had split off from other tribes long ago, and that the tribes often war amongst each other but that some may know more of the lost history.

The party and a kobold warrior named Hunk (he/him) set out to find two monsters that had been terrorizing the village. They succeeded, in a way, when one of the monsters, a colossal red fire-breather, ambushed the party just as they had encountered three hostile drakes.

A fight ensued that the party won, but not without considerable risk to all their lives. During the struggle, Lambda was badly bitten by the monster and 22 revived him (about which 22 would later report feeling conflicted when they realized that, in their words, "Lambda appears to be a raging racist.") Nassir eventually slew the monster, and while the party was cleaning up the drakes, the other colossal monster appeared, a green lightning-breather that the kobolds apparently call "The Eater of Worlds". Though the party had tried to ensure Hunk's well-being, the new monster breathed lightning on Stout, Hunk and 22, and Hunk was knocked unconscious.

Just as Lambda closed with this second monster, Hunk, now stabilized by Stout, came around for long enough to shout "Run!!" upon seeing the beast. Nassir flanked the creature to try to help Lambda disengage, but the monster rendered both of them unconscious with a tail slap and a bite. Once it had eliminated these threats, it turned its attention to feasting on the first monster's carcass, and the party took this opportunity to GTFO.

Stout carried Hunk out, 22 revived Nassir, and Rina revived Lambda, and they all got a few-minute head start before eventually catching the telltale sound of the creature pursuing them through the forest, knocking over trees as it came. After a brief tactical discussion, 22 cast Pass Without Trace on the party, and they were able to evade the creature in the woods and return to Thinwhistle to lick their wounds.

Hunk soon became a liaison between Thinwhistle and the expedition base camp, and the two groups agreed to establish peaceful relations.

Session 1b: The Temple of Loth[edit | edit source]

DM: Julia

PCs:

  • Reedy and Daq (Mercedes): tiefling ranger and drake
  • Sabbatical (Talia): tiefling cleric
  • Paris Hilton and PPP : human ranger and chihuahua
  • Sir Yewvane : Eladrin bard/Paladin
  • Therrin: aasamir warlock

NPCs:

  • Paul, "guide" (i.e. chaperones) provided by TBEC


Significant events:

Today was our first expedition. Daq and I were joined by Sir Yewvane, Paris, Therrin, and Sabbatical was also there. We headed into the jungle, following our guide from Tempest Brothers, Paul. He is a capable young man, learned, and keen on artifacts and archaeology. I mostly went along for guard duty, which suits me well. As we were going along, Paris made the VERY WISE decision to open her satchel to show up her vermin, a small mastiff called Princess Platinum Paws. I despite it. Also, her satchel emits an alarming amount of light, causing a very loud roar, like one of the creatures that Kompi can summon, but it sounded deeper, larger even. We continued forward.

It didn’t take too long to find ourselves at a clearing and a large temple. It didn’t look in too much disrepair, but aged. Ornate and beautiful, almost—an odd glisten to it. We entered and in the first room, there were so many large spiders. They were the size of wolves. One of them bit me, but it didn’t take very much effort to pin down and kill the others, especially with Daq’sassistance. I was still inspecting the room when Sabbatical attempted to simply move ahead before we inspected that everyone was alright to do so. She can be very single minded at times. I grabbed her, pulling her back and having Daq block the door while we waited for the others. Once we were ALL ready, we moved ahead.

The next room of the temple contained a large statue of the deity this temple was dedicated to, a stunningly beautiful representation of the goddess, Loth, who is part woman, part spider. Her magical spiders, much larger and mystic, attacked us and their webs were also mystifying. We destroyed them all with a near ease, which was unsettling because it seemed too easy. Despite their size and arcane ability, it was not very difficult to kill them all. Upon inspection of the statue of Loth, she has her palm extended, awaiting an offering. I took one of my sapphire earrings out and rested it in her hand, but nothing happened. Clearly, my offer was not enough.

One of our party remembered that Loth’s temples often are entrances to the Underdark, but we did not see such an entrance, so we continued our trek. While the others were healing and maintaining themselves from the fight, I snuck away into the next hall, very careful. I noticed pools of black ichor with spider legs reaching out from inside, just swaying slightly. When I approached and was within their range, they snapped at me and attempted to hit, but it did not work because I am quick to dodge.

I retrieved the others, warning them of the legs in the black ooze and we slowly made our way, careful to destroy the legs before we moved further into the temple. We reached the final two rooms and as we approached what seemed to be the end of the temple’s layout, we found ourselves face to face with an odd bundling of the spider’s web. Obviously victims of the large creature that had been awaiting us inside our final destination for our mission.

As soon as Yewvane stepped into the final room of the temple, a monstrosity that I could not distinguish between bat, ichor, and spider, descended from the ceiling and attached. Yewvane tried to close the door to it so if could not see and attack us, but instead, it sent the door crashing into him and allowing it to begin to creep inside.

We would attack the creature, it would them force us into a state of mind that didn’t allow us to attack it until we’d attacked something else inside, so we rotated between attacking the legs of ichor that had regrown with the creature’s appearance, andattacked the Haunter of the Dark itself. Sabbatical ran around the room in mad dashes, lighting everything in her path ablaze while Paris brought our her mangy toy dog and it stayed with the large creature, attacking it. Paris, Therrin and I shot bolts, arrows, and blasts at it until it finally dissolved into it’s own ether.

Stepping around the disgust and filth, we made our way into the final room and I opened the web sac. Inside were many corpses, animals, humanoid, creature alike, some coins were found on the bodies, as well as a cloak that Sabbatical identified as being one of Protection, boosting my armor. It shimmers like Daq’s black scales. Also inside was a large deep red garnet, cut ornated into 12 smooth and perfect planes. I was tempted, for just a moment, to put it into my own bag, but realized how foolish it would be after a moment.

We look it back to the statue of Loth and placed it in the goddess’ hand. Behind her, a grating sound of stone on stone occurred and when we looked into the path that opened, it was a dark, deeply angled, descending staircase. We could only assume to where this would lead, the Underdark.

Sabbatical, ever one to see how far she can push people into submission, bullied poor Paul into standing on the other side of the door and seeing if there was a mechanism that would allow him to get back inside the temple from the entrance to the underdark. Yewvane wouldn’t let Paul go alone, so they both stepped through and Sabbatical removed the gemstone from Loth’s hand. The doors closed and for a faint moment, I thought perhaps she might leave them there, but she did not, so when they returned into the temple with us, they told us that once inside the stairwell, they did not see another way to open the door from the inside.

Paul has taken possession of the gemstone for now and will himself and Arcane lead missions out to see what we can learn about the Underdark inside Loth’s temple entrance. - From the Journal of Reedy

Session 1b: Kickoff Megagame - Ruins of Maddening Dreams[edit | edit source]

Session Tags: The Green Knight, Perseus Company, Philosopher's Stone, Sylvester da Stone

Characters: Lysvan (First Session), Obsidian (First Session), Amaris Luanach (First Session), Chrysaor Purosis (First Session), Deralickt Dadwarf (First Session)

DM: Keller (4/29/2023)

Important NPCs: Lucinda Grimfold, Lyowyn Mossbringer, Cookie, The Green Knight  Sylvester da Stone

Important Things that Happened:

So this ta be da true account of thins dat did ta happen during our arrival inna da Wicked Wilds. I Deralickt Dadwarf, Low Priest of the Order of Cucullin, of the Reformed Church of Bajayzus, Hisself attest to this.

Our skiff headed out to find da Perseus Company to coordinate settin up da Tempest Brothers Expeditionary Company camp, so as ta not be steppin on toes and such.

We did ta land near ta the supposed camp, findin a road cut inta the jungle heading towards and away from our target. Our party was made up of the notables listed above. A fine bunch o lads n lasses for a easy jaunt through de woods. Our Drood made a friend with a local monkey who will will kno as Chimp.  Others were preppin spells and such to assist with walkin thru da trees down da road.

Bajayzus spake ta me and guided myself to a large rock. This was not any rock, but was a rock known as Sylvester. Sylvester da Stone. Upon this rock I will build the Church in The Wicked Wilds. So within minutes of arrival, my ministry has doubled!

Sylvester immediately took off down the road a bit scoutin ahead and waitin till we caught up to again shoot ahead. Clearin the way and keepin us from ambush.  He even took off into the woods to sneak up upon the camp.  I have Bajayzus as my shield, so I walked right in. This was not the main camp, but a watch tower and small ruined camp.

Now, Ima all about keepin a good watch.  Cuttin off yer own head an stickin up on a pole seems a bit overkill. I was gonna point dis out, but the evidence of Gnolls was about, so figure it was them. The watch tower still stood, and was built upon a solid stone foundation.  Now Ima good solid sensible dwarf. Bein all dangly on a framework of wood is not the best plan, so I split off and went ta the stone cellar.  They did pretty good work on the stones, not dwarven mind ya, but nice and solid.  There was a large padlock on the door to the cellar. As I have learnt from my days upon the Barge, locks are usually in and about thins of interestin proportions.

Well, the open doors revealed a man takin a nap in the middle of the floor of a very smelly room, apparently locked in here for a bit. I went in ta wake him, and realized he was takin a dirt nap.  Most likely kilt by stuffin a black chicken into his mouth, as it was full of feathers, with feathers sticking out his ears and other places as well.  Lucky I was already pourin water inna his mouth ta see if I could revive em, Obsidian was lookin ta identify what type of bird ta feathers were from when they all burst inna fire.

We quickly left, as we dinna want ta get the bill for arson, when we found some bad poetry written on da wall.  

The party regrouped, Our company handlers quickly swept in and threw all sorts of accusations about arson anna such. Our people who climbed the tower found a map wif lots of circles anna such on it, with some crossed out. We decided ta make haste ta the main Perseus camp.  So the company people,  Lucinda Grimfold, Lyowyn Mossbringer, Cookie go a flyin off again, leavin us ta walk ta da main camp.

Darkness fell quick while we were walkin instead o flyin.  Strange thins did ta happen durin da watches, First watch, the trees moved in, The second watch da people were seemingly sucked up inta da sky. On my watch some darkness coalesced into a malevolent form.  I chucked a rock at it. It chucked it back, automatically hittin me in the head for a pile o damage.  Well, hittin a Dwarf in da head with a rock will really only result in smaller rocks. There be somin old and vast that dont want us here.  Again, I am immune to leavin areas just cause someone is annoyed by my presence.  Passive aggressive do ta be wasted on a dwarf. We did find Chimp dead and impaled upon a tree.  The first member of the expedition to die permeant like. He will never be forgotten.

We made it ta da main camp inna early mornin. They appear ta have been a bit better at putin up a fight as there were a few gnolls scattered about the battlefield They appear ta ave set up da main bunkhouse in an old temple, with a few outbuildings.   I investigated the temple and found interestin archeological information ta be published as a paper at a latter time. We also found a large duck anna merchant under a tarp, and sent him ta our main camp area. Prior to leaving he sent me my next member of the local parish Huginn N. Muninn, a stuffed raven who comes ta life sometimes.

We came out our last outbuildin and Lo and behold Slyvester da Stone had found a well.  Not just any well, but one that was mentioned in some paperwork as a well of madness or some such. Now I know this was divinely revealed to myself as only I could see it, Bejayzus be praised. Slyvester jumped in ta investigate da well, and not really able ta be much madder than I am, I of course walked over and peered down the well. It appeared to go on forever down, even goin threw several dimensions and planes and other such stuff. It tried to suck me in, but being a Dwarf of good solid common sense, I shrugged off the feeble attempt.

Lucky I was perched behind the Well o Futile Madness, cause out of ta Temple came a gnoll and a few hyenas. I say good cause the area around dem erupted in a series of fires and explosions as the rest of da party let loose with everything hey had and obliterated the hapless gnoll and his litter mates.

Well, not ta be left out of the fun, I rushed inna da Temple.

Inside were 4 more already too large for their own good Gnolls, one Really too large Gnoll, a huge and ugly Hyena, In the back was a large green figure we learned was the Green Knight. He executed the leader of the Perseus Company on a balcony and started to stalk towards three others on the floor.  

Battle was joined. I dont wanna go inna too much detail on the fight. Everyone in da party acquitted themselves well. We managed ta kill all the gnolls and hyena with some difficulty.  We held the line in the entryway, with the Power of Bajayzus guiding us and granting us extra strength to buoy us in battle (channel divinity)

I will discuss the antics of the Green knight.  During the battle he ignored us and executed the first captive on the floor while we were busy with his minions.  Lysvan the Drood got his attention with a heat metal. I stood at the top of the stairs to hold the line and keep the Gangrene Knight off the spell casters. Standing like an impenetrable wall, sing the Battle hymn of the Great Saint Peter Gabriel “ I wanna be, ye Sledge Hammer”  

 Instead of attacking me all right and proper, the Sassenach Green Knight  jumped up da steps and went around myself.  I WILL NOT BE IGNORED. The Drood went all giant badger and tunneled away to maintain his spell. The Green Knight at that point dismissed us and tried to just leave. I WILL NOT BE DISMISSED.

So I locked the doors with Arcane Lock and locked him in with us. The Green knight tried to kill me, with no success.  He tried to drag me to da door and force me to open it, with no success. He tried begging me to open da door, with no success. He tried many things while erroneously crying “This Ends Now”, with no success. Finally with having to smack us with a 6th order spell knocking out Two of our players and threatening to kill all my party members as he realized he could not win against me.  I relented and allowed him, defeated, to skulk out into the camp. BROKEN and DEFEATED by the stubbornness of a Dwarf backed by the power of Bajayzus Da Green (with envy) Knight fled into the jungle, still under da effect of da heat metal.

As we walked out victorious, a large horde of gnolls entered the camp, some of them 20 foot or more high.  I was debating weather to kill em all to ta let em run away, when we were swept up inna da skiff and whisked away to our base camp. I did ta try teaching them various curse words in celestial as we traveled away, but I don thin dey heard myself. Cursin in Celestial gives a nice classy mouth feel ta da base concepts.

 Chimp, the first in the expedition to fall in battle will have a place of honor inna the home of heroes aka graveyard. Now ta set up the Holy Basilica of Bajayzus and Research Library. Of course, setting up the final resting place for the fellows who are likely to fall along the way. With the help of Sylvester da Stone and Huginn N. Muninn we begin our adventures in the Wicked Wilds.

Session 3: All That Glitters...[edit | edit source]

Session Tags: Dinosaurs, Magic, Arc

Characters: Helli, Sabbatical, Marion, Hermes, Neru, p'Rahp

DM: Julia (5/10/23)

Helli could not believe her luck; she was to leave camp and investigate the wilds for the head of Magic and Mysteries… sure, there were missing people, who they were presumed dead. But it was her time to explore the wilds! She of course was a big scandalized to hear that Arc did not care about the dead bodies and wanted them to recover the research material and notebooks. Her whole life’s training was against abandoning the sick and taking care of the deceased.

Their trip was not so complicated as she had feared. Thankfully, there were some experienced scouts amongst them and not only they did not get lost, but also encountered some of the interesting plants. There had been some talk about laylines and impact of the local flora and fauna around the camp, but this was the first time she actually saw the evidence of that with her own eyes. Bioluminescence in all the plants. They were pretty… but the dead bodies nearby were not so much pretty. They collected their notes and she went through their bodies, trying to find out why they were dead. Signs of beasts. Large beasts… What sort of monster could have done this?

Her question was answered soon. Not one, but two dinosaurs showed up… and not normal beasts either. They had extra flavor in their attacks, bringing all of them to their knees. They were so powerful that they could nothing else but run, beaten and afraid. After all, they had collected the material they had set out to collect.

Further details from the Journal of Sabbatical.[edit | edit source]

Warning, reading the following content constitutes an agreement to Fiendish code, 1647(a)(IV)(c), which binds an unbound soul in service to the fiendish circle of Phlegethos for all eternity upon death. If the soul is already bound, then Fiendish code 18463(b)(II) applies, sequestering the knowledge from being shared with others without implicit agreement to the aforementioned 1647(a)(IV)(c) or a soul in service to Baator.

Arc summoned the six of us to investigate several disappearances of their research teams. They had sent three teams in sequence, and each had failed to maintain contact or return. The latest group had a single individual making daily check-ins through the sending spell, but had gone silent three days ago. After we discussed the wastefulness and inefficiency of Arc's previous plans, Arc sent us off with some basic directions and little other information. I have been... somewhat unimpressed with Arc's contributions now that we have entered the field, although their efforts in combat situations or camp-wide protections have yet to be fully realized.

As we traveled a few hours out of camp, Hermes focused our initial efforts at tracking, although he gave way to other contributions as the day wore on. Eventually the trail turned more North than West and we encountered a clearing with a large glowing plant at its center. Half the party investigated the plant, while the others searched the surroundings. We found the bodies of some researchers, including a few journals and coins, as well as armor and other equipment, all with signs of significant battle damage and elemental energy. As those of us checking the bodies searched them for more information, the others harvested some fruit, and then cut into the plant in order to collect a sample. Upon doing so, we were immediately attacked by a dinosaur laden with poison spines. This dinosaur struck first for Marion, and forced her into a barrier of ice immediately. While they were momentarily safe, the dinosaur turned to find softer targets and rushed toward our group investigating bodies. It revealed surprising toughness and a propensity to unleash spin attacks with the spines on its tail before attempting its vicious bites.

The roars and commotion of the first beast quickly drew a second into the fray. This second dinosaur was larger, and instead of poison, was imbued with electrical energy. It called forth a storm and unleashed directed bolts of lightning in addition to its bite and claws. This was turning into a dangerous battle, but one in which we could maintain a stable fighting position when a third creature appeared. This one was a flaming pterodon of huge size which swooped in and downed Hermes in a single blow. I was able to heal him back to a mobile state, but with a third massive beast in the fray, withdrawal seemed almost certainly necessary. Hermes was the first to effectuate a withdrawal, with all three great beasts alive and attacking, and many of us severely injured, I cannot fault the decision. Before the rest of us could organize an effective retreat, at least one of the other beasts needed to be dealt with. The poison lizard was the first to fall, finally succumbing to a burst of flame I unleashed on it from being struck by spines. Unfortunately, as I recovered from this blow, the pterodon struck me, tearing past my shield and cutting into my armor, knocking me unconscious in a single blow. Fortunately, with a plethora of healers in the group, I was resuscitated quickly and was able to disengage from immediate danger and take cover under the tree line.

At this point, I had a choice: stay within range of threats and remain close enough to offer some final limited support, or retreat to safety, leaving the others to an almost-certain demise. Flight could easily have been justified, and manipulating the camp's reaction to the loss of four adventurer members on a single mission onto a darker path where the Hells could have been invoked would have been relatively easy. It wouldn't even have been a dishonest or disingenuous effort. Infernal assistance could have provided exactly the outlet the camp would have sought in the aftermath. The whole thing could have been a master stroke, earning potentially several souls to the Hells' cause at the low cost of only four lives. I almost left; Philani should have left then, or better yet remained just near enough to ensure the demise of the others and return back with a corpse or two in tow. But... I didn't. Even now, days later as I reflect on it, the best way I can describe my reasons is that it didn't feel like the right move for Sabbatical. I don't just mean that it isn't in keeping with the pseudonymous character and identity I've adopted, but something more pervasive. It's not something I as Sabbatical wanted to just let happen unless it were actually unavoidable. I could tell that I was almost certainly out of immediate danger at that point, and although I could have pushed for the utmost advantage for the Hells, I didn't need to. I'm not on assignment to collect souls, I'm not under specific pressure to manipulate every circumstance, and I don't exactly want a bunch of these people to die. It doesn't improve my present situation, my living conditions, or advance any of the goals I've set for my time here. I am not currently bound by duty or anything else to maximize any potential gains for the Hells. Even as my soul is already bound and I know I am ready to serve the Hells and rise through the fiendish ranks for all eternity, I am still free to do as I will whenever I wish, so long as I am also willing to bear the consequences. And in that moment, I knew I was risking death, albeit a small chance at that moment, just to help protect the lives of others and move us one step closer to completing our mission's objective.

As I adjusted my tactical position, the lightning beast sent a blast of energy into the flaming beast as well, inciting its wrath and turning conditions more toward our favor. Yet it was also strangely fixated on Marion, and seemed intent on killing her. I could tell from my vantage point beneath the trees that Marion was but one blow from death, and the beast had the initiative. I could heal Marion and ensure her immediate survival at the risk of her simply being wounded and dying again, or I would wait, delaying my moment until just after the beast's attention shifted to give Marion a chance at not only surviving the moment, but escaping danger entirely.

No matter the choice, it was a gamble, so... I gambled, letting the creature act before I would heal Marion and trusting that she could then see to herself. Luck was both against and with Marion in that moment. It seemed all but certain that the beast would turn its focus away from the dying girl, but something prompted it to take one final attack toward her unconscious form. Despite her being prone and helpless on the ground, something about the angle at which the monster bit caused its jaws to close just short of Marion's throat, missing her by inches. I can honestly attribute this to nothing short of luck--the power of Marion's goddess, Beshaba. I seized the chance, immediately, releasing my healing spell and ensuring Marion had a chance to act and escape the situation. Of course, as luck would have it, the means by which she chose to escape: turning herself invisible, proved futile, and the creature swiped at her, knocking her once more unconscious as she tried to escape. Yet, the minor healing I offered proved enough. Neru was finally able to land a killing blow on the lightning beast and another minor heal allowed Marion to find cover beneath the trees before the flaming beast could turns its attention back to us. We were all able to withdraw momentarily, listening to the beast fly once more on its way now that the other two creatures were dead.

After taking that moment to gather ourselves, we returned to the clearing and scoured the bodies of the fallen animals. We recovered a significant quantity of useful scales from the lightning beast--enough for many of us to potentially craft armors from them, as well as parts from the poisonous beast. Furthermore, we recovered sufficient plant samples for Arc to make a more thorough study in the future. Knowing our severely weakened and depleted state, I insisted we take a short time to rest rather than turn immediately back toward the camp. Any passing threat could have easily eliminated us had we not done so, and all we lost from the decision was one more hour of daylight, meaning we would have to return to camp in the dark. This was hardly a serious impediment under the circumstances. As it happens, our delay had consequences back at camp, but those are in the next entry.

Session 6: A Penguin's Problem[edit | edit source]

Characters: Sabbatical, Lambda, Kompi, Therrin Flare, Paris Hilton, Nestor Spitemore, Hunk the kobold

DM: Aaron (5/24/2023)

Important NPCs: Pennysworth, camp quartermaster, Demonic entity known as "Mother."

Narrative account:

This mission was relatively straightforward: smoke was spotted in the distance, in the direction from which the base camp Quartermaster was flying in, and a distress signal had been received. Bjorn ordered the group of us to head out on foot immediately, help them fix the airskiff and return. The trip out was mostly led by Hunk the kobold, who is remarkably well-spoken and verbose when compared to other members of the race I have encountered. We headed straight to the crash site, which was situated in a portion of the wilds covered in moss and fungi.

Pennysworth, the penguin aarakockra apparently brought several of his children along as support staff, and they had already fought off one wave of apparently Abyssal creatures in roughly humanoid shape. We had just barely gathered around the ship and begun a plan to repair it when we were attacked by dozens of creatures formed from the moss and fungi of the area speaking in abyssal. These demons showed little in the way of intelligence, but kept speaking of a "Mother" which could offer comfort and gifts. But fortunately, I was the only one who could understand the nonsense of these obvious lies, so no one else could be tempted into doing something ridiculously stupid. As we battled the creatures, some of them released toxic spores when struck by an attack while others seemed merely to be using their arms and claws to try to batter and slice.

Despite being ordered to find safety on the air skiff, several of the smaller penguins failed to do so quickly enough and we slain during the battle. As we cleared out some of the last remaining smaller demons one of them spoke with the voice of Jim Stacy, asserting revenge against me and the camp for his fate. I cannot say I feel sympathy for his state, but no one should be left in that state and all demons deserve destruction. On the opposite side of the battlefield an enormous creature with four arms appeared, and, bypassing Lambda who had been knocked down, it ran straight for Kompi. It reached out its arms and picked up the little kobold, and then tore their arm off and very nearly tore them entirely apart. Eventually we were able to destroy the creature, but in doing so it released an immense cloud of spores. These spores fell over all of us in the area, getting in eyes and throat and starting to burn. There was also a shriek from somewhere nearby calling out for its children.

In the relative clear, we all thought it best to retreat quickly rather than stay and attempt to deal with whatever additional threats this "mother" could muster to attack us. It was also clear that these spores that had spread were starting to affect several of us with burning in the eyes and throat and blurry vision. Within a few more moments we had the airship operable once more and took off to return to camp short two of the weaker penguin assistants but heavier with the weight of whatever was going on with Jim Stacy and with the demonic disease starting to fester. Tactical details are recorded in my mission report reproduced above, and details of the aftermath belong on their own entry.

Session 7: Winds of Change[edit | edit source]

Session Tags: Thistlebrook Conclave

Characters: Helli, 22, Reedy & Daq, Marion, Nix and Jo

DM: Julia (5/26/2023)

Important NPCs: Curian, Billiam, Galaros, Bitris, Dream

Important Things that Happened:

Our second assignment was this evening. Billiam sent us out to find out what’s been happening to the starting herds of domestic livestock (goats, sheep, cows, etc) that we had had in a relatively safe farm area. He stated that it was clearly hunters and not other animals by evidence of the weapons and foot prints. They’d been keeping them to the northern end of camp, so we headed that way first, myself, Marion, Helli, 22, Jo, and Nix. Nix, we had met along our way to the farming grounds, who was coming, looking for their brother, Rachet. I told her the bad news, that he had died in combat with a giant alligator and she took up his fight, stating she would finish what her brother had started.

As we got to the farm grounds, we discovered footprints from humanoids heading east. Three sets were the most recent and we followed them, though not as quietly as I would normally like. Helli and Jo were particularly loud in their armor, and I make the mistake of correctly them, perhaps a little too loudly, and therefore we ended up alerting those we were following, which we discovered when an arrow flew out of the wood and struck a tree just shy of Jo’s head. I immediately became alarmed, butdid not attack immediately in retaliation. Marion and Helli took up negotiations quickly while I watched from behind for movement.

The one who shot as us was an auburn-haired male elf. He calls himself Curian. He told us that we were “on their land and need to leave” but somehow I just didn’t believe that. Even if he is older than me in years, he hardly seemed more mature. Elves T_T

Above him in the trees, we could see a curious creature, large like Marion but more animalistic, a fey creature called a firbolg, we learned, and she is called Bitris. She was watching from above Curian and mostly offering support.

He told us over and over that it was his family’s land and we could only leave, there was no discussion to be had, but that’s when the actually keeper and leader of these people arrived, an older lighter auburn-haired elf, the father of Curian, called Galaros.

He was far less hostile than his son and shared with us the actual reason of our folly as a camp. Their family, a conclave of druids, travels with the seasons, which here on Amusa are seven yearcycles. They spent seven years in the Winter near The Scar where it is warmer and then the other half of the cycle, the currently cycle of Summer, here in this end of Amusa. We came and took their ancestral land, where they usually camp in the clearing, and made it our expeditionary home.  In this folly, though, we may have made ourselves an ally quite by accident.

We asked them if they know anything about the ley lines and other magical plants and animals in the area and all he could tell us is that while their ancestors have many legends, folklore, and stories, all they really know is that some places in the wilds have heavy concentrations of magic that mix with the nature around it and cause these phenomena.

Galaros then invited us to a feast back with the rest of his conclave and while I was most eager to return home to the camp where Sabbatical was waiting to celebrate our recent [redacted], we agreed to go with them to the feast and walked a decently worn path, though clearly not as well walked as those we have in the camp. I asked Galaros how they manage to keep their people safe and he explained that they use spells that disguise the camp and that the larger dinosaurs usually don’t bother with this area, hence why they want our spot in the clearing.

They stated their numbers are in the 30s to 40s, some that chose this life willingly and some that were born into it.

I mentioned to Galaros that I believe the two camps can live in harmony and when the son brought up that we were taking what was not ours, I lashed back with the mention of our stolen livestock. Galaros went from a gracious host to a very disappoint and hostile father, but instead of defending his son, that anger was directed at his son. Galaros promised that we would receive a formal letter of apology and herd animals to compensate for what was taken from us. He has made good on this promise. Apparently when the herd animals that Curianstole arrived, he lied to his father and told him that they were abandoned by a ruined camp.

When we arrived at their camp, we were greeted by several members of their tribe, which is formally known as the Thistlebrook Conclave. Dream, a pale grey tabaxi, is their story teller who I believe takes part in smoking of the dank leaves; Jada and Jazor are halfing twins, and Rezzik was a human with quite a large beard who cooks for them.

During the feast, Marion asked if they consider the magical plants to be sacred and Galaros told us they are not and we are able to use them as we please, but warned that after they took notice of those plants arriving the animals began to become more aggressive.

She also asked if they were aware of the demonic presence or fungus that affected those of our currently with Sightrot, but he stated they hadn’t heard of such a thing. That a demonic presence is unusual for this area and that The Scar produces a Hellish energy, that the barrier between the planes is thinner there.

They provided us a meal of stew, fresh bread, stir fry and baked potatoes that Jo made, and sweet scones for dessert. Jo made sure to purify the food while she was helping them cook.

After the meal, we were invited to enjoy games and feats of strength wit them.

Marion competed in a drinking contest first, besting the firbolgand the leader of the camp with three strong drinks.

Then Helli played a game of dice called Shut the Box with Bitrisand won! I was very proud of her!

Daq and Jo competed in a feat of strength where they were to pull several logs up through a system of rope over a branch. Jo lost during the first round with the logs, but Curian and Daqwent to four logs, though Daq was unable to lift than more than halfway, he really gave all his effort!

Nix went through a scavenger hunt against the twins and kept quite a bit of a lead on them, finding things with what seems like intuition almost.

22, who is a curious autom, very unlike Lambda who is a warforged, told a grand story about a druid called Grandmush. It was more like a lecture than a story, but because it was a story about a druid, they all ate it up and declared 22 the winner without a competitor, since Dream forfeit.

I personally went up against the leader’s son, Curian, in a feat of archery. Three arrows, no magic, aimed to a bullseye; child’s play for a skilled hunter like myself. I handily defeated him, and then he asked me to face him in a second volley of arrows, but without Daq present, as he believed that was giving me some sort of advantage. I dismissed Daq and again, beat him very handily. He shot another, just to see if he could get a bullseye, and without looking, I scored higher than him again. He truly was an awful shot. So awful that when I went down to get my arrows from the bullseye, his arrow flew far wide enough to dig into my back. Jo quickly resolved my wound, and Marion and Helli did everything they could to keep me from breaking all ofthe peace that we had brokered so far with the druids. I maintained my composure while Marion distracted the son and I went to speak with the father.

Galaros agreed that we could find peace between our two camps for the time while Tempest Brothers has us here in this part of the wilds. We will not become a joint camp, but we will partner with them to share our resources, make sure hunting parties travel in different paths, and help with the protection they are lacking from the new demonic forces that are arriving.

They told us of a flower called Eyebright that might help our party members with Sightrot and have offered to direct us to where that flower was most recently found so that we may retrieve some to assist those afflicted in our camp.

They have asked that we consider also that they may have their our members of the conclave infrequently travel with our airships back to Galik in order to visit family there. I do not know if the quartermaster or the new crew will be alright with this, but at the very least, we can request it.

They have offered to perform ceremonial funeral rites for those of our camp who is fallen and may fall in the future, and as a last token of peace, they offered vials of an oil with droppers that are to help dampen the nightmares of those in our party with Sightrot who are having trouble sleeping.

We returned to camp with hardly a scratch and with new allies on our continued expedition -From the Journals of Reedy


Third-person Overview

Participants

Billiam of TBEC Reedy, Tiefling Ranger Nix, Dragonborn Artificer Marion Ette, Tiefling Warlock Jo Seraphim-Belphegor, Human Cleric 22, Autom Druid Helli, Tiefling Cleric

The Mission

Billiam said someone was stealing TBEC cattle that had been let loose to graze while the expedition was ramping up its farming, and this group was tasked with investigating the problem. The party traveled north from camp and Nix's companion, Bolt, flew recon and spotted clearings some clearings. From there, Reedy and Nix found unexpected tracks leading east, and the group followed them, trying to move stealthily, until an elf (Curian, he) appeared and told them to stop where they were. He was accompanied by a green-haired Firbolg (Bitris, she) in a tree.

The elf wanted the group to leave their land (including breaking down the entire base camp). Nix tried to negotiate, but the elf would have none of it. Another elf, their leader and Curian's father (Galoros, he) told him to stand down and apologized for his attitude.


The Thistlebrook Conclave

Galoros explained that they were part of a larger group (of 30-odd people) and that this was their ancestral home where they spend the mild seasons. (They winter closer to the Scar for warmth). Marion asked him about the magic of the land (ley lines and such) and got a vague answer about natural magic. Galoros invited the party to a feast, and although Reedy was reluctant, the group accepted.

Reedy announced that the company's livestock were being stolen, promting Galoros to become angry with Curian who had recently "found" some livestock. She then suggested that Galoros' people might try using magic such as Zone of Truth for situations like these. Someone asked whether any of them were bards, and Galoros responded that one of their number -- Dream (they, a tabaxi) -- whom the party hadn't yet met does performs songs but is not a bard.

When the subject of plant magic arose, the party learned that Bitris was a druid. 22 spoke druidic to her, and she responded excitedly that she had never met outsiders who spoke their language. (If she found it particularly strange that a synthetic outsider spoke druidic, she gave no indication.)

It turned out that these people, the Thistlebrook Conclave, were all druids or and rangers of various races. Rezzik, a bearded human, is the cook. The exuberent Jada and her twin brother Jozor were halflings. When 22 mentioned their mentor Grandmush, Jada asked to know more about the dryad, and 22 described their origins and their broad understanding of nature.


Further Exchanges

Marion asked about bioluminescent plants known to cause wild magic. These were relatively new to the area, and the druids didn't tend to see them often. They had tried to grow them only once, near the scar, with no success. Talk of the scar brought up the subject of demons, which the party confirmed had been encountered near their present location. This concerned Galoros, who said that he had seen extra-planar creatures closer to the Scar where there is less complete separation between the planes but that he was surprised they had made it this far west.

Helli asked Dream for a story. They told the party about a great Sky Snake who was turned into the constellation of the same name when, in a fit of jealousy, she had tried to bring eternal darkness to the land.

The members of the party all participated in competitions with the hippies and generally faired well. Jo competed in log pulling, Marion in a drinking contest, 22 in storytelling, Reedy in archery, and Helli in a dice game. As the archery contest concluded, Curian's arrow struck Reedy and she almost sorted him out until others stepped in to calm her down.

Before the party left, Galoros formally apologized in writing for his son killing the livestock, and he provided game animals as compensation. The two groups we agreed to try to assist each other in the future. 22 stayed behind to do druid stuff while the rest of the party returned to base camp.

Quelmarcon Double Session[edit | edit source]

DMs: Julia & Aaron

Date: 06/10/2023

Helli was elated to join the others in visiting the Thistlebrook Conclave. The first time she met them, the druids were really friendly and open to communicate with them. All they had to do was to pay their respects to their two Gods; the Timeless and Nameless. She was a bit chaffed about it, but then again was it not this why she had left her family? To experience other cultures and other ways of worshipping ones Gods?

Well, their trip got them through two separate places. The Timeless got them at the end of the world and time, fighting powerful monsters so they could prove their strength of will. Nameless got them suspended in space and time to test their wits. They had to answer questions and solve puzzles not only to prove their prowess, but also to help their friends by giving them boons with every correct answer.

At first Helli found herself answering riddles. The riddles were fun and playful, but the danger that their friends were in was always at the back of their minds. Their fears were confirmed when they all had a respite from their challenges; so many of them were on the verge of dying while fighting… She really tried hard to keep doing what she wanted, but she had to go. She had to use her healing to help them stay up.

And it was to no vain. Helli's help was crucial and amongst themselves, they managed to complete the trials.


Aaron's table

Galoros told us of two of their deities, and we went to a temple outside the conclave with two sphynx statues representing them. Touching one brought several of us forward to near the end of time, where the sky was a chaotic swirl of colors. Here we met "The Timeless", an androshynx who said its twin, a gynoshynx known only as The Nameless had sent the others of our group backward in time to face mental challenges.

He said our experience would be a trial by combat and that we would each receive an item as a reward if we didn't die. A flying creature with a huge eyeball in its face and eyestalks on its wings appeared.

- - - - -

Lambda(Monk, Jon) shot the creature, and it blasted Lambda and NickRivers(bard,Mike) with an AOE from its face, knocking NickRivers out with a blast. Three of the the stalks shot Neru(paladin, Rich), Reedy(ranger, Mercedes), and Prahp(paladin, Gail).

Timeless said our friends failed their first test, and the creature got more more mature and dragon-like.

Everyone tried attacking it, then three stalks fired again, at Neru, Reedy, and Lambda. By this point, the Timeless had informed us our friends had passed two tests as a result, we had all gained 1 AC and been healed a bit. the healing brought Nick up, and he mocked the creature. The timeless told us the team in the past had failed a challenge, and several draconians appeared.

The Nameless appeared and said our friend Baldwin had long ago challenged her to a game of wits (boulder/shears/parchment) and lost, and the debt had come due. We all took damage, which knocked Nick and Lambda out unconscious.

Neru brought Lambda up and told the beast to come get some. One of the draconians slit its throat and blew up in Prahp's face. Another did the same to Neru, and another to Reedy, who began to become become petrified. Neru brought Lambda up and Prahp got Neru. The monster went after Neru, missing with a physical attack and knocking her out with an eyestalk blast.

The Timeless announced that our friends had passed a challenge, and we were all healed a bit, which brought Neru around. Reedy became petrified, and Nick healed Neru further with some very inspiring pelvic thrusts. Because the creature had come after Neru, she was able to attack it and slew it, rendering 22's two recent failures to earthbind the creature irrelevant.

- - - - -

We returned to the present where the sphynxes agreed we could rest (instantaneously, by magic) before proceeding because the next Future challenge would be more difficult. We returned to the future with Heli(paladin, Margarita) instead of Nick.

- - - - -

A 6-headed hydrosphynx and three draconians appeared. The HS attacked Neru, 22, and Prahp with 2 heads each. The draconians all died by Reedy's hand or their own. It kept spawning more heads, but lost heads occasionally as it took damage. It kept spraying acid blood on half the party whenever it took acid damage. People kept getting knocked down for various reasons and getting healed.


The consequences of challenges from the past continued to propagate to us in the future, altering events for better or worse. Further outcomes we experienced included:

  • Fail: hydra gets +1 head
  • Pass: hydra becomes cloudy-eyed (losing attack power)
  • Pass: +1d4 fire per attack
  • Pass: +1 AC
  • Pass: heal +2d6
  • Fail: hydra gets +1 AC
  • Pass: hydra becomes cloudy-eyed (losing attack power)
  • Pass: +1 AC
  • Fail: hydra heals
  • Pass: hydra loses 1 head
  • Pass/Fail: +12hp but +1 head (back to 7) (pass was due to amusement)

And we suffered the effects of another past contest with the Nameless, a best-2-of-3 game of boulder/shears/parchment, the echo of which reached us in the distant future. The result was the appearance of 3 draconians.


The draconians fell easily, but the hydra came close to wiping out the party. Only Neru, Lambda and Reedy were conscious when Neru finally killed it.

The gods brought us back to the present and offered our rewards.


Session 19: Road Rage[edit | edit source]

DM: Keller

PCs:

NPCs:

  • Lorrie Haslo, an adventurer and a company leader
  • Lucinda Grimfold
  • Skippy
  • Ripjaw, a gnoll cyborg
  • The Collector
  • The Music Man, a noble wearing a masquerade mask and carrying a lute
  • Colonel Cordyceps, a large bipedal fungus creature


An Urgent Mission

Lorrie Haslo appeared in camp, appearing distraught and injured, accompanied by a large half-orc warrior called Frank. She hurried to speak to Lucinda Grimfold, who seemed displeased to hear what she had to say. Lucinda approached a group of adventurers to say she had a mission for them. "Some of you know what happened at the gnoll forge recently," she said, snapping her fingers, and ushered the group toward the skiff launch area. "Lorrie can explain more."

Skippy prepped the Crater-Maker 2 for launch, and Lorrie seemed traumatized over the explanation of a shipment to Galik for the Collector having just been attacked by gnolls, presumably in response to the TBEC's recent destruction of a large underground forge where a group of gnolls known as the Gearheads were building massive weapons.

Lorrie said the party was instructed to recover some important cargo that the gnolls took during the devastating attack -- but was not permitted to know the precise nature of that cargo was "for your own safety and its safety." Upon being pressed on whether the cargo was heavy or otherwise required special handling, she confirmed that "it is alive and can move on its own."

Time was short because if the gnolls were to reach their base with the cargo, it might be nigh impossible to retrieve, and moreover this concern might be irrelevant since the Galik government had caught wind of the attack and were preparing to use their standard method, "leave nothing behind," against the gnolls -- if they reached the gnoll convoy first, their assault would likely destroy the cargo. Lucinda flew off on her griffon without explanation, and the party (including Lorrie but not Frank, who was in no condition to fight any more that day) boarded the skiff.


Target Acquired

Skippy took the small air vehicle east toward the Scar until they could see a large trail of sorts: a burnt line twisting and turning through the jungle. Dipping below the tree line, they picked up the sound of grinding gears and crunching wood. As the noise grew louder, they caught sight of a convoy of gnoll war machines. These were colossal contraptions with gnashing blades along their edges, designed for raiding by the Gearhead gnolls, using technology stolen from Galik.

Four great machines were accompanied by three smaller ones, and Lorrie directed the group to the large lead vehicle. The larger vehicles evinced a variety of weaponry, with two large turrets on the first, a sort of wrecking ball weapon on the next, an apparent flame hurler on the third, and another turret on the trailing machine.

Lorrie directed Skippy to the lead vehicle, saying that was where they would find the important cargo, but he insisted he couldn't fly near it unless the turrets were somehow rendered inoperative, so the best he could do was drop the party on the trailing ship so they could battle their way to the front. (If anyone had thought to point out that the skiff could simply fly around the entire convoy and approach from the front, it would likely have made no difference as this approach was way more dramatic). So after one round of incoming fire, and some hasty battle preparations including Dug (Lowkey) rendering themself and dragonette invisible, the party members leapt from the sky onto the deck of the enemy war machine.


Melee at 60mph

Like most of the large machines, this trailing vehicle had a driver, a gunner, and about four other crew. In this case, there were two typical gnolls, an oversized gnoll, and two that appeared to be skeletal and held together by some sort of fungal growth. The first casualty was a fungus gnoll (or "witherling"), which Radion slew in one swing, cleaving through it into a second gnoll; the witherling exploded into a poison cloud as it fell. Thordon took a chunk out of the oversized gnoll (or "packlord"), and the invisible Dragonett eliminated the turret gunner with her first arrow.

22 shifted into the form of a dire wolf, and both they and Lorrie joined Thordon's assault on the packlord, which repeatedly commanded a witherling to attack Thordon each time it was struck. Radion wounded another gnoll and then decapitated it, the head rolling quickly toward the edge of the deck before tumbling out of view. Thordon swung twice more on the packlord before it went down with his axe between its neck and shoulder; then he took out another witherling, spraying some poison fungus onto himself and 22.

Dragonnett moved up to the now-uncrewed turret and, realizing she was familiar with its operation, climbed into the operator's seat to the gun on its owners. Lowkey cast a twinned Crown of Madness spell on two gnolls, including the driver of the nearby flamethrower vehicle, commanding the driver to abandon the controls and causing the machine to crash and burn spectacularly. One down and three to go.


Enter Ripjaw and the Galik Military

A bizarre looking gnoll called Ripjaw -- with many body parts apparently having been replaced by scavenged warforged bits -- moving on wheels instead of feet, somehow jumped from a small neighboring vehicle onto the trailing war machine. It launched three grenades, damaging Lowkey badly. Dragonnett responded by blasting it with the turret gun.

Lowkey's next Crown of Madness targeted the cyborg Ripjaw -- who Lowkey forced to succumb using Silvery Barbs -- and a giant gorilla/hyena hybrid (a "warmonger") on the deck of the next large war machine. At Lowkey's command, the warmonger attacked an allied gnoll, biting its head off its neck.

Lorrie, seething because these foes have just killed her friends, scored successive critical hits against one of them with her pickaxe. Radion blasted Ripjaw with flame, and Thordon leapt to the small vehicle in order to progress toward the next large vehicle, where the warmonger and the wrecking ball awaited.

Ripjaw had produced a harpoon and was prepared to impale one of the party and drag them along the ground while the convoy continued at some 60 miles per hour, but Lowkey commanded him to fire at a gnoll instead. The shot went wide, and he shook off Lowkey's control. By now, Thordon and Radion were both riding on the small vehicle between the two larger ones, but the warmonger leapt past them, then turned and made three successive attacks on Thordon.

As the two sides continued to trade blows, the party could see a team of Galik beetlers approaching from behind. They began firing indiscriminately, the first barrage hitting the rear ship where most of the party stood, damaging everyone and forcing 22 out of wolf form.

Dragonnette abandoned the turret to run to the front of the vehicle and put an arrow in the back of the warmonger's head, spraying blood onto Thordon and Radion and dropping the warmonger off the rear of the small vehicle to be run over by the larger one. Thump-thump.


Wild Magic with a Terrible Price

22 returned to wolf shape, bounding into the space from where the warmonger had fallen and from there onto the next large war machine. Lowkey had blinded the operator of the wrecking ball with a Minor Illusion of tendrils of darkness surrounding their head, but they sensed 22's approach and swung the ball, and despite their disadvantage, it seemed the only way to spare 22 from the devastating attack was another Silvery Barbs.

Lowkey's spellcasting had been causing Wild Magic fluctuations all along, but this time the random effect was a Fireball with Lowkey at ground zero of the powerful explosion. Several others sustained damage, but Lowkey took the lethal brunt -- massive damage that both forced them to revert from their grung shape to their true form and spread the androgynous changeling's charred remains about the deck of the war machine and beyond.


One Casualty is Enough

Only one gnoll remained alive on the wrecking-ball vehicle, fortunately the driver, who was able to continue to steer the war machine on a relatively safe path. But the operator of the smaller vehicle -- where Thordon lay unconscious and Dragonnett stood singed and wide-eyed -- was not so lucky, and the transport began to wobble on its wheels. Dragonett quickly seized Thordon's inanimate form and leapt forward to the safety of the wrecking-ball vehicle, while Lorrie was forced to retreat to the trailing ship and from there back to the skiff (which Skippy was still holding just out of range of the lead war machine's deadly turrets). Thordon had only moments to live when Dragonnett poured a flask of Nettle's Hardy Heart soup into him, bringing him back to consciousness.


The Final Vehicle

22 leapt to the leading war machine and bit deeply into one of the several gnolls there, and the turret gunners both responded by blasting 22, causing enough damage to force them to return to autom form once again. The beetlers then blasted the lead ship, damaging everyone aboard it and killing the two remaining witherlings.

Suddenly, a man dashed out of the hold of the lead vehicle, dressed in Galik fineries, carrying a lute, and wearing a masquerade mask and a cocky grin. He was followed by a strange, large, bipedal fungus creature, and the two of them escaped the scene by leaping onto the remaining one of the three smaller vehicles that had been accompanying the four large war machines.

As the non-combatants sped away, Thordon tried to jump onto the lead machine but fell short and wound up clinging to the edge. Now only Dragonett (and the driver) remained on the wrecking-ball vehicle, and her attempt to join her comrades on the lead vehicle met even less success than Thordon's -- she had begun to fall into the space between the two war machines when Radion's hand shot out and seized her by the arm to drag her aboard.


Primary Objective

The turrets fired again, one of them hitting Radion, who then bolted into the cargo hold to kill the remaining guard with two blows and find a prisoner seated with a bag covering their head. Removing the bag, he discovered the Collector in his familiar owl mask. Now unguarded by gnolls, the collector stepped over to a container from which he retrieved something Radion could not get a clear view of and deposited it into a satchel. Radion curtly warned him to GTFO if he wanted to live, and he responded "I know."

They emerged from the hold just as Thordon slew the remaining gnoll warrior and the next barrage from the beetlers destroyed the other remaining war machine in a blaze. Dragonnett and 22 dispatched the turret gunners and Skippy was finally free to bring the skiff alongside the larger vehicle so the party and the Collector could escape the continued assault from Galik's military forces.


Conclusion

The Collector seemed unbothered by the entire ordeal, as if he had borne no doubt of the outcome. He shared with the party that the two people of note who had escaped were known as Colonel and The Music Man. When Radion asked what the Collector had retrieved from the hold before exiting, he responded cheerfully that he couldn't part with his cherished tomes, and there followed an awkward moment of silence as if no one in earshot gave credence to the statement.

The Collector offered the party 750 gold pieces and 7 scrolls to share amongst themselves, which they divided more or less evenly. Lorrie was beginning to slump now that the mission was resolved, Radion offered his share to her to as recompense for his part in provoking the attack on her friends by destroying the gnolls' forge. She refused, insisting that this was not Radion's fault, and concluded, "Please tell Lambda I'm sorry."


Session 22: Slow and Steady[edit | edit source]

DM: Keller

PCs:

NPCs:

  • Cookie (otter, TBEC staff)
  • Sticky (stickbug)
  • Moog (gastrosapien)
  • The Hydrail (gargantuan mutated snail, the progenitor of the gastrosapiens)
  • Talyth (kenku, Wiggler's creator)
  • Ubu (kopybold, an Alkinimic worshipper, RIP)
  • Dynia (pumpkin boy, a Xevriss worshiper)


New Magic and New Acquaintances
Cookie sent the PCs to explore a recently discovered exposed ley line in the hope that it could benefit the company. Skippy flew them north, gave them a sending stone, and dropped them off in a jungle clearing a couple of miles from their destination (to keep the skiff safe). This location was calculated based on other magical locations in the area and a casting of detect magic confirmed it high levels of ambient magic.

While the group traveled overland toward the source of the unusual energy, Wiggler cast Speak with Animals and made friends with a mellow stick bug, naming it Sticky. Perhaps due to the strange natural energies of the area, the spell allowed Sticky to speak with any member of the group, and this effect would not wear off after the usual period had expired. Sticky would end up accompanying the party back to camp and continue to entertain people with his mellow stickbugfulness.

After an hour or two, the group came upon a three-foot-tall talking snail (gastrosapien) named Moog, who walked with a crutch. Sir Yewvane declared his role as protector of the weave, and Moog responded casually that they'd already got one. A creature called the Hydrail was the progenitor of the gastrosapiens and their guardian of the weave. Sir Yewvane and Wiggler asked to meet this Hydrail, and Moog escorted the group to the small gastrosapien city of Escargodia. A bright source of light glowed like the sun in the center of the bowl-shaped town, and bioluminescent blue mushrooms also provided ambient light. When asked, Moog indicated that the travelers were welcome to these fungi as they were quite plentiful, and the group harvested 20 mushrooms that shone brightly out to ten feet and dimly for 10 feet beyond, but only in dark areas.

Big Surprises
The hydrail turned out to be a gargantuan, five-headed snail eating the sap coming out of a huge root that was apparently the source of the ley line energy. While the group waited for an advisor to appear who could speak for the hydrail, a few other gastrosapiens began to assemble. Timmy walked up to touch the vine/root and identify it, but backed away when the hydrail turned its heads toward him and began glowing a deep purple.

Wiggler was taken aback to see who the advisor was: a kenku called Talyth, who had been the person to awaken Wiggler when he was but a lowly worm. He seemed not to want to discuss their parting and reunion but instead asked the group what brought them to Escargodia. After introductions, Talyth explained that gnolls had been causing problems for the small city, that the Escargodians were in search of someone to serve as guardians of the ley line, that this would be the day when guardians were chosen, and that the party could compete against the two other contenders for the position if they wished.

Meeting the Competition
While Wiggler stayed and talked to Talyth, the others split up to look into who their competitors were. Sir Yewvane, Heli, and 22 approached a giant pumpkin with doors and windows where they encountered a person with a pumpkin for a head. Sir Yewvane promptly cast Zone of Truth and began inquiring about the pumpkin person's motivations. He said his name was Dynia, but he objected to Sir Yewvane's curt manner. The others spoke to him and learned that he was a member of the Gourdheart Disciples, worshippers of the Pumpkin Dragon, Xevriss. (Although Xevriss had left Amusa for Osugbo, during the Holy Wars, he had previously been known as the Orange Scourge of Amusa and the Devourer of Gourds, and he had eventually consumed so many savory Amusan fruits that he grow too fat to fly.) Dynia indicated that he had a pumpkin pet and ate pumpkins as his staple food. He offered pumpkin pie that was delicious enough to inspire Heli to ask if he would want to return to base camp with the group and take a position as cook, but Dynia refused due to his religious duties.

Meanwhile, Thordon and Timmy walked to the location of the other competitors, who were apparently a group of kobolds in a nearby tent encampment, and met their leader, Ubu. Thordon quickly discovered that he was not actually a kobold but a creature that emitted adhesive purple ooze that smelled like a combination of rotting corpse and glue. Timmy magically identified this substance, learned that Ubu was a mimic, and tried to whisper this information to Thordon, but Ubu overheard and immediately ran away. During the interaction, Ubu had revealed that his purpose at Escargodia was to serve his master under the mountain, a reference to Old Alkinimic.

At the same time, Talyth was answering Wiggler's pressing question: how Talyth come to be here. He explained that he had been able to sense the magic of the exposed ley line -- which was a symptom of something moving out in the wilds, pushing on the weave. Arriving at the local source of magical energy, he saw that the root had created the hydrail, which had in turn created the gastrosapiens, and he watched as the hydrail grew from large and two-headed to gargantuan and five-headed. Wiggler hugged Talyth, trying not to break down, and Talyth said that he was sorry and he was proud of wiggler. During the conversation, Wiggler also mentioned the Green Knight, which led Talyth to claim that the Green Knight was a guardian of the wilds and to admit that he couldn't explain why he would be working with the trouble-causing gnolls.

When the party reassembled and briefed each other, Yewvane strongly and repeatedly opined that the group should preemptively kill Ubu and the kobolds on the grounds that Alkinimic, whom Ubu named as his master, was evil. The party decided not to presume that the other kobolds were Alkinimic-worshipping mimics, as well as not to offend their hosts and risk being eliminated from the competition for guardianship of the magical area, and the competition began without violence.

"A Test of Character"
Talyth explained that the competition was a test of character that would take the form of a race along a path to the hydrail, where the winners would be whoever successfully retrieved an amulet from around the hydrail's central neck. He also pointed out that, if the contestants had not noticed already, spells cast this close to the exposed ley line were more effective than normal (as if they were cast using a spell slot one level higher than the level of the actual slot used).

The race began with a trek through a large patch of animated vines. 22 morphed into an allosaurus to carry some of the slower members of the party, and Heli used fire magic to damage some of the writhing vines (to the chagrin of 22 who briefly ranted telekinetically about "unnecessary destruction"). Some of the group soon noticed that while the vines grappled many of their number, Dynia faced no such aggression the vines seeming to part for him as he passed. Recalling that this was to be a test of character, the group decided to try to convince the vines that they were not enemies and that they should be allowed to pass in peace. After several attempts at persuasion, some of which were boosted by friendly magics, everyone won the vines' favor and walked freely through the area.

Further along the path, the group encountered a bridge over a wide ravine with a seemingly non-threatening bridge keeper who posed three questions to each competitor before allowing them to cross. Those who answered incorrectly were magically hurled into the ravine but had an easy time climbing back up to the top as long as they did so on the same side of the ravine from which they had been cast in. Several of the questions had to do with people whom the group had encountered so far on their mission, and eventually everyone was able to pass without suffering the damage that accompanied a fall into the ravine.

Next came a game where a fey spirit, who had been observing the party during their trip, possessed one of the members of the group and tried to impersonate them. Each party member was permitted to ask a single yes-or-no question to another party member in an attempt to fool the spirit into giving away its ignorance about the individual's past. The group was then to guess which person was possessed, and any who guessed wrong would suffer a degree of exhaustion. The group succeeded in guessing that the spirit had possessed Sir Yewvane, and no ill effects resulted.

Finally the time came to face the hydrail, which fought non-lethally to retain the amulet hanging on a chain around its central neck. Already in allosaurus form, 22 made a lucky grab, crunching the chain between their teeth and claiming the prize. However, displeased with this result, Ubu used magic to merge with the hydrail and lash out against the party with its enormous body. The other kobolds proved to be mimic creatures as well, and they attacked simultaneously. Dealing sufficient damage to the hydrail sufficiently quickly repeatedly forced Ubu to separate from it, but he was able to merge with it again and resume his assault. Eventually during one of his brief separations from the creature, Thordon succeeded in killing him outright, and the hydrail was free of his influence. Before dying, Ubu announced ominously that Alkinimic would rise.

Trust, Gold, and Slurm
Through Talyth, the hydrail informed the group that they had won the competition, and that as well as being awarded guardianship of the magical area, they would also be given 900 gold pieces (some of which were minted in Escargodia) as well as three vials of hydromucus (a.k.a. slurm), which could make a non-magical weapon magical for a minute. Before the party headed back to base camp, Talyth reiterated, for the whole group to hear, that something bad was growing in the wilds.


Session 28: Work for the Warden[edit | edit source]

DM: Dave

PCs:

NPCs:


To the Swamp

Adrian Tempest (30ish, almost 6') explained that a group of druids and other nature-focused people with whom the company has been in communication had asked for help investigating slimes/oozes exacerbated by gnolls in exchange for help fortifying camp. Salvage rights for any valuables found would go to company members. Finny advised that, in his experience, oozes and slimes don't like fire. He came prepared with a med kit, and Danke had an herbalism kit.

Adrian explained how to get to the Warden's land. Finny used his map and his cartography skills to determine exactly where the party was going, near a great open swamp where a previous party encountered the Warden. They reached a small, swampy area and approached a huge swamp troll or treant or something that turned out to be more like a scarecrow built at the far edge of the water, where a cut path could also be seen.


The Warden

P'hrap and hummer determined that the right fork of the path was the better choice. A creature appeared in silouette, their cloak waving. This was the Warden, who responded with a wave when greeted in that fashion. Therrin's psuedodragon companion (Pex) scouted ahead, finding thatbthis whole area of the swamp was well shaded. The Warden was well concealed, greeted the party verbally when they got within speaking range, confirmed that the group was sent by the Tempest Brothers, and then suggested a direction (west) for them to head in to begin their investigation. The Warden indicated an aversion to oozes and slimes, but has a patron who allows them to remain in the wilds so long as they do not upset the balance of nature, as they thrmselves are not necessarily evil or unnatural.

The party understood that gnolls had disturbed the area, and shared a concern of possible fungal infection. Finny confirmed that none of the nearby gnolls had mechanical modifications and indicated that some of the nearby gnolls are known to have fiendish backing. Therrin suggested that stopping the gnolls would be the best way to stop the oozes. Finny showed the Warden his map and asked for additional input, thus learning that the map just barely covers one edge of of the Warden's domain. To the west outside of that domain there is a swamp village where there has been gnoll activity. The Warden's plan was to remain behind and offer support if the adventurers came back this way.


Overland

Therrin's psuedodragon companion continued to scout, and Finny scouted by air as well. The party used their survival skills to make their way through the swamp, some better than others. They could see the terrain to the west transitioned swiftly to mostly dry land with plateaus (rising up to 30 or 40 feet in height) under the approximately 100-foot jungle canopy. p'Rahp searched for poisons or other traces of oozes, and found that no creatures appeared to be nearby. Although there were signs of much natural activity in the area, there were no signs of slimes or oozes, or of gnolls for that matter. Finny spotted wisps of campfires about a mile in the distance, and the party decided to head in that direction. Pex, having a 1-mile telepathic connection with Therrin, scouted far ahead, waiting for the slower-flying Finny along the way.

Some 500 yards from the opening in the canopy, Finny and Pex heard gnolls speaking in raised voices, and Therrin relayed this information to the rest of the group, including the occurrence of a great, growling roar. Finny saw a plateau with the vine-covered, ruined stone walls of a very old keep -- a large two-story building with parapets and a double-gate entry area, all surrounded by a plateau-wide wall.


The Siege

The gnolls were laying seige to the keep, which was defended by oozes including a great multi-colored (mostly green) ooze with a draconic-shaped skeleton at its center (dubbed the "slime dragon"). Finny noticed that the gnolls were being extremely tactical, utilizing spears at range and and avoiding attacking with metal melee weapons. The black oozes lobbed flaming projectiles, and Finny noted that none of the other oozes seemed afraid of the fire. He relayed this to whoever was listening via his sending stone. The gnolls were fungal and included gnoll witherlings (fungal-infected undead) that also followed the tactical commands of the leading gnolls. Some gnolls were trying to scale the back side of the plateau, but oozes came out of the side of the mountain to block their path and defend the keep. Finny and Pex circled back to update everyone, and someone pointed out 1) that the gnolls are likely in league with mother (implying that party members who interacted with them might become ill) and 2) that the organized behavior of the slimes and the existence of the big dragon slime was unusual.

The party decided to telepathically talk with the slime dragon via Pex to see if they could team up against the gnolls. Danke magically buffed Pex's conversation skills for this purpose. Pex was a bit overwhelmed by the number of voices that made up the slime dragon but relayed the message and received a response from a distinctly different voice within the many. This voice, which seemed to be in change, politely declined the offer that Pex made on behalf of the group.

They decided to sneak up and into the keep while the battle raged. Some of them intended to go in and investigate the interior while others held off any gnolls who might try to go in after them. The party reached the edge of the keep without being noticed by the combatants. They set up some magical buffs and surprised the gnomes who were already engaged.


Lending a Hand

Finny carried Neru up and dropped them into melee in a superhero landing, and danke enlarged them to medium, whereupon they smote a gnoll, making it explode into spores, whose effect they shrugged off. Therrin creted an image of more oozes. p'Rahp missed with an attack while Sallen tried to sneak onto the opposite side of the plateau from the rest of the party. Finny headed for the keep and spotted a stairway leading down to the ground floor. p'Rahp took a turn smiting a gnoll to death, and Neru dispatched another one. Danke put three gnolls to sleep. In the meantime, the gnolls took out some slimes but fared poorly against the slime dragon.

Finny cast shatter with a loud crack of thunder, taking out all three of the sleeping gnolls. A nearby slime with the visage of a humanoid (including a visible skeleton) addressed Therrin, asking for the party to withdraw and specifying that he had already informed Pax that their help was neither needed nor desired. Sallen had found an obstructed drain hole leading into the keep. The humanoid slime (a.k.a. "slime boy") seemed to be slightly annoyed to learn that the Warden was behind this minor intrusion into his space and asked what it would cost to get the party to leave. Therrin said they wanted to know what the gnolls are up to, and the slime creature responded that they were (foolishly) working to collect resources that would help Mother to manifest on the mortal plane.


Rewards

Neru kept fighting for a few seconds until slime boy offered them a pouch produced from within his form. Finny helped Sallen access the drain (successfully opening a way into the keep), and slime boy thanked him for his efforts, gave him a second bag of coin/gems, and told him his friends were leaving and it was time to join them.

The warden was pleased, as the party had indeed aquired information about the gnolls' purpose in the area, and rewarded the party with a magical stick that could be used to fortify the defences of the TBEC base camp.


Session 29: We're Going in Circles![edit | edit source]

DM: Keller

PCs:

NPCs:

  • Abjurer Cookie, the Otter
  • Lorrie Haslo (with a tip from the Collector)
  • Oliver "Olly" Vincent Bartholomew, with followers James Hill and Maverick Ried
  • Skippy, air skiff pilot


Kobolds and the Collector

Recently, while the Tempest Brothers Expeditionary Company was distracted by the kidnapping of some of its members, including Lambda, Ripjaw and other gnolls had razed the village of Thinwhistle and slaughtered its friendly "big kobold" residents (leaving only Hunk, who was staying at the company's base camp as a liaison). The Collector had since given Lorrie Haslo a lead on finding another village of similar kobolds, and she had arrived at TBEC base camp to ask the company to pursue the lead, which involved an adventurer (Bartholomew) who could guide a group to the village. Cookie asked the party to assemble in his tent, where Lorrie waited appeared tired and bedraggled from her ongoing work for the Collector, and it seemed after some discussion that her sponsor had been stringing her along with continued promises of full payment after "one more job".


The Explorer

Bartholomew and his followers were summoned by a strange ritual in which they coalesced out of mysterious mists that appeared on the outskirts of the camp. Some of the assembled party had recalled his name as that of a human adventurer born hundreds of years ago, and in reality he appeared as a flamboyant, middle-aged human adventurer reminiscent of a stereotypical safari explorer. James Hill and Maverick Ried were somewhat younger, seemed weary from following Bartholomew for a very long time, and didn't know what year it was (believing it was decades earlier). Bartholomew, in the name of adventure, wanted to hike through the jungle for two weeks to reach the kobold village he described. This plan seemed absurd to the assembled party, who informed Bartholemew and his team about the existence of airships that could transport the group the same distance in a fraction of the time. He resisted the idea at first, but was impressed with a quick demonstration but Skippy, who helpfully agreed dropped what he was doing that day to pilot a skiff (which would be crowded but manageable) to take the group where they were going.


Mysterious Mists

Skippy spent only an hour getting ready for the spontaneous voyage and the party set out in the skiff. When night fell, they stopped to camp, and it became clear that the mysterious mists from base camp had stayed with them as Dragonett saw a structure coalescing out of them nearby. Yewvane went with her to investigate, and they discovered it was the house of her childhood, where the events were unfolding from her memory, those of the greatest loss of her life, the night her parents were killed. Dragonett and Yewvane saw a young girl fall from a second story window and run away, soon after which a large group of hostile adults exited the house. In the memory, Dragonett, father had forced her out of the window with his dying breath and told her to run. The intruders had then killed both of her parents before appearing outside in front of the adult Dragonett and Yewvane. There, they blended together into a huge lupine form, with which the two engaged in combat. It struck Yewvane and inflicted considerable psychological damage along with the physical blow. When the creature was injured sufficiently, it faded back into the mists, and Dragonett and Yewvane returned to where the rest of the party camped, badly shaken. Similar manifestations hounded the other party members over the continued course of their journey to Drakemire Hollow.


Overcoming Obstacles

Before reaching their destination, the party was required to land and pass through a large, locked door. Opening it required solving a logic puzzle involving the positions, material make-up and coverings of various levers in front of the door. Bartholemew claimed this was necessary in order to proceed to their destination, and Yewvane confirmed that this might be the case as there are such things as fey portals that prevent progress toward a physical location until the traveler passes through them. At one point during the journey it was clear that the instructions Bartholomew was giving to Skippy were steering the skiff in large circles, for no reason ever discovered. And the party was forced to land again, just before arriving at Drakemire Hollow, when they spotted a half dozen wyverns along between them and their destination. They hid beneath the jungle canopy and bypassed the deadly threat to reach the village, which had apparently been destroyed in the past by the eruption of the nearby volcano, and was now partly buried in pumice and ash.


Discoveries

The airship that would come to retrieve the group would not arrive for a couple of days, which gave them plenty of time to explore the ruins and find an entrance to a seemingly magical underground area that the TBEC would no doubt want to investigate further. During their first hours in Drakemire Hollow, however, Yewvane cast a Zone of Truth to get answers from Bartholomew. It came out that he had been cursed not to die but to be pursued endlessly by the wolf creature, an embodiment of death and entropy. Those who accompanied him might live indefinitely as well, but at the cost of losing some degree of their peace and sanity from the endless hunt, or they might eventually be consumed by the beast.


Session 35: Harvest Hoedown[edit | edit source]

DM: Keller

PCs:

NPCs:


A Concern in Common

It had been three days since all the stored food at the TBEC base camp had suddenly vanished, replaced by a single, glowing jack-o-lantern. Word had quickly reached the company that similar disappearances had blighted much of western Amusa. The name Dynia had been linked to the phenomenon, which had grown to an incipient famine; Dynia was the pumpkin-headed member of the Gourd Disciples, a radical group devoted to Xevriss, the great orange dragon once known as the Scourge of Amusa and the Devourer of Gourds. But how anyone could have effected such a far-reaching crime was a mystery. So when several soldiers appeared at the TBEC base camp, representing the cities of both Nestle and Galik (the latter group dressed in the uniforms of Galik's Lyre Guard), no one was surprised to learn that their concern was the missing food and the growing panic among their respective populations.

Also present was Chadwick, a member of the Gourd Guard, a nominal private military force based in and around Nestle, who were now something of a cross between a militia and a group of war reenactors, ever since their historical role of working to appease the gluttonous Xevriss had become unnecessary once Xevriss had departed Amusa for Osugbo generations earlier. (The Gourdheart Disciples were a religious splinter group that had grown out of this rudderless semi-military organization.)

Adrian Tempest and the Warden

Several company members accompanied the soldiers to meet with Adrian Tempest in his tent, where at least one soldier spoke openly of how impressed he was by Adrian's mustache. The from room of the tent served as a sort of war room, with a table-sized map holding miniatures representing various people of influence in the area. The positions of figures representing Ripjaw, the Warden and others could be only as accurate as the company's most recent intelligence allowed, and seemingly no attempt was made to hide this information from the visiting soldiers. Adrian listened to the soldiers' concerns and their suggestion that contacting the Warden might be the best next step in learning the whereabouts of Dynia (whose miniature lingered at the ley-line intersection known as Escargodia, although the pumpkin man had not actually been seen there for several weeks.) The Galik soldier who appeared to be the de facto leader of the joint group clarified that they had come to the Tempest Brothers because they understood that Adrian had a means of contacting the Warden, which he agreed to do using a magic necklace that the Warden had crafted for the purpose.

The group emerged from the tent and moved to the edge of the camp, where Adrian summoned the warden with a whispered phrase. A mist rose and then a wind. The trees seemed to part for the Warden, who emerged from them floating inches above the ground, followed by several grung children. When presented with the situation, the Warden agreed to help by ushering the adventurers to the Court of Hallow's Eve in the Feywild, where the Pumpkin King would in turn be able to assist in finding Dynia. The warden cast a blessing to protect the group from certain dangers of the Feywild, which led them each to feel as if a weight had been lifted. The Warden then created an invisible portal and escorted the party through it to the Pumpkin King's court, where they found themselves suddenly enveloped in a starry night, outside the gates of a large compound where they could see what appeared to be several huge pumpkins with doors and windows, illuminated by jack-o-lanterns. The Warden ensured the group that the Pumpkin King would agree to return them to Amusa when the time came, giving the impression that the Pumpkin King was somehow subservient or beholden to them.

Dining with the Pumpkin King

The party approached the gates, which were attended by two autumn eladrin with red hair who spoke in unsettling unison. The group requested an audience with the pumpkin king, and the two eladrin disclosed that he was expecting them and bid them enter. Visible in the area beyond the gates were pink candy goblins, orange pixies with sharp teeth and black eyes, and a few old hags, as well as several wolf-like creatures prowling in the shadows. The group passed through a pumpkin 'colloseum' building leading into the royal court of the pumpkin king, which was largely populated by individuals with pink cotton candy flesh and caramel hair.

The Pumpkin King, who said that he was also known as Jack Skellington but that no one really called him that, had a tall body of vines from which protruded with two clawed hands at the sides and three jack-o-lantern heads at the top. Juno and Tommy offered him gifts of pumpkins, which he accepted gladly with a casual gesture that caused the gourds to float to him on a cinnamon-smelling breeze. Candy goblin servants then brought in plates of food for the group to feast on, including warm sparkling cider and pastries that look like giant acorns. Cealion requested and received hard cider, and everyone but Nassir accepted the food, which gave magical boons to those who ate it. 22 became invisible, Cealion and Tommy gained the ability to detect thoughts, and Juno and Therrin became quickened, able to move and act with unnatural haste. During this first course, to the group's surprise, a purple-clad Dynia appeared from an adjacent room, and they learned that he was the head chef of the Court of Hallow's Eve.

Tommy spoke to the Pumpkin King, admitting that some of the members of the Tempest Brothers Expeditionary Company believed that Dynia might somehow be responsible for the disappearance of food in Western Amusa. Dynia, overhearing, denied the accusation, but the Pumpkin King replied that the party would be allowed to carry out an investigation into the matter between the courses of the feast, and he went on to warn the group that they should stick together due to local dangers, regarding which he declined to go into detail. Dynia said he had cooking to do and set off toward the kitchen. Therrin indicated his intention to follow, and Nassir, being the stealthiest of the group, decided to take the lead.

The Maze

The party approached a corn maze and followed Dynia through a passage that went past two scarecrows, who introduced themselves as the Scare Pair, Peeka and Boo. One said the party would be required to determine which one of them tells the truth in order to be allowed passage. They would be allowed three questions. After some discussion, 22 asked Boo what Peeka would say if he were asked whether he tells the truth. Boo responded that Peeka would say he tells the truth, and 22 named Boo as the truth-speaker and suffered damage to their mind due to an incorrect guess. Guessing Peeka had similar results because both guardians were liars, including whichever had initially claimed that one of them always spoke the truth. Upon discovering this, the party was allowed passage.

The group soon spotted another guardian, this one a pumpkin minotaur, whom they were able to sneak past. Arriving next at a small open space within the maze, the group encountered a large door that seemed to lead nowhere in particular. The party spoke to the door and learned it's name was Sam, and it used to be a person. It agreed that the party could pass through it, whereupon they entered a large, bustling kitchen.

A Kitchen Full of Dynias

Four strange pillars of vines lined the back of the kitchen, each with Jack-o-lanterns on top. All the cooks looked like Dynia and shared his name, but they each bore a different number on their chest. They referred to the Dynia with whom the group was familiar, who was not present, as Dynia Prime. Therrin spoke to the Dynia with the number 2 on it's chest, explaining that the party was there because the only thing left of the food at the TBEC base camp on the prime material plane was a mysterious jack-o-lantern, and the company thought Xevriss and/or Dynia might be involved. Cealion noticed that the higher the number on a Dynia's chest, the less sentient that Dynia was.

According to Dynia 2, who also claimed that he himself was an illusion, the pillars at the back of the kitchen were totems that allowed the acquisition of food in the feywild, which was "borrowed" in small amounts from the mortal world. Only Dynia Prime could activate the totems, and only he could access the extradimensional storage space in which all the acquired food was all stored. When asked about Sam's origins, Dynia 2 informed the party that he did not know because Sam had been in the Court of Hallow's Eve longer than he had; but he praised Sam as "a very nice door".

After being informed that it was nearly time for the next course of the feast, the group returned though a magic passage from the kitchen that led directly to the dining room. Cealion and Tommy (who both happened to be mentally disturbed by mysterious events in their personal histories and hence to regard themselves as "haunted ones"), both experienced some strange hallucinations as they traversed the passageway.

New Perspectives

The next course was roast pheasant with a caramelized gravy, and pumpkin stew. Again, all but Nassir consumed the food, and this time the magic effect was the same for all party members: they swapped bodies.

22 possessed Cealion, who found himself in Therrin's body, while Therrin experienced living in 22's mechanical body. And Tommy and Chadwick, the representative of the Gourd Guard, found themselves in each other's bodies. Everyone exchanged possessions as necessary, and Therrin was able to use Juno's body's changeling nature to appear as himself.

As the group was adjusting to their new situation, which the Pumpkin King assured them was temporary, Dynia Prime and Dynia 2 finished a conversation that no one was able to overhear, and Dynia 2 then departed for town. The party talked to Dynia, who showed everyone his pumpkin dog, Patches. When asked, he refused to take the party to his house but agreed to show them his pumpkin collection, which was elsewhere in the same large structure as the main dining room.

Always Split the Party

Tommy, Cealion and Nassir followed Dynia 2 to Dynia's pumpkin-shaped house and learned that Sam is not a single door but a spirit that simultaneously inhabits most of the doors in the Court of Hallow's Eve and that he opens to the magic words "trick or treat". In the house was a hearth above which had been carved a symbol of two hands holding an anatomically correct heart. There was also a rack with purple scarves, purple wizard hats, and an orange and purple striped sweater.

Sam indicated that Dynia spent a lot of time upstairs, and the party went up to find a green-glowing archway leading into a bedroom. Trying to walk through triggered a magical aging effect that doubled the apparent age of Chadwick's human body (inhabited by Tommy) but aged Therrin's aasimar body (inhabited by Cealion) only slightly. by decades and didn't let them into the bedroom. Placing an object of sentimental value in the flame turned out to be the key to gaining entrance to the bedroom, and the item fortunately was not consumed but appeared in a container inside the bedroom. Nassir and Tommy used this technique to enter, but Cealion remained on the landing, having no item available of suitable sentimental value. (Tommy's item was valuable only to Chadwick -- his mother's pumpkin spice.)

In the bedroom was a note that said "cell 83", a letter indicating that it had been accompanied by something intended to help Dynia with his quest to bring back Xevriss. The letter bore an owl crest familiar to Tommy, who identified it as being associated with a group connected with demons that he had encountered on a previous mission. The group also discovered a clockwork box sprouting infernal mushrooms, which would later be identified as the device Dynia had used to break into the Collector's vault.

During this time, Juno, 22, and Chadwick remained with Dynia who gave them a chance to see his collection of pumpkins, which were truly magnificent. When asked about his involvement with the disappearance of the food from western Amusa, he said he would never steal food from hundreds of thousands of people but was not taken at his word by all present. Regarding who might have wanted to frame him for the crime (with the jack-o-lantern left at the TBEC camp), he said only that he didn't know.

Dessert

Before the third course, the two groups exchanged news, and Chadwick was distraught at the condition of his body. in an attempt to gain information that might help to free Sam, Tommy spoke to a candy guard who proved to be supremely unhelpful. Therrin talked to an old woman about Dynia and how to avoid giving offense to people in this realm. She confirmed that Dynia had a weird obsession with Xevriss and revealed that Xevriss was previously held captive in the cells of the Pumpkin King.

As the party expected from their experience with the previous magical effects, the body-swap ended when they all returned to the dining room for the third and final course: delicate pumpkin pastries. To Chadwick's relief, the aging effects disappeared as well. During dessert, Tommy asked about Sam's origins, and the King explained that Sam walked off alone with a hag and was turned into a door. Tommy asked for the king to return Sam to his previous form, and he said maybe for one day a year if the party's alarming concerns about Dynia proved to be founded. Tommy explained the connection between the demon known as Mother and infernal mushrooms and pointed out the similarity of those mushrooms to the ones infesting the clockwork box they had found in Dynia's house. Nassir illuminated the connection between the letter and the group of demon worshippers the Tempest Brothers' Expeditionary Company had previously encountered. Tommy added that the other Dynias seemed concerned about Dynia prime "gallivanting about the material plane recently". In light of these claims, Jack Skellington ruled in the party's favor. This was immediately followed by the sound of a loud ringing and the sudden explosion of all three of his pumpkin heads, spraying pumpkin guts on those seated nearby .

Dynia strode in, assured the group that the Pumpkin King was not dead and would be back to his old self within a day. A rift to a massive pile of food intended for Xevriss appeared in the air above the group, and Tommy surprised Dynia with an eldritch blasted to the pumpkin. A bloody fight ensued in which Juno nearly lost his life and 22 was rendered unconscious more than once. The party disabled the totems that were holding the food in the Feywild and Therrin eldritch blasted Dynia to death, as which point the 2 immediately faded from the chest of Dynia 2. The Pumpkin King did indeed return to normal within a day and, true to his word, restored Sam to his human form for a day. Sam expressed gratitude for his one day a year of humanity, which he chose to spend this year with the party and the rest of the company in Amusa.

For their assistance in unmasking Dynia, the Pumpkin King rewarded the group with gold, potions, and three permanent magic items: a Mask of Disguise that went to Juno, Scissors of Shadow that went to Tommy, and a Broom of Flying that Therrin would keep safe and loan out to any group going on a mission for the company in the future.


Session 39: In the Sewers[edit | edit source]

DM: Keller

PCs:


October 22nd 2023 - Tinkerton's First Adventure

Belle, you will never believe where I went today! ME a tinker from Troverth, traveled all the way to Galik across the continent to join the "Tempest Brothers Expedition Company". OH man and I saw Tinkle too!!! Can you believe he.... wait I jumped too far ahead let me start at the beginning of the day. I met a few others before I saw our kiddo.

There was a furball with snow like fur....a tabook, or tabaxi that's it, named Winter and along with them I met Lupine a human weirdo with druidic powers....well he was more Quirky than weird I think. The three of us were new to the area and went in to meet with Lucinda a retired Lion Guard *I think* whose symbol is that of a golden griffon.

She had tasked the group of us to find GHOSTS in the Bay area of the docks and make it safe again, and really figure out what was happening with these disappearances.... oh yeah that's right, Belle people were being kidnapped for years by these Specters of the night!!! Nothing made sense here, nothing is like home when it comes to safety

and not getting kidnapped at night by monsters of myth. But this was the mission we got to prove our worth, a chance to show I am not just brittle bones in a suit of armor (Don't laugh Belle, I know you think I am crazy for using our creations to adventure at my age) and am capable of joining them in the wilds.

Well flash forward to our arrival at the docks and I met this pirate fellow, I swear he was half dead already, One-Eyed Jack had an eye patch HUN an EYE PATCH....yet he was blind in both eyes.... Well anyways the crazy old human told us to that a halfling that frequented the two throat tuxedo....no umm what was it, umm sorry Belle I am using ink

and forgot what he said hmm. oh Two Toed Trout, that tavern we went to and Lupine got thrown out, he wasn't too good with his word, and Winter well they spoke to the barkeep. I didn't get distracted you wouldn't believe it, I totally went and found the people that stood out and didn't even peak at their poorly made gear that clearly was made by

someone that hadn't seen good craftsmanship in their life! Okay so I may have snuck a lil peek. BUT I AM AN OLD MAN, and can do as I please woman!... Anyways, We found out that these two I found worked with a gnome who saw the halfling before he was taken, so our lil group made our way to the "Bartholomew Weapons Company" as you are

well aware, we made a plenty of their gear magical back in the days of old. Belle you would have been so proud, which is good cause that ONLY MAKES one of us....Tinkle our son was the lead weapons designer. He was the GNIOME, all the way in Galik the boy made something of himself....not that he is designing armor but weapons is good too. Belle the boy

told us that there were kidnappers not ghosts that took the halfling boy into the sewers....oh and Tinkle said hi, figured I'd toss that in here too.

When we got in the Sewers my gosh darn shoes got wet and gross, and these darn young-uns pushed me the lil old gnome to lead the group, hehe it was probably because my armor looked so strong and grand! It is the one you helped me make dear, the guardian set! Well we found out this was home to lizard folks that disappeared in the moons glow...Troglodytes.

We fought our way through them all at least 10 of them in there and the quirky one Lupine turned into a giant beast.... not practical in a sewer mind you but very cool and effective somehow, It was all going well my first adventure no issues at all! We even found a puzzle, but that Winter cat solved it so quick! I am getting a little slower in my wisdom years, no laughing

ma'am! But it was a door that had a pearl, emerald, opal and nephrite stone in it. We spelled OPEN with the stones and it opened to a stash room full of loot. It was great. We rested, took a good nap in there, like I used to in your lap....though it was against a moist wall with moss....maybe not the same! But still I took a nap.

Turns out one of the monsters down here was a bugbear, one that had wrestled Lupine for a belt of giant strength, I used to use those as back braces in the old days remember hehe. Oh right the stories conclusion let me carry on, we fought that bugbear with magic and trickery and defeated him with ease! Though we may have gotten a little too much confidence

as our next door that we unlocked almost brought me closer to you my Belle. A demonic fire lizard that was being worshipped down here by lizard men almost killed Winter, the cat buddy I spoke of before. The room was rapidly filling with toxic sludge and my two party members had been hit with some kind of paralyzing spell....it was terrible but I endeavored as long as

they needed and fought that beast one on one, gnome on lizard. It was scary hun but you are always what makes me not fear death as it would bring me back to you, however I am not ready I have many stories to write and adventures to live before I can tell you all about them for eternity. Oh right the end, we took it down baiting it to the doors and freed the sewer

of the lizard problem. The missing people were found...most of em at least. In the end we were given gold and passage to the wilds. I of course went back to give our son the gauntlets he made that were stolen by these monsters but he gifted them to his old man, I know you think it would be sweet but I COULD MAKE THEM BETTER, but I don't craft anymore not since

you left. Besides it would be a shame not to hold on to something from a lead weapon designer.....can't believe he did it. I mean can't believe he isn't in the armor game! As always, I love you Belle, my adventurers for you have started. I will tell you all about them soon and hope that you can wait for me to finish a few more.

P.S - Just like when you were alive, you always give me strength then and now.


Session 42: Man Made Flesh[edit | edit source]

DM: Keller

PCs:

NPCs:


Paul Joins the Mission

Paul Fletcher, TBEC's researcher specializing in anthropology and ancient cultures, had been particularly interested in the recent discovery, by aerial surveillance, of ancient ruins in the direction of the Great Scar. He dispatched the original expedition several days earlier, which was led by Lorrie Haslo and included several TBEC personnel, namely Frank (half orc), Sabra (half elf), Sunter (halfling), Maxine (dragonborn), and Bobby (human). Lorrie had believed this was the location of The Philosopher's Stone (described as small, red, egglike gem with powerful transmutation abilities), but she and her survey team had not checked in, and Paul assembled a second team to investigate and report back and/or request a large air ship be sent to retrieve the previous team and their gear if necessary.

Paul had said he wouldn't be joining the team, but as the skiff was about to take off, he came running up carrying a bunch of loose maps and other materials and said he had changed his mind. Pash immediately suspected that this was not Paul but a doppleganger or impersonator, so some of the team returned to Paul's tent to see if he was still there. The tent was vacant although more messy than when they had last seen it minutes earlier. Satisfied for now that Paul was in fact Paul, they returned to the skiff to find Skippy explaining the Big Red Button intended to alert base camp to send one of the larger air ships if the party deemed it necessary.


Sabotage

The skiff traveled East to the location of the a ruined temple overgrown by jungle vegetation, near which were another air skiff belonging to the Tempest Brothers Expeditionary Company and wisps of smoke from a recently doused campfire. Upon landing, the group was met by the half-orc Frank, who said he was glad the TBEC has sent someone, conveyed that Lorrie Haslo was there at the camp, and explain what had happened to cause the survey team to lose communication with the TBEC base camp. During the team's first night at the ruins, the skiff's control console (including the sending-stone-based communication system) had been badly damaged -- supposedly by an animal, but nothing else was damaged, causing the newly arrived party to suspect sabotage. Ali and Heli investigated the disabled air skiff and noticed that the damage had come very close to blowing up the skiff's power core. Heli assessed that the damage was in fact intentional but had been made to look like an animal attack. In the meantime, Pash radioed back to base camp to update them and to ask whether Paul was in camp and tell them to keep an eye on him since she was suspicious that someone might be impersonating him. The person on the other end of the line responded that they would detain Paul.

The rest of the party spoke to Lorrie who explained that the ruins were inhabited by strange rotting zombies that seemed to have been here in the jungle for a long time and that the group's help in dealing with the threat would be welcome. She said The Collector believed that a thief in possession of a precious artifact may have taken refuge here. She admitted that she wasn't sure that this entire mission wasn't just "another wild goose chase" the Collector was sending her on. The team let her know that her skiff had been sabotaged (and she said she would shared this information with Frank), and they shared their concerns about the possibility that Paul (and perhaps not only Paul) was being impersonated.


Melee and Murder

The party proceeded into the ruins to help clear out the zombies and immediately encountered and destroyed one. Two more zombies appeared and attacked, infecting Pash with paralyzing moss. They killed the remaining zombies and Pash broke free of the moss. A fourth zombie was discovered and dispatched. At the far end of the temple, three more zombies appeared, two perishing almost immediately, and the last one paralyzing Wiggler before being destroyed.

By now Paul, who at the group's suggestion was playing it safe by remaining just outside the temple, had failed to respond to calls to follow the group inside. Checking up on him, the party was shocked to discover that he has been stabbed in the head and killed with a TBEC knife. Some of the group ignored this development to explore the ritual chamber at the far end of the temple and found equipment from the Perseus Expeditionary Company (as evidenced by their familiar medusa-head logo).


The Mysterious Body

Within 30 seconds after seeing Paul alive, 22 confirmed that he was indeed dead and then tried to save him with the Revivify spell to no avail. This meant that one of three things must be true: someone had counterspelled the 22's casting, Paul had been dead longer than a minute, or he was not actually dead. A casting of Detect Magic showed that powerful transmutation magic emmenated from the "corpse", indicating that the third possibility was likely the true one.

Lorrie walked up to discover the strange situation and informed the group that a message had come over the radio, indicating that Paul was still at camp, giving further credence to the possibility that this was not Paul's corpse. Pash stabbed the "corpse", and it twitched, further reinforcing this conclusion.

Heli proceeded to dissect the corpse -- which had by now acquired the name Not-Paul -- and discovered that it had extra organs, including boneless internal hands, as well as a glowing heart. When she removed the heart, the body spasmed and the glowing stopped. Even then, the corpse still responded with a twitch to heat being applied to it, and the corpse's blood seemed to shrink from the stimulus. Heli extracted one of the extra hands and burned the body to ash. Pash looked for tracks telltale tracks nearby but found nothing distinctive. She also took an opportunity to call back to base to ask for an air ship to be dispatched to retrieve both groups and was told it would arrive the next morning.


Who Done It

Lorrie's survey team comprised Frank and four other TBEC employees: Sabra (half elf), Sunter (halfling), Maxine (dragonborn), and Bobby (human), and one of them was behind the incident -- likely the same one who had sabotaged the skiff. At Wiggler's suggestion, 22 cast Detect Thoughts while the group interrogated the survey team.

Sunter proved to have guilty thoughts, but he had an alibi for when Not-Paul was killed: several people confirmed that he was clearly in sight by the fire the whole time. His guilt was over taking hallucinogens while he was on watch during the survey team's first night at the site, which had provided the opportunity for someone to sabotage the skiff. He had no useful memory of the two hours he spent tripping, and he had tried to cover up his negligence by claiming it had been an animal that destroyed the equipment.

Lorrie and Skippy were working on the skiff together during the murder, and Maxine had been in her tent, the entrance to which was clearly visible from both the skiff and the fire. And Sabra was walking around in plain view collecting what herbs she could find near camp. That left Frank, who said he had been organizing the storage tent, and Bobby, who claimed to have been taking a walk. A second casting of Detect Thoughts brought to light something strange indeed: Bobby seemed to have no thoughts to detect. No matter what he was instructed to think about, 22 could find nothing in his mind. Upon being questioned further, he tried to run but was stopped by an Entangle from Wiggler, seized by Mirth, and tied up.

Heli cast Detect Magic to try to learn more and discovered strong transmutation magic emmenating from underneath the camp. She then requested blood from everyone to test whether it reacted to fire the way Not-Paul's blood had. Bobby's blood did shrink from the flame, but Bobby still claimed to be just a human who liked to take walks. The group called back to the TBEC base camp and discovered that there was not another copy of Bobby back at camp.


Under the Earth

Although Wiggler's use of spells was subject to the possibility of a wild magic surge, they used the Mold Earth cantrip to dig down toward the source of the detected magic. This did in fact trigger a wild magic surge, but the effect was to give Wiggler the power to reincarnate for one minute (and Wiggler did not take the opportunity to stop being a worm).

Ten feet down was a red gem clutched in a hand attached to an arm that extended into the earth. Wiggler climbed in and tried to seize the gem but was thrown violently from the hole. The hand that Heli had removed from Not-Paul scuttled quickly into the hole. The face of Paul appeared in the hole with lots of long arms reaching out of the hole to erecting his full form on the ground. "Is the ruse up already?" he asked.


Killing Paul Again

Wiggler cast Spike Growth around Paul and themself, and Paul walked out of the dangerous area, taking damage from the spikes as well as from Wiggler's attack of opportunity. Then he began attacking with his extra arms, attempting to transmute his targets, to tear their flesh with necrotic damage and render them exhausted. Pash blasted him with a black eldritch dart of energy, and Mirth grabbed him and threw him back into Wiggler's spikes. Wiggler summoned 4 crocodiles to battle Not-Paul, Lorrie, hit him with her pick, and Not-Paul spawned another copy which attacked 22 and then went after Mirth.

22 blasted the original copy with Frostbite, and his body crumbled to pieces. His secondary copy dissipated immediately, as did Bobby. A hand carried the gem down a tunnel into the earth, and Pash and Heli both drank potions of dimunition and followed the arm, with 22 close behind in the form of a viper. Pash's Eldritch Blast destroyed the hand, which said "See you soon" as it crumbled. Heli's dragon-shaped homunculus, "son of Xevriss", dragged the gem out of the tunnel. It was confirmed to be the Philosopher's Stone, but someone elsewhere was apparently currently attuned to it.


Conclusion

When the air ship arrived the next morning, Paul disembarked and asked why the party had requested that he be bound hand and foot. They explained that Pash had merely indicated that he should be kept under watch, which was taken perhaps too far by whoever had tied him up. Mechanics repaired the damaged air ship to the point where it could fly within hours, and everyone returned to the TBEC base camp with a message from Lorrie to Lambda: that she was okay and that she loved him. She also indicated that she was at the end of her rope with The Collector and was really only going to undertake one more mission for him before giving up on their unreliable bargain.

Cookie, the otter who served as the company's dedicated abjurerer, promptly "bubbled" the gem, sealing it away for safe keeping. A few days later, the TBEC received some money from the Collector with a note saying only, "For your consideration". Of this money, 1000 gold pieces were given to the party that had recovered the Philosopher's Stone .


Session 45: Hunk's Vengeance[edit | edit source]

DM: Aaron

PCs:

NPCs:


Impressed by Hunk

Several people at base camp woke to find that Hunk had returned to camp (as an oathbreaker paladin instead of a protection paladin) and was loudly arguing with Bjorn. Hunk spoke to whoever showed up to investigate the disturbance, saying he needed to assemble a group immediately to help him carry out a time-sensitive mission. He insisted that those present follow him into the nearby wilderness and started walking without checking to see who was following. He walked in silence for about a mile, followed by seven of the company, then sat down on rock and began sharpening a dagger.

Suddenly the group was surrounded by four (regular-sized) kobolds riding raptors. Hunk raised a hand and they leveled spears at the party. He said "You are going to help me". Everyone bristled but the group generally deferred to Hunk for multiple reasons. Once the kobolds had lowered their weapons, Hunk explained that some of the company's gnoll adversaries in the area were working with a cult of humans. Kobolds had captured a cultist who had divulged that they were looking for Thrax's body, possibly to perform necromantic magic to get information from him. (Thrax was the leader of Hunk's former village of Thinwhistle before it was razed by a group of gnolls, and he was the keeper of knowledge about Thelrya, the technologically advanced ancient kobold city that had recently been rediscovered).

As Hunk continued his explanation, the group learned that the kobolds claimed they were serving Hunk because he was the tallest, that the human cultists had magic, that some of the gnolls involved in the quest for Thrax's body were fungus-infused, and that the gnolls seemed to answer to the cultists. The kobolds would search for the body in one of its most likely locations while the impressed company members would interfere with a group of cultists and gnolls who were looking in the area where Thinwhistle had been. After Heli helped in the brainstorming of the most likely locations for Thrax's body, Danke Schön gave an inspirational speech to bolster the party, and Hunk led them to where the kobolds were searching in the remnants of Thinwhistle.


Being the Distraction

The group arrived to find a dozen zombies searching the area in the presence of two partially organic war machines. Heli used her artificed gauntlet to determine that the machines were not under the command of gnoll control collars like the ones that had been used to control dinosaurs near Thinwhistle in the past. Behind them were three humans and a winter-form eladrin who would turn out to be Yellana, an associate of the mysterious Jack of Hearts. The party tried to approach quietly but the clanging of Heli's metallic homunculus, Brokr, gave away their presence, and the nearer of the two machines launched a glob of acid that fell on Heli and Dickweedus.

Dickweedus responded by rushing toward the attacker and loosing two arrows at it. The humans used magic to summon shadowy tendrils that lashed out at Danke and Dickweedus, necrotizing patches of their flesh and immobilizing Danke. The crawling machine (or "crawler") rolled up to Dickweedus and bit him three times with its chittering insect maw. Lupine cast heat metal on the machine, which let out a shrill, gut-wrenching scream. Ren cast shadowblade and threw it at a zombie, slaying it with psychic damage, and mushrooms sprouted from the ground where the zombie fell.

Mariar cast a fog cloud halfway down the long battlefield -- visually cutting off the human cultists and the second crawler from the incipient melee -- and drew a bow. Heli rode up on Brokr and threw a spear at the crawler, but it's impressive armor negated the solid hit. Brokr circled around to the machine's weaker rear to flank it, giving Heli a chance to damage it. The zombies all burrowed into the ground, gaining cover as they approached to swarm Dickweedus.

The party could see Yellana closing the distance to the front line of the battle and could hear the three cultists beginning to chant ominously. Danke Schön healed Dickweedus, who hacked at the crawler with his battle axe. Ren's familiar tried to help Danke Schön escape the magical restraints the cultists' previous attack had imposed while Ren used an eldritch blast against Yellana. Lupine, now in the form of a large wildcat, destroyed a zombie with an attack of opportunity, and 22 followed suit, changing into an allosaurus and clawing the crawler's fleshy rear.

Danke Schön cast silence on the cultists, interrupting their chant before it could reach the point of damaging his allies. The burrowing zombies burst out of the ground and tried to grapple Dickweedus. One succeeded, but Dickweedus riposted, slashing it to death, then attacked the crawler with his magic force gauntlet. Having taken considerable damage, the crawler had begun to emit a nasty odor of rot.

The cultists closed some of the distance and attacked Danke Schön with tendrils of shadow that this time rendered him unconscious with necrotic damage. Ren's familiar tried to stablize Danke Schön while Ren attacked a zombie. Mariar took that zombie out with an arrow from their longbow. Heli hit Yellana with radiant damage, and she responded with a blast of cold damage to the fire genasi. As a zombie bit Dickweedus for poison damage, Yellana announced to the cultists to that the gnolls had found the body and met resistance so they were to go assist them immediately. All three of them disappeared simultaneously.

Dickweedus healed himself, then swung at the crawler, following up with a fatal punch to its central organic eye using his magic force gauntlet. The other crawler had begun to close, and the party noticed that it was manuevering to protect Yellana. It launched a disgusting ball of organic matter that took out Heli's familar and Brokr and damaged Heli herself. Lupine broke off from melee to administer a healing potion to Danke, bringing him to consciousness. Heli also healed herself with potions -- two in quick succession.

There was some brief shouting about the possibility of going to reinforce the kobolds, but the decision was made to stay and try to take Yellana out first. The party had noticed that she wore a glowing bracer and suspected she was using it to compel the remaining crawler to defend her. But the group overheard a message Yellana received indicating that the gnolls had succeeded. The crawler burrowed away, Yellana teleported, and the remaining zombies went limp as their animation ceased.


Denoument

As the party licked its wounds, Hunk and one of the kobolds showed up. Hunk confirmed that the gnolls had made off with Thrax's body and assessed that the best thing left to do was to try to figure out where they had taken it and go after them. He thanked the adventurers for their help and departed, but before the group returned to camp, he would return with a "reward" for attempting to help. This was a bag containing a circlet of blasting, goggles of night, four potions of greater healing, and 800 pieces of gold. Hunk said he also came with a warning for the entire Tempest Brothers Expeditionary Company: he said their enemies were in the process of mobilizing for something big, and he urged caution.

Examining the crawler, Heli determined that some living creature must have been converted into the living construct through a combination of necromancy and artifice and that there were failsafes that would make dangerous any attempt to disassemble the creature to try to learn more. In the meantime, the whole thing was rapidly decaying (including the metal) and putting out a stench of rot. Lest the enemy find some way to make use of the remnants, the party burned what was left before the rot consumed it. Some of the group were able to discern that multiple souls were released as the corpse burned, indicating that the creature had originated not from a single living entity but from several.


Session 49: Into the Cursed Collection[edit | edit source]

DM: Keller

PCs:

NPCs:



Travelling to the Collector's Compound

Cookie the Otter (the company's resident abjurer) asked the party to speak with the Collector at his compound and they set off through Galik. They realized people were watching them as they drew close to their destination, an isolated building surrounded by a tall stone wall with guard towers, guards in full plate, and several raised balistas. A tense attendant with suit and bow tie in a small paper owl mask at the gate told them the had been expected fifteen minutes earlier and ushered them in, past paintings, murals, sculptures, and a large arcane chandelier, into a small sitting room with a crackling fireplace. When they were alone, Lux encouraged everyone to behave themselves because the last time she was on the collector's property she had been shrunk to a tiny fraction of her normal size.

When the Collector appeared, he told the group he had been expecting stronger adventurers, whereupon Dickweedus successfully intimidated the Collector by getting in his face and saying "bite me". The Collector introduced himself as Amusa's greatest collector of arcane artifacts and told them he had designed his compound as much to keep the artifacts in as to keep people out.


Into the Collection

Someone had put a trap into his collection, and as a result a mannequin threat had broken seals on several artifacts, which he wanted help to reseal. He said he had called on others for assistance -- attendants, mercenaries, and bounty hunters, in that order -- but none of them had returned. Hence, he had called the company and decided to accompany the adventurers into the collection to learn firsthand what fate might befall them. He told them all they would to put bags over their heads for the trip into the collection in order to keep certain information about it secret. Magic runes were drawn on the bags, and Finny stopped talking immediately when he pulled one over his head, as if his brain had been turned off. Lux and 22 requested and received runeless bags and walked for about 4 hours, regaling each other with tales of their pasts. At the end of this trip, those who had been subject to the runes felt as if no time had passed and the bags had been over their heads for only an instant.

The Collector donned leather armor and assembled a sack full of arcane trinkets and a few books. The group proceeded through a large pair of doors, which the Collector then sealed with an arcane sigil -- a very complex arcane lock. He pointed out that only he could reopen these doors so the party should ensure that he lived long enough to do so lest they spend the rest of their lives in the collection. They then descended a massive, twisting, stone staircase and passed through a great room with a vaulted ceiling into a vast archive at least several hundred feet across, illuminated by magical lights floating some thirty feet apart throughout the chamber.


Briefing

Only then did the Collector describe the items they were seeking:

  • the Portrait of the Muse, which contained the spirit of the banshee,
  • the Mask of the Flayed One, connected to a being called the Jawed God and able possess its wearer and imbue them with magical powers, and
  • a simple gravestone, cursed in such a way that no one had yet survived an encounter with it.

The Collector specified that these items must be recovered and resealed using a kalachakra, a massive wheel able to seal items in a demiplane putting them into stasis. He provided three coins able to suppress items' magic powers. Lux took these and gave one to Weedus and one to Mirth. The Collector added that the mannequin that unsealed the items may still be at large, and that the party should destroy it if they encountered it.


The Cursed Gravestone

Lux climbed to the top of a stack of crates to have a look around, from where she caught a whiff of a stench like death to the east. The lights went out for some reason, and Lux cast dancing lights made of little floating mushrooms. The group moved east and soon approached the gravestone sitting in the dirt. As Weedus tossed his coin onto it from a distance, several members of the party (all but the Collector, Lux, and Finny) each found themselves inside a coffin. Dickweedus busted through the lid of his coffin, causing dirt to collapse in on him, revealing his location to those above, who quickly dug him out. The three then dug in a random location, which succeeded in exhuming Mirth. Meanwhile, Rina remained buried and was beginning to suffocate. Weedus and Finny dug up another grave, finding 22, while Mirth and Lux dug up the last to find Rina.

The Collector stood by during all this. When it was over, they found that the coin had sealed itself against the gravestone, negating its magic. They healed Rina up before continuing.


The Mask of the Flayed One

Weedus and Finny looked for the Portrait and Finny heard a crying in the distance, but Weedus saw blood on the ground as if someone was dragged and starting wandering off in the direction of the trail. The rest of the party followed, and a flayed humanoid figure lurched out of the shadows, pleading for help. After a brief discussion, they knocked them out to spare them their current agony.

The group soon encountered a figure wearing the Mask of the Flayed One, which whispered in their minds, along with a second voice saying "Help me" and "I can't get it off." The mask blasted the party with destructive magic repeatedly before Lux was able to slap one of the Collector's magic coins onto it. This succeeded in separating the mask from the wearer, but the mask took the wearer's face with it, and the wearer fell dead.


The Portrait of the Muse

The group was soon able to find the third artifact, the Portrait of the Muse. Weedus took Mirth's coin and threw it at the painting, but it bounced off and clattered to the floor. The painting seemed to melt, all of its colors spreading across the floor and around the party, manifesting a Victorian manor around them. A floating woman appeared from a painting, with black liquid dripping from her fingers. Weedus swung an axe at her, dissipating her into pigments. There were dozens of paintings of this same woman, each subtly different from the others, which all began to laugh. Dickweedus picked up the coin from where it had fallen and then smashed one of the paintings with his axe.

The party heard the small, crying voice getting louder. Finny, Lux, and Weedus tried to identify the original painting among the many others and were able to reduce the pool of possible paintings to ten paintings. The banshee appeared again, and Lux and Weedus dissipated her with attacks. Lux and Finny studied the remaining paintings and reduced the pool of candidates to five.

22 belatedly cast locate object to identify the correct painting. Weedus tried to destroy it, but the banshee appeared and grabbed his weapon. Weedus pressed the coin to her forehead, and she cried out and was drawn back into the painting, whereupon the party found themselves in the real world again.


Confronting their Fears

They took the retrieved artifacts to the kalchakra, where several spider-like mannequins unfolded themselves out of nothingness. These included personalized mannequins representing the party's respective greatest fears. The kalachakra began to turn as the collector started casting the spell to re-seal the artifacts. Although the magically inclined members of the party channeled some of their own power into the ritual to help speed it along, it didn't succeed until the last mannequin had fallen, at which point the kalachakra clicked into place and sealed the three artifacts safely away again.


Conferred Knowledge

The Collector rewarded the group with gold, magic items, and information about what had transpired in the Wilds:

The Gnoll armies have been greatly diminished, but are still present. After the horde's failures during the raid on the expedition, some of the tribes broke away from the Gnoll King. He confirms that the remaining gnolls have gathered at a location he identifies as Camp Emberclaw, where they have constructed an Arcane Forge.

Since Ripjaw's death the Gnolls have no longer been able to make progress in developing future weapons. What is in their current arsenal is all they have left. It also seems like since their failure, the Gnoll King has now been demoted and the forces of demons and gnolls are led by a pair known only as the Bride and the Groom. These names to his knowledge also seem to be tied to disappearances in the city.

The Collector has located an ancient site of powerful magic in the Scar. he says that for reasons the location no longer interests him, but he knows that it may interest other members of the company, and he knows someone who can lead them there.


Session 50: Day at the Circus[edit | edit source]

DM: Aaron

PCs:

NPCs:



Plans Gone Awry

The party set out for some well-deserved recreation at the Traveling Fools Circus just outside Galik and awoke hours later back at the gates of the city not knowing exactly what had transpired in the interum. Each had different horrific memories from the experience, peppered with vaugue recollections of the circus. What had actually happened was that a creature at the circus that fed on nightmares highjacked their minds while they visited. What follows includes both the pleasant experiences that only Ren and 22 remember clearly and the devastating ones that they remember all too well.


The Attractions

Barker Benjamin Hearthorne welcomed the party at the entrance, took their tickets (provided by the Tempest Brothers Expeditionary Company), and described the activities they might enjoy during their visit. These included a pie-eating contest (hosted by Hawthorne himself), a fortune teller, dart-throwing, ring-tossing, a hammer-and-bell booth, and a candy shop. As the group entered the area, they felt like someone was watching them, and 22 caught of momentary glimpse of a humanoid whose features they could not make out beyond this: the person appeared gaunt and starving with a broad, toothy grin.

A bugbear called Heath Sledger ran the hammer booth, where Gurmyr made two attempts. He was tripped by a mysterious force on the first but rang the bell on the second, winning a book about the secret language of ducks.

At the pie-eating contest, all except 22 stuffed themselves with delicious savory pies that Benjamin Hawthorne cryptically claimed contained "the flesh of the new". Thordin won the contest and was awarded a dagger with "Crawshanks" written on it in dwarvish. The weapon would allegedly glow when Crawshanks was near and grant great power to anyone who killed Crawshanks with it. (No one present had heard of any creature with that name.)

The dagger promptly glowed as the group approached Madam Leota's fortune-telling tent. Upon discovering that the party was interested in Crawshanks, Madam Leota pointed to a stuffed animal and gave Thordin permission to stab it. When he did so, he found 10 gp inside, and the dagger stopped glowing, becoming mundane. The fortunes she told included:

  • Thordin was looking for something he didn't know he was looking for, and that things would be worse when he found it
  • Heli would be thirsty and must be careful not to drink too much
  • 22 had ravenous bloodlust that they must not give in to

A goblin called Spike hosted the dart-throwing booth. Ren threw darts, and with each throw Spike jumped in front of the dart, taking the hit and cheering enthusiastically.

A yuan-ti called Asa staffed the ring-toss booth where Gurmyr played several times but never succeeded in throwing the ring to land around any of the many glass bottles.

At this point, several surprising things happened. The party realized they must have somehow spent hours at the circus because night was falling. Gurmyr heard a creepy laugh that no one else heard and punched Heli in the face. And each member of the group began experiencing their own private nightmare.


Nightmares

Thordin found himself in his childhood home being offered food by his long-dead mother and discovering his brother's head on the platter. He started eating it and felt his body begin a painful transformation into a wererat. His mother mocked and gaslit him and the severed joined in. Thordin raged and began breaking things and killing people. He gave in to the nightmare.

22 found themself in Thistlebrook as an apparition, watching one of the residents interact with a physical 22 who had just shown up with large, creepy maggot-like creature on the back of their head. When apparition-22 tried to rip it off of physical-22, the creature was painfully cold to the touch. Physical-22 began to slaughter the people of Thistlebrook. Appartition-22 made a mental connection with the physical body and successfully wrenched control away from the maggot before killing the leader of Thistlebrook, who sat there slack-jawed at the carnage.

Ren was in pain in the woods where he had made a pact, pinned in place and encircled by a ring of blue flame. His friend Igor berated him and was able to call down lightning on him. Ren tried to talk him into letting him go, then decided to try to physcially rip himself away from the pins and succeeded.

Gurmyr was stuck in a swamp and being approached by a large, creepy water snake. When he drew his longsword to defend himself, it became another snake, which bit him. He attacked with a handaxe, but the water snake ignored the damage and bit Gurmyr's arm off. He jumped up and grabbed a branch and screamed, then dropped down, landing on the snake to ride it. A human began to climb out of the creature's mouth, screeching and damaging GUrmyr's mind. As he screamed back, it killed him.

Heli awoke in Thinwhistle, bound and looking up at a charred and rotting Thrax, who was very angry with her. The ground opened up and she began sinking into freezing cold water from the elemental plane. She tried to cast a spell and her mouth filled with water. She tried to wiggle out of her bonds and made slow progress. She screamed as she was devoured whole.


Dawn

The party recalled their dreams vividly when they awoke as dawn broke outside the gates of Galik, but none except Ren and 22 had any clear memories of the circus.


Session 52: Night at the Moonsea Museum[edit | edit source]

DM: Keller PCs:

NPCs:


Meeting Shelmlock Domes

The party walked to the Galik Herald to meet with tortle reporter Shelmlock Domes because he had let the TBEC know he had information about fungal cult activity in the city. Upon their arrival, he explained that some of his contacts in the lower end of the city had disappeared after telling him they were worried about gnolls and monsters in the sewers. In his investigations, Shelmlock had come accross a male elf in a suit with a telltale emblem, a white owl on a shield crossed with a sword. Some members of the party recognized it from Dynia's allies who helped him to summon Xevriss. The elf exploded into fungus, but not before divulging that the Heart of Kavanmort was going to be stolen from the Moonsea Museum, where it was being displayed on the second floor. (Kavanmort was an ancient two-headed dragon, superior to Xevriss and Old Alkinimic, to whom Tiamat had gifted Amusa and who ravaged Amusa until his death in 822 PR.)

Shelmlock believed that the owner of the museum was permitting the heart to be stolen in order to collect the insurance. He feared that if he simply informed the Lyreguard, they might be overpowered by the museum's staff, and he was not allowed in the museum himself due to having been caught stealing receipts for a story several months earlier. He expected the heist to go down during the upcoming masquerade gala at the museum, and he was able to procure invitations for members of the company to attend in hopes of thwarting the robbery and acqiring evidence that the museum owner was behind it. He could also front some money for fancy clothes for the adventurers to wear to the gala. When asked, he conveyed that there was a single museum guard called Clarence whom he believed could be trusted.


Casing the Joint

Marion, Juno, and 22 went to the museum to try to talk to Clarence. The large museum had gorgeous architecture and a massive dragon skeleton in entry hall. The security included guards with platemail and longswords, warning runes on the exhibits, and floating orbs capable of triggering an alarm if visitors cast any spells nearby. Other notable exhibits near the entrance included a diorama of second crusades and an ancient sarcophagus.

Marion asked a guard where they could find Clarence, and he sent for Clarence who appeared shortly wearing oversized armor. They told him that Shelmlock Domes suspected theft soon and that party intended to prevent it They asked him if there were any items in storage that might help. He mentioned a horn that can dispel magic in the basement where he was working. Marion and Juno snuck into the basement with Clarence, through a magic door that required persuasion, and descended a long ladder into the subbasement where Marion took possession of the horn.

Meanwhile, Coryn, Finny, and Chrysaor went shopping at Bonnibel's Fantastical Boutique for fancy clothes, getting an outfit for 22 as well. Afterward, they ran into Bulio who provided masks for the masquerade gala (as well as show costumes for Finny and Corryn who hated the outfits Madame Bonnibel had come up with for them.)


Getting to the Heart

After a rest, the group headed to the gala, where they discovered that the guards were taking all weapons and spell components at the door. Marion snuck some weapons in and Finny talked his way in, saying he was with the band. They also discovered that at midnight, magic would cause the exhibits to come to life; this would include wax figures, animated drakes, and a statue of the founder of Galik, as well as the giant dragon skeleton. Attendees would not be allowed upstairs (where the Heart of Kavanmort was displayed), but Juno found a back stairway that was protected by a guard but not by any magic-detection orbs. There Chrysaor spotted a suspicious brown-haired woman in a red dress bribing the guard to let her up the stairs. Marion followed suit, gaining access for several members of the party.

Juno went to the coat check where she beat up the guard and put everybody's stuff in Finny's bag of holding. Finny himself had been performing with the goblin band but found a chance to leave the stage and he and Juno headed for the back stair. He distracted her while she picked his pockets and they joined the rest of the group. Juno had cast pass without trace, and the group snuck past the a dragon skeleton but were noticed by the woman who convincingly claimed she was there to try to stop untoward activities, and the party teamed up with her. She introduced herself as Jacqueline Harthorne. Finny recalled that her noble family had previously tried to buy the heart, but Jacqueline insisted she was there not to steal it but to prevent its theft.

The exhibits in the large hall where the heart was displayed included wax flying monkeys, a mummy, a case full of weapons, a kraken, a sarcophagus, a diorama of a scene from the second draconic crusades, and case containing several magical artifacts. The waring runes on these exhibits were not active, and Jacqueline broke the glass of the weapons case to purloin a rapier, with which she would prove to be skilled.


Thwarting the Robbery

Chrysaor noticed lights from outside just before the window at the far end of the exhibit hall shattered and six gnolls and three humans climbed in. The humans were the famous Torchelli family of mobster assassins. Brothers Enzo (who was extremely tall) and Antonio (who was capable of shadow walking) wore suits and fedoras and carried firearms, and they were accompanied by their mother, "Ma" Torchelli.

Ma and one of the gnolls moved next to the heart and began chanting, to which Juno quickly put stop by casting silence over the area. After a short while, Chrysaor slew Enzo and 22, in dinosaur form, bit Ma's head off. Antonio then pulled out a magic item, and took a bite of the heart, transforming into a huge Champion of Mother. Museum guards appeared and the party tried to convince them to help fight the monster, but when Coryn took the monster down and the group had to defeat the guards in combat.


Liberating the Artifacts

Having prevented the robbery of the museum, the party decided to rob the museum. They magically shrunk the Heart of Kavanmort so they could abscond with it, also taking the eight other magical artifacts from their display case. With the exception of Marion, who had shown her face to Clarence to prove that she was the same person who had befriended him earlier, none of the party could be identified.

Marion soon gave the Heart of Kavanmort to the Collector for safe keeping, and Shelmlock Domes was able to expose the museum's corruption and have the owner jailed, which resulted in Clarence being promoted to head up the museum staff.


Session 53: Restart My Hearth[edit | edit source]

DM: Mercedes

PCs:

NPCs:

  • Malakar
  • The Bollezzi Family
  • Snowdrop
  • Tanis


A Plea for Help

A stranger came into TBEC, told whoever was in the lobby to talk to Snowdrop at the Galik Glass Emporium about a very recent kidnapping. Those present asked her for more information, but she said she had none and Snowdrop would tell them more.

Snowdrop proved to be the tabaxi proprietor of the Galik Glass Emporium, and when the party arrived at her shop she explained that assailants had tunneled into the emorium's boiler room and kidnapped her fire tender, Tanis, who Snowdrop said had a secret. Billium guessed that Tanis was actually a dragon, but Snowdrop insisted (unconvincingly) that she was not.


The Tunnel to the Docks

The group entered the boiler room, in one corner of which lay a small nest of blankets and treasure that Snowdrop confirmed belonged to Tanis. Turning their attention to the tunnel entrance, the party found a torn cloak with a broken family crest that Twillsby recognized as belonging to the Bizelli family. Investigated further, he found a pair of broken handcuffs and discovered that the tunnel entrance was magically protected. Heli threw her spear down the tunnel, triggering a fire trap on which Twilsby then cast dispel magic.

The party walked down the tunnel and found it to be incredibly long, taking two hours to reach the opening at the far end. There, Twilsby threw a rock out, triggering another trap that shook the earth and collapsed the tunnel, injuring several members of the group as they escaped out into the light. They could see they had arrived at the docks, where a dozen people including Malakar (the undead sorcerer who kept company with the Jack of Hearts) waited for a boat to arrive; two of those present stood guard over an injured woman in a cage, whom the group suspected to be Tanis.


Twarting the Kidnappers

From the party's hiding place behind a small building, Twilsby began talking to the nearest person, and the party was soon able to intimidate three of those present into walking away before a fight broke out. But the fourth would not be intimidated and a drew a weapon, and Black Jack dispatched him quickly, striking with his boomerang in melee. Heli followed up by taking out a nearby dog and throwing a spear at an unsuspecting man who Laurence then eliminated by casting frostbite. Seeing this, Malakar summoned a water elemental to do his bidding.

Twilsby, who had turned invisible, teleported behind the cage to give Tanis two potions of healing. Josh and Heli moved into melee on either side of the building the party had been hiding behind, felling another foe. Twilsby removed a magic-supressing collar from Tanis (although she remained trapped in the cage). Heli and 22 closed with Malakar, 22's frostbite causing him lose mental control of the elemental. Freed of the collar, Tanis breathed fire, eliminating another foe and damaging the water elemental.

Twilsby cast wave surge at Malakar, knocking him into the water. 22 turned into a giant octopus to follow him, but Malakar cast misty step to reappear on the dock. The party was then able to focus their attacks on Malakar and the water elemental until eventually Black Jack slew Malakar and 22's force cannon dispersed the elemental into mist.

The group freed Tanis from the cage and returned with her to the Galik Glass Emporium, where Snowdrop rewarded them handsomely for their work with magic items and gold.


Session 54: End of the Line[edit | edit source]

DM: Keller

PCs:

NPCs:


A Call to Action

Jacqueline Harthorne (a human woman whom members of the Tempest Brothers Expeditionary Company had recently encountered at the Moonsea Museum) entered the TBEC headquarters, wearing fancy clothes over leather armor. Said she had received information about the fungual cult. (After some coaxing, she admitted that she learned this from her family and said that she'd be at risk if they found out.) A high-ranking leader within the cult, a member of a group called the Groomsmen, had exposed that they'd be riding to the end of the line on the Galik City Railway that afternoon. Jacqueline expressed suspicious that the Groomsman would allow this information to get out.

The company already knew that the Bride and the Groom were to be feared and not to be crossed; the Collector had confirmed that they were leaders of the cult. The company had also come to know of the cult's crest, a silver owl against a shield and a sword.


Strangers on a Train

The group proceeded to the appropriate Galik City Railway station, and boarded the train, which already had many passengers. The party began observing and interacting with them in order to begin forming ideas about which one might be the Groomsman. As the train travelled through the city, stopping at various stations, passengers boarded and others left until there were only three stops left and only seven people remaining on board other than the party themselves. This included:

  • Sid, a blue male kobold who had stowed away underneath the train and who was located by Marion's use of detect thoughts
  • Benny Thistlewick, a male gnome whose thoughts could not be detected
  • Percy Stormrider, a male air genasi working as a professor, whose thoughts also could not be detected
  • Penny Longhorn, a female minotaur
  • Lady Isabella Sterling, a female elf trying not to look like a noble
  • Davros Ironforge, a male dwarf
  • Gibson Blair, a male human working as a gardener


Murder Mystery

When the train failed to stop at the next station, Ren went to speak to the operator, only to find him dead and the train seemingly being driven by a mass of fungus fused to the controls. The ride had become a murder investigation aboard a runaway train. Several of the passengers had something to hide, including Isabella Sterling who had stolen a suitcase full of gold from her noble family, Davros Ironforge who was hired by her father to retrieve the gold, Percy Stormrider who was smuggling a book of powerful enchantment magic, Penny Longhorn who was a pit fighter on the run after accidentally killing her manager, Sid who didn't have a ticket to ride the train, and Benny Thistlewick, who turned out to be the Groomsman and the murderer and who had charmed Gibson Blair into helping him keep his identity hidden.


High Stakes

When the party eventually concluded that Benny was the Groomsman, they learned that he had leaked the information about his presence on the train in order to lure company members there to force them to play a high-stakes poker game with him – and that if they refused, he could kill almost any of the other passengers easily using itmes he had placed on their persons. During the game, he bet their various lives, requiring the party to see these bets with items of equal value, including secrets, physical items, and their own lives. In the final hand, he bet his own life and lost, which led him to shoot himself as soon as the game concluded.

During the game, the Benny had gambled and lost several secrets relevant to to company including:

  • the leaders of the cult were the Bride and Groom, and immediately below them was the Reverand.
  • the cult was fortifying Camp Emberclaw (the gnoll camp that had remained when the TBEC fled the wilds)
  • the cult had a spy in the Tempest Brothers Expeditionary Company


Session 80?: Fur and Fangs[edit | edit source]

DM: Anna

PCs:

NPCs:


The group took an airship deep into the wilds west of the Scar to respond to an urgent request from Silver Ivy Sanctuary, a druid conclave led by a human known as Roxanne Briargate that rehabilitates baby monsters in need. Poachers had attacked the sanctuary, killing some of the residents and taking several of their young charges.

While the party approached the sanctuary on foot, they were set upon by several unusual monsters, some of whom were able to pit allies against one another with a hallucinating inducing contact poison. Weedus sucumbed once, but 22 use Lesser Restoration on him before he butchered any of the other party members.

A human woman soon appeared and ushered the group to the Silver Ivy Sanctuary, where Roxanne Briargate hastily briefed them. She detailed which creatures had been taken and which direction the poachers had fled, adding that the three moonstones that help protect the area had been moved and needed to be reactivated with a ritual. She gave them the Blessing of the Santuary, which she said would allow them to gain benefits once they had retrieved any of the babty creatures. The party headed off to try to catch up with the poachers and were able to do so with little difficulty.

They soon caught their foes unaware, and Twilsby hit three of them with a surprise Fireball. Ren began blasting from an obscured position, and 22 summoned giant lynxes and pixies that polymorphed Weedus and 22 into giant apes.

Each of six poachers carried a magical crate containing one of the kidnapped creatures in an extradimensional space. These enemies were moderately difficult to bring down, and there were many of them, but they soon began to fall one by one, and party members were able to recover some of the creatures, each of which provided a unique benefit to those with the Blessing of the Santuary. Under the effects of Greater Invisibility, Twilsby was able to retrieve several of them.

More foes joined the fray, including two owlbears and the human leader of this group of poachers, who claimed the party was making a mistake by aligning themselves with the druid conclave. She had two powerful magical abilities, one that made people attack their allies and one that allowed her to force a foe to experience any injuries that befell her. As the party pummeled her, the latter ability brought Ren to the brink of consciousness, but he freed one of the baby monsters (entrusting it to his familiar) so he could squeeze into its extradimensional container, severing the enemy's magical link to him and preventing further damage.

Before the group could dispatch the enemies' leader, she used Dimension Door to teleport away, effectively ending the battle and allowing the group to return the rescued creatures to the santuary and to reset the protective moonstones with the ritual that Roxanne had provided to Twilsby. The conclave rewarded the party for their aid, and the four adventurers returned to the airship to make the trip back to Galik.

Session 83: Markster Farmstead Mystery[edit | edit source]

DM: Dave Parm (alchemicalluck) PCs:

NPCs:

  • Derwin
  • Farmstead Family 1
  • Farmstead Family 2

Help Requested at the Farmstead:

The Tempest Brothers Expeditionary Company (TBEC) was contacted and was asked to send a group to investigate some strange happenings around the Markster Farmstead that is to the North of the waystation. The six adventurers were selected by Darian Tempest. After being grouped up, they then got together with the farmers that stopped in town and put the request in. The two farmers were at the waystation trading some produce that they grew. The group together with the farmers and their mule then left the waystation and traveled to the farmstead. The two farmers explained in more detail what was going on and what they were asking for. While traveling, they explained that there have been cases of finding dead animals in the forest and that some of their animals have gone missing. They also reported that their barn was broken into and some goats were eaten.

The Families at the Farmstead:

We all arrive at the farmstead after some travelling. There, we get introduced to the two farmers families. One of the families has a young girl who mentioned something about an imaginary friend that the families instantly disregarded as the young girls imagination, but we all felt that there was some truth to what the little girl was saying. After the initial introductions we start asking the family members about the strange happenings. The two families confirm what the two farmers told us as true. We then all went inside the one house as the two families were making dinner together and it was about to be ready. After dinner, Finny went and started playing some of her instruments and telling some bards tales. While she was keeping everyone entertained, Hummer went and talked to the little girl about her "imaginary friend". Hummer found out that the little girl really does believe that she has a friend that isn't imaginary and is real. Her friends name is "Hopper" and he has blue eyes. She then tells Hummer that Hopper even gave her a gift and told her to always keep it on her. She shows Hummer the gift and Hummer recognizes it to be a Shield Guardian amulet. Hummer promises to keep it a secret from everybody else. Shortly after, Finny finishes up with her performance and our group is shown over to an extra building that they have for us to stay in. We get all of our stuff inside and we discuss our watch orders for the night and what we plan on looking out for.

Happenings in the Night:

Hummer and Valdos take the first watch. Valdos was posted up on top of the barn and heard some howls from the forest from two different locations, but nothing else of note happened. During second watch, Coryn and Ghargux saw some floating blue orbs in the forest that didn't move. The orbs were pretty far away, so they couldn't make out what they were from. Nokori and Finny took the last watch. Nokori found some weird indentations in the ground out in one of the farm fields. While patrolling the farm, Finny noticed three figures moving through the farm field, Finny immediately shot one of them with an eldritch blast, the three figures then ran away into the forest.

The Stone Shack:

Once daybreak came around, the group got together and shared what everybody found out through the night. Finding out that there were three figures walking through the field and that there were strange indentations in the ground, the group decides that the priority should be to try and follow the three figures into the woods and see if they can be found and interrogated for why they were sneaking through the farm fields at night. We then get our stuff together and inform the families about what we found out during the night and that we will be travelling into the forest and we don't know when we will be back. We then start travelling into the woods, following the trails that the three figures left behind. After around a 3 hour trek, we come across a small clearing that contains a stone building. The building has a full metal door with no direct way of opening it, the building also has a couple of pretty small windows that are dirty and cannot be seen through. We investigate the door and find that there are hidden runes surrounding the door, the runes form a key that explains that the door can only be opened by using the "knock" spell. Since no one in the group knew the spell, we decided to physically knock on the door.

The Strange Artificer:

We were eventually greeted by a voice asking why we were there, we explained, and the person opened the door. The man introduces himself as Derwin and he is an artificer of sorts. Before allowing us inside, he asks us to promise that we will not touch anything and ask for permission before doing anything. We all agree and then follow him inside. Once inside we are hit with the stench of Derwin and his abode, without really thinking, Finny casts prestidigitation on Derwin to clean him up and remove the stench. As Finny did this without warning, Derwin was caught by surprise and releases a blinding flash of light in all directions. Right before the release of blinding light, there was a wave of arcane energy that was felt by the group and it seemed to be originating from Derwin. Derwin then starts to freak out a little and reminds us to not do anything without asking him for permission first, especially anything dealing with magic.

We arrive in the building main area and we start asking Derwin what he might know about the three figures that were seen walking through the farm fields last night as the tracks we followed led here. He then explains that he is an artificer and that he has been secretly making automs to help the farmers out on the farms by either helping them farm or by protecting them from the surrounding wilds. He then brings in the three "scarecrows" and one of them does indeed appear to have been shot by a blast of some kind. He then dismisses the scarecrows and shows us his latest project, the "Harvest Reapers". The Harvest Reapers are much larger automs compared to the scarecrows. We then talk to Derwin about helping him form communications between the Markster Farmstead and himself along with communications between the new Waystation and himself as we were pretty sure that the TBEC could use an artificer like him in helping build up protections around the Waystation. After establishing that, we then mention that there is a girl on the farmstead in possession of a Shield Guardian amulet and ask if he was the one that made it or if he knew anything of it. Derwin responds saying that he knew about it as he also has one, and proceeds to introduce us to "Thumper". However, he was not the one that made the two Shield Guardians and only came into contact with them when he moved into the building and told us that Hopper took it upon himself to go and hand his amulet to the little girl on the farmstead.

With all of that, we then leave for the Markster Farmstead with the Scarecrows and Harvest Reapers in tow along with a letter from Derwin addressed to the families explaining that he is an artificer who lives out in the jungle and that he has been building these automs to help the families out and to hopefully keep them safe. He also lets the families know that they can come to his shack for shelter should they need it, but they need to promise to not touch or do anything without asking him to. He also lets them know that they can command the automs to do as they see fit as the automs will follow the two families commands. After arriving back at the farm, we explain to the families the situation with Derwin and his automs and also explain that the little girl does not have an imaginary friend, but instead has a shield guardian that will protect and listen to her commands. We then leave for the Waystation.

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