Kyoto-Osaka Forgotten Realms!

Episode 11 Kobolds and Mushrooms

Anxious to hang around Sundabar further with these strange agents possibly on their trail, they set off eastward, riding into the night. Eredon used his new Create Campsite ritual and everyone enjoyed the magical convenience of little fairy wisps unpacking their camp and making the dinner.

The next morning (Mirtuk 23) arrived without incident, and once their sprites had taken down their camp and restored the copse where they slept back to its original state they headed off. By midday they discovered a signpost marked with the Silverymoon Mages’ Association, but the words had been scratched out and a bloodied wizard’s hat was jammed on top of the post. Inside the hat they found a single glowing mushroom, which Eredon suspected was the mushroom in question. The turned off the road and headed into the hills, sleeping again, and arriving at the cave by midday of the following (Mirtuk 24).

They went for the stealthy approach, but the Kobolds hear them coming and launched a barrage of boulders and javelins upon the group as they charged up slope to face the little buggers. Despite several nasty blasts from the Kobold shamans, Claw and Baelian punched through their lines and forced the survivors to retreat back within the cave. Inside the found the same plus reinforcements, including an oddly sluggish ogre who rampaged through the group, smashing with his club. Someone (the dm forgets) scored a critical hit, and at that moment, to everyone’s surprise, Tarnruth’s Orb burst from Eredon’s bag like a firework, and blasted the room with a blinding light, then floated down to hover over the crit dealer’s shoulder. When they finally beat back the kobolds and toppled the ogre, who got up once after being knocked out, they discovered an odd mushroom growing out of the top of his head.

After picking through the kobolds’ possessions, Never, Claw, Eredon and Baelian spotted something shiny in a trash heap. This bit of bait was sufficient. A carrion crawler burst from the garbage when Eredon fired magic missiles into it and they thumped the bug to get the shiny. It ended up being a +1 Luck Blade Scimitar, which Claw turned his nose up at (too small), and which Eredon had little interest in. Baelian took it gladly. Never went dumster diving and came up a little richer, a lot stinkier.

The next chamber was a large cave pool, cut in half by a landbridge leading to another tunnel. The PCs were spoked about this vast quantity of water conspiring to be all in the same place at the same time, so they tried to placate the water gods or whatever might have lured within by illuminating chunks of half of Claw’s rancid deer carcass, which he reluctantly parted with, and tossing them into the depths. The monsters down there were probably disgusted by this offering, refusing to touch it or attempt to eat those who’d carry such a thing around, and didn’t appear.

They had their hands full anyway. When the group entered the chamber some chokers lurking on a ledge above snatched Never up and began to throttle him. He fought back with some savage blasts, but wasn’t able to break free. Claw jumped in, trying to slash Never free, but the choker juxtaposed Never between itself and the greatsword, and Claw cut a chunk out of the blue-in-the-face warlock. Baelian looked gormless for a while, but then scored a critical hit with his sling. Yay! When Never finally was dropped by the sorely wounded choker as it attempted to flee, he took revenge and blew it to bits where it scuttled along the wall. Upon destroying his cursed enemy he teleported to a small island where a chest sat, hoping to save himself a swim. This chest had teeth, unfortunately.

Catching Never unaware, the mimic dropped its guise as a treasure chest and chomped him, knocking him unconscious. Baelian, sensing his comrade’s pain, took a running jump and fell pathetically into the pool, nowhere near Never. Claw also dove in, landing closer, while Eredon blasted the beast with fire.

Swimming proved difficult. Baelian thrashed away lamely but then rolled a crit, squirting out of the water like a show dolphin. Claw was treading water when he was smacked by the mimic, and its slowing effect caused him to start to sink deep underwater. A second swim attempt later he dragged his soaked body onto the rock next to Never, who was recovering from the chomp. Despite the mimic’s slippery dodges they managed to gang up on it and reduce it to a pool of treasure-devoid muck.

They did manage to find a little bit of coinage on the choker ledge before tromping off to the next room. This chamber was dominated by a massive glowing mushroom, which was surrounded by several kobolds, which seemed to be worshipping it. As the PCs charged a whole slew of other baddies came out of the woodworks: dwarf-sized mushrooms detached themselves from the floor to attack them, alternately spraying them with spores and spearing them with long spines. A human wizard, whose movements were slow and who didn’t speak, was among the attackers. The combination of the spores, which prevented the heroes from acting, several area-effect attacks from the wizard, and the ability of the mushrooms to split damage received between them made the fight a fierce one. Everyone got in several good licks, but Baelian and Never took a beating. Eredon stayed back for most of the fight because he was out of healing surges, but finally he lost his temper and dove into combat, roasting huge groups of mushrooms and kobolds. Due to their damage-sharing ability, when one mushroom man finally fell, the rest were nearly dead too, and a final strike caused most of the colony to die at once in a shower of fungal bits.

The guys fished a little loot from out from under the giant mushroom, collected some samples of the blue ones and decided to rest before exploring the remaining tunnel. The next day (Mirtuk 25) they explored the last tunnel. Claw, scouting ahead, nearly ran into a gelatinous cube. He hightailed it but the cube was after him. The rest of the guys blasted away, trying to slow its advance, and Never attempted to give the barely sentient cube of jello a bad dream, which didn’t go quite as he had hoped. Baelian suffered the worst, getting immobilized and engulfed twice, knocked down to zero HP and finally getting dumped on the floor when the rest of them reduced the cube to a puddle of goo. On the upside, the party found a Lunia’s Bracelet in the goop, which will help them fight against the Jackals, should they be so lucky.

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Episode 10 Leaving Town

The next day, (Mirtuk 22) the visitors came. First they met with Craic of the Order of Blue Fire, who was looking for mercenaries to guard an expedition. A group of miners were hoping to clear out a mine in the former village of Deadsnows that was reportedly infested with plague-changed beasts, and they had commission the Order to be the muscle and expertise. Lacking ready hands, Craic made good on his offer of work, promising 10% of any found gold and all loot discovered.
Next came a huckerster of map salesman, who tried to convince the town heroes to buy a treasure map for the ruins of Ascore for 500gp. Garvenmov, nursing a hangover, used some brute bargaining and got a better price in exchange for not doling out any beatings. Meanwhile, Eredon starting feeling lousy, and the wound where he was bitten by Tysus seemed infected. Fearing some sort of Lycanthropic disease, the group prepared to take him to a clinic.

Last to visit was Olga the Fist, a dour-looking warrioress, the contact at the local freelance agency. She told them gruffly that there was a job they might be interested, and what with their recent fame she thought she’d drop by with it. The deal: 300gp to clear out a nearby cave complex that has been infested with Kobolds. It was formerly used by the Silverymoon Mage Association for its valuable fungal spell components, but the kobolds had recently become a pesky distraction for mushroom picking scholars. Possible bonus for delivery of said mushrooms.

The PCs set out to cure Eredon and discussed what their next plan of action would be. Craic’s caravan was planning to leave in 4 days; the kobold cave was about 2 days’ journey away. As Eredon was treated for his case of Moon Frenzy, they decided to buy horses and ask Craic to delay one day. He agreed, and with Eredon treated and on the mend, they went to dinner.

The bar that greeted them presented a strange scene.
As you go to sit at an empty table, heads turn and small cheer arises as you hear your own names called. Not everyone is smiling though. As you look around the room, you see three different groups of adventuring types mixed in with the merchants and travelers. The first has four members: a towering grey-skinned man whom you believe is a goliath, a hunched man in a cloak who picks at his food, a tiefling woman in a lowcut set of leather armor who is eyeing every man in the room, and a grinning human in plate with short cropped hair, who picks his teeth with a dagger. The goliath is crushing chicken bones in his teeth and the cloaked man is cursing him out while the third man laughs. The tiefling woman pays them no mind and continues eyeing the crowd.

The second is much quieter a blond woman in chainmail sits with a shield emblazoned with the symbol of Torm over her shoulder, next to her a gnome has spread out a multitude of tiny parts across the table and is assembling something. Opposite them sit a heavily bearded man clad in a long hooded brown cloak who arches his fingers meditatively and a slim man greying at the temples who is oiling a finely curved longsword while sucking on a long pipe.

The third is impossible to ignore: a man, at least you think you see a man, is wearing armor that appears to be made of burnished gold. It is so shiny it reflects the sunset coming in through the window and dazzles you. Behind him you seem to see a human woman in a shimmering purple dress and elaborate face paint, a halfling wearing an immensely foppish hat with a feather half as long as he is tall, and someone who appears to have a giant cat’s head. The cat head is putting food deep into the black cavity that is its mouth, while the halfling is fiddling with some sort of box. The woman is alternately preening, casting loving looks in the direction of the man in the armor, and scowling at the room. The man in the gold armor, is scowling at you, though it is hard to see through the glare. He may just have flamboyant eyebrows.

The man with the golden armor began to curse the Blades of Earlann out, saying that they had only become popular because they, Team Ultramax, hadn’t been around. The woman in the purple dress supported him, saying things like “That’s right honey! You tell them!” Meanwhile, the man with the armor carried on, getting more and more agitated. The halfling got his box working, and the bar was suddenly filled with the sound of “Eye of the Tiger”. Cat Head did elaborate poses in front of the armor guy, while the room boos the music. “Ugh, what a terrible crowd,” he says. “This city disgusts me… but Team Ultramax knows you still love us people!” Garvenmov hurled a tankard at Cat Head, who dodge nimbly in mid-gesticulation. The goliath at the other table said “Noisy. Can I squish?” The human opposite him replied, “Heh, you would Teeth! HaHA! No no, not now. Plenty of time for squishing.” Meanwhile the slim man tending to his sword looked up from his work to scowl at the disturbance, his comrade in the cloak said, “Now now, let these youngsters alone with their energy.”

At the same time, the gnome working on little parts flicked something in the way of the music box, causing it to stop working. The man in the armor thought it was done by the cloaked man next to the Goliath and he shouted: “You dare ignore me! You, who are nothing, pixie fart! Pah pah! I’ll show you all!” “You said it honey!” added his woman. “Oh gods, I just can’t work myself up for this without music. Come ON Musicman!” As the halfling struggled with the box, the tiefling woman came over to look at Eredon. Running her tongue over her teeth lasciviously, she said, “Why I could just break you in half, little Eladrin. You wouldn’t mind a little pain, would you?” Eredon did his best to seem equally kinky with a fire reference, but ended up sounding a little inexperienced. Meanwhile, the halfling couldn’t get the box working again, and before Garvenmov could wade through the crowd to start administering blows, Team Ultramax left the hall, saying “come my dears, away from these philistines!” The other group also stood up, the leader announcing, “come on, work to do.” He called to the tiefling, who was still eyeing Eredon. “Allandra are you at it again? Let’s go.” With that they departed.

As the party made their way back to the hotel, planning to suit up and head for the Kobold cave before bedding down for the night, they were suddenly set upon by a group of shadowy figures. The three were pale, and could dissolve into the shadows to move about unseen. One blinded those he attacked, the second danced through the crowd while whirling a long spiked chain, and the latter, a pale bald woman, emanated a chilling darkness and reduced the vision of those she struck. The group slew the party, and upon examining their corpses further, they suspected that they were Shadovar, agents of Netheril, and possibly connected to the mage who attacked them outside Tarnruth’s Tomb.

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Episode 9 Party, Parade, Revelations, Rivals

After the battle within the Everfire, Larquinn and Delzoun debriefed the party on what had transpired above while the group received first aid in a medical tent. The Banite thralls had set off explosions and a huge firework of the Fist of Bane to disrupt the Martyrdom parade, but the authorities were on the lookout thanks to the PCs and the damage was minimal. They didn’t realize that this was all a diversion until the emergency ventilation system kicked in, and Lars, the entralled dwarf that guided them into the Everfire, got past the broken elevator shaft to alert his superiors. The PCs related their adventures and Larquinn and Delzoun expressed their gratitude, adding that Helm Dwarf-Friend, Master of Sundabar, would want to meet them. Delzoun also added that he wanted to talk to them about Tarnruth’s Orb when they had a chance, and then pulled Garvenmov aside, telling him that he could keep the sword he found in the core, but that it was an ugly flop, and that he didn’t want people to know where it came from. Mom’s the word, sort of thing.

After sleeping off their burns and blisters the PCs spend the next day (Mirtuk 20) running errands. Never, finally free from his side job as an adventurer, got back to the pursuit of his dream of being a dealer in bits of broken shit pulled off corpses. They met Delzoun, who told them that the Orb had some radiant magic, and that it was made in a day long ago when dwarves and elves collaborated. Upon returning they discover a great crowd has gathered around their hotel on the rumor that the unnamed heroes are staying there. No one knows what they look like though, and the crowd buzzes, creating all sorts of outlandish rumors of the 8 feet tall heroes who swallow fire and gobble maidens. Waiting for the was a summons to meet Helm Dwarf-Friend.

The Master of Sundabar appeared to be a man of great prowess and quiet confidence. He interviewed them on their adventure against the Jackals and the Banites, warning that they had now made enemies of the Zhentarim, a powerful mercenary trade syndicate, which was closely aligned with the church of Bane. By way of a reward, he handed each of the 200gp, asked them to join the parade on the following day and gave them a special bag called Blech, explaining that while his own adventuring days were over, he was sure that they’d make good use of this odd leather bag with an unhappy face crudely stitched into the side. He then asked them what their adventuring party name was.

(30 minutes of bickering later)

They decide (minus Garvenmov, who was against everything) on The Blades of Earlann, named after the ancient Elven kingdom of the High Forest. <thank>

The next day The Blades of Earlann are the toast of the town. The parade wends throughout Sundabar, and upon the approach of our heroes the crowd goes wild throwing flowers to the passing soldiers, fainting, regaling anyone who’d listen of the time that they too were mighty and did some damage to those damn humanoids, let me tell you! Why we used to have to stack’em square just to clear a spot to sleep at night, so thick were the orc bodies, they were! This one time…

The parade fortunately passed out of earshot of that. Garvenmov held aloft his new scabby cat Vengeance (or was it Judgment? Was that the horse?) and Baelian walked with a book in his face, trying to avoid being swept away by the jubilation. When the parade finished, the stern looking soldiers gathered around to clap them on the shoulders and kegs of beer were opened, Claw made the mistake of prodding Baelian to loosen up. The moment he put the book away a big shit-eating grin spread ear to ear, and the pub they ended up in spontaneously exploded into the greatest merriment. They partied the night away.

The next day, (Mirtuk 22) the visitors came.

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Episode 8 The Jackal, The Priest and The Dragon

We last saw our heroes rescuing some enthralled dwarves from certain doom as they teetered on a tower about to collapse into a pool of magma. When the proceeded to the next chamber they found a group of unconscious dwarves lying around a summoning scroll, their ritual seeming to be finished. The dwarves that the had saved roused their compatriots and explained that they were now in a preparation room for smiths who worked in the hottest core of the Everfire. The PCs suited up in fire-resistant cloaks and gloves (Baelian putting a pair on his feet to replace his scorched sandals) and they jumped into a bucket which conveyed them down a tunnel, into the core.

Meanwhile, Eredon had discovered the Everfire’s ventilation and cooling system, a series of magic glyphs and controls forming a large magical projection of the vents and inlets beneath Sundabar. The system had been damaged, but with his arcana skill he was able to turn on the magical cooling, open emergency venting and turn on the ventilators. He also discovered a magical necklace which allowed him to temporarily become an Ice Mage, and while he didn’t really like the idea, he took the necklace anyway, and proceeded to a teleportation circle in a lookout, high above a massive chamber.

Garvenmov, Claw and Baelian raced down the tunnel and burst into the Core, a massive cave with a heaving pit of magma in the center. Their bucket gave out just then however, and they were forced to leap (or crash, in the case of Garvenmov and Baelian) to safety. Five pillars of light formed a pentagram around the pit, and the magma within was heaving as though its surface was a thin membrane and something was fighting to get through. Indeed, after a moment they saw a massive clawed paw push against the surface of the magma, struggling to break through, to be summoned into this world. Standing on a promontory, conducting the ritual was Mothos, cleric of Bane, and for the moment he was oblivious to the group, concentrating on his ritual.

Each pillar of light was exuding a wall of force, and a two pronged fight broke out when the PCs attempted to push past them. Creatures made of magma sprung from the rock floor and attacked, but once they were dispatched the pillars collapsed and they were able to proceed. Thanks to Eredon, the cooling system also kicked in at this point, which chilled the magma creatures and limited their movements. At this point the Banites and the Jackals realized that there were intruders, and they rushed to the defence of the remaining summoning points. Garvenmov discovered a sword that seemed to be in the process of creation, and snatched it up in order to thrash a halfling that dared appear before him.

About the sword: You are holding one of the nastiest-looking swords you’ve ever seen. It’s massive: if you sheathed it over your shoulder it would nearly touch the ground, and it is so thick it makes other “greatswords” look spindly. You wonder at its construction: the broad blade is pitted and the edge is uneven, it lacks a hilt completely and the tip doesn’t look so much shaped as snapped off on an angle. Picking it up, however, the haft is cool to the touch. It is also insanely heavy, but you get the feeling that despite appearances it packs a huge punch.

While Garvenmov and Baelian took a beating from a Jackalwere, a magma beast and a Banite halfling, Claw and Eredon were cutting a swathe through the enemies on the west side of the pool. Using his new Sequestering Strike, Claw teleported a Jackalwere off the edge of the pit, dumping him in the magma. Meanwhile Eredon score a crit on Morthos with an Icy Sphere, freezing half his body. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to rattle the cleric, and he swatted the ice ball away with his bare hand.

Meanwhile, the creature that lurked beneath the magma had begun to take form. A huge dragon, composed of magma itself, thrashed beneath the surface and pressed its jaws against the barrier between this world and the Elemental Chaos, struggling to break loose.

Never, who appeared out of nowhere and spent most of the fight teleporting around, took on Tysus, nearly driving him into the magma pit with his curse of the dark dream. Tysus, irritated now, shifted into his giant jackal form and went on a rampage, dealing massive damage to the party. Morthos was about to enter the fray, his summoning disrupted, but Commander Larquinn and Forgemaster Delzoun burst into the chamber via a secret door at the head of a large party of troops.

Tysus and Morthos decided to retreat, but not without issuing a warning: As the last pillar of light disappears, the magic symbol hovering over the magma pit bursts in a halo-shaped explosion. Tysus looks over his shoulder and snarls. “I’ll finish you later, vermin. You’ll rue the day your dam shat you on the street when the Jackals have their vengeance.” From the top of promontory, Morthos is climbing back to his feet from where he was knocked by the magic explosion. He points a baleful finger at you and howls in frustrated rage. “Fools, infidels, suicides! You DARE oppose Bane?! Not even the most forsaken corner of Faerun will save you from his wrath!”

Morthos then disappeared and Tysus burrowed into the rock of the volcano to escape.

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Episode 7 The Pentagram

In our last episode the party deactivated a summoning ritual deep within the Everfire beneath Sundabar. As Eredon the wizard scanned the scroll, he got a hunch and used his fey step to teleport behind the crystal barrier of an observation deck high in the ceiling, telling the rest of the group that he’d catch up later.

They weren’t sure what to do, but by examining the lines of energy flowing along the floor, they guessed that they formed a pentagram, and were summoning something either very powerful or very immense. The possibility of a double pentagram, all the way across the… volcano… was also raised. What could it mean? The dwarves they had saved were alarmed at the situation they had fallen into and their concern over the other party of dwarves in the previous chamber caused the group (after a coin toss) to go back and rescue them.

Sneaking went fine, as did the initial bluffs, but when Garvenmov started criticizing the Banite thugs for gambling and playing cards, saying “My god doesn’t permit such behavior… and my god is your god… Bane,” the jig was up and the group leapt to combat. Baelian continued to flail away uselessly for several rounds until Never gave him a few pointers and he suddenly rediscovered his mojo, dispatching the wizard who was firing away with lightning and thunder blasts. Meanwhile Claw and Garvenmov went to work on the thugs, the former carving a mighty slash in a berserker and the latter mercilessly stapling to the ground one who fumbled his attack. The leader, a cleric, entered the battle late, having sealed the passage to the main entrance, and proceeded to summon an aspect of Bane, a ghostly apparition, which attempted to shake Claw to his core. The Banites were quickly dispatched, and fast-teleporting Never was once again largely unscathed.

The PCs and roused dwarves soon discovered that the entrance they had used had been collapsed, and that the way to the main entrance was blocked with a wall of force, preventing the interloping PCs from alerting the authorities above. They set the dwarves to the task of clearing the elevator and summoning the guard, and proceeded on to the room beyond the forge.

The entered a huge magma-filled cavern, so hot that Claw and Baelian immediately began to scorch, Garvenmov’s armor glowed red, and even the tiefling Never felt hot under the collar. “It’s so intense,” sang the party in unison. In the center of the room were three dwarves summoning and a series of magma islands at greater and greater spacing led to their summoning circle. As they had heard from the dwarves, a font of green flame sat nearby, and they immersed themselves in it, taking slight damage to shield themselves from the intense heat. The green fire didn’t last long though and with failed jump checks, everyone but Claw ended up splashing around in magma at some point, Baelian getting the worst of it due to his refusal to wear proper shoes.

They rushed with the dwarves from that chamber down a corridor slowly filling with the magma from the previous room. In the next chamber magma was pouring into a large chamber from several open gates and two dwarves were summoning on a steel platform that was sagging as magma rose around it. Working quickly, the dwarves, Claw and Garvenmov shut the gate on the the flow of magma they had followed in, and Baelian and Never deciphered the mechanism to work a series of buckets on chains running the length of the room. As Claw and Never blasted away at the emergency latches of the other gates, Garvenmov leapt into an iron bucket and swung down to the platform, heaving both of the stout dwarves into the bucket with him. The platform collapsed shortly thereafter, destroying the scroll and releasing the dwarves.

Bonus points for Garf and his awesome paint jobs!

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Episode 6 Into the Everfire

Mirtuk 18

Regrouping after their epic fight with the skeletons Morthos summoned, the PCs discovered a priestly alcove behind the main chamber. Within it lay a dazed dwarf, a letter, a little loot and a magic katana, tinged purple, named Winter’s Heart in elven. The letter on the table read as follows:

Lord Morthos of the Black Hand,

Milord, I’ve recently returned to Sundabar from Silverymoon, though our recruitment in Lhuvenhead was disrupted by a group of amateurs. I slaughtered one of their members in retribution, but I fear to report that the curs have followed us to Sundabar and have been spotted snooping about. I doubt they’ll hinder our plans on the 19th, but I’ll deal with them personally.

This last batch of smiths was difficult to procure and the furious aid of our lord Bane was very welcome. The Jackals look forward to further business opportunities. Should it please milord, payment can be delivered as per last batch.

I shall lead our operation myself — with the number of thralls set loose, we won’t see much opposition from these holier-than-thou fools. May Bane favor our enterprises.

Tysus, the Jackal

The dwarf, when he came around, said his name was Lars Oakenshield, and that he was an apprentice in the forges of the Everfire. He could remember being in some sort of ritual, but that the ritual was interrupted somehow.

The PCs questioned him with little success, and after returning to the city via a secret door, they attempted to rouse him with some dwarven “first aid”, but he fell asleep. At this point Garvenmov passed by in the street and the party was reunited. Baelian mangled his introduction to the dark paladin by inquiring about the dried head attached to Garvenmov’s belt. Despite the rest of the party’s attempts to steer the conversation away from this taboo topic with flailing arms in the background, Baelian tried to calm Garvenmov with a long discourse on other cultures that attach heads to their belts for luck, but there was no appeasing him. Baelian shrugged and went back to his tomb on the mating habits of lizardfolk.

Unsure what to do with the dwarf, the group hailed a cart and packed him, along with the ten sets of leather armor that Never was dragging around, off to the barracks to report to Commander Larquinn. Baelian headed home at this point, but said they’d meet up again. He knew where they were staying, mentioning mysteriously that he knew a lot of what was going on in Sundabar.

Larquinn was disturbed and impressed by their tale and paid them handsomely for both solving the riddle of the haunted mansion and discovering the source of the forged coins. He also took care to send Lars home and to consult the forgemasters about the smiths that the group set free. The next morning (Mirtuk 18) the innkeeper told them a little more about the coming festival. The festival on the 19th, called the Martyrdom, celebrates the day that the gods Torm and Bane killed each other. The 21st, called the Rebirth, celebrates when Torm rose from the dead. They learned that there was to be a special fair today in preparation for the festival.

That day Never hawked his leather armors, Eradon transcribed an Endure Elements scroll, and Claw and Garvenmov visited a temple to their god, Kelemvor. The head cleric, Selenia, suggested that Garvenmov must find out how his father came in possession of Winsonian in order to be rid of his voice in his head. Claw bought some holy water and G spent the day in prayer.

Meeting up in the afternoon the group explored the market, picking up some gnomish alchemical items, a new scroll, and sampling rare delicacies imported by teleporting mages called “bananas”. From the gnomes they learned that fire-resistant potions were hard to come by recently, as they trees that were their primary ingredient had all been cut down. Garvenmov also made the mistake of trying a couple shots of dwarven gutrot, “not recommended for human consumption”. They also paid a visit to Graut’s Fittings where the gruff dwarf, peeved that they scared off the rest of the customers with talk of the Jackals, demanded that they buy something before he’d cough up and info. He eventually related that slavery had always been a problem in the city, but the number of abducted people discovered at the gates had dropped recently. His hypothesis was that abductees were being held in the city somewhere. He also suspected that the Jackals were hiding out underground somewhere.

The PCs met up with Baelian, who was discussing with the scroll seller a tome written about a man who, due to a magical accident, was shrunk, but used his misfortune to the benefit of knowledge by exploring a horse’s intestinal tract in person. He suggested that he treat them to some fine Eladrin dining as thanks for entertaining him that day.

On the way home after the meal the group was set upon by the Jackals, who leapt down from the rooftops to surround them. Tysus, the Jackal himself, introduced himself and then leapt to attack the group while commoners fled to their homes. The battle was fierce, as three of the Jackals dealt savage blows in succession (three crits in a row for the DM), putting the PCs on the ropes, and making even the valiant Garvenmov consider retreat. With a little healing help from Baelian and Never, they battled back, taking out some of the weaker Jackals. Tysus himself was a terrible foe and Claw soon realized that his wounds were regenerating nearly as fast as he received them. When Claw became bloodied and shifted, revealing his razorclaw form, Tysus howled with laughter, shouting, “the irony!” which led the PCs to suspect they were dealing with some sort of lycanthrope. Indeed, as some of the Jackals felt, they revealed their true natures as humanoid dog/wolves. Meanwhile, Garvenmov, having not gotten the memo, suddenly discovers that the boss of the gang they are fighting is the Jackal. With a scream of “Shamash!” he charged Tysus, only to be cut down by a minion from behind.

The guard came running and interrupted the fight, at which point Tysus and his remaining gang created a portal into the sewers and retreated, swearing they’d meet again. With a guard escort the PCs headed back to their inn to sleep off their wounds. They didn’t sleep long. Lars, the dwarf from Morthos’ chambers, woke them before dawn (Mirtuk 19), worried that he was about to fall under the effect of some sort of spell. Indeed, even as he spoke he became distant and started to walk away. A nearly naked Never grabbed him and rolled in a carpet, but Eradon warned him that if Lars was indeed compelled, impeding his progress could kill him. Sure enough, the dwarf began to froth at the mouth as he thrashed to get free.

Changing tactics, the group tied a rope around him and followed him through the city. Lars led them to a secret elevator entrance in an alleyway which led down to the forges of the Everfire. As they entered a large chamber Lars joined a group of other dwarves standing over an incantation circle and began reading from a scroll with them, as three lines of energy pulse away from them. The PCs didn’t have much time to examine the room, which seemed to be a forge, when they were set upon by a group of Banites. Garvenmov, using his Astral Speech, stopped them in their tracks, and persuaded them that they were also followers of Bane. Never chimed in, and convinced them that they were mercenaries sent by “Tyson”, which so fully bamboozled the Banites they were convinced that they had learned Tysus’ name incorrectly. They ordered the PCs to go on to the next room because it was thinly defended.

The next room was dominated by three large gears, which rolled back and forth pressing pieces of armor. Behind them three dwarves stood over a incantation circle as in the last room. As they leapt past the gears, members of the Jackals, who had been warned against the group, pounced, trying to shove them into the mechanism. As the melee ensued, Eradon used his mage hand to wrest the scroll out of the magic circle and break the compulsion over the dwarves. Near the end of the fight Claw got to demonstrate the power of his new blade: rolling a critical hit, he cut a savage rent in the remaining crossbowman, his blade howling with bloodthirsty glee.

The PCs ended this session learning that the scroll was written in primordial, and appeared to be some sort of summoning magic.

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Episode 5 What Lurks Beneath the Streets

will fill in later

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Episode 4 To Sundabar

will fill in later…

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Episode 3 Murder

Mirtuk 12: the PCs are woken by a scream. While they slept off they party that Halaskar threw for them, Shamash was murdered. He was found strung from the rafters, throat torn out. The wall over his bed read in a bloody smear: The Jackals. Upon investigation the PCs discovered that Pell, the recruit for the Jackals, had broken out of the barracks cell where he was being held, and that the same transmutation magic had been used to open the wall to Shamash’s room as had broken him out. The few clues they were able to gather suggested that a group of seven had come by the inn, and that tracks leading from the barracks led east, potentially toward the citadel of Sundabar, where the Jackals have a stronghold.

As the pcs asked a few more questions and prepared to bury their beloved comrade, a dwarven merchant pull Claw and Eradon aside. His curiosity having gotten the best of him, he asks to see the orb they received from Tarnruth. In their conversation they learn that the orb is a Sunorb, but an odd combination of elven and dwarven make. Elves prefer round ones like theirs, and Dwarves like crystalline ones, but Tarnruth’s Orb is round with dwarven magic runes on it, suggesting some sort of collaboration. The merchant suggests that they might be able to learn more about it in Sundabar, which is famed for its dwarven magic.

After a touching eulogy from Garvenmov II, the pcs left town in hot pursuit. The second day in their travels (Mirtuk 13) they encountered a detour around an area damaged by the Spellplague. The Spellplague area was a misty blue fog from a distance, but as they grew near they could see a distinct border marked by tendrils of blue flame. Shouts and screams interrupted their inspection though. A member of the Order of Blue Fire had lost control of his spellscar abilities and was going on a rampage, his body distorting and his arms growing into massive clawed limbs. As the other members of the order fled their leader asked the pcs if they couldn’t put him out of his misery. Combat was tricky, as the spellscarred man retreated into the spellplague area to heal, and the blue border reacted with the spells the pcs tried to cast, causing great gouts of flame to erupt. Eventually they were able to put him to rest.

Craic, initiate of the Order of Blue Fire, gave them thanks, and explained a little about his organization, whose task it is to combat spellplagued monsters, check afflicted areas and aid those who suffer from spellscars. He told them that if they need work in Sundabar to come and visit him at the mission there.

Mirtuk 14: rain falls as the PCs turn away from the high Rauvin River and head through the sparse farms and small forests at the feet of the dark, snow-capped Nether Mountains. Battle cries over a ridge put them into action, as they soon discover a group of Sundabar’s soldiers, the Shieldsar, pinned down by a shield ring of hobgoblins and a barrage of arrows and spells from a small group at the top of a rise. Using the element of surprise they take out the mage and archers, enabling the soldiers to break the shield ring.

Their leader, Thornim the Stout, originally appears to be a dwarf, what with his fantastic blond beard, but he is actually just a short human who gets along with the dwarves of Sundabar. He invites the PCs for some dwarven first-aid (beer) and as thanks, lets them know that they could get some work with the barracks in Sundabar if they need it.

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Episode 2 The Tomb of Tarnruth

The party, having deciphered the means of opening Tarnruth’s tomb, descended into a large room, decorated with carved stone trees, and several stone tree pillars. Upon inspection, however, several of these pillars detached from the ceiling and the floor, becoming animate stone trees intent on repelling intruders!

The large, lumbering oak tree was swiftly dispatched, but the flighty elms and two arrow-firing archer traps proved more difficult. Still, they were nothing some decent smashing wouldn’t solve. Claw got nakers and did a triple backflip in the pool at the center of the room, coming up with a handful of gold coins and a bloodstone orb, which everyone proceeded to squabble over. Once the loot was finally split up, they explored a hallway depicting scenes from an Elven sword-mage’s life. The final scene showed her triumphant over a large group of Orcs, but the artist had included a sinister shadow in the background, which suggested that the elf did not come to a good end.

The hallway terminated in a shrine to Corellon Larethian. A statue of him was standing over Gruumish, god of Orcs, and the party poked and prodded for secrets, but failed to discover any. Garvenmov II began to lose patience, and tried to smash the statue, but Eradon interceded, forbidding him from desecrate the shrine of his god. “Kelemvor is the only true god,” grumbled Garvenmov II after a protracted shouting match, with Never trying to keep the wizard and paladin from each other’s throats.

Back in the tree room, took a western door down a short hallway lined with lesser Elven deities to a sarcophagus. The lid proved too heavy for the whole party though, and it was only thanks to Claw’s keen senses and the combined brain of Never and Eradon that the party found a treasure cache under the sarcophagus and latch for the hidden staircase, concealed in the candlesticks. Meanwhile Garvenmov II was attempting to smash his was into the sarcophagus, with some success, but eventually lost interest.

The staircase led down to a room with a mural of the High Forest on the floor and the Nether mountains created in 3-D relief along the north wall of the room. Two pools of silver liquid sat in the center of the room. The moment everyone entered, the door slammed shut and the liquid began to boil, spilling over the rim of the pool and flowing toward them. Silver tendrils shot from the liquid, attacking their legs, and to make matters worse, three humanoid figures rose from the pools, armed with silvery spears. The battle proved tough, and even with a few lucky shots both Eradon and Shamash were knocked unconscious at the end.

A short rest later, the party discovered a second sarcophagus and a ghostly figure of an elven woman. Garvenmov II busted out his best pick up lines, as the ghost labored to explain that she was a famous sword-mage of the old elven kingdom Earlann, and that she desired someone to inherit her will, battling Orcs and other shadowy evils. She asked of recent history, and was shocked to hear that the shadow princes of Netheril had returned from the Shadowfell, wreaking havoc across Faerun. Still the conflicting messages of Garvenmov trying to seduce the ghost, Claw attempting to convince her that he was a creature of darkness, but totally a good guy, Shamash standing around and not looking very interested, and the magic users being overly earnest and angry at their companions in contrast failed to convince Tarnruth. She disappeared. After a cursory poke through her tomb the party headed back to the surface.

There they met Joyin and Terinn, who had been on the lookout for Orcs. The came up to the surface just as the sun was setting across the clearing, and we surprised to find Yatagan, the wizard from Lhuvenhead, emerging into the clearing. He told them that he was worried about their safety and had followed after them, and asked how they had fared in Tarnruth’s trials. He also asked whether the PCs had retrieved anything of value, but when they told him that they had failed, despite Tarnruth’s desire to find a heir in the fight against Netheril, his face darkened.

I see. So you too have failed Tarnuth’s test. That makes this easier, as I’m afraid I can’t have you knowing about this tomb.

As you watch Yatagan’s body straightens, his bent spine reshapes. He passes a hand before his face and the wild whiskers, unkempt eyebrows and huge moles disappear, leaving a clean, but pallid and hairless face, that of a man aged but timeless. His now relaxed stance reminds you of a coiled viper, yet all about him is the aura of empty time, the quiet of worn stone in a lost desert. “I’ve waited long for this,” he says, and as he does, a hush falls over the clearing. It feels as though you’ve lost your sense of hearing, that all living things are holding their breath. The sun dips behind a tree over his shoulder, and in the last gleam of light, you see his body dissolving into tendrils of darkness. And then, he’s gone.

Yatagan disappears.

A black thing suddenly coalesces in the midst of your group: it looks like animate ink, swirling tendrils of darkness. At the top is the round outline of a skull, burning blueblack, it’s eyepits huge, it’s jaws open in a silent cackle. Terrible cold washes over you: your limbs tremble, your bones creak, and your lungs are raw as you suck at each breath. Before you can react darkness explodes all around you, and the visage of that cackling skull streaks toward you, passing through your face. The moment it touches you, a terrible howling laughter rings in your ears.

The PCs struggle against the black thing that Yatagan became, Claw searing it with radiant energy. As the last blow is struck, the black thing screamed, then began to shrink, its blackness folding in on itself. The skull then started to chuckle, to laugh, to howl maniacally. “I’ll remember this,” it said, before winking out of existence. The black pool shot away into the growing darkness and was gone. Garvenmov II tried to loot the spot where it was and found nothing.

Five days later the PCs return to Lhuvenhead, the bodies of the Fellowship of the Shining Spear and Joyin, the surviving member, with them. Halaskar pays them their due through tears of rejoicing, and the PCs pick through the remains of Yatagan’s collapsed tower, finding a few potions and some odd nails.

The session finds them back in Lhuvenhead on Mirtuk 11.

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