Adventures in Thargothras

Session 9
More dungeon

The party decided to do some forward exploration, and, not liking what they saw, decided to backtrack and discover other rooms. After a couple of tense fights, and some more exploration, they drew the direct attention of Alad, and had a brief taunting match with him. In the end, to save some time in the future, they loaded up Skyler with some stealth and perception enhancing spells and items, and sent him to scout all rooms not sealed off by locked or trapped doors. Most of the dungeon was mapped due to Skyler's cartography skills, and the locations of treasure (and therefore guardian monsters) are now known, though the kind of monster could be changed as Alad shuffles them between rooms. Allen has also come up with a plan to draw Alad out of hiding and force his hand to empty some of the rooms of monsters into the sunlit room for a large confrontation.

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A dragon's due
and a missing crone

Quintar 6, somewhere near the Blackwyrm Mire.

It was not customary for Wicked Peggy Knucklebones to be so late on her delivery, mused Durvininth. His mate, Indryrth, was quite frustrated, and had sent him to find the hag to make sure she was still holding to their bargain. He was supposed to have every other skeleton that came her way, and since the accident, he was down to ten. It was enough to polish the treasure or his and his mate's scales, but not both, and a dragon with dull scales simply wouldn't do. What if they were to have a visitor? Or be happened upon while hunting? The embarrassment and indignation! Of course, right now it would do. He would use the anger from his dull scales to frighten her and demand two out of every three from now on, just for being late on her delivery. She would be made to cower before him, half-polished scales and all, and remind her why he allowed her to live in his marsh at all. It didn't matter who she worked for. It didn't matter who she worked with. It was his (and Indryrth's) marsh, and her hovel existed at his convenience. As he approached her impressively large mud-hut (with a raised walkway, no less), he noted none of the usual smells that accompanied her presence. No smoke, no stink of sweat, no lizard-meat boiling, no scent of heated iron. It was as if she hadn't even returned. Durvininth took a smaller form, in order to fit through the doorway of her home. It was similar in shape to a werewolf, but black and scaly, to remain frightening and recognizable. Satisfied with the result, he stepped up the stairs and along the walkway to the curtain of rough leather and strung bones she used in place of a door, and flung it to the side. "PEEEEGGYYYYYYYYY!" he roared.

But the hag was nowhere to be seen. Only a pair of little skeletons, one patching the ceiling, one sweeping the wooden slats that served as a floor, resting half-embedded in the clay foundation. A third entered behind him and set a stack of freshly chopped wood onto an already oversized rack. Durvininth looked around the room in bemusement. She should be back by now. He could hardly go out looking for her with his appearance so tarnished, so that was out. And if she'd moved away, she'd have taken all her things with her, wouldn't she? Unless…

Durvininth recited an incantation he'd had the fortune to learn long ago, and the three skeletons in the room jerked to attention. He commanded them, first in draconic, and when they failed to respond, in the local human tongue, to follow him. Three by three, he found the rest, and after a couple more recitations, they were all under his control. Saying nothing else, he walked home, skeletons in tow. It would help to have a few extra hands, barring more accidents, but eventually he'd need to replace them again, and who knew how long it would take to get a new supplier? He hoped his mate would be pleased enough with his haul to overlook that and not destroy half of them in a fit of rage when he told her the hag had gone and her location a mystery. For all her wits, Indryrth did not like mysteries, puzzles, or brain-teasers. Her intellect was mostly used to compose angsty poetry and cruel traps for trespassers. At least for the time being, he would finally be able to have his scales polished along with hers and the treasure, so that would be nice. Perhaps once his scales were shiny enough, he'd retrace her steps to her meeting place and piece it all together from there….

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Session 8
Clerics. curses, and confections

We began on Pasaday, Quintar 5, having safely arrived at the Cloister after a few castings of Mount by Allen. They were greeted at the door by one Denys Bell, the primary overseer of the Cloister. After confirming that the party was not present to deliver goods or documents, but to spend money on spellcasting services, he ushered them inside and eagerly volunteered to make themselves comfortable and maybe visit the gift shop, where they could find holy water, alchemical plagues, and chocolate edi-bibles, among other things. Skyler was cured of his curse by Leonard Sadler, and of his disease by Humphrey Curteys. Seralyn bought a weapon augment crystal to help her destroy the denizens of the dungeon on their return. Seralyn also met with her old pen pal Andrew Hache, who invited her to initiate herself into all of the churches at once under the loose employment of the Cloister, to be given missions at its discretion while gaining the membership benefits and responsibilities of the divine organizations. After speaking a little more, and a stimulating conversation with Nathaniel Leventhorp about the merits of indoor nudity, the party left and headed back to the Black Dungeon to slay more undead and free some trapped spirits.

On the night of their return, they decided to sleep outside to regain their magic and for Erosia to recover from a case of Coward's Mark. That night, Seralyn was visited by another divine vision, this time from Nerith instead of Ortrul, urging her to leave some of the spirits and undead in the dungeon unmolested, but she refused, having already given her word to Ortrul that the dead would be put to rest. In exchange for excusing her defiance, Nerith conditioned that she give all healing priority to the party's arcane casters unless death for another was imminent. The bargain struck, she awoke and the party further prepared the sunlit room to be used as a base of operations within the dungeon as Erosia fought the fungal infection. Days later, when they were ready, they fought their way to another mummy room, this one containing the statue they sought, as well as a fountain full of negative energy-infused water.

The session left off there, on the morning of Quintar 7th.

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The foreigner
and his proposal

Pasaday, Quintar 5, 4:38 p.m., the office of the Baron of Heslan.

Sir Talair Wersil raised his glass to his lips to take another sip of wine, but hesitated as he locked eyes with his visitor, who politely smiled back. Only days ago, he'd gotten a letter requesting an audience, from a name he didn't recognize. Thinking it a scheme, but having nothing better to do, he agreed to an appointment today. Now that he'd had some time to chat with this "Lord Vincent," he'd also had time to discreetly study his appearance and mannerisms. So far, the ruse was convincing. The young man (young for a half-elf, at any rate, but he may well have been in his forties the way they aged) was dressed in appropriate finery, gold and aquamarine, well-maintained, though perhaps outdated by ephemeral human fashion standards. He moved and spoke with the affectations of a man used to luxury and had all but ignored the servants as they brought refreshments, taking a wineglass and caviar from the tray without addressing them. Thanking them was usually the tell Sir Wersil looked for. When he smiled, his mouth was closed, but when he spoke it was clear he had perfect teeth, a rare trait for a criminal or beggar. The baron put the glass back down and furrowed his rather hirsute brow, while leaning ever so slightly forward. He spoke in a low, gravely voice, and a subtly condescending tone. This was, after all, his place of power, however temporary it might be.

"Well, enough small talk, I suppose. Exactly why did you make this appointment? I do not regularly meet with foreigners, noble or not, but I assure you, if you are here to test my loyalty to the crown you will not find me wanting. I know the reputation of those who have sat in this chair before me, but I am not a man to be bought."

"Oh, not at all, not at all." chirped the visitor, his black curls bouncing over his pale face as he shook his head. "I don't think I could afford you, anyway. No, I'm here because I think we can both give assistance for each other's problems."
 The Baron of Heslan remained silent, but the end of his mustache twitched momentarily. He raised an eyebrow, and leaned backwards, almost sitting upright. His visitor took this as a sign to continue.

 "I am offering an end to some of your local problems. I understand you have an issue with bandits extracting tolls from travelers on the Old Road as it passes through the Vastwood to Radimyr. I mean no offense, but I have spoken to some of your employees and I happen to know you've sent at least four regiments to flush them out, and all have come back empty-handed, before you – and correct me if I'm wrong about this – gave up? Somehow these forest-dwellers are infiltrating your city and spending their ill-gotten gains. They disrespect the crown, they make a joke of your soldiers, and they subvert your authority by extorting travelers under the guise of keeping them safe on the roads – your job, if I'm not mistaken. I have a simple plan to take care of them, and permanently, but I've only told a few trusted members of my staff. You could say it was your idea, if you like. With the bandits gone, put to better use, you could take the road back. People are already used to paying for its use, so it would be a simple matter to set up a tollbooth and tax them legitimately. Have a few soldiers patrolling to keep the road safe. You'd have a show of power, and all of the coinage would be guaranteed to come back here to Highridge. And that's only a start. I'm sure that you have other problems that need solving, and in return for what I ask, I'd be happy to assist."
Sir Wersil nodded, and reached for his wineglass again. This time, he drank deeply, and licked the drops from his thick mustache. He set the glass down with some force, not enough to break it, but enough to be heard. When he spoke, his voice was louder, and his condescension far less subtle than before.

"And how do you intend to succeed where my officers and soldiers have failed? Do you own a mercenary company? Do you bargain with fell powers, or command the might of the gods? Are you wealthy enough to buy them out, or do you think you can capture one and torture the location of their camp out of them, which has been tried more times than I can readily recall to no benefit? And more pertinently, what exactly do you want in return? You say you can solve my problems better than I can, so you clearly think quite highly of yourself and your abilities. What could I possibly do for you that you cannot do for yourself?" By this point, Sir Wersil had risen to full upright posture, and the inch or so of height he had over the young foreigner may as well have been a foot or more. Sir Wersil was a man who knew how to take advantage of physicality during negotiations, and though the half-elf was tall by human standards, the Baron's seat was higher-set, and positioned before a window so that a shadow was cast upon his guest. Confident that he had sufficiently chastised the stranger, he sneered and waited for the usual stuttering of a con-man called out on a boast. But the young stranger only smiled and blinked before responding.

"I want an alliance. You, Baron Wersil, have the political clout that I lack and need. I understand you think me an impostor, because you are a shrewder man than your predecessors likely were. That is forgivable, because we both know that I am not listed in any of your heraldry books, which I can explain by having been stripped of rank many years ago. Though I suppose if you were to borrow some older editions than the ones you brought here, the County of Narsiik in Estardana, where I was born and raised as a nobleman, may still be mentioned, before it was subsumed into the neighboring duchy of Brevil. I am, you might say, a political exile, sadly due to no fault of my own, but I digress. I have been left with a large sum of money, which has diminished as I require the services of a retinue of servants and guards, To slow my descent into poverty, I have made use of my extensive education to take a couple of apprentices. I still have my collection of books and clothing, a carriage to store them in, and horses to pull it, but no land to speak of, which I find unbefitting to my bloodline. What I am asking from you is your help in raising my station to where it should be, to reclaim my family's wealth, honor, and power. And power, as you know, is built on alliances." Lord Vincent broke eye contact, and shifted his gaze to the window, sights and voice growing distant. "I would speak to your king and queen and request a claim to land just beyond the borders of their kingdom, just south between Heslan and Radimyr, including Swordbreaker Pass, and a portion of the Battlefield of Iron Dreams. Such rich plains would make ideal farmland, if one had a fiefdom and serfs to make use of it. I have neither, and cannot discuss such a matter without one of the barons of dukes of your fine kingdom to vouch for me. Naturally, I would not ask for you to put your honor on the line without doing you a favor in return, hence my offer to rid you of your bandit problem, among other things. Also, I'll be making the same request of your neighbor, Baroness Zelcir. I've a similar offer for her, and I've sent a messenger to arrange things so that we meet her on the road. Presumptuous, I know, but I knew that if you refused my offer, I'd just send another messenger with my apologies. So, Baron… shall we make some history?"

It was a lot to take in, but Sir Wersil did his best to feign nonchalance through a couple of genuine laughs. "Oh, is that what you wanted? Usually I get requests to keep someone's nephew in the nicer barracks or out of jail, or some beggar trying to cheat me out of a large sum of money, but this is the first time anyone's proposed an arrangement like this. I'll admit I'm interested, but still – you haven't told me exactly how you were going to take care of those bandits. Was one of my guesses correct?"

The young Lord Vincent hadn't lost his smile. "Sorry, nothing so sinister. No gods or fell powers, no army of mercenaries, though a good noble never leaves home without a handful. I don't know if there is enough money in the world to truly and permanently buy the loyalty of a common thief. And I don't believe in torture. But I do employ a few spies with a knack for persuasion. I'll share the details with you after we meet the king. I'm not in the habit of showing my hand this early in negotiations."

"I see. Well then, I'll make arrangements for travel immediately. I trust you are prepared for the road?"

"But of course, Lord Baron. I'm always ready for anything."

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Session 7
Enter the Black Dungeon

On Neriday, Quartar 28, while returning from the Jorba's cabin with Rose Tabard in tow, the party finds themselves with several members having fallen ill, and spends some time in Erosia's hospital under quarantine. Joshua, being the only member with a completely clean bill of health (having been least exposed to the inside of the cabin), is able to go to Madame Raleigh's Distillery to procure all seven antiplague vials in stock. It is days before everyone has recovered, but Vaelin recovers early and Skyler, like Erosia, shows no symptoms. While Audreyn takes the longest to recover from Bubonic Plague, Seralyn stays and heals ability damage, Erosia administers to the sick, and Skyler oversees the ongoing construction of his labyrinth. Felicity, after she recovers, is able to continue with her business as well. Allen, for the most part, confines himself to his observatory to check on the current threat levels. The Horde is in the lead, at Rank 6. Something must be done soon to deter open war.

Once well, Vaelin reports to Gabriel Button on the status of the rescued girl and the interrogation of Wicked Peggy Knucklebones (the green hag). Gabriel brings up that Lusitania, a famous elven witch-hunter was recently in the village, and after some discussion, they suspect that Lusitania is an alias for Jorba. After searching the archives for instances of hag-related activity and the Hearthfires' records of visitors for the last couple of decades, they confirm their suspicions.

On Felsday, Quintar 2, Vaelin brings Joshua to investigate strange lights over Swordbreaker Pass, where they meet some laborers and chanters attempting to widen a magical gateway to Dol'Haddur and bring forth a stone tower. After some discussion with one of the chanters, they learn that a certain "Mister Jake" has paid them to read aloud from a pair of books and dig out the tower's foundation in preparation. Joshua and Vaelin agree to supervise (and even assist) in order to observe the effects of these gates when they are used properly. Minutes later, there is a stone tower on the ground, the gate has disappeared, and magical flecks fall like snow from the spot the gate had been, causing terrible growth wherever they land. Joshua and Vaelin narrowly escape the fast-growing vines and grass, but the laborers and chanters are killed and turned into shamble-men (shambling mounds). Using Erebor's Emergency Equine (Mount), they flee back to Whitefield.

Also on Felsday, Allen meets a man named Hagar in the Silver Sphinx. Hagar is looking for a wizard to share in an expedition back to the Black Dungeon of Alad the Warlock. Allen negotiates to send Hagar on his way with 500 gold and his life in return for all of Hagar's notes on the dungeon, its inhabitants, its treasures, and its secrets. Allen brings this to the attention of the other party members, inviting them to join his foray. Lured by the promise of riches, the opportunity for practice and glory, or the rumor of a talking, prophesying statue in one of the dungeon's rooms, most are quite eager to embark with Allen. Seralyn has reservations at first, but these are quelled by a vision from Ortrul, asking her to free the spirits of the dead trapped within the dungeon walls. The Guardian of the Dead has even offered her a boon for completing the task.

Once inside, the party follows Hagar's map, speaks with Sir Caspin's wraith (who Audreyn had some history with in the tournament circuit), and learns more about Alad and his supernatural powers over darkness and the Dungeon. After dissipating the shade and collecting his belongings, the party is visited by Alad. After an opening salvo leaves Alad less phased than desirable, the party chases him, finds another room, destroys the gasburst goblin zombies inside, and heads to the safest room on Hagar's map. After regrouping, a couple party members head back to gather some treasure before resting, and run into a mummy. This encounter proves dire for Skyler, who finds himself infected and cursed with mummy rot before the monster is destroyed. Seeing as the disease cannot be cured by natural means, the party decides to rappel upwards through the hole in the safe room's ceiling, block the east entrance, and travel north for a cure from the Cloister, where they are sure to meet some interesting characters.

The session ends on Pasaday, Quintar 5.

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Hagar's Tribulations
A survivor's tale

On his way to civilization, Hagar made a mental list of everyone he'd brought to the Black Dungeon.

Gruunich – dead. Killed by dead owlbears, body recovered and buried.
Ferrol – dead. Killed by a fire trap. Body unrecovered.
Sir Caspin – dead. Killed by Alad. Body unrecovered.
Aivar – dead. Killed by Alad, soon after. Body unrecovered.
Stretch – missing, presumed alive, wandering the Whispering Barrens.
T'Lara - missing, presumed dead.
Simon – missing, presumed dead, lost looking for T'Lara.

Gruunich had been the first to die. The skeletons, dripping with foulness, mending their broken bones before his eyes. If only the damn fool hadn't charged in and gotten himself surrounded, he might have had a chance. Or maybe not, since his spear blows only seemed to make the smallest of wounds. Hagar would never forget the way the gore collected on the floor, rolling back up onto the skeletons' bones, filling in the gaps. Gruunich was tough, tough enough to withstand the fire trap two doors from the room that killed him, but there is only so much that mortal flesh can bear.

Ferrol was next, after everyone decided to head the other way. He took the lead, and in the corridor he rushed to the next room, claiming he heard people's voices. He turned a corner, there was a flash of blue light, and everything not made of metal was reduced to charcoal. Fearful of the corridor, no one was willing to see what was in the room at the end. No one even wanted to get close enough to search the body, for fear that whatever foul magic had claimed him would claim them just as easily. Some time later, the sound of dragging chains approaching and terrible moans spooked them enough to chase them out of the Dungeon.

After that, Hagar, Simon, and T'Lara went back to Highridge to recruit Sir Caspin, Aivar, and Stretch.

On that foray, they witnessed the terrible, unmistakable spirit of Alad for the first time. Sir Caspin, thinking himself invincible, a common trait among heroic dolts and young minor nobles alike, challenged him to single combat. Alad dragged himself through the air, accompanied by the same sound of chains three of them had heard before. Caspin's magic sword hurt the shade, but Alad's life-draining touch hurt Caspin more, and he fell after a few blows. The rest of them fled into the nearby portal. The trip across twisted space was mercifully brief, and Alad did not follow. Not through the portal, at any rate.

The corridor on the other side was explored, and a door was opened to a room with a recessed pool, full of the water that dripped incessantly from the ceiling. An altar stood in the northwest corner, which Aivar, ever curious, insisted on examining, ignoring the pile of corroded copper coins under the water. Nothing happened until he took a bone from the bowl on the altar, but as soon as he did, the scrape of chains heralded Alad's arrival through the northern door. To his credit, Aivar was hard to hit, even as he walked backwards, down a flight of stairs, through knee-deep water, and up another flight of stairs, firing arrows with incredible swiftness all the while. Magic fire flared a few seconds after his attacks, courtesy of a magic gem on his bow. Until both of them reached the south end of the room, Hagar, Simon, and T'Lara joined in with whatever ranged attacks they could muster. It wasn't enough, and again they fled through a portal, just after Aivar fell to the ground. Stretch couldn't take it anymore, and ran for the exit, never to be seen again. His boot prints curved to the southwest, toward the wilderness.

They camped in the room with the tree and the sunlight. Hagar and Simon awoke to the sound of zombies crowding through a doorway, to the disappointing realization that T'Lara had either abandoned her watch, which Hagar believed, or been abducted, as Simon chose to delude himself. Had Hagar not known better, he would have thought the dwarf was sweet on her, but he knew it was just business and honor colliding in a messy but convenient (to Hagar and T'Lara) way.

While Simon left to search for her, Hagar took a grappling hook and rope and climbed to the top of the tree to throw. A few tries later, he had a way out, and after a few trips, he had all of the camping gear and what little treasure they'd collected lying on the rough grass next to the hole. For three days he waited for Simon or T'Lara to return to the sunny room, until his food ran out. From time to time, a zombie or mummy or skeleton would wander through and Hagar would have to raise the rope just in case one of them knew how to climb, or worse, tore the grappling hook free, trapping his friends. But when neither of them showed up, so he cut his losses and left. He couldn't go back to Highridge alone; too many questions would be asked, and he knew T'Lara still had some heat on her, and if Simon, her probation officer, was missing, too, the court would find a way to pin it all on him. The damn fool should have turned her in when they went to recruit the last three delvers, but T'Lara was the best burglar in town, and the lure of antique treasure was too tempting. 

No, the only way to go was east, to the next village. Find a new group of delvers, show them his notes, start over. He needed the coin. No one gets out of Eldermarsh Prison early without money changing hands, and he'd made a promise, blood to blood. He whispered under his breath, saving most of his energy for walking.

"I'm coming for you, little brother. No one keeps a Vencane in chains."

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Session 6
The Rot Hag's Cabin

Since five members of the party returned to Whitefield on Pasaday, Tertiar 25, they had a little more time to work on their personal interests before Allen, Erosia, and Seralyn return with a great many boons and gifts on Ividay, Quartar 3. Gabriel Button left for a few days (Quartar 5-18), leaving Vaelin in charge of his duties with assistance from Stephen Cypress and Seralyn. During that time it was discovered that someone had dug up the Borsteads' turnips. The investigation has been postponed for now.

Skyler built a second and third dojo, and began costruction on a labyrinth, while Felicity began construction of an office and a brewery, the first of which was completed on the 12th, and the latter of which was not finished until the 28th, when the party returned from their main adventure.

On the evening before the 25th, Caleb's friend Morys Tabard's sister Rose was kidnapped, and the matter was brought to the attention of Allen, and through him to the rest of the party. A day and a half was spent tracking the hags' tainted kappa minions to a cabin at the edge of the Swamp of Ghosts and the fringe of the Gravewood. It was on the way that they encountered two peaceful kappa, one with the powers of illusion, who warned them of the curse of madness that the hags had inflicted on its kin. Later, when they encountered a squad of seven tainted kappa, they managed to reverse the effects after using nonlethal combat.

Upon reaching the cabin, they snuck to the door and nearest windows to listen to a conversation unfold between Rose, Granny Willow (a storm hag and leader of the coven), Jorba the Rotten (a rot hag and the owner of the house), and Wicked Peggy Knucklebones (a green hag). At the end of the conversation, combat began, and the hags were quickly overwhelmed. Granny Willow escaped on her broom, and Jorba broke a Violated Horn (of which she likely only had one), but Peggy tried to escape through a window and fell unconscious as Felicity hamstrung her on the way out.

After the girl was confirmed to be safe and free of her cage, the party tied and interrogated Peggy Knucklebones as to the location of her "sisters." Granny Willow's whereabouts were narrowed down to the edge of Lake Audrey, while Jorba could be anywhere within walking distance of a town where beautiful elven women (who smell of perfume and pox) can receive healing magic. After some cryptic mention of the Mother of Woe (a probable Tower Hag, the mightiest of their kind, known for collecting the teeth of human children), the interrogation was over and Peggy was executed by Felicity.

The party searched the premises to find the treasure listed below, and returned home on the 28th, and that's where we left off.

Treasure:

Armchair (10 gp), needs reupholstering, and cleaning.
Sedan Chair (100 gp, 60 lb), all wooden, needs cleaning.
10 x Workbench (30 gp) = 2 Goods each for building any rooms that include a workbench in their description, limit 1 per room unless stated otherwise.
Plain Tapestry (50 gp) claimed by Vaelin
Iron Cauldron (16 gp, 40 lb), sized to cook a small creature, lid included.
Barrel (2 gp, 30 lb)
Ladder (10') (2 sp, 20 lb)
A somewhat rusted cage, holding a young child (Rose). DC 12 to pick the lock, DC 23 Str to break the cage without hurting the child. Destroyed.
Silver statue of a dragon (65 gp)
Clay Pitcher (2 cp, 5 lb)
Clay Tankard (2 cp, 2 lb)
2 x Sack (1 sp, 1/2 lb)
Basket (4 sp, 1 lb)
Artisan's Tools (5 gp, 5 lb)
Miner's Pick (3 gp, 10 lb) = 1 Labor if used with sledge below, usable for two rooms in contact with the ground.
2 x Sledge (1 gp, 10 lb)
2 x Pitchfork (2 gp, 5 lb)
Lamp (1 sp, 1 lb)
2 x Pole (10') (5 cp, 8 lb)
4x Small Hunting Trap (live) (4 gp, 5 lb)
Handsaw (3 gp, 5 lb) = 1 Labor for building with wood.
Common Wig (1 gp)

Large Iron Box (2 gp, 100 lb) containing:
Masterwork Chainmail (300 gp)
Masterwork Morningstar (308 gp)
Cold Weather Outfit (8 gp, 7 lb)
Snowshoes (8 gp, 8 lb)
2 x Wooden Holy Symbol (1 gp)
Potion of Guidance (cr, 25 gp)
Potion of Resistance (cr, 25 gp)
Potion of Stabilize (cr, 25 gp)

Scroll of Glide (apg, 150 gp)
Scroll of True Strike (cr, 25 gp)
2 x Wand of Entangle (cr, 750 gp)
13 x Chisel (5 sp, 2 lb) = 2 Labor for building with stone if used with hammers below.
6 x Hammer (5 sp, 2 lb)
Copper brazier with religious markings (50 gp)
3 x Box of Charcoal (1 sp, 20 lb)
2 x Box of 20 Arrowheads (5 sp, 1 lb)
Flask of Oil (1 sp, 1 lb)
Flint and Steel (1 gp)
Iron Bar (1 sp, 5 lb)
Small Magnet (10 gp, 1 lb)
2 x Vial of Ink (8 gp)
Whetsone (2 cp, 1 lb)
11 x Sewing Needle (5 sp) = 1 Goods for any product made from cloth.
3 x Small Cask of Wax (2 sp, 5 lb) = 1 Goods for any product that requires wax (like sealing bottles).
13 x Bag of Iron Nails (5 sp, 1 lb) = 1 Goods for construction of a building
Bolt of Canvas (1 gp, 10 lb) = 1 goods for any cloth product or furnishings.
15 x Bag of Chalk (1 sp, 1/2 lb) = 3 Goods usable for any rooms that also require Magic to build.
Shears (5 gp, 2 lb)
Sickle (1 gp, 2 lb)
Bag of 20 Marbles (2 sp, 1 lb) = 1 Goods to build a Game Room if supplemented with the game boards and dice below.
10 x Game Board (1 gp, 2 lb)
Pair of Dice (1 sp)
29 x Bedroll (1 sp, 5 lb) = 2 Goods for constructing Lodgings or an Infirmary.

Bag of Chestnuts (1 gp, 1 lb), edible.
Bag of Dried Mushrooms (3 gp, 1 lb), edible but hallucinogenic.
Bottle of Brandywine (5 gp, 4 lb), edible.
Bottle of Good Wine (1 gp, 4 lb), edible.
Bottle of Honey (4 sp, 4 lb), edible.
Small Cask of Ale (2 sp, 8 lb), edible.

Small Iron Box (1 gp, 20 lb) containing:
464 pp, 271 gp, 88 sp, 58 cp

Bucket (5 sp, 2 lb) containing:
Agate (10 gp)
Amber (100 gp)
Amethyst (110 gp)
Aquamarine (450 gp)
A glass jar full of teeth (around 30) labeled “For the Mother of Woe”
Carnelian (50 gp)
Citrine (55 gp)
Freshwater Pearl (11 gp)
Garnet (100 gp)
Lapis Lazuli (7 gp)
Obsidian (10 gp)
Opal (550 gp)
Opal (600 gp)
Rhodochrosite (7 gp)
Rock Quartz (10 gp)
Rose Quartz (40 gp)
Rose Quartz (45 gp)
Smoky Quartz (60 gp)
Zircon (40 gp)
Zircon (45 gp)
Zircon (55 gp)

2 x Ballista (500 gp) – currently unusable but reparable. No ammunition. Value halved until repaired.
2 x Light Catapult (550 gp) – currently unusable but reparable. No ammunition. Value halved until repaired.
Rack of Firewood (1 sp, 200 lb) = 2 Goods for furnishings, building construction, or wooden products.
Rope Net (10' x 10') (4 gp, 40 lb) – in surprisingly good condition. Counts as 1 Goods for building Blinds.

Total treasure value (including conversion to capital): 11,810.14

Please comment below with what treasure you would like to claim. If two of you want to claim the same item, do not use the comment section to bicker, bicker IRL, please.

Karmic adjustments:
For everyone taking measures to ensure that no kappa were killed this session, everyone gains one point of karma. This is the only adjustment, and brings everyone to the listed totals.
Allen at 16
Erosia at 10
Felicity at 10
Joshua at 4
Seralyn at 16
Skyler at 9
Vaelin at 11

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The Beginning

Ortsday, Tertiar 24, the year 930.

Picture, if you will, a dark office, lit by a single candle. The whistling of the harsh wind outside, audible through a crack in the window. The lack of noise than accompanies people, replaced by the hoots and howls of bird and beast. The creaks and clicks of an old building at night. The loud beating of a heavy heart, inside a man much older than he looks.

It began again, as these things did, with a letter written upon black parchment. To other viewers, anyone who hadn't taken the Oath, the page appeared as a perfectly ordinary sheet of white vellum, the words written upon it detailing only the most mundane and banal conversation the reader could think of, in perfectly ordinary black ink. To those who had taken the Oath, however, it would appear as it was. The missive would be placed in a black envelope of similar enchantment to the letter itself, sealed with clear wax that appeared to mundane viewers as a signet carrying sufficient authority to dissuade temptation of breaking the seal. These measures had thus far been sufficient to keep the secrets of his kith safe. He hadn't had to touch such an object in years, let alone write on it, but the letter sent to him merited a reply in kind, and a forwarding to others who had joined the covenant. An old friend, a comrade-in-arms, had sent him a warning written on the same material, begging him to spread the word, even though other, similar warnings had come from similar friends. Given his rank and position, he was privy to many rumors among the commonfolk and gentry alike, and if the rumors were true, there was danger erupting all over the kingdom. 

He checked his supplies. The pot of silver ink, which he normally kept hidden behind a loose brick, high above his bed, was half full at best; he would need to be sussinct. The black pages and envelopes, kept flat beneath a false bottom in one of the drawers of his wardrobe, numbering five. He would need to choose his recipients carefully, and send for more stationery when the time was right. The special wax, which he had managed to keep hidden in the gap behind a short drawer in his desk, he somehow had an abundance of. Were it not for the solemnity of the occasion, he might have chuckled at the sight. Had there been a wick inside, it could be used as an eighteen-hour candle. Unlike the rest of his equipment, the translucent block was truly a lifetime supply.

He dipped his quill into a pot of regular ink and began an early draft on a regular sheet of paper. He had to choose his words carefully before committing to his final dispatch. A meeting would need to be held to determine whether further plans should be coordinated. He stopped, considering the thought. The Night's Army hadn't had an official meeting in well over a decade. For some, it would be the first Moot. For others, it could well be the last. No two Moots had ever had the all of the same members present. The Night's Army was spread over a few generations, so even barring death by violence, a common end in their line of work, some members might receive Ortrul's Kiss by way of the passage of time. 

After finishing the letters, he stood up and took note of his surroundings. The light of dawn was beginning to show through the window, though not directly. Quietly, he lit a kindle-stick with the pitiful stump of the candle that had burned all night, melted a portion of the enchanted wax, sealed the envelopes, and burnt his drafts, collecting the ashes in a bowl, grinding them to the finest powder, and sprinkling half into the fireplace. The other half he mixed with water and drank. No member of the Night's Army lived to a ripe age without caution, and magic could do and undo many things. The letters, stark black to him and him alone, were shuffled into a stack of other pieces of mail to be given to a messenger today. As a final act to soothe his mind, he went to his private shrine in the lower floor, beneath the ground. Making sure no one was looking, he pressed a brick that looked like any other, and the wall swung open with a metallic squeal. He made a note to oil it when he had the chance. In the hidden chamber was his armory. Black armor and clothing, silvered weapons. The insignia of the Night's Army, to strike fear into the few enemies that actually knew of their existence. Everything was present and in good repair, save for the rough hinges on the door. He closed the door and returned to his room. It was time to sleep.


Dragonsday, Tertiar 29, the year 930.

Picture, if you will, a clear morning, bright sun shining down on a bustling town square. The laughter of a child, two old women trading gossip as they fill buckets at a well, talking over each other over matters that would be better whispered. A gentle breeze, stirring up the dust on the road, and the clopping of hooves as a letter carrier passes through. The smile of a man who has seen too much, but hides it well under years of professionalism.

It began again, as these things do, with a black envelope, from an old comrade-in-arms. After participating in combat against a pair of restless spirits a few days prior, it was all Gabriel Button could do to stop himself from reading it as he returned to Zelcir Keep with a stack of letters. What other horrors beset the kingdom so that he would receive a letter from the Night's Army? Was Whitefield merely one of many sites of supernatural carnage? After delivering the rest of the mail to its intended recipients within the keep, he went to his room and read and reread voraciously. A Moot, on such short notice? He'd need to leave someone capable in charge of his duties while he was gone. A few names sprang to mind, but better to have a coordinated team, starting with Cypress, Maclear, and Smith, whenever she returned from dealing with the plague. 

Dutifully, he retrieved his writing equipment from the various hiding places in his room, and after writing up a few drafts with ordinary paper, burnt soon after, he wrote the last few missives on the proper paper, with the proper ink, and prepared most of them to be sent out the next day. One message, however, could be sent immediately. He took the stairs to aviary on the roof. Gently, he took one of his older homing pigeons from its cage.
"Good news, Scrimshaw. You're finally going outside. I know it's been a while, but I'm sure you remember the way. I'll miss you while you're gone." He tied a tiny black scroll with silver script to the pigeon's leg, opened his window, and held back a tear as he watched it fly away.


Lastday, Tertiar 30, the year 930.

Picture, if you will, a small cabin in the heart of a forest, hidden from a distance by nets laced with branches and leaves. The musty scent of the forest floor, the calling of birds and insects, unseen among the trees and the carpet of fallen leaves. The narrow rays of sunlight interrupting the shadows, illuminating the ever-present dust and pollen in the air. A small room with shuttered, paneless windows, rustic furniture, and a rack of black weapons gathering dust, mounted on a wall. A dresser, carved by an untrained hand, warped with age, revealing a corner of black cloth in the bottom drawer that refuses to close. The near-silent wheezing of an old but loyal dog, as she sleeps on the floor in front of a lit fireplace. The inimitable smell of turnip and venison stew, bubbling in an iron pot, stirred by an elderly hand. The flapping and cooing of a bird coming to roost just outside, the dog's curious moan, alerting her owner. and an appreciative grunt in reply.

It began again, as these things do, with a roll of black parchment and silver ink….

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Session 5
Flowers and dead letters

On the morning of Felsday, Tertiar 22, the party had made it outside the gates of Port Westvale, only to find a mini-market in front of a closed and barred town entrance. It was explained by Anne Sulari that the town was under quarantine. Allen met an old friend, Joshua, who volunteered to help, and was answered with Elmegor Vant, who beseeched any volunteers to retrieve as many samples as possible of the Tellovari flower in the Bloodfire Marsh to assist the herbalists in making a medicine capable of helping the plague. After learning of the symptoms, the party determined that the strain of disease was probably artificial, and extrapolated (correctly, though they do not have any confirmation yet) that it could be the work of Kemassu, the Prince of Pestilence, working towards the Silver King's ends in some way.

The party began their quest, heading west and stopping at Camor Castle to sequester their refugees and purchase 27 doses of vermin repellent (with 1gp and 5 sp left as a tip), which, in a party of 8, meant between 3 and 3-1/2 doses per person for the trip. Anyway, between Port Westvale and Camor Castle, Allen cast Ereborn's Emergency Equine a few times to fetch Erosia from Whitefield. The next day, the party embarked across the Sassaran and into the Bloodfire Marsh, where they happened upon a small group of native grippli. One grippli spoke passable Common (albeit in a croaking voice), and offered to lead the party safely through the marsh to the "Fire Flower" as she called it, on the condition that the party collect no more than half the blossoms, as the flower was sacred and its ecology delicate. The party accepted the terms.

When the guide stopped, the party continued on a short distance to find a wheel-shaped pool, in the center of which was an island with the Tellovari, or Orange Lilac if you prefer. There was also a lot of brown mold and a 5-headed pyrohydra, which they knocked unconscious rather than kill in deference to its occupation as a sacred guardian beast. Having collected no more than half the petals, the party was led out of the marsh and returned to Camor Castle, from which the citizens of Radimyr were sent home upriver, along with everyone else in the party except Allen, Seralyn, and Erosia, who decided to deliver the petals to Port Westvale and try and get more information, find her father, and assist with the sick, respectively.

When the rest of the party arrived at Whitefield, they found a horse drinking from a trough, pulling a small wagon driven by a dead man. The wagon was carrying a curious box, and the driver a letter and some red chalk. Naturally, Gabriel Button was consulted on what to do with the box, which was, as evidenced by the letter, en route to Vroden, the necroturge in the Gravewood. Mr. Button agreed that the box should be opened carefully and at a safe distance from any villagers. Inside were two allips, which presented a nasty challenge to a party with only two magic weapons (Keiran the Black Blade, and a magic fang spell cast on Faolin), but Joshua helped draw attention, Audreyn assisted in some of Vaelin's attacks, and even Gabriel Button, once his fascination was broken, got a good shot in. Felicity helped immensely by cutting the aural threat in half with her countersong. The box, proven able to hold incorporeal undead, is still in working condition.

Meanwhile, in Port Westvale, Erosia assists in many, many heal checks, and gets free training with Sir Selnos as his reward. Allen receives a new spellbook from Elmegor Vant, and Seralyn gets to meet her father for the first time. Unfortunately, due to a mistake involving Tylenol PM and a rather exhausting work week, these events have not been roleplayed properly and must wait until another free day. Absent PCs are still given credit for their contribution to the safety of the town, but will have to be compensated with money or something instead of specific boons unless requested.

Because the PCs in Port Westvale cannot leave until it is cured of all plague on Alvsday, Quartar 1, they cannot make it home to Whitefield until at least Felsday, Quartar 2, or Ividay Quartar 3 (depending on method of travel), which is when the session will end in-game. Since that marks the beginning of a new month, it also means someone gets to draw a new event card. :)

Karmic adjustments:
Allen keeps his score of 15.
+6 karma to Erosia for his personal assistance in the recovery of dozens of plague victims, brining his score to 9.
+1 karma to Felicity for keeping herself in danger with no way to defend herself against the allips in order to assist her allies, bringing her score up to 9.
+1 karma to Joshua for volunteering to help Port Westvale at the first sign of trouble, and a further +1 for bringing his score up to 3.
Seralyn keeps her score of 15.
Skyler keeps his score of 8.
+1 karma to Vaelin for negotiating for the safety of his people and honoring his agreement, bringing his score up to 10.

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Odigan's Plans
and how they might be disrupted.

It was an old trick, but an effective one. A quick trip away, a pilfered potion of flying and a pilfered potion of invisibility and a quick trip back, just a few feet higher than before. Lothligar watched as Ignidia threw her fit, scolding the remains of her army, now disjointed, never to be under her complete control again. The best she could do was hang on to as many goblins as she could afford to pay, and that wasn't many. He held in a chuckle as she stormed off into the sky to dive-bomb some unlucky wolf or whatever, and noted her path through the sky. Then he watched what the humans did while they thought they were alone. Satisfied with his observations, he flew away in the same direction Ignidia had gone.


Ignidia, stood over the wild horse she'd pounced on, now butchered and burnt, disdain overtaking and replacing her rage. She chewed thoughtfully on a chunk of its meat as she wiped her blade clean, searching memories that didn't belong to her for answers to the situation. Her reflection was interrupted by a familiar voice.
"Shi-Domas, I bring news!" came the nasal outburst from an empty patch of sky.
"Dammit, talk to me, not to him! I'm just as much a part of this as you now!"
Let me speak. The voice rose inside her like dead fish rising to the surface of a pond. Ignidia relented. This was a struggle she'd lost before, and had lost hope for ever winning. She relaxed her muscles and let the spirit inside control her mouth, passively listening to his words.
"Greetings, Lothligar. What news do you bring for us?"
Lothligar dismissed his invisibility with a grin. "I have a better grasp on who our friends really are." He casually tossed Ignidia the Gathering Stone from his pocket, which she caught reflexively.
"Indeed? Pray tell, and while we're here, can you also tell us what happened to the Radimyr Cabal?"
"The authorities caught on, and I almost managed to turn one of them with some trinkets and blackmail, but alas, his allies are many. Evidently I missed a siege that put everyone behind walls but me. And knowing what I know of the security protocol in the event of hostile forces, someone engineered that I be left out. There are supposed to be both audio and visual cues-"
"Come to the point, pig! Where are your minions?"
"I have only the five most promising youth, who I have spent a great deal of time preparing. The half-hearts were talked out of loyalty inside the keep during the goblin siege. I heard that the half-elf seer and the mystic repairman spoke out against our cause. And that cat-woman joined them. Even the Baroness's champion chimed in. My children held for as long as they could, but they lack the skill and talent to win in a public forum. But I have other news that might interest you as well…"
"This… this is a major setback, but not crippling. What is the other news, before we work on our battle strategy?"
"Bad and worse. For the bad, the humans are going to warn Port Westvale of our attack."
"Well then I want to know whether Kemassu has completed his mission. Is the port town significantly weakened that an advanced warning will result in surrender? Have they isolated themselves and do the soldiers stand sick at their posts? Will they fight to the last man? With a reduced army, I must know that we will meet little resistance, or I must abort the invasion."
"I don't know, but I'm sure the Prince will join your camp shortly. It's not like him to be anything but punctual, and he was due to leave behind a rotten shell of a town days ago."
"Hmmf. Well, we can't attack until we know, but hopefully we could still push for a bloodless surrender with the proper show of force. Oh, before I forget, I have some bad news, too. The false prophet is back. You know the one."
"What, you mean the little shepherd? That pathetic vessel may have power, but he's never figured out how to wield it properly. He's a shell, nothing more, and the worst he can do is-"
"We have seen what he can do, and he is no mere shell!" interjected Shi-Domas, jerking Ignidia's body forward as he spoke through her. "He can undo our work if we don't let him in on the plan, and even then, he may vex us out of spite! Have you forgotten what happened in Duunvarik Canyon? Auspice Cove? Terrace! Fucking! Island?!"
"Fine, those are all very good points, but at least he's predictable. Shows up, tries to speed up one of the manifestations — helping us, more often than not — and tries to get into the palace. Pity for him he doesn't know how. In any case, we can plan contingencies for his arrival at any of our operating sites."
Hmm. Wait, before, you said bad and worse. What's the worse news?"
Lothligar turned his gaze to the distance, and, after some hesitation, spoke through a gimace. "Nerith has activated one of the Black Blades."
Ignidia followed his gaze and stood beside him, staring at the horizon. "Shit. No way around that one. Even killing the bearer will only slow it down. Hardly worth the bother at this point. Might as well just try to contain or mislead it."
"Mmm-hmm."
Shi-Domas having returned control of Ignidia's body to her, she turned to face the Sultan of Famine once more. "Do you really trust Odigan's plan? I mean, if he was such a great fortune teller, why did he die so young? You always say he had the potential to be the most powerful of all of you if he'd had more time."
"You know, I've wondered that myself," Lothligar replied, his voice distant. "and my best guess is that it was somehow part of the plan. The notes he left don't mention it either way. And by now you surely understand how thorough they were. Besides, I'm not even sure he did die."
"But you said you found a body. His body. Unmistakably his."
Lothligar said nothing in response. He turned and produced a cigar from his pocket. Ignidia stared expectantly as he clipped the end, fumbled for a tindertwig, sat on the ground, lit the end, and took a few puffs.
"Odigan is a mystery to us all, young miss. I suspect he thought of a way to come back and is just waiting to make a grand reappearance. A big spectacle to show us up and make us humble. I mean, the rest of us found a way around mortality. Hell, I found mine by accident. You'd think the Suzerain of Death, who had time to write a veritable encyclopedia on how to conquer the world in every century leading up to the year 1100 would have a personal contingency. Then again, maybe his gift didn't include his own future. Now, instead of wasting time waxing philosophical on whether we're taking orders from a dead man or a liar, let's get to the most urgent question of all."
"What's that?" she asked, taken by surprise.
Lothligar pointed to the dead horse. "Are you going to finish all of that?"
After a moment of tension, looking from the horse to each other with narrowed eyes, both of them dove at the carcass, tearing at the flesh with their teeth and noisily gorging themselves and reveling in their competitive and predatory natures. After several minutes of ceaseless consumption, only bones were left.

Ignidia rose to her feet and spread her wings. "The sun's going down. Time for me to head back to camp. How about you go find Kemassu and see what I'm up against?" The first couple of flaps to get airborne were the hardest, but she was off the ground before she finished her request.
"Agreed!" he shouted, and with a click of his heels, he was gone.

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