Death for Any Price

Prologue: Picked off by the Shadow of the Desert
Don't mess with the camel

Approximately three or four weeks before our villains began their story, Lilly was wandering the west of the Tehfahn Desert. Without a rider to sustain her intelligence, she was running purely on instinct.

Happily enough, that instinct led her to a group of explorers, namely Aldous III, Daedalus, Nigel and Vraak, their Karrsk guide. Over hearing the gnomes complaints through the sandstorm, Lilly stealthily made her way towards the group.

Upon being noticed, she was met with mixed reactions- Nigel was somewhat wary, being aware of a legend of a camel that would come upon unwary travelers and devour them, Aldous and Daedalus were delighted at the thought of having a mount, and Vraak was indifferent to the development.

Aldous quickly tried to mount the camel, egged on by Daedalus. He failed several times while doing so, but eventually succeeded (when Lily helped him).
Once in contact, Aldous was quickly surprised and overwhelmed in a mental battle against Lily. Having dominated his mind, Lilly managed to very convincingly con the two gnomes and Vraak into thinking that all was well.

Continuing towards Makani (as that was where the travelers were headed), they eventually reached a long avenue stretching through the ruined city towards a large and central building. Strangely, the Karrsk tribesman refused to take them any further, despite the gnomes’ and controlled Aldous’ protests. Abandoned by their guide, who slipped off stealthily, they resolved to stay in the building for at least the night, as shelter.

Encountering some hidden caltrops along the way, Daedalus managed to injure himself, and was in a generally foul mood as they set up camp in what turned out to be a temple. Lilly felt a call from deeper within the building, from one of the four corridors behind the large statue situated in the room, and set off with Aldous. Nigel, feeling a sense of duty, followed Aldous to ensure his safety.

After making their way back and forth through rooms, with Nigel eventually stopping in a room with a everchanging mosaic made of jewels, Lilly and Aldous made there way to a smaller, brick walled room with a smaller statue in it. This statue, unlike the one in the entry chamber, screamed of power, and spoke to Lilly. Promising her power and restoration to her rightful form if she performed some tasks, the statue directed her to eliminate the rest of the gnomes.

With great relish, she made short work of Nigel, though found some difficulty making her way back to the entrance. Nevertheless, her superior tracking abilities and incredible speed meant that she quickly took down Daedalus, despite his attempts to flee. Her first task carried out, the camel and her newly enslaved rider headed towards Lotani. . .

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So it begins... (Note form)
  • Felicity arrived in Lotani.
  • A special convoy of camels arrived in high security.
  • Large gnome traffic, looking for a noble’s son. Rumours of a large reward (in the realm of 10,000gp).
  • Lots of camel related incidents, including one that barreled through the town and left without a rider.
  • The buzz in the Low Places is that the Merchant’s Guild has secured something very valuable.
  • Felicity, Saad, Toad, and Miss are all directed by way of anonymous note to meet E in the Low Places.
  • Felicity, after some asking around, is directed to meet Zoot Tarrant at the Lofty Heights.
  • Toad falls down a random chute into a private room with E.
  • Miss picks a battle with Urgrosh, the orcish proprietor of The Hole, and is winning until the intervention of the crowd and Saad.
  • Eventually the rest of the party makes contact with E.
  • E turns out to be Emmett, an agent of the god Norgorber, who offers the party all that they desire in return for their willing service. Their first task is to acquire the book held by the Merchant’s Guild.
  • Upon reconnaissance of the Merchant HQ, it seemed that there was a suspicious lack of precautions. However, the storeroom in the back of the building was surprisingly empty, and held the book on a pedestal. Upon closer examination, it was found that one of the most powerful wizards on the continent had left arcane marks all over the place. Felicity singled out the wizards and pretended to be a customer, in doing so found out that the storeroom had arrow traps, magic traps, bone boxes, alarm spells, and prismatic walls. In addition, anyone entering the room without wearing a special helm.
  • The party remained in the building as it closed, hiding behind an illusion. They then dispatched the guards quite handily, and made ready to enter the storeroom.
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Session 1: Meaty in the Low Places
DM Notes

PCs: Felicity, Saad, Toad, Ms Terspongecake
Ring of NPC: Piper, Girthy

8th Phara, 179th Year of the Goddess (Io)

The tale started in Dannee’s Place, a middle class bar in Lotani. Toad had come to Lotani after learning that the second of the books that he was after was here, though he wasn’t sure where it was or how it would be coming here. Saad, on the other hand, was chasing a powerful magical artifact that he had heard was capable of giving unlimited wishes. Both had serendipitously found themselves in Dannee’s when they heard a commotion outside.

Making their way outside, with the wizard stepping aside for the large half-orc barbarian, they noticed that a crowd had gathered around a rider and her fractious camel. The rider, who would turn out to be Felicity, pulled some very pointed stares from the pair, who noticed she didn’t have any weapons on her, and had a mesmerising pair of mismatched eyes. Managing to calm her steed, she gauged the mood of the people around her to be interested, but not negative towards her.

The crowd turned to more exciting things, however, as an armed convoy started streaming through the thoroughfare, accompanied by stern and professional appearing guards. Toad, interested by the hubbub, decided to see if he could detect any particularly interesting magic going on through the convoy. Much to his surprise, he detected an aura he knew well- one of the books he was searching for was definitely being transported in the convoy.
Upon further examination of the auras, he also noticed a muted magic aura- a wizard with the convoy, and his apparently cat familiar.

Both Toad and Saad attempted to follow the caravan, with limited success, as the guards kept a close eye on them. Saad quickly scaled a nearby building to attempt to get a better view, but received an unfortunate package from a bird to the face when he tried to look (crit fail).

Meanwhile, Ms Terspongecake (from here on “Miss”) was silently watching from a nearby rooftop (crit success). She also noticed that there was a large lockbox to the back of the convoy which was particularly well guarded- a particularly valuable treasure, perhaps.

Toad cast invisibility on himself, allowing him to follow the convoy all the way through the city into the higher class district, whereupon the convoy entered the Merchant Guild’s Headquarters through its large double doors. Surveying the building, he observed its impressive size as well as its linking to the buildings beside and behind it.

Felicity, in the mean time, gathered some gossip, and found that:

  1. there was a reward for a missing gnome noble
  2. a crazy camel had come through the city and departed just as speedily
  3. the Merchant Guild was expecting to receive a valuable item from Zanzi

Saad similarly wanted to find out a little more about what was going on, and found his way to The Hole in the slums. Although Urgrosh the barkeeper is usually not the sweetest tempered orc, Saad managed to break through his granite exterior and become his new best friend, sharing some dwarven ale as well as gossip with the barkeep (crit success). Urgrosh told Saad that the Merchant Guild had recently acquired among other items, a valuable book and staff. These items were so valuable that they had paid a large sum in order for a powerful spellcaster to protect them.

Off to inspect the Guild’s HQ, Saad is approached by a mysterious brown cloaked figure, who silently passes him a note, and slips off into the crowd.
One by one, the others are all similarly approached, though they don’t notice the figure. Instead, they discover notes pinned to the clothes. Though the notes differed, they all amounted to the same thing- they were directed to meet a mysterious “E” in the Low Places.

Saad, knowing of the Low Places due to his smuggling past, quickly made his way down through The Hole to ask around and attempt to find out where E could be found. Felicity, in the mean-time, was directed to Lofty Heights, being told if she wanted to know about anything that was going on in Lotani, Zoot Tarrant was the person to ask.

Miss also managed to hear of the entry through The Hole, but through a series of misunderstandings, including repeatedly making an offensive gesture (low rolls), angered Urgrosh and started a brawl between the two. Despite the orc’s intimidating nature, Miss had the upper hand, repeatedly stabbing him with her shortsword.

News quickly spread through the Low Places that one of Urgrosh’s famous tavern brawls was underway, and Saad raced towards the action, with the thought that a possible reward might be possible if he could help out his new friend. The mood of the bar quickly soured as the patrons realised Urgrosh was losing, and a few patrons stepped out, readying themselves to aid the barkeep.

Thankfully, Saad arrived before things could escalate to a lethal level, and shouted at Miss to get out, at which point she fled and hid, with Urgrosh hot on her heels. With a successful stealth check, further violence was successfully avoided, and Saad headed back down to the Low Places.

In the meantime, Felicity used her female wiles to ascertain the location of Lofty Heights and was ushered in by the doorman after having been judged of appropriate attire. Though she found and spoke to Zoot most effectively, he was unable to point her in the direction of the Low Places entrance (retcon). He did, however, quickly find an underling who was able to help her out, once out of Zoot’s naive earshot.

Toad, musing on the best way to meet the Low Places, managed to trigger a chute entrance to the Low Places through one of Lotani’s alleyways (nat 20). The chute neatly ended in the appointed meeting room with E, who was completely unsurprised as to the wizard’s arrival. Though Toad asked the brown cloaked figure questions, he was given no answers save nods and shakes of the head, and contented himself to waiting.

Felicity was the next to arrive, with Saad entering shortly after. Miss was the last to make it, after eventually discovering of an additional entrance through Ritzy Rita’s, and slowly making her way there, slightly out of breath and covered in orc blood. Though Saad’s hand strayed to the axe at his hip, the two didn’t engage.

Emmett (as he then revealed himself to be) addressed the four, and told them that he was an agent of Norgorber, who wished them to perform a number of tasks. Their first task was to secure the book for Toad from the Merchant Guild’s Warehouse- they could do so in any manner they chose, as long as they completed the task.

Grudgingly setting off together, the party surveyed the Merchant Guild HQ and its adjoining warehouse in different ways- Saad cased out the building using his Incorrectly Named Gloves of Retcon, Miss inspected the outside to ascertain whether the building could be scaled to enter, and Felicity took the direct course of simply talking to those inside and charming the answers out of them. She managed to strike it off very well with Jomba (a natural 20) who divulged the majority of the security measures to her, but not their placement.

The party subsequently hid in the HQ til close with the help of a Silent Image, with the plan to Suggest one guard to head to the bathroom, then overwhelm the other guard. This went off without a hitch, subduing the other guard as well on his return. With the required helms to enter the trapped room, Toad started making perception and spellcraft checks to determine where the traps are.

Now all that’s left is to carefully make their way through the traps and pick up the book. Right?

Most Kills: Felicity/Saad

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Session 2: So a Camel, a Druid and a Blind Half-Orc Walk Into the Desert. . .
DM Notes

PCs: Felicity, Girthy, Lilly, Piper, Saad and Toad
Ring of NPC: Ms Terspungecake

8th and 9th of Phara, 179th year of the Goddess (Io)

Having successfully slaughtered the guards, with one body hidden and the other lying in a pool of grease, blood and other bodily fluids, Toad cautiously made his way through the trapped warehouse. Moving ten feet at a time, both he and his scorpion companion made very careful checks for any mechanical traps that they might have missed, being careful to also avoid the magical traps already identified.
In the meantime, Saad attempted to hide the body of the second guard in the same place as the first, only to slip on the grease and fall on his face (nat 1). He did eventually manage to right himself and drag the guard off to a hiding place, at which point Felicity decided to indulge in some of her more gruesome habits.

Back in the warehouse, Toad’s efforts come to fruition as he clambers over the last couple of crates to the Book. Very tentatively, he lifted it from its pedestal, and waited for whatever terrible trap would come down upon him.
Luckily, it seemed that was it! He grabbed whatever other treasure he could (500gp and five magic items) and ten-footed it out of there.

Upon exiting, Toad cleaned off Saad with a quick spell, as well as dismissing the remaining patch of grease. The party then set their minds to the thought of escape- the doors and windows seemed reasonably secure, and the thought of a brute force solution seemed to be appropriate for the situation.
Felicity, however, having made a very convincing disguise with a combination of the guards and their possessions (nat 20) thought to look for a key to the main door. As it happened, one of the guards did have the key, with FRONT DOOR printed upon it in large text. The group moved towards the exit and opened the door, confident of their clean getaway, when the alarm spell on the door was set off.

The triggering of the spell was followed by the appearance of a small cat levitating above the doorway, recognised as the wizard’s familiar from the convoy. Despite a cold stare from the creature, there seemed to be few other repercussions of the alarm, and the four of them ran out of the city as quickly as their legs could carry them, urged on by a mental warning. Miss took a wrong turn, and was swiftly left behind by the rest of the party.

Upon reaching the deserts outside of Lotani, the Book in Toad’s haversack began to glow and shake violently, illuminating the edges of his pack with an angry red light. Curious, he removed it from the haversack and opened the Book, causing a pillar of red light to shoot into the air, attracting the attention of Lilly and Piper (Girthy couldn’t see it, but knew something was going on). A swift detect magic on the part of Toad indicated a creature was being summoned, and an Erinyes appeared from the book.

Toad quickly discerned the devil to be unfriendly as it issued a challenge to him, quickly unslinging its bow. In response, he cast an enlarge person on Saad, causing both him and his bow to grow to greater size, maximising his damage, as well as summoning hell hounds to assault the Erinyes. All the while, Lilly, Piper and Girthy raced towards the commotion, Lilly far outstripping the others.

The Erinyes seemed disoriented from her summoning, however, and dropped a few arrows before they could be fired (two crit fails). Snarling at the hellhounds that surrounded her, she took flight, summoning a Barbazu from the book to aid her. It was then that Girthy charged in, flailing his swords blindly and catching the Barbazu with a glancing blow before dropping one of his swords (crit 1). Lilly dashed in and back, a deadly whirlwind of feet pounding at the bearded devil, with Saad firing magically enlarged arrows at the Erinyes circling above.

Between the hounds, Lilly, Saad and Yoshi, the Barbazu was brought down, Yoshi ripping out its throat with a final vicious attack. Felicity meanwhile took some powerful hits at the Erinyes with her magic, injuring her badly and causing her to drop some 30ft in the air. Taking advantage of the drop, Lilly leaped up and pounded the Erinyes with her hooves, adding insult to injury, the devil being particularly infuriated with Lilly’s attack.

Realising that she was overpowered, the devil teleported away after firing a final two arrows into Toad, leaving the party in the now eerily quiet desert. Felicity took the opportunity to raise the Barbazu as a skeleton under her control, the others taking a moment to regain their composure (in Girthy’s case, his sword as well). The silence was interrupted by a slow clapping, followed by the appearance of Emmett. He congratulated them on a job well done, and suggested they reconvene in the Low Places at a later point in time.

At this point Saad saw no immediate need for the others, and made his way towards a secret maintenance tunnel into the city. Toad, knowing of the same tunnel, slowly shuffled his way after him, wincing from his wounds. The others would all follow presently, after some deliberation as to their next move.

After carefully checking the tunnel with his Gloves of Retcon, Saad took advantage of his enlarged size to crush the lock and open the door, after some helpful prodding from a (sarcastic?) Felicity. From there, the group split up, the majority of the group purchasing private rooms for the night in the Low Places, Saad spending a passionate night with Urgrosh and Felicity returning to the guard’s residence, disguise still intact (see The Tragic Tale of the Pevenses).

The group reconvened in the morning, heading towards the chamber where they originally met Emmett, eager for their first promised reward. . .

Loot: 500gp in misc. items taken from warehouse, as well as five magic items identified as:

  • A +1 Light Mace of Frost
  • A Wand of Spider Climb, 20 charges remaining, 30 min duration
  • Potion of Bull’s Strength (3 min duration)
  • Dusty Rose Ioun Stone
  • Scarlet and Blue Ioun Stone
    Most Kills: Yoshi
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Session 3: A Haunted Mine and Glowing Cauldron
DM Notes

PCs: Felicity, Girthy, Lilly, Saad and Toad
Ring of NPC: Piper

9th-11th Phara, 179th Year of the Goddess
22 days left til Iomedaea

(Some detail may have been neglected here. Please feel free to add important details I might have missed!)

Our loveable group of evildoers reconvened in the meeting room where they had first met Emmett, some choosing to lounge on the couches wherever convenient, and others choosing to place themselves strategically, with Saad getting as far away from Felicity as possible. The group also had a chance to re-assess each other- a few noticed some new bloodstains on Felicity’s otherwise clean garb, while most noticed the new Ioun stone that buzzed around Toad’s head, zapping him and evading his attempts to reclaim it.

Emmett stood, and his normally partially concealed face became darker still, until it seemed like pitch blackness from under his cowl. Radiating power, it was clear that some part of Norgorber’s power had manifested within him, and everyone in the room felt compelled to kneel before him (except for Toad, who bowed his head, and Lilly, who blew at him (nat 20)).

One by one, he presented each of the adventurers with their first boon. Though the others never left the room, it seemed to them as if millions of images played in front of their eyes at the same time, obscuring their vision of Norgorber as he gave each of them their gifts. (None of the characters at this point in time know who received what as their gifts, save for Toad’s gift, the Book of Dis.)

After the presence of the God leaving him, Emmett slumped, and told the group that there would be no need of them until the 5th of Tora, at which point they should meet him in Iomedaea. He swept out of the room, and left them all to their personal musings.

The group split off, each to do their private actions, with a silent understanding that they would rejoin after having done so. Toad quickly found a spellcaster to remove the cursed Ioun stone from him, but was told that he would have to wait til the next day before it could be cast. Saad, Girthy and Lilly ventured through the Low Places to find a map, and eventually found a merchant with some up-to-date maps of Tyreth. Saad and Girthy attempted to discern whether the merchant was being truthful about the state of the maps, but were primarily treated to glares from the lizardfolk for questioning the quality of his goods. Saad and Lilly both bought a map at 2gp each, and left the merchant.
Felicity rested to recover much needed energy, then went in search of a blacksmith. She eventually happened upon the forge of Hauss, who ignored her polite greeting. A significant change of mood overtook Felicity, who then approached the blacksmith threateningly, getting his attention (gruff as it was). She then ordered a set of masterwork manacles, which the smith said he could get done quickly.

Girthy took the opportunity to do some petty thievery, and quickly found his way to a (relatively) unprotected new merchant house, enjoying the benefits of his new senses and stealing some semi-valuable items for re-sale in the Low Places. Upon heading back down below the city, both he and Saad ran into Toad, who was selling off some goods that he hadn’t previously been noticed to have carrying. Saad had strong suspicions that these were taken from the Guild Warehouse, and demanded his cut. Despite trying to persuade Saad that this was not the case, he parted with some of his takings to assure Saad’s silence to the rest of the group.

Meeting up once more in the private room, Saad and Lilly determined that Iomedaea would be approximately 16 days travel away, leaving them time to pursue other things if they wished. Floating around town had been several rumours, including tell of an unlimited ring of wishing in Dolmar, a continued bounty for a gnome (whom some of the party identified as Aldous), whisperings of something stirring beneath the Low Places in access tunnels long forgotten and the execution of a Dhampir accused of breaking into the Guild Warehouse. Saad and Toad quickly recognised this as being Ms Terspungecake, and along with Girthy decided to go watch the execution later that afternoon.

The execution took place in the town square, with Jomba shouting angrily at the ranger, getting himself worked up in his tirade of insults in front of the gathered crowd. Those of the party attending the execution stayed back, not wanting to be recognised. Upon the executioner swinging his axe, however, the Dhampir seemed to shimmer and disappear, leaving the crowd booing and disappointed. (Those who succeeded at the check recognised it as a similar effect to that which Norgorber had caused earlier in their conversations.) Deprived of their spectacle, the crowd dispersed, as did the characters.

Waiting the additional day for the manacles to be made and the remove curse to be prepared, the group set off the next morning, leaving from the northern gate. They were met shortly after by Felicity, who appeared with a group of skeletons in tow, some smaller, some larger. Starting off on the main trade road, they did pass some gnome scouts, but a quick invisibility spell from Toad hid Aldous from view.

Travelling for two days on magical steeds (though the magic did nothing against saddle sores), the party set off for Dolmar, and the rumour of the absurdly powerful ring. Travelling by day, and the skeletons catching up through the night, the second morning was greeted by the sounds of crying from near Felicity. This was soon to be discovered emanating from her Stuffed Griffon, apparently now haunted by the spirit of Trevor. As all good adventurers do, the party shrugged off this development and headed into the depths of Dolmar.

Progressing past the subterranean main square and into the more disused tunnels below, the group ran across a couple of bone boxes. Girthy attempted to disarm one with limited success, and the group shortly became entangled in a battle with a brute wight, a wraith and a zombie wolf. Although their opponents were all felled in time, Girthy and Felicity both felt the fell touch of the wraith, suffering severe damage to their health.

Of particular interest to the party was a cauldron full of a glowing, golden liquid that aided greatly in Girthy’s fighting off the wraith. With seemingly random magical effect, this could be quite the asset to the party if properly controlled. . .

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Session 4: The Deadly Adamantine Garbage Disposal
DM Notes

PCs: Felicity, Girthy, Toad and Saad
Guest PCs: Tarquin
Ring of NPC: Piper, Lilly

11th Phara, 179th Year of the Goddess
22 days left til Iomedaea

After having disposed of the last of the undead menaces, Saad and Lilly decided to check the earlier rooms from which they’d come to ensure no other creatures would be sneaking up on them. In the meantime, Toad and Girthy attended to the unconscious Felicity, and coming up with some way to heal the wraith’s deadly touch. Girthy immediately directed Toad to the cauldron whose contents had proven so deadly to the wraith, but varied in effect.

A closer inspection of the cauldron identified it as the Cauldron of Goop, a dwarven wizard who had spent his long years of life attempting to perfect a completely random source of magic, with this apparently being the culmination of his life’s work. After some inspection and contemplation of the contents of the Cauldron, Toad determined that he would be able to control the effects of the potion for a very short time.

After appropriately controlling the liquid, Toad managed to create a potion that cured both Felicity and Girthy of their ailments. He also checked that the flask of potion Girthy had taken was still alchemically stable, and not liable to become a dragon any time in the next couple of hours. While his efforts did make the Cauldron bubble and boil, the group managed to avoid any of its potentially ill effects.

Now feeling much better, Felicity took advantage of the newly made corpses to produce some new skeleton minions, while Girthy and Toad inspected the chest that had been in the corner of the market room. They discovered to their surprise and outrage that someone had stolen the contents of the chest before them! A quick search found the badly concealed Tarquin (in fact, they had noticed him earlier attempting to hide, but simply ignored him while he pilfered the chest). Despite this, however, they wordlessly allowed Tarquin to join the group.

(In reality, Girthy decided to vent his seething enmity against elves by stealing back the full contents of the chest from Tarquin, a handful of semi-precious stones.)

Presented with three potential ways through the caverns, the group decided to retrace their steps and head back to the cavern in which they had heard moaning. Finding that the door was soundly locked, Girthy stepped forward to deal with the problem. Sadly, the lock seemed more than sturdy enough for his tool kit as his favourite lockpick was broken and stuck in the lock (crit fail). Toad chose to step in at this moment and cast a knock spell, resulting in Girthy looking crestfallen as the lock mechanism fell to pieces and the door opened.

The room itself was quite a large space, with plenty of supply barrels, a long marble table topped with a candelabra, an exquisite dwarven rug, stone sarcophagi, dwarven remains (though appearing less tortured than earlier skeletons they’d happened across) and a large glowing great-axe. The group set about investigating the contents of the room, which yielded a few weapons from the weapon racks as well as spoiled food supplies. It was surmised that the chamber had been a safe room for the dwarves who had lived here, a last place to withdraw to should their city be invaded.

Tarquin advanced towards the sarcophagi, only to hear an ominous click, followed by the rug beneath his feet dropping out from under him. Vicious adamantine saw blades quickly chewed up the valuable antique, and he was left hopping to and fro to avoid the spinning blades. Although he took a few nicks, he managed to spring clear of the pit without the help of the others (nat 20), though he gave them disapproving looks for the lack of aid. Realising that the blades were made of adamantine, Girthy disarmed the trap, and made to take the blades. Sadly, he only succeeded in re-arming the trap, and whipped back his hands back quickly enough to avoid losing any fingers to the blades.

Felicity directed one of her skeletons to retrieve the great-axe from its pedestal as Toad checked the chests in the corner of the room. Both actions seemed to have adverse affects, however- the axe shone with energy, making the skeleton stumble in pain, and the moaning returned, revealing itself to be a mummy. Thinking fast, Toad went to his traditional strategy and created a pit, trapping the mummy. Despite Tarquin and Girthy being caught in its fearsome aura, the pit allowed the group enough time to rally Felicity’s skeletons and make quick work of it, capitalising on the mummy’s weakness to fire.

During this, the axe animated once, swooping around and slicing into one of Felicity’s larger skeletons, but went back to hovering ominously above its pedestal. As it posed no immediate threat to them, the group chose to loot the chests of their contents (a pair of boots and a small origami boat, both of which appeared to be magical). Turning to go back the way they had come, the rogues realised that a particularly powerful trap had armed itself, one that would release small targeted fireballs all along the room. At this point the group realised that dwarves were quite vengeful when it came to looters, and had apparently put into place safeguards to ensure that anyone taking time to loot would be killed.

Felicity walked a few skeletons through to determine whether that would be enough to deactivate the trap, but it seemed that it was triggered whenever anything went through. Girthy and Tarquin went to work, taking turns to disarm the trap, and gaining familiarity with the explosive results (it was a pretty high DC). Saad rejoined the party at this point, standing bemused at the doorway as the two rogues jumped and rolled out of the way of fireballs. Their efforts did eventually see success, and a small glowing bead popped out of the wall. This was determined to be a bead of Fireball, and was taken by Girthy for safekeeping.

Felicity was still focused on the great axe, however, examining it with a particularly fixed stare. To the surprise of the others, she began mentally and physically assaulting the axe, doing her best to destroy the weapon. At this point, the axe began to fight back viciously, cleaving through the skeletons around it, making short work of the smaller ones.
Seeing that the strength of her skeletons wouldn’t see her through, Felicity directed the larger skeleton to grab the axe and bear it down into the adamantine saw blades in order to destroy it. The axe avoided this as well, bursting through the skeleton’s spine to hover with violent intent above the pit.

Felicity took this as her cue to escape, and quickly ran from the mine, pursued by the axe (after it had finished with her last skeletons). The remainder of the party shrugged off her departure, and went to investigate the rest of the mines. Heading back to the Cauldron, the two remaining pathways for them were either a large, heavily locked door, or a a smaller, simple wooden door. Choosing ease over danger, they proceeded through the smaller of the two doors.

The adjoining chamber contained two dwarven statues on either side of an impressive stone altar. Skeletons surrounded the altar, all stretching towards a large ruby that sat upon it. Girthy was the first to go up and investigate, picking up the ruby as well as finding a secret compartment in the altar. This sprang open to reveal two items- a primitive knife made of obsidian and an old diary belonging to a Jarltungstr Dwemen. Tarquin successfully deciphered the diary, reading of two mysterious pillars that dwarves had unearthed, strange artifacts and script that looked like a warped version of Common.

Proceeding further through the passages, the group found the pillars described in the journal. One was in the center of a passage, with strange glass lenses assembled in it that could turn to view a passerby, and the other on a small island, surrounded by deep murky water. A closer inspection of the pillars noted that they were made of steel, bearing warped Common markings. Saad swam across to the second of the two, finding that it bore descriptions of particular items, locations and also bore the mark of a key that seemed to be able to open anything.

Girthy experimented with the closer of the two pillars, showing the ruby to the lenses. It spoke in warped Common, successfully translated as “Containment not required”. Upon further consideration, he then presented it with the obsidian knife, prompting the pillar to open a previously unseen slot. In a fit of whimsy (nat 1 on a failed will save), Girthy stuck his unmentionables in the slot, causing him considerable pain when it snapped shut quickly. Upon placing the knife in, the slot closed, and a sliding noise was heard, indicating that something within the pillar was descending down into the earth.

And so, with some puzzling mysteries laid before them, the group continued to examine the pillars before continuing after their goal- the ring of unlimited wishing. . .
Most Kills: Felicity

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Session 4.5: A Girl and her Axe
GM Notes

PCs: Felicity
11th Phara, 179th Year of the Goddess
22 days left til Iomedaea

Last time we saw Felicity she was being relentlessly chased by an enchanted greataxe through the ruins of Dolmar. After being chased through the marketplace and down a side passage, Felicity was cornered in an old forge that had seen much better days.
Turning on her heel, she spun to face the greataxe, falling to her knees and pleading innocence, saying that she was forced to do evil against her will. She was so persuasive in doing so (taking advantage of her Empathy) that the axe paused mid-swing, and dimmed its flames. Throwing up her empty hands, Felicity did her best to look defenseless and took the opportunity to breathe.

From all around an earthy, female dwarven voice could be heard, and Felicity was surrounded by a soothing aura, reminiscent of hearth and home. Felicity attempted to bluff to the presence as to her actions, but was answered with a feeling of light amusement, like a parent catching a child in a lie. After healing Felicity somewhat, the presence subsided, and Felicity was left alone with the axe.

After some conversation between the two (the axe replying in mental images), Felicity was able to discern that the axe was named Helmsplitter, and that it was motivated to break the ‘spell’ over Felicity. Inquiring as to whether it was within the axe’s power to cure her, she was answered by the image of a high mountaintop, and two giant rough-hewn statues holding hands. Helmsplitter also offered to guide Felicity, leading her out of Dolmar and on the path to Myrt.

After an hour’s walk towards Myrt, Felicity noticed a figure approaching from the city at a moderate speed. This turned out to be Quarth, who greeted the axe with some familiarity, and said he’d been sent by a vision. He was able to enlighten Felicity about the mountaintop, saying that it was the heart of the Jorrbun Mountains, a place of great significance and where the dwarven people were made. Accompanying Felicity into Myrt proper, he took ownership of Helmsplitter and bid her good luck in her travels.

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Session 5: Be Careful What You Wish For. . .
GM Notes

PCs: Toad, Lilly, Saad
Ring of NPC: Girthy, Piper
11th – 15th of Phara, 179th Year of the Goddess
17 days left til Iomedaea

We last left our villainous group examining the mysterious pillars of Dolmar, attempting to determine their function. While the pillars had captured the interest of Saad and Toad, they held little value for Tarquin, who had realised his pockets were substantially lighter than when he had last checked (Girthy had stolen a decent portion of his wealth some moments earlier). Realising that remaining with this group of strangers had a higher risk than he liked, he beat a hasty retreat. Girthy chose to follow his helpless mark, though it is not yet known whether the chose to kill the hapless Tarquin, or simply keep tabs on him til he departed the mines.

Having made a reasonably thorough investigation of the pillar and yielding few results, Toad decided to take an imprint of the etchings on the pool’s pillar for further examination. The duo made their way back to the Cauldron of Goop, having determined that the only way for them to proceed was through the ominous locked door that they’d left alone. Saad used his ever reliable Gloves of Retcon to check what was behind the door, finding a well maintained corridor, two now easily identifiable bone boxes and some suspiciously large piles of bones. Relating this to Toad, the somewhat weary pair decided that going through at half strength was a bad idea, and beat a hasty retreat to rest up and for Toad to recover his magic.

The party returned to the locked door after their short rest (joined again by Lilly), only to find that it had been flung open, chains hanging loosely from the frames. Proceeding cautiously, they were nevertheless ambushed by a large shambling skeleton rising from the detritus behind them. It posed little threat to an enlarged Saad and Lilly’s flailing hooves, however, and the skeleton quickly fell to the group’s onslaught. The bone boxes still posed an issue to the adventurers- the party lacked a rogue to disarm them and could not safely move between them without fear of setting them off to disastrous effect. Saad chose at this point to summon his ghostly crew for the first time to do a “fighter’s disarm” on the bone boxes, and simply ran them straight onto the traps.

Free to proceed at last, the group made their way through the eery corridor to the main chamber- a vast cavern that soared up into an impossible sky, at the center of which was a gigantic statue of a winged serpent. The dwellings on the edge of the cavern superficially resembled dwarven structures, but were made of all sorts of materials varying from steel to stone to petrified wood. As with the rest of Dolmar, piles of skeletons were strewn around, varying in shape, size and origin.

What drew the attention of the adventurers was a ominous glow from within a hollow in the statue, from which a scrawny ratman emerged, raving and cursing the adventurers. Confronting him, Toad managed to calm him enough to find out that his name was Nelod, and that he was attempting to resurrect his god, Quetzla Q’tal. Despite Toad’s best efforts, the enraged Nelod quickly attacked, with his power seemingly enhanced by a ring that he wore (the source of the purple glow from earlier). Toad was able to discern that this immense power was in fact an illusion of some sort, and the group quickly pummeled him to near-death before he teleported in a burst of purple flame. They had but a moment to rest before he quickly appeared again at full health, but Nelod was quickly left a meaty stain after a thrashing from Lilly.

Having dealt with Nelod, the adventurers were free to loot the chamber, finding 500gp worth of gems and a large trapped chest. Lilly was somehow able to deal with the trap, which opened to reveal that the chest was full of gold (1200gp). (It was never established how the group decided to share the treasure between them.)

The ring lay abandoned, having rolled from Nelod’s finger after his death, still flaring with arcane energies. Being the most magically inclined of the group and assuming that this was the ring of wishing that the group had pursued, Toad gingerly picked up the ring, wiping the bloodstains from it. Upon contact, he began to hear seductive whispers in his mind telling him to put on the ring which he managed to partially (but not successfully) throw off. Attempting to discard it, he found that it had teleported onto his familiar and had bound itself to it. Despite attempts to remove it without harm, the only successful result was from gruesomely removing the affected limb of his familiar. Deciding to get as far from the obviously cursed ring as possible, the group left the chamber and were able to exit Dolmar without any further problems (though Toad continues to hear whispers from the ring whenever he thinks of it, growing ever louder).

Setting out again, the group made their way to the military town of Myrt. Paying for rooms at the Sound and Snoring, the three decided to take some time off from each other to explore the town at leisure. Toad chose to go head off to the Hall of Learning, wanting to do some research on Jarltungstr Dwemen. He found that Dwemen had been a hands-on authority on divine entities after perusing Dwemen’s Guide to the Gods. Of particular interest was an entry on Umearhu, in which Dwemen discussed potential methods in which the minor aspects of the evil God might be bound and confined. He was interrupted in his research by Quarth, who displayed more than a passing interest in the wizard.

In the meantime, Lilly was taking her meat puppet Aldous on a walk through the markets. Interesting gossip that she picked up included:

  • The new heroes of the age, dubbed the Hand of Iomedae, were headed for blessing in Iomedaea, and a great festival was to be held in their honour
  • Bounties were still out for Aldous, with a slight increase in the reward
  • There were goblin raiding parties in the area that needed to be dealt with
  • There had been sightings of a devil plaguing the trade road to Tabody
    With some excess time on their hands, Lilly and Toad chose to take the job posting for the goblins, neatly routing them and receiving a 200gp reward from Quarth. (Saad decided to avoid the idea altogether and stay at his rooms at the Sound & Snoring.) The two managed to gain some minor goodwill in doing so, being referred to as “the pasty youth and that camel”.

The party set off once again from Myrt, choosing not to linger overlong in such a good oriented city, and traveled to Tabody. They were accosted on the road by a Khanate patrol, the leader of whom chose to insult Saad. Showing some loyalty to Saad, Toad caused the horse to buck off his rider, but the group managed to depart the confrontation without resorting to violence.

Upon reaching Tabody, the group were passed by a group of gnomes searching for Aldous. With Lilly quickly shielding the gnome with her bulk, Saad intimidated the gnome seekers with his size (and axe), passing into the city proper. The group decided to seek out the criminal element of the city for some fun, with Saad using his criminal know-how (and a small bribe to an urchin) to arrange a meeting with Paula Pinlights, the leader of the thieves in town.

The urchin led the group out of town where they were blindfolded and led to the thieves’ den, a series of mine caverns which appeared to be newly under construction. It was there they met Paula and her lumbering henchman Sing Sing. Paula had obviously recognised Aldous among them and also identified them as the perpetrators of the Lotani heist, but wasn’t quite ready to turn them over to the law. Instead, she wished the team to steal a collection of conch shells from an elf noble named Malariel, a minor noble of House Tavadon. The shells are to be auctioned off within a few days at the annual city gala, held chiefly in Tavadon Halls. It seems that this would be the best opportunity to pull of a daring heist. . .

Most Kills: Not Counted

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Session 6: How to Clown with Grease
GM Notes

PCs: Toad, Saad, Felicity
Ring of NPC: Lily
16th – 17th of Phara, 179th Year of the Goddess
15 days left til Iomedaea

GM Note: I lost the recording for this session, so notes may be patchy and slightly fictional.

The party chose to go along with Paula’s scheme as to not attract the authorities (and potentially score some extra loot). The pair conferred for a little while in the thieves’ den before realising that they needed some extra details on how they were to go about stealing the shells. Paula gave them a set of plans for Tavadon Hall and sent them back to where they were originally led from.

It was at this point that Lily decided that it would be best to lie low for a while to avoid Aldous being spotted by any interested parties. This left Toad and Saad with the more interesting job of scouting out Tavadon Halls and any potential weaknesses in its defences.

The pair set out for the Halls, stopping well short of its gates and the wary eyes of the sentries. For some reason, Saad got it into his head that it would be a good idea to throw Toad (possibly over the wall?), and proceeded to throw Toad into an active dispelling effect, where he was stripped of his invisibility. Toad responded in kind, creating a pit which Saad sprung out of with the greatest of ease (nat 20). Their scuffle (and the setting off of the magic trap) attracted the guards unsurprisingly and the duo quickly retreated to the relative safety of the forests nearby.

Paula had been watching their efforts with some amusement, however, and appeared to offer them an easy way into the festivities. After a night’s rest to reflect on how their time was better spent not attacking each other, they were greeted in the morning by messengers bearing clown outfits, with instructions to wear them to the gala. Saad was infuriated by the obvious insult, and threw his axe at the terrified messenger (intentionally missing).

The party returned to the Halls in full costume and were admitted without a fuss to the estate. Saad took the opportunity to summon two of his ghostly crewmen in the bathroom, sending them to look for anything of interest in the building. Shortly after the pair were called on to rehearse, and quite ably performed a clowning routine revolving primarily around Saad slipping in grease.

Returning to the bathroom, the ghosts reported that there was a switch of some kind in the library on the upper levels. Deciding to investigate, the two ran into Felicity, dressed in the finest elven finery and looking very much at home in the place. Felicity had been welcomed into Tavadon Hall after charming Malariel, and had been keeping a watchful eye on the two upon their arrival.

Saad and Toad told Felicity a little of their situation, and she saw fit to reveal that Malariel had been acting suspiciously around Lord Tavadon’s chambers.
Upon closer investigation of the two locations it was revealed that there were two switches that, when activated, allowed for passage down the central staircase to a basement level. While everyone was distracted by the arrival of the Khan, Toad and Saad snuck down to the staircase only to be confronted by the elven wizard they had first encountered in Lotani. He opted not to challenge them, instead setting his silvanshee companion on Toad’s imp. Undeterred, the duo headed down to the vault while Felicity took the chance to ingratiate herself with the elven nobility and illustrious guests.

Bashing their way through some animated statues and setting off a couple of traps, they handily dispatched the unwary guards in the vault. All that’s left is to get out without anyone noticing…

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