Act 1

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The Introduction

21st of Everbloom

The story starts in a tavern in the Dockside district of Fynwell where Kylee O'Ren is recruiting mercenaries for her mission. The only people who answer her flyers and show up to the meeting are Butt Butterscotch, Bilbido Tastyflute, Harlan Underford and Zoryy Feathermoon. Kylee explains that she has been contacted by old family friend Richard Oddenheim who needs assistance securing and transporting some Ancient Artifacts out of Fairhaven.

The protagonists, meet, greet and introduce themselves. Bilbido then performs a song titled "When You Send Me Carrier Pigeons". Patrons of the tavern agree it is an excellent cover of Yoland Swagginson hit single, "When You Send Me Ravens". Every one gets their advance pay (half of the agreed upon sum) and make travel plans.

The Journey

22nd of Everbloom - 3rd of Cinder

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The company books a trip to Fairhaven on the Royal Seagull commanded by Captain Bethany Rogers. The journey by boat between Fynwell and Fairhaven takes about two weeks of travel. While en-route, the ship becomes enveloped in a magical mist that limits its visibility and then is fired upon by a hidden ship.

The projectiles which crash on the deck turn out to be barrels full of bones, which become animated skeleton warriors. While the crew is busy fighting with the undead threat, the enemy ship emerges from the mist and prepares for boarding. Bethany identifies the enemy ship as familiar merchant vessel The Kraken, however it's crew appears to have been replaced by the living dead. One notable addition to the ships silhouette is a massive trebuchet mounted on the back deck. It's hull also appears to be filled to the brim with human bones.

The boarding crew is composed mostly of skeleton warriors accompanied by a few Wights. The heroes are able to keep the deck clear by liberal use of the Thunderwave spell. Most of the Wights are dunked into the brine before they reach close combat range.

The party members without access to deck-clearing spells fight their way to the ballista, and use it to damage the sails of The Kraken. With its sails ripped to shreds, the undead ship falls behind and the Royal Seagull is able to get away.

The enemy ship appears to be commanded by a Squidface, a mysterious Mindflayer wearing pirate garb. During the encounter he briefly manages to mind control both Kylee O'Ren and Bethany Rogers. Kylee experiences a vivid hallucination during which she re-lives the horrific murder of her parents, and passes out.

Bethany on the other hand falls under the control of the Mindflayer and manages to heavily damage the ship's ballista, before she is knocked unconscious by the heroes. The first mate Steven LaCase is grateful that the heroes managed to incapacitate her before she hurt anyone, and before the crew noticed anything.

A Day in Fairhaven

3rd of Cinder

Upon arriving in Fairhaven, the party splits up to attend personal business.

But Butterscotch visited the Fairhaven Temple of Tempest. Kylee O'Ren went shopping and ended up at the Jerk Blacksmith. Harlan Underford established contact with Dirty Dirk, local Thieves Guild member and gathered intel about the local crime underworld.

Dirty Dirk revealed information about the three prominent local gangs, and their leaders: Rando, Smiling Sullivan and Cutthroat Jim.

The party then re-convened at the Nice Blacksmith and haggled over equipment prices.

Meeting with Richard

Richard's Hut

The heroes left Fairhaven to meet with Richard Oddenheim at his archaeological dig site located in Briarwood Forest a few hours of travel away from the city. Instead of excavations however, they found an abandoned hut in a forest clearing.

Zoryy is able to use her ability to speak to animals to confirm a human male was seen entering and leaving the hut in the last few days. Fearing an ambush, the heroes carefully examine the hut, set up a defensive perimeter and attempt to enter inside to search for hidden passages. Suddenly Richard Oddenheim appears out of thin air and demands to know what their business is in this area.

Upon seeing Kylee, he remembers that they were due to meet here, and invites the heroes to follow him inside Richard's Fancyplace, his private extra-dimensional mansion. He proceeds to explain the delicate nature of his mission. He shows the team a stockpile of crates, filled with strange artifacts, but he is reluctant to speak about their source or nature. He does mention that while they have immense historical and cultural value, their mere existence is politically inconvenient for the current rulers of the land. If they were to fall into the wrong hands, it would create a lot of trouble for all the parties involved.

Because of this he has arranged for the artifacts to be smuggled from the country in order to preserve and study them. The team's mission is to transport the crates from the hut, to specified drop-sites in Fairhaven.

To ensure that the artifacts are not discovered, Richard magically seals the crates. Any attempt to open the crates, or break the seals will cause the contents to be destroyed in a flash of magical light.

The party is given a map of drop-sites in the city, and provided with a horse (Snooky) and carriage they can use to transport the crates. The carriage can take up to six crates at a time, so they will have to take at least a dozen trips to transport them all. Upon delivering the crates to the drop locations, they are told to contact Rando DeButt who will handle them from that point on. They are told to meet him at The Wedge tavern.

The tricky part of the mission appears to be getting the cargo through the city gates. Richard warns the team that the guards like to perform random searches and solicit bribes from merchants. He insist that the guards must not open any of the crates. He leaves the logistics of getting the cargo through the gate to the protagonists.

The team loads the cart with five crates and after a short rest departs for the city. They arrange to arrive at small hours of the morning when the guard presence at the gate is sparse, and everyone is tired and ready for a change of guard. Harlan Underford attempts to disguise the crates and make them look very unimportant.

The Ambush

Ambush

While traveling back to Fairhaven the party is ambushed by highway bandits at the small bridge crossing. The Heroes find themselves surrounded. Kylee and Bilbido attempt to negotiate with, while Harlan hides in the bushes to mount counter-ambush. He is able to pick off a few stray bandits with well timed sneak attacks.

The bandits appear to be led by a huge individual standing on the bridge. At the first glance he is about 8 feet tall and wears a loose hooded cloak. Upon closer inspection, it turns out it's actually two people: a halfling standing on the shoulders of a tall and muscular human. The negotiations fail and the bandits launch an all out attack.

The halfling is very fast and agile. He is able to snatch Kylees gold purse and get away. The purse contain the remaining money that she had owed to the other members of the party, payable upon completion of the job. The large human appears to be the halfling's bodyguard and protector. During the fight he angrily punches the team's horse in the face, knocking it out. Both leave the scene with the money, leaving the rest of the men behind.

During the brawl, some of the bandits manage to drop one of the crates which explodes, destroying the contents and harming the bandits.

Butters and Kylee are able to take on most of the attackers head on, dispatching several of them out right. Zoryy uses the confusion to shape-shift into a horse form. The bandits do not expect a horse to be hostile, and she is able to take several of them by surprise. In the meantime Bilbido and Harlan work from the shadows, relying on stealth and sneak attacks, though eventually both are taken out of action. Bilbido is knocked out by a Half Orc bandit, while Harlan ends up caught in a snare trap set up by the attackers.

Fairhaven City Guard

The bandits suffer heavy casualties and survivors fee the scene. One of them, Bob the Dwarf, is captured and interrogated. He reveals he works for Rando DeButt. The party votes whether or not to spare his life. Harlan insists that they let the bandit go, Zoryy is undecided since she wants to spare him but also sees the risks involved, and the rest of the party agrees it would be too dangerous. Butterscotch slits the bandit's throat with his dagger.

After looting the bandits, and throwing the bodies into the river, the party resumes their journey.

Upon arriving at the city gates, the heroes decide to split the party. Kylee and Bilbido are chosen to ride on the cart and pretend to be merchants. Kylee is chosen for her tradeswoman experience, and the fact that she can pass for a hired bodyguard. Bilbido is chosen for his and personal charm and the fact he can pass as a merchant and sweet talk his way through the gates.

The rest of the party follows behind, close enough intervene and try to rescue as many crates as possible in case of a scuffle.

The groggy guards at the gate are profoundly uninterested in the cargo, until Captain Horsepuncher shows up. He notices that the horse had a black eye, and that the cart has scuff-marks in places where it was hit by crossbow bolts. He tries to solicit a bribe, until the heroes mention Rando DeButt at which point he immediately backs off. As the team departs he gives them a few tips on how to punch a horse so that it won't show which is rather disturbing.

A Rando Encounter

Drop Sites in Fairhaven

The heroes are able to deliver the crates to the agreed upon drop-sites in the city without any issues. Upon finishing, they head to The Wedge tavern to meet with Rando DeButt and agree upon the pick-up schedule.

Upon entering the tavern, they realize that Rando is actually the same halfling who lead the highway bandits who attacked them. He is accompanied by his half-brother Krud DeButt (the huge, muscular human warrior) and several other surviving bandits. Rando offers nominal apology for the "misunderstanding" and gives back what is left of the money they stole. He and his men already spent most of the cash in the purse.

Both sides realize they need to work together in the future and so the meeting ends without a physical altercation. On the way out, the heroes order few cases of ale on Rando's tab, and take them back to the Royal Seagull.

While on their way, they notice flyers and posters announcing a grand concert at the Bacon Theather featuring Yoland Swagginson as the main attraction.

Party at the Seagull

Dragon Dice

The heroes spend the night at the Royal Seagull and attend a big sailor party and drinking bender.

During the party, they play Dragon Dice with Bethany Rogers, Steven LaCase and Little D. During the game Harlan Underford cheats on a crucial dice roll and wins over 80 gold. He shares some of his illicit winnings with Bilbido Tastyflute and Butt Butterscotch who lost almost all their cash.

Bethany brings out The Captain's Reserve. The heroes partake in binge drinking of strange grog made by sailors and pass out.

Dinner with Richard

4th of Cinder

In the morning Harlan Underford goes out to scout the city walls for possible alternate routes into the city, to avoid more close calls with the city guard. He does not find a reliable entrance they could use, but does hear rumors that Prince Regent is due to arrive in town and that security is being increased in the anticipation for his arrival.

At the same time Butt Butterscotch goes to visit the Fairhaven Shrine of Tempus and upon touching the stone on the altar has a vivid prophetic vision.

In the evening the heroes are invited to a dinner at Richard's Fancyplace to discuss the details of the operation in more detail. Kylee O'Ren is still recovering from the party, so she decides to stay on the ship. She does, however, write Richard a short letter, describing the altercation with Rando and his men.

Richard is disturbed by the letter and promises to take care of the matter, and recover the money Rando stole. He advises the heroes to hold off making any drops until the matter is settled.

In the meantime, he wants the heroes to do him another favor in order to move his research along. Richard is interested in locating ruins of a Lost Dwarf Fortress in the area. He believes that the Dwarves traded with local aristocrat Lord Aiden whose family owned land somewhere near by, long before Fairhaven was founded. He believes he found a possible location of Lord Aiden's Mansion and would like the heroes to investigate its ruins for any possible clues about the fortress. He is especially interested in Lord Aiden's Trade Ledger or any other trade ledgers and documents that might have been preserved.

He provides the party with a set of magical scrolls he thinks might be useful in their mission as well as set of magical Key Stones that they may need to enter Lord Aiden's Study chamber. He also attempts to teach them some of the ancient alphabet that was used in Lord Aiden's times so that they can identify the correct documents if they find them.

The mansion ruin is located few days of travel away from Fairhaven, so the heroes decide to spend the night at the Royal Seagull and depart the next morning. At night they receive a Tweet from Richard saying that he is in the city to deal with Rando.

The heroes decide to head to The Wedge in order to back Richard up, and make sure he doesn't get himself into trouble. When they arrive, they see the tavern is temporarily closed due to a gaping hole in the wall. An eye-witness confirms that it was vandalized by an angry wizard. There was no casualties on either side.

Search for Lord Aiden's Mansion

5th of Cinder

The heroes follow Richard's map towards the approximate location of the ruins of the mansion. They camp overnight, and keep watch, but the night is uneventful.

6th of Cinder

The heroes arrive at the location indicated on the map without issue. They find no traces of human settlement so they retrace their steps tying to make sure they are in the correct place. Even though they have been walking for a significant amount of time, it feels like they are actually walking in circles. Eventually they decide to split the party and search the forest for clues, and re-convene few hours later.

Bilbido Tastyflute proceeds to get completely lost. The part meets at the agreed upon location sans Bilbido and empty handed. They then decide to search for their friend. They manage to find him rather quickly, and in the process notice strange visual distortions out of the corner of their eye. Zoryy detects presence of strong illusion magic that appears to be concealing something.

Upon closer inspection, the heroes realize that the forest appears to been divided into twenty feet cubes that seem to shift around and move and that walking into or past them. The edges of the cubes do not align properly, as if each cube was a projection of the forest, from a different perspective. The party quickly learns to manipulate the cubes, and realize it is a gigantic tile puzzle.

Upon solving the puzzle the heroes find themselves now standing in a murky, lifeless version of the forest. The sky appears to be permanently overcast and the vegetation appears to have died without access to direct sunlight. Some of the leafless, sickly trees in the vicinity appear to come alive, and turn out the be Leafless Ents.

Zoryy Feathermoon is able to speak Sylvan and communicate with the Ents. They appear to be very young, and all seem to have awakened in this murky version of the forest. Zoryy confirms that they were likely created by high concentration of magic in the area.

The Ents do not appear to be hostile. Zoryy and Butt Butterscotch both use healing magic to make them sprout leaves and flowers for the first time in their life.

In the center of the lifeless forest clearing there is an obelisk covered in runes. There are decomposing skeletal remains of several adventurers strewn across the garden. They appear to have been dead for a very long time.

The heroes then approach the wall surrounding Lord Aiden's Mansion. The wall appears to have magical protection that will thwart any attempt to climb it. There is a single gate, but it is locked by a Magical Puzzle Lock. Heroes use the notes they took at the dinner with Richard to quickly solve the puzzle and open the gate.

The Lifeless Gardens

After opening the gate, the heroes enter the inner courtyard and dilapidated, Lifeless Garden. In the middle of the courtyard there is a large stone statue representing a woman armed with a heavy club.

While the garden looks old and abandoned, the mansion itself is in a very good shape and shows no sign of disrepair. No roof tiles are missing, no masonry is crumbled and all the windows still have glass in them. The grass is perfectly kept as well.

Harlan Underford notices a mysterious figure observing the party from the second story window. The stranger appears to be clad in full plate armor, wearing a helmet with it's visor down to hide the face.

Zoryy Feathermoon notices a small bat hanging around the statue. She attempts to communicate with the bat using her druidic powers. She learns that the bat is named Bruce and that he is the night. He is adamant that the party leaves the property right away, lest his master become very cross with them. Zoryy confirms that the creature is a Familiar. It identifies it's master as Count Drakenhoff who apparently currently resides in the mansion.

After it becomes clear the heroes are not about to leave, Bruce becomes irritated and flies off. Harlan considers shooting the bat as it flies away to preven him from alerting his master. Zoryy stops him pointing out that the familiar's master is linked to the animal, and already knows of their presence. She suggests a diplomatic approach, hoping that perhaps the current resident of the mansion may be convinced to trade for the ledgers.

As the heroes approach the mansion, the statue comes to life and swipes it's club at Bilbido Tastyflute sending him flying across the gardens. A fight ensues, and the heroes are able defeat the animated statue. It crumbles into pieces. Zoryy and Bilbido take the two Red Gems that were it's eyes to have them identified later.

The door to the mansion has an ordinary, mundane lock, and Harlan is able to lock-pick it in no time. The heroes carefully enter the mansion.

The Mansion

Upon entering the mansion, the Protagonists find themselves in a expansive foyer. They admire several stuffed Owlbears, as well as a huge painting above the mantle. The painting depicts Count Drakenhoff along with family, and servants.

They start exploring the mansion starting with the ground floor. The the place seems to be unusually clean, and taken care of. There is almost no dust, and no cobwebs suggesting regular maintenance and habitation.

In one of the rooms heroes find some Drakenhoff Aged Wine. The heroes proceed to open one of the bottles and have an impromptu wine tasting. Surprisingly no one gets poisoned. Butt Butterscotch takes few bottles for later.

Bilbido Tastyflute finds a Leather Bound Music Journal which appears to contain notes by some unknown composer.

While traversing a long hallway the heroes are spotted by Bruce who is inside the house now. He activates one of the mansions defense mechanisms by pulling a lever on the wall, threatening, "Mr. Q*Bert is gonna F You Up!"

A Study in Cubism

When Bruce pulls on the lever, several small holes open in the wall behind the heroes, and a Gelatinous Cube oozes into the hallway. The team keeps their distance, and advances forward while taking shots at the slow moving creature behind them. Bruce sees the heroes advancing and disappears beyond the corner. Heroes try several doors in the hallway but some are locked, and they do not want to stick around trying to lock-pick them while the cube is moving purposefully towards them.

When they reach the corner Bruce is there, and this time he brought friends in form of several bat swarms. There appears to be another gelatinous cube approaching from the opposite side of the hallway. Between the two cubes, and the bat swarms the heroes are funneled toward a stairway. They opt to head upstairs, fearing getting trapped in the cellar.

Upstairs there is another long hallway with several closed doors. The cubes follow the heroes upstairs, and continue advancing towards them. Eventually they reach the end of the hallway and Harlan Underford picks the lock. They find themselves in a small study that contains a desk, and several shelves of books and ledgers. They figure this room may contain Lord Aiden's Trade Ledger and decide to make their stand here.

While the heroes try to set up defense position to fight the cubes at range, they are ambushed by bat swarms. During the frantic fight they use up both of their Fire Bolt scrolls. They are eventually able to vanquish both of the cubes, and chase most of the bats away.

They begin searching the study for the ledger, inspecting the desk and the book shelves. Harlan Underford notices finely woven tapestries hanging in the room and touches one of them. His hand passes through, revealing it to be a Magical Tapestry Portal leading to Lord Aiden's Study.

Suddenly the heroes find themselves in a White Room facing Bruce and Count Drakenhoff.

Bat Beat Down

Brucebattle.jpg

Count Drakenhoff believes the heroes are responsible for the disappearance of an old man who used to visit the mansion. The heroes try to negotiate with Count Drakenhoff but he appears to be uninterested in anything but unconditional surrender. The protagonists refuse to lay down their arms and be captured and prepare to fight. Drakenhoff considers facing them, but ultimately leaves the job of subduing the invaders to his familiar Bruce.

The tiny bat transforms into his monstrous demon form. In this form he is incredibly strong and fast, and more than capable of taking on the protagonists who have been weakened by the fight against the gelatinous cubes and bat swarms. He manages to knock out Bilbido Tastyflute, but eventually is defeated.

He transforms back into his bat form and flies away. Count Drakenhoff returns to the room, to finish the job. At this point the heroes are very weak and completely depleted in terms of spells and ammunition. The heroes make a decision to use one of Richard's Scrolls to cast Oddenheim Domicile and scramble into the portal, dragging the unconscious party members along.

Inside of the pocket dimension they rest up, heal, and prepare for battle. Upon regaining consciousness, Bilbido Tastyflute sings a song to bolster the spirits of his comrades. After taking a long rest, the heroes emerge from the pocket dimension ready for a fight.

7th of Cinder

To their surprise they are no longer in the White Room but back on the ground floor of the mansion. They re-orient themselves and decide to go back upstairs and finish rummaging through the study, this time avoiding the tapestries.

On their way, they are once again spotted by Bruce. Almost immediately, they find themselves inexplicably transported to the White Room where Count Drakenhoff awaits them.

Everyone Dies in The White Room

This time Bruce stays out of the fight, humbled by the previous encounter. Count Drakenhoff takes the matter into his own hands. To even the odds, he drives his sword into the ground and summons three Fake Hoffs using his blood magic. Those phantom copies of himself appear to have a fraction of his power and magical ability.

What ensues is a protracted and arduous battle between the heroes and four Hoffs. Upon being defeated, the Fake Hoffs explode into clouds of bats, which continue fighting, harassing the heroes. One by one, all of the protagonists fall. Last two men standing are Harlan Underford and Butt Butterscotch. As one of the Fake Hoffs cuts down Butterscotch, Harlan is able to get behind the real Drakenhoff and deal a final blow that causes him to fall prone.

As Drakenhoff falls, Harlan is attacked from behind by previously unseen enemy. An armored hand lifts him into the air and attempts to break his neck. Just before Harlan falls unconscious he sees Drakenhoff ordering the unseen assailant to stand down.

Captive Audience

Samuel Summers

The heroes wake up back in the room with the magical tapestries. They are fully healed, and any injuries they have suffered are gone. They are all gagged and tied to chairs. Harlan Underford notes that whoever restrained them did not have much experience in tying people up, and tried to make up for it by using excessive amount of rope. When he looks around the room he sees a scrawny, teenage boy attending to Zoryy Feathermoon. He appears to be tenderly adjusting her bindings so that they not any more uncomfortable than they need to be.

When the boy realizes the heroes are starting to wake up, he immediately shifts into the Count Drakenhoff form. When Harlan calls him out on it, the boy becomes flustered and returns to his youthful appearance realizing there is no point in keeping up the charade. The heroes aggressively demand to be released, making the boy increasingly more nervous. This prompts a hulking giant in full plate armor to enter the room, but the boy sends him away.

The boy demands to know how they have found his secret mansion. Harlan reveals that they have been sent by an affluent scholar and archaeologist researching the history of the the Aiden Family. He decides to conceal the fact their employer is also a powerful wizard. The boy is skeptical of that story and keeps questioning them about man named Senjack who has recently vanished. This man was the only person in Fairhaven who knew how to find the mansion and bypass the protective magic that conceals it. The boy suspects that the heroes are vampire hunters who have captured, and possibly killed Senjack for this information, and arrived here in order to kill him. He also suspects backup will be arriving in the form of Knights of Tempus.

Even if they are hired mercenaries, as they claim, they cannot be released now that hey know his secret. They could easily sell the information to actual hunters, or worse yet, publicly expose him making him a target for any and all adventurers.

Harlan realizes that the boy might actually be a good person despite his vampirism, and that the idea of holding them prisoner makes him visibly uncomfortable. He feeds him more lies to appeal to his pity and threats to make him reconsider his plans to keep them captive. The boy becomes visibly flustered and leaves the room to think.

Harlan uses this, to retrieve the hidden dagger he always keeps in his shoe using his Arcane Trickster skills. He is able to free himself from the inexpertly tied bindings in no time, and he starts untying his companions. By the time their captor returns, almost all team members are free and fully armed.

Seeing weapons in their hands, the large suit of armor following the boy opens up, and envelops him inside, revealing that it is a magical armor golem. From inside his protective construct the boy ends up negotiating a truce. He reveals his name is Samuel Summers and the suit of armor is Mr Clatterby. He tells them how he came to be a vampire against his will, and how he inherited the mansion after Count Drakenhoff fell.

The heroes end up convincing him that their story is true by showing him the Key Stones given to them by Richard Oddenheim, seeing how Senjack did not have any such stones. Samuel explains that the stones appear to be a key to unlocking one of the Magical Tapestry Portals in this very room. He shows them how the tapestries work, by taking them to the Extraplanar Portal Hub and showing them the many tapestries on display there. He also explains how difficult they are to explore due to the fact many of them may be dead ends with no return portal, and others may lead to planes of existence where time flows differently, or which are inhabitable or even lethal to the living or the undead.

The Key Stones in their possession appear to be attuned to the other tapestry in the room: the one, that Samuel believes, leads to Lord Aiden's Study proper. In his 300 years of living in the mansion, he has been unable to activate that portal, and he is very curious as to what secrets are on the other side. He does not, however want to explore it by himself, for fear of getting stuck. Thus he concocts a plan, and asks the heroes to be his forward scouts. If they traverse the portal, and return to tell a story, he will allow them to keep the documents they came for, and release them, provided they make an oath not to reveal him to their employer.

The heroes agree to these terms and prepare for a dangerous journey into the unknown. To prepare them, Samuel gives them several Healing Potions. He also gives Kylee O'Ren a magical hammer named Whiplash and Butt Butterscotch a Healing Amulet with the symbol of Tempus. Finally he asks them to donate some blood before they leave, so that he can feed. All the members of the party, except Harlan Underford agree to this, and give blood to the vampire. Harlan politely declines, fearing the act could potentially give the vampire some power over him.

Detention in the Study Hall

The heroes briefly discuss how to handle crossing the portal. If the time was to flow differently on the other side, they could get separated when entering one by one, so they decide to hold hands and enter as a group. Upon crossing to the other side they find themselves on a Steelstone platform similar to the Extraplanar Portal Hub. They realize Butt Butterscotch is not with them.

They quickly make a decision to cross back into the mansion to check if Butterscotch got somehow separated, and test whether or not the time flows differently in both places. They return mere seconds after they left, confirming the passage of time is about the same on both sides of the portal.

They find Butterscotch on the floor. A big hole has been blown in the side of his armor, where the pouch with his Key Stone was attached. Apparently the stone he was issued had a flaw and exploded when he tried to enter the portal. The heroes immediately use some of the healing potions they were given, to stabilize Butterscotch and bring him back on his feet.

They decide to go back across the portal but now they are a stone short. After some experimentation they realize that one person can carry multiple stones. They simply have one person double back with a spare stone and pick up whoever stays behind.

They begin exploring what appears to be Lord Aiden's Study proper. Lord Aiden appears to have built himself a sizable library with large book shelves full of strange books and tomes. They are greeted by the Flumph Librarian who appears on the pedestal at the far side of the room. It informs them that the library is closed and inquires about the reason for their visit.

Harlan Underford tries to bluff, claiming they are maintenance crew. The Flumph asks them to confirm their credentials by placing a hand on the pedestal. It then consults magical devices on the pedestal and asks them to wait. A small panel opens in the pedestal, revealing five small cups with strange smelling liquid. Flumph encourages them to help themselves to the "refreshments". The heroes politely take one cup each, but all except Zoryy Feathermoon do not drink the liquid. After performing a smell check, Zoryy decides it smells delicious and has small sip. The beverage turned out to be a heavy sedative, causing her mouth to go numb.

Eventually the Flumph receives a confirmation via his magical apparatus, and calls Harlan's bluff. Alarm sounds start ringing, and curtain walls slide down over all the book shelves and doors. Four Caretaker Modrons appear from between the book shelves and proceed to attack the heroes. Two of them appear to be configured for ranged combat, while the other two seem to prefer fighting at close range.

The heroes defeat two of the creatures, and another two appear on the scene. These scuttle around on the floor picking up bits of their fallen comrades and proceed to start repairing them.

As the fight continues, the Modrons change tactics, and re-configure themselves into two Modron Protectrons by stacking one on top of the other. The heroes manage to finally defeat them, and destroy their metallic bodies to the point where it would be difficult to get them fully repaired.

The heroes note that destroying the modrons granted them access to pass, and the door behind the pedestal is unlocked so they proceed down the The Winding Walkway until they reach a room sized area with runes on the ground, the Floor Tile Puzzle.

The puzzle is composed of pressure plates with magical glyphs. Stepping on each activates a different effect.

Harlan tries to test few pressure plates by throwing his water skin on them to see if they activate. Unfortunately, the pressure plates seem to be calibrated to activate only when a person steps on them.

Through some trial and error the heroes decipher enough symbols to avoid the dangerous trap plates. They also realize that two people can fit on a single pressure plate and quickly "conga line" through the puzzle.

They continue down the walkway until they reach a large door, protected by Combination Lock. They deduce the glyphs on the buttons are probably numbers and that the door can be unlocked by entering an appropriate code. They enter few test combinations. This seems to set off another magical alarm, and two more Protectrons appear in the distance behind them. At the far end of the hallway, the walls begin to close in the protagonists, forcing them to attempt to quickly solve the puzzle.

The heroes frantically try more combinations. Eventually Harlan and Zoryy suggest trying and ordered sequence such as "1234", which would appeal to rigid and orderly minds of the Modron caretakers. The door unlocks.

Lower Thy Chub Sir

Arielle

When the door to the inner chamber of Lord Aiden's Study opens, the heroes meet Arielle, a very tall, young woman with red hair, and strange clothes. She immediately calls off the Modron Protectrons claiming she does not need their help. Bilbido Tastyflute is extremely excited to see her. Butt Butterscotch advises him to lower his... Expectations.

Instead of being concerned about the strange people invading her magical habitat, she seems intrigued and overjoyed to see new faces. She asks them many strange questions, and inquires how they managed to get in, and whether they have seen her father, Lord Aiden. She appears to have spent a very long time in this study and is eager to get out.

The protagonists are guarded at first and reluctant to answer her questions directly, fearing a a Drakenhoff encounter all over again. They try to find out more about her, and whether or not she is telling the truth. If she is indeed Aiden's daughter, it would make her a direct descendant of Paragons. Harlan Underford quietly muses as to exactly how much gold would Richard Oddenheim would pay to meet a real live Pargon.

Arielle is very interested in the Key Stones and asks whether or not she could borrow one of them to get out of the study. The team briefly discusses the pros and cons of letting a wild paragon into the world. Harlan is adamant that whatever they decide to do with her, they can't just leave her locked up in the study. The heroes decide to take her back to the mansion, if she allows them to take Lord Aiden's Trade Ledger. During the conversation they inadvertently let it slip that many centuries have passed in the outside world, and that Lord Aiden is a mostly forgotten historical figure to them, and that Paragons are considered a mere legend. Arielle is shocked by these news. She agrees to the trade.

Upon returning to the Magical Tapestry Portal the team does the back-and-forward trick again, to take six people back with only two stones. The first people in warn Samuel not to freak out. He immediately assumes the Count Drakenhoff form to look more distinguished. After crossing the portal, Arielle waves the illusion away with a simple gesture. She also temporarily disables Mr Clatterby who seems alarmed by the new guest.

The two ancient beings talk for a while, exchanging their life stories. Arielle mentions that she cannot sense any of her kin on this plane of existence. Normally she would be a able to feel their presence, if they were here, but all Paragons seem to have been gone from the world. She is intrigued by Samuel's stories about the Purge and she wonders whether or not anyone she knows have survived them. She becomes concerned that if anyone is still searching for Paragons would be able to sense her arrival.

He asks the heroes to leave her one of the Key Stones so that she can return to the study for the time being, but have the ability to come and go as she pleases. The team decides to leave her and Samuel one of the stones each. This way both will have the ability to cross the portal, and they will have a backup if one of them explodes like the one used by Butt Butterscotch.

Arielle begs them not to tell anyone about her existence. They agree to lie to Richard and say that three of the stones exploded as they were attempting to explore the study.

Before they leave, Samuel and Bruce teach Zoryy how to summon her own familiar, Treeodore. Samuel also gives them Samuel's Scroll as a way to keep in touch.

8th of Cinder

After getting some food and some rest, the heroes leave the mansion. On their way out they examine some of the corpses in the Lifeless Garden. Harlan Underford finds an Alchemical Vial full of silver liquid. Zoryy Feathermoon finds a Magical Sickle. They note that during their time inside the mansion, the Garden Gnome has re-assembled itself.

Come at me Bro

Broblin

At night, the heroes break for camp. Harlan Underford takes the first shift. At some point he hears a lot of noise, as if a group of people was making its way through the forest. Though he can't understand what they are saying, he is able to distinguish a few choice common swear words in their conversations. He extinguishes the fire, and wakes up his companions. They all hide in the bushes and wait.

Harlan is the closest to the road, and he is able to see an army of goblins passing by. There are over a hundred individuals in the army, all armed, and some riding wolves. They are also dragging carts with supplies and equipment. There are heading in general direction of Fairhaven but even someone inexperienced in the ways of war can see there are too few of them to lay siege to the city. The walls are simply too high, and too well defended. Harlan knows from his own exploration of the city that there are no weak points in the defenses that a small army like this could exploit to get inside.

The army passes without noticing them. One of the wolf riders in the rear guard however looks straight at Harlan at some point. It is likely a coincidence though, since Harlan's stealth skills are unmatched.

After the army passes, the heroes wait a few hours, then re-kindle the fire, and get back to sleep. The next watch is taken by Butt Butterscotch. At some point he notices a goblin wolf rider entering the campsite from the shadows. As Butterscotch wakes up the rest of the party, the goblin circles around the campsite, then dismounts his extremely large wolf. Zoryy Feathermoon recognizes the animal to be a Worg.

The goblin is missing an ear, and bears many scars, marking him as a war veteran or an expert fighter. From his equipment, one can deduce he is a hunter. He notices the knightly garb, and holy symbols and approaches Butterscotch issuing a challenge for unarmed combat. Butterscotch accepts, and removes his armor, and discards his weapons. The Broblin does the same, but keeps a large metal shackle with a foot of chain attached to his hand. When Butterscotch points it out, the goblin claims it his not his choice, and is unable to remove it.

As the warriors prepare for fight, Harlan Underford and Zoryy Feathermoon conspire to step in if the fight was to go badly. If it looks that Butterscotch is starting to lose, Harlan intends to step in, and stab the goblin in the back. He wants Zoryy to speak to the Worg and distract it long enough to make this possible.

Unfortunately, this preparation is unnecessary. As the Broblin pounces upon Butterscotch, a dark blade sprouts from the shackle, and he stabs the gnome three times in the chest. Butterscotch goes down, bleeding. The Broblin then whirls around and starts attacking the other party members. The Worg announces he intends to eat Harlan. Hearing that, Harlan heroically retreats into the forest, as far away from the animal as possible. The rest of the team combine their forces and take down the goblin. Harlan eventually overcomes his fear, and plinks few crossbow bolts into the fray from the safety of the bushes.

After the Broblin dies the Cursed Shackle detaches itself from his arm. Butterscotch picks it up, and it immediately attaches itself to him. He is unable to remove it.

The heroes re-locate their camp, and wait some time to see if the goblin brought any reinforcements, but it appears he did not tell anyone where he was going. The heroes go back to sleep. Zoryy takes the next watch, and while meditating she has a strange vision.

Gigantic Problem

9th of Cinder

Mule.jpg

The next morning, the heroes resume their march towards Fairhaven. They send Richard Oddenheim a Tweet warning him about the goblin warband, in case it would be passing near his hut.

Once they get to a small bridge crossing, they notice a bit of a commotion on the other side. A group of goblins (likely members of the same army they have seen last night) have set up a barricade across the road. The barricade however seems to be facing away from the heroes. There is a large ballista in the middle pointed down road. Whoever the goblins are trying to ambush is probably going going to be traveling from Fairhaven or one of the other coastal settlements.

The group contains less than a dozen goblins, and one large Bugbear who appears to be in charge of moving and aiming the heavy ballista. Two of the goblins are mounted on regular wolfs. The heroes decide to ambush the ambushers, but get noticed while crossing the bridge. Harlan Underford tells a very bad pun and then casts Tasha's Hideous Laughter on the Bugbear causing him to laugh uncontrollably for several minutes. The heroes then go to task, eliminating his smaller brethren with a high degree of efficiency. The bugbear continues to laugh even as a fight erupts around him, and doesn't even stop when being stabbed by his allies. Eventually he gets his shit together only to become target of a few damage spells, and capturing a crossbow bolt with his face.

After few minutes, only two goblins are left alive, and the heroes are no worse for the wear. They hear horns in the distance, and ground starts to rumble as if a large group of riders was approaching. They attempt to question the goblins, but hey are extremely scared and beg them to shoot the Mule when it comes.

The heroes approach the barricade, only to see a group of 40 goblin riders being pursued by an angry hill giant. The giant seems to be wearing shackles, and rambles incoherently about never being taken prisoner again. He is raging and covered in green blood. Nevertheless, the heroes decide to reason with the giant. They send Butterscotch across the barricade along with one of the tied up, captive goblins to show they are enemies of his enemies and thus can be his friends. Zoryy Feathermoon happens to know the Hill Giant language so she tries to call for a truce.

The giant appears to be very angry, and not in a mood for negotiation. He takes a swing at Butterscotch, but the Cleric is able to withstand it, and is simply swept aside with minimal damage. Seeing that the negotiations are not going well, Harlan Underford fires the ballista which was primed and aimed already. Bilbido Tastyflute and Kylee O'Ren then help to reload the device for another shot.

Once the giant is close enough, he is able to destroy the ballista with his tree trunk club. At that point however it is surrounded, and succumbs to the Protagonists, collapsing ontop of Kylee and a tree as he goes down. Harlan is able to pick the lock to remove the Giant's shackles, and the heroes revive him using spare dying, then heal him a bit until he regains consciousness. The giant is still very mistrustful, but when he notices his shackles were removed he ceases to be hostile. He gathers his club and scrambles away into the distance. He sees Butterscotch's shiny armor and tries to put him in his pouch and keep him. Luckily Butt is able to climb out before becoming part of a giant's personal treasure collection.

The heroes resume their travel.

Gateway into Piracy

WestmarchKingsguard.jpg

The heroes arrive at the gates of Fairhaven only to discover a long, winding line of people. It appears that the Prince Regent has arrived in the city, and the city defenses have been bolstered. The Fairhaven Cityguard patrols have been bolstered by the Westmarch Kingsguard and they have instituted new protocols for entering and leaving the city. All those who enter are searched, and questioned about the recent pirate activity.

The heroes queue up and wait, chatting with the other people to find out more about the situation. As they get closer, they see Captain Horsepuncher sitting alone and dejected, as his operation was taken over by the Kingsguard. They also notice a lot of new wanted posters pasted outside of the gate. One of them offers a reward of a thousand gold pieces for the body of a hill giant that has been terrorizing the local countryside interested parties can inquire at The Golden Stag. The other, larger, and very prominent poster asks the Fairhaven residents to submit any information about recent pirate activity to the Kingsguard. They offer 50 gold for a useful tip, and 200 gold reward for information leading to a capture of pirates.

Bilbido Tastyflute is first in line, and he is able to get past through the control checkpoint without any issues. Butt Butterscotch decides to create diversion and uses Thaumaturgy to throw his voice and make it appear as if someone in the distance was warning everyone about a pirate attack. Before people start to panic, the Kingsguard close the gate and establish a defensive perimeter. They send a squad to investigate and patrol the area. After about two hours, the patrol returns, and the guards resume their operation.

When the guards search Butt Butterscotch they are alarmed by the shackle on his wrist. They want to detain him, but a senior officer of the Kingsguard, Sergeant Sebastian, examines the chain, and notices it is an antique. Shackles of this type have not been used in decades so he decides it must be a memento of some sort and releases the cleric.

The heroes enter the city without any more problems. Butt Butterscotch throws his voice again, causing more commotion and delays at the gate. The heroes still have a few hours of daylight, so they decide to split up and attend to their own matters.

It was totally a fair maiden

Marius Verman

Bilbido Tastyflute decides to cash in on his knowledge of piratical activity in the region. He approaches Kingsguard with the tip, and is directed to Fairhaven Keep. There he is questioned by Marius Verman a wizard of 3rd Order who is in charge of the investigation. Verman is accompanied by Miss Madox, his gnome assistant. He is a bit surprised to see such a high ranked wizard to be handling such a petty matter. The wizard seems to be equally annoyed and baffled by having to perform this function.

While in the process of snitching, Bilbido realizes that he could make a lot of trouble for Bethany Rogers and her crew. They might be detained and questioned at length, if he was to give their names or the name of the ship. If they do want to help the guard to capture the pirates, they can always come forward themselves.

He gives Verman a fake name "The Fair Maiden" and claims they have arrived about a week ago. The wizard thanks him for his contribution and asks his assistant to go to the docks and pull the manifests and see if the ship is still docked, or if it is due to return soon.

CSI Fairhaven

Harlan Underford and Zoryy Feathermoon head out to Gustavo's Marvelous Elixirs in order to identify the magical items they have discovered in the Lifeless Garden. The place is closed as usual, but upon seeing a pouch full of coins waved in the window Gustavo Lutz invites the heroes inside.

He quotes them an astronomical price for identification, but becomes intrigued when shown the Alchemical Vial. He consults his notes, and claims it is very valuable alchemist tool capable of changing the state of the substance poured inside. When he pours out the silvery liquid out of it into a glass, it immediately hardens into a chunk of platinum. He offers to auction it off for Harlan, and take percentage of the profits, which are to be very large. Harlan politely declines.

As a gesture of good will he offers to identify the Magical Sickle for free. It turns out to be a humane tool used by druids to cut of branches from their holy trees without harming or disfiguring them.

Afterwards, the two heroes head to Senjack's house near the city walls. Harlan picks the lock, and they enter inside, only to find some signs of struggle. There are scraps of clothing on the floor, and also the floor is covered in mud not from within the city. Something heavy has been removed from one of the closets. Harlan questions the upstairs neighbor, who claims she has not heard any struggle in the house. She also has not seen anyone visiting Senjack recently. She has not seen him in few days, but assumed he was on one of his fishing trips which usually take a few days.

Have You Seen Any Warlocks

Warlock Stout

Butt Butterscotch decides to visit the Fairhaven Shrine of Tempus once again. There he has his second vision.

Afterwards he goes to Gustavo's Marvelous Elixirs to have the Cursed Shackle looked at. Gustavo Lutz quotes him an astronomical price for identification that Butterscotch cannot afford. He tries to haggle, but all is for nothing.

Finally he decides to follow up on the tip he received from Samuel Summers and visit The Hammer, a tavern in the shady part of town connected to Warlock activity. He questions the bartender about Warlocks, and he nods knowingly, and requests 5 gold pieces. He then proceeds to pour him a Warlock Stout.

Butterscotch drinks the stout, and proceeds to have vivid hallucinations. He starts a bar fight, and is promptly thrown out by the bouncers, and told never to come back, and not to mention the Warlock Stout which is very illegal.

10th of Cinder

Next day the heroes meet back together, and head towards the city gates. They decide to visit Richard Oddenheim and drop off the ledger, and then go investigate the fishing village where Senjack was last seen. Butt Butterscotch is still tripping on the Warlock Stout. He shows his companions the bottle. Harlan Underford examines it, and believes he could investigate rumors to find the general location of the brewery. He then disposes of the bottle.

Alliances broken in an Alley

As they near towards the gates, they see a lot of commotion ahead. They see Yoland Swagginson and his entourage greeting his fans, and handing out fliers and tickets for his show. The party gets separated by the crowd. A woman seems to recognize Bilbido Tastyflute and calls him by name, as she is being dragged into an alley by two shady thugs. Bilbido follows her into the alley followed by Harlan Underford who makes a failed attempt to flag down the rest of the team, expecting a trap.

Harlan's instincts prove to be correct, and the heroes find themselves surrounded by armed thugs, led by Rando DeButt. The bard suffers a blow to the head which stuns him, but he remains conscious. Rando appears to be dissatisfied with the way the heroes have been doing business so far, and wants to assume greater control over the entire enterprise. In particular he wants to know the address of Richard Oddenheim, and the place where he stores the crates. He wants the heroes to betray the wizard, and to ensure compliance he threatens Harlan's family in Fynwell. Harlan agrees to the terms, but secretly considers this an open declaration of war.

Rando also reveals he has a Secret Tunnel that can be used to smuggle the crates into the city. Location of this tunnel is a closely guarded secret known only to him and his most trusted accomplices. He graciously offers to allow the heroes to continue their delivery work, and reveal the location of the tunnel, provided they give up the Wizard. Upon delivering his demands, Rando and his thugs vacate the area, just as the rest of the heroes arrive with backup in the form of three city guards. Seeing that no crime has been committed the guards and the thugs wander off.

Harlan immediately sends a coded message to Fynwell via the Mages Guild letting his family know they might be in danger, and should take immediate precautions. He also tracks down Dirty Dirk and tasks him with digging up any dirt on Rando he can find. He also wants him to connect him with any potential enemies that Rando has in the city.

Later that day the heroes meet Richard Oddenheim at Crown's Crest and give him Lord Aiden's Trade Ledger. While reporting on their trip, they omit mentioning Samuel or Arielle. They also warn Richard about Rando's plot against him, but he seems unconcerned. He encourages the heroes to comply with his demands and give them the address of Richard's Hut if it will make him share the location of the secret tunnel. He encourages the party to continue trying to smuggle in crates, then promptly leaves to begin translating the ledger.

O R'lyeh?

11th of Cinder

The next day, heroes decide to visit Pearltown which was the last known location of Senjack. They rent some horses in Fairheven stables, and make their way to the fishing village. When they get near the village they notice the fair weather gives way to deep fog. The area is also strangely quiet, given the time of the day. There are none of the noises one would expect from a busy fishing settlement.

Pearltown

The heroes leave the horses in the forest, and slowly approach the village on foot. The settlement appears completely abandoned. No one can be seen outside, and there are no fishermen working at the dock. The heroes decide to quietly check all the houses. Nearly all of them are empty, but there are no signs of struggle. In some of the houses food can still be seen left on the table, as if the inhabitants left in a hurry. Some of the food is rotten, suggesting it was lying there for at least few days. One unusual sign they find is many buildings contain dirt, as if whoever was previously there didn't care enough to wipe their boots. They find a few starving animals in the stables, and a stray cat which leads them into one of the houses.

Inside they find a body of an older man, who matches the description of Senjack. He appears to have a hole in the back of his head, through which his brain was removed. The members of the party well versed in arcana recall that this is how members of the mythical Illithid race are said to absorb memories of their victims. As far as they can tell, Squidface is a member of said race. The heroes text Samuel, describing their findings, and warn him that a dangerous adversary may now possess the knowledge of how to enter the mansion.

Before they are able to leave, the door suddenly slams shut. Looking out the windows, the heroes see the house being surrounded by a horde of zombies. As they ready themselves to fight their way out of the village, Squidface enters the room, wearing fisherman overalls and carrying the stray cat. He says few menacing things, and then gets distracted by something, which makes him temporarily lose control over some (but not all) of the undead outside of the house. Harlan Underford uses this to shoot him with his hand crossbow, but the Illithid shrugs off the damage and knocks out the entire party with a mighty psionic attack.

Mouse Guard

Mouseguard.jpg

Upon regaining consciousness, the heroes realize they have been turned into mice. Not ordinary house mice, but strange bipedal mice that are dressed in tiny versions of their clothing, and carry very small versions of their weapons and equipment. While they seem to be able to walk upright, use their weapons and cast their spells normally, they seem to be unable to speak. Or rather, whenever they speak, others can only hear mouse squeaks.

The heroes find themselves in the same room they faced Squidface, but they see it from a different perspective. Everything seems to be enormous, because they have been scaled to the size of actual mice. The Mindflayer seems to be gone, but the stray cat named Princess is still in the room, and appears to be interested in the tiny heroes.

Unable to communicate, the heroes try as best as they can to work together in order to defeat the cat. The epic battle takes place under the kitchen table, and involves various kitchen utensils, and common place items. By rocking the table, the heroes manage to drop a heavy steel mug on the animal's head. Kylee O'Ren climbs one of the kitchen table legs and is able to get on top of the cat and climb up to it's head to deal the final blow with Whiplash.

Upon defeating Princess, heroes wake up back in their own bodies with a headache. The fog appears to be clearing up, and the undead horde outside appears to be gone.

Pretty Fly for a Wight Guy

As the heroes prepare to leave Pearltown they notice some commotion on the pier. Harlan Underford scouts ahead to see what is going on there. He finds a group of undead loading the last remaining fishing boat with large crates. The crates appear to be filled with human bodies - possibly those of former Pearltown inhabitants. The dead appear to be lead by a man in rusty armor, and distinctive winged helmet. Harlan relays this to the rest of the crew via Message spell, and makes a decision to stop the dead minions from stealing the bodies of fishermen for their nefarious purposes.

Wightfight.jpg

Harlan waits for his team mates to set up an ambush, then shoots the man in the rusty armor. He turns around revealing a skeletal face, revealing that he is also undead. A fight breaks out, during which the undead break open one of the crates. The corpses within stand up and join the fight. The skeletal warriors and the newly risen zombies prove to be no match for the heroes who dispatch them with great efficiency.

The undead leader decides to retreat, boards the boat, and pushes off the pier as his minions start rowing away. Zorry Feathermoon runs after the boat, and uses her Thornwhip spell targeting the leader. The spell hits, and the Wight in rusty armor is pulled off the boat. Zorry pulls him onto the shore, at which point he gets up and re-joins the fight.

Heroes team up against the Wight, and manage to defeat him, but not before he injures Bilbido Tastyflute with his rusty, highly ornamental sword. While healing Bilbido, Zorry notices the wound was poisoned. She also discovers that her Magical Sickle glows red in the presence of poison.

Once the fight is over, the heroes build a funeral pyre and burn the bodies of the fishermen. They also take the wight's blade and his his helmet as evidence. They also free and feed the starving animals: a dog they name Mr. Barkley and a horse.

A Fair Day in Fairhaven

Upon returning to Fairhaven, Harlan visits Gustavo Lutz and makes a deal with him. He will allow him to sell the Alchemical Vial and keep 12% of the proceeds, but in exchange he will identify magical items for the heroes for free. To make this an ongoing deal, Harlan promises that if they decide to sell any of the items Gustavo identifies and appraises, he will be able to action off and take part of the profits.

Gustavo identifies the blade and the helmet as equipment made for the Purge Legions. Most of the artifacts from that era have been destroyed by the religious authorities. The sword is indeed magical, and imbued with self-renewing poison, but due to the historical significance of the runes and ornaments it probably can't be sold, unless to a collector or a historian.

Later, Harlan meets with Dirty Dirk to discuss his findings. While dirk was unable to find any useful information that could be used as leverage against Rando, he did find someone who has a vendetta against him. He sets up a meeting with Two Knives Tim to discuss potential operation that could incriminate Rando, or at the very least hurt his legitimate business prospects in town.

The Betrayal at the Brewery

12th of Cinder
Two Knives Tim

The heroes meet with Two Knives Tim who asks them to make a delivery to the Newt Ice Brewery owned by Rando DeButt. Tim's crew intercepted a delivery cart scheduled to arrive at the brewery today, and have replaced some of the supplies with pirate paraphernalia and stolen goods. Combined with an anonymous tip to the City Guard, this should be enough to incriminate Rando in the piratical enterprise. This ought to be especially damaging now that the Prince Regent has arrived in town and is expected to give a speech about the piracy problem.

The heroes simply need to deliver the evidence into the brewery and make sure no one discovers it, before the plan is sprung. Tim's men are known to Rando's crew and can't do this. Heroes agree to take the job.

They take the cart, and put the supply company's uniforms over their street clothes. They proceed down the agreed upon route, and arrive at the brewery at a scheduled time. Bilbido Tastyflute talks to the manager in case he needs to be persuaded into letting the heroes in. The delivery is on time, and fairly routine and there is no need for sweet talking. Bilbido inadvertently gives the man his real name, but fortunately he has never heard any of his songs, and so he does not make the connection.

There appears to be more than a dozen of people inside the building, mingling in the common room, eating and drinking. The manager explains they are throwing a party for one of the employees who just had a baby. No one in the crowd recognizes Bilbido.

The heroes deliver the cart into the underground storage without any problems. When the brewery workers want to break open a few casks and sacks to make sure the right goods are delivered, Harlan and Bilbido bribe them with few gold pieces to turn the blind eye. The men are a bit suspicious but the gold convinces them and so they just let things slide this time.

Heroes leave the brewery, excitedly talking about the upcoming Yoland Swaginson concert they plan to attend. Outside they meet Two Knives and his crew. The gang proceeds to barricade the doors and windows at the ground level, and promptly set the building on fire. Tim explains that anonymous tip would never be enough to get the brewery investigated, since the guards are on the payroll. That said, they would investigate arson, and Rando would probably even urge them to do so.

Brewery Fire

Harlan is concerned about the people inside, and the two have a heated argument which ends with Tim taking a crossbow bolt to the arm. Harlan and Bilbido use their charm spells to persuade few of Tim's thugs to switch sides and task them with dismantling the barricaded doors. A protracted brawl breaks out between the two groups, as the building begins to burn. At the same time the heroes notice a large explosion erupt in another part of the town. They assume it is part of Tim's plan to act as a diversion from the brewery operation.

The heroes manage to get one of the doors opened, allowing some of the people trapped inside to escape. Some of the brewery workers join the brawl, and Tim's crew is repelled. Tim gets away, but not before severely wounding Bilbido. The bard has a near death experience, but miraculously survives thank's to Zorry's epic next level heals.

The heroes help as many people get out of the burning building as they can, then ditch their uniforms and get away from the fire. They make their way towards the Bacon Theater.

Burnt Bacon

The protagonists discover that the Yoland Swaginson concert at the Bacon Theater has been cancelled due to an explosion and fire in one of the nearby buildings. There are many wounded laid out on the street and being tended by clerics. The heroes recognize one of Rando's men among them. They bluff their way past the city guard, and administer some first aid and magical healing to the wounded man in exchange for some information.

The injured henchman is not making much sense, but he seems certain that the cause of the explosion was not perpetrated by Jim's crew. Instead he keeps talking about some "kid" who apparently is connected to the explosion. When pressed for details the man passes out from pain and exhaustion. It appears the explosion was a premeditated attack of some sort, probably of magical origin. The target was not the theater, but rather Rando's property.

The heroes decide not to go back to their tavern in case Two Knives Tim wants to exact a revenge for endangering his plan, and killing a number of his men. Instead they decide to spend the night at the Royal Seagull which is back in town. They catch up with Bethany Rogers and Steven LaCase and get them up to speed on the happenings in Fairhaven, and the encounter with Squidface at Pearltown. The crew of the Seagul did not run into any issues during their latest journey, but are rather concerned with the state of the affairs.

Heroes find out that the Prince Regent will address the citizens of Fairhaven the next day in regards to the pirate attacks. They decide that it might be worth while to talk to Marius Verman again, and give him information about Pearltown. They make sure Bethany and Steven are aware of this, and remove any contraband from the ship in case the authorities want to question them in regards to the Squidface attack.

Not Yet King's Speech

14th of Cinder
Prince Regent

The protagonist's go to see the Prince Regent speak to the people of Fairhaven. Fearing another attack they spend a lot of time picking the right place from which to view the speech. They finally settle on a nearby roof of a building with several escape routes. The speech is short and uneventful. The prince reassures the citizens they have nothing to fear, and that he is committing a significant number of ships from the royal fleet to resolving the pirate issue. He also has requested help from the Mages Guild who is sending a contingent of Battle Mages from the Zorander Isle to assist in these efforts.

After the speech the heroes visit Marius Verman. They share all the information they have about Squidface and let him know about the fate of Pearltown. They also show him the Purge Blade. The wizard is surprised to hear a Mindlfyer is involved, but most of the details confirm findings of his own investigation. He promises to investigate the fishing village for clues.

He declines to pay the heroes for the information, but instead asks them to help him find an orphan boy named Charles Knoxton. Apparently he has been showing signs of strong magical affinity, and the Mages Guild is interested in getting him proper training at the Academy of Magics. He promises adequate award for assisting him in this matter.

Afterwards Harlan Underford decides to check on Dirty Dirk to assess the situation in the city and find out what the gangs think about last night's attack. He thinks it is strange that no one on the streets talks about what should be an impending gang war. Harlan would expect Rando and Jim to be at each others throats by now, but the city is strangely quiet about the brewery attack.

Pull My Finger

Harlan, Zorry and Bilbido arrive at the house of Dirty Dirk late in the evening. Realizing the house may be under surveillance they scout the area but find nothing suspicious. Bilbido becomes invisible just in case, and afterwards the heroes approach the front door.

Brawl.png

Inside they meet Dirk's wife and children who are visibly upset. They learn that Dirk is currently hiding in the basement, afraid to leave the house. Harlan goes downstairs to talk to him. In the basement they are ambushed by Forest George and his men. Dirk's children are being held hostage, so Harlan and Zorry allow themselves to be taken captive. Bilbido remains invisible.

The heroes are blindfolded and taken to the Sovereign who turns out to be Smiling Sullivan. He explains to the heroes that their plan to stir conflict between the Fairhaven gangs did not work, because they are all working together as part of the Fairhaven Cartel under his lead. He reveals that Rando DeButt has been arrested and Cutthroat Jim is missing, likely assassinated, on the orders of Two Knives Tim (Jim's enforcer), who has also been captured and brought before him. Sullivan intends to punish Tim for his machinations, and holds Harlan and Zorry responsible as his accomplices.

He begins by torturing Harlan and cutting off one of his fingers. Bilbido watches this while still being invisible. Before he is able to torture Zorry, Tim gives a signal to Sullivan's men in the room that he has paid off, or otherwise recruited. A fight breaks out and Sullivan and the men still loyal to him are killed. Tim is freed and threatens to kill Harlan (who is still tied up and captive) with his own sword Squiggle.

Bilbido remains invisible. As Harlan is about to be dismembered, an huge explosion shakes the building and causes part of it to collapse causing panic among the thugs. Most of them run away or head out to investigate. Tim decides to retreat, but takes Squiggle as a memento, promising to finish the job at a later time.

After making sure all the bad guys left, Bilbido finally breaks invisibility and unties the heroes. They leave the building, noticing a graffiti left by Charles Knoxton near the collapsed wall.

After all of this the heroes decide to leave the city for a few days and visit Samuel Summers.

Reforging

16th of Cinder

The protagonists leave the city without any issues and travel to Lord Aiden's Mansion.

17th of Cinder

The heroes arrive at the mansion and have dinner with Samuel Summers and Arielle. They share their findings at Pearltown and the detail's of Prince's speech. Samuel is saddened by Senjack's death, but is not worried about the mindflyer and his undead legions. He reveals that small groups of walking dead have been converging on the location of the mansion long before Senjack's disappearance, but they are never able to navigate the illusion pattern. Even if they did, the Ents and the garden gnome provide a good defence. Also, Bruce now talks for some reason and its awful.

Arielle notices the Purge Blade and does magic to it, reforging it into the twin short swords Arbiter and Redeemer. She uses the remaining bits to modify the Magical Sickle to allow it to transform into Glaive of Silvanus.

She also reveals she has felt a presence of another Paragon somewhere on the other side of the world.

Samuel excitedly reports that while the heroes were adventuring, he and Arielle have cracked the secret of the Magical Tapestry Portals in the Extraplanar Portal Hub. He asks the heroes to help him explore some of the portals and reveal the secrets that lie within. He has particular tapestry in mind. The protagonists agree to help. They spend the night at the mansion preparing for the task.

Fecal Attraction

Nadarr the Poopwizard

18th of Cinder

Harlan and Zorry enter one of the tapestry portals. Bilbido tells them he will meet them at the portal, but he oversleeps and never makes it.

The portal the heroes chosen to enter happens to lead to Demiplane of Excrement controlled by psychopathic wizard Nadarr but nothing of note happens there.

19th of Cinder

Everything is fine.

20th of Cinder

Samuel enters the portal. Shortly afterwards he returns with Harlan, Zorry and a dwarf Urist Dorfinson. Everyone is covered in blood and feces. Treeodore has a turd on a rope hanging off one of his branches. No one wants to talk about the portal and what happened beyond it.

The heroes wash up and eat dinner in shame. Urist explains how he became a prisoner of Nadarr while exploring a tapestry portal that has belonged to his high born clan. He is not entirely sure whether or not he has returned to his home plane, or another plane entirely because Nadarr has kept him alive for hundreds of years and the outside world would have changed to the point he would not be able to recognize it. He decides to stay at the mansion for the time being.

The heroes decide to return to Fairhaven the next day.

21th of Cinder

The heroes embark on a journey back to the city.

Meanwhile in Fynwell

Takklinn.jpg


Upon receiving the letter from Harlan, Helga Underford seeks the help of her old associate Takklinn Thunderbottom who owes her money and favors. She asks him to go to Fairhaven find Harlan and either bring him home, or to make sure he is safe and help him to sort out his business there.

22nd of Cinder

Takklinn arrives in Fairhaven. He begins the search by reaching out to his old Thieve's Guild contact Patches. He meets him at The Hammer where he is drinking with Deg Stonemaw. Takklinn leans about the upheaval in the Fairhaven underworld, and that Two Knives Tim is currently running the cartel. He also learns that Tim has placed a bounty on Harlan Underford and his companions.

Takklinn then proceeds to drink the Warlock Stout with predictable results. He spends the rest of the night hallucinating about talking badgers.

In Search of Dat Boi

23rd of Cinder

The heroes get back to Fairhaven but are stopped at the gates. The city is in a state of emergency and they are denied entry. Fortunately Miss Madox has been sent to wait for the heroes at the gate. She vouches for them and the guards reluctantly allow them to enter the city.

The heroes meet with Takklinn at the Gate Plaza. They head to the Fountainside Tavern and fill him in on the relevant information, and ask him to help them search for Charles Knoxton. They start asking around for information regarding the orphans in the city. Eventually they stumble upon a clue that that leads them to Swinton's Bakery - a small establishment known for giving away unsold goods to local orphans.

The Swintons are very tight lipped about their charitable activities, and refuse to give names, or information about the boys they're helping. The heroes also spot a suspicious gnome woman checking out the place. They try to follow her, but she manages to slip away. Discouraged, the heroes spend the rest of the day stalking the bakery. By the evening they spot some young boys approaching the shop. Swintons warn the children about the strangers, and they disperse, but the heroes manage to track one of them to a nearby sewer hideout.

Sewer Disco Ball

Sewerfight1.png

The heroes enter the orphan hideout in the sewers and find Charles Knoxton and one of his friends there. They attempt to negotiate with the frightened children and put Knoxton at ease, knowing that his magical powers are both quite dangerous, and quite unpredictable.

Their conversation is interrupted when Two Knives Tim arrives at the hideout. He is accompanied by Deg Stonemaw, Leeroy Reese, Ella Brocc and bunch of other thugs. Shots are fired and Knoxton's friend is fatally wounded. The boy goes Super Sayan and turns into a huge ball of magical bulshit shooting out magical rays of destruction in random directions. The heroes proceed to fight with the low-life thugs in the sewers, under the worst disco ball ever.

After few minutes of fighting, the thugs get spanked so hard and thoroughly that several of them, including Deg Stonemaw decide to switch sides. Two Kinives bravely runs away leaving his men to die, cuddling his last 3 hit points. Reliable sources report that he pooped a little, but it was out of courage.

In the meantime the Knoxton disco ball manages to damage the structural supports of the sewer tunnel, and the walls start to collapse. The heroes ponder how to knock the kid out of his super-charged state, but find no good solution. They decide to leave the tunnel hoping the energy field he generates around his body will protect him from the collapsed rubble.

The sewers cave in soon after the protagonists get to the street level. Harlan, Zorry and Bilbido spot some of Two Knive's men running in the distance and they decide to follow them. The rest of the party stays at the site to search for Knoxton. Takklinn manages to find the boy unconscious in the rubble, and reluctantly hands him over to Miss Madox who arrives at the scene accompanied by bunch of City Guards.

The heroes who chose to pursue Two Knives get noticed and their cover is blown. The thugs split up and the heroes give up the chase and return to the collapsed sewer site. Takklinn tells them that the boy was taken by Miss Madox, but that they can see him tomorrow, before he leaves for Zorander Isle.

Bilbido's Night Goes Swimmingly

The heroes decide to spend the night at the Royal Seagull. They drink The Captain's Reserve and play some Dragon Dice. The night goes well, until both Takklinn and Bilbido try to hit on Captain Bethany Rogers. She does not appreciate it, and neither does her crew. The bard gets thrown over board, and Takklinn narrowly escapes a beating when Harlan intervenes and quickly drags him off the ship.

The crew fishes Bilbido out of the sea, and re-group at The Anchor. At some point Ella Brocc sows up and the heroes proceed to capture her, and interrogate her in the alley outside of the tavern. Bilbido puts on a concert to distract the patrons and earns some gold.

It is discovered that Ella Brocc was hired by Two Knives Tim along with several other thugs. They find a partially coded letter on her, which specifies a nearby drop site where she is supposed to show up the next day to receive payment and/or further instructions. The heroes release the woman but keep the letter and decide to investigate the drop site the next day.

The heroes pay for two rooms and stay at The Anchor for the night.

Assassination Station: Farmin' Dem Crowbux

24th of Cinder

Namfoodlefight1.png

At night, Bruce shows up outside Zorry's window. She lets him in, and he reports that he has found a potential entrance to the lost Dwarf Fortress.

In the morning Harlan and Takklinn are attacked by a hired assassin posing as a room service. The heroes manage to capture the assassin alive and interrogate him. He reveals he is a member of secretive organization known as The Crows which was contracted by an undisclosed party. He was instructed to leave "two knives" in the room after performing his task, so it is easy to guess who was behind it. The services of this particular assassin guild don't come cheep, and Two Knives Tim must have spent a small fortune to set it up. The assassin warns the heroes that even though they have thwarted him, the guild will keep sending more killers after them until the job is done, and that since inception they have never failed to fulfill a contract once paid.

The protagonists relieve the assassin from his possessions which include 10 vials of Black Poison, 2 vials of Vultures Kiss, Potion of Poison and a roll of golden Crowbux (an ornate currency used by the guild). Takklinn then asks the rest of the party leave the room, while he kills the assassin, and shoves the body through a window into an empty alley.

The heroes then decide to investigate the meeting location from the coded letter. Bilbido disguises himself as the gnome lady, while the other party members hide nearby. It turns out that Bianca must have alerted her supervisors, and the meeting turns into an ambush. The heroes are attacked by the infamous assassin Namfoodle Fizzlebang.

Despite his expertise an an array of high tech weapons and traps, Fizzlebang is no match for the heroes and is soon defeated. He turns out to be another member of The Crows as evidenced by a stack of Crowbux in his possession. Bilbido takes the gnome's repeating crossbow X2 Tap as well as a handful of the N.I.M.B.U.S. and W.H.Y.N.O.T. grenades.

Afterwards, heroes go to the docks and say goodbye to Charles Knoxton who is leaving for the Zorander Isle. Takklinn gives the boy some sage advice. Marius Verman is also there, and the heroes give him more information about Pearltown and about their encounter with Squidface.

The heroes then leave the city and head for the location found by Bruce.

Let's Go Camping

The Goblin Camp

25th of Cinder - 26th of Cinder

The travel to the Dwarf Fortress takes two days on horseback. They arrive the evening of 26th of Cinder.

As described by Bruce the entrance to the Lost Dwarf Fortress is in a cave that is surrounded by a small Goblin Camp. Harlan scouts ahead and notices one watch tower, and several tents. Few goblins are paroling the camp, but they are not overly concerned by the intrudes. There is at least one Bugbear around the campfire.

The party decides to take a stealthy approach, and sneaks behind the tents. Harlan manages to silently take out several guards with sneak attacks, before Bilbido makes a bunch of noise that puts the camp on guard.

It takes goblins some time to actually gather their wits, and locate the party. During that time Harlan takes out more guards, including at least one wolf rider and his mount. When the fight finally breaks out, the goblin ranks are thinned out and disorganized. One of the Goblins runs back into the cave and releases a Troll. Fortunately the beast is angry and hungry, and does not feel like taking sides in the conflict. Instead it proceeds to try eating the closest creatures that are within it's reach. This happens to be a Bugbear.

The heroes let the big guys fight it out, while they mop up frightened goblins. When the troll finally dispatches his opponent, Bilbido distracts him with an illusion spell, while the rest of the party concentrates on bursting him down with damage. The beast falls shortly afterward, and the heroes make a final sweep of the camp killing any remaining goblins.

They burn the troll's remains to prevent it from regenerating, but not before extracting valuable magical reagents. Bilbido takes the troll penis as a trophy.

The party then investigates the cave, and discovers a doorway that leads into the fortress.

Dorf Ball

Takklinn tells his companions that based on his knowledge of Dwarf lore the door looks like an emergency exit rather than an entrance. Most of such exits have been sealed behind by the ancient Dwarfs as they left their keeps. This one however is only partially locked. The locking mechanism on the doorway appears to have been activated but it has not slammed shut completely. It appears a dwarf's hand has been caught by the door as it was closing, partially squashing his gem encrusted gauntlet. The gauntlet and the gems prevented the door from forming an air-tight seal, and left about a few inch gap. According to Takklinn's stone-working expertise, if it was not for that gap, they would never be able to open the thick door.

The door is scratched up around the gap, probably as a result of goblin efforts to extract the expensive looking gauntlet. The damage however is merely superficial, indicating that the goblins eventually gave up. The heroes discover that the inside of the doorway is softer than the reinforced front side and after few hours of work manage to make the gap slightly bigger. Then they use the Fire Bomb scroll to detonate the doorway. This opens up a passage into the fortress.

Inside the heroes find dwarf bones, piled up in stacks. They are not full skeletons but rather piles of loose bones. Some investigation reveals that a number of dwarfs must have been trapped in this passageway, for a very long time and have resorted to cannibalism. The end of the corridor seems to be blocked by a giant, spherical stone boulder. Takklinn deduces that the boulder was a emergency sealing mechanism. If the emergency doors failed to close, or if they were breached, it was supposed to drop from above and roll down the corridor, killing or injuring everyone within, and then lodge itself in the doorway re-sealing it. The dwarfs trapped in the corridor managed to block the ball's path with loose debris, but trapped themselves in the process.

The heroes manage to carefully remove the debris from underneath the ball, and allow it to roll down the passage way, un-sealing the entrance to the fortress proper. The stone boulder seals the emergency entrance as designed, and the party has now no choice but to explore the fortress and find another exit.

I Can See Dead People

The Initial Floor

The heroes enter the Lost Dwarf Fortress and start exploring it's abandoned corridors. The section they entered appears to have been an industrial area with many warehouse chambers, and workshops of various craftsmen. Some of the corridors have caved in, and so the party must meander through the chambers to find their way.

While exploring they notice that many of the warehouses and workshops in the area have been converted into make-shift living quarters with dozens of bunks and bedrolls per room. It appears as if this particular section of the fortress might have been used to house refugees of some sort. Perhaps the same Dwarfs that got trapped in the emergency exit were holed up here for a while, before they decided to abandon the fortress. All evidence suggests that most inhabitants have evacuated the area in a hurry and there are surprisingly few bodies to be found in this section.

During the exploration, the heroes find some ancient trinkets of high quality, and dozens of Ancient Dwarf Coins. Takklinn notes that the coins are mostly made out of copper rather than from precious metals since the ancients had a sophisticated banking system. The coins worked like modern day money, backed by gold reserves. Because of this their value is mostly tied to their historical and cultural significance, rather than the copper they are made of.

The heroes also find a number of damaged axes that appear to have holes drilled in their heads, and silver coins wrapped around and hammered onto the blades. Many of such weapons are scattered throughout the floor, and they all appear to have been made in a great haste. Some are ornate, beautiful weapons that have been irreversibly damaged by the hasty modifications.

Warerat Attack

At some point the heroes notice a shadowy apparition following them from chamber to chamber. Takklinn attempts to speak to it in Dwarvish. The shadowy figure is a ghost of a young Dwarf Girl who seems to have perished in the fortress. She is a bit difficult to understand due to her ancient dialect but Takklinn finds out that her name is Ori and her father was Flint Slate, the Overseer of this floor. She tells the heroes that she became trapped in the emergency exit along with many others during the evacuation. Her father stayed behind to seal the floor and buy the others time to get to the surface, but unfortunately not all of them did.

The girl does not understand what exactly caused the fortress to fall. She knows that the adults talked about some ailment or curse that was brought inside by the traders from the surface. It spread like wildfire and caused much panic and infighting, and eventually lead to quarantines mass evacuations.

She agrees to lead the party to a sealed exit that will allow them to access the rest of the fortress, and show them how to open it, but in exchange she requests that they help to set her spirit at rest. Her souls seems to be inexplicably bound to a necklace that she has left behind in her old house. Like many other valuables it has been looted by someone the girl calls Brood Mother. The heroes agree to find and destroy the necklace, thus releasing her spirit and allowing her to join her people in the afterlife.

When asked about walls that have been potentially breached from the outside by human diggers long after the fortress fell, she does recall one such spot several levels down. The heroes think that this might be the tomb that Richard Oddenheim was looking for and resolve to investigate it.

They follow the ghost to a gate chamber, with a central building. They find a hidden switch that opens the door to an engine room from where the ancient machinery that opens the giant gate can be restarted. Inside they find the body of the girl's father, who appears to have hung himself. With the girl's permission Takklinn takes the ancient Ancient Dwarf Armor and the ornate Ancient Dwarf Hammer.

Zorry finds an Icky Ring, and upon putting it on and reading it's engraved description she inadvertently summons Ikky an Imp who served Flint Slate. The fiend is interested in making a Faustian deal with Zorry and promises to return with appropriate paperwork in two weeks.

The heroes flip the main switch, and watch the intricate Dwarven machinery come back to life. The incandescent lights flicker back to life, and ventilation turbines start spinning powered by hot magma drawn directly from the heart of the mountain. The heroes proceed to open the huge stone gate that has been sealed for centuries.

As soon as the gate is fully open, the heroes are ambushed by a pack of creatures best described as Wererat. They appear to have been breeding in the sealed off fortress for generations, and subsequently lost the ability to shift into human / dwarf form, and the hybrid form has become their true form to which they return upon losing consciousness.

The heroes quickly realize the creatures are immune to non-magical or non-silvered weapons and adjust their tactics. They dispatch the small pack in no time, and delve deeper into the fortress.

Are You Trolling Me Right Meow?

The Second Floor

The heroes descend down a stairway down to the lower floor. At the entrance they find a map that shows the layout of the floor, which turns out to be huge, compared to the last section they visited. This floor is a sprawling underground city in its own right. It has commercial districts, residential buildings as well as parks and plazas. The ceilings are tall enough to allow for two or even three floor buildings and towers. The entire floor is adequately lit by various light emitting machines, and lava conduits.

Around the walls one can see Dwarven Music Boxes which play pleasing melodies. They are similar to the one depicted in the Dwarven Music Box Blueprint found by Bilbido in Lord Aiden's Mansion. He takes some time to study these devices in operation to help him one day construct a copy.

The heroes take some time to explore the houses they pass by and find some valuables. They eventually find a plaza that has been set up as a zoo of sorts. It has multiple pedestals with reinforced cages, most of which are empty. Those must have housed various animals or captured beasts, but most of those have died long ago, and their remains either turned to dust, or have been removed and consumed by the Wererat denizens of the fortress.

One of the cages contains an emaciated, old Troll who is still very much alive, and angry. It appears to be in a very poor shape, and bears many fresh scars. It appears as if someone has been harvesting it's organs for magical reagents and his flesh for food for years, if not centuries now. The beast is kept alive only thanks to it's uncanny regeneration powers.

The heroes contemplate whether or not they should put the creature out if it's misery. They realize it would require setting the beast on fire somehow, which would definitely draw a lot of attention, so they choose to put it off for now.

They slowly approach the section where the Brood Mother made her den, but they are ambushed by Invisarat accompanied by more Wererat warriors. They quickly defeat the monster and approach the den. They decide to take a stealthy approach, but for some reason Takklinn decides to use his Find Steed spell and summon his warhorse Tempy.

Yo Momma So Rat...

Brood Mother's Den

Upon entering the den, the heroes proceed to set off every single trap in the vicinity. They also get Tempy trapped in a pit. Yet they still somehow manage to remain undetected. This is mostly due to Takklinn screaming "How do you do fellow rat monsters, I have set off some traps, no big, no need to check it out." The rat creatures are not that smart so it worked out.

The heroes manage to surprise the Brood Mother and her underlings, but they are counter-ambushed by a Rat Abomination. This beast seems to be result of some unholy breeding experiment: a part troll, part wererat. Meanwhile the Brood Mother escapes the scene. Bruce transforms into his demon form, and joins in the fight, helping the heroes to defeat the creature.

The heroes search the den, and find Ori's Necklace. They then decide to circle back and kill the trapped troll, and hopefully prevent the Brood Mother from conducting any more experiments, and creating more abominations. Upon returning to the zoo, the heroes notice that the Troll has been decapitated and its head was taken. The warerats likely figured out their intentions and decided to protect their pet. Zorry reminds heroes that a decapitated troll can, over time, regenerate into two separate monsters. The party resolves to burn the caged remains, which already started regenerating from the mortal wound.

Party spends some more time looting nearby houses. Bilbido finds some Fancy Gloves. The heroes find bunch more Ancient Dwarf Coins and trinkets. In addition they find the following: loot list here (?)

Takklinn desecrates one of the golden statues of a Dwarf god in a nearby plaza. He also searches for a forge in which he could melt the necklace, but does not find a suitable workshop in the residential area, and promptly forgets about it.

Once heroes get tired of looting they pick out a defensible location to rest. They spend the night in one of the abandoned buildings in the residential zone, near the stairway leading to one of the lower floors.

Fired Up

The Ground Floor

27th of Cinder

The heroes spend the night undisturbed. They locate an unblocked stairway and descend down into the lower level of the fortress. Like before they find another map of the entire floor at the foot of the stairway. They inspect the map for for another stairway leading downwards but can't find any. They instead note that this appears to be the ground level of the fortress, which contained the heavily defended main gate. They decide to investigate the gate area to see if it can be opened from the inside.

While the heroes make their way through the underground city, they start hearing footsteps sounding as if groups of soldiers were paroling the area. The sound is very different from the occasional skittering for Warerat denizens they have noticed before. The rat-people who track their movements are usually stealthy, and their scouts work alone and in small groups. On this floor however they hear large groups of soldiers marching in unison, accompanied by metallic sounds of steel armor and weapons.

Richardfight.png

When the sounds of the soldiers come near, the heroes hide in one of the many abandoned buildings. They take positions on the second floor and observe the streets below. They finally spot the source of the sound: a organized unit of Skeleton and Zombie warriors lead by a Wight. The leader appears to be wearing Purge era gear, but the rank and file troops have sport a wide variety of weapon and armor types. The heroes spot several undead wearing Fairhaven Cityguard armor.

The heroes continue making their way toward the gate, trying to avoid the undead patrols but eventually get backed into a corner and forced to fight. The noise attracts the attention of the rat-people and soon after the fight breaks out, Brood Mother appears on the scene accompanied by a dozen Warerat henchmen, at least one Invisarat and bunch of Flesh Blobs. A grand, three way melee breaks out in the middle of a residential street.

The heroes fight valiantly, and are able to make good progress towards breaking through, but the noise keeps attracting reinforcements. More undead, and more rats keep arriving, and the fallen foes keep getting up resurrected by the Wights. As before Bruce shifts into his demon form and joins the fight. After about then million years, the heroes finally manage to get rid of all the Wights and force the Brood Mother to flee once again. They are wounded and tired, and eager to take a long rest, but there's still two or three bloodied enemies either too angry, or too stupid to realize they have lost and flee. The heroes feel confident they can clear these straddlers out without wasting any more spell slots.

At that point Richard Oddenheim appears out of nowhere, and warns the heroes to take cover. He then proceeds to toss a Fireball into the middle of the intersection, killing the two remaining skeletons and one ware-rat, and severely burning Takklinn and Bruce in the process. Both drop to the floor unconscious. Richard congratulates himself on saving the day, and asks the heroes wtf they are doing in the fortress. He says he assumed they were dead because all the mess they caused in the criminal underworld.

The heroes don't really remember why they decided not to tell Richard about the fortress because it has been months (or real world time) since they actually spoken to him. They are not even entirely sure what exactly sure what they were expected to find down here. Upon consulting notes they realize they never really asked Richard or Samuel what was hidden in the tomb adjacent to the fortress. The heroes were fairly confident that they will be able to identify a magical mcguffin of great plot importance when they see it. Consequently they awkwardly lie to Richard so awkwardly and inconsistently that he eventually gives up on asking questions.

He then casts Oddenheim Domicile spell and invites the heroes inside for much needed rest. The heroes take a long rest, awkwardly trying to make a small talk while trying to avoid eye contact with the annoyed wizard.

Is it just me or is it Worm in here?

Fight in the Ancient Worm Cave

28th of Cinder

The heroes emerge from Richard's lair and follow him deeper into the fortress. It turns out that some of the buildings on this level have multiple floors extending downwards and can be used to reach lower sections. Richard appears to know exactly where he is going.

Eventually the group reaches a wall that has been breached and then re-sealed from the outside. It appears to have some sort of magical protection, and Richard sets out to remove it. When he is finally done, the wall crumbles revealing an entrance to a large, dark cave. Richard steps in to the cave and turns around to tell the protagonists to be careful. He is immediately snatched by something and dragged inside the cave.

The heroes have no choice but follow. Inside they encounter a Ancient Worm which made the cave its home. Richard is still alive, but bleeding out in one of the corners. Zorry manages to stabilize the wizard and bring him back to the consciousness, while the rest of the party tries to distract the creature. The worm is heavily armored and seems capable of spitting corrosive acid.

After a protracted, dangerous fight, the beast is finally slain. Richard is heavily wounded, and missing one arm, but thanks to magical healing and his own restorative spells he is able to continue towards the tomb. He leads the heroes deeper into the cave until they reach an entrance of some sort. Richard takes out some magical device from his pouch which turns out to be a key that opens the door inside. The doors unlock revealing a stairway leading downwards into the tomb.

Richard insists that the heroes do not follow him and stay at the entrance instead. Takklinn tries to argue but Richard insults him and then leaves. The heroes pretend to agree to guard the entrance, wait two minutes and then follow the wizard.

On the Next Episode of Dragon Ball Z

The party descends down the stairway into the Tomb of Darius Corellius. The staircase opens onto a huge room filled with thousands of statues representing armed soldiers. As the heroes get closer it becomes obvious that the statues are actually mummified remains of solders encased in ornate armors. Richard can be seen in the distance approaching a dais on which the remains of Darius Corellius have been placed on a golden throne.

Takklinn decides to charge Richard, but the Wizard casts Time Stop and then knocks the dwarf out with a well aimed Magic Missile. The paladin loses consciousness and has a near-death experience during which he communes with his god, and has some prophetic revelations. In the meantime Richard performs a magical ritual which awakens Corellius. The mummified soldiers awaken along with him, and promptly take the heroes captive.

It turns out that Richard is a bad guy. No one is especially surprised. The heroes remember that this sort of bullshit was precisely why they decided to scope out the Dwarf Fortress before telling Richard anything.

This section needs some clarifications based on Leah's notes (?)

Richard and Corellius have an evil mastermind conversation revealing their plans of world domination. Richard summons Squidface who turns out to also have been working for Richard. Also plot twist: Squidface is actually the long lost King William somehow (the heroes don't know how Minflyerdom works, and decide they should research that some day).

Corellius sniffs out Sam through Bruce and makes some comments. Bruce tries to be a hero, and dies again(I think), but it's ok cause he is a familiar, so no big. Corellius then puts magical stone of power into Richard's face, effectively killing him and turning him into Lichard (yes, this is new cannon name, regardless of what the DM says). Correlius then opens bunch of magical portals and leads the undead army out of the tomb. Squidface fucks off with him.

Lichard's power level is apparently over nine thousand because Arielle shows up to fight him. They proceed to have a Dragon Ball Z episode all over the chamber while the undead army slowly marches out through the portals. The heroes contemplate whether they should stay and help or try escaping via one of the portals. They decide to stay and help, but they are not very useful. Arielle tells them to GTFO immediately, but the portals start to close. She is then forced to teleport out of the tomb.

The heroes find themselves in the sky, miles above the fortress. While falling they frantically try to find that one scroll of Feather Fall that one of them surely has. They also search their bags for the default 50 feet ropes they all have to somehow get everyone attached to whomever going to be casting the spell. Wile they do that, they notice that the mountain suffers some anime explosions and collapses upon itself. Richard and Arielle fly out of the rubble and proceed to do a lot of sky fighting. At this point it's clear they are just showing off.

Arielle saves the party from hitting the ground two or three times by bouncing them back up into the air, which is not helping. Eventually she teleports them into Lord Aiden's Mansion. The heroes decide to heal and spend the night there.

29th of Cinder

In the morning the heroes decide they should go back to Fairhaven and warn the people about the undead armies. Sam suggests using the Teleportation Circle in the mansion. He offers to transport the heroes directly into The Fairhaven Keep. The heroes are reluctant to do this during the day, because doing so would reveal the existence of the mansion to the Fairhaven mages. They decide to wait until the dead of night, hoping that there won't be anyone in the teleportation circle chamber.

Siege of Fairhaven

30th of Cinder

The heroes arrive in Fairhaven only to find the keep deserted. They find their way to the street level, and stumble into a Westmarch Kingsguard patrol lead by Sgt. Sebastian. Harlan recognizes the officer from their encounter at the city gates. He uses deception to convince him that the party works for Marius Verman and asks to be taken directly to him. The guards fall for it, and escort the heroes to the city walls. On their way there the heroes learn that the city is currently under siege by an undead army, but a relief force sent from Highport is expected to arrive any day.

The entire army has assembled at the walls, and the heroes are lead directly to the front of the line where the wizard is advising the Prince Regent on strategy. Harlan addresses Verman and tells him that the relief force will likely be delayed, or even stopped by the newly unleashed undead legion. He explains that Richard has collaborated with Squidface to assemble and re-animate a vast army and the city is in grave peril. He avoids mentioning Corellius, or elaborating on Squiface's identity because he needs the wizard to believe him. Revealing the full truth would be like trying to convince someone that Zombie Hitler teamed up with with Elvis who is now inexplicably an evil octopus.

Verman considers this new information and relies it to the prince. In the meantime Crud DeButt and his thugs arrive at the wall. Everyone thinks they came to join the fight, but no, they came to start shit and demand Rando to be released. Harlan manages talk him down, and pleads with Verman to allow the prisoner to be released if Crud commits his men to fight on the ramparts. Both men reluctantly agree.

Takklinn tries to make a speech to lift the spirits of the soldiers, but the Prince cuts him off and makes his own prewritten speech.

As soon as he is done the gates burst open, and the undead pour into the city. It turns out that the Friendo Gigant the heroes killed, but then brought back to life has been re-killed, and re-brought to life, but this time the evil way. The undead are now using him as a mobile battering ram. The prince takes on the undead giant and cuts him down with style, and everyone cheers (except Takklinn who is not impressed). Minutes later, Lichard shows up and starts shooting beams of pure destruction out of his face.

The Prince proceeds to get his shit very thoroughly fucked up by one of those beams. Crud gets a new Vorpal Longsword in the process.

With the Princess Dione Helmsworth being the only remaining heir, Vermann orders her to be evacuated to the Zorander Isle. He records a message on his Messenger Ring authorizing Harlan, and his companions to enter the Academy of Magics, and orders them to escort her there. They need to get the Princess safely into the port, and board one of the two ships that are still intact, and capable of leaving the port in one piece: the Royal Seagull or the Fair Maiden.

Two Knives Bravely Runs Away... Again.

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The heroes leave the walls and head toward the port. Crud, Deg Stonemaw and few of his hand-picked thugs are with them. The princess is escorted by Sebastian as well as two knights Sir Benyard the Brave and Sir Roderick the Gray. The first order of business is to fulfill the promise given to Crud and release his brother from the lock-up, which happens to be on the way. As they leave the besieging army starts lobbing barrels full of bones over the wall using catapults. The heroes have unpleasant flashbacks to their first encounter with Squidface.

The heroes arrive at the jail without problems, and rescue the guards there from marauding barrel skeletons. The guards release Rando, and another prisoner and are relieved they can abandon their post. Zorry steals the letter detailing Rando's criminal charges (just some light reading material for later).

Before the heroes can resume their trek towards the port Two Knives Tim and his crew show up. He has Leeroy Reese, Anthony Spellhammer as well as the Ogre brothers Morg Stonemaw and Glorg Stonemaw. He insists on having his ass kicked again. He proceeds to make a stupid villan monologue again, and Harlan shoots him in the face with a crossbow again. We don't really know what he is getting from this, but he must like it because he keeps coming back for more.

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As the fight starts the wizard immediately casts Polymorph and turns Takklin into a squirrel. The paladin then proceeds to scurry around the battlefield trying to bite people's feet. Eventually he climbs one of the buildings and annoys one of the thug snipers there to put him out of his misery. This turns him back into a dwarf form, and he throws the dude off the balcony commandeering his crossbow and starts providing supporting fire from above.

A leisure ass-kicking is interrupted when a horde of undead shows up and the heroes are forced to fight on two fronts. Two Knives thinks he is clever cause he brought a wizard this time, and he goes invisible. Bilbido manages to waste three fireball spells while doing the minimum amount of damage possible. He does however manage to singe wizard which breaks his concentration and makes Two Knives visible again. Zorry casts Charm Person to confuse him, and Harlan and Rando proceed to stick sharp things into him repeatedly until he runs away via magical portal.

Another balcony archer thugs shoots the princess in the arm. The knights turn out to be dumb idiots and abandon her bleeding on the street and proceed to stand under the balcony yelling "get down from there and come at us bro" at the archer. He proceeds to ignore them completely and continues shooting at other targets. The abandoned, wounded princes is almost trampled by the advancing undead, but Bibido swoops in to save her at the last minute.

With Two Knives gone, the thugs come to their senses and realize that what they are doing is quite stupid and leave. Deg Stonemaw collects his unconscious sons, and the heroes continue advancing toward the port, easily outpacing the slow, shambling undead.

Mile High Club

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The heroes find themselves on the High Street, near the Holy Statue of Umberlee overlooking the docks. Lichard appears in the sky high above them. Before he is able to power his laser, he is intercepted by the 27th Company of Battle Mages composed of: Supreme Arcanist Bibbles (the commanding officer), Sir Bertram Muttonchops, Miranda Maddamdingo and eldritch knight Sir Longdong Dengo XVII. The mages take position around Lichard and proceed to toss what seems to be 700 Fire Ball spells, and one Lighting Bolt at him. Sir Muttonchops casts Telekinesis and smacks Lichard with Sir Longdong which is surprisingly effective.

The Eldritch Knight fights valiantly, but soon perishes and his body falls at the foot of the statue. Lichard then proceeds to murder the remaining mages, who by this time blew most their spell slots. Their bodies fall onto the roofs of the nearby buildings. The Arcanist Bibbles is the last left standing (flying?) and tries to lead Lichard away from the heroes.

60 Feet Under

Meanwhile, at the ground level the heroes need to deal with undead giant who has been re-re-raised again. He burst through a wall of a building accompanied by a bunch of Zombie. The surprise attack splits the group. Most of the NPC's escorting the princess get to continue running towards the ships, while the heroes are left behind tho deal with the giant pain in the ass.

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The giant appears to posses no more intellect than the zombies, and his attacks are mostly just random flailing. It just so happens that he randomly hits Forest George with every single one of his completely random blows. Upon discovering that George's magnetic personality seems to attract the giant's fists the heroes apply strategic heals whenever he falls unconscious so that he can continue soaking up damage for them. George's dogs find the situation rather bemusing, and they just watch their master getting repeatedly knocked out with some sort of strange fascination.

Having fought giants before, the heroes quickly burst down the creature, and he eventually expires, but not before pummeling George into a pulp. At that point the criminal is beyond healing, but seeing how he has fulfilled his purpose, no one is really too broken up about it. This includes his two remaining hounds which exchange a meaningful glance, and trot away towards new found freedom.

It is worth noting that the final blow that re-re-re-killed the giant was dealt by Bilbido Tastyflute who, to everyone's surprise was not invisible at the time.

Takklinn and Bilbido start respectfully looting the fallen eldrich knight, and in full deference to the great sacrifice he just made argue over who gets to keep his magical sword.

He's only half vampire

Soon after the zombie giant is vanquished, Lichard returns. The protagonists already know he is way over-leveled for them so they patiently wait for deus-ex-machina to show up in the form of Samuel Summers , Bruce and Mr Clatterby. The appropriately level scaled NPC's drop out of the sky, doing full on anime transformation moves, and accompanied by non-anime emo sound track. If Lichard had eyes, he would roll them, and if he had a watch, he would probably be checking it. Once Sam is done with his pre-rendered transformation sequence in which he gets enveloped by Mr Clatterby, Iron-Man style, everyone sighs with relief, and resumes the fight.

Bilbido and Takklinn continue arguing over the magic sword as the battle rages around them and Lichard slices the Holy Statue of Umberlee in half with his eye beams.

At some point Harlan manages to stab Lichard so hard that he briefly remembers being Richard. He grabs Harlan, and lifts him into the sky where he sears some Implanted Memories into his brain, asking him to make Kylee understand or something like that (?). Harlan stabs him a little to break free, and plummets down to the ground. Fortunately he is rescued by Bruce who flies up to catch him.

Eventually Lichard soaks up enough damage to trigger his final boss sequence, and he charges up his laser aiming it at Zorry. Sam jumps in to rescue her, and gets cut in half by the powerful death ray. Arielle shows up at the last second, and whisks Lichard away, most likely because she doesn't want to share the experience for killing level 20 mega-lich with the party.

Harlan and Zorry offer Sam some of their blood to help him regenerate, but he refuses, and offers to stay behind and hold off the undead horde to cover their escape. The heroes reluctantly leave the half-off vampire behind and try to catch up with the princess.

Crane Style

The heroes finally catch up with the rest of the party near the docks. The Royal Seagull and the Fair Maiden are still docked and waiting for the last refugees. Unfortunately the entrance to the docks is blocked by a large horde of undead. The living dead have engulfs the princess and her defenders as they try to fight their way towards the ships. The heroes engage the horde from behind.

Takklinn uses his Turn the Unholy power to disperse the zombies and create a path towards the Princess. Harlan escorts the Princess back out of the horde, and away from the dock, while Bilbido uses the power of Redeemer to hold the undead at bay. Some of the fighters, including Krud DeButt are trapped within the horde, too far to be reached. Seeing the heroes trapped by the horde, the crew of the Fair Maiden un-docks and sails away.

Harlan and Bilbido navigate the back roads and side streets, while fighting occasional undead stragglers trying to reach the docks. Zorry joins them, but reluctantly because she does not want to leave anyone behind. Takklinn uses Misty Step to access the rooftops, and manages to bypass the horde. Once on the other side, he gets few of the sailors from the Royal Seagull to help him operate the large loading crane. They lower the crane into the middle of the undead horde, allowing Krud and remaining fighters to climb onto it's platform and escape certain death. They are reposited on a nearby rooftop and make their way down to the dock just as Harlan, Bilbido and Zorry emerge from one of the side streets with the Princess in tow.

The heroes usher the princess onto the ship, and hold back the undead while the crew makes final preparations to sail away, and the final stragglers get on board. Krudd chooses to stay behind to buy the heroes more time.

The Royal Seagull breaks through the Undead Armada somehow, don't remember the details (?) re-joins the fleet of refugees. The heroes and the princess are transferred to another civilian ship, while Bethany Rogers and a group of volunteers turn the Royal Seagul around to face the pursuing Undead ships and buy the refugees more time.

Harlan instructs the captain of to set course for Zorander Isle but is informed that the ship does not have enough supplies to reach the remote island. With proper rationing however, the ship should be able to reach Koda where they might be able to resupply. The entire fleet sets course for Koda.

figure out how many days at sea (?)

Upon arriving at Koda, the Fairhave refugee fleet is intercepted by the Coast Guard. The city is unprepared to deal with the sudden influx of new migrants, and so all the refugees are interned in temporary camps. For their own safety, and the safety of Koda citizens, all refugees are disarmed, and all their possessions are confiscated. Harlan tries to explain the importance of their mission to the authorities, and show them the Messenger Ring but the guards either don't speak Common, or don't care.

The heroes are separated, and given quarters in different parts of the camp. The fate of the Princess is unknown at the moment.