Return of the Tyrant

Session Seventeen: A Murder Most Foul
The first rule of One-Eyed Lew's Fight Club: we do not talk about One-Eyed Lew's Fight Club.

We find our adventurers on the way to Hallowfeld. The weather turns very cold, and the sky darkens to a steely grey. Hallowfeld is a hamlet with a hitchin’ post and a Dollar General and a four-way stop. We rest at the inn, called Hallowfeld Arms Hotel, where the innkeeper questions us about where we came from. He says they’re not used to having travelers coming from the east. Our band of fugitives sticks out like a sore thumb, and surely the curious innkeeper will spill it when some Flayne paladins or necromancers inquire about our whereabouts. Naturally.

Because we have a lot of stuff, the DM suggests we buy some beasts o’burden to help us transport our armory and stuff. The ladies buy some asses and giggle, while Daven goes to the Battle of Darkwater Run pub to get away from us. Daven joins a group of townies playing cards. An old man questions him about his military service, and Daven answers uncomfortably until Isabelle hobbles up to the table and takes all their money. Meanwhile Spud hangs around Nabila for some reason. Maybe the battle with the Hive Spider Queen when Nabila whacked him with her staff addled Spud a bit. Or a lot. Nabila asks him why he’s called Spud. Spud asks for a potato and proceeds to show Nabila why he got that name by dropping his pants…and then the barman rushes over and stops him.

Hallowfeld has one giant manor home that belongs to a bard/playwright named Sophia Elloran. The house belonged to other bards and was passed down as a place where the writing and singing vibes flow. Sophia is off in Amaranth performing.

As we get ready to return to the inn, Nabila feels a tugging at her cloak. It’s a little girl who asks Nabila if she’s a cleric. She says her dad thinks clerics are funny. She asks Nabila to play a game of secrets with her. Nabila agrees and the little girl whispers in Nabila’s ear, “An ill wind is coming.” Izzy asks Nabila who she’s talking to because no one else sees the girl.

The next morning we visit the Shrine of Delora after Nabila promises not to desecrate it. The shrine is boarded up, but that doesn’t stop us from breaking in and looking around. There’s nothing of note inside, and we were curious why the shrine to the Sun Goddess was boarded up in the middle of winter. With that discovery, we leave Hallowfeld headed toward Vogelbrucke.

We’re traveling along minding our own business when we hear horrible keening noises coming from these giant birds flying towards us. Sindra uses the spyglass and we see barechested women with vulture bodies. They are harpies. Six harpies to be exact. We battle the harpies, and thank Nabila for her handy Hold Person spell.

We arrive in Vogelbrucke with no problems and assume false names as we get rooms at the Silver Sword Inn. Daven is Sir Isaac and Spud is his squire, William. Nabila goes by the name of Nicole J, Izzy calls herself Violet, Sindra takes on the name Neera, and Oleander is Karl-Louis Broume, with an umlaut. Umlauts everywhere!

Karl-Louis informs us that he has friends in Vogelbrucke who could help us with our little problem. With Nabila’s permission, he leaves to meet his people. He returns later with tickets to a play called The Gnomes Three. The play is tomorrow night at the Friendly Friar, and Karl-Louis will meet his contact then.

Play-time means only one thing: shopping! Nicole J and Neera go out while Violet opts to stay behind and talk to Sir Isaac about the “dwarf thing.” Both of them, including Squire William, get wasted. Nabila and Sindra visit the Black Rose apothecary and alchemy shop. The proprietor Gianna is surprised to see a real drow elf, and she barrages Sindra with all kinds of questions about the drow and the Underdark. Gianna shows us her special stock, some nice poisons and potions of healing. She suggests we go to A Tinge of Vellum to find spells and other magical items. After loading up on potions and spells, Nabila and Sindra buy some nice clothes and get our hair did so we can look nice for the play that evening.

As usual, people are surprised to see a drow elf and there’s lots of whispering. Why yes, of course the Company of the Tattered Cloak have been there! There was a drow elf. It has to be them! An Alter Self spell would have really come in handy.

The play is…full of gnome humor and puns abound. It’s not very good but Spud appeared to enjoy it. Intermission, and Oleander leaves to meet with his contact. Spud returns in a huff and says some things are bad outside and somebody got killed. What’s more, they think Oleander did it. We rush out to check, and the guards have got Oleander, ready to drag him away. Oleander protests his innocence. On the ground is the body of the bouncer, and someone has slashed off his privates. We can smell fresh blood, urine, and poison. Poison like spider venom. The bouncer had been taking a piss against a fence because his pants were lowered. There was no blood spatter against the fence, all of it pooled around his body on the ground. There’s a tiny puncture wound at the small of his back where the poison smell originates.

The guards take Oleander to the barracks. Nabila and Daven follow them while Sindra, Izzy, and Spud go back to the inn to check Oleander’s room for his weapons and poisons. Oleander had everything on his person. We plant a mundane dagger and sword in his room just in case.

At the barracks, Nabila wants to talk to Oleander, but the guard won’t let her. She says she’ll wait and stares at him. He is so uncomfortable he calls in the guard captain. The guard captain says nothing can be done until morning when Nabila will be able to see her “brother.” He tells us the name of the bouncer is Steffan Evers, but we’ll have to come back in the morning.

We return to the Friendly Friar and speak to the owner, Lucius. He tells us Steffan was hired last week. He used to be a bouncer at One-Eyed Lew’s and got fired for getting touchy with a working girl. We head to One-Eyed Lew’s, a dark and seedy looking bar. A blonde and brunette immediately approach Daven in his gold armor. (Get down, girl, go ahead, get down.) Daven shrugs them off, and the bartender tries to foist more girls on him, this time some fat and ugly or both. Does Daven want men because they have that, too. His name is Ruck, and he takes care of the other business side of One-Eyed Lew’s. Lew is his brother.

Nabila pays Ruck to keep him talking. He tells us that Steffan was a good bouncer but he liked the ladies too much. He went after a girl called Lola, and she quit. When more girls threatened to quit, Ruck fired Steffan. While he’s talking to us, he looks Daven over and says Big D looks like he’d be a good fighter. They have fights in the basement and if we want more information, we’re going to have to fight. 100gp for the winner. Daven and Nabila(!) agree to fight, and we’re escorted to the basement. Daven and Nabila are locked in a cage with two half ogres.

Spud helps himself to some drink while Sindra and Izzy go around taking bets. If the fight went downhill, Sindra was on stand by with a few Rays of Enfeeblement or a Sleep spell because we haven’t yet had a good tavern brawl. Daven and Nabila are victorious over the half ogres, and Nabila showed off some pretty sweet moves.

Because it’s ridiculously late, we go back to the inn to rest but first thing in the morning Daven and Nabila — our humans — head to the barracks to check on Oleander. The rest of us stay back and take Spud shopping. Bwahahahaha.

Oleander is the only prisoner in the barracks. Daven notices that though there are no marks on Oleander’s face, he can tell by the way Oleander holds himself that the guards have hit him. Oleander says he didn’t do it. He was meeting his contact, a woman called Tress who worked for the Cartel. She is an assassin, a high-priced courtesan. He hoped she still had contacts within the Cartel who could make the price on our heads go away. Oleander tells us he heard voices, the bouncer and the murderer arguing. The bouncer had had an affair with the murderer’s wife. When Oleander found him, the bouncer was still alive but bleeding out. Oleander could have saved Steffan, but he thought Steffan was a coward and let him die. Was Aegecia testing him? The guards arrived and found him hovering over Steffan’s body, his weapons and poisons on his body. Oleander says he’s done a lot of terrible things in his life, but now that he’s in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, he says it isn’t fair. He tells us that Tress has short blonde hair and works at Heart’s Desire. She knows about us, and we could talk to her.

We meet back at the Silver Sword Inn. Daven can’t believe his eyes. Spud is decked out in his new clothes like he is a squire. Tri-corner hat, nice coat, frilly dress shirt, knee breeches, shoes with gold buckles. Spud is so pleased with himself that he even walks differently. Daven really has no idea what to say.

Heart’s Desire is a fancy brothel run by Orra Leminkanen. She’s 300 pounds, fake red hair, makeup, beauty marks, and a corset so tight her breasts are barely contained. The building is a circular tower with a spiral staircase. Velvet and dark lacquered oak. Ms. Leminkanen uses magical illusions to create anyone’s dreamlover. Sindra and Spud are not affected by the illusions, while everyone else sees what they desire. Daven refuses to say what he sees, but everyone knows it’s little Gideons in various stages of unsheathed. Spud stands at the bottom of the spiral staircase while the rest of us talk to Tress. He thinks at any minute he’s going to see some hot babe saunter down and pull him away by his frilly shirtfront.

Tress appears before us in a fancy dress. She eyes us all. We ask to speak to her privately. Immediately she puts Nabila down about her appearance. Ugh, why doesn’t she put some makeup on that horrible leprosy scar? Hussy! Tress says Oleander is hers, and we got Oleander into this mess. She refuses to help us, but she will help “Olie” in her own way.

Dead end with Tress. So we decide to follow up on the poison. Sindra and Nabila pay Miss Gianna a visit at the Black Rose. The poisons Gianna kept were hidden from most customers and she’s wary to talk about them. If Sindra promises to come back and talk alchemy with her, she will tell us what we need to know. Sindra promises, and Gianna is so excited she has to be prodded to stay on track. Gianna sold vials of horse tranquilizer to a guy named Talbot, the butler at the Tancreedi Residence. They are a well-to-do family, but they don’t own any horses. They needed the horse tranquilizers because one of their dogs got hurt, and the vet recommended a sedative. We thank Gianna for her time and return to the inn.

Daven, Spud, and Nabila go to the Tancreedi house. Nabila wears the Nymph Cloak for that extra bit of convincing, should it be necessary. A middle-aged halfling answers the door. They ask if the Tancreedis are selling guard dogs. No. Where did they hear that? Someone in town said it. Who are they? Talbot is suspicious. The Tancreedi matron, Leona, comes to the door because she was yelling for Talbot and he never showed up. Nabila has to make a charisma check. She botches. With a +3 modifier. Nabila shits herself. No dogs. Get out now.

Meanwhile, Sindra and Izzy return to One-Eyed Lew’s. They talk to the two girls who threw themselves at Daven about Steffan. He was married to a woman named Roxanna. They lived by the river in the north side of town. When asked about Lola, the girls didn’t want to talk, but they caved to Sindra and said Lola got on a carriage to Amaranth about a month ago. Ruck gives us Steffan’s address and we return to the inn to congregate.

Roxanna’s house is a small shack. She answers the door, her eyes red and puffy from crying. Two small children hover behind her. The house has very old, decrepit furniture. It’s a pitiful place. We ask about Steffan. She hates him for leaving her there while he spent all his time in town, hardly sending her any money to feed their children. He was a bastard. Would anyone want Steffan dead? Roxanna tells us about his affairs. The first one was with a woman named Nina Tancreedi, a rich girl who “got her claws in him.” She doesn’t know Nina’s husband’s name. She remembers a girl called Lola, but she can’t give any more information than that. Before we leave, Sindra gives her a big handful of gold and tells her to take care of herself and her children. Roxanna is shellshocked. She gives Sindra a hug, cries all over her, and then we leave.

The next morning the guard captain is waiting for us in the common room of the Silver Sword Inn. He informs us there’s been another killing. The exact same M.O. He thought we did it, but we have alibis. The latest victim is a male prostitute named Ulf, and he worked at Heart’s Desire. We ask to see Ulf’s body, and he takes us to the undertaker. This time the puncture wound is above Ulf’s right breastbone. Whoever stabbed him was approximately the same height. Nabila wants to take some of Ulf’s blood to detect the poison, so Sindra distracts the guard captain with her ideas about the Tancreedi family and also to provide some charity and aid to Roxanna Evers and her children. Nabila gets the blood, and then we go to the docks where the crime took place.

The crime took place under a pier. Blood stained rocks, blood spatter. The angle of the blood spatter suggested that Ulf was laying on his side when he was mutilated. Just like at the previous crime scene, the mutilated member is gone. Sindra again tells the guard captain our theories about Nina’s jealous husband, but he refuses to believe anyone like little ole Philippe could do such a thing. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.

After some debating, we decide to return to Heart’s Desire. Sindra speaks to the Madame. She borrowed Nabila’s studded black leather bodysuit (Nabila’s one and only wild surge), and Sindra squeaked when she walked. She and Madame Orra go to a private room, and Sindra asks about Ulf. He was sweet and kind, in his early 20s. He probably had been doing too much lotus powder. Sindra mentions Karl-Louis and the trouble he is in. Madame Orra grows nervous, worried. She will give us the information we need as long as we can promise her business wouldn’t be ruined.

Madame Orra is a powerful wizard who creates companions for certain discerning customers. About ten days ago she had an accident in her lab and the companion escaped before she could finish the creation process, mainly giving it a special codeword to control it. She created the companion for Nina Tancreedi. Nina came to Heart’s Desire often and requested illusions of a guy named Vincent who lived across the street from her and Philippe’s house. The clone was of her husband Philippe. Now that the Clone Philippe is on the loose, Madame Orra doesn’t know what to tell Nina. This could ruin her. It is our job to destroy the Clone Philippe. The problem is that it will think it is Philippe. It looks just like him. There are no distinguishing features to tell him apart from the real Philippe. Great.

Finally we head to the rich people’s bar, Master Devenoge’s, to find more information about the Tancreedi family. Leona is the matron. She had two sons, Philippe and Bernardo. Philippe became a solicitor, and Bernardo went into church life. Philippe married Nina, a golddigger. (Get down, girl, go ahead, get down.) Their marriage made Philippe fall out with his mother, and he moved out. Gossip quickly spread that Nina got bored with Philippe and fooled around with other people. What’s worse than a cuckolded husband? One that murders? One with a clone? One with a murdering clone?

Nabila petitions Aegecia to tell us where the “smoking dongs” are located. Aegecia tells us: in Philippe and Nina’s home.

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Session Sixteen: Goblins and Spiders and Guns Oh My!
The session that was beyond gross and "underwhelming."

We find our adventurers travelling through the mountains to get the heck outta Dodge because we’re wanted for doing Very Bad Things, though some of the charges are false. Thanks, Father Isembard. If we ever get back to Ravehill, we’re gonna kill you for good.

Isabelle, drunk, comes up to Sindra and tries to talk. She apologizes for being so mean since coming back to life. She says she’s glad she’s coming along on this adventure, but Nabila and that MAN of hers aren’t very friendly. Then she propositions Sindra to get it on since it’s been too long for all of them, so Sindra takes Izzy over to a tree away from the party. Spud, who is miraculously still alive much to the DM’s chagrin, is quite disturbed. “The logistics of it, baby. How do you do it?”

The next day we travel along until we reach a giant canyon with a tiny dwarven bridge running across it. On the other side we see some dwarves. They don’t look like typical dwarves. Their armor is shoddy and their hair is styled into mohawks with bright colors. Two of them are meditating. The third is covered in a white sheet with a golden axe beside his body. They’re troll slayers.

Nabila says hello, but they’re looking at Sindra and then back at each other. They think Sindra is a reincarnation of the goddess Sunniva. Sindra is wearing the Girdle of Dwarven Kind and she’s standing beside Izzy, a halfling. The goddess and her halfling lover. They tell Sindra they were sent out to scout a deposit of iron but their group was wiped out when spiders and goblins attacked them. Their captain was killed, the enemies ran away, and will we help them rescue any survivors?

We agree to help them because we have to get through that mountain to get where we need to go. That night we sit around a campfire and have gossip time and tell stories. Sindra uses the dwarven belt to go through some of the documents we took from Tharindor. (Dwarven poetry is pretty awful.) A voice rings out from the canyon and says that the rats of Sunniva need to leave because they can’t defeat “the swarm.” Our new friends are Brokk Trollburger and Django the Widowmaker. Django doesn’t say much, but his hands are mangled and he carries a weapon that looks like a crude crossbow.

The next morning we pick through the ambush site for clues, and we hear that creepy voice again. An arrow flies out and hits Daven. He sees a goblinoid sniper run away and also catches a glimpse of something that looks like a cross between a spider and a termite watching us. The crazy voice says if we destroy one set of eyes twenty more will take its place.

There’s a waterfall and Brokk points out dwarven writing that says “Lightness of being won’t make you fly.” He says the captain of the goblinoids committed suicide by jumping off the waterfall. We arrive at a low cave mouth, choked with rocks and bushes. A large wooden gate stands in front to stop intruders from entering the cave. Two ledges have four humanoids — hobgoblins — with bows. We decide to make our move at nightfall.

Sindra uses her drow cloak to hide in shadows and cast sleep on the hobgoblin sentries. Daven chops off their heads with Gideon, who chuckles as his blood thirst is satisfied. Daven raises the gate and we go inside. We see cobwebs, dust, and mold and smell the stench of goblins. We decide to head north to explore. There’s a pit trap and Brokk and Daven fall in. Goblins rush out to attack. Django uses his weapon and it’s a wheel-lock pistol. The noise is so loud it sounds like a cannon going off. He blows a goblin to bits. The one goblin left surrenders, and Sindra speaks goblinoid and interrogates it.

Why did they ambush the dwarves? The dwarves took their iron. Are the other dwarves alive? He doesn’t know. Who took the dwarves? Their leader, T’lukkah. Where are the dwarves? At the back of the cave. How many creatures are in the cave? He is afraid and says they are bad creatures. Batikota would punish him. Batikota is a demon from the Nine Hells. What are the spider creatures? T’lukkah says they’re his eyes. When Sindra asks him how many there are, he will not answer. Are the spider creatures “the swarm?” He replies maybe and says he has said too much. Sindra doesn’t kill him, but the others tie him up in spider webbing and kick him into the pit.

We find a cave filled with moonlight and dripping water. Lotus flowers grow there. Nabila harvests some, and we continue on. We hear that voice again, and this time we’re just too annoyed with it to be afraid. Sindra threatens it back because why not? Just like shagging Izzy. Why not?

Another cavern holds eight hobgoblins and one very large ogre. We battle and loot. Then we rest up. Before Sindra falls asleep she hears a voice that says, “Destroy the swarm. Help us.” When she wakes up she asks the others if they heard anything, and they all look at her like she’s crazy.

We see a fountain with a statue of this beastly muscular male with wings. In his right hand he holds a shield, while the left has a sword. Nabila does a religion check and says it’s Batikota. The fountain is full of coins and trinkets. The voice yells at us again, and Sindra yells back. We head to another cavern filled with mining gear and iron ore. Everything had been abandoned. Then we see why as two earth elementals come out of the ground and attack. Brokk is killed after charging in like a berserker. But we kill them, and the voice returns to laugh at us. While Sindra is yelling back, she sees a spider on the ceiling. That’s how the voice has been watching us.

We rest up. Django is sad and confronts Sindra that she’s not really Sunniva at all, but they needed the help. He says if he dies in battle he wants a funeral pyre.

Moving along, we reach a dingy grotto filled with webs. Bones are stripped of flesh. A spider eats flesh off a dwarven skull. The crazy voice shows itself as a squat, thin, goblin wearing tattered robes. T’lukkah’s blind. He has no eyes. We begin to fight the goblin and some hive spiders. After a few rounds he removes his robes and we see that he’s wired with explosives. He blows himself up. We loot the room and rest.

The next day we go east and find the hive spider community. The queen spider is enormous, surrounded by loads of eggs. She makes a low chittering noise that sounds like a laugh. Loads of spiders prepare to eat us.

The battle begins and ends with crispy fried spiders. Out of nowhere four phase spiders appear and eat the eggs on the mother and around the room. One spider comes up to Sindra and deposits a large blue crystal in front of her. They phase out. Nabila harvests poison from Mommy Spider.

The crystal is magical. It glows faintly and the image of a phase spider appears in front of Sindra. It’s Aragog! It speaks to her and says, “Hello, two legs. It’s been some time.” Sindra is shaken up and reaches out to touch the image of Aragog but her hand passes through. She is so sad that Aragog passed away, but she’s pleased to see him again. He says he phased out just as the d’jinni attacked and he is still alive. He says he can’t return to the material plane. His clan is in possession of an ancient artifact that the Githzerai created and has been using it to track Sindra from afar. The Githzerai were a race long ago enslaved by the Mindflayers or the Ilithid.

The hive spiders are bad news, and destroying the Queen and her eggs made the Company of the Tattered Cloak heroes in the phase spider world. Batikota enslaved the hive spiders and forced them to reproduce so Batikota could have an army. Aragog says Sindra is not like all the other drow because she treated Aragog with respect instead of trying to enslave him. The crystal is a gift to be used in a dire situation. He says goodbye, and the image disappears.

We continue through the cavern and find the food source for the queen spider. There are three circular pits. One pit contains the mother of all goblin orgies. The second pit connects to the first and has a creepy green light and is covered in an icky green substance. The third pit connects to the second and it’s the goblin nursery where the hive spiders nursed the goblin babiees until they were fed to the spider queen.

Django wants to kill the goblins, and we agree with him. We find the other dwarves. Two are left, attached to X-shaped structures a la crucifixion. They are blindfolded, barely breathing, and blinded. They can be healed. We look around the room for stuff to loot. Sindra finds T’lukkah’s notes on how to make explosive powder.

We blow up the goblin love pits, and burn the dead dwarves. Nabila prays to Aegecia and asks for the dwarves blindness to be cured. On one condition: the dwarves return to their elders and tell them that “an ill wind is coming.” The dwarves tell us that if we ever need them, we can find them in the south mountains. On questioning Nabila later, she says she doesn’t even know what Aegecia’s message meant because the Unseeing One doesn’t usually enter into alliances with other gods. Sometimes it can happen with the situation calls for it.

It looks like the situation is going to call for it.

Loot:

ten doses of lotus powder (Nabila)
10gp, 10sp
two handed sword
wooden toy dog statue
heavy wolf pelt
three bronze goblets
military saddle of crimson leather and black braiding and tassels
silver dagger with sheath
6cp
two full wineskins
salted pork and fish
four sapphires
157sp
two handed sword +1
battle axe +1
suit of banded mail armor +2 (Spud)
three gold embossed statuettes — Sunniva, Penelope, and Hannibal
ring of fire resistance (Oleander)
four doses of type O poison (2 Izzy, 2 Oleander)
Sindra’s blue crystal
web nets
coal
flasks of lantern oil
T’lukkah’s explosive powder notes (Sindra)
three smoky quartz
three amethysts
one piece of jet
brooch of shielding
(I don’t know how many coins were in the fountain.)

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Session Fifteen: Wanted Dead or Alive
Only 5,000gp? Is that all?

We left our adventurers in an abandoned bakery in Tharindor. Nabila asks Daven about his former adventuring party from Amaranth. There were five people in the group, including Sir Nero a paladin and a halfling named Ivanhoe who sketched the picture of the Seasage Effigy.

We continue exploring the buildings but don’t find too much of interest. Lots of dead dwarves, and Daven cuts their heads off while grinning. Izzy tells Daven he’s sick. Really sick. He doesn’t mind. These dwarves can’t come back to life should there be foul necromantic magic at work.

What’s really foul is the dwarves worship of Flayne. In one building, a studio apartment, we find half finished paintings and a corpse. The artist might have been commissioned by the temple to paint scenes of Flayne doing all kinds of nice and benevolent stuff. Nabila wants to burn everything. By the corpse’s body rests a satchel with paint and dyes, parchment, colored chalks, and inkwells. Sindra takes it.

Another apartment has three steel tankards with stylized wooden skulls on top. Nabila opens one and a cloud of poisonous spores surrounds her. One of them is filled with coins. After the spores settle, Nabila takes the tankards with her.

We come across the tavern. It looks like it’s open for business except there are dead bodies in various states of action, some playing chess, others in the floor grasping their throats. Nabila performs healing checks and says a fast acting, airborne poison killed them. So this is how Count Uslav did it. The mining conflict between the dwarves and the humans caused the uprising because the dwarves wouldn’t cooperate. So Uslav got his alchemists to create a poison bad enough to destroy all the dwarves in the town. Thus the civil war begun.

At the end of the town stood two heavy obsidian doors leading to the temple of Flayne. After performing some magic to get the doors unlocked, Daven opens a door and purple mist billows out. Hundreds of pairs of boots and sandals are lined up along the wall, along with weapons and shields and armor. We think maybe the stuff belonged to a dwarven expedition to place the artifact within Tharindor. As we go farther into the temple, we find ground zero of the purple mist. It goes up to our knees. Daven whips out a pot from his pack that “any good soldier would use” and collects some of the mist. The walls are covered in carved and painted murals. Nabila walks in and trips and falls over a dead dwarf body. Oh. That’s where they are.

Izzy crouches down and disappears below the mist to see what’s down there. She comes back up and says there’s at least a hundred dwarves and one human. The human was wearing armor and held a long shard of glass in one hand and a metal stopper in the other. He’s our suicide bomber. Izzy says the dwarves look like they’re sleeping and incredibly well preserved. Daven goes over to check the human. He knew the guy; they served together in the same unit.

We check out the murals on the walls. No one can read dwarven, so any of the writing is indecipherable. On the eastern wall is a mural that shows the advancement of the dwarves, from Flayne handing them fire and tools to learning to mine, to dwarves wearing fancy clothes and jewels with these strange self-propelled vehicles, to dwarves wearing glassy armor and wandering a red desert in a cloudless and starry sky. Oleander and Nabila find this mural the most interesting. It disturbs Nabila. Oleander says he heard running water and saw a hooded woman weeping. The woman looked up at him and cackled, her eyes burning with madness. It made him feel sick. He tells us that the woman was…Nabila.

Everyone else goes up to look but no one sees anything out of the ordinary. Nabila tells us she saw a tentacled giant with pus-filled sores, creatures rising out of the sea, and other Very Bad Things. Nabila asks Sindra for the paint she took from the artist’s apartment. Sindra gives it to her, and Nabila throws it at the mural, defacing the holy ground.

Right, so while Nabila is freaking out defacing stuff like a good little evil priestess, the rest of us check out the rooms on the sides. There’s an ossuary containing the skulls of the high priests of Flayne, each wearing crowns. We move on to a small library full of books, a barber shop where dwarven clerics used to torture other non-Flayne worshippers by cutting off their beards and nailing them to the walls with spikes. Another room is a dorm for other priests, and another room is for the high priest. In that room was a bottle of ceremonial wine. Nabila returns to us, grabs the wine, and heads to the ossuary where she throws it at the skulls. She’s about as pleased with herself at destroying the skulls as Daven was chopping off dead dwarf heads. Weirdos.

The room behind the altar is a reflection room with another obsidian door. So far we haven’t found the artifact, so it had to be in there. After dispelling the magical seal on the door, Daven opens it and we hear a voice that growls, “LEAVE!” Not until we get what we came for, dude. Daven fires a crossbow bolt across the room, misses, and out comes a giant winged bear with ram horns and eagle talons for hands and it’s coming after Daven.

Yugoloth

An epic battle ensues, aided by poor attack rolls from the DM, and we dispose of the Guardian in less rounds than he had hoped. Sindra has a wild surge and her drow shortsword turns into…a herring! When the battle ends, Sindra waves the herring around in the air and cheers.

The room is a reliquary filled with “a bevy of goodies,” said the DM. A long glass case has four glass vials, a talisman, a girdle, and a leather pouch. Sitting beside the case is a pure black-bladed shortsword resting on a pillow. Above the case is a jar containing a fresh severed human head. Daven is stunned and walks away. The rest of us try to get the stuff out of the case because we like stuff, but then Nabila goes to check on Daven to make sure he’s all right. Daven says something isn’t right here. Sindra sticks her head out of the room and shouts, “Is it the Count’s head?” Daven says yes and asks to be alone for a while.

Nabila returns to us, but we can’t get the case open. Oleander takes Nabila’s staff and smashes the glass. Nabila reaches in to take the stuff and touches the talisman. A giant bolt of electricity shocks her and knocks her out. Oleander immediately feeds her a potion of healing and revives her. Sindra grabs the talisman so Nabila doesn’t see it.

Another voice calls out to us, asking for the Son of Ottelstadt. The blade on the pillow is glowing red. And it’s talking.

The sword wants Daven. He’s in the head priest’s quarters making a pyre for his fallen suicide bombing soldier friend. He returns to us, and the sword asks Daven to come forward. It glows in Daven’s presence, sensing him. It says Daven is familiar and he is a true son of Ottelstadt. The sword chooses Daven to wield it. Daven can feel a majorly evil power flowing through it, and the sword grows silent.

We go to an apartment to rest and identify the items. Daven stays off by himself, and we can hear him whispering to his sword. After we loot all we want, we go to the elevator and nothing happens. Sindra casts Tenser’s floating disc and ferries everyone up. Sindra smells something in the air — arcane magic. Then the smell of burning dwarven flesh greets us. This can’t be good. We go to the entrance where blinding daylight and six men and women in black robes are standing at the bottom of the steps. There is a woman in shimmering robes who speaks to us in a whisper, but her voice reverberates through the mountains. She points at Daven and says she wants “him” returned.

Daven asks his sword — named Gideon — if they want it. Gideon says no. Daven asks the necromancers what they have to do with Uslav. The woman is surprised he doesn’t know and says the mage has tampered with Daven’s memory. We hear the pounding of horse hooves. From either side is a party of riders wearing platemail and Flayne’s symbols. They want the Company of the Tattered Cloak to surrender because Nabila murdered a bunch of innocent people in Ravenhill. Oops.

The Bitch Queen hisses at the leader paladin. They argue. Gideon wants blood. While they’re arguing whether or not to join sides to defeat the other, Daven loads his crossbow with a dust of sneezing and choking and instantly takes out two necromancers. The paladins fight the necromancers, and we waste them all.

We win! We loot. The Bitch Queen has a rolled up parchment which is a drawing of Daven. Izzy finds a scroll and shows it to Oleander. He hands it to Nabila. It’s a wanted poster with Nabila’s face on it. Oleander comes to the rescue and tells Nabila she needs to take her clothes off and replace them with a dead female necromancer with dark hair. Then he defaces the necromancer so she is unrecognizable.

Rsz wanted poster

The wanted poster said Nabila was harboring known fugitives. Everyone looks at Izzy, who tries to deflect. She admits she may have lied to us. She’s not who she says she was when she first joined the party in Ravenhill. The real Isabelle Kalliwart is lying dead in a ditch on the road to Ravenhill. She didn’t know the Professor, but she impersonated the girl and got in way over her head. Izzy asks us if we’re upset with her that she wasn’t honest with us. Nah. We liked Izzy enough to bring her back to life after dying, and we appreciate her mad thieving skillz, so we’re cool with that.

Then Oleander turns to Sindra. What about Sindra and that accident in the Underdark? Sindra kills loads of people and runs away. Oleander laughs for the first time and says he’s the only one who doesn’t have a price on his head. It’s because he was careful.

We have to get out and get out fast. We left everything — no looting, boo! — and try to figure out where to go next. Oleander says there’s no temple of Flayne in Sudendorf or Vogelbrucke, but Nabila can’t go to Vogelbrucke. She was orphaned when her family died of the plague in a hamlet called Essen. She moved to Vogelbrucke and brought the plague there when she was in her late teens. We can’t return to Schwarzwald because we’re beginning to think the Viscount sold us out. The mountains loom before us.

Loot:

36 diamond-shaped silver coins from Iranistan
30gp, 30sp
two tangerine-sized zircon stones
silver whistle
3gp, 5sp, 27cp
opium pipe
12sp
10gp, 2cp
chunk of yellow granite
six ceramic paint vials
parchment
crimson dye
violet dye
colored chalk
calligraphy pens
inkwells
three steel tankards
12pp, 8gp, 30sp, 100cp
8sp, 57cp
gold plaque with runic writing
marble chess set
tarnished silver ring
elven absinthe
170gp, 6sp, 20cp
small copper flask w/ brandy
3 bottles of whiskey
2 leather bound tomes of dwarven poetry
ivory smoking pipe
snuff box w/ halfling pipe weed
32 books
Flayne figurine
2 vials of holy water (Izzy and Oleander)
2 potions of extra healing (Sindra and Daven)
Gideon the awesome sword of doom (Daven)
Count Uslav’s head (in a magic jar)
Talisman of Pure Good (going to be destroyed)
ioun stone of intelligence (Sindra)
ioun stone of wisdom (Oleander)
Girdle of Dwarven Kind (Sindra)

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Session Fourteen: Daven in the Hot Seat!
Dwarven women don't have beards.

We find our adventurers going through the derro side of dungeon surrounding the wrecked locomotive. In one room we find a room full of beaten, underfed, and tortured dwarves, 38 in all mostly female. Nabila performs healing checks on all of them and uses her cooking proficiency (she has it!) to create a soup from some foodstuffs we found in a previous room. We have a makeshift battered women’s shelter, and none of them seem surprised to see hordes of skeledwarves putting the steam engine back together.

We head south and use some skeledwarves to lift the portcullis for us. This is the duergar part of the dungeon, everything is symmetric, perpendicular, and orderly, unlike the random caverns favored by the derro. We find a room full of blankets and clothes to take to our women’s shelter. Evil people helping others. Hmmmm. An ulterior motive at play? Possibly.

In another room we find the duergar chieftain, Orgmund Redhand, and some dwarven women armed to the teeth and not pleased that we slaughtered their entire clan. Sindra tries to negotiate with the women to give up so we don’t have to kill them, but they say they will follow Redhand to the death. So we kill them. And loot the bodies.

Another room yields more foodstuffs that we can feed to our poor unfortunate dwarven women. We find a pit with fourteen dwarf bodies. The duergar piled them in the pit and shot them all. After the steam engine is repaired with parts from the train dump, Nabila commands the skeledwarves to go to the pit and fight to the death so we don’t have to explain why we’re going into town with an army of…skeledwarves.

We travel to Elsteig, drop off the dwarven women and supplies, and GTFO. We make our way to Baraz-Gathull to tell Vorgen Slurdaz at Targhazarn Mining Company what happened. He looks a little surprised as Sindra (in the Nymph Cloak) retells the story, making sure to mention the lady dwarves we brought to Elsteig. Slurdaz pulls out a legal document — Oleander says it’s a nondisclosure agreement — and we all sign and promise we won’t tell anyone about the mining operation because ten years of hard labor in a dwarven gulag isn’t anyone’s idea of fun. Slurdaz says if the Tattered Cloak didn’t do the job, they would have hired an adventuring group from Amaranth to take on the task. Daven looks uncomfortable. Slurdaz pays us the rest of the gold and presents us with another document signed by Viscount Grunbaum and Doran Forgeborn, ambassador to the dwarven king, this one giving us permission to enter the mine at Tharindor on the auspices that we are on an archaeological mission. Before we leave Daven recruits a human with a half melted off face called Spud.

The year changes over to 4428, and Nabila has a birthday. Daven says he stopped counting birthdays a long time ago. He looks like he’s in his mid-20s, but yet he fought with the 12th Legion…fifty years ago. Izzy thinks Daven is crazy. Oleander questions Daven about fighting with the 12th Legion. Oleander had an uncle who fought in the civilian uprising against Count Uslav. Daven says those who were loyal to Uslav still have their uses so they’re kept around. Everything Daven says is cryptic, so it’s interrogation time.

Why did Daven find us? He fought with a group in Amaranth who were looking for the Seasage Effigy after the Whispering Way stole it from the University in Amaranth. Daven wanted to know what connections the Whispering Way have/had with Count Uslav, and Daven heard that the Tattered Cloak were after the Whispering Way, so he joined up with us. Daven thinks the Viscount is in league with the Whispering Way. His scarab ring matched the scarab on the cover of a book that Professor Elias had us return to Amaranth. Why did Professor Elias have the book? What is the connection?

After he reveals more of his background Daven is unsure that the party wants to keep traveling with him, but everyone is fine with him and his big meat-shieldy tank self.

We gather our horses and travel down the Gilvar Pass to make our way to Tharindor. We have a RANDOM ENCOUNTER! at night with a swarm of Urds. Sindra shoots a fireball at them, and the Urds don’t like fire, so they flee. We rest up and midday we encounter eight men on horses, armed, from Schwarzwald. They’re a hunting party on patrol for some flying creatures. Did we encounter them? Apparently the giants we felled earlier kept the Urds in check, and there’s a horrible stench because no one burned the giants. Daven comments that the stench is no worse than the smell of a dozen dead soldiers. The soldiers are offended by this remark and they draw their swords. To avoid an Ohda-like catastrophe, we say that Daven is deranged and he says stuff like that from time to time. Satisfied with our explanation, they sheathe their swords and let us pass.

Day three of travelling is uneventful. On the Stone Tooth, we find a mining camp made from stone. It’s Tharindor. Everything is abandoned, and an uncomfortable feeling pervades the area. It’s completely silent. Even the dwarves who guard Tharindor are sullen and depressed. The guard captain comes out, checks our papers, and then allows us to pass through.

There are golems. Golems! The deactivated golems silently stand guard near the entrance. The dwarves push us toward a crude elevator and wish us luck. Down we go into Tharindor. It’s hard to tell that Tharindor used to be a beautiful, busy place because it’s wrecked now. Tendrils of purple mist float through the streets. We explore a few buildings — a bakery with not enough dust that still smells like baking bread and a ruined apartment — and encounter mold men. After the fight, we go back to the bakery and rest up.

Loot:

28gp
aquamarine gem, slightly scuffed
100gp
19gp, 37sp
silver dagger
4000gp
3 garnets
770sp
14 zircons
duergar plate mail +1
medium shield +1
shortsword +2 with grey hilt and dwarven runes (Izzy)
20gp
silver brooch
rare tea and spices from Underdark
six duergar women’s loot — chainmail, shields, battleaxes
700gp each for completing mission

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Session Thirteen: Under Siege 3: The Steam Engine
Hobbit Punting. Or, Does anyone have a cooking proficiency?

When last we saw our adventurers, they were battling giants on the road to Mount Crelezara. It’s cold and snowy. Yaay snow! At the base of the mountain sits Baraz-Gathull. All the buildings are dwarven size and everyone, but Izzy, has to duck to get around. Veligarn from TMC shows us around, and we eventually settle in a small human quarter. We spend the night at the Long Man Inn and are pleased with its cleanliness. We buy provisions for two weeks to go on the expense account TMC has graciously provided us.

The next day Veligarn takes us to see a dwarf named Vorgen Slurdaz in the mining complex. Dwarves cart coal near the huge bronze entrance doors of the complex. The guards recognize Veligarn and escort us to Vorgen’s office. We part ways with Veligarn here. Vorgen is a surly looking dwarf, his eyes red rimmed because he hasn’t slept in days. He sits slumped in his chair. His desk is covered with papers, and Daven makes a comment about dwarves being able to read. The irony of Daven’s statement hangs in the air, causing the party to tease him about his own reading inability.

Vorgen explains the situation to us: the mining operation goes deep into Byrrnoth and then on to Elsteig. Gold shipments are missing, vanished without a trace. People are frightened. The miners in Elsteig are striking. Jobs are at stake. Money is being lost. Money! After stopping in Byrrnoth, people and workers have gone missing. The mining company doesn’t seem to have any enemies who would cause trouble like that, so we agree to help.

Vorgen escorts us to a large underground tunnel where he tells us we will be travelling with a contingent of elite guards. In the tunnel is an enormous contraption hissing steam into the air. It startles us. Vorgen tells us it’s a “steam engine” and then goes off to explain all about it but no one understands what he’s saying. Sindra is fascinated by it. Vorgen tells us that the supplies on the steam engine must get to Elsteig because it’s of the utmost importance.

We meet a lady dwarf named Sgt. Alira Finnsdottir, the commander of the elite guard. We meet an engineer named Bundy, a fireman called Vosh, and another guard named Innart who drive the “steam engine.” We settle in our own carriage with separate sleeping bunks for each of us. The furnishings are comfortable.

Izzy complains of a migraine and asks Nabila to make her a potion or something that won’t kill her or make her sicker. Sindra sticks her head out of the window and watches everything. The dwarves are watching her.

The “steam engine” has to stop every fifteen miles to take water so the engine doesn’t overheat. Two hours into the journey the train stops, and Sgt. Alira tells us there’s something on the track just sitting there, unmoving. Since Sindra has infravision, she uses the spyglass and informs the group that it’s a large pool of light that changes color about eight feet off the ground. We go out to investigate. Nabila says it’s a will o’wisp and it feeds off pain and anguish. So we attack. After vanquishing the wisp, Sindra collects the ectoplasm in an empty vial she’s had hanging out in her pack for a few sessions.

As we head back to the “steam engine” a dwarf runs up to us and says he saw a fire. Where did it come from? Sindra says she did it. The dwarves look freaked and ask Sindra if she’s a witch. Uh, no — being a drow is trouble enough. We field more questions from curious dwarves, and the train starts moving again. After travelling a while longer we begin to see light and before us is a valley of white peaks. If postcards were real, there would be pictures of these mountains for sale in the gift shop, along with refrigerator magnets, true-to-life stuffed dwarf dolls, and TMC bobbleheads. We are up very high and our ears are popping at the elevation shift. We see stony Byrrnoth before us.

We disembark from the train and make our way to the Laughing Vulture Inn where we stay the night. As we go inside, the tinkering piano stops and the rowdy noise disappears. Dwarves be starin’. Our spurs are the only jingling noise as we sidle up to the bar and order a drink. Do dwarves have ale? Laughable. All of us have drinks, except for Oleander who must be on some kind of teetotal kick because we’re all getting pretty plastered. Daven starts saying things that might get us attacked by a bar full of dwarves. Nabila casts Silence on him, which he shrugs off, while Roland and Theo remain in the spell bubble talking but not hearing their own words. The barkeep doesn’t like Nabila’s witchery and he grabs her and tells her to stop drinking before it gets bad, before punches are thrown at us. Sindra takes the rest of Nabila’s whiskey and pounds on the top of the bar with her fist to see if it’s sturdy enough to dance upon. The dwarves don’t really care for us and our antics so they move to one side of the bar, away from us. The rest of the night passes without incident. No table dancing. No brawls.

The next morning a small crowd of dwarves watch us board the train and leave. We head into darkness. After a while the dwarves begin to get nervous as we move closer to where the other trains disappeared. Another stop for water. No big deal. Heading on. Suddenly the train veers off to the right straight for a massive wall. Bracing ourselves for a crash, we pass through the wall but end up crashing as the train smashes something else. We all take damage (though the DM says we should have jumped out of the train and explored stuff instead of riding in luxury because all this could have been avoided). The dwarves are groaning.

When we regain our wits, we see that we are surrounded to the north and south by armies of dwarves. Dark skinned dwarves with weird tattoos, piercings, and mohicans. Sindra recognizes them as derro. They have crossbows trained on us. Behind us we have grey dwarves, the duergar. Holy mother of the Maker, these guys hate each other but somehow they’re working together and they are so going to kill us dead. The duergar dwarves are commanded by a dwarf wearing black armor carrying a shield that has a picture of a red fist clenching a dagger painted on it. The derro are commanded by a bald dwarf with blue swirly tattoos all over his body. Standing beside the derro commander is a woman. Not a dwarf. And we know her. It’s Doctor Hoyer, the vampire, and she’s probably still reeling that we killed her husband back in Grunberg.

We are attacked. It is the most epic battle EVARRRRR. We are hopelessly outnumbered, but we use the train as protection from crossbow bolts and attacks. Sindra summons swarms of bats to attack our attackers, making great use of that spell finally. Izzy hangs out of the window and bashes baddies with her sword before using her potion of gaseous form to get the heck outta there. Daven jumps out of the train and attacks the derro, miraculously avoiding Dr. Hoyer’s charm spell after a botched backstab attempt. Nabila Blesses and heals us. Oleander does…stuff. Roland and Theo fight and die. And Sindra. Sindra finally has a useful wild surge — Lightning Bolt! Shazam!

All of the elite guards die, save two who decided to be cowardly and get the crap kicked out of them after throwing down their weapons. Izzy suggests we cut off their hands for their cowardice. But we need them to bear witness for the epic battle that took place, and we might need them to fight later on. Dr. Hoyer and a few other derro disappear for us to take care of later. Miraculously Bundy the engineer survived the battle. Nabila reanimates all the dead corpses to help Bundy repair the train so we can get out of there.

We rest up and spend the next day exploring the caves trying to find Dr. Hoyer and get some answers. The south door with the red fist and dagger leads to a dead end. So we go north instead. The room used to be a guard room, but now it’s filled with trash and weapons of dwarven make. We press on and come to a large cavern with a recently extinguished campfire. The air is foul smelling. Cooked meat. Sindra finds a Scroll of Wizard Lock among the debris. In the next room we find the quarters of the derro leader, the blue circle tattooed guy. Sindra tries to talk to the guy but he’s pretty upset that we slaughtered his entire clan. He hisses at us and shows us pointy fangs. Oh, great. Dr. Hoyer has a new boyfriend. He calls Sindra a drow bitch, and them’s fightin’ words.

We wear him down until he disappears in a puff of smoke and retreats to his stone coffin. Now we have to kill the guy, but we don’t have stakes. Looking around the room we see that it’s filled with charts, drawings, and diagrams of the steam engine. There are books, blankets, dirty clothes, rugs, and a box filled with cushions from the previous steam engines. We break the wooden box and fashion a stake out of a slab of wood. Then we argue over who gets to stake the vamp. Oleander, ever unflappable, grabs the stake, opens the coffin, and stabs the MF. Sindra collects some vampire ashes in another empty vial. The bottom of the coffin is hollow. Oleander checks it, takes out the bottom, and pulls out a large chest. When Oleander tries to open the chest, it shocks him. Sindra figures out it’s Wizard Locked and casts Dispel Magic on it. Inside the chest we see “a shit load of coins and gems and a leather sack.” (DM’s own words, worth quoting.)

We loot the room of the books and charts. One of the books is the derro equivalent of Playboy. Sindra shows it to Izzy who throws it down in disgust. Izzy says just because she swings that way doesn’t mean she’s going to find all women to her taste. Izzy has been so different since she came back from the dead, and Sindra and Nabila are trying to give her a little bit of happiness by showering her with gold and gems and stuff. Nabila, however, tries to convert Izzy. Later that evening Izzy wakes us up screaming while Nabila stands near her doing her best “Come to Aegecia” routine. An argument between the two ensues, with Oleander ushering Nabila away before someone gets backstabbed or re-deadified.

The next day we return to the derro lair. There’s a large armory with a forge and smithy related stuff. Weapons and armor inside all bear the TMC logo. We come to a stone chamber, softened with burgundy velvet drapes. A large four poster bed sits in the room, but there is no mattress, instead a stone coffin rests in the center. Even vampires need their luxury, or at least lady vampires do. A large wooden chest rests at the foot of the bed and there is a gold pitcher and eight goblets sitting on top of the chest. Stuff. We like stuff.

After much debating and preparation, including moving the chest and the shiny things out, Nabila douses Oleander and Daven in fire resistant spells so Sindra can cast Fireball on Dr. Hoyer if staking her isn’t enough. Daven rips off the coffin lid and Oleander goes in for the stab, but the coffin is empty. Dr. Hoyer appears before us. She doesn’t attack. She wants to talk. About Grunberg. She says she has nothing to do with the Whispering Way. She likes money and wants half of the gold we were carrying to Elsteig on the train. Sindra does the talking, yaay Charisma, and nearly agrees to let Dr. Hoyer go with all the gold. Except now Dr. Hoyer doesn’t want just the gold. She wants some of Nabila’s resurrected henchdwarves. Nabila says no because Aegecia has entrusted them into her care. So then we fight.

Dr. Hoyer manages to charm Isabelle, who attacks Daven. Sindra puts Izzy to sleep to protect us from her bolts and backstabs. Because Daven and Oleander are doused in anti-fire protection, Sindra casts Fireball and sets the room on fire, injuring the doctor so she flees to her coffin. Oleander and Daven stake her. We get the heck out of the room with our sleeping halfling. We argue over who gets to wake Isabelle. Oleander does it — by kicking her in the ribs.

(I’ll get to the Loot section later because there is a lot of stuff to list.)

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Session Twelve: Resurrection and Roast Lamb
Will you accept Aegecia into your heart?

When we return to our heroes, they are stuck in the mage tower. Since Sindra’s CRAZY RANDOM wild surge happened to negate all the magic in the area, the mage tower shrinks to a normal, mundane tower. We have spent about two weeks trying to clear the tower, so we think the acid room will eventually drain and decide to wait another week, in the dark with a bunch of corpses, for the acid to dissolve. It does, thankfully, and our party is worse for wear as we exit the dungeon to the surface. It is very cold outside. Our horses have broken free from their tethers and wandered off.

Daven uses his tracking skillz and goes off to find the horses, while Nabila, Oleander, and Sindra remove all the loot and books from the tower, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Now that we have all of the stuff out of the tower and out of the dead magic zone, we are able to cram it in our nifty new Bag of Holding. Daven returns and says the horses have headed south, meaning to that little podunk town of Bujanov. Great. The last time we went through Bujanov, we were riding on zombie horses.

We looked like this, but on zombie horses.
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That is not a sight easily forgotten.

We disguise ourselves and hope no one in Bujanov notices us. Since no one in Bujanov knows Daven, he’s safe, and he wears his fancy gold plate armor. Nabila wears Voltain’s fancy robes. Sindra disguises herself as a slave. We arrive in Bujanov and head to the tavern where Jethro Bodean recognizes Nabila and tries to make conversation. While we’re in the tavern, we see our horses tied up outside, alive, though a little skinnier. We eat and rest up, leaving before dawn so no one sees us stealing our own horses. We leave some extra gold for the town for keeping our horses alive and fed. We’re not entirely evil, like.

On to Schwarzwald. Ten gold pieces to get in. Grumbling. Daven wanders off to the Staggering Shannon Paladin while Nabila and Sindra decide to use the bathhouse and relax, they find Corbin. He is as surprised to see us as we are him. He tells us about his new house and asks about Izzy and Ohda. Corbin tells us that he has made some contacts with the Viscount’s servants and that word has spread about the Company of the Tattered Cloak. Corbin says he may have a mission for us.

After bathing Nabila and Sindra feast at the Lavendar Lion and then rest at the Lazy Cat Inn. The next morning we meet up with Corbin. He tells us that the Viscount wants to meet us at his castle tomorrow night. So now we have to find Daven. Upon our arrival at the Staggering Paladin, we are greeted by Oleg from Ravenhill. He tells us that horrible things have happened there, most notably a plague. Over 100 people have died. But not Father D-bag. Oleg’s wife perished, and he was most pleased by this. He brought his sons with him to Schwarzwald, and now he is the proprietor of the Staggering Paladin and making loads of money. Oleg mentions a big burly warrior type guy who came in and bought everyone a round of drinks. That’s our man. Oleg says he’s passed out in a bedroom. Nabila and Sindra go back to rouse him. Daven says he managed to get two dudes — Theo and Roland — to help us on our next quest. Then he goes back to sleep.

We go shopping. Shopping excites Sindra so much she skips down the street. Nabila convinces Oleander to have his blindness cured. We buy nice clothes and have our armor polished.

The next day we leave to have our dinner with the Viscount at his castle, Schloss Grunbaum. It’s a big, Gothic castle. Everything is fancy. It was probably good that Izzy was not with us because she would have stolen everything not bolted down. Viscount Grunbaum greets us and feeds us a delicious meal of stuffed leg of lamb with mint sauce, honey glazed carrots and parsnips, and apple and pear pie for dessert. When he finally gets to the point of our meeting, it’s late.

He tells us about the Whispering Way and that he represents a party who opposes them. His group wants to know why they have returned and what they’re trying to do. The Viscount knows we dealt with the Way in Harrowstone Prison and he requested our services to find some important items before they get their evil, necromancing hands on them. The Way are gathering esoteric items to create some sort of formula. So far they have taken the heart of a greater werewolf (courtesy of Mayor Hoyer in Grunberg) and the soul of a former prison warden (courtesy of Vesoriana Hawkran). The last item they seem to need is called the Seasage Effigy. Viscount Grunbaum shows us a sketch of the effigy.

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Viscount Grunbaum tells us that the Way is heading to dwarven lands to find the Effigy. Daven grumbles at this news; apparently he doesn’t like dwarves. The effigy is possibly located in the ruins of Tharindor. A huge massacre and a lot of bad stuff happened there, and the dwarves don’t want anyone disturbing the ruins. Unfortunately for us to gain access to the ruins, we have to help the dwarves with a little problem they have. We have to meet with a dwarf from a mining company the next day to go over our instructions. Before we leave the castle, the Viscount gives us a seal to show the town guards so we no longer have to pay tolls to enter Schwarzwald. (Yeah, cos the 10gp was putting gaping holes in our money bags. Seriously.)

Our group separates, Daven and Oleander wandering off while Sindra and Nabila head down to the sewers to have a little talk with Jalthor? the Enchanter. We knock this time. Vyth and Zestia greet us and tell us that Jalthor is resting. All that sex must be hard on him. Nabila negotiates with Jalthor to drive down the price of a resurrection spell for dear Isabelle. Nabila says that we will provide him with the number of people he needs to perform his slime worm orgy. He halves the price to 1,500gp. Sindra and Nabila manage to knock down the price by 500 gold by having a three-way with Zestia. (Jalthor told Vythica to go kidnap a man so the numbers could be evened up down there. Apparently women are bad.) Satisfied with the 1,000gp even, Nabila and Sindra depart.

Meanwhile at the Staggering Paladin…Oleg talks Daven’s ear off. And the gods know what Oleander was doing.

The next day we meet with Grizzard from the Targhazarn Mining Company. A courier approaches us and hands Nabila a letter. It says, “Fantastic! You’re finally back on the trail. Keep it up. I grow ever so bored waiting for a proper challenge. — A.A.” Portents of doom! Yaay! Nabila wonders if the letter comes from the Adrissant family.

At TMC we meet Grizzard, and he tells us that the mining company needs a group skilled in “troubleshooting.” Nabila tells him that we are very skilled in “troubleshooting.” He explains that the mining company is missing gold shipments, and they want an unbiased group to go into the mines and find out what’s happening to the gold. He assures us that all our expenses will be paid. Each of us will earn 1,000gp. Nabila haggles, good girl, and brings it up to 1,200gp. Grizzard also offers us a dwarf to be our guide, a third level fighter named Veligarn. The dwarf has a close shaven beard. This amuses Daven to no end.

After the meeting we return to the mage tower to get Izzy’s remains, take them to Brother J, purchase some whores, and have him bring our beloved one-eyed halfling thief back to life. Jalthor takes Izzy’s remains to a back room and begins chanting. We hear screaming. Izzy’s. A little while later Jalthor emerges from the room, exhausted. Izzy is alive. She’s huddled in a corner, knees to her chest, shivering. She thinks everything was a bad dream. She says a man took her along a rainbow and deposited her in front of Valdis, who tortured her and did awful things to her.

Not even gold and the prospect of stuff makes Izzy happy. We’ll buy her lesbians. That’ll fix her! Nabila tries to comfort Izzy by telling her how cool being a follower of Aegecia is. It is almost convincing, if not creepy as hell.

We rest up for the night and in the morning head to the mountains. Daven and Veligarn antagonize each other. Why do you cut your beard? Why do you drink tea all the time? etc. As we’re riding along a massive boulder crashes down behind us. Above us are three giants ready to throw more boulders on us. Hill giants.

What happens next is the worst battle in the history of our battles. Low attack rolls, high initiative rolls. But Veligarn. Oh, Veligarn crits on all his hits, and it’s so nice to have Isabelle back with us doing max damage with her arrows. Daven even does some serious 42 points of overkill damage. (We luv u, Daven!) Oleander misses damn near everything, despite being UNBLINDED. Nabila is always there with her healing spells. And Sindra has a wild surge, but it doesn’t do anything cool. Though it could have. Also the henchmen are pretty useless fighters, but oh well.

We fell two giants, and the third begins fleeing. The giants have two leather sacks filled with coins, 1,000gp and 1,200gp respectively.

Loot:
2,200gp
500gp each in advance for the mining expedition (an additional 500+200gp when and if we return)

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Session Eleven: So Much Death
Mage Tower LOL. Or, Sindra Botches Everything.

Now that the lever has been pulled and the forcefield removed from the mage tower, our party winds their way back through the tower to find Siegfried Frey and a small group of henchmen waiting for us. His group consisted of a dwarf, half-ogre, drow elf, and a half-man with devil horns. Frey claps his hands and congratulates us on clearing out HIS tower. We question him to find out there was no Force Cube, and he made it up to get us to do his dirty work. Then he tries to kill us.

We begin the battle. A man from out of nowhere runs in to fight with us. He uses a crossbow and javelins and quickly dispatches the robed drow elf. Aragog attacked Siegfried Frey and poisoned him. Izzy nails everyone with her arrows and lethal poison tipped darts. The Rent-A-Drow made modest hits, but we all work together to destroy the enemies. The only bad guy left standing is the devil horned mage. Out of nowhere he produces a Shadow Door and…aw, man. It’s Siegfried! He polymorphed. He escaped. He will probably come back to try to take the tower.

Because we like stuff, we looted the bodies and ignored the new guy. Then we said hello, asked him why he helped us, and invited him to come along. His name is Daven, and he’s an adventurer, too. Like-minded. Which is good. Evil. Which is also good. He mentions he has heard of the Company of the Tattered Cloak and their infamy. We laugh because we’re awesome and now we have a reputation and a nickname.

Now we were prepared to take the tower. Almost. Sindra sends the drow back to Schwarzwald so Chasz could go to the Golgoroth shrine and regain his Energy Drained level. We send them with a few of the weapons we looted off the dead bodies.

We head back down to the dungeon and into the bottom floor of the tower. The room is elegant, very posh. There’s a bed, a couch, bookshelves loaded with hundreds of books, lamps, art on the walls, a wardrobe, and a desk. Sitting at the desk, face down, was a skeleton in fine silk robes. Sitting with him on the desk is a note and an empty vial. Sindra reads the note: “I cannot take this anymore. — Ignatius Voltain.”

The great force mage committed suicide. It’s not the most delightful thing to find when your party is about to take the tower. What could have caused him to snap? Did it belong in the tower? We search the room for traps and other potentially cool things. Nabila casts Detect Magic, and the entire room glows, nearly blinding us. Oh boy! We notice Izzy staring admiringly at a painting of two nude female elves frolicking in a meadow. Sindra casts Identify on the bed. It’s a Bed of Health. It’s the most comfortable bed ever, and anyone sleeping in it needs half as much sleep and it heals double. This could be very handy indeed.

While we’re looking at all the books, Nabila mentions that she would like to create a tome for Aegecia’s glory. Oleander immediately gets started on the writing, unceremoniously knocking Voltain’s skeleton out of the desk chair. We decide to rest up before exploring more of the magic tower.

The next morning we approach a door made out of gleaming white stone, and after shuffling and persuasion, Daven opens it. It’s a wizard’s lab. Three cages are arranged around the room, each with a gleaming blue forcefield surrounding it. The cage on the left has a beautiful blonde woman, the cage in the middle has a set of stairs, and the cage on the right has a stunning brunette. Over to the side is a control panel with three switches. Immediately the blonde and brunette begin arguing about which switch opens which cage and who is more evil. Sindra recognizes them as nymphs, universally hated in the Underdark. The men are attracted to the women, and must make saving throws to avoid blindness. Daven passes, but Oleander fails and becomes blinded. Once again, these Aegecia people are totally all right with blindness and find it to be a blessing from their god.

Before deciding to battle either of these nymphs, we return downstairs to rest. Nabila and Oleander petition Aegecia to remove Oleander’s blindness, but the god does not allow it. Nabila gives Oleander her staff so he can feel his way around.

Rested up, we return to the wizard’s lab and debate which switch to flip. We decide on the middle one. It releases the brunette. The brunette morphs into a tiny winged demonoid creature, a Quasit. It bows before us and amazingly doesn’t attack us. It senses we are evil. We ask it questions about Voltain and the tower and offer to let it wreak havoc with us, but it decides it would rather go back home to the Lower Planes. It tells us the button on the right is the one that stops the forcefield around the stairs. Then it creates a portal and disappears.

We press the right button. Before we go upstairs, Sindra taunts the blonde nymph. The room upstairs is…full…of…gold. A man with a dark complexion sits on top of a pile of treasure. It’s a djinn. He tells us not to come in the room because he doesn’t want to hurt us. We ask the djinn questions, and he tells us that he is sworn to protect the treasure for 1001 years, and he has another 400 left.

Djinni

The djinn offers us food, so all of us sit at the table to eat, Daven placing his crossbow on the table aimed at the djinn just in case. The djinn’s only duty is to protect the treasure, and anyone who walks out of the room with it will regret it. There is no way to get around the djinn breaking his oath to the dead wizard Voltain. After eating, Nabila, Daven, and Sindra go to the next room upstairs. It is completely empty.

After much debating, we decide to split up the group. Izzy and Nabila and Nabila’s skeletons stay behind at the tower in case Siegfried Frey decides to return. They can fight on the djinn’s side if Frey tries to take any of the treasure. Sindra, Daven, and Oleander return to Schwarzwald to pick up the Drow Boyz. On the trip back, Daven sees the log cabin in the middle of nowhere and Sindra explains about her crazy wild surge that made the area into a wild magic zone.

We enter Schwarzwald after paying the toll and go to the Half Ogress tavern to find the drow. An ugly, grizzled half ogre barkeep greets us. He asks Sindra if she’s a member of the Tattered Cloak. Sindra basically confirms it while trying to be coy, and the ogre shouts that everyone in the tavern gets a free round of drinks. Woo! The barkeep tells Sindra that the drow are in a back room employing the services of a half orc. Two drow, one whore. Sindra leaves Daven at the bar and knocks on the door to rouse the boys. (What happens next is uncomfortable for the DM to roleplay, but he did a great job, such a good sport.)

In fantastic Scene 24 acting, Sindra retrieves the drow boys, and Oleander and Daven chat. Then we head to the sewers to see if Brother Jalthor would restore Chasz’s level. Brother J is keen, but he tries to swindle us. Sindra threatens to remove his testicles, therefore destroying the Golgoroth Slime Worm Orgy, but he will not relent past 400gp. Fine. So Chasz is better. The next morning Sindra and Daven — in his fancy gold armor — go to Scarman’s Academy in the rich part of town. More trouble with the guards.

Finally inside, Scarman greets Sindra and Daven. Sindra asks him if he knew anything about Siegfried Frey and how he tried to kill us over the mage tower, etc. Scarman had no idea but says that Frey had gotten in trouble with The Cartel over some unpaid debts. No wonder Frey wanted the tower. Scarman knows nothing about djinni or enough about Abjuration magic, so Daven and Sindra leave. They go to the Rent-A-Shrine to see if anyone has Abjuration magic to get rid of a djinn, but there’s a big fight going on between druids and grey gnomes. Yeah, no.

Nothing left to do but return to the mage tower and fight the djinn. We don’t want to do it, but we like stuff. Daven likes stuff, too.

The djinn casts whirlwind, causing the gold coins to whip around the room and damage us. He’s tough. He kills Alak, Chasz, Izzy, and Aragog. But fortunately, we kill him. Daven does. (We love you, Daven!) The tower is ours, but at the lives of our friends.

Relieved that the PCs survived, we return to the magic bedroom and rest up. Then it’s time to identify all our loot and the rest of the magic furniture. So far, so good. No wild surge for Sindra. We have magic rings, magic weapons, a magic crossbow, a magic dagger, and a magic desk. As Sindra goes to identify the magical wardrobe, she wild surges.

The wild surge creates a dead magic zone, nullifying any sort of magic in 100 feet in all directions. The mage tower is ruined. No more magic bed, magic desk, magic wardrobe, magic bookshelf, magic anything. Since Sindra can’t cast spells, the team cannot ferry over the acid pool and escape. They are stuck in the tower with no way out.

Thanks, Sindra. Cursed magic indeed.

Loot:
large club
27sp
dwarven scale armor
hand axe
hand axe +1
dagger
7gp
scimitar
pack full of misc. equipment
Quarterstaff of Striking +3 (six charges left)
scroll of Cat’s Grace
3000gp
golden scepter
silver jewelry box
electrum ring with lion’s head and topaz eyes
3 potions of healing
1 potion water breathing
1 potion of invisibility
1 potion fire resistance
1 elixir of health
1 oil of acid resistance
dagger +2 red steel with black hilt and coral inlays
crossbow +1 ebony wood with unbreakable nymph’s hair strings
ring of free action palladium band with jade inlays
bag of holding
Voltain’s magic spellbook
Alak’s weapons and armor
Chasz’s weapons and armor
Izzy’s weapons and armor

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Session Ten: Forcefields, Acid, and Rust Monsters
Building an entourage of evil. Or, Rent-A-Drow Meat Sheilds.

After returning to Schwarzwald to rejoice over the slaying of Ohda, Nabila, Izzy, and Sindra buy weapons and armor for our entourage. This time we take the three remaining Drow, telling them that Omar died honorably and that Ohda needed killin’. Nabila’s fellow acolyte of Aegecia, Oleander, joins up with us. We purchase horses and head back to the mage tower.

Because we never checked out the building just north of the apple orchard, we decided to see what was in it. It was a stable with five giant wasps. With nothing of note in the stable, we headed back down the trap door to the room with the dead adventurer. Just to the south was a room full of coffins. Since we weren’t ready to deal with the possible evil in that room, we skipped it and continued exploring.

Left is death and the only way to go, so we go that way. We find a hallway with stone pillars carved into the shape of Meelkor the old crone. Nothing interesting in the room. The next room has more statues of the stooped guy. It’s a dead end, with a statue in an alcove. Izzy checks the statue, and we hear an audible click. We run like hell as a giant pendulum blade swings down. Nabila trips and gets caught by the blade. It knocks her out, while the blade goes right over Izzy’s Halfling head. Sindra pours a potion of healing down Nabila’s throat, and Nabila returns to us. HA HA THAT’S WHY ALL THE STATUES WERE KNEELING.

The blade moves away and the statue sinks into the floor. There’s a depression in the alcove. We decide to rest up in the armory before taking on any other traps or evil things. Nabila reanimates five troglodyte skeletons. Before returning to the room with the pendulum trap, we check out the room with the coffins. No traps and no stuff in the coffins.

Izzy steps back on the pressure plate that brought the pendulum trap down, and Sindra sends Alak to open the secret door. Except he won’t do it. Tebor goes to do it. After opening the door, Tebor stands face to face with a corpse with glowing green eyes. It hisses at us and claws Tebor. The wight was the last thing Tebor saw before he died. Battle mode. (Who knew Nystul’s Blazing Beam was so awesome against undead?) Chasz takes a hit from the wight’s claws, and he is drained down a level.

The room is covered with scratches and looks like it hasn’t been disturbed in a long time. On the floor we find gloves, bracers, a metal helmet, and a wooden longsword. Alak laughs at the longsword made of wood. Inside the coffin is a solid gold breastplate with a symbol of Meelkor on it. Sindra casts Detect Magic and Identify. It’s Meelkor’s Flame Tongue +1; +2 vs. cold creatures and it’s flame resistant. A wooden sword, please. It’s maaaaagic.

Because we don’t know where to go next, we return to the armory to rest and then figure out what to do. We find a secret door, the room formerly a torture chamber. In the corner of the room is a spiral staircase. The staircase opens into an oval shaped room with two forcefields and three levers. Nabila casts Detect Traps — traps are tied to the levers. Of course.

What happens next was frustrating and cost us a few troglodyte skeletons and spilled acid everywhere. After a while, we finally figured out there was a secret lever and pulled it. The forcefields are finally down, but the floor is covered in about five feet of acid. Sindra casts Tenser’s Floating Disc to ferry everyone across to the other side of the room, but instead she wild surges and blinds Nabila.

Nabila, surprisingly, is good natured about it because Aegecia is also blind. Oleander and Nabila consider blindness a privilege to commune with their god. We rested up in the infirmary, Nabila prayed to Aegecia, and the god healed her of her blindness so she could continue on her quest. Blind evil clerics probably wouldn’t do nearly as much damage as one who could see the wells she was poisoning.

Back in the acid filled room, Sindra successfully ferries everyone across to the other side. There’s another forcefield, this time a green one. There are four holes in the floor. We have three bone keys and decide to try to place them in the holes and see if they turn anything. We’re missing a key. Izzy suggests trying to lockpick that last hole and then turning the keys at the same time. It works, and the forcefield disappears. A hallway with two iron doors runs to the north and south. We go north and walk until we find a pit with spikes at the bottom. So we decide to go the other way. There is a room with a large human mouth about four feet across built into the wall. Nabila throws a rock at it, but nothing happens. We’ll come back to it.

After ferrying ourselves across the pits, we find another oval shaped room with a door to the north of the hall. A metal chest sits in the center of the room. Izzy and Oleander both check it for traps. They know it’s trapped but they can’t tell how it’s trapped. Nabila uses one of her skeletons to open the trap while we escape down the hallway to stay protected. It sounds like fire. But nobody watched the skeleton to see exactly what kind of fire trap it was. We repeat the process, instead having Aragog standing in the doorway to watch so Sindra could relay what Aragog sees. Turns out that what Aragog sees is three long brown creatures with antennae, and they’re eating the metal chest. Rust monsters.

We try to salvage the chest, but it’s too late as the monsters have devoured it and are headed towards us. We fight.

The rust monsters eat Izzy’s +1 weapons and a few other metal items (Sindra’s gorgeous sapphire necklace, boo!), but we manage to escape with our armor and most of our weapons. Down the hallway to the north we find a marble door with a forcefield in front of it. Sindra sends Alak to pull the lever.

The forcefield vanishes.

Loot:
Meelkor’s Wooden Longsword +1
Solid gold breastplate with Meelkor’s symbol
Tebor’s armor, shield, bardiche

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Session Nine: Betrayal
Why a 3 Charisma doesn't help anyone make anything but enemies.

We find our adventurers back at the Lazy Cat Inn. Ohda decides to go out and harass the members of the Grey Mercenary group into allowing him to train them how to fight like a true warrior. Somehow, miraculously, Ohda passes a Charisma check by rolling a 2 out of 3. The Greys think Ohda has fighting skillz to teach them and they accept, setting Ohda up as an instructor.

Nabila reveals an awesome leprosy patch/scar on the left side of her neck, a blessing from Aegecia. It is an impressive wound.

While hanging out at the inn a man named Siegfried Frey approaches and says he’s friends with Scarman at the Magic Academy. Scarman recommended our group to Frey after meeting Sindra when she went to the academy to peruse their spell selection. Frey wants to hire us to find an artifact. He tells us about Ignacious Voltain, a sorcerer who experimented with force magic. He created the Wall of Force spell. Voltain built a tower north of Schwarzwald, and Frey thinks the artifact will be there. The artifact is known as the Cube of Force. Frey wants the cube and any research notes, but then we are free to take anything in the tower. He offers us 4000gp, 2000 up front and the other 2000 when we retrieve the cube. Because we like stuff, we say yes to the offer.

Before departing, Sindra goes to the sewer to ask the drow if they want to join the party and adventure north with us. Sindra feels terrible about them being stuck in the sewers and even though leaving the Underdark was not her choice, she still feels like she can help the drow by having them help the group.

Each drow is from House Arabani. Chasz’avin is the captain of the guard. Omar’inid is the tattooed drow, former head torturer. Tebor was Priestess Bryzz’rinn’s boytoy. Alak’a’olil is just plain nuts. Sindra chooses Omar to accompany the party.

Because the tower is a few days ride away, we purchase horses for the journey. Ohda buys a warhorse, and Isabelle purchases an adorable little pony. Nabila and Sindra buy riding horses. On the way north, we encounter three giant beetles. We defeat the beetles. Ohda makes a snide comment to Omar, and Omar will not be spoken to in such a manner by a human and attacks Ohda. Sindra immediately intervenes and casts levitate to get Omar out of the way because one hit from Ohda’s swords would have killed him. Sindra and Nabila scold Ohda and ask for his cooperation.

After riding for a while we approach a small farming town called Bujanov. Ohda heckles everyone and buys a sheep but doesn’t really think it through.

The next day we ride on to find a mysterious tower made of gleaming white marble sticking up from the ruins of an old keep. A blue forcefield surrounds the tower. We see something flitting between the tower and the forcefield. Ohda uses the spyglass and tells us it’s a sad apparition of an old man with a beard who has been stuck there for who knows how long.

There is an overgrown apple orchard to the west, a guardhouse and barracks to the east, and an officer’s quarters to the north. We enter the officer’s quarters and discover a trapdoor leading down. It’s a dungeon.

One part of the dungeon is ancient, with carved and eroded stonework and statues of a kneeling figure carved into the stone archways. The walls have collapsed at one point, and Aragog phases through and to check what’s down the hallway. He enters a room with a statue of an old crone hunched over. The walls are carved with wizards kneeling before the humble, the poor. Four wood coffins are slightly open with four skeletons in rotting red robes on the ground, and one skeleton in adventurer’s gear laying near the statue.

Because we can’t clear the rubble we decide to turn the other way and explore. The newer part of the dungeon used to be a prison because there were cells lining the walls. As we check more areas, we walk into a den full of reptilian creatures. Troglodytes, thirteen of them. So we fight. After the battle we find a full suit of ringmail armor, a copper framed hand mirror and some coins. We proceed to another cavern and come across more stuff. The next cavern opens up to the nursery of the troglodytes. The mother troglodytes hiss at us because we are intruding and threatening them, and instead of having another fight with angry mamas, we leave them alone. As we check another cavern, we set off an alarm intended to rouse the daddy troglodytes as we root around the trash and debris for stuff.

Since there was nowhere left for us to go, Nabila raises some troglodyte zombies to go clear out the rocks in the rubble-blocked hallway. After the way is cleared, Izzy checks the room for traps. She screams as two robed skeletons attack her, with two more waiting. We battle the skeletons — who do not like Nabila at all — and win.

Nabila performs a religion check and tells us the statue is of Meelkor, a god of humility and piety. Valdis murdered him. Meelkor represented the common people and encouraged disobedience to authority when the authority was unjust. Peasant uprisings and such.

We find a leather sack full of money, lots of money. The adventurer wore a rusty suit of armor and clung to a shortsword. In his rotten backpack we found some smashed glass vials, three bones carved into the shape of keys, a moldy scrollcase, and a buckler shield.

Ohda says something stupid to Omar and provokes him again, having not learned his lesson the first time. Omar attacks. Ohda strikes back and kills Omar. The party is infuriated with Ohda, but he simply doesn’t get it. The drow elf was there to assist us and be an asset to our party, but Ohda did not care. Enraged, Sindra enfeebles Ohda and yells at him. She reminds him of his vision, that he needs the help of witches to fulfill his quest. Nabila chimes in and tries to reason with him. Izzy, however, lines up to backstab Ohda. She’d had enough of his taunting and always trying to get in her pants. Izzy attacks him after receiving the go-ahead from Nabila and Sindra. We fight. But Sindra changes her mind and levitates Ohda to speak some sense into him. She persuades Izzy and Nabila to not kill Ohda because we need a powerful fighter on our side. Putting up with the blazing stupidity and non-existent charisma was a sacrifice for having a warrior help us. After laying down some new rules about how this partnership is going to work and Ohda squeaking out an apology, Sindra lets him down. Nabila cures his wounds. But Izzy is not pleased.

We return to the armory to rest up for the evening. Sometime during the night, Ohda betrays us by running away and slaughtering our horses so we can’t leave. He left us to die. He broke his oath to us, and we are not going to let him live for that. We spared his life, we agreed to get along, and he betrayed us.

Nabila reanimated our horses, and because undead horses don’t need to rest, we catch up with Ohda outside of Schwarzwald. Ohda is tired and so is his horse. He feeds the horse a potion of frost giant strength, which does nothing to the horse. It was a bad idea to waste the potion because Ohda was going to need it.

Nabila casts Hold Person on Ohda and he falls out of his horse’s saddle. We attack. Unfortunately, Sindra wild surges and she can’t cast any spells that don’t do stupid things like create a log cabin out of nowhere and making a black felt hat appear on her head. Nabila tries to cast a spell and her robes turn into a sexy, skin-tight black studded body suit; it was Nabila’s first and hopefully only wild magic spell. Since Sindra can’t cast spells, she strikes with her shortsword, while Izzy shoots arrows at him and Nabila forces poison down his throat. We kill him and loot his body.

Loot:

suit of ringmail armor, cursed -1 (Nabila cast Remove Curse on it.)
gold ring shaped like a snake with rubies for eyes
bracelet interwoven with silver, copper, and bronze
ceramic vase, 3 ft tall
shortsword +1 (Izzy)
buckler +1

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Session Eight: Necromancy in Schwarzwald
Who knew nasty, rotting flesh and bone and sewage was such a turn on?

After the adventures with vampires in Grunberg, our group makes their way to Schwarzwald. We say goodbye to Corbin and settle ourselves in the city. Ohda goes off to start some trouble while the ladies go shopping to see if they can sell the magic weapons no one in the party can use. A while later Ohda returns to the Lazy Cat Inn and tells us he met a beggar in the sewers who has information on the Whispering Way. The beggar tells us that people have gone missing by the docks but the guards don’t seem to care. The man the beggar saw wore dark robes and spoke in hushed tones; he thinks the man belongs to the Whispering Way.

We access the sewer and begin to explore. After some time we run into a dwarf and a human who, Izzy informs us, belong to the cartel. Because none of us want trouble with the thieves guild just yet, we go another direction and come across a young boy sobbing in the tunnels. He tells us a sad story about how he’s missing his younger brother and his father is a drunk, blah blah blah. Turns out he’s a freaking wererat and he thought he was going to have us for dinner.

Silly boy. We dispose of the wererats and loot their stuff. After going back to the inn to rest, we return to the sewers and encounter an ettercap and some spiders. There is no stuff to loot. As we press on we come to a room with a big pool of sewage collecting. The ladies ferry across the room on Sindra’s floating disc, while Ohda…Ohda slips on the greasy rails and falls into the giant vat of sewage. We reach an archway where we hear hushed voices. Sindra recognizes the language as Drow. We send Izzy to hide in shadows and check out the situation, but the drow notice her. We run in to rescue Izzy before things got bad.

Upon seeing Sindra, the four scruffy Drow kneel and call her a priestess. Sindra says she’s not a priestess and asks what they’re doing away from the Underdark. They explain to the party about the civil war going on between House Arabani and House Baenar, the usual political struggle for power and dominance, and they left the Underdark to get away from the struggles. Sindra says that’s part of the reason why she left. A tattooed Drow recognizes Sindra and informs his companions that Sindra has the cursed magic. Nabila attempts to engage them in conversation, but they appear horrified and ask Sindra why she allows her slaves to speak out of turn. They ask if we have seen their priestess Bryzz’rin. We say no, think of the loot, and decide that we’d be happy to find her for them.

While we make our way through the sewers, we encounter Bragnar the rat catcher, a half-orc eating a sandwich. We ask about the sandwich. It’s cheese or something.

Finally the DM rolls our first random encounter, and we fight ochre jellies. After we dispose of them, we have another unfortunate incident with a settling basin full of sewage. Then we discover a lair with two trolls in it. Thanks to Aragog’s “save or die” poison bite and Ohda’s magic swords, we are able to defeat the trolls easily.

Still exploring, we come to a room blocked with crates. We hear laughter. Sindra levitates the crates out of the way, and we find a scruffy bearded guy and two very embarrassed naked women rushing for clothes. It’s a shrine to Golgorath. We interrogate the man, who tells us that by having a fantastic orgy, he wants to summon a ginormous slime in Golgorath’s name because that’s cool and all. Yeah, okay. Good luck with that.

We press on until we find a sluice gate with a stairwell going down. The stairs lead to a cavern underneath the sewers. An unlocked door leads us to a dining chamber. There are place settings and wine from Vogelbrucke, and a bust of a stern-faced man. The plaque underneath says the bust is of Tar-Baphon, the Whispering Tyrant. More exploring leads us to a plush bedchamber with a various furniture bits, books, and baubles. A letter on the desk tells us about the necromancer who murdered Professor Elias at Harrowstone Prison. Now we have a name.

Septimus,
Good news, brother. The plan is now in motion. We have the first ingredient; the second is soon to come. The ritual at Harrowstone worked well thanks to your researches, though we did have to eliminate a meddlesome old fool who tried to interfere. Master Eibon seemed to take great pleasure in disembowling the wretch.

We’re just outside Grünberg now. A dreadful place, but the mayor here is in possession of the elder werewolf heart we need and is willing to bargain with us on a price. He used to hunt lycanthropes, apparently. The Nosferatu truly loathe their kind, don’t they?

I pray to the Dark Powers that you are finding success in your experiments. Perhaps if we move on towards Schwarzwald you and I can dine together and you will show me this mysterious Beast of yours. I’ve heard stories from those who have seen your work up close, but a firsthand glimpse is what I truly covet.

The Way Guide You,
_Garmandius_"

We go down a long hallway. A terrible stench of decay and death and fecal matter greets us. The first thing we see is a huge mound of shit/poop/waste/dung/bone/flesh/blood splotches. There is a barrier dividing the room from the filth. A fresh body is attached to a meat hook. Bodies hang from more meat hooks hold bodies in various states of decay. We see the drow elf priestess among the filth. Her dead face is horrified. A surprised man and three nasty undead ghouls stare at us. The man hisses at us in whispers and summons a monster from the mound of filth, an otyugh. It’s massive, and it’s attacking us.

We have a hard fight with Septimus Ashcroft the necromancer, his three ghoulish lacedons, and his otyugh. We are successful in vanquishing all of them. Then we get to loot the bodies and get out. We find the drow elves and tell them about their priestess. They give Sindra a piwafwi cloak made from spidersilk.

Septimus Ashcroft’s loot:
three gold rings
gold earrings with garnets
a bone ring
an amulet with a skull on a dark chain
a compact quiver with 9 barbed darts tipped with poison
a spyglass
two potions of healing
a magic scroll of Choke

Other loot:
Sindra takes a flog from Septimus’ shrine/sex room.
“On Verified Madness Volume 2” a companion edition to the book Professor Elias wanted us to give to a colleague in Amaranth.
“People of the Monolith”
“Summer in Darkness” an epic poem
“The Great Race of Yith” (not sure what this is)
“Dark Desires” which we figure is necromancy porn
two potions of Stirella’s Aphrodesiac

While Sindra tries to ID the magic items, she has a wild surge. A cream pie flies out of nowhere and slaps her in the face. Nabila and Sindra eat the pie, while Ohda looks shocked and Izzy looks disgusted.

The bone ring is carved from human bone and when worn, it prevents energy and strength drain from any source. The ring has 1d100 charges. Each use exhausts the ring until it crumbles to dust. We have no idea how many charges are left on it. (Nabila)

The skull on a chain is an amulet of protection from good. It gives a +2 AC bonus and +1 to attacks vs. good creatures. (Nabila)

The drow piwafwi cloak gives a +6 bonus to saving throws vs fire, a 75% chance to hide in shadows like a thief, and it masks body heat from infravision. (Sindra)

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